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5 Genoa P&O Cruises Ventura Cruise Reviews

We have been on at least 6 other cruises with RCI, Celebrity and Seabourn and this was our first with P&O. We were extremely disappointed to say the least, even when compared to Island Cruises: the customer service both pre and during ... Read More
We have been on at least 6 other cruises with RCI, Celebrity and Seabourn and this was our first with P&O. We were extremely disappointed to say the least, even when compared to Island Cruises: the customer service both pre and during the cruise was absolutely disgraceful. Positives: Excellent service re baggage collection and delivery to the cabin and likewise on the return journey Cabin steward very attentive Super deluxe cabin - very comfortable and well appointed Negatives: 1) Customer service pre-cruise: totally conflicting advice During the 1st phone call enquiring about pricing I was told “if the price drops after you book we automatically refund the difference”. Found out later from our travel agent that this policy had been dropped either last or previous year. Pre-cruise travel documentation said to “fill in pre-cruise questionnaire” in the cruise personaliser. Rang P&O to say I couldn’t find it - was told there’s no such thing. Pre-cruise travel documentation said you could bring a small amount of alcohol on board (not to be consumed in public areas). Rang P&O to have this clarified only to be told you couldn’t do this. On board found out that in fact you could do this. E-tickets gave 2 different sizes for hand luggage: 55x40x20cm and 43x28x23cm. Rang P&O to find out which was correct - the person I spoke to didn’t know but would find out and call me back the next day. No phone call the next day so I rang back: on our record it showed that your personnel had called me 3 times on my mobile but that I hadn’t answered. You had the correct mobile number for me on file but my phone didn’t have any missed calls and in any case why didn’t they just leave a message for me? - that’s assuming they really had called. 2) Customer service on board: Maintenance: spoke to reception desk 5 times about the aircon not working. Explained it was on its lowest setting and yet at one point the temperature in the cabin was 25 degrees making it totally unbearable. It wasn’t until the 6th DAY that it was finally repaired. Who was to blame for this? - reception for not passing on the message or maintenance for not responding? I would guess reception going on other dealings with them. Rang reception several times with various enquiries - staff never knew the answer so they had to go and find out, even when it was a basic question such as whether or not there was a shuttle bus. Both on the phone and at the reception desk the staff were most unfriendly and made no effort at all to provide good customer service - everything seemed to be too much of an effort for them. There was one exception and I think his name was Bonnie Dubois - it was his first day back off sick and he did everything he could to help. No matter where you were on board the staff were surly and made no effort to be pleasant and rarely did anyone say hello or even smile. 3) Restaurant staff (Cinnamon restaurant) - not been trained to a sufficiently high standard: Waiter would clear your plate as soon as you’d finished eating rather than waiting until everyone had finished Wine waiters: asked my husband who wanted white wine rather than asking each individual person what they wanted;would have filled the glass to the top if you hadn’t stopped them, rather than part filling it; on one I occasion asked to speak to the head wine waiter about the above: he took the wine waiter to one side and thinking they were out of sight he made a big joke out of it with the waiter. It was quite obvious that the head wine waiter has no respect for the customers nor does he take his job seriously. After complaining to the Restaurant Manager about the above the service did improve. c) As part of the “Select” package one evening we received canapés in the cabin. The presentation and appearance was dreadful - needless to say we didn’t eat them. This further highlights to us the apparent total lack of finesse and quality of service of P&O cruises. 4) Entertainment team Cruise Director, Hughie, was totally ineffectual and showed no enthusiasm whatsoever Kaylee - looked totally disinterested and bored during sail-away parties etc 5) Venice shuttle service: I was totally confused about the options available for people with reduced mobility. It would help if the people we were dealing with could speak good English (here referring to local Italian ground staff). Got to the shuttle bus - my family got on, I got off to double check about the service for the disabled and asked my daughter to make sure it didn’t go without me. Bus started off, she tried to stop it and got her hand trapped in the door. Bus carried on regardless and I had to follow on later. Got to the quay side for the shuttle boat - the queue was enormous. My in-laws are disabled so we were able to move to the front of the queue. Even so it took us 1 and a half hours to get from the bus to being dropped off near St Mark’s Square. Just how long did it take the other passengers who had to wait in line? We sat bobbing about on the shuttle boat for 20 minutes until it was able to land. This service is an absolute disgrace and a rip-off at 15€ each ( total of 90€ for the 6 of us). We feel that some of the issues above could be improved by just 1 simple change to the system; on previous cruises gratuities have always been given directly to individuals i.e. not automatically earned. Our friends always cruise with P&O and having heard our experiences with poor service told us that they have noticed a dramatic fall in standards since automatic tipping was introduced. We know that passengers can opt out of automatic gratuities and in fact we did so but this is not going to improve overall standards - the staff need to earn their tips not just expect to be rewarded for doing nothing. Cruising is becoming a very competitive and expanding market so if P&O want to remain successful they need to look very closely at how they operate in order to retain loyal customers and attract new ones. This is particularly true in an environment where the internet is now so widely used to get insight into people’s experiences with the different cruise lines and ships by reading their reviews. Below I refer to some of the claims made by P&O on its website. My experiences of them are in brackets: 1) Service on board P&O Cruises We will go to any length to ensure you enjoy the holiday of a lifetime (why did it take 5 requests to repair the aircon?) Enjoy the holiday of a lifetime every time you cruise with us.  At P&O Cruises we want to give you a holiday to remember, filled with special occasions and memorable moments. (as a family of 6 we chose a P&O cruise because this year we have had our own “special occasions” to celebrate: a diamond wedding anniversary, a silver wedding anniversary, a 60th birthday and a retirement, what a shame that P&O couldn’t step up to the plate and give us those “memorable moments” to take away). From the friendly greeting you receive as you step on board, (no-one greeted us on board - we were completely ignored)to Black Tie nights where the entire ship dresses to the nines, or from a lazy afternoon of pampering in The Retreat, to a romantic dinner for two at a Marco Pierre White restaurant, everything about your P&O Cruises holiday will make you feel special. (the staff made no attempt to even smile never mind make us feel special) And when your cabin steward knows your name, and your bar steward remembers your favourite drink, that’s simply how a P&O Cruises holiday should be. Throughout the ship, you will find genuine and attentive service from knowledgeable staff happy to help in any way they can (service was not at all attentive and the staff were surly). You’ll soon become friends with the same waiters who will serve your table each and every evening, and will be amazed by the memory of the bar staff who will often remember your drink if you’re a regular in the same bar. 2) We take care of every detail From a nightly turndown service to pool attendants offering fresh towels (not once did I see any pool attendants or towels on offer), we look after every aspect of your holiday. The moment you step on board, we will make sure you have a holiday of a lifetime – whether that means impeccable service, your favourite cocktail made just how you like it or breakfast in bed every morning. 3) We have 175 years of experience to call on Over this time we have perfected cruising to become the cruise experts. (you have not perfected cruising at all: even Island Cruises offer better service and attention to detail than P&O. Then there’s RCI, Celebrity and Seabourn with whom we’ve also cruised - just no comparison!) I can safely say that our experience onboard the Ventura was a total disappointment. My in-laws who were celebrating their diamond wedding and who have never cruised before were so excited about their trip of a lifetime; my husband and I were celebrating our silver wedding, my 60th birthday and his retirement. This was to be one big celebration for all of us but P&O really let us down with its false and misleading claims. To summarise P&O did not fufill its promises to: go to any length to ensure the holiday of a lifetime make us feel special provide genuine and attentive service provide pool attendants offering fresh towels etc., etc., etc.. Read Less
Sail Date September 2015
My wife and myself are both seasoned travellers, and have cruised many times before. It was our first cruise with P&O, and it will surely be our last !!!! We were allocated freedom dining, and we sampled most of the restaurants on ... Read More
My wife and myself are both seasoned travellers, and have cruised many times before. It was our first cruise with P&O, and it will surely be our last !!!! We were allocated freedom dining, and we sampled most of the restaurants on board, but the one with the highest standard was the Glass House, Very good service, and knowledgeable wine waiters, The amount of smoking areas on the ship is very disconcerting, A lot of the time we had to walk through other peoples smoke to get to where we were heading. Entertainment ranged from good to appalling, the house band, "Electrix" were very good and provided backing to visiting artistes, as well as performing their own sets. Excursions were expensive, and not worth the money, drinks were reasonably priced (perhaps a little on the high side). Staff in the waterside were a miserable bunch, and it was so overcrowded, As it has already been pointed out, the photographers were a rather "pushy" lot, totally intrusive during mealtimes. So overall a poor experience for our time with P&O, they must do better to retain custom. Star of our cruise was our cabin steward ..... Jose. Read Less
Sail Date June 2014
I have been on many cruises but this is my first on a P & O ship and it will definitely be my last for a number of reasons. The Waterside restaurant which is the buffet restaurant was far too small for the amount of people on board, ... Read More
I have been on many cruises but this is my first on a P & O ship and it will definitely be my last for a number of reasons. The Waterside restaurant which is the buffet restaurant was far too small for the amount of people on board, everyone was banging into each other when they were attempting to get their food. The staff in this restaurant were as miserable as sin. I am disabled and walk with a stick the staff would see me carrying and just about balancing a tray in one hand & using my stick in the other hand, only one of the staff offered to help until the day before the end of the holiday when they obviously wanted tips then suddenly there were a lot more offers. They were so slow at clearing the tables they would walk past full tables with an empty tray and not clear the table. I piled some dishes onto a tray and politely asked one staff to take the tray and the look I was given, if looks could kill ! My Mum had food poisoning twice after visiting The Saffron restaurant we know it was that one because it was the only thing she had eaten all day, I reported it and Mum was confined to cabin for 4 days the cleaners came and sanitised the cabin every day, it was great because the cabin got cleaned properly. Our balcony was filthy and the balcony windows that we were supposed to look through to see the sea looked like they hadn't been cleaned in months. There was dirt all round the balcony and a leaf was stuck to the shelf the whole time we were there, I left it there just to see if the guy was cleaning properly. The sun beds were so close together you had to slide to the bottom of the bed to get off & even though you weren't supposed reserve beds people were leaving towels on the beds & going off for the day if we were in port & the staff left them there ! The waiters round the pool were coming round every 10 seconds asking if you wanted drinks & they would come up & interrupt a conversation to ask, so rude. There weren't enough direction signs round the ship my Mum was constantly getting lost, and she has cruised a lot as well. The ship charged £4.50 per person each way to get into Dubrovnik from the ship, it was only 10 mins away then they charged £15 per person for a water taxi to get from the ship to Venice. Dubrovnik was beautiful so was Venice so worth going to. Read Less
Sail Date May 2014
We thought that we would try a fortnight in the Eastern Med/Adriatic and see Venice from a reasonably big boat before the rumoured restrictions are put into place. Now this is neither our first cruise with P&O, nor our first fly/cruise ... Read More
We thought that we would try a fortnight in the Eastern Med/Adriatic and see Venice from a reasonably big boat before the rumoured restrictions are put into place. Now this is neither our first cruise with P&O, nor our first fly/cruise on the Ventura, also we understand that change must happen, but there are certain things we look forward to on cruises, certain standards met, etc. We take it as a given that once on-board, all any cruise line is interested in is our money, and this used to to politely done, now it is just blatant. From our point of view, Ventura has very nearly lost all 'Britishness' it once had and its patently obvious that the parent company Carnival Corp. has totally failed to understand P&O's major customer group i.e. the British. First the ship is looking very tired now, the much publicized refit was not very visible except for the normally empty, pretentious and overly expensive 'The Retreat' (same as the Azura), and in my opinion a total waste of space. The refit has not physically changed the old Rambalas/Tapas bar and is thankfully not a copy of that horrible creation on Azura, but is now also called the ‘Glass House’. There was visible damage to many wooden fittings in public areas, missing tiles around the pool(s) area, and peeling surfaces of the pool itself. Deck 15 food the pizza, burger/hotdog, self-service area, and the ‘Beachhouse’ does not appear to have changed. We did not try the ‘White Room’ this time because we thought the cover charge was extortionate, but we heard rumours that is was not that busy. We did try ‘East’ and the ‘Glass House’ once each, both were expensive but the food was well cooked and very tasty. This is the first time that we had been allocated ‘freedom dinning’ and the ability to eat when it is convenient is very attractive (unless you have to wait – of course), however the service we received here was definitely not silver service, mostly it was rushed with side plates and cutlery often missing from the tables, glassware was not properly dried or polished. Most times missing items (including butter) were replaced from nearby tables while the occupants were still eating. The quality and presentation of the food was somewhat less than it had been on other cruises, e.g. the main dish was presented fully plated and therefore you had no opportunity to have fewer or more vegetables as you wished, also the medium-rare beef always seemed to be a bit too rare. Drinks were as previous P&O cruises i.e. of reasonable prices compare to other cruise lines. But it should be noted that on the Genoa-Venice leg of the trip all purchases are subject to Italian VAT @ 22% extra – because the ship does not leave EU waters for those 7 days. As always the entertainment was of mixed quality, from very good to very poor. Now this is a very subjective subject and I will not expand too much further, suffice it to say many did not appreciate comedians who told the audience that "he did not care ... what they thought" and/or using swear words and lewd comments in front children. It was noticeable that day-time talks, recitals, craft classes etc were greatly curtailed. Normally we fly with the P&O charter carrier, but this time we elected to fly with BA the consequence of this entailed a certain amount of claiming baggage and transferring it ourselves to allotted points for onward transport, we were resigned to this hardship. It is our opinion that P&O/carrier interface was poorly managed from P&Os end, as all the problems appeared to be of P&Os making and this made embarkation and dis-embarkation at best chaotic and at worse shambolic. All in all, we found that this cruise the destinations were great, the ship was missing something and definitely lacked the old romance/sparkle of previous and felt slightly niggardly and of reduced quality.   Read Less
Sail Date May 2014
Having previously cruised with P&O (our last occasion August 2013 on the Azura) we booked a 7 night fly/cruise on the Ventura over Easter. The high standards which P&O usually deliver unfortunately was missing on this Ventura ... Read More
Having previously cruised with P&O (our last occasion August 2013 on the Azura) we booked a 7 night fly/cruise on the Ventura over Easter. The high standards which P&O usually deliver unfortunately was missing on this Ventura cruise - the ship lacked atmosphere, the staff seemed bored, the food was bland and the service varied from excellent to poor. The entertainments team was the worse I have ever seen during my 14 years of cruising, from being uninterested, dis-organised, to faces of boredom, a cruise director who I think must be a phantom as apart from the first night was never seen again. We booked a shore excursion to Pompeilli, which wasn't bad value, but the organisation of disembarking the ship was chaos and upon return the same chaos (long queues with an average waiting time of over 50 minutes with some guests becoming very irritablle). Also as the Ventura is in Italian seas for these 7 cruising days there is a 22% tax on all goods/gifts (the ship shops) and services (spa), apparently during the following 7 days the ship docks in Montenogro and the tax then isn't applied. A good point was the transfers to/from the airports this was excellent service although it was an early start on our return having to vacant our cabin by 7am. I hope P&O aren't lowering or letting slip their standards, as the Ventura was DISAPPOINTING!   Read Less
Sail Date April 2014
Ventura Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.2
Dining 4.0 3.9
Entertainment 4.0 3.7
Public Rooms 4.0 4.0
Fitness Recreation 4.0 3.9
Family 4.0 3.9
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.5
Enrichment 3.0 3.3
Service 4.0 4.0
Value For Money 4.0 3.6
Rates 3.0 3.9

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