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33 Genoa P&O Cruises Ventura Cruise Reviews

Having read the previous review of the same cruise by Rakugoka I find it fascinating to see just how subjective a review can be, as it is clearly based upon one's own experiences, but of a similar event. Anyway, this was our first ... Read More
Having read the previous review of the same cruise by Rakugoka I find it fascinating to see just how subjective a review can be, as it is clearly based upon one's own experiences, but of a similar event. Anyway, this was our first P&O experience, and the beginning could be seen as a good start, or a bad one, depending on how you look at it. To ensure your baggage arrives at your appointed cabin P&O very kindly e-mail you a label to attach to your case(s). As these labels are not of the type you would see attached at the baggage check-in at the Airport, we felt there was a risk of them becoming detached during the handling of our suitcase at either Birmingham or Genoa (or in-between) and so had intended to sellotape them to the bags once we collected them at Genoa. However, we had not been made aware that, once the bags were deposited at Birmingham check-in, we would not be expected to see them again until they were delivered to our cabin and so missed the opportunity to attach our labels indicating our cabin number. Several anxious hours ensued upon arrival at the ship, and many visits to Reception, to seek reassurance that our 'unlabelled' bags would still find their way to our cabin. Fortunately, they did eventually turn up and so, relieved, we then settled in for our departure form Genoa. The other point of annoyance from a P&O novice point of view was that it was nowhere clearly stated that, in fact, the transfer from Genoa Aipoprt to the ship was included. After much searching and deliberation on Cruise Critic we had decided to get a Taxi from the Airport to the ship, only to find in fact, the organisation was so good, they had actually laid on a bus, which was brilliant, but so glad we hadn't booked a private transfer as this would have been a waste of money. I suppose, in a nutshell, it would have helped considerably if the P&O cruise personliser had made these points more clearly. I would concur with the previous reviewers observations regarding the check-in process at Genoa, with a single line having to pass the photographer, and you could clearly see that the 20 or so check-in staff were never fully utilised, meaning the photo process was causing a bottleneck. Many people chose not to have their picture taken but nonetheless still had to run the gauntlet of staff trying to 'persuade' you to have your picture taken (which was later for sale at over £14 but they didn't tell you this at the time!). It would have been much more efficient to separate the queues into 2, for those wanting their photo taken and those that did not but, I suspect, this may have resulted in a significant lost opportunity for P&O to try and tease a bit more cash out of you, as it would be quite likely far less people would have gone down the photo op queue than by their current method. So, having settled in to our cabin, met our brilliant Steward Iris, and eaten all the chocolates which greeted us, we set-sail. There was also a bottle of Champagne in our cabin, which we struggled to decide what to do with, as we're both not particularly fond of the stuff. We had booked a Balcony Cabin which was superb. Very well appointed, nice balcony, very clean, and was made available to us ahead of the scheduled 4pm. Iris (male by the way) was superb, very friendly; helpful and efficient, and never showed any problems with the daily clean, or evening turn-down. On previous cruises we had become used to niceties such as the customary folded towel animals on our bed on one or more evenings but this didn't happen on this cruise. Don't know if this is by design on a P&O cruise, or just that Iris's artistic side wasn't up to it. This isn't a complaint by the way, just an observation. We had also selected the Freedom dining package, meaning we could attend our appointed Restaurant any time during the evening 'window' and, being the anti-social type we are, always requested a table to for 2 as opposed to sharing. One each occasion we were advised we would have to wait, and were handed a pager to notify us when our table was ready. Most times this was a very short wait, and were quickly seated at our table. The food, we found, was excellent, both on the 'Classic' menu (which stayed the same throughout) and the alternative menu which varied from day to day. I would say that, of the thing you would note as standing out, would be that everything was supremely efficient'. 2 of the nights were designated as Black-Tie which, as people that prefer not to partake of these, we were forced into the option of either using one of the themed Restaurants (at an additional cover charge), or to take advantage of the Buffet style restaurants on the Lido Deck. Unfortunately, P&O chose to make all of the Buffet Restaurants themed also, on these nights (one being a Thai night, and the other a Curry night). As we were keen on neither we felt the only option was to attend a Restaurant at additional cost. We chose the Glass House on both occasions, which was excellent, but we once again felt, the 'system' was designed to encourage you to spend your cash as, to us, it would have made more sense to split the themed offerings in the buffet restaurants to a night which was different from the Black-Tie night, or at least still provide a normal buffet service in one or more of the 4 buffet restaurants. At each port, there were a number of excursions on offer. We only took one excursion, to Pisa, to see the Leaning Tower, but we opted to book one on-line from crusingexcursions.com which was around half the price of the P&O one, and still with an excellent guide, and the bus returned us directly to the ship. The cabins (or 'State Rooms' as they like to call them) are provided with a flat screen TV (2 in our cabin) which has channels devoted primarily to P&O sales, news (BBC and Sky) and Sky Sports News. There is a channel where you can purchase movies at around £2 each, or a small selection of TV shows which were free of charge. There is also an interactive service, where you can order room service, view your account etc, and also receive messages. Rather annoyingly, if there are messages waiting, you are forced into reading these before you can progress onto viewing any TV channels. On 2 occasions, were advised 'you have 5 web mail messages waiting for you' which, if you clicked on this, you were then taken to a screen advising you take out a subscription for their internet access (e.g. £35 for 90 mins) before you can view your web-mail. I personally felt this was misleading and, potentially, dishonest, as P&O could not actually KNOW you had e-mail messages waiting, and this was just a ploy to get you to buy their internet services. I also not, regarding their Internet Service, they offer it with a caveat that you shouldn't expect it to be very quick, as it is accessed via satellite. To me, this is akin to offering you meal in a restaurant for £20 but don't expect it to be very good! - If it's not a 'good' service, then it should be offered free-of-charge. Overall, we had a wonderful experience, the ship was very clean, well appointed, and the staff, whilst not always falling over themselves to go the extra mile were however, always pleasant and, once again, I feel compelled to use the word 'efficient'. I would say P&O's emphasis was on efficiency, as opposed to customer service. We were constantly left feeling like they wanted us to buy 'extras' which is understandable, to a limit but, somehow, we just felt as thought they were continually trying to extract just a little bit more, all of the time. Despite the little niggles, as previously described, we would seriously consider going back to P&O, but not to the same ship.   Read Less
Sail Date April 2014
This was our second trip on the Ventura and already had two cruises on the Azura. Ships are the same layout but still managed to take wrong turnings. On the whole though the ships easy to find your way around. Flew from Manchester, flight ... Read More
This was our second trip on the Ventura and already had two cruises on the Azura. Ships are the same layout but still managed to take wrong turnings. On the whole though the ships easy to find your way around. Flew from Manchester, flight P & O Thomson charter which was fine, all run to times. Airport to Cruise Terminal and Embarkation seamless, though had a wait of 20 minutes for Italian Police to show re embarkation. Accessed our cabin relatively quickly, luggage soon after. Greeted by a smiley Vijaya, very pleasant cabin steward who kept the cabin spotless. We were allocated second dining and our waiters were excellent, very friendly and efficient, no problems there, food was good with enough choices for all courses. We never used the alternative dining venues on this cruise, though have in the past and would say they are excellent. Used the dining rooms for all meals and found everything to our liking. Not too many problems finding somewhere to sit in the sun, when it was out, but then the ship was not full. Have been on the ship full and struggled to find sunbeds, so many reserved with towels. We never used the ships shore excursions, find them quite pricey in the Med, did our own thing. Our needs are relatively simple, overall had a really nice cruise, good food, nice bars, excellent entertainment, and really nice fellow cruisers. Shame about most of the weather. This is our second time at the Med round about the same time April/May, been told we were unlucky !! Won't try again at this time. Off to the sunny Caribbean again in February and on this same ship, which for us speaks for itself.   Read Less
Sail Date April 2014
This was our first cruise with P&O and it was a bit of a curate's egg, after a series of little disappointments, we came away feeling rather underwhelmed. This is a fly cruise but we got the full budget airline experience, being ... Read More
This was our first cruise with P&O and it was a bit of a curate's egg, after a series of little disappointments, we came away feeling rather underwhelmed. This is a fly cruise but we got the full budget airline experience, being charged extra to sit with the person you are going with is a real bugbear, the charge could just as easily be made upfront. Our plane got changed and although we had booked seats with extra legroom, we did not get them in the change. We had a very easy processing, with pretty much everything to schedule. P&O want you to be at the airport three hours before the flight which for us appears excessive, perhaps they have had enough problems in the past to make this necessary. The luggage found its way to and from our cabin with no problems. Perhaps the only issue was the embarkation procedure. There were around 20 check in desks, and once you got to them it all went very smoothly, however everyone had to queue up to put their bags on a table, decide if they wanted a photograph taken and then collect their bags. Considering there could be three photographers waiting at a gangplank trying to take your photograph when you were going into a port but only one photographer on the way in for processing, this could have been thought out more carefully. The room was very nice, well decorated with a decent sized shower, though see our cabin comments. Our cabin steward did a good job of keeping the room under control when she could. Of the seven nights and six full days we were there, there was no time for the turndown service on three nights, one day the room was not cleaned and on a second we had to vacate the room to get things done. This certainly was not because the stewardess was not working hard, perhaps this was her first week and she had not got the routine down but it seems more likely that the ship is understaffed with too many people being asked to do just a bit too much. You could see the same issues elsewhere. One of the security computers seemed to be off all week. When over three thousand people could be trying to get off the ship you would think that that is would have been a high priority (it is just a couple of extra computers as back up). The reception staff were always on edge, and while the waiting staff did there jobs courteously and efficiently, there was no question of 'going the extra mile'. Smiles not forced but the were few and far between. There is no attempt to hide the fact that we are there to buy things, Almost any event that was unlikely to lead to somebody making a purchase seemed to be 'unhosted', the days events that were strongly advertised (apart from the shows) were basically spa treatments or photography purchases and while the captain's announcements were not broadcast into the rooms, the entertainments director did 'push' his events. To be fair the cinema's options were up to date films which critically acclaimed. But the biggest let down was the food. We were on freedom dining and as long as you were not too concerned about table size this seemed to work okay. The restaurant was surprisingly noisy and on a large table you could only comfortably talk to near neighbours. The food was disappointing. Some of it was the menu, soup with say paprika and croutons came without, cheese and biscuits with... came without. Sometimes it was the waiters, if you did not mention something on the menu you would not be reminded, so salad without salad dressing. But most of the time it seemed to be the ingredients, custard without milk, scones without butter, devilled kidneys without mustard. Sometimes it was just the lack of cooking time (scones again). There was something wrong on almost every plate. There are the upgrade restaurants that Carnival seem to like but we did not try them (and by the number of special offers that were being pushed perhaps no one was). Our solution was the themed buffets. Careful selection of what was on offer did not always work of course but you could avoid the more obvious disasters. Of course, it was possible to find some quite good food, the dal on Tandoor night was very good for example. (Another trick was to go for obviously bought in stuff). We did go on one excursion, this of itself was reasonably executed but one of the sites chosen was in the throes of restoration and the other had us arriving when the area we had come to visit had just about closed down, so another let down on the planning. Despite the size of the ship it did not seem all that difficult to move about and there never seemed to be long queues. No deck plans were provided but you were given a side on plan, most of the time this works okay. Reading back over this review, I appreciate that some people will feel that this is a bit nitpicking. Some people on the cruise seemed to share our views, others were having a good time. I suppose that it all depends upon what you have experienced elsewhere and what you are used to. There is no doubt with more investment in the people, both staff and passengers, the Ventura has the makings of being a very good cruising experience, but it has not made it yet. Whether that is where Carnival want to take the brand or not we will have to wait and see. Perhaps just bobbing along is where they want to be.   Read Less
Sail Date April 2014
Really enjoyed our third Ventura cruise which was excellent for the most part, The ship was spotless, the cabin steward Michael was efficient and kept the cabin like a new pin. The ports of call were lovely especially Kotor and Dubrovnik. ... Read More
Really enjoyed our third Ventura cruise which was excellent for the most part, The ship was spotless, the cabin steward Michael was efficient and kept the cabin like a new pin. The ports of call were lovely especially Kotor and Dubrovnik. The entertainment that we saw was very good. The food was in the main very good, However, meals now come with vegetables already on the plate whether you want them or not. Compared to our other eight P&O cruises we were disappointed with the staff around the ship, with the exception of our cabin steward, very few staff had a smile. The T. V. channels were the fewest we've had on any cruise, There were in total nine of them, four P&O channels, two news channels, two sports channels and just one other lifestyle channel. On other P&O cruises the captain gave regular daily updates on progress, weather and sea conditions for the day and night ahead, on this cruise the updates were few and you never knew when they were coming. At the second muster for those joining the ship in Venice the announcement was made that the Captain would soon be addressing the new passengers about safety on board, shortly after, the voice of the captain came over the intercom welcoming everyone on board which was fine and made you feel that as an individual you were important to the captain and his crew, until about 30 seconds after he had finished, the speech started all over again and we realised it was just a recording! Like many others have said, we feel standards are slipping with P&O. Personally I think that with the gratuities being taken up front there is less of an incentive for the ships crew to be as friendly as they used to be. All this aside we had a lovely cruise. Read Less
Sail Date April 2014
We have just returned from a 7 day cruise on the Ventura with some friends. Both couples have used P & O Cruises in the past and have had excellent experiences, however on this occasion we all agreed that there is something going wrong ... Read More
We have just returned from a 7 day cruise on the Ventura with some friends. Both couples have used P & O Cruises in the past and have had excellent experiences, however on this occasion we all agreed that there is something going wrong with P & O in respect of their staff recruitment, training and entertainment choices. Firstly, I would like to say that our cabin stewards were the highlight of our cruise in respect of staffing, they were excellent and interacted well, needed no prompting and were totally efficient - excellent experiences in cabins. However, the bar staff and catering staff looked dower, miserable and bored most of the time. Interaction was negligible and only if you spoke to them did you get a response that was one word or two. Staff in the entertainment teams were not of the standard we had experienced and we felt that they were better placed in a Butlins holiday camp. The Cruise Director was ineffective and totally lacking in direction towards his team and this gave us the feeling that the entertainment team were there to enjoy themselves rather that entertain us. The shows were mixed ranging from excellent to dire. Bar staff were too quick to try to take away your glass even when it was not empty and they pushed drinks every few minutes even when you had told the same waiter 'no thank you' only 3 minutes before. Only on dress nights did you know there was an officer crew on board as they were not very visual for the rest of the time. Customer services need to learn how to smile and understand that the reason you go to them with a question is that you don't know something and not to give you half an answer and leave you to work the rest out for your self. Photographers need to understand when you say no you mean no and not to be so pushy and disrespectful when engaging with people who know what the want. Our evening meals appeared rushed, there was no time between courses and the waiters kept clearing the table as each person finished an item, hence there was always a waiter hovering at the table. This appeared to be general to the whole of the dining room. The ship itself was clean and the food good, prices were fair and the cruise experiences was generally what you would expect, however on this occasion I would consider choosing another cruise company as it was obvious where P & O are making the cost savings/changes in their service, and they are not doing it very well. It was not only ourselves that noticed the changes as many times this same conversation was heard around the ship. The most uncomfortable aspect for all of us on the cruise was the amount of areas that smokers can go. When exiting the restaurants with your buffet to sit by the pool, it was unpleasant to have to walk through the smokers and when there were no tables available having to sit amongst them when eating your meal. P & O appear to be catering to the smokers far too much. Our last cruise was with Princess Cruises and I am sorry to say that they knocked spots off the Ventura in all aspects of our cruising experience. The staff must be doing what has been instructed as the above was throughout the cruise and no one person can be blamed, this appears to be a culture that is being developed. If this is the standard that is going to be allowed to develop them P & O as a premier line will lose its reputation and customers to other companies.   Read Less
Sail Date April 2014
I've been a fan of P&O all my life, much of it is nostalgia, my first P&O ship was either the Canton or Carthage when I was a baby en route to Singapore. Many many ships later we went off on the latest trip on board Ventura. ... Read More
I've been a fan of P&O all my life, much of it is nostalgia, my first P&O ship was either the Canton or Carthage when I was a baby en route to Singapore. Many many ships later we went off on the latest trip on board Ventura. Very similar to Azura which we did last year and equally as nice. I did feel there have been a few cut-backs and some corner cutting but as prices are now so low I can understand that. Something has to give.... Embarkation via Gatwick and Genoa was easy though I do prefer Southampton. Disembarkation was equally trouble free. Cabin was adequate with a small balcony, our steward was brilliant but not intrusive. We weren't too keen to be allocated Freedom dining but it worked really well and we were always allocated tables with cruisers who 'matched' us. A special mention here to Head Waiter in Saffron, Colin, who went out of his way to make sure our vegetarianism was catered for. We had a hic-cup on the first night and from then on he was there all the time to make sure all was well! Food was good.... no complaints on menu either in the dining room or in the buffet upstairs. We didn't go to much entertainment, I'm always happy to take to my balcony with a good book and maybe a glass of wine. I love being on a ship and just enjoying the feeling of being at sea. Personal choice but the feedback on the entertainment from dinner companions was usually good. I often read reviews on here and wonder at the expectations of passengers..... so many seem to expect the facilities of a 6* cruise for a 3* price. and complaints about selling? Don't buy! Easy..... I never found them a problem. I did succumb to a cut-price massage in the spa and it was good value for money IMO. Very interesting was the morning in the Atrium when crew from every department were there to demonstrate and explain. very educational.... My biggest complaint would be reserved for the staff on the reception desk who seemed to work on the lines of 'the answer is no, now what's the question....' One particular young lady who shall remain nameless although I did make a note for a formal complaint, was downright rude and patronising. Twice. Oh and it also bugs me that all my previous years of P&O plus multi thousands of miles don't count towards points so we don't get blue slippers! :( But apart from that.... it was a good cruise to fab destinations for a very reasonable cost. Go P&O. We'll be back......   Read Less
Sail Date April 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
Having just read the last review I am astounded at what was written as we were on the same cruise ship and 3 cabins away on the same deck. We thought the service was brilliant from the crew and our Steward - Decson was adorable. He kept ... Read More
Having just read the last review I am astounded at what was written as we were on the same cruise ship and 3 cabins away on the same deck. We thought the service was brilliant from the crew and our Steward - Decson was adorable. He kept our cabin clean and tidy with clean towels whenever we needed them. He dusted and hoovered each day and one night made put a bath towel in the shape of a swan on our bed! I agree that the Waterside restaurant was the worst out of all the eating places because it was like a 'free for all'. It is open 24 hours and children could eat in here and adults didn't have to dress up. We ate most evenings and lunchtimes in Saffron restaurant which had a super choice of food and the menu differed each day. The waiters were hard working and we're absolutely charming. Atul Kucher's Indian restaurant named East was amazing. You paid £15 pp and had a 3 course Michelin starred meal which was so different to the Indian restaurants we have in UK. We also went to the Glass House for a pre dinner drink most nights and ate in there once. The service was terrific and they were always very pleasant. Entertainment was good, most shows in the main theatre were on twice a night but you had to get there early to get a seat. There were singers and comedians in a few bars and the overall ambience in the evening throughout the ship was relaxing. The sun beds were too close together and people did leave 'towels' on the beds. I think staff should remove the towels as many beds were not in use for many hours. The trips on shore were well organised and the security to get on and off the ship was second to none. All in all a fantastic holiday and an amazing experience. Thank you P &O. Read Less
Sail Date May 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
Last year we fancied a change and despite reservations enjoyed two cruises with P&O having previously cruised with Princess and Royal Caribbean. We had the time of our lives and decided to book onto a 7 day Med cruise on board Ventura. ... Read More
Last year we fancied a change and despite reservations enjoyed two cruises with P&O having previously cruised with Princess and Royal Caribbean. We had the time of our lives and decided to book onto a 7 day Med cruise on board Ventura. We like the larger ships as they offer more choice so it appeared perfect. The ship herself is fine, we prefer Azura but that's personal preference still plenty of choice of bars and restaurants. The shows were excellent and we cannot fault the range of entertainment. Perhaps things might have improved if the entertainment team had shown their faces with more than two sailaways and the odd occasion when they appeared to turn the increasingly loud music around the pool up yet again. Again no complaints regarding the food which was plentiful and of a good quality. We did three excursions with P&O Florence and Pisa from Livorno was an extremely long day, Sorrento and Pompeii were fantastic and we thoroughly enjoyed Venice. We made our way in Dubrovnik which was the most pleasant surprise we've had in a long time. What a beautiful place with lovely friendly people. The cabin, we had booked an inside as we plan two cruises later this year. The cabin itself was fine, nice layout plenty of room and storage but absolutely filthy. There was dust on every surface and the toilet had a tide mark...urgh. The room steward was surly and unhelpful only wanting to sell us overpriced water. Whilst preparing for a day in Naples the toilet broke and wouldn't stop flushing. As water gushed out onto the bathroom floor my wife ran to get the steward. Who on arrival immediately accused us of stuffing too much paper down the toilet. If the toilet had been flushed once and overflown he may have had a point but it wouldn't stop flushing and couldn't drain. I certainly didn't expect to be accused and spoken to in such a rude manner. Later that evening he spluttered it wasn't our fault. Gee thanks. Hoping it was a case of everybody has a bad day we left it. Now on the final morning we had misread the information telling us to be out of the room at 0700. 07.00!!!!!!! at 07.50 he burst into the room waking us. Now yes we were at fault but instead of listening to any apologies or requests to return in twenty minutes he began a rant, shouting that we had to get out now!!!!! hold on a minute. These things happen you work in a service industry. I do not pay good money to be spoken to like a dog. Next thing his supervisor is on the phone same attitude. We quickly showered, gathered our things and left within 15 minutes. We went to reception where the standard of customer service continued. You should have been out of the room blah, blah, blah. An official complaint I'll pretend I didn't hear that on three occasions. As a result I cancelled all tips. I have called P&O customer services, where surprisingly enough I got a lecture about being out of the room on time. Yes I understand we were in the wrong but that doesn't excuse appalling service and rudeness. P&O's whole attitude comes across as we have had your money now. They are right they have had my money but they won't get anymore. In summary We were really happy when we discovered P&O for ourselves, we didn't want to cruise with anyone else again. We still think the ships, food and entertainment are excellent but all this has been ruined by appalling customer service. The current pricing structure reduces any value for money we may have felt. Having booked ten months in advance we spoke with people who had paid £280 less for two weeks than we had for a week. The whole approach has been short sighted and have turned loyal customers into never again. No doubt Princess and NCL are quite happy with P&O's appalling service. Read Less
Sail Date May 2014
Having read the negative reviews we set off for our cruise with a little trepidation.........from arrival at Manchester airport we found the organisation extremely efficient indeed. Our flight left at 6.15am and by 9.30am we were sitting ... Read More
Having read the negative reviews we set off for our cruise with a little trepidation.........from arrival at Manchester airport we found the organisation extremely efficient indeed. Our flight left at 6.15am and by 9.30am we were sitting on the Lido deck taking in the Italian sunshine having already familiarised ourselves with the main areas of the ship, well done P & O I say!! We had a superior deluxe balcony room which was spacious, very clean and in good condition. The bed was very comfy and our cabin steward kept it spik and span all week, he was very friendly and competent indeed. We were freedom dining and prefer to dine alone out of the 6 nights that we used the Cinnamon dining room we were immediately seated at a table on 3 the other 3 nights the longest wait was 35 minutes giving us time to enjoy a pre dinner drink. We did not find this unacceptable or annoying at all we just utilized the time to enjoy a cocktail before dinner. The food was very nice and well presented, there was usually something to suit our taste and if there wasn't the classic menu was there to order from, a couple of nights we mixed our order from the 2 menus. The waiters were polite and friendly, we never had to ask for our water to be topped up and were asked at every course if our meal was okay. When I struggled to decide between deserts our waiter just bought me both bless him. We found ample choice of food in both bayside and the beach house for breakfast and lunch and the only time we found them to be overly busy was the morning of disembarkation back at Genoa, again to be expected as many people had to vacate their cabins by 7am. The deck grill on lido deck turned out some tasty snacks and the pizzas were prepared as you ordered so queues did build up there at times. The lido and sun decks did get very busy on sea days especially but this is to be expected. On these days the bar staff and waiters on deck worked very hard but they did chat when serving you if you took the time to chat and be polite to them. I didn't find any of the staff impolite, miserable and rude but I did come across some very impolite, miserable and rude passengers that were nothing short of professional moaners. I believe that people should complain when unhappy about something but the aggressive manner in which we witnessed a complaint being made on one occasion was shocking!!!! The shows I believe were very busy and you had to get there early to get a seat but we didn't go to any, the musicians and singers that we did see in the bars were all easy listening and not bad. As smokers I feel that I have to comment on this......actually previous reviews are wrong. Yes smokers are catered for as they should be, there is specific areas of outside decks that are for smokers, namely one side of the promenade deck, the same side on lido deck there are specific table and chairs by one of the pools, one side of breakers bar up on deck 16 and one side of the terrace bar at the aft of the ship. Overall this is a very small percentage of the outdoor space being allocated to the smokers clearly this offends some people but hey the very same peoples rude, offensive behaviour offends me!!!!! To summarise we found the organisation overall very efficient, the food was good in all eateries that we used, the cabin was clean and well kept. We had no issues with any of the P and O staffs behaviour and just wish the same could be said for the behaviour of some of the passengers. My only complaint if I had to have one would be the lack of soda packages etc on offer in comparison to the ones we have been able to purchase on Princess and RCI, however, I certainly wouldn't let this put me off booking with P and O in the future.   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
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
We booked a fly cruise and BA schedule flights were included. Sadly we flew into Nice and had to transfer by coach to Genoa, but it was ferry well handled and check in was good. The ship itself was lovely, clean and attractive with lots ... Read More
We booked a fly cruise and BA schedule flights were included. Sadly we flew into Nice and had to transfer by coach to Genoa, but it was ferry well handled and check in was good. The ship itself was lovely, clean and attractive with lots of attention to detail. The atrium is nice and the pool deck is lovely. I did find it a little difficult to navigate, and other cruisers seemed to be having the same problem, but I think it's probably due to the amount of port time meaning we probably didn't pay enough attention! We were (fortunately) allocated Freedom dining - if we had been given 6.30 dining we would never have eaten in the MDR! We ate in Saffron on 3 occasions and had a table on our own which we didn't have to wait long for. The food was nice, portions a little small (and I am a small person!), but a good selection and tasty. The only negative was that it was badly served - put the spoon down from your starter and your main appears! I know they can't give you lots of time, but 5 minutes wouldn't go amiss! Dining also finishes quite early - go in after 9pm and they want you gone! We really enjoyed The Beach House, but it was very difficult to get a table unless you arrived early. One night we were turned away at 7.30 with the "we are full for the rest of the night"! I think this is a sign of how good the place is, and the service is remarkable (unlike the lack lustre experience in the MDR.) Personally we disliked the buffet greatly. The selection was limited and badly laid out. There were quite a lot of tables and it wasn't too noisy/busy, just a very poor selection in our eyes: and I always thought I was easy to please when it came to food! The Pizza Bar and Grill were good, but the Pizza Bar was closed for 3 days which was very disappointing considering how bad the buffet selections were. In hindsight we should have used the MDR for lunch, but on Port Days we were out and during sea days we were sunning/swimming so not MDR appropriate! There is a very large selection of bars, though due to the World Cup we mostly visited the Exchange which we enjoyed - quite like the quizzes and karaoke too! There are also quite a few deck bars which were lovely on the warm evenings. The Headliners entertainment was brilliant! We are early 30s and are normally more Stone Roses than musical extravaganza, but the quality was really good. We also enjoyed Will Martin (a guest artist) - he was very talented and entertaining. There was a comedian, mind reader, singers, and a Gary Barlow tribute through the week, none of which appealed to us. The balcony room we had was lovely and a decent size and well looked after. There is a steam and sauna in the mens and womens changing rooms near the oasis pool which are free to use. We managed to find sun beds on sea days, though there is a massive problem with people reserving beds - literally all day and not using them! They show a few films (Monuments Men and Grudge Match) in the lovely Arena Theatre, and also in the Havana Bar (Winters Tale and something else that was that bad I have wiped it from my memory!) They did Bingo, but done expect much energy or entertainment from it! We did a P&O Venice trip that included a gondola ride. It was well presented and informative and worth the money. Word of warning though - take a bottle of water with you, don't moan about them not being provided for you! Overall: - We loved the transfers, Entertainment, The Beach House, our room, the Ports, the pools and hot tubs, the kettle! - we didn't like the dining situation, the lack of availability of the beach house, the closure of the pizza bar, the fact there is no ice cream in the buffet, that you only get one "complimentary" snack per Costa coffee. - we hated the buffet, the fact that the casino closed early, and the very rude and ignorant passengers we sadly encountered on several occasions. Sadly, despite all the positives I would only book another P&O cruise if it was an absolute bargain or going somewhere I really wanted to go. I am not a fan of the class-based fare system, the way freedom diners are treated, the inflexibility of P&O to work with their brand to accommodate the next generation of cruiser as well as comfortably fit with their existing "fan base", and the terrible dining offerings. A cruise on the med with late port departures requires later dining and entertainment and isn't suited to the "traditional" style of P&O. The Ventura is a fab ship that is perfect for the med, but it doesn't feel like it's being operated in a way that's conducive with it's location. I would like to point out though that despite our gripes we had a lovely time as we do on every holiday, and we met some wonderful people. I think it was more that we didn't fit with P&O: we were lucky to have a lovely ship with some lovely staff going to some amazing places so in that respect I am glad we went.   Read Less
Sail Date June 2014
This was to be our first cruise, so with 2 adults and 2 seventeen year olds, we took advice from friends and family and settled on the fly cruise with Thomas Cook. All booking was done online and we chose some of the tours also. Flight and ... Read More
This was to be our first cruise, so with 2 adults and 2 seventeen year olds, we took advice from friends and family and settled on the fly cruise with Thomas Cook. All booking was done online and we chose some of the tours also. Flight and boarding went very smooth,everything was well organised, no complaints. Once aboard we found our cabins, which were spacious,clean and had all that we required. The ship was lovely it was at full capacity but never seemed crowded at all when you wandered around, unless you wanted a sunlounger then you had to be up at the crack of dawn and claim a spot with a towel!!! s@d that!! we were on holiday to chill out!! Food and drink were good, but if you went to all the sittings, after a couple of days you started to get sick of the sight of food,well we did anyways. The 'kids' took advantage of room service chomping pizza late at night after a show so they were happy. Staff on were very friendly and Elton,one of the bar waiters at the beach comber was brilliant, funny and had a great laugh with kids. Photographers were a bit pushy now and then. The only things that spoiled our cruise were some of the fellow passengers on board, stuck up self important a@@es, who looked down their nose at you when you walked towards them or tried to make conversation, for the first couple of days this really annoyed me, so in the end up i'd make a bee line if i saw a snooty look and engage them or try to in conversation!!! horrible people who,even some seasoned passengers made comment on the amount of snobbery there was onboard. The other thing was probably our fault as there was very little for 2 seventeens to do to keep them occupied on board, compared to other ships/cruise lines. All in all we really enjoyed our cruise and the ports we visited, we would definitely do another cruise but probably with another cruise line and maybe if the kids came one that was more suited for them.   Read Less
Sail Date June 2014
Having read many reviews on here I was tempted to cancel!!! However we reluctantly went expecting the worse however we had a fabulous time and could not fault it. Food was excellent waiters were friendly efficient and professional. Cabin ... Read More
Having read many reviews on here I was tempted to cancel!!! However we reluctantly went expecting the worse however we had a fabulous time and could not fault it. Food was excellent waiters were friendly efficient and professional. Cabin was spacious clean and comfy plenty of towels everyday nice white company toiletries Cleanliness was second to non hand gel readily available Entertainment was also excellent Spa tooooooo expensive Drinks reasonably priced Formal nights lovely good to see it is still on cruise ships and not a lots of scruffy baseball hat to dinner type people!!!!! Speciality restaurants no better than the dinning room in my opinion Ports wonderful Organisation brilliant I am well travelled it is not my first cruise either only god knows why some people complain about everything ... All in all would feel very blessed if I could go again a great British ship which I would support very good review !!!!!   Read Less
Sail Date July 2014
Cruised Genoa-Venice in July for 7 nights.  This was the first cruise for my wife and I, and I must say I was a bit apprehensive with some of the reviews which posted negative comments. After 7 wonderful days, I feel very sad for anybody ... Read More
Cruised Genoa-Venice in July for 7 nights.  This was the first cruise for my wife and I, and I must say I was a bit apprehensive with some of the reviews which posted negative comments. After 7 wonderful days, I feel very sad for anybody who could possibly post negative comments over petty issues- this cruise experience was quite simply outstanding! The ship Ventura is a beautiful piece of engineering, a remarkable quality hotel floating on sea, with barely any reminder that it was carrying thousands of people across the Mediterranean. A wide variety of activities to suit most tastes kept us occupied all the time, with the only difficulty trying to work out how to prioritize. Everything was organised extremely well, with no fuss, ranging from embarkation to port activities and finally disembarkation. The food was plentiful, high quality, beautifully presented, fresh, and served by a team of hard working waiters. Occasionally a waiter may look a bit tired, but all it needed was politeness from the diner and an interest in where they came from etc to bring a smile. Entertainment was varied, very professional, and rounded off wonderful days at sea or on land. I think P and O have obviously been doing cruises for some time now, and they are a quality act. I know that some people write reviews and compare/contrast, sometimes negatively, with other companies. All I can say is that I hope I never get spoiled by cruise experiences as I suspect some reviewers have been, and shall be delighted to pass on my money again for more cruise experiences on the Ventura. Read Less
Sail Date July 2014
This was our first time cruising, and we had a wonderful time. Our balcony cabin on A deck was lovely, plenty of room and spotlessly clean (thanks to our friendly cabin steward Remy) so great to be able to open the patio doors each morning ... Read More
This was our first time cruising, and we had a wonderful time. Our balcony cabin on A deck was lovely, plenty of room and spotlessly clean (thanks to our friendly cabin steward Remy) so great to be able to open the patio doors each morning and take in the amazing views, and to sit on the balcony at end of the day and just listen to the sound of the waves as we sailed along. The ship is amazing, so big and so much to do, I don't think we really explored all of it on our weeks holiday! We chose to take breakfast in the buffet Waterside restaurant each morning. Plenty of choice; cooked breakfast, cereals, croissants, ham & cheeses plus fruit & pastries & much more. It was busy but we always found a table, sometimes sharing with fellow passengers and chatting about our plans for the day. In the evening we ate in the Saffron restaurant. We had chosen freedom dining and it suited us perfectly, being able to wander down when we wanted. We were happy to share a table and we met some lovely people, the menu gave a good choice and was always delicious. We could not fault the service and our waiters were always very friendly and efficient, we had some good laughs with them! We enjoyed the formal nights, so lovely to be able to get dressed up & we even got to meet the Captain! We had booked two excursions through P & O, visiting Florence & Pisa, plus Sorrento & the Amalfi coast. The organisation was brilliant as were our tour guides who were all local people with good knowledge of the areas we were visiting. Visiting these amazing places was our main reason for choosing this cruise, the scenery and architecture was stunning. We chose to wander around Dubrovnik on our own; the views along the walled city were fantastic. Sailing into Venice was a real highlight! Fantastic views from the top of the ship as we sailed in, with people in boats waving, it is a sight I will never forget. As we had visited Venice before, we again chose to wander at our leisure, such a beautiful place to visit. Yes, it was busy on sea days but you only had to wander around the ship to find a sunbed. The choice of evening entertainment was great, something for everyone & The Headliners show was brilliant .All too soon our week was at an end, as first timers we were not too sure of what to expect, but we loved every minute! We really wished we could have done the return journey for the second week. We could not fault the cruise. We had an amazing time; fantastic ship, lovely friendly crew, we met some lovely people and we visited some fantastic places. P & O certainly didn't disappoint for us, we are hooked and we can't wait to sail with P & O again. Thank you for a wonderful holiday!   Read Less
Sail Date July 2014
I have cruised once before on Ventura and I had just as good a time this year. On my previous cruise I had a deluxe balcony cabin which was great but this time I was in an inside cabin. I was apprehensive but it proved to be no problem. ... Read More
I have cruised once before on Ventura and I had just as good a time this year. On my previous cruise I had a deluxe balcony cabin which was great but this time I was in an inside cabin. I was apprehensive but it proved to be no problem. In fact, I slept better than I usually do because it is so dark and cosy. If you book an inside cabin DO NOT book cabin C621. This was my first cabin and it is next to the main air conditioning unit for the whole ship. The room had a noisy vibration which came through the walls. I was lucky that someone else's misfortune at having to leave the cruise meant that I could change cabins. The staff were great and they moved all our "stuff" whilst we were round the pool. We chose Freedom dining and it worked fine. We were in the Cinnamon Restaurant and went around 7 to eat and never had to wait. If you can get table 33 go for it. The waiter is fantastic. His name is Sunil and he Could not do enough for us. My Granddaughters enrolled in the children's clubs but they loved the pool so much they didn't go to any events. Entertainment is variable. The Arena show was superb but it is only 50 mins. The Tribute acts were good but some of the other acts were mediocre. Drinks are reasonable with no surcharge as the American cruise liners add on. When we docked at Naples we took the Hydrofoil to Capri. Very easy but expensive at 40 €. Dubrovnik was magic and easily reached by bus. Venice was superb. Use the tender from the ship 15€ each as it costs the same at the quay side. We took a Gondola trip. It is 80€ wherever you catch it. It is a set price. The only problem is, is that in July it is mad busy and it is not very romantic to be in a line of tens of other Gondolas. Still a must do! Just remember that with four ports of call in seven days this is not a "restful" holiday but Dubrovnik and Venice are now off my Bucket list.   Read Less
Sail Date July 2014
We've done several cruises but never flown before so this one was a first for us. Check in and transfer were very efficient, easy and the luggage appeared in the cabin shortly after lunch. I packed swimmers in the hand luggage so we ... Read More
We've done several cruises but never flown before so this one was a first for us. Check in and transfer were very efficient, easy and the luggage appeared in the cabin shortly after lunch. I packed swimmers in the hand luggage so we could use the pool on arrival. Plenty of clean swimming towels are available in the Spa changing rooms. Evening meal service and menu were once again brilliant, with options on the menu for every taste, and my gluten free diet again catered for superbly. Portions are smaller than they used to be, but frankly they were far too big before. After a starter, soup course, main and desert most 'normal' people will feel satisfied. For diners who are particularly hungry the waiting staff will, if spoken to nicely, bring extra starters, deserts etc. as always I found that showing respect to others earns respect. Sunbeds did seem to be a problem on this cruise, which I have not experienced before. I put this down to the limited sea days, the fact that some people were only on board for a week, and the 'British' need to go home with a tan come what may. Whatever the reason, it wasn't really P and O's fault. I also found most people had fried themselves plenty by around 2.30 and sunbeds could easily be found on the higher decks. The buffet as usual was busy and it is difficult to find a table. Which is why we always use the main dining rooms at breakfast, and at lunchtime. Most lunchtimes the restaurant was half empty. The choice was excellent as usual, with light snacks and more filling options available. I never understand why more people don't use it. We find you need to choose the trips carefully. Some do offer really good value, and the companies used are all of a good quality, it is equally as easy to do some things yourself so planning ahead is worthwhile. Others,when compared with the DIY option are a bit pricey, either way, the choice is yours. There isn't a big sell on the trips. Overall the ship was clean, staff friendly and we mostly met lots of like minded and pleasant fellow travellers. I would echo comments made by the smoker passenger who commented on the limited areas for smokers. I'm not a smoker, P and O have really listened to feedback in the last couple of years, smoking in cabins and on balconies is no longer permitted and passengers who are rude and disrespectful of others tend to out number the smokers ! Thanks P and O. Another great holiday. Read Less
Sail Date August 2014
First time on a cruise bit daunting what to expect! P & 0 are very organised from embarking the ship to disembarking. You check in your luggage at the airport and then don't see it until its outside your cabin door. You barely ... Read More
First time on a cruise bit daunting what to expect! P & 0 are very organised from embarking the ship to disembarking. You check in your luggage at the airport and then don't see it until its outside your cabin door. You barely felt the ship was moving. Breakfast & lunch was very busy you had to find a table but there was a large choice of food for everyone. We dined in the Bay Tree restaurant every night 2nd sitting at 8.30 which suited us. Excellent choice of food & service from Deepak, Edison and the Sommelier. We informed P & O beforehand about our daughter's dietary requirements and we had excellent service from Awkash Thank you. Entertainment was very good; there was lots of choice from West end shows to a ventriloquist. Prices of drinks was the same as the UK Cocktails (£5-6) and bottles of wine were from £12 upwards. Lovely room champagne & chocolates on arrival, Vijendra, our cabin steward, excellent nothing too much trouble, we loved the elephant and rabbit towel folding thank you. We went to Pompeii, Dubronvik and Venice but booked the trips beforehand,very good trips. Even though the trips seemed expensive, it was worth paying for because you didn't have to queue for tickets and the guides were very knowledgeable of the area and friendly. The sail into Venice was fantastic. We found the sunbeds no problem to find but on sea days it could be a problem as the sundecks and the pools are very busy and so are the restaurants. Lots of people reserving sunbeds even though P&O were telling people not to. During our cruise, we tended to avoid the pools as there were lots of children there and some were throwing objects like hard tennis balls and there was a chance they would hurt you. In conclusion, the cruise was worthwhile because of the fantastic trips and excellent service. Unfortunately, as my family enjoy swimming, the pools were a let-down and if possible, P&O should have people supervising the pools to make them safer and more available to everyone.   Read Less
Sail Date August 2014
As first time cruisers, we'd have appreciated more information before leaving the UK regarding known differences between standard package holidays and cruises. The embarkation process was slick and well organised, and we were well ... Read More
As first time cruisers, we'd have appreciated more information before leaving the UK regarding known differences between standard package holidays and cruises. The embarkation process was slick and well organised, and we were well looked after on board - though frequently felt rushed when eating. P&O don't police the sun-beds and don't remove towels left unattended (and reserving beds). Therefore it can be difficult (if not impossible) to find any beds after about 9.30am - and certainly insufficient for a family group together on an "at sea" day. Time in ports was too limited - the majority of the excursions felt rushed. The main issues we encountered were to do with disembarkation. Reception staff were ill-informed (and on one occasion just plain rude). We eventually discovered that there was provision for leaving hand-baggage on our last day prior to a lunchtime disembarkation so we could have time ashore without it. Other passengers who had cruised with P&O before knew this was the case - why didn't their own staff? AND HAVING TO GO TO THE AIRPORT OVER 4 AND A HALF HOURS PRIOR TO THE HOMEWARD FLIGHT (the airport being no more than 20 minutes from the port) WAS TOTALLY RIDICULOUS!! It was clear to us (and other passengers we spoke to) that all P&O wanted to do was get rid of us as soon as possible to be able to concentrate on the inbound passengers.   Read Less
Sail Date August 2014
My wife Tracey ,daughter Olivia (11) and I decided to treat ourselves to an Italian cruise aboard the Ventura in August 2014. It was our first cruise so we were a little naive to some things but thoroughly enjoyed the experience. The good ... Read More
My wife Tracey ,daughter Olivia (11) and I decided to treat ourselves to an Italian cruise aboard the Ventura in August 2014. It was our first cruise so we were a little naive to some things but thoroughly enjoyed the experience. The good points; The food was mostly excellent! We dined in the Cinnamon restaurant in the evening as we had excellent service from the friendly and efficient waiters and wine steward. We used the upper deck restaurants for breakfast and lunch, so we could stay dressed casual. The food here was very nice, but not as good as the formal restaurants. We are early risers so we did not find breakfast and lunch much of a busy hassle. The biggest problem at times was finding an empty table, once you had chosen what to eat. Juice is only served at breakfast, chilled water during the rest of the time. Of course there is coffee (very nice) and tea of all flavours served during all hours. I found all savoury dishes tasty, but some of the sweets were a little lack lustre. We are not wealthy, but found the prices of wine, beer etc, reasonable to that what you would pay at home. Pint of beer £3.50 average bottle of wine with evening meal £18 -£20 and cocktails £5.50. We found the entertainment very good, especially the ventriloquist who was brilliant. All of the waiters around the pool and in the restaurants worked very hard and always there to get you a drink or take away dirty plates and glasses. I found all of the guests, from all walks of life to be very friendly and respectable. We try our best not to be judgemental with other people and as such we found everyone friendly and easy to talk to. I just do not understand some people who deem to judge other people because of their appearance and who just seem to nit-pick at every minor point. If you want friendly and respectable company to accompany a family friendly cruise, the Ventura is for you. If you prefer a ship that is more geared to formality and peace and quiet, then maybe choose a smaller and a more expensive ship. We visited Sorrento on the trip to the farm (we were the last to get on the trip). Well worth it and Sorrento is so picturesque. We did not pay for the excursion to Dubrovnik, just paid for the shuttle bus to get us there. It’s a small town you can explore easily yourself. This is well worth visiting and for ‘Game of Thrones ‘fans, there is a guided tour showing you the locations of some scenes. Finally, Venice is a must and I was very pleased to manage to get places for this visit that included a ride on a gondola. However, it would have been much cheaper to just pay for the shuttle boat to get you onto land and make your own way around. As we entered St. Marks square, the bells began to ring and it was just magical. This is a memory that will stay with us forever. Tips for a better cruise; We had to wait a few hours for our luggage to be delivered to our cabin once on board – about 2-3 hours. Our cabin steward helped and brought them to us within half of an hour of asking him to find them. We will remember to pack our bathing costumes in our hand luggage next time, along with a few toiletries. We struggled to get onto some of the excursions as we had not pre-booked on line before the holiday. Florence and Pizza were completely sold out. We could have tried to make our own way, but Florence was over an hour away and we were a little nervous of getting back in time for the ships departure so we stayed on board. However, it was very relaxing during the day and plenty of room to relax and explore the ship. We had an internal cabin, which was adequate with just enough room for the 3 of us. However I think we would get a bigger room for a 2 week cruise. We actually saved approx £500 in one week booking an internal cabin this instead of getting a balcony and a bigger room, which we were pleased with. If you are booking a balcony room, ensure that it is not overlooked and a higher deck would give you better views. We were on the Riviera deck near the top of the ship, which was great as we were near the pool decks. Our cabin steward Angelo was very friendly and nothing was too much trouble. Our extras including drinks, photos and excursions etc. came to approx £650 in one week. We only had 1 bottle of wine with our evening meal so we didn’t bother with the drinks package and we had the benefit of ordering what wine, spirits or beer etc. we wanted without sticking to a pre-ordered package. I think when you buy a package deal with wine, drinks ice cream etc. it just makes to drink more. Finally during days at sea the pool area is naturally very congested. Get up early to get a bed near the pool or you will struggle. Yes the beds are placed close together, but they are comfortable and big enough for you not to be touching your neighbour. We slept in one day and found no beds by the pool, but an older couple near us gave up some of their beds that they were saving for the kids, which I thought was a very kind gesture. People do place towels on the beds, but the ship’s rules state that you can remove them if you wish. I think my wife and I would like to cruise again as it is our silver wedding anniversary next year.   Read Less
Sail Date August 2014
A 14 nights cruise on Ventura from Genoa. We choose a cruise on the itinerary and value, and we have no loyalty to any cruise line. We tend to book late and have a balcony. Cabin 4/5 - D614 Superior Deluxe Balcony port side midships on ... Read More
A 14 nights cruise on Ventura from Genoa. We choose a cruise on the itinerary and value, and we have no loyalty to any cruise line. We tend to book late and have a balcony. Cabin 4/5 - D614 Superior Deluxe Balcony port side midships on Dominica deck 9. Approx 30% larger than a standard balcony cabin. King bed with quality linen and pillows. We slept well - very quiet. Plenty of UK 3 pin sockets and a few US flat 2 pin 110v sockets. Large lounge area with sofa (a double sofa bed). 2 flat screen TVs - one facing the bed and one facing the lounge area. Kettle & large fridge. In the Superior Balcony grade, you get a bottle of Champagne and box of chocolates on arrival, an atlas, binoculars, robes and slippers, plus canapés and fruit once a week. Plenty of storage space and a large digital safe. Plenty of glasses etc. Housekeeping twice a day. A reasonably sized balcony with 2 lounger chairs and a small table. The larger rooms on decks C and D stick out further than those cabins above and are hence overlooked. This is the price you pay for a larger room or bigger balcony. Bathroom 4/5 - normal cabin size with a full size bath and shower above. Lovely White Company toiletries (deluxe balconies only). Shaver point. Food 4/5 - Cinnamon and Saffron for evening Freedom dining. Bay Tree for fixed Dining at 18.30 and 20.30. Saffron for waiter served breakfast, lunch and afternoon tea. We were allocated Freedom Dining in Cinnamon - we ate here most evenings and enjoyed sharing with new people each night, though we do like to break it up by eating elsewhere. The food and service were generally very good. There is no doubt that over time the quality of food on cruises has drifted downwards as prices and profits have been squeezed and it is perhaps no longer "fine dining", but the food is still very good. Entertainment 4/5 - everything was good that we saw. We particularly like the Headliner shows. The main shows are very popular and you need to get to the Arena Theatre 10 min before the show starts. Often, late arrives would be left standing or sitting on the steps. Ship 4/5 - still in good condition. Considering the ship had over 3,000 passengers on board, it never felt too crowded, except on sea days, when we were shocked at how packed the open decks were. Every sun lounger was taken and they were crushed together like sardines, with nowhere near enough deck space for all the passengers on sunny sea days. There were lots of sun loungers stacked up, but no deck space to put them. As often is the case, reserving loungers was endemic, despite warnings in the Horizon daily information sheet. Can't blame the Germans on this ship!! Service 5/5 - we found the staff hard working, efficient, helpful and courteous at all times. Our cabin steward Amelita looked after us very well throughout. Value 5/5 - we booked 10 days before we sailed. We had the choice of a standard balcony at £1,249 per person or £1,349 for a superior balcony - we chose the latter. Great value for a 2 week cruise Med in August including conveniently timed flights and transfers. The daily tip charge of £3.95pp is reasonable, as are the drinks prices and the fact that you can bring some booze on board at ports for consumption in your cabin. Overall 4/5. Hard to fault P&O these days. Sure there were some minor niggles (when isn't there), but overall this was a lovely cruise with a great itinerary and we have no hesitation recommending it. DAILY LOG Day 1 Embarcation in Genoa - a 10.35 departure Titan charter flight from East Midlands to Genoa. We had prebooked our seats. Nice leather seats and reasonable legroom. You can purchase food and drinks on board. The flight took 1hr 45 min and was on time. No collection of bags required at Genoa airport. We were whisked swiftly though to the transfer bus. Lots of P&O staff guiding us. At the port, the cruise check-in was very efficient and we were in our cabin by 14.00. The bags arrived soon afterwards. So from taking off to being on board ship was 2 1/2 hours - remarkable. We did not go into Genoa, but had lunch, unpacked and got to know the ship layout again. All on board by 18.30 and we sailed away at 19.00. Nothing much to see on the sail out except a beautiful private yacht in the harbor with its own helicopter. There was the standard muster drill at 18.30 before we left Genoa. We ate in Cinnamon. Too tired to watch the show. Day 2 Livorno - we docked at 07.30. Not a very pretty sail in. We have been to both Pisa and Florence a number of times before, though not cruising, so we just strolled around Livorno. You cannot walk in the Laverne dock area for safety, so free shuttle buses are provided which takes you into the centre (Piazza Grande). There is a tourist information there. You can get a bus from here to Pisa and Florence for €10 and €15 respectively. The Central Station is a 10 min walk away. We walked along the Via Grande to the central fort, which is surrounded by a wide moat. There are numerous canals in the historical centre called the Venetian Quarter. Plenty of interesting churches to visit - Santa Caterina was lovely. All on board 19.00 - sail away at 19.30. Dinner in Cinnamon. The show was very good - Mark Walker, a multi-talented singer, musician, comedian and impersonator. Day 3 at sea - we walked 4 miles (10 laps) of the promenade deck (0.4 miles per lap), then worked on the tan in the afternoon. First Formal night. Captains cocktail party, then we ate in Cinnamon. The show was The Headliners doing music and dance from well known stage shows - excellent. Day 4 Naples - a pleasant sail into the Bay of Naples. We docked at 08.00. Gangway open 08.30. We walked to The Central Station - a 2 km stroll. and took the Circumversuvian Line to Pompeii. - one level below the main station - €2.90pp single fare. The train takes approx 20 min. The entrance to Pompeii ruins is by the station. €11 entrance including a site map. It's a huge site, so take strong shoes. We arrived there before 10.00. By 12.00 it was getting hot and busy with tours, so we left. We took the same train back to Herculaneum for a quick look at the small ruins (€11 entrance), then back to Naples and we were back on the ship by 15.00. I've been to Pompeii before, but it was my first time to Herculaneum. A nice day. All on board 17.30, with some late tour arrivals at 17.45, which didn't delay us. A nice sail away from Naples at 18.00 past Vesuvius, Sorrento, Capri and the beautiful Amalfi coast. We ate in Cinnamon. The show was an excellent trio of male singers doing classic soul and Motown sounds. Day 5 - at sea - a nice sunny sail down the west coast of Italy, through the narrow Straits of Messina between Italy and Sicily and into the Ionian Sea. I ran 5 miles around the Promenade Deck in the morning, then spent some time in the sun. Freebee canapés delivered to the room. Second formal night. We ate in Cinnamon. A fine show by the Headliners "Reel to Reel" - music from British films. Day 6 - Dubrovnik - a lovely sail in. We docked at 08.00. There was a shuttle bus from the harbor to the Old Town (£4.50pp each way but worth it). We've walked the walls here before, so we spent a few hours wandering around the streets and the marina. It was a very hot day and the city walls looked very busy. We ate in the main buffet, as it was Tandoori night - very good. The show was another excellent set from Mark Warner. A completely different show from the one a few nights ago. Day 7 - Venice - we arrived at 12.15. It takes a while to enter Venice and larger ships have to be assisted by tugs. It is wonderful to sail into Venice Lagoon, then along the Canal San Marco and past the Grande Canal and St Marks Square - magical. Larger ships will not be able to do this next year and will have to dock elsewhere. We got the People Mover from the cruise terminal to Piazza Roma. €1.30pp each way, or you can walk it, as it's not too far. We walked from Piazza Roma to St. Marks Square and got a Vaporetto (water bus) back €7pp, which takes you fully down the Grande Canal. We spent the afternoon wandering the streets of this wonderful city. You can get a P&O water shuttle from the terminal to near St Marks. £15 for a day unlimited use or £25 for 2 days, but the shuttle does not go down the Grande Canal, whereas the Vaporetto does. It is good value though if you just want to get quickly to St Marks square and back. Dinner in Cinnamon. The show was Reflex - the Headliners doing music and dance from the 1980's. A good lively show. Overnight in Venice. Day 8 Venice - we met our friends Peter & Janet who were doing the same 2 week P&O cruise, but from Venice. We used the P&O shuttle boat from near the ship to St Marks. Very efficient. We walked miles around Venice and got lost again. A wonderful sail away sipping cold Prosecco as we drifted slowly along the San Marco canal and past St Marks as the sun set. One of life's great travel experiences. After dinner in Saffron (though we were allocated Cinnamon, you can mix the 2 Freedom dining locations) we had a late night drink in Metropolis. A bit choppy overnight with the win reaching a max of Force 11. Day 9 at sea - we did 10 laps of the promenade deck. Then a few hours in the sun. 3rd formal night. After dinner in Saffron we watched the Headliners show in the Arena theatre - quite a good song and dance show. Day 10 Kotor - we set our alarm for 6.15 to watch the beautiful sail in. Kotor is at the end of a narrow river valley. We docked at about 08.00. We had to tender into town. We went to The Tamarind bar and got a tender ticket. We were called about 15 mins later. It was a lovely 10 min tender ride to the dock. Kotor is a small and pretty fortified city. We walked the 1,352 steps to the top of the fortress. Fab views from the top. We had a beer and wandered around the cobbled streets. All on board 18.30 and a lovely sail away back down the valley. Dinner in Cinnamon. After the steps, we were too tired for the a show. Day 11 Corfu - a nice sail in past the old fort. We docked at 08.00. We took a short shuttle bus to the old town €1.50 each way. We then walked the short distance to the bus station and caught a local bus to Paleokastritsa (€2.60) each way. A cab would be €50 each way. Paleo is a lovely cove and beach with clear water for swimming. We later caught the bus back to Corfu old town and spent a few hours wandering around the cobbled streets. All on board 17.00. A pleasant sail away. We had dinner in Saffron and did not go to the show, but listened to the pianist in the Atrium. Day 12 at sea - a lovely sunny day to top up the tan. We sailed through the Straits of Messina late morning and then sailed past Stromboli at 13.00. Fourth formal night. We watched the Headliners show in the Arena theatre - a fine medley of songs by the Headliners from Rogers & Hammerstein. Day 13 Civitavecchia (for Rome) - we arrived at 07.00. The gangway was open at 07.15. The weather suddenly closed in and we saw a number of tornados out to see. A free shuttle bus is provided by the port into the town. We have been to Rome before a couple of times (not cruising). Rome is 1 1/2 to 2 hours each way by road. I don't think you have enough time there to do it justice - much better to fly in and see it properly. We strolled along the Civitaveccia promenade to the central station and took the train to Santa Marinella (10 mins) - a pleasant seaside town (€1.10 each way). Last port return shuttle bus was 18.00. All on board 19.00. The weather was cloudy for the sail away. We had a nice meal in East (£15pp cover charge) and didn't go to the show. Day 14 Ajaccio - we arrived at 08.00 directly on the dock. It is only a few minutes walk into the town. Ajaccio is a very nice, small town with a marina, fort and some nice beaches. We spent a few hours strolling about the tree lined boulevards. Napoleon was born here and his image abounds in bronze. You can easily see it all in a few hours. All on board 16.00. A pleasant sail away and a lovely sunset. We had the "Food & Wine pairing dinner" at The Glasshouse. A cover charge of £30pp applies which includes a glass of wine with each of the 4 courses. There is a set dining time at 18.30, but even though we had pre-chosen our food, we still had to wait until 19.20 for any food. Excellent quality food and wine - 4 courses and 4 wines, with an explanation of each course. A lovely meal in a nice setting, but I could have done without the theatrics of clapping the chefs and waiters etc. An American chap even stood up and gave a short speech in celebration of the event - not sure what that was about. Suitcases outside the cabin by 23.00 latest. There was good & detailed information regarding our disembarcation procedure. Day 15 - disembarkation - we berthed in Genoa before 6.30. You are supposed to be out of your cabin by 07.00, but our kind steward Amelita let us stay until nearly 08.00, as she had lots of other cabins to clean already. After breakfast, we passed time by reading in the peace and quiet of Metropolis on deck 18. Disembarcation is by a colour coding system, which is announced over the tannoy. We were called at on time at 12.30 and bussed to Genoa airport. We were then led to security and passport control. We didn't even have to think what to do. Titan flight ZT9402 took off on time and we had an easy flight back to the UK.   Read Less
Sail Date August 2014
Cruised on Ventura from Genoa stopping at Livorno, Naples, Dubrovnik, Venice then back again via Kotor, Corfu, Civitavecchia and Ajaccio (Corsica). An excellent itinerary which enabled us to visit a few “must-haves” and re-visit a few ... Read More
Cruised on Ventura from Genoa stopping at Livorno, Naples, Dubrovnik, Venice then back again via Kotor, Corfu, Civitavecchia and Ajaccio (Corsica). An excellent itinerary which enabled us to visit a few “must-haves” and re-visit a few others as well as some we probably wouldn’t have gone to otherwise. First of all, Ventura is a large ship and it takes the best part of 2 weeks to find your way around. Our cabin was an inside on deck 14 and was comfortable and not at all claustrophobic. We had wondered about this having had a balcony in the past but, considering how little use we had actually made of one the extra cost seemed pointless and, in fact, proved the case. The only downside in the cabin was just one chair. Plenty of hanging space beside the bathroom with a cupboard and a safe there as well. Bathroom was perfectly adequate, similar size to other ships we have been on. The cabin has a TV with a useless selection of channels, a kettle and tea/coffee, a hair dryer and a fridge. Dining is in one of three formal dining rooms at either fixed times or, in two of the restaurants, what they call freedom dining where you turn up and are allocated a table. There are two speciality restaurants, Marco Pierre White and East, and there is a supplement to eat in them. On the 15th deck aft are two buffet-style restaurants where you elbow your way around selecting food then walk miles to find a table somewhere. Coffee and water are available from machines (mostly not working) and at breakfast only they also provide fruit juice. We generally chose to eat our three meals in one of the restaurants where you were given a table and waiters brought everything to you. Can’t understand why anyone endures the buffet bun fight! There is also a pizza stall beside one of the pools and a Costa coffee shop, probably the only way to get a decent coffee on board! There are four pools for cruisers plus a small one on the foc’sle which seemed to be crew only. Loads of loungers, packed in like sardines so you could always find somewhere to rest. There is a well equipped gym forward on the 16th deck and, beside it, a Spa offering treatments for trivial amounts like £75 a pop. Needless to say we didn’t partake! At the rear of the ship is a children’s area with what looked through the windows like a soft-play area and there is a small poll adjacent. Unfortunately they permit smoking there so it may not be an automatic choice for small children. Above this there are nets for golf practice and there may be other activities there but we didn’t explore. It may only have been this particular cruise but, for some reason which was never explained, the room service offering of bottles of spirits was not available so bring your own as P&O seem quite happy for you to bring it aboard. I suppose they would draw the line if you arrived with huge quantities of booze but if you like a drink in your cabin it seems you are best to take your own. On a 14 day cruise they time it so there are four “black tie” nights and most people seemed to have either a DJ or suit and tie. They seem quite particular about it so if you go without you will probably have to eat in the buffet those nights (unless you buy or hire on board that is - they seem to have availability). Just a few brief details of the destinations as most will have been there or can find better details elsewhere. P&O are good at laying on shuttles at those ports where you need one so unless you are on an organised tour you can get transport into the towns from the dockside. Royal Caribbean were particularly poor in this respect. Whether or not you paid for these shuttles depended on the type of booking you had so, in other words, the late availability cheapos probably have to pay. Livorno is the stop for Florence and Pisa, Naples for Pompeii, Herculaneum and Sorrento. Dubrovnik, despite being in the EU, still used its own currency, the Kuna. The ship will change at 1.8 odd kuna to the euro but will only take back 50 kuna notes and above, no coins or lesser denominations. Just inside the city gate there is a shop with a bureau de change and they were offering a better rate, 1.9 something to the euro. At the end of the day do you really want to be left with a load of useless kuna so best to ask if they accept euros and, if not, walk away. Behind this bureau is a restaurant with a toilet and they take 1 euro to use it. By the way the supermarket at the dockside only takes Kunas or, I think, credit cards so save yourself the walk unless you have kanas to get rid of. Kotor is very picturesque and probably not somewhere you would finish up other than on a trip like this. It is a bit like a mini Dubrovnik with a medieval walled old town. For the fit and healthy there is a steep climb up the hillside and for the rest of us there are a few cafes, lots of souvenir shops and a couple of ice-cream stall. There is a public toilet which is signposted and a couple of ladies sit outside collecting your 1 euro to go in. A more leisurely walk up some of the walls takes you past some peoples gardens to a view over the harbour. Watch how you walk here as there were used syringes about. Back down at street level there were a few females begging so just like home really! Corfu, or more precisely, Kerkira where the ship docks is a short shuttle bus to the old town. The Russian navy was in town when we were there and the sailors were busy snapping up fake Rolex watches from the many Africans. There are lots of shops selling designer name goods at knock off prices but in between there were some genuine stores too. Unless you really want a Calvin Klein belt for 2.5 euros or a Gucci bag for little more you may want to search out the shops that don’t have these bargains for the real thing. Naples has a duty free shop after you go through dockside security before you board the ship and is useful if you need to stock up. Ajaccio is a pleasant town with streets close to the ship to stroll around in and a market just near the dock selling mostly cheeses and meats with a wine stall. Carry on up the street until you come to a Spar supermarket (Yes they have them there too) where stuff is a bit cheaper. If you are in a sunbathing mood there are beaches nearby. Hopefully this will be of some help to future travellers. One point worthy of mention was an incident affecting the ship when travelling between Dubrovnik and Venice. A sudden squall hit the ship and caused it to list some degrees to port, sufficient to wake everyone as everything crashed off the cabin surfaces and we had to walk downhill to get out of our cabin. More worryingly, however, this listing persisted and for around three hours we all waited to see if it would carry on tipping over. As you no doubt know, ships bob about on the sea, but when they bob one way they immediately then bob the other way. That is the theory but in this case the other bob just didn’t happen, hence the worried looks. Our captain spoke once briefly from the bridge, told us this was normal and we should all go back to our coff….sorry cabins. Having seen the wreck of Costa Concordia in Genoa on our way to the ship it was not a reassurance that gave us a great deal of comfort. It turned out the following day that the cause of the persistent listing was the fact that the swimming pools on deck 15 had emptied out and the water was swilling about in the space enclosed by glass panels on the port side with nowhere to go. Not only that but another passenger told us that her daughter had experienced the self-same thing on her cruise with Ventura in June of this year. So there you are. If the ship suddenly lurches to one side and stays there it is nothing to worry about. Just don;t ask us to cruise with Ventura again.   Read Less
Sail Date September 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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