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13 Genoa to Mediterranean P&O Cruises Ventura Cruise Reviews

We have been on at least 6 other cruises with RCI, Celebrity and Seabourn and this was our first with P&O. We were extremely disappointed to say the least, even when compared to Island Cruises: the customer service both pre and during ... Read More
We have been on at least 6 other cruises with RCI, Celebrity and Seabourn and this was our first with P&O. We were extremely disappointed to say the least, even when compared to Island Cruises: the customer service both pre and during the cruise was absolutely disgraceful. Positives: Excellent service re baggage collection and delivery to the cabin and likewise on the return journey Cabin steward very attentive Super deluxe cabin - very comfortable and well appointed Negatives: 1) Customer service pre-cruise: totally conflicting advice During the 1st phone call enquiring about pricing I was told “if the price drops after you book we automatically refund the difference”. Found out later from our travel agent that this policy had been dropped either last or previous year. Pre-cruise travel documentation said to “fill in pre-cruise questionnaire” in the cruise personaliser. Rang P&O to say I couldn’t find it - was told there’s no such thing. Pre-cruise travel documentation said you could bring a small amount of alcohol on board (not to be consumed in public areas). Rang P&O to have this clarified only to be told you couldn’t do this. On board found out that in fact you could do this. E-tickets gave 2 different sizes for hand luggage: 55x40x20cm and 43x28x23cm. Rang P&O to find out which was correct - the person I spoke to didn’t know but would find out and call me back the next day. No phone call the next day so I rang back: on our record it showed that your personnel had called me 3 times on my mobile but that I hadn’t answered. You had the correct mobile number for me on file but my phone didn’t have any missed calls and in any case why didn’t they just leave a message for me? - that’s assuming they really had called. 2) Customer service on board: Maintenance: spoke to reception desk 5 times about the aircon not working. Explained it was on its lowest setting and yet at one point the temperature in the cabin was 25 degrees making it totally unbearable. It wasn’t until the 6th DAY that it was finally repaired. Who was to blame for this? - reception for not passing on the message or maintenance for not responding? I would guess reception going on other dealings with them. Rang reception several times with various enquiries - staff never knew the answer so they had to go and find out, even when it was a basic question such as whether or not there was a shuttle bus. Both on the phone and at the reception desk the staff were most unfriendly and made no effort at all to provide good customer service - everything seemed to be too much of an effort for them. There was one exception and I think his name was Bonnie Dubois - it was his first day back off sick and he did everything he could to help. No matter where you were on board the staff were surly and made no effort to be pleasant and rarely did anyone say hello or even smile. 3) Restaurant staff (Cinnamon restaurant) - not been trained to a sufficiently high standard: Waiter would clear your plate as soon as you’d finished eating rather than waiting until everyone had finished Wine waiters: asked my husband who wanted white wine rather than asking each individual person what they wanted;would have filled the glass to the top if you hadn’t stopped them, rather than part filling it; on one I occasion asked to speak to the head wine waiter about the above: he took the wine waiter to one side and thinking they were out of sight he made a big joke out of it with the waiter. It was quite obvious that the head wine waiter has no respect for the customers nor does he take his job seriously. After complaining to the Restaurant Manager about the above the service did improve. c) As part of the “Select” package one evening we received canapés in the cabin. The presentation and appearance was dreadful - needless to say we didn’t eat them. This further highlights to us the apparent total lack of finesse and quality of service of P&O cruises. 4) Entertainment team Cruise Director, Hughie, was totally ineffectual and showed no enthusiasm whatsoever Kaylee - looked totally disinterested and bored during sail-away parties etc 5) Venice shuttle service: I was totally confused about the options available for people with reduced mobility. It would help if the people we were dealing with could speak good English (here referring to local Italian ground staff). Got to the shuttle bus - my family got on, I got off to double check about the service for the disabled and asked my daughter to make sure it didn’t go without me. Bus started off, she tried to stop it and got her hand trapped in the door. Bus carried on regardless and I had to follow on later. Got to the quay side for the shuttle boat - the queue was enormous. My in-laws are disabled so we were able to move to the front of the queue. Even so it took us 1 and a half hours to get from the bus to being dropped off near St Mark’s Square. Just how long did it take the other passengers who had to wait in line? We sat bobbing about on the shuttle boat for 20 minutes until it was able to land. This service is an absolute disgrace and a rip-off at 15€ each ( total of 90€ for the 6 of us). We feel that some of the issues above could be improved by just 1 simple change to the system; on previous cruises gratuities have always been given directly to individuals i.e. not automatically earned. Our friends always cruise with P&O and having heard our experiences with poor service told us that they have noticed a dramatic fall in standards since automatic tipping was introduced. We know that passengers can opt out of automatic gratuities and in fact we did so but this is not going to improve overall standards - the staff need to earn their tips not just expect to be rewarded for doing nothing. Cruising is becoming a very competitive and expanding market so if P&O want to remain successful they need to look very closely at how they operate in order to retain loyal customers and attract new ones. This is particularly true in an environment where the internet is now so widely used to get insight into people’s experiences with the different cruise lines and ships by reading their reviews. Below I refer to some of the claims made by P&O on its website. My experiences of them are in brackets: 1) Service on board P&O Cruises We will go to any length to ensure you enjoy the holiday of a lifetime (why did it take 5 requests to repair the aircon?) Enjoy the holiday of a lifetime every time you cruise with us.  At P&O Cruises we want to give you a holiday to remember, filled with special occasions and memorable moments. (as a family of 6 we chose a P&O cruise because this year we have had our own “special occasions” to celebrate: a diamond wedding anniversary, a silver wedding anniversary, a 60th birthday and a retirement, what a shame that P&O couldn’t step up to the plate and give us those “memorable moments” to take away). From the friendly greeting you receive as you step on board, (no-one greeted us on board - we were completely ignored)to Black Tie nights where the entire ship dresses to the nines, or from a lazy afternoon of pampering in The Retreat, to a romantic dinner for two at a Marco Pierre White restaurant, everything about your P&O Cruises holiday will make you feel special. (the staff made no attempt to even smile never mind make us feel special) And when your cabin steward knows your name, and your bar steward remembers your favourite drink, that’s simply how a P&O Cruises holiday should be. Throughout the ship, you will find genuine and attentive service from knowledgeable staff happy to help in any way they can (service was not at all attentive and the staff were surly). You’ll soon become friends with the same waiters who will serve your table each and every evening, and will be amazed by the memory of the bar staff who will often remember your drink if you’re a regular in the same bar. 2) We take care of every detail From a nightly turndown service to pool attendants offering fresh towels (not once did I see any pool attendants or towels on offer), we look after every aspect of your holiday. The moment you step on board, we will make sure you have a holiday of a lifetime – whether that means impeccable service, your favourite cocktail made just how you like it or breakfast in bed every morning. 3) We have 175 years of experience to call on Over this time we have perfected cruising to become the cruise experts. (you have not perfected cruising at all: even Island Cruises offer better service and attention to detail than P&O. Then there’s RCI, Celebrity and Seabourn with whom we’ve also cruised - just no comparison!) I can safely say that our experience onboard the Ventura was a total disappointment. My in-laws who were celebrating their diamond wedding and who have never cruised before were so excited about their trip of a lifetime; my husband and I were celebrating our silver wedding, my 60th birthday and his retirement. This was to be one big celebration for all of us but P&O really let us down with its false and misleading claims. To summarise P&O did not fufill its promises to: go to any length to ensure the holiday of a lifetime make us feel special provide genuine and attentive service provide pool attendants offering fresh towels etc., etc., etc.. Read Less
Sail Date September 2015
Our last cruise was on the Azura last January 2014 going round the Caribbean which defiantly had the Wow Factor which we though ally enjoyed enough to book another cruise with P&O & despite the Ventura being the sister ship to the ... Read More
Our last cruise was on the Azura last January 2014 going round the Caribbean which defiantly had the Wow Factor which we though ally enjoyed enough to book another cruise with P&O & despite the Ventura being the sister ship to the Azura it lacked any feel good factor. My wife enjoys sitting on deck during the day reading, whilst I usually go to any lectures, demonstrations & joining in the classes in the Gym. Considering what you pay for what you receive you used to get a massive amount of value for your money. But from talking to many other passengers there is better cruise company's out there for similar money, eg Celebrity. Sadly P&O are cutting back on what used to be all inclusive, now comes at a price attached. There are a small selection of daytime activities that are available all now with a hook!! Disguised as eg" Relieve back pain & walk in comfort" which translates to a foot insole at £119.00 a pair. Or "Back pain solutions" which translates in a Spa employee trying to flog sessions of Acupuncture at £93.00, even a gym class will cost you £5.00. If you might be interested in the Spa products, my advice is DONT, they are hugely overpriced & questionable weather they actually work or work as well as what they claim?. The food in the main buffet for breakfast & lunch is the same everyday & although you might not slag it of, you wouldn't write home about either. Passable. The quality & quantity in the main evening restaurant is ok, no more no less. We thought the Ventura is kept immaculacy clean all the time & is in reasonably good condition. Generally we enjoyed it, it was not as good as it was but nothing is, is it? Lets not forget this is a business like any other & the cost of everything keeps on escalating as it does in your weekly shopping. USEFUL TIPS & SUGGESTIONS FOR 1ST TIMERS & OTHERS. As this was our 5th cruise we are always looking at any savings we can make along the way. Eg. Don't bring your own shampoo & soap, it is supplied to you in your cabin. Although the tea on board is Twinning's which is ok I prefer my own so I bring Yorkshire tea bags. The instant coffee is Dow Egbert's which is ok. Bring 6 x 500lm empty plastic water bottles with you so you can fill them up free on board & take them assure with you. There is a 1litre electric kettle, 2 mugs & tea spoons in all cabins. Bring large food bags to make up sandwiches from the breakfast buffet to take assure, saves you buying lunch. P&O is the only cruise company I know that allows you to bring your own booze on board to drink in your cabin only, we took 6 litres of wine which was enough for a 2 week cruise, saves on the bar bill. Post cards of the ship are free at reception as many as you wont, postage is massive, take your cards assure & buy postage stamps at penny's not pounds. Get cash assure at ATM machines, the exchange rate on-board is not as good. Its a good idea to bring a spare pair of sun glasses in case you loose or break the ones you are using, they charge silly money on-board. Bring a light weight rain mac in case it rains as it sometimes does. Bring a beach bag for carrying your book etc from your cabin to the sun deck. If you have a inside cabin bring a small torch as its pitch black at night for finding your way to the loo. The photographs are £11.20 each on board, bring your own camera. Photocopy your passports & keep them with you at all times when assure in the unlikely event of you missing the ship you will have ID especially if the next stop is a different country. Always get a statement of your account half way though your cruise so you stay on top of what you are spending. Have a good look at your account & make sure all the items tally with your recites. Its a long story but they messed up big time with our statement in compensation they gave us a free meal in White Restaurant. Read Less
Sail Date October 2014
This was our 6th cruise - 3rd with P&O. We booked for two reasons, it was our 25th Wedding Anniversary and the Ports of Call looked interesting. This was the largest ship we had been on, and like most other passengers we got lost lots ... Read More
This was our 6th cruise - 3rd with P&O. We booked for two reasons, it was our 25th Wedding Anniversary and the Ports of Call looked interesting. This was the largest ship we had been on, and like most other passengers we got lost lots of times! But it's makes for interesting discussion with others! We had an outside cabin on deck 12/A606 midship which was lovely. Bed was comfortable, room clean bathroom had everything you would need including shower gel shampoo & conditioner all by The White Company. Proper hairdryer in room. We were on freedom dining which suited our needs and most nights we were seated on a table for 6/8 people. You could have a table for two if you wanted. Food was lovely. We had one meal in Marcos White Restaurant and one meal in East......both highly recommended! On sea days we ordered breakfast in our cabin ( no extra charge for this). Other days we alternated between Saffron/ buffet.....some days it was a little awkward finding a table in the Buffet...but we always did. Afternoon tea was lovely! One tip if you go to Costa Coffee during afternoon tea you get a free cake with your coffee (but you have to ask for it). Entertainment was good, my only complaint is that people were leaving one show before the end, they were trying to rush to the next show at the other end of the ship in time to get a seat! Sunbeds are squashed together but we always managed to get two together. P&O are not very good at giving passengers that want to go off by themselves local information, I guess they want to sell you the trips, however, I believe they should at least offer some sort of map with bus numbers/stops etc. We only booked one trip...as we like to do our own thing! However, there was so much discussion in regard to travelling to Rome by yourself.....the staff saying that people can get stranded if the trains go on strike etc. it cost £90 for the two of us. It was a little rushed once in Rome and many of the older passengers found it hard to walk to certain sites and get back to the coach within one hour. We had a little excitement as Marco Pierre White and Rob Brydon were on board as P&O were filming their new advertisement. It would have been nice if the sauna was mixed, as I would had like to go with my husband. Instead I had to site by myself in the ladies sauna and my husband sat by on his own in the men's! Highlights for me: sailing into Venice, spectacular! Kotor, Montenegro just a lovely walled town, once inside there were beautiful squares with cafe/bars small shops. Would I got on Ventura again. ....yes to the Caribbean next January!!! Read Less
Sail Date October 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
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
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
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 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
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
Ventura Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.2
Dining 4.0 3.8
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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