1. Home
  2. Cruise Lines
  3. P&O Cruises
  4. Ventura Review
  5. Ventura Cruise Reviews

102 Southampton to Europe - British Isles & Western P&O Cruises Ventura Cruise Reviews

I'll get my moan out of the way first ! We booked the cruise last January, specifically for the overnight stop in the centre of Amsterdam, to allow us to easily come and go from the ship, and venture back into the city for the ... Read More
I'll get my moan out of the way first ! We booked the cruise last January, specifically for the overnight stop in the centre of Amsterdam, to allow us to easily come and go from the ship, and venture back into the city for the "night life". A month after our booking, we were told that for "operational reasons" we would now be stopping at Ijmuiden overnight Instead, and being coached in an hour each way. A few months later we were told the schedule had changed, and we would not sail the first day but rather go straight to Ijmuiden, so we didn't arrive at 8am but rather at 10.30am, so we didn't get into Amsterdam until 12 noon. This cocked up our plans and we were given the option to cancel but lose our deposit, and not given the option to pay the tax ourselves. A bit of investigation identified that the operational reason was that Amsterdam have introduced an €8 per person tax, and they aren't willing to be dictated to, but despite repeated e mails and calls they aren't willing to admit this. There is no way that the fuel used sailing there faster, the coaches through the night, and the 385 nautical miles sailed before our next port ( 100 miles away) make this a good decision for anyone. Now that I have got that off my chest, the rest of the break was excellent ! We went on Ventura a couple of years ago, and it has had a refit since, so all the public areas are well maintained. We have been on a couple of TUI cruises since we last went on P&O a year ago, so have something to compare them to. Without any doubt the decor and the food quality / choice on P&O is better, with more in the way of activities. However, the standard of service is far below that of TUI, and has dropped since we last sailed P&O (since the dropped the tipping?). It's not that it's poor service, it's more that it is just functional, and there is no attempt to interact with passengers, which does have a big impact on the atmosphere onboard. The show team at night of drama school kids were of as high a standard as we have seen at sea, and all their shows were excellent. I can't say the same for the other entertainment that came an left the ship, who unfortunately appeared more than once, especially the comedienne. Our stop at Bruges was very good, but unfortunately our stop at Guernsey was cancelled due to high winds preventing the launch of the tenders. I can't vouch for its accuracy, but other passengers said that it was the fifth time this year that they have aborted the port, which makes you ask why they bother if this is the case. Embarkation at Southampton was speedy, as was our disembarkation which went very smoothly an hour ahead of schedule. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
Our August/September Golden Anniversary Cruise was on P & O’s Ventura, a ship on which we have travelled before, in fact it was on our first cruise just 2 years ago. We chose the itinerary primarily because the date of our ... Read More
Our August/September Golden Anniversary Cruise was on P & O’s Ventura, a ship on which we have travelled before, in fact it was on our first cruise just 2 years ago. We chose the itinerary primarily because the date of our anniversary was mid-cruise and the week-long itinerary included the island where we had our honeymoon back in September 1969, Guernsey, where we could relive all the fond memories of our time there. We had very high hopes since we love Ventura and I had pre-booked a meal in the Epicurean , the ship’s specialist fine-dining restaurant, on the night of our anniversary. That meal was spectacular and the staff were amazing. Apart from being delicious, the food was so imaginative – how about fried custard on your dessert? It was a really lovely surprise, believe me. So, Ventura scores very highly in terms of food and service including the excellent support my wife has for her special dietary needs, and our super cabin steward, Morris. Unfortunately, it was not the cruise we had hoped for in respect of the shore experiences. The first disappointment was to be told, in advance, that we would not be berthing in Amsterdam but at the distant port of Ijmuiden and that a bus shuttle service would be provided. At the time I received the notification I guess I wasn’t too concerned because I hadn’t visited Amsterdam before and didn’t know what impact those arrangements would have on our time there. We were given the usual ‘operational reasons’ excuse. Because details were not divulged, everyone, and I mean everyone, I spoke with believed it was down to the tax imposed on cruise ship passengers. I wonder how much money was spent on the shuttle services and how passenger experiences were thereby enhanced. Come on P & O! Amsterdam is a fascinating city for loads of reasons. It is just the sort of destination that really benefits cruise visitors when they are able to pop on and off of their ship at will. Sadly, a bus shuttle that took between 40 minutes and over an hour in each direction killed that opportunity. Equally, long delays waiting, in blazing sunshine (well at least we had that!), for return shuttles that got stuck in heavy traffic was not the most pleasant experience other than for sun worshippers! This problem must have been known of in advance and precautions taken to alleviate the misery. This was particularly an issue on our first day when we had booked an evening canal excursion that meant we had to ‘shuttle’ back to the ship in order to pick up the excursion bus to travel back in again, thus cutting our time in Amsterdam on our own severely. The actual excursion was great and you can imagine that we really dug into the cheese and wine provided, especially the wine. However, the real disappointment came when we arrived at Guernsey. I queued early to get a reasonable tender time and was given two spaces on the first tender departure. We were thrilled to have such a long time ashore to relive all those wonderful memories. The thrill was quickly stifled when the captain announced that the winds were too severe to operate the tenders although he would ‘hang around’ for half an hour because the forecast was that the winds would reduce. No such luck because, after 30 minutes had elapsed, we were told that it was too dangerous to operate the tenders. We were both so upset, my wife in particular. I am well aware that safety of passengers is paramount and I cannot take issue with P & O over the decision. What I find hard to take is that, having spoken to so many passengers both on and off the ship at the time and since returning home who have suffered the same experience, I don’t understand why either the destination is not removed from itineraries if it is so dangerous or that the largest possible ‘health warning’ of the likelihood of ‘failure’ is prominently published in all the appropriate literature, including glossy brochures. A Golden Wedding comes only once and is so special. Our celebration left a real curate’s egg of memories from the joy of Epicurean to the real sadness of missing out on re-visiting our honeymoon island. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
We have sailed on a dozen occasions with P&O including three previous cruises on Ventura. We previously enjoyed our cruises on Ventura several years ago and wanted to cruise on the ship again. We have been regular cruisers several ... Read More
We have sailed on a dozen occasions with P&O including three previous cruises on Ventura. We previously enjoyed our cruises on Ventura several years ago and wanted to cruise on the ship again. We have been regular cruisers several times each year for 15 years and aware of the standards of service to be expected and normally provided. We noticed a significant fall in standards in the dining room compared with our earlier Ventura cruises. Table clothes were often dirty and stained and not changed between diners. Butter dishes were left between consecutive diners with visible signs of part use and contamination. Cutlery was left on the tables between consecutive diners. On two occasions we asked for some items of cutlery to be replaced as these appeared to have already been used. On another occasion, the waiter openly removed a fork from my starter plate and replaced it on the table to be used for the next course. On day three, we arrived at “Amsterdam” - the port had been changed since our booking was made to somewhere an hours coach journey from Amsterdam. We were informed that Amsterdam had introduced a new passenger charge for the original port which P&O had decided not to pay. The result was an extra two hours of inconvenient coach travel for passengers to get to and from the destination. Far worse, was that when we finally reached the places we wished to visit, entrance tickets for the whole day had been sold out. We returned to the shuttle bus stop early afternoon to find a queue 203 passengers (I had time to count them) and no sign of coaches. When coaches finally began to arrive (after approaching an hour queuing) it was clear that no planning had gone in to managing loading passengers. The hour wait meant the queue now had 400 passengers in a queue. Many passengers had arrived during the wait who had disability challenges. Six empty coaches arrived together and staff concentrated on first loading those with disabilities on all six coaches before loading passengers from the queue on to any of the coaches. This was completely illogical given that once wheelchair users had boarded the first coach other passengers could have boarded and the coach made its way and so on. We waited an hour and 44 minutes in the queue before leaving on the coach. Having to stand (unnecessarily) for such a period led to my knee being injured and I’m certain caused harm to others. We had been looking forward to the cruise itinerary of “two days overnight” stay in Amsterdam” but the next day my wife had to obtain a wheelchair for me as I could not walk and, like many others would not have wished to repeat the shuttle debacle of the previous day. I complained about the shuttle arrangements at the excursions desk. I was told that this was a new arrangement and it was being trialled by them to see if it worked! No apology was offered by P&O staff to the many customers unknowingly submitted to this disastrous experiment. After three days of using a wheelchair ( I’ve never previously had mobility difficulties), my wife explained to the excursions desk that we could not do the excursion we had booked. The staff member informed us there would not be a refund unless I obtained a certificate from the ships doctor (at an equivalent cost of the tour we had booked)! We paid an additional charge to use the Oasis quiet area and steam rooms to relax. Steam rooms were out of order (being painted). Infusers in the relaxation area were not topped up and working and... the disabled toilet facilities had visible faeces present for two days! The Oasis quiet area did not have its no mobile phones rule enforced by staff who stood by whilst an element shouted at their phones using Skype. The theatre entertainment and other performers also held little to write home about and were considerably poorer quality than the high standards we’ve seen before on P&O. Our many previous cruises with P&O spread over five of their ships have been enjoyable but this one was simply awful. Customer service, cleanliness and standards are extremely low on Ventura and I would not recommend this ship which fails miserably to live up to the standards which are expected of P&O . We have booked a suite on Iona in 2020 with roughly the same itinerary which hopefully, will restore our faith in P&O. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
Lovely itinerary to Faroes, Iceland, Scotland and Northern Ireland. Embarkation was easy with pre arranged assistance. Food was much better than our previous cruise on Ventura, we ate most of the time in the MDR for breakfast, lunch ... Read More
Lovely itinerary to Faroes, Iceland, Scotland and Northern Ireland. Embarkation was easy with pre arranged assistance. Food was much better than our previous cruise on Ventura, we ate most of the time in the MDR for breakfast, lunch and dinner as we find the buffet difficult with a wheelchair although staff are always willing to help. A couple of times my partner got us a bacon roll from the buffet and brought it to the room when we had early morning starts. We also ate lunch at the deck bars a few times..We had freedom dining with some lovely and interesting table companions; and a few strange ones, which makes life entertaining. Didn’t see as much entertainment as usual, Havana and Tamarind were always packed so difficult to find seats. However the Arena was easier, as long as you arrived early, with reserved seats for wheelchair users, which many able bodied people selfishly occupied. No staff on hand to police this. Entertainers that stood out were the gentleman talking about space which the layman could understand; Pulse in the Metropolis, great variety of music delivered with humour. Last but not least, Graffiti, four talented young people playing violins, singing, comedy etc. Wow what a wonderful show. On embarkation we ate in the Glasshouse to avoid the buffet, very good. Early on in the cruise we had dinner in the Epicurian with a free bottle of house wine, acceptable and a superb meal delivered with their usual first class service and drama. Well worth the extra fee. There were very few children on this cruise, mostly little ones, several foreign nationals. Most passengers were in their 50s or above. Our favourite bar was the Metropolis with one barman (sorry don’t know his name) standing out as especially helpful and friendly. Ports were very interesting. We booked most excursions privately, which were all well organised. One with P and O on the Faroes, very good. What a beautiful and peaceful place, my favourite. In Isofordur we had to use a tender. It was an extremely difficult transfer for passengers and crew due to the high winds, but we all survived. The weather was kind to us and although it was cold the sun came out every afternoon with only a tiny bit of drizzle in Scotland. On our last sea day on deck I got a bit sunburnt as I didn’t realise how hot it was. We booked another cruise while we were on board on the new Iona as we couldn’t resist the low deposit. Hope we haven’t made a mistake as we think Ventura is pretty large. Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
I'd never fancied a cruise - this was a friend's choice for a "girly weekend away" for us 2 older ladies. I expected to hate every minute - but actually really enjoyed it. Our cabin was spotless and the beds were ... Read More
I'd never fancied a cruise - this was a friend's choice for a "girly weekend away" for us 2 older ladies. I expected to hate every minute - but actually really enjoyed it. Our cabin was spotless and the beds were really comfortable. The whole experience was so good that we have booked another cruise for the Autumn. I simply don't understand the poor reviews given by some people regarding the staff/food/bars, etc. All the staff were fantastic: always helpful and cheerful. There were a number of bars, all with different atmospheres. If you don't want karaoke, then there's a lot more to choose from! (We liked The Red Bar, which was quiet and uncrowded.) The food was amazing, considering they were catering for 3,000 people! High-quality food in the restaurant at dinner. The Waterside buffet was busy at peak times, but what do people expect? We did joke that you could probably eat yourself to death if you wanted to - and some people seemed to be trying. We had a late lunch and watched one family finish their (huge) lunches and then go straight on to afternoon tea with mounds of sandwiches and platefuls of cakes! There was one hen-party group on board who were a bit of a pain during the emergency drill, but we never saw them again and we were told that hen parties weren't being accepted in future. Overall, we thought we got excellent value for money and would certainly recommend. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
We had a good cruise to Jersey with Aurora in June 2018, so booked again for Brugges with Ventura in November. The orginsation is good, luggage taken even before the entry hall and it arrives at your cabin door before you do. We had a ... Read More
We had a good cruise to Jersey with Aurora in June 2018, so booked again for Brugges with Ventura in November. The orginsation is good, luggage taken even before the entry hall and it arrives at your cabin door before you do. We had a balcony cabin which was really great. As we were on a two night cruise we didn't see much of the sea, none-the-less good to have. The ship was great in terms of communal spaces and decor, a real feeling of deluxe. The most disappointing part was the food, not the same standard as the Aurora, two meals of dried up fish, tasteless chicken stuffed with quail. The waiter couldn't tell me the names of cheeses offered. Brugges is 20 mins away from the dock gates by coach. This isn't for anyone with any sort of mobility problem as you are left at a bus stop about 1 mile walking from the centre. I didn't see anywhere this was explained in advance. Later came back on board early afternoon and went to the Glasshouse buffet on Deck 16. The salads for starters were all good, The main meals were not very appealingly presented. We eventually chose fish & chips, but the fish was dry and inededible, Something needs to be done about the help yourself chip tongs which produce about 3 chips a time with a long queue of people waiting behind you. We would have liked to go to the cinema as with Aurora, but told no cinema on board. Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
Booked this cruise as a way of seeing Bruges, fat chance! This was a weekend two night cruise with one port of call Zeebrugge from which we could visit Bruges. On the morning we were due to dock in Zeebrugge announcement was made saying ... Read More
Booked this cruise as a way of seeing Bruges, fat chance! This was a weekend two night cruise with one port of call Zeebrugge from which we could visit Bruges. On the morning we were due to dock in Zeebrugge announcement was made saying it was too windy to dock and we would spend the day at sea! The sea was not rough and there was no movement on the ship. The announcement was very low key in fact 2 hours later at 9.05am there were still a lot of people having breakfast who were still unaware we were not going to dock! I feel we were treated very badly, with very little communication about the situation. The entertainment on board was very average. There were long waits to get a table in the restaurants in the evening but I'm sure P&O are very happy with the extra revenue they made by having everyone onboard all day! We have cruised with P&O several times but certainly won't be booking with them any time soon! Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
The embarkation process was very efficient and worked well. Our cabin was clean & comfortable, the food excellent, entertainment poor, communication by newsletter or PA not very helpful. There was no information about the Saturday ... Read More
The embarkation process was very efficient and worked well. Our cabin was clean & comfortable, the food excellent, entertainment poor, communication by newsletter or PA not very helpful. There was no information about the Saturday activities, only for the Sunday. We had wanted to to visit Brugge again but no such luck. At the last minute at 7am Sunday morning it was announced that ' too windy to dock at Zeeburgge ' the whole point of the trip! There was no rocking and rolling to be felt so we were very surprised! We just meandered along the English Channel by the White Cliffs of Dover all day and returned to Southampton. P&O must have made a packet!! If each passenger spent £50 on drinks or in the shops on board they would have made £150,000! When I cancelled the taxi I booked the taxi driver said it definitely not too windy. Wouldn't travel with P&O again after this experience. Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
We normally sail for around two weeks, and we were worried that 7 days would be too short to enjoy our holiday, however the Ventura did us well. Embarkation was extremely quick with little to no waiting, we were on the ship within 20 ... Read More
We normally sail for around two weeks, and we were worried that 7 days would be too short to enjoy our holiday, however the Ventura did us well. Embarkation was extremely quick with little to no waiting, we were on the ship within 20 minutes or so. The ship is lovely, felt warm and cosy without seeming old or dated, plenty of areas to relax and it never felt crowded in the public areas. The outside pool areas were nice, the pool at the back is very quite and relaxing, and the inside pool (although it got loud during the day) provided shelter when cold and was a nice area. Dining was overall good, but there is room for improvement. The MDR was always up to a great standard, heavy on seafood but pleanty of other choices and some options that always remained the same. Service was good and attentive, and we always left feeling well fed. We ate there 2 times for dinner. We ate there twice also for breakfast, menu was a good size offering plenty and is a good alternative to the buffet (more on that later). We didn’t eat in there for lunch. We ate in the Epicurian twice for dinner, Sindu once and the Beach House once. All were amazing and well worth the extra charge. Sindu was our favourite, meals were unique and creative but tasty and familiar enough to not seem crazy or over the top. Service was incredible and it is a shame we only ate in there once. The Epicurian was also very good, providing a nice fine dining experience. If your looking for a slow, relaxed meal that doesn’t leave you feeling over-indulged then this is the place for you. Food was very creative and tasty which left everyone satisfied with their meal. However as said, service is slow (they cook everything to order) and took around 2 hours, so leave plenty of time. The Beach House was our least favourite (but still very good) and were satisfied eating only once. Portions were huge and very indulgent, so not the right spot if you’re looking for a light meal. Entertainment was repetitive, but what we did see was good and enjoyable. Comedians, shows and live music were the main entertainment. Service was generally good, waiters were happy and friendly (even in the buffet) very attentive (you don’t have to wait long for a drink) and the entertainment crew were funny and enjoyable. Our cabin steward was good, didn’t see much of him but did a very good job and was friendly. We traveled with our teenage child, the activities were good and he made friends, the staff were very lovely and really enjoyed working there. Overall a good cruise, and would possible cruise again. Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
The embarkation process was smooth, arrived and checked in within 30 mins. Our cabin was indoor, c366 and was as expected. Not a huge amount of hanging space/storage but for a short cruise was adequate. It was a port intensive ... Read More
The embarkation process was smooth, arrived and checked in within 30 mins. Our cabin was indoor, c366 and was as expected. Not a huge amount of hanging space/storage but for a short cruise was adequate. It was a port intensive cruise. We visited Gijon, it was meant to be la coruna but due to poor conditions the port was changed. A nice coastal resort worth walking to park and headland opposite old town. Bilbao we didn’t do an excursion we got the shuttle to town. Did an independent walking tour, took the funicular up for views. Took the metro to areeta, walked back via there to ship 3.5 km - nicer than central Bilbao. La Rochelle was lovely. €9 to enter all 3 towers. Loads of eating choices. No need for excursion if forecast is good. Cherbourg we went to mount st Michael. Our guide was rather eccentric and got only an hours free time after excusing ourselves of his company. Journey was 5 hours. Organised ship excursion and the most disappointing Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
We chose this cruise for a 3 night break. Never cruised with p and o before and we were very impressed with the whole experience. We chose a balcony cabin which was kept immaculate by jay our steward with plenty of hanging and storage ... Read More
We chose this cruise for a 3 night break. Never cruised with p and o before and we were very impressed with the whole experience. We chose a balcony cabin which was kept immaculate by jay our steward with plenty of hanging and storage space . The restaurants offered a varied selection of food which was always hot or cold depending on your choice. Hand cleanser was compulsory on entering especially in self service. Entertainment was of high quality. Bar prices where the same as hotel prices with a large selection of drinks. Embarkation and disembarktion were incredilbly easy . We visited the historic town of Bruges with its cobbled streets and canals. Plenty of bars and chocolate shops to occupy your time with a horse drawn carriage ride to take you to exquisite small areas is really a must. A fantastic time and ready to book another 3 night break..or longer........! Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
The embarkation was reasonably quick after being kept waiting in our car for 15min by a lack of baggage porters. Once on board lifts were a problem due to one on each floor aft end out of order causing unacceptable wait times. The ... Read More
The embarkation was reasonably quick after being kept waiting in our car for 15min by a lack of baggage porters. Once on board lifts were a problem due to one on each floor aft end out of order causing unacceptable wait times. The cabin c631 was clean and tidy although a little drab colour wise, our steward was friendly and helpful. The Baytree restaurant the food was imo predictable nothing to really get you excited , the waiters were very busy indeed often having to run ! around the restaurant . The waterside deck 16 the food at times could only be classed as canteen quality! Drinks onboard were reasonably priced The pool area was very pleasant was always possible to find a sun bed For three nights at £900 for 2 would we book anther Ventura cruise No This was our 3 Ventura cruise after a a gap of 8 yrs standards have dropped . Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
I’m a well seasoned cruise traveller with over 25 completed to date ranging from Princess, RCI, Celebrity and P&O. I’ve never felt compelled to write a review until now. Having cruised similar with P&O, my partner and I, ... Read More
I’m a well seasoned cruise traveller with over 25 completed to date ranging from Princess, RCI, Celebrity and P&O. I’ve never felt compelled to write a review until now. Having cruised similar with P&O, my partner and I, along with two other friends booked a weekend cruise on Ventura to Guernsey over August Bank Holiday. We sailed on Ventura previously to Brugges, and as Platinum club members with Princess we know the layout of Ventura and Azura mirror their ships, so we were well aware of the ship and what lay ahead – or so we had thought. Firstly upon arrival at Southampton I have to say this was the worst I have experienced to date. Complete chaos. Guests were called in sequence order A-Z depending on what you are given when you arrive at the top of the stairs of the terminal. Waited for approximately 1.5hours to check in (1pm arrival). Terrible. Once onboard we were impressed with the ship layout and how bright and clean it appeared. We had an inside cabin, which was very clean, and enough room for two adults sharing. The bed was probably one of the most comfortable of all liners we have sailed on. The cleanliness is evident throughout from the bars to the pool area, and restaurants. However, in the evenings the majority of toilets throughout the ship smelt really badly – urine quite evident on the floors of several, and also quite a few blockages with no toilet attendant/cleaners in sight (few and far between). On the first evening in the MDR, we had a lovely table for 4. With no introductions or personal welcomes from the waiting staff, we were presented with the main menu - the waiter returned very promptly (in space of 5 minutes) to take the orders. I ordered a lamb shank for my main course and asked the waiter if it was possible to have some mash potato – to which he said he would ask the chef. No drinks, or wine on offer and within 5 minutes our starters arrived. My partner at this point asked was it possible to see a wine list as we felt it was more appropriate to take a drinks order before going full steam ahead and presenting us with our starters! It did feel like a conveyor belt, they wanted us “fed watered and out” with minimal interaction. The bread rolls were dire. Soft rolls, think tesco value on a small scale with zero choice, and put on the side plate with no second offerings. My lamb shank arrived and the waiter took off. I waited whilst my 3 companions tucked into their mains; I assumed the waiter was going to get my potato for the lamb. Again within 5 minutes he returned to clear the plates at which point I asked him did he get the mash as I hadn’t even started to my main yet. He was quick to inform me “no sir there is no mash”. I wasn't happy and I asked why hadn’t he told me this when he presented the plate to begin with. He said he was sorry he had just checked – this itself was a lie as I could see him directly in front of me fiddling with cutlery and the likes. If mash is offered in the buffet, and various other potatoes offered to top that, I didn't quite understand. I again repeated the question you’re telling me there is no mash available, to which he said “sorry no”. I then asked him to fetch me the Maitre’D. when he arrived I asked him if it was possible to have mash – his reply “anything is possible sir”. I told him I was informed mash wasn't available – he seemed surprised. I went on to explain I wasn't very happy at all nor were the others in my party. The lack of wanting to serve us, no drinks menu, orders etc”. I actually handed my main course, untouched, back as I was disappointed by the whole episode. I would like to add to this “Yes this might be a weekend cruise, but you should not treat all guests as first timers on a weekend break whom you assume will probably never return”. We were appalled by the lack of interaction and the lack of personal touch from the MDR waiting staff, their behaviour was definitely the lowest I’ve witnessed. It was quite the contrary in the buffet. Food in the buffet area was lovely, plenty of choice this is one area where the company excel. There were a few hen parties on board who were enjoying themselves Port of Call Guernsey: Tender required. What can I say…….. we docked at 8am – all guests required back on ship for 5pm. We had breakfast and went downstairs to the tender around 11am thinking it will be straight forward as we have tendering numerous times before at other locations worldwide. No - how wrong where we. We were told to join a queue for a ticket to join the tenders. The queue for this alone wrapped around the foyer area back to the art gallery – we waited in line for 1 hour and given tickets to tender. We were then moved into the restaurant, where we waited a further 1.5 hours. With 6 tenders operating, we felt this would have been quicker and should have been better managed. We spoke briefly to the lady (I use loosely as she was abrupt) this was taking forever, she replied by saying “no this is normal”. If this is normal for P&O I would be sacking the management in charge of this process. It was awful. We have experienced several tenders over the years with OTHER liners and never waited longer than 15 mins to disembark the ship, and that also involved a ticket and call by number! Perhaps the ship is too big for tendering to the port, but you've definitely got this so wrong P&O. Guernsey is beautiful, a lovely little place full of charm and very walkable. We had an afternoon tea and stroll, however we felt we should return to the ship around 3 (after just 1 hour on land) to avoid a possible mayhem like the disembarkation to tender earlier . Walking downhill towards the port and tendering area at 3pm, we could see a queue as long as anything with people waiting around. It took us 1 hour 10 mins to board and get back on ship. The whole experience is quite exhausting and not one I will repeat with P&O again. In conclusion, I feel P&O should use smaller ships for the weekend breaks and clearly advertise it involve tendering. Also, other cruise critic members do mention tendering by P&O at Guernsey being the worst experiences witnessed – trust me these people are not telling lies. I for one will NEVER return to P&O on a mini cruise again that involves tendering unless they drastically change their ways - not to mention their manner. Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
We chose this short cruise to take our two Granddaughters on to see if they would like a longer cruise with us at a later date. Big mistake!! We have cruised with P&O before and had a great time but this was a disaster. The booking in ... Read More
We chose this short cruise to take our two Granddaughters on to see if they would like a longer cruise with us at a later date. Big mistake!! We have cruised with P&O before and had a great time but this was a disaster. The booking in was fine and the cabins were good but the stewards seemed a little confused! As we moved out from Southampton we became aware that we had booked on a 'booze cruise' with the number of Hen and Stag parties on board. The food in the restaurants for adults was fine but very restrictive for young teenagers.. Evening entertainments were good. We only had one stop at Guernsey but the following morning this was cancelled due to weather and the fact that we needed to transfere by tender. My granddaughters were so disappointed. Had we been informed that transfers were subject to weather we would have booked a different cruise where we would have had a definite berthing so they could enjoy the experience of 'going ashore' We were told by the Captain we would have an enjoyable day at sea. It may have been enjoyable for the parties that dominated the pools and hot tubs but for two young girls it was not. I am not a prude but I don't want them subjected to the language we heard. When we finally got into a hot tub just after 6pm it was littered with half eaten food and half empty plastic drink glasses.At this point the crew started to clear all the sun loungers away so we got out. I do not blame the crew for the mess, this was due some selfish passengers. Final point...dining..It was 'hunt the vacant table' time.We ordered drinks with our meals on three occasions and each time they arrived at the end of our meals.Due to the lack on empty tables it felt we were rushed to eat and leave but all of the catering staff. I know that these mini cruises are used to help train the staff but we paid a lot of money for this trip and were all looking forward to it but at the end both granddaughters said thanks but never again,which is a shame as my wife and I have had good cruises with P&O.If your going to take a mini cruise with P&O then be prepared..( I submitted a request to review the cruise with them and to complain but they still haven't replied to date)..We will continue cruising but not with P&O Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
Chose this as our first ever cruise as destinations and length of time ( 7 days) seemed to suit. I really cannot fault anything about our experience. We had a superior deluxe cabin on Deck 9, it was spotless and our cabin steward kept it ... Read More
Chose this as our first ever cruise as destinations and length of time ( 7 days) seemed to suit. I really cannot fault anything about our experience. We had a superior deluxe cabin on Deck 9, it was spotless and our cabin steward kept it that way for the whole 7 days. The whole trip ran to schedule and the seas were smooth, which always helps Guernsey was lovely, although it took an hour to queue for the tender Porto is old and unappealing but Lisbon more than made up for it, fabulous city Vigo surprised me as it was far more appealing and attractive than I had thought it would be We had freedom dining and were lucky to sit with some lovely people every night and had some great banter We also sampled the buffet dining on Waterside and have to say the varied menu every night was brilliant, breakfast is very good there but seats are hard to get hold of. We saw shows in the Arena and Havana and were thoroughly entertained A couple of downsides 1 The smoking rules are largely ignored, especially on the top deck and on the balconies. It needs to be enforced 2 On sea days the top decks get very crowded and sunbeds are hard to get hold of However, all in all we struck lucky and had a great time Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
My mother is now 84 and although mobile, following heart ops etc. not really up to flying. Last year my brother and I took her on the Britannia, our first P&O cruise (my wife and I have cruised plenty of times before). That was out of ... Read More
My mother is now 84 and although mobile, following heart ops etc. not really up to flying. Last year my brother and I took her on the Britannia, our first P&O cruise (my wife and I have cruised plenty of times before). That was out of Southampton un up the Norwegian Fjords. Such a successful trip that we agreed to do another and with the weak Pound another P&O cruise (rather than any other line) out of Southampton seemed the thing to do. Choices of destinations that can be reached in a max of one week are limited to an itinerary that included Vigo, Lisbon, Porto and Guernsey seemed ideal. of those only I had been to Guernsey before (cruise stop) so plenty to look forward to. Our agent ensured that we got good adjoining large inside cabins on the Riviera deck, close to midship. We decided that the significant extra cost of even just one balcony cabin wasn't worth it (unlike on the Fjords). Mum has pay pay almost double (single supplement) but we had some onboard spend and free parking so all seemed good. Being in Hertfordshire our drive to Southampton and the parking was as perfect as could be and it was probably less than three hours from home to lunch onboard. Cabins were better than expected, our attendant did a great job (bucket of ice every day for my carry-on drinks) and only issue was that the A/C didn't get the cabin as cool as we would have liked. P&O offered numerous excursions, cheap by comparison to other cruises in my experience and our trips to Bayana (Vigo) and Obidos (Lisbon) were excellent and back to the ship in time for a bite to eat and off the ship for another hour or so before back for sailaway. At Porto I had booked a classical walking tour privately and that turned out to be a real highlight. Not for us the trips to the wineries as bruv doesn't drink. Sadly our stop at Guernsey was abandoned due to Storm Hector so it was a slow steam home to Southampton and a very efficient and relaxed disembarkation (unlike some lines where they seem to shoo you off like vermin on the last morning). Food was ample, tasty and varied. Wines that we sampled were excellent in all respects and service very good, as you would expect. Only issue, if I'm being picky, was that sometimes the food looked and tasted as if it was prepared hours ago (which it generally is of course). The entertainment team worked very hard and there was numerous things going on, especially on sea days. The big headliner shows were amazing and, even if it's not generally your cup of tea, worth watching and a great highlight to our holiday. So why the slight negative in my title and score. I guess this council estate boy is getting snobbish in his old age as it did seem like Butlins at sea sometimes. Perhaps not a surprise on a cruise but the number of morbidly obese people did make me feel guilty about my second slice of cake. I think I just like the more global mix found on other cruises...this was 95% Brits and that limited conversation at times. I still can't decide if I preferred the newer Britannia but it doesn't really matter as they both delivered everything expected. Will we do another P&O? Probably not unless we can't find a suitable cruise next year on NCL for example. Might have to drag the old girl to a European port after all. I love my fellow countrymen and women but, for holidays, want to broaden my horizons. Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
We have just returned from this cruise and were somewhat disappointed because we did not stop in Oporto because of problems with the ship. The ports we visited were Vigo which was lovely, then Lisbon where the stay was extended in ... Read More
We have just returned from this cruise and were somewhat disappointed because we did not stop in Oporto because of problems with the ship. The ports we visited were Vigo which was lovely, then Lisbon where the stay was extended in order, I believe, for repairs to be made to the ship. We should have left at 5 pm but infact the visit was extended until the early hours of the following morning and we left at about 5 am. Because of this we had an extra day at sea, which was not ideal bearing in mind the following day was also a sea day, and as it was only a 7 day cruise I did not book to be at sea for two consecutive days. The visit to Guernsey was lovely, apart from waiting for nearly one and a half hours for the tender to get into port. Coming back although there was a long queue the tenders seemed to be operating much quicker. Putting our disappointment aside the holiday was fine. Our cabin was well looked after, the entertainment good and the food was well served although someone did comment that it seems P and O are catering more for fish eaters than meat eaters these days. Having said that there was also plenty of choice and the meal was always finished off with coffee or tea. We did not use of the shore excursions advertised by P and O but instead did our own thing. We find using local services and hop on hop off buses suits us fine. All in all it was a good break but must say there was something missing although neither myself nor my husband can pinpoint what it was as except to say there did not seem to be the same sparkle as on previous cruises. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
This cruise was my 70th birthday celebration, a short cruise with 4 destinations. Because of the engine problems we were late getting to Vigo in Spain, Late to Lisbon and missed out Oporto in Portugal altogether. Very disapointed with ... Read More
This cruise was my 70th birthday celebration, a short cruise with 4 destinations. Because of the engine problems we were late getting to Vigo in Spain, Late to Lisbon and missed out Oporto in Portugal altogether. Very disapointed with this spent an extra day at sea, 4 days out of 7.The cabin we had had broken lampshades with holes in them and a chair that was threadbear with holes in the arms. We complained but only our cabin stewardess was interested and she fetched light shades from another cabin to replace the ones with holes. The food is definitely going down hill with P& O we have been on many cruises and this is noticable. The entertainment was average we spent an extra day at sea with not much to do.At Guernsey we waited 90 minutes to get on a tender ashore and an hour in the harbour to get back. Put us off cruising for good. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
Sailed from Southampton and on board for lunch in the Waterside buffet. We chose Freeedom dining, which gave us the opportunity to mix with different people each evening, so never a dull moment. The next day (at sea) proved to be really ... Read More
Sailed from Southampton and on board for lunch in the Waterside buffet. We chose Freeedom dining, which gave us the opportunity to mix with different people each evening, so never a dull moment. The next day (at sea) proved to be really rocky and by the evening we were experiencing high winds. Unfortunately, we missed out on Ibiza. The entertainment by the Headliners was first class. Before dinner most evenings, we took part in a quiz either in the Red Bar or the Exchange. On the 6 sea days, I attended the Ventura choir practice which resulted in a performance in the Atrium on the last evening. My husband attended the free art classes. The entertainment was provided by Ben Makisi,Lloyd (singer), Lloyd Davis (comedian), Peter Howarth (Hollies), Jeff Stevenson (comedian) and Helen Ward-Jackson. The day time speaker on past murders was not to our liking! Wish P & O would book something more suitable! The ports visited were:- Lisbon, (took a taxi to the Jesus Christ Statue over the River Tagus), Cadiz - walked along to the old fort of Castle of San Sebastian), Valencia - shuttle to main area and indoor market, Cartegena - boat trip around the harbour, Gibraltar and finally Vigo (unscheduled stop due to medical emergency). There was a chocoholics afternoon tea in the Bay Tree Restaurant one afternoon which was well received by all. We had dinner at the Beach House one evening, £7.50 cover cover but well worth it. The Headliners performed Jingle Bell Rock, which was their first ever performance. There was also a festive radio style pantomime. We also played numerous deck quoit competitions. The cruise was thoroughly enjoyable despite the rocky seas! Disembarkation was easy after breakfast in the main restaurant. Read Less
Sail Date December 2017
3 Nt cruise from Southampton to Zebrugger November 24th to 27th 2017. My partner and I have returned from a short cruise. I enjoy cruising and this was about my 20th cruise in 10 years. I felt the need to write this review as we felt ... Read More
3 Nt cruise from Southampton to Zebrugger November 24th to 27th 2017. My partner and I have returned from a short cruise. I enjoy cruising and this was about my 20th cruise in 10 years. I felt the need to write this review as we felt the service on board was sub standard. The ship itself is very tired looking but what really let us down was the service. I appreciate P & O do not offer a drinks package and advise drinks are of "pub" prices. If these are Pub prices than there that of London prices! We were charged £9.95 for a bloody Mary cocktail. The queues to be served in most of the bars were long. At lunchtime in the Buffet we had to search out and ask for a waiter to be served or offerred drinks. The tables around the swimming area on Deck 15 were often full of empty plates/cups, I seldom saw any member of staff cleaning as I have on other ships. The crew staff were not friendly, it was a rare occasion when any of them would say good morning/evening exc..... Disembarkment was a nightmare, we were advised to wait on deck 6 when we got there they said to go to deck 5 and then when we went down to deck 5 they said to go back up to Deck 6...this happened again and then finally we were told to go to the Cinimon restuarant to wait further instructions. When we did finally swipe our card leaving the ship we were asked by security to return to Reception. We had no idea why we were being recalled and unable to leave. We returned to the reception area to find out there was a computer glitch with there payment systems and although I had cleared our account with cash the night before, the system had deleted our payment card details which they required us to complete again. I questioned why this was being asked as we had paid our bill off night before but was advised the system lost a few members accounts...a computer glitch and they required this information before we could leave????. The ship was due to dock Southampton at 6am we did not dock due to ill weather until 10am. My partner suffered sea sickness in the night due to bad weather, this was mentioned to one of the staff members when we were asked to move downstairs to deck 5 from Deck 6 a second time. As soon as this was mentioned we were advised we HAD to go back to our rooms and contact the Nurse/Doctor because it could be the Nero virus. We did as instructed and waited for half hour for a nurse to contact the room when she decided to give us the all clear and allow us to leave the ship. In the end we were very thankful the cruise was only 3 nights and glad leave. Usually when I finish a cruise I look forward to planning the next one.......not this time. We will never sail with P & O again. Unhappy P & O customer From Swansea Wales Read Less
Sail Date November 2017
Cruise review - P&O Ventura 10th - 13th November 2017 Part One The Ventura if you haven’t been on it, is a ‘Grand Class’ ship and as such is pretty much identical in layout as The Azura and many of the Princess ships such ... Read More
Cruise review - P&O Ventura 10th - 13th November 2017 Part One The Ventura if you haven’t been on it, is a ‘Grand Class’ ship and as such is pretty much identical in layout as The Azura and many of the Princess ships such as The Grand, Emerald, Crown and Caribbean. Right, that’s the educational part of this review over...let’s get cracking with the nonsense. We were asked to go on this cruise to act as carers for our good friends, from Colchester...can’t say the names because one of them was supposed to be at work. For this reason, they shall be known as Betty and Barney. So, a relaxing three day cruise to look forward and we decided to make it a bit longer by going down to Southampton the night earlier and stayed at the Ageus Hilton, which is at Hampshire County Cricket Clubs ground. Very nice it is too. Being only three years old, the hotel is in excellent condition and certainly didn’t fall short of the standards that you would expect at a ‘proper’ Hilton Hotel. Dinner in ‘Beefy’s’ which is a very nice restaurant inspired ex England and Somerset cricketer, Ian Botham...some say ex Northants player Peter Willy would have been a better choice but that’s for you to decide. After a good nights sleep and we headed into Southampton the next morning and having some time to kill, we headed to the West Quay shopping centre (which is a bit like Bluewater on valium) Plenty of shops though, just like we have back in the civilised part of the country but ‘Next’, which is a clothes shop in Lakeside, is actually a funeral parlour in Southampton...who knew?!? A cheeky Costa then it’s time to head towards the port to get the ship. We knew a few P&O Cruise Fans would be on board, including the Litherlands from beyond the wall (Wildlings to you and me) Zoe and Carl who said they were going to be on the ship but I think they literally got on just to get their P&O Cruise Fans hoodies then jumped off again...can’t think of any other reason people would avoid me for three days! (it’s not like they’re family!) After 17 cruises we finally got our first upgrade!...we had booked an inside cabin on deck 15 but ended up with an outside stateroom somewhere in the basement but it was nice to have a window (especially with the waves lapping at it on the way back!) We met up with the Rubbles and the inevitable drinks started to flow, we commandeered the chaises long outside the Glass House and settled in for a session, Betty and Barney hit it hard and for octogenarians it was a pretty impressive sight! Leslieann, fresh from her memories of the first day on the Crown Princess in August with Betty and Barney restrained herself which meant she was awake for dinner a few hours later.... To be continued, I’m a bit tired and want some dinner... Cruise review - P&O Ventura 10th - 13th November 2017 Part Two Did I mention we got an upgrade?... Anyway, it's as if P&O had been monitoring my Facebook posts because our new cabin, was literally yards from the Costa coffee shop on deck 5! That was very handy and having never had a cabin that low on a ship before, I think I liked it, useful for the atrium, reception and prom decks etc - also far enough away from the buffet to make it good news for the FitBit steps quota! Dinner the first night was in the MDR, service was good, food was good and it was a pleasant experience. From there we sampled the casino which is much smaller on the Ventura than we are used to. After a quick dabble on the roulette table, Betty and Barney said they are too tired off to bed (10.30pm) Where these kids get their stamina from is anyone's guess! Day two was a sea day, which is completely unnecessary on a short trip to Zeebruge, we ended up going back and forth along the channel trying to kill time, in fact 24 hours after leaving Southampton, we were off the coast of Eastbourne! I'm trying to remember what we did on day two!...nothing memorable apparently...oh that's right, we went to the cinema, in the theatre which was showing a badly out of focus version of the new Planet of the Apes film, set somewhere in America where it is always snowing...fair play to P&O for making it a realistic experience by turning the aircon down to minus 30 degrees...then moaning when I start a small BBQ to try to defrost my decaf medium latte. The whole idea of going on this cruise was to celebrate Barney's 40th Birthday so we booked a table in Sindu (East) for some of Atul's finest food. We weren't disappointed, the food was excellent, as was the service, I went for a chicken curry thing as a starter then the chicken curry thing as a main, both tasted a bit chickeny to me, I'm wondering if they are starting to cut kormas in the kitchen? So we've just had our main courses and ordered desserts when the waiter appears out of nowhere with a massive cake and puts it down in front of me...without really looking, I point to Barney and say 'I think that's meant for birthday boy' It's then pointed out that the cake is actually for me and is a direct response from P&O Cruises for a post I had put on their Facebook wall regarding the new rules coming out in January! - I had asked if my dragon would still be allowed on the ship and was told that he would, as long as he only brings one bottle of booze with him. What great customer service from P&O!...this wasn't the first time they had responded onboard to comments made on Facebook!...I felt a bit bad about upstaging Barney who also had a small cake presented to him but it had been broken when he unknowingly dropped it on the floor in a carrier bag in the Red Bar beforehand! Dinner over, we talk about going to see a show but the old folks say they are too stuffed and tired and they are going to bed...9.45pm! To be continued...I have work to do! Cruise review - P&O Ventura 10th - 13th November 2017 Part Three Third and final part of the trilogy... After 38 hours at sea, we finally made our destination...in roughly the same time that The Pride of France ferry had made the journey 18 times from Dover! Anyway, a day in Bruge was our much awaited destination so Leslieann, me and the narcoleptics got a taxi into the heart of medieval cit. This cost about 50 euros each way and is a stress free way of doing it. The rain was falling as we got there so a quick stop in one of the many restaurants/cafes in the square for a coffee and a bite to eat (don't forget, it had been over 30 minutes since breakfast on the ship) I live about 20 minutes from Maidstone but worked out that I have actually been shopping in Bruge more times than I had there! Being a Sunday, not a lot was open, we were two weeks too early for the Christmas Market so it was a disappointment to miss out on that disgusting German creation, Gluvine. We wandered around in the rain perhaps regretting not asking the taxi driver to come back earlier than the 3.00pm time slot we had scheduled. So to kill time we popped into another eatery for a snack 9 euros for a plate of chips was the reward. We still had 45 minutes to kill when we left there so another wander down a closed high street and we spotted the taxi we had booked parked up, a full 20 minutes before time! - Never been happier to see a Belgian! Back to the port gates then, and onto a shuttle bus for the 200 yard journey to the ship! seriously! Heavy winds meant the sailing was delayed by about 45 minutes with the captain then announcing that with the forecast 70 knot winds, he couldn't guarantee to keep the ship upright! - maybe he could have worded that better?!? We met up with the Lagerlouts, sorry, Litherlands in the Glass House (or was that the day before?) (No it was Sunday, I remember now) It's interesting when you meet foreigners and listen to their funny accents. It turns out Sue Lagerlout is a bouncer at Mothercare in Warrington, Mike Lagerlout trains undercover goldfish for the Manchester Police and Rubella Lagerlout runs a protection racket in Oldham...who knew? Anyway...dinner was good, Barney didn't fall asleep in the sweetcorn this time but he was close to nodding off in the prawn cocktail. Dinner done, we thought we'd catch a show or go to the casino but the pint of lager had really done Barney in so he and Betty headed for bed, understandable really, given the hour we were getting back, in real time it was almost a quarter to nine... Leslieann Osborn and I did manage to catch a show at last!...we went to see Showmaddymaddy in the Cuban themed lounge at the back end of the ship...I'm not sure if these were the same guys who did the Badness show earlier in the cruise? My thoughts on the Ventura?...I like it, it's the same layout as the Azura but is looking a bit tired now, everything was good though, staff were friendly, service was pretty good and overall it was a good cruise. Tune in next month when I try 4 nights on the CMV Columbus from Tilbury! Read Less
Sail Date November 2017
We have cruised before with Royal Caribbean, Carnival and Cunard. We wanted a Southampton sailing, to a warm location, to coincide with our November wedding anniversary so this cruise fitted the bill. We were travelling without our ... Read More
We have cruised before with Royal Caribbean, Carnival and Cunard. We wanted a Southampton sailing, to a warm location, to coincide with our November wedding anniversary so this cruise fitted the bill. We were travelling without our children and are pre-disposed to be optimistic and generally expect to enjoy our holidays. We’d done a lot of research and thoroughly enjoyed this cruise. We used Parking4Cruises which were great value and very efficient. Embarkation at Mayflower was smooth although facilities are pretty basic we felt. We had a 3pm embarkation time and we were called at exactly 3pm. We went straight to our cabin, where we unpacked as cases had arrived. We opted for Freedom dining and were assigned Saffron. People we met said we could use Cinnamon as well. If so, this wasn’t made clear to us officially and we aren’t sure why you would want to anyway, as the menu is identical. We shared a table of 6 or 8 each night and met interesting people. Food was of a good, if not great, quality with about 6 choices of starter, main and dessert. There was an option for salad or soup too and we usually had coffee and cheese/biscuits too. Service was never rushed, one night it took over 2.5hrs but generally the meal was served at a sensible pace and we never had to wait for our wine for long. On the formal nights, the menu included a set menu option – although we later found out you could actually swap dishes around which would have been good to know before! We only used Waterside for the odd midnight snack – usually the cheese board had been decimated by then but there were hot options – pizza, sausage roll etc. Breakfast via Room Service was included in price (all other room service items carry a charge). It was always on time, sometimes 10 mins early in fact! Food was good quality although options are more limited than in the main dining rooms and did become a little restrictive – not enough to make us get up and go out for breakfast though :-) The tables for 2 in the main dining rooms were very close together so rather than dine alone when you aren’t really alone, we chose to dine in Epicurian, Glasshouse and Beach House. The food in these was of a better quality, more tasty with friendlier, more engaged service as clearly they have more time to spare. We also did the Paired menu in Glasshouse which we enjoyed. Be sure to book early in your cruise as places are limited to about 24 people and it only seems to happen about once a week. Our other Glasshouse dinner was tapas style and we enjoyed that greatly, though tempura batter was rather soggy. The wine flights served in the Glasshouse were fun to try too. The food in Saffron would have been fine for the whole 12 nights but we enjoyed all the other venues we tried. Prices for the Select Dining we felt to be towards the top of acceptable range except for the Pairing menu which was better value, at £30 each, as it included 5 small glasses of wine. One meal that exceeded our expectations bizarrely was afternoon tea in Saffron – which we think was available most, if not all, days. Proper clotted cream, mini scones, absolutely delicious tea cakes, fresh sandwiches and lots of hot tea made this a real highlight on the days we could manage it! It did not have the queue we remember from afternoon tea on Cunard (albeit there are no white gloves on P&O) and was nicer than Carnival or Royal Caribbean. On a negative note, we were not aware free icecream/cone was available – this is something we have enjoyed on previous cruises but P&O seem of offer a premium product at an additional charge only, or keep the free icecream hidden from our, admittedly not very diligent, search! We don’t think the ship was full, and it was not overly sunny on this cruise either, although it was warm, but we did not have issue finding a sun bed mid afternoon. Another thing we really liked was the dancing lessons. It might be that we had more opportunity to attend, as we were not travelling with our children this time, but it certainly felt like there were more classes offered. Seas days had line-dancing, two sessions with the dance instructors on a new dance each day and a daily session, with two of the Headliner dancers, on Salsa. We thoroughly enjoyed every session although the Headliners seemed much happier with everyone’s progress than the dance instructors! Only issue is that the Atrium floor is rather small for the number of people who wanted to join in the lessons. Many evenings, the dance instructors also offered dancing in the Atrium where they would tell you the dance for a piece of music and sometimes accompany someone without a partner. It was fun to watch and a good opportunity, for the brave, to practice the dances you’d been taught. In general, there were more activities offered than we could attend – partially because we were at the dancing lessons, but also because there seemed to be lots on offer that we were interested in – films, talks, quizzes, art, exercise classes, deck games and on top of all that, obviously the gym, eating, shopping, watching the shows/entertainers, drinking, reading, walking all the way round the ship on Deck 7 (Fabulous!), watching the ocean and afternoon napping! The evening entertainment and shows offered were so plentiful, that we often had to make a choice and usually it was a hard decision, as everything appealed. P&O’s own theatre company, the Headliners, were all talented dancers or singers who worked hard every show to give a West End worth performance. The guest entertainers were singers, impersonators, comedians and we enjoyed them all, along with the ship’s band – Serious Sounds – and the Ventura’s Orchestra too! However, we met people who did not like the entertainment. We think this must just be personal preference, or perhaps they have cruised a lot more than we have, as we often had an early dinner in order to make two of the shows each night (8.30 and 10.30) – they were that good! As previously said, we don’t think the ship was full and we could get seats in practically all the shows if we arrived 10 mins in advance – arriving 20 mins beforehand allowed us a choice of seats. We did not use the library but it was pleasant room with a good selection of books, certainly better than some of our previous cruises. The ship provided a brief, daily news update along with a crossword/Suduko. These can be collect from Deck 6 near the shops and a silent quiz (where the answers are on the back of the sheet, so you are only competing against yourself) could be found each day on the piano in the Red Bar. Generally, we found the service to be efficient but not overly friendly. Staff seemed content and helpful but did not naturally smile as we moved around the ship. There were exceptions – the Headliners /dance instructors always smiled at us, staff in the shops were friendly and we found the staff in Tazzine quite unhelpful – possibly as they were having to work with a silly system requiring us to order coffee from a waiter/waitress but queue up to order cake! This cruise occurred outside school holidays but there were some children on board – both pre-school and those we estimated to be of school age. They caused no issues to our cruise – indeed we were rarely even aware they were on board, except in the Beach House, which is directly under the children’s club and we could hear the stamping and running of small feet above us as we dined. The Captain (Simon Terry) seemed very personable and I enjoyed his occasional tannoy briefings. The ship suffered two power failures during our cruise – once late afternoon for about 30 mins and then on another morning so only continental breakfast was available for a couple of hours. I appreciated that the Captain gave the tannoy updates – we felt it showed he took responsibility and he was clear they were trying to find the source of the problem, as they did not know what the issue was, though my husband thought he apologised too heartily – though we thought that may well be because he knows how quickly some of his passengers will complain! We had been aware the Bay of Biscay (BOB) can be very unpleasant – all our previous cruises have been blessed with calm seas (and avoided BOB) but fortunately, the Bay was calm for both our crossings this time. There was some rolling along the west coast of Spain and Portugal both ways. The Captain did indicate that the seas were expected to be a little rougher, so that if you were prone to sickness you had fair warning to take a tablet. I took Sturgeon, and my husband decided to take nothing, and we were both fine. Disembarkation was fairly smooth though there were no seats left in our designated lounge when we arrived 30 mins before the stated time. We got up at 7, finished packing, breakfasted with our hand luggage at 8 in Bay Tree (where a full breakfast service was offered), went to our designated lounge at 8.50 and started disembarkation at 9.10 finally getting off ship at 9.30. Parking4cruises had automatically been aware we were returning to a different terminal from embarkation, so once our cases had been swiftly retrieved from Ocean terminal (there were plenty of free trolleys), we walked the short distance to pick up our car from the short-term carpark. Despite lots of research we list below the things it would have been good to know: • Set menus in the main dining rooms – are not fixed. You can swap dishes for other menu options if you want. • Carpet on the stairs is brown at the front of ship, red in middle and grey at back – that really helped! • Winning a quiz or activity earns you a stamp which can then be exchanged for a gift at the end of the cruise. Our one win earned a nice pen and key ring so, in our estimation, the prizes on P&O are better than other lines have offered us. • Shampoo, conditioner and body lotions (all 100ml) weren’t replaced. Bring extra unless the higher prices, and very limited selection, in the on board shops are acceptable. • Photos taken by the ship’s photographers can be viewed on the terminals under “Portraits”. However, you do need to know where your photo taken and it might not be obvious – for example Gold 5. So be sure to ask your photographer the name of your location each time you have a photo taken. Alternatively, there is a option once you locate one picture for the system to retrieve related images – using, no doubt, some very clever facial recognition software. However, if you take this option, we found any side on photos were missed – presumably because the half faces did not bear enough resemblance to the original photo!! We also heard, but have no personal experience that: 1. The Waterside buffet restaurant got very busy, with jostling and some difficulty in finding seats. 2. The spa passes on this ship gave you access to very limited facilities, i.e. no pool and the steam room/sauna that were available to spa pass holders only, were out of service for a number of days. Certainly the lady we spoke to felt it was not worth buying spa passes on Ventura (although if the ship was full, and getting sunbeds was an issue, then the pass might be more worthwhile but certainly not for the facilities offered otherwise.) Ports: Lisbon – berthed at Santa Apolonia which was a very short walk into the main area. We took a “free” walking tour with Lisbon Chill Out Tours. It was a good, and fun, introduction to this pretty, hilly city. Tenerife – berthed in Santa Cruz port – it’s quite a walk to get out of the port (10-15 mins) but you are then in town. A shuttle was provided. We wandered taking in this pretty city, visiting Jardin Garcia Sanabria, along the lovely tree lined streets (for example Las Ramblas) finishing up with a very enjoyable visit to the Palmetum and a walk back along the seafront to the ship. We did not depart until 10pm and it was lovely to watch the lights twinkle and disappear as we sailed away. Gran Canaria – berthed right in Santa Cruz again with an easy walk to the new part of town. Did not make it far as the old town, which was perhaps a shame as the new town has little to recommend it beyond bars and shops, though it does have a nice beach if that is your thing. La Palma – took a ship excursion to drive buggies in the centre of this steep, green island. We thoroughly enjoyed it - if I found it a little nerve-wracking, my husband loved it. There was plenty of time on our return to walk into the main town which was the prettiest of all 3 Canary Islands we visited. Much was closed as it was Sunday but we still spent a very pleasant hour wandering. Madeira – possibly our favourite port as we visited 20 years ago, and it was nice to reminisce. There are lots of things to do very close to the port. We visited Blandy’s for Madeira wine tasting, followed by a visit to the Story Centre and then a walk literally down memory lane. In summary - Our research indicated the some people felt Ventura was tired and food/entertainment was poor. Clearly if you have been cruising for a long time, things may well be getting worse but from our fairly new point of view, this was a wonderful, memorable holiday. We would certainly sail with P&O again.....though I suspect we will try another new line next time – it seems to be our theme! Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
We have cruised with P&O many times; this would be our second two night cruise break, it came up to expectations! Embarkation/Disembarkation The ship was using the Ocean Terminal in Southampton. The terminal works very well at ... Read More
We have cruised with P&O many times; this would be our second two night cruise break, it came up to expectations! Embarkation/Disembarkation The ship was using the Ocean Terminal in Southampton. The terminal works very well at getting people through as quickly as possible. Most people were carrying on the luggage which simplified things. The terminal was particularly noisy, and had a party atmosphere, we even saw a chap dressed as a bride with boots on! The only slight hold up is having to complete the health questionnaire on arrival, why not offer it for download from the Cruise Personaliser. P&O complicate this by giving you a boarding time, ours is 15:30, it is always a late time whatever P&O cruise we take! We decided to aim for 13:30, and only had to wait around until 14:00 before being called to check-in. We arrived at our cabin by 14:15. Disembarkation is equally efficient. Instructions are dropped off at your cabin on Saturday. We went to the open seating breakfast (served between 07:00 and 09:00), getting in there before the eight o’clock rush. After breakfast, back to the cabin to pick up the bags, then join the queue to get off This moved fairly quickly and we were off 08:20, and joined the queue for a local taxi to the train station. Dining On the first night we ate in Sindhu, had a really good meal in there, soft shell crab to start and then a selection of curies to follow. The service in there is particularly good. We had opted for Freedom Dining which gives great flexibility, but it can get busy at peak times, the best strategy is to be prepared to share a table (requesting a table for two will probably result in being given a pager). We ate in the Saffron Restaurant; we also used it for breakfast. On the second night we met up with friends and shared a table for four. The Saffron Restaurant is very big, but the service is good. The breakfast choices in the MDR are comprehensive, but I don’t think the choice has changed in the 10 years we have been sailing with P&O. Bars Lots of bars as you would expect, some with an emphasis on gin. There is a wide selection of craft gins available in the Red Bar. Most drinks at pub prices, but if you want more than two glasses of wine a bottle of the house (white in our case) is an economical option at £16. Breakers Bar on the Sun Deck was always busy, and on this cruise some of the passengers were shouting at the staff for service. The Glasshouse offers a quieter venue. Cabin Our cabin was port rear on deck 10 (C510), it was a good size; it is described as a superior balcony. The décor and fittings were in reasonable shape. Between the bathroom and main room is a spacious hanging area that really works well. The beds are high enough to take some pretty big suitcases underneath. The balcony is a good size and does have an overhang. Our steward was very cheerful, but we did not have time to get to know her. This cabin was very quiet, nothing rattled. If we had been on a longer cruise we would have asked for the pillows to be changed, they were like paving slabs. Entertainment There was plenty going on, but we stuck to the bars! Photography We went to a reception in Tamarind and the photographers went to great trouble to get a good group photograph which we purchased fro £12. Ports of Call Zeebrugge – Belgium Nothing in particular planned for this day. We caught the shuttle bus into Blankenberge, walked to the marina, then out along the pier and back along the sea front to the top of the main shopping street. Lunch was moules and bread; there was a problem with the fries! Next we bought some chocolate and went back to the ship. Anything Else? Much as expected these cruises breaks are intense and lively, it helped that we had been on the ship before and knew where everything was. There were lots of groups on board, not just stag and hen parties, but birthdays and anniversaries as well. We even got to meet Poppy from Bolsover Cruise Club (our TA) at a get together! We had expected the formal night to be the second night, but it was the first (apparently so the photographers could take and sell more formal prints). It is nice to be able to carry on and off your bags; it makes embarkation and disembarkation much quicker. Read Less
Sail Date September 2017
I was only aboard the Ventura for a weekend cruise - less than 40 hours. We were celebrating a birthday, and as such for us the trip was really more about making use of the ship's various, delightful-sounding bar and restaurant ... Read More
I was only aboard the Ventura for a weekend cruise - less than 40 hours. We were celebrating a birthday, and as such for us the trip was really more about making use of the ship's various, delightful-sounding bar and restaurant facilities. I would heartily recommend this ship for fans of queuing and waiting. If you're into those, you are in for a treat! Huge lines to get into restaurants - queuing all the way up the stairs to the next deck. Huge queues for the formal photographs. Queues are reception, as one person mans the desk and phones ring off the hook around them. Chaos, basically. A typical interaction with a member of the serving staff on board the Ventura might look something like this: You approach a bar, behind which are two or three people frantically preparing drinks. A waiter dashes up to you, to intercept your attempt to order at the bar. The waiter takes your order. Five minutes later, the waiter returns to take your cruise card. Around 10 minutes later, your drinks arrive. This might sound like an exaggeration, but at one point I waited 25 minutes for a coffee. In a deserted bar. The restaurants were no better - one person assigned to take drinks for a restaurant full with 100+ people. The wine waitress was so stressed and busy that at one point rather than topping up my wine, she just emptied the bottle into it. The fundamental problem seems to me that they were attempting to provide a silver service experience, with greasy-spoon levels of staff training. The food itself was fine, nothing special. The Beach House was absolutely not worth the additional supplements (a cover charge AND supplements on the food), particularly considering its decor and vibe - think school canteen. The ventura has the potential to be a great experience, and perhaps on longer cruises there are more staff laid on. But if this cruise had been any longer than two nights, I'd have found myself wanting to abandon ship halfway through. Read Less
Sail Date September 2017
When I opened the door to cabin R 751 on the 14th floor Riviera deck, my heart jumped with joy.Why was this cabin still available when I booked the cruise just a few days before departure,I asked myself.What can be wrong with it?The ... Read More
When I opened the door to cabin R 751 on the 14th floor Riviera deck, my heart jumped with joy.Why was this cabin still available when I booked the cruise just a few days before departure,I asked myself.What can be wrong with it?The balcony in the very corner of the starboard side with the whole of the ship spread ahead,utter perfection.Now, I always book a cabin with a balcony,whether I travel alone or with a friend, as I love sunbathing in the nude.Seeing quite a substantial overhang I knew the sun would not be on the balcony much,but nothing could spoil my delight.Knowing I would be able to "freedom dine" and get a little table to myself every evening,the cabin was the cherry on the proverbial cake.And what a cake, what a cherry.Mary,a trainee room attendant,did her best to make me happy,but as long as I have a comfortable bed [and it was] ,cleanliness around me [and there was],the food is well prepared and nicely presented [ and neither the cooks nor the waiters disappoint],I am happy.True, the ship is in need of refurbishment, the towels are threadbare, often stained,as is the carpet throughout,but nothing could spoil the overwhelming sense of contentment.Sitting in the evenings with my chromebook near atrium ,listening to music,drinking non-alcoholic coctails was wonderful.I chose the cruise because I wanted to see the lovely Oporto again and the always enjoyable Lisbon,with Guernsey thrown i for good measure,feeling disappointed our first stop was Vigo.But this time in Vigo I stayed near the port and walked in the shopping centre.There I discovered the best little pastry shop I have ever been to on a cruise - it is by the elevator going up to the first floor.The pastries there are divine.Vigo, I take back everything unbecoming I have said about you in the past!Yes, I had a lovely,lovely time on Ventura. Read Less
Sail Date August 2017
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

Find a Cruise

Easily compare prices from multiple sites with one click