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5 Southampton to Cruise to Nowhere P&O Cruises Ventura Cruise Reviews

Having perused the reviews before we left, I was a bit unsure as to whether my best mate had made the right choice for this one......How wrong I was!!!! A fantastic ship, with the staff being more than helpful, even when I had an ... Read More
Having perused the reviews before we left, I was a bit unsure as to whether my best mate had made the right choice for this one......How wrong I was!!!! A fantastic ship, with the staff being more than helpful, even when I had an accident and ended up in a wheelchair for the weekend! The food and service for the whole duration, was second to none, and the prices were more than reasonable. Our check in was swift and slick, and nothing was too much trouble for our cabin steward. I stayed in a balcony room (5th deck, I think) and it was immaculate from start to finish. Didn't go ashore in Bruges, as I've been there before. Still, plenty to do on board. Disembarkation was smooth, and the food was excellent! It shows that the ship has undergone a major refurb since 2013, and I wouldn't hesitate to go again. Read Less
Sail Date February 2016
Picked a mini cruise as a cheaper alternative than flying to Bruges (with airport travel, hotels etc it's very affordable method to just take the mini-cruise!). We've been on Azura for a week to Norway so knew what to expect. ... Read More
Picked a mini cruise as a cheaper alternative than flying to Bruges (with airport travel, hotels etc it's very affordable method to just take the mini-cruise!). We've been on Azura for a week to Norway so knew what to expect. Plus we had a £100 voucher to use up. So-- it's good, considering what you pay. Having an inside cabin (what's the point of a balcony on such a short trip?), we were please with the accommodation. Actually felt larger than I had prepared for. Good dressing area and the shower isn't terribly tight (and I'm a big lad!. Fellow guests were fine in the main although it's going to be the case that on these trips you get people who would never normally cruise and that includes a large number of parties (stag/hen/birthday). The atmosphere on deck is extremely different and largely about drinking. Neither of us drink and to be honest we found that a little off-putting. Having sailed on the sister ship we knew the tricks (such as head away from main areas, eat in the alternative restaurant near the buffet for free and go straight to the bar on the top deck for drinks)- all the things others may not work out until later in their trip. Makes for a comfortable spacious experience. Embarkation was fine as was finding Bruges at the other end. I'd worried about the complication but need not have. You take the free shuttle to Blankenburg and from there buy a very affordable return train ticket to Bruges (at the weekend that was 4euro each!). Fab dual deck trains- quite fun. And to be honest everyone else is doing the same so follow the crowd! From Bruges station its a 20 minute walk to the tourist area which is fine on foot. Not sure this is one for the wheelchair user (that might be a silly assumption, so do your own homework on that). Bruges itself is a beauty. Despite the rain, river trip (about 8euro I think) and listening to the bells in the square was a perfect little day out. Ventura itself is fine. Very clean. Lovely areas. Hated the Glasshouse (because it's so beautiful on Azura and here it's just a half converted area that lacks style entirely). Food a problem in Glasshouse, not up to par with previous experience. Standard Freedom restaurant was fine. I'm sure everyone's said it before but with party-people onboard (some of whom are bored onboard!) this isn't a quiet and relaxing trip. IF you have an edge of snobbery about you (be fair, some of us do!), you're going to freak out a little. I saw one couple making use of the Retreat area-- could have done that in better weather to escape entirely. However, nobody was drunk to the point of illness (that I saw) and it was all in the aim of good fun. I might never forget being approached by a young lady and being asked for a smoke while she interrogated me about the destination however--- "Bruges, so is that in Europe-- Is South America in Europe--- so are we passing Ireland???" I am guessing she might not have been travelling for the sake of getting anywhere. My advice in summary: Don't take a mini-cruise to experience cruising. Do take a mini-cruise to get to a fine city for the weekend and leave your normal world behind for a bit. Top marks to P&O for the important things (feeding us all, cleaning the ship, having some fun). Do take the kids- what an amazing weekend for them, it's still very exciting to take a little trip like this. Only true complaint and it's a tiny one: We are AA so we really like the mocktails in the Metropolis bar. Why take their menu away on the mini-cruise and replace it with only alcohol? Well, we know why-- to keep them all drinking. To be fair it was brought on request but taken away again every time we'd ordered. Odd. Would we sail P&O again-- maybe. We're a bit bored of it after two experiences (Venture and Azura) and we might be the kind of people seeking something more refined. Cunard is next on the list (following an amazing Crystal, one terrible MSC, three 'ok' NCL and two average P&O). PS- I'm gluten intollerant and found everythind I needed (this time!) Oh... and if you are having a hen do-- go for it, looks like a giggle x   Read Less
Sail Date September 2013
This cruise was booked as a joint stag/hen party. My son proposed to his girlfriend on this 2 day cruise to Bruge last year and she accepted. The wedding is in 3 weeks. They decided they'd like a joint cruise again with all their ... Read More
This cruise was booked as a joint stag/hen party. My son proposed to his girlfriend on this 2 day cruise to Bruge last year and she accepted. The wedding is in 3 weeks. They decided they'd like a joint cruise again with all their mates and some of the family to celebrate. The ages ranged from about 20 to 60, and a great time was had by all!!! Me and my husband have cruised a few times before with Celebrity to the Caribbean, but we did realise that the cruise we were on was not comparable due to the large amount of hen and stag parties aboard, all looking for a good time with lots to drink!!! And boy did they drink, they danced, they joked, were loud and had so much fun!!! In fact my sons mate, became quite a Celebrity doing his own version of Peter Andree's mysterious girl and a Mick Hucknall song while in the hot tub, everyone on deck joined in, it was great. From then on, he became known by us and loads of passengers as 'Hot tub guy'...LOL We have to say the general service was pretty poor, they have waiters everywhere asking to take your drink orders, then you have to wait 20 minutes for it to arrive, because they only seemed to have a couple of bartenders behind the bar, even in the crowded venues. Also trying to purchase photo's was a complete shambles with 2 girls trying to serve people, which resulted in huge queues, which completely blocked the entire area. We gave up in the end, and didn't bother to purchase any for this reason. (About an hours wait) We found the casino quite small after the Celebrity ships, but as we were only on board for a couple of days this didn't bother us (we normally like a flutter). The food in the main dining rooms was very average and I have to say wasn't a patch on Celebritys. Hurried, disorganised service, food luke warm at best, the accompanying veggies tended to arrive about 10 minutes after my rack of lamb was served, then to add insult, what could only have been a bright orange/yellow potato croquet was served to me, looking like it had just come off of the shelf at Iceland....not sure what that was all about, but hardly fine dining!!! We ordered drinks well before our starters and these arrived when we were just finishing our desserts. The main dining room wasn't anywhere near as glam as the Celebrity ships. But having said this P&O do a really good English brekky, but with the usual - people milling about with trays of food, unable to find a table to sit at. We had room R254 on the Riviera deck, we were not overlooked from above. All ok, except the fridge didn't work, we did report it but nothing happened, and the TV remote had a mind of its own, not really a problem on a 2 dayer, but I would have wanted these little niggles sorted on a longer trip. Getting off was a complete disorganised shambles, we queued for 3/4's of an hour, through winding corridors, with our luggage. We spoke to a member of the crew, and asked if it was always this bad, she replied only on the booze cruises, as the company cut back on the amount of staff, which explained the slow drinks service................. You really have to take this 2 day cruise for what it is, everyone on board was calling it the booze cruise, which to be honest it was. If you accept it as that you'll have a great laugh and a really good time!!!! We felt it was like an old fashioned beano....LOL..... In fact we're all planning to do it all again next year......... Read Less
Sail Date May 2013
Our cruise from Southampton to Bruge, a two day taster cruise that left on the 25th March 2011 and returned on the 27th March and cost us £350 per person plus extras, was a big disappointment I'm sorry to say. As quite experienced ... Read More
Our cruise from Southampton to Bruge, a two day taster cruise that left on the 25th March 2011 and returned on the 27th March and cost us £350 per person plus extras, was a big disappointment I'm sorry to say. As quite experienced cruisers we wanted to taste the delights of P.& O. which we thought would be a real treat and cut above the others (Royal Caribbean and Princess). From the very beginning organisation was a real issue. We arrived at the cruise terminal (Southampton) to be handed the colour coded cards with letters on, with no explanation as to the procedure other passengers filled us in, and over an hour later waiting in a huge hot hanger (please please tell me that's air conditioned in summer ?) we were called. Then you que for check in, then you que for security now I understand that some queing when dealing with 3000+ passengers must be inevitable but there are ways to handle large groups with courtesy and tact rather than making them feel like cattle, and this was not attempted here.We arrived on board and a few staff were "hanging around" and we managed to find out where are cabin was ,but on previous cruises this has been handled as a warm welcome with smiles and grace, not so here.Best Bit of cruise was the brass band on the dock which played us off, magic. Our cabin was adequate, with furnishings as expected but the overall feel was that the decor, fabrics and flooring were very tired. A small TV on which little information was ever displayed and PAY per view films ! unlike Princess or Royal Caribbean where the latest movies run for free, with plenty of choice of other channels and information is updated daily in a rolling show recorded by the cruise director. (Dont even think P&O have a cruise director).In the bathroom were decent size toiletries, but a shower curtain rather than a door. In the Room were tea and coffee making facilities and a fresh daisy, all small nice touches. On the balcony, nice furniture two loungers, one foot stool (every one else had two??) and an occasional table (what do occasional tables do the rest of the time? [I digress]).We went for a wander around the ship and came back to find our case had been left outside someone else's cabin, luckily we walked past that particular cabin so reclaimed our case !!! can you imagine the problems we could have had had we not been lucky enough to spot it?There was no explanation of where we could eat (this was the major problem of this cruise there was never any information or help or organisation), we ended up on the deck eating hot dogs and burgers although, I believe, we could have eaten a nice afternoon tea in the buffet but no one told us!The restaurant was pleasant, the food and service excellent, we had first sitting 6.30pm and a table with two other couples and although we were strangers we got on well and I have no complaints about the restaurant and my partner was pleased to note that on the formal night people were denied access to the dining room if they were not adhering to the specified dress code. The breakfast (which we took in the buffet on deck 15) was also excellent with masses of choice and very nice food. My partner had full English and I had continental with fruit and yogurt all lovely and well presented. We will give credit where credit is due the staff and food served on this ship were top notch.The entertainment on board for this two night cruise were awful, a bad comedian, two X-factor rejects, a sub standard tribute to the four tops and a George Micheal tribute act. I hope that normally on longer cruises the shows would be good but might have expected at £350 a head for two nights we deserved better. The crew also seemed to think this was a "Party Cruise" nobody billed it as a party cruise when we booked it, it was described as a "Taster" and we expected a taste of P.& O.'s usual standards.Bruge and the shore excursion- We booked the four hour tour, boat ride and shopping advertised as "A Taste Of Bruge" £40 a head.Our coach was half an hour late leaving the ship due to lots of chatting and checking lists by the P&O staff, so we were instantly late starting our walking tour. No problem for the guide who was 6'4" with a stride to match and decided to do the whole thing at top speed with no "comfort stops", in the end three of us ladies had to demand a toilet break which went down very badly and he went into a complete sulk when half the group decided not to continue with the tour and make their own way back to the ship (at considerable expense). If I were you I would book the "Bruge at your own pace" (£28)which is basically a transfer to and from the ship and look round Bruge at your leisure. A lady however told me that this was also fraught with disaster for some people as when they went to get the buses back, some how the buses filled before every one who had paid were seated on them. The driver of the last bus refused to carry these passengers, despite their having tickets and turning up in good time ( one was even in a wheelchair), and left them to make their own way back to the ship, ten miles away. Perhaps to make your own way to and from Bruge via the train is the best option as many more experienced passengers did. Bruge by the way is lovely. The boat "driver" we had was very funny and we tipped him because he was the best bit of the tour.Disembarkation- We have been on many cruises and are used to the system, you keep the bare essentials with you and put your main case(s) outside the night before you dock. In the morning those who want to get off quick (and didn't put their cases out the night before) get off first. Then the others are kept in different lounges and called in order (usually colour coded) to avoid chaos, no one ques for longer than necessary and you wait in comfort! That's how they do it on other ships, not here though, lip service was paid to the organised way, we waited for the calls for disembarkation but after nothing for an half an hour my partner went to find out what was happening. He was told by a member of staff that they'd abandoned any attempt at organisation and everyone was now queing (3000+ people) to leave the ship by one gang plank!!! madness which we then had to join. What a rubbish way to end a rubbish weekend. Everyone was hot,tired and very fed up, it didn't have to be like that, the fact that the ship was late docking should not have caused this chaos.When we got home a P.&O. brochure was awaiting us, and leafing through I was amazed to find that this ship is only 3 years old, it has not aged well. It needs a deep clean and preferably a complete refurbishment, it needs someone to organise the staff and provide more information, where are the little cards with maps of the ship ? (so handy on other cruises we've been on). The staff need to up their game be polite and informative (one spoke to me so rudely he alone would have put me off P.& O. single handedly) the general attitude seemed to be it's only a two day cruise we dont give a damn about the passengers. You will not be surprised that we will not be travelling with P.& O. again and are having our next cruise with Princess, they know how to treat their customers (and we've already booked it).It saddens me that a great British company has been reduced to this. Read Less
Sail Date March 2011
Ventura Canaries July 2008 This is our fourth cruise the last on being with the century of the celebrity line to the Baltic, great ship great cruise, so I thought at£3000 more the p and o Ventura would be fantastic, I was wrong! ... Read More
Ventura Canaries July 2008 This is our fourth cruise the last on being with the century of the celebrity line to the Baltic, great ship great cruise, so I thought at£3000 more the p and o Ventura would be fantastic, I was wrong! Firstly the reception at Southampton was poor, We arrived 4 hours early due to flights, we were ignored for 3 1/2 hours the facilities were very poor with no one willing or able to take our bags, there were about 5o people in the same boat. When I asked if we could sit some where sit, could someone take our bags? I was told by one of there reps what I already knew, we were early and no they couldn't take the bags, but were we excited? Em no! Disappointed, uncomfortable yes, excited ,no. It did not impress us particularly as other people were getting the 5 star treatment, future customers apparently, to see if they would book for future trips Those of us that had parted with their hard earned money well they could just wait outside! The Ship The ship its big too big ,it rolls like an old man on skates,even on a milk pond if windy it cant get into some ports because its too big,(we missed Lanzarote). It's also too big because they is a staff ratio of only 1/3 on all other ships we have been on its been 1/2 this means that the cabins are tided, not really cleaned The public areas ,particularly the public toilets are disgusting, with poo on the seats and floor! This is the only ship I have been on where they do not insist you use hand gel When entering the main dining, so prepare for tummy upset down the line There are not enough sun-beds and they were so desperate to fill the ship i think they have let anyone on, a friend of mine has experienced fing and blinding over sun-beds with the only pool patrols being waiters selling drinks. There are several pools and one we use had enough chlorine to turn the kids eyes red and their swimmers green. There is no sign of security to keep an eye on some who look like they would be happier on a beach in Ibiza. The British staff are as pleasant and helpful as you would find at Woolworths the Filipino and Indian staff are much better as are the spa and internet staff. A word of warning the camera memory card viewer wiped out half my photographs and damaged the card, apparently that was my fault! The food is good but the dining experience, in fact everything is not as good as our previous Celebrity cruise. To sum up too big too dirty, too bad ,P and O have got it badly wrong and their Customer service is very poor, the loading manager was very rude and unhelpful to my wife when we were disembarking, funny that! Read Less
Sail Date July 2008
Ventura Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.2
Dining 4.0 3.9
Entertainment 4.0 3.7
Public Rooms 4.0 4.0
Fitness Recreation 4.0 3.9
Family 4.0 3.9
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.5
Enrichment 3.0 3.3
Service 4.0 4.0
Value For Money 4.0 3.6
Rates 3.0 3.9

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