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83 Southampton P&O Cruises Ventura Cruise Reviews

This was just a weekend away with friends, we have been on this ship a couple of times before, which hasn't been any where as good as it should have been, but we thought just for a couple of days, it'll be fine, we were very ... Read More
This was just a weekend away with friends, we have been on this ship a couple of times before, which hasn't been any where as good as it should have been, but we thought just for a couple of days, it'll be fine, we were very disappointed. The balcony room was nice, it was clean and nicely decorated, this is where it started to go wrong, the room steward came into the room and announced himself, giving his name and asked if there was anything we wanted just to let him know, so I said, oh yes please, could you please get some decaffeinated tea bags or caffeine free fruit teas for he room as I was allergic to caffeine, he practically jumped down my throat and said " No, you'll have to get them yourself" I replied, "sorry, I've always asked for decaf tea or fruit tea and it has never been a problem before", " No, you have to get them yourself, the chef has told us we not allowed to get them you have to get them yourself" I was shocked, I know that P&O aren't the best cruise liner for service etc but this was crazy, I was obviously not happy but he just carried on with his explanation of the room and muster station, and then just left, I was really cheesed off. If this had been the only problem we'd had it would have been enough to make me a bit fed up, but it didn't stop there, the service in the dining room was terrible, I wasn't allowed to have the drink I wanted because the drinks waiter would have had to go somewhere else to get it, but the party sharing our table all had their drinks fetched, then being vegetarian (which they were pre-warned about) I got my food after everyone else and it was stone cold, it took over 15 minutes to get anyone to actually come over and sort it out as all the waiters could see there was a problem, but just walked off or pretended they hadn't noticed, and other guests had received just as bad service on other tables. The cruise itself was just as bad, the destination was great, if you wanted to pay extra to get anywhere near the centre which was the whole point of the cruise in the first place, we had to get a tram then bus and train to get to where we were supposed to be visiting, on the whole a very disappointing cruise and I would definitely have to think more than twice about booking with P&O again. Read Less
Sail Date February 2016
My brother, sister in law and myself took our mum on this cruise for her 80th birthday. We visited Amsterdam and Zebrugge. The cruise ship has zero wow factor. The buffet dining area is similar to that of a 2/ 3* hotel. The waiter service ... Read More
My brother, sister in law and myself took our mum on this cruise for her 80th birthday. We visited Amsterdam and Zebrugge. The cruise ship has zero wow factor. The buffet dining area is similar to that of a 2/ 3* hotel. The waiter service in the main restaurant is also poor. Staff were miserable and unwelcoming, everything seemed too much effort. After 15 minutes on one morning, we had to get up and ask for some tea and a menu as nobody had been to our table. One evening, we were told that we would have a 30-40 minute wait to be seated and told we could go and wait in a bar with a pager, not easy when mum has mobility problems. The food was, at best, ok. The ship was cold, I mean cold,with everybody walking around inside with either fleece tops or coats. Even in the spa, when I asked if the room could be made warmer, I was told that many people had already complained but nothing could be done as the temperature was controlled by the bridge. Not great when having a full body massage. The staff at the spa however were excellent. The daytime programme was dire, with very little to do. On a plus note, the evening entertainment was very good every evening with an excellent comedian on 2 nights. The cabin, a twin inside, was very comfortable with plenty of room. Read Less
Sail Date February 2016
My husband and I booked this cruise as we have never traveled with P&O before. We have however traveled with Cunard, Princess and MSC and didn't think P&O would be a lower star rating. Prior to the cruise, we found that the ... Read More
My husband and I booked this cruise as we have never traveled with P&O before. We have however traveled with Cunard, Princess and MSC and didn't think P&O would be a lower star rating. Prior to the cruise, we found that the customer services were particularly unhelpful and quite curt unlike the other companies we have traveled with When we arrived at Southampton, we were very surprised at the chaos in the the terminal however after a few hours people started to embark and we were left to find our own way on board and to the cabin. The balcony cabin was standard size and lay out as expected however cleanliness did not seem to be a priority. Furnishings were of poor standard, wall panels loose and lifting from the wall, unclean bedding, dusty and generally of a poor standard. The bathroom was of standard size with usual toiletries however the shower had cracked walls with cracked, smelly and spongy base, mold and mildew visible even on the wall mounted bottle of shower gel. The rest of the ship followed same pattern of general lack of maintenance and cleanliness. Staff appeared to be left to their own devices and as such service was poor. Food in the restaurant was average if not poor, waiters lacked personal hygiene which made it an unpleasant place to eat. We did however have a meal in the Glass house, which was very good and with good service, although this did incur extra cost. My husband has previously worked on board cruise ships and was very disappointed to see dirty public areas, even more concerned when we saw electric sockets hanging off the walls. He actually commented that Steam Packet ferry to the Isle of Man has higher standards of cleanliness and service throughout the public and cabin areas. I did speak to the captain in person and passed this information onto him, and although he did apologize there was no attempt to improve even our cabin cleanliness. All in all thoroughly disappointed and will in future not travel with P&O as it seems to be the very lowest end of the cruise market. Read Less
Sail Date February 2016
P&O Ventura January 2016 Caribbean Cruise. This is our third P&O Cruise in the past three years. We have sailed on the Oriana and Oceana so know roughly what to expect. We normally cruise on Cunard and still prefer them to ... Read More
P&O Ventura January 2016 Caribbean Cruise. This is our third P&O Cruise in the past three years. We have sailed on the Oriana and Oceana so know roughly what to expect. We normally cruise on Cunard and still prefer them to P&O. As this was for 18 nights we decided a Superior cabin would be more appropriate as we anticipated spending a lot of time in the cabin. Our embarkation time was 1.30 pm, and received a letter from P&O asking us to keep to this time to avoid any queues. Our taxi arrived at 1.20 pm and the queue for boarding was outside the terminal for 100 yds or so and growing. Took us 20 mins or so just to get inside the terminal. Once inside it can only be described as a joke. Just how many years have P&O been operating , cant they get this right. Once on board we arrived at our cabin. Have to say first impression was good. Nice decor quite roomy and a full size (if you are small) bath. Luggage arrived quickly and we soon unpacked went to explore the ship. After the safety drill at our muster station we went back to the cabin for a drink before we got ready for dinner. I suppose this is the point we started to notice how tired the cabin was. The carpet was heavily stained by the doors and looked grubby. The toilet seat was stained a dark yellow around the rim (disgusting). The bath looked stained on the bottom, but on closer inspection at had some sort of varnish that was peeling off giving the impression of a stain. Several marks on the walls and furniture. The cabin had definitely seen better days. OK off to sample the freedom dinning. Table for two requested so was given a pager and had to wait 30 mins or so. The table for two was a long padded bench with 8 ish small tables with the bench seat on on side and a chair on the other. Tables about 12 inches or so apart. Food was bland and not a good dining experience. I think we only dined in the main restaurant a handful of times. We mostly dined in the Beach house and other venues where there was a cover charge, much more enjoyable. Did notice these venues got busier towards the end of the cruise. Room service menu very limited. Have noticed on other P&O cruises but most apparent on this one, crowds of people will rush from venue to venue. They seem to queue ages before the shows start and then before the shows have finished start leaving to go to the next one. We found this very off putting on what seemed like a very crowded ship. Ports of call all OK, if you manage it you can miss the queues, although we still got caught up in a couple. Seemed to have an ongoing problem with the toilet not flushing. Thought it was just our cabin but found the people in the next cabin had the same problem. Did seem to have a lot of ongoing maintenance on board. Painting, varnishing , OK but they did seem to shut off decks whilst this was been done, making already crowded ship more crowded. Will we sail P&O again. Unlikely. Will stick to Cunard , although not happy when you book the cruise and then they reduce the prices. Not good. Read Less
Sail Date January 2016
There is a review a little further down (Ferry with a hint of Benidorm) that pretty much summaries our experience, although we were in a balcony cabin rather than a suite. Otherwise, I could have written that. We have always been ... Read More
There is a review a little further down (Ferry with a hint of Benidorm) that pretty much summaries our experience, although we were in a balcony cabin rather than a suite. Otherwise, I could have written that. We have always been doubtful of the larger ships, so have not been on Ventura, Azura or Britannia, but when a cheap 2-day taster came up we thought we would risk it. And the experience has certainly put me off the larger ships, but also makes me reluctant to use the smaller ships again in case the changes are a new policy everywhere rather than just being for those ships. P+O really have moved downmarket with this trip from the many we have taken in the past and if there is one area I would single out it is service. In bars, it took forever to be served, including 15 minutes from ordering a glass of wine to it arriving when there were only around 50 people in the bar. Silver service in the restaurant has disappeared: you get what you are given and that's that. Even simple details like the entertainment staff to greet you as you enter and leave the theatre has gone. And the introduction of self service wines really does not bode well. Surely being served is part of the experience? I also found the ship very noisy, both in ambience (piped music much of the time) and in the passengers, but it was difficult to be certain whether these groups were much noisier than I have experienced before or something about the build of the ship made them seem so. Whatever, listening to one of the musicians was really difficult against the background noise. Read Less
Sail Date January 2016
There is a review a little further down (Ferry with a hint of Benidorm) that pretty much summaries our experience, although we were in a balcony cabin rather than a suite. Otherwise, I could have written that. We have always been ... Read More
There is a review a little further down (Ferry with a hint of Benidorm) that pretty much summaries our experience, although we were in a balcony cabin rather than a suite. Otherwise, I could have written that. We have always been doubtful of the larger ships, so have not been on Ventura, Azura or Britannia, but when a cheap 2-day taster came up we thought we would risk it. And the experience has certainly put me off the larger ships, but also makes me reluctant to use the smaller ships again in case the changes are a new policy everywhere rather than just being for those ships. P+O really have moved downmarket with this trip from the many we have taken in the past and if there is one area I would single out it is service. In bars, it took forever to be served, including 15 minutes from ordering a glass of wine to it arriving when there were only around 50 people in the bar. Silver service in the restaurant has disappeared: you get what you are given and that's that. Even simple details like the entertainment staff to greet you as you enter and leave the theatre has gone. And the introduction of self service wines really does not bode well. Surely being served is part of the experience? I also found the ship very noisy, both in ambience (piped music much of the time) and in the passengers, but it was difficult to be certain whether these groups were much noisier than I have experienced before or something about the build of the ship made them seem so. Whatever, listening to one of the musicians was really difficult against the background noise. Read Less
Sail Date January 2016
I know my Review Title may be a bit harsh but at times thats how it felt. It is also easy to criticise and believe me, if the cruise had lived up to our expectations, we would have provided a more positive review. As experienced cruisers, ... Read More
I know my Review Title may be a bit harsh but at times thats how it felt. It is also easy to criticise and believe me, if the cruise had lived up to our expectations, we would have provided a more positive review. As experienced cruisers, this was our first P&O Cruise and living in Scotland and with always a doubt about getting away by plane in January with our weather, Southampton seemed a less anxious alternative by car. Unfortunately, it also means that it is the preferred departure port for those of a certain age and perhaps infirmity whom prefer or cannot fly! Now, this is all well and good as everyone has a choice that suits their age and well-being. What I am very disappointed about is that, from discussions with bar staff in particular, P&O knew the age demographic of this cruise but their website portrays a very different vision with young glamorous cruisers with no suggestions as to whom this cruise would best suit! I am also aware of the heavily discounts being applied near to the sail date which would also have contributed to the overall age bracket of the guests. It would seem going by the dire entertainment provided and ludicrous scheduling that P&O were well aware of the age demographic and accommodated accordingly... When you are dressed to the nines on formal nights and you leave the second sitting dining looking forward to the beginning of a 'great night out' and you walk past the main venue of the Tamarind Club and they are having a quiz! I might as well have brought my knitting as many of them did!!! I could go on re; un-engaging, unkowledgable Dining Waiters, lack-lustre food (except for Sindu speciality dining), bar culture entertainers (except for Megan and Joe in Metropolis, thank goodness for them), a ship that creaked and groaned (even beyond our first two hurricane force days at sea) but what really summed it up for me... the emphasis on 'Britishness'. Now I apologise in advance to those whom feel British but may not understand what that may mean to many people across the UK. As a Scot, you may argue that thats what you might expect from me... fair enough but a ship that purports to 'fly the flag' as it does as its livery on the bows and hands out Union Jacks for 'the great British Sailaway' and plays 'Jerusalem' is risking alienating a large number of people from around our culturally diverse islands! I may be sightly wrong but our Californian Cruising Friends were one of a few International guests and they travelled many thousands of miles to join this ship and left with a very poor image of what 'Britishness' really means. American based cruise lines do not push their heritage and are much more welcoming to international clients! Thankfully, the Canaries were great and we could escape but I'll never sail P&O again no matter how mch Rob Brydon promotes them! Celebrity X have figured it out how a ship should work for guests and to create areas such as the Atrium and bars that work together and pull people together to chat and make for a memorable cruise! Read Less
Sail Date January 2016
I have cruised a number of times and this is the first time i have felt so compelled to complain and raise a number of issues which spoiled our holiday and made me question whether indeed P&O are truly a family friendly cruise company. ... Read More
I have cruised a number of times and this is the first time i have felt so compelled to complain and raise a number of issues which spoiled our holiday and made me question whether indeed P&O are truly a family friendly cruise company. This has made me reluctant to cruise again with P&O. I was travelling with my wife and one year old child, on the Ventura for two weeks on 2nd January 2016 and specifically chose this cruise ship as it was promoted as child and family friendly. We were looking forward to joining in the events with our child throughout the ship, watching our child enjoy himself in the mini discos and take part in other child activities as well as meeting up with other parents and children. Within a few days however, we began to feel that the only place we were welcome and able to use freely was the nursery. We felt constantly confined to the nursery each day as the itinerary elsewhere only seemed to cater for the elderly guests and at no time was there an event on the ship, which involved young families to join in and enjoy with their children. In the daytime, there would be programs for looking 10 years younger, bridge and other card games as well as a pub quizzes or talks on diamonds or destinations. Even the films were aimed at adults only. In the evening was adult entertainment which included tribute acts and piano recitals. Again nothing to involve the children especially in the early evening. We quickly noticed that at no time, were any of the dance floors given times for the children to enjoy and there were no specific child related events or get togethers for the parents and the children. We were shocked to later learn that there were at least 50 children on board as we had never seen more than 5 or 6 at any one time. The 6 days at sea were torture and we couldn't wait to get home. It felt awful to be stuck in the nursery. We had paid just as much as the other guests on the ship however, we were unable to make the most of it. At least in a hotel, an entertainment team is provided to help keep the families busy with activities. I raised my concerns with other parents in the nursery who agreed with me and it concerned me how we all felt anxious about upsetting the rather elderly clientele on the ship who seemed eager to show their discontent at the noise our children would make. This felt even more of an issue in the evening when we wished to take the children for meals or walk them in their prams to get them to sleep. We always felt we were impeding and being an annoyance. On occasion, parents were accused of being cruel by keeping their child awake after 7pm. There is a night nursery provided however, a number of children including our own could not use this effectively as they were easily disturbed by the loud noise of older children using the adjacent playrooms. As there were no events we could attend with our child, there was no alternative but to either walk around aimlessly or return to our cabin. Unfortunately the ship didn't stream or live feed any of the shows to the cabin televisions and so we were unable to see any of them. There was a paddling pool set aside for children at the rear of the ship however, this was constantly out of action. When it was available, it was filled with water too cold to enjoy. On one day, seven children including myself and their parents wanted to utilise the midship swimming pool. The signs displayed quite clearly stated that children could use it and so we happily enjoyed it until an elderly guest complained. A security officer was brought to the pool and all of us were ordered to get out. This was disgusting and extremely embarrassing and just went to enforce the negative attitude that the ship had towards its younger holiday makers. When using the lifts, we would occasionally see people get out to allow a wheelchair user to use them however, this was never the case for a parent with a pushchair laden with bags and other children's stuff. Instead, the lifts were full of able bodied elderly people who would push in front of us to get into a lift going up when they actually wanted to go down!! Quite often we would hear the comment, "what goes up must come down. Ha, ha." Perhaps the ship could display signs to give priority on lifts to pushchairs as well as wheelchairs. A children's dinner time was allocated at 5pm in the Waterside buffet area. This was constantly used by adults and on most occasions , the food was not suitable for a 1 year old. Chicken legs or curry just doesn't do it. Mashed potato, beans and cheese would have been a much better option. We often saw adults complaining that the food shouldn't just be for children and then complained to staff that there wasn't enough variety or quantity for themselves. I feel that these situations and the atmosphere on board were caused by the cruise itself being set up to cater specifically for elderly people rather than for all generations hence giving the older guests the impression that this was an adult only cruise and was something children should not have come on. Like the saying, " children should be seen but should not be heard". On one occasion, a parent was questioned by an elderly female why she was on the ship with her child and was asked rather sharply, " surely this type of holiday isn't for you". The parent in question had been on 13 cruises including 3 with her child. This was her first however with P&O and she indicated this may be her last. I raised my concerns at reception and later spoke with the youth manager, who was initially very receptive and immediately set up a mini disco within the nursery which was run at 4pm on sea days. She stated she would have a meeting with her staff and look at arranging "other things" for families to do around the ship on the other days. This never happened. I requested the use of a dance floor on the ship prior to an adult show in the evenings however, it was explained to me that unfortunately there wasn't a DJ on board to arrange it. This was not true as "DJ OSCAR" was on board looking after the adults. We were informed that during school holiday trips, there are more events for children on board utilising other parts of the ship due to there being more children present however, due to the small number of children during our particular trip, no events or venues were timetabled or made available to us. This was unfair and we feel this badly affected the quality of our holiday and should have been included. I wish to point out though that generally, the staff were very friendly and loved the children, often playing with them and helping us to keep them amused whilst at the restaurant tables. Its just a shame that we didn't feel we could sit anywhere with our child except for the restaurant or nursery. The knock on effect to not having any activities put aside for children was that there was nothing to tire them out. The children then didn't sleep very well at night and i, along with other parents of children under 2 would often be up in the night pushing our children in their prams to calm them. Not an easy task at 4.30 am. We certainly didn't get to enjoy the facilities in the evening as advertised in your brochure. A timetable should have been created to always ensure that there were daytime and early evening activities elsewhere on the ship, other than just in the nurseries to ensure that families were made to feel more welcome. This would have also encouraged more interaction between the different age groups and also emphasised the fact that these are family holidays on a family cruise ship and so not making the more elderly adults feel that they were on a saga adults only cruise! I have used Thomson and Princess cruise lines before and i can honestly say that this is the first time that have felt put off from cruising again. It was extremely hard work looking after our child because of this and i feel so disappointed that we weren't able to enjoy the holiday with our son as we had wished. Just because a ship has a nursery doesn't make it a family friendly ship. It needs to do more to integrate and involve the families within the rest of the ship. After all, these families are the future customers. What surprised me even more was the fact the ship had a young captain who was travelling with his wife and 1 year old son. Despite this fact, it was obvious that the ship only cared for the older clientele and we constantly felt out of place. I had paid nearly £3000 for this holiday. Quite a lot more than some other guests and yet we were unable to use the facilities, being only able to use the nursery, our cabin and the odd restaurant. We never got to see a show, relax in a bar, take part in any activities or even watch a film. The only possible way to enjoy anything on board would have been to drink alone away from the rest of our family. We had to resort to this on occasion and it wasn't something we enjoyed doing or should have needed to do. Holidays are something families should enjoy together. This just wasnt possible on board the Ventura. This certainly wasn't the holiday that was described or which i was hoping to enjoy. It turned out to be an extremely stressful 2 weeks and at the end of a port day, we were dreading returning to the ship. Families of young children should be able to enjoy all of the facilities together if they so wish no matter what the time of year, how many children are on board or whether it is a school holiday or not. Come on P&O. Its the 21st century and families want to do things together. Its just not possible on Ventura. Read Less
Sail Date January 2016
We went on the Ventura this December at a cost of £4875.00 in a superior cabin on the 9th Deck. The weather was very rough the fast few days and the cabin creaked all through the cruise. We only had 3 nights sleep out of 12 because of the ... Read More
We went on the Ventura this December at a cost of £4875.00 in a superior cabin on the 9th Deck. The weather was very rough the fast few days and the cabin creaked all through the cruise. We only had 3 nights sleep out of 12 because of the noise from the cabin. We complained on the second day and was told it was how the ship was built and not made for bad weather!!. On the 3rd night we were so tired we complained again about the creaking In the cabin. And the cabin supervisor came to see us and again told us the ship expands with the bad weather and that's how the ship was made. I was very frightened and so was other passengers that we spoke to. My husband also was very sick after eating a burger on board as the person serving the burgers used the same rubber glove to serve burgers and chicken and bus and fries. We did not use the dining rooms but send the Self service restaurant where the food was not very good. I will never use P&O again . Have used Royal Carribean Ships and they are so much better. Read Less
Sail Date December 2015
We sailed with P&O on a Christmas cruise on the Arcadia out of Southampton in 2013. It was heavy weather but we are used to bad weather and the whole cruise was a relaxing, enjoyable experience. We'd booked late for unavoidable ... Read More
We sailed with P&O on a Christmas cruise on the Arcadia out of Southampton in 2013. It was heavy weather but we are used to bad weather and the whole cruise was a relaxing, enjoyable experience. We'd booked late for unavoidable reasons but it was inconsequential. My husband was 80 on Christmas Day 2015 and we booked on Ventura to celebrate. True we had to book late again because a family member was terminally ill and subsequently died. We booked a superior balcony cabin which was not allocated and no explanation was given, P&O couldn't even answer our email. We telephoned customer services to ensure freedom dining and were given that assurance. 1 The weather was not quite as bad as we have experienced previously but the effect on our cabin was appalling. We had fitful sleep for 7 days because of the constant vibration of ill fitting walls and ceiling. There was also a noise which can only be described as like wet washing hitting a wall. We complained continuously. Wedges applied to the ill fitting coving made no difference. 2 On 19th we received a letter informing us that we were allocated a dining time of 20.45 on Christmas Day. No effort had been made to tell us that freedom dining would be suspended. We do not query their right to do this but they should have warned us prior to booking when they were given an opportunity. The restaurant manager told us he had been innundated with complaints about the later sitting and he could do nothing about it and we could eat in the buffet if we didn't like it. He was irritated an dismissive. I have a medical condition and cannot eat late. Christmas Day evening was like a school canteen. Their were long queues and the food was luke warm and really inedible. The restaurant manager acknowledged that the situation was unacceptable but asked what he could do about it? We had already passed a closed dining room where the ship's officers were dining in style. 3 A lot of passengers are not using hand sanitisers before entering restaurants. On the Arcadia a crew member was allocated to each dispenser and courteously but firmly directed diners to use it. This ship is not well managed. The cabin staff and the waiters etc are lovely, kind and considerate. The management is inept and P&O is too focused on marketing to concentrate on providing essential information to passengers. Read Less
Sail Date December 2015
At times service in the main bar was particularly bad, waiting 45 minutes just to get a drink, refusing to let you get one from the bar. Areas of the ship discusting filthy, especially the toilets, very stained toilet seats. Public seating ... Read More
At times service in the main bar was particularly bad, waiting 45 minutes just to get a drink, refusing to let you get one from the bar. Areas of the ship discusting filthy, especially the toilets, very stained toilet seats. Public seating areas, fithy, even in the buffet resturant. Entertainment not brilliant although some was good but very repetitive and catered for the o.a.p's! Not all holiday makers were over the age of 65 and wanting to sit around knitting all day or doing the tango to a 1940's tune! Nor did we want to jive everry evening. Formal evenings were a joke, put on your best gear to have dinner, sit on dirty seats and maybe have a picture taken, costing around £20 to buy it, no special evening event, well i suppose you could do a ballroom dance in the foyer. Drinks at the bars although not too expensive, slightly more than in my local but there again my local pays the english taxes whereas the ship does not. Everything was about making money on the ship, go to an event, expect them to try and get you to pay for expensive treatments! The best thing about the cruise ship was the food, you could not go hungry, plenty of choice and great food. If the weather is not great, expect to be bored as there is little to do! Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
I have cruised many times but this was my first with P and O. For various reasons, we had cancelled a trip away the week before and booked a 2-night trip on Ventura to Guernsey as a last-minute getaway. Embarkation was well organised ... Read More
I have cruised many times but this was my first with P and O. For various reasons, we had cancelled a trip away the week before and booked a 2-night trip on Ventura to Guernsey as a last-minute getaway. Embarkation was well organised and smooth. We arrived well ahead of our 'given' time, but only waited for around half an hour before we were boarded. We headed for the buffet for lunch, which soon filled to the point of being overcrowded and unpleasant. It was a beautiful day so many passengers were out on deck. However, there were nowhere near enough chairs or tables set out, leaving many people standing. Not particularly relaxing. We were able to get into the cabin at 14:00. We had booked a superior deluxe balcony, which was a great size, so no complaints there. What was to be complained about was how dirty and dusty it was. There was broken glass in the tea and coffee making area, as well as pills rolling around from the previous guests. One of the glasses had a huge crack all the way round the rim. I fail to understand how the room attendant missed any of these things, all were quite obvious. The room attendant was not up to what I have been used to - our room did not get turned down the first night, which meant our room service plates etc were still in the room. For the first time ever, I did not leave an extra tip. Food - we ate in Sindhu the first night. The food was average, sometimes bland. The service was worse. Our waitress struggled to pay attention to us, as it appeared whatever her colleague was doing was clearly far more interesting. I nearly asked her if she needed to attend to something else and why not come back when she was able to actually turn her head towards us. We didn't eat in the main dining room so cannot comment on this. One highlight was The Glass House - lovely wines and the light bites are definitely worth the little extra on the bill. Very nice food and lovely service. Formal night - I have to admit to being a bit shocked that we were not served in one of the bars because my partner did not have a tie on. I am on holiday, not at school, I do not expect to be told what to wear. I have never been on a cruise where formal dress is compulsory. What irked me more about being refused service is that there were some very drunk people in the bar, all without ties, dancing and being very loud and irritating. But it was ok to serve them. However, I think the barman did us a favour not serving us as the singer was worse than the karaoke in my local working men's. I actually thought it was karaoke, not a 'professional'. Overall, as many others have said, the public areas are too small for the number of passengers, so be prepared to feel crammed and a little claustrophobic. With regard to the comments about waiting for a lift - we used the stairs at all times (deck 5 to 15 when we first got on was a killer!!). No danger of the carpet on the stairs getting worn out too soon, hardly anyone else used the stairs so the lifts are bound to take forever. Not the best cruise experience I have had, but I do think it takes a lot to beat Celebrity. Read Less
Sail Date September 2015
This was my first ever cruise and I was looking forward to it so much. My son also married on board. There were some positive points I.e. Loved my cabin and balcony, the housekeeper kept this very well but having said that as a solo ... Read More
This was my first ever cruise and I was looking forward to it so much. My son also married on board. There were some positive points I.e. Loved my cabin and balcony, the housekeeper kept this very well but having said that as a solo occupant I was also v tidy. My five year old grandson loved the kids club but we were a little concerned when told that they were registered for 100 in a relatively small area. Fortunately, on the times he attended this number did not materialise. Sindhu was a lovely restaurant as was the glasshouse - at a supplementary charge .... The main at the Epicurean was delicious but service very poor and seemingly lacking leadership. The weather was poor and as a result the planned stop at Guernsey was cancelled and we set off for Lisbon. crossing the Bay of biscay was rocky but not unexpected as this is a renowned area of inclement weather. Neither can P & O be held accountable for poor weather. However, with three thousand plus passengers crammed on board the whole ship was overcrowded and it did feel like Butlins on a boat. With tots in our party the swimming pools were unsafe due to overcrowding (way over the recommended number and no checks made) and it was impossible to use jacuzzis as these were both monopolised , and overcrowded, with young teens. The retreat for adults is available - at an additional cost ... We waited patiently to use the single netted area on deck 19 to vacate so we could play with a five year old. Unfortunately, within minutes of entering there, a group of young teens also decided they would go in - result was people and balls flying everywhere. No system or checking therefore older children again monopolising the area. With cricket bats and balls it is an accident waiting to happen. A safer, and fairer, syestem would be allocated time slots and supervised by staff to ensure safety. For three thousand plus passengers to have one netted area, one golf area, one set for quoits and one giant set of chess - it's a bit lacking !! The captain was an affable gentleman and the wedding went well, canapés were laid on whilst we awaited the couple having photos taken. The GF canapes were delicious but no drinks had been provided - not even water - these were extra and had to be purchased. One small bowl of crisps for four young children seems a bit stingy and others, were requested and provided at additional cost - (spice flavoured). The wedding meal was held in the Epicurean. Staff here seemed ineffective, over loaded and confused. My son, daughter in law and her parents sat on one table and the rest of us round the corner, up against a wall, on another table. Staff had lists which had been meticulously sorted by my well organised daughter in law but seemed unable to refer to them and mixed up many of the meals - which arrived at various intervals. One child waited A long time for a dessert - by which time we had all finished ours although three of us left them as they were raw pastry. Some three hours later, with tired and bored children we left before coffee was served as everything seemed to take an age. Food in the buffet was a case of attempting to find a table first - quite a feat as everywhere packed. It did not cater at all well for coeliac individuals and staff seemed poorly informed. No labels on any food stating GF or veggie so had to ask which was suitable - much to the annoyance of other passengers waiting behind. Given conflicting information resulting in one very upset stomach and a sleepless night. food was canteen style and quality. Spoke to other people with similar probs and they were terribly disappointed. Almost in tears one day when told the only sauce I could eat on my steak was tomato ketchup. I paid the same price as everyone else but had very, very limited options. I had one of the worst GF pizzas I had ever eaten whilst on board - burnt on the outside and cold in the middle. Apart from restaurants where we paid extra the food was a massive disappointment to me. To summarise, there were some highlights and good points I.e. Embarking and disembarking was very slick, cabin and balcony, the glasshouse, Sindu and the main at the Epicurean but I think P &O should look to either selling purely family cruises or other as they seem to want to capture all groups of clientele and, in my opinion, this is not working. They also seem The experience for me was one of 'pack them in and get them to spend'. Staff work very hard and are mostly polite and helpful but way overloaded in restaurants especially. Maybe another carrier would offer a better experience. Read Less
Sail Date August 2015
12 nights on the Ventura was a struggle for my husband, 14yr old, 9yr old, 71 yr old mum and myself, unless you like a 'Butlins/Haven holiday camp type holiday at an extortionate price point'! (A fellow passengers words). Not ... Read More
12 nights on the Ventura was a struggle for my husband, 14yr old, 9yr old, 71 yr old mum and myself, unless you like a 'Butlins/Haven holiday camp type holiday at an extortionate price point'! (A fellow passengers words). Not classy and upmarket as they profess to be. Chavvy, raucous and packed like a cattle market, and I'm no snob. The ship was so over packed, that unless you stayed in your cabin, you had no peace, (even in there you could hear kids running up and down). Everywhere was congested, with 3,400 passengers the facilities were packed day and night during sea days. We walked around for over half an hour looking for somewhere to sit for breakfast in the buffet area, walking around looking for sun loungers was another daily challenge. My 2 star rating is for the Headliners performance group (I'm a sucker for musical theatre) and the service we recieved from our cabin steward and freedom dining waiter. Everyone/thing else is not worthy of a peanut. Be Warned they automatically add gratuity charges of £60 per person over 12yrs and unless you fill in a form to remove this they will keep it and expect you to tip! The captain also announced a "free" shuttle bus service on port days but my mum & daughter were still charged. The entertainment team is irritating and false at best and very amature at what they do. The girl doing quiz round the pool was unbearable! Every opportunity is used to sell something, be it a guest speaker, a performer selling CDs, table sales, or a spa promotion, making more money on top of already inflated prices. The excursions are completely overpriced, in their literature they say they offer the cheapest packages - not true! We copied their advertised excursions off our own back on a couple of islands for half the price using a private cab, do not be fooled by p&o. Kids clubs for 9yr old seemed safe enough with a sign in/out policy but my daughter felt it was chaos in there after 3 separate days visits so didn't want to go back. The teenagers 13yrs plus, are free to go and come as they please, although my 14yr old made friends from there she preferred to meet with them outside of that room as it seemed like a pick up joint for the older teenagers, especially at night. We couldn't get near the pools for congestion, the hot tubs full of kids too, the adult only area is at a price and their pool ice cold. I'm struggling to give you positives. Cabin was kept very clean & tidy Freedom dining, you can please yourself time wise & sit with others or alone if you choose Waiters very professional & friendly, as is cabin stewards, (can't say the same for reception staff thou) The White company complimentary products in your cabin are lovely, but you won't get a replacement unless you ask for it Really can't think of anything else good to say, other than Don't waste your money! Top tips...... If you are partial to perfumes or drink in duty free, cheaper to buy outside in ports you visit than on board. We found a difference of £10-£20 less off ship and stock on board not great either. Spoke to some staff who said they were being paid less than minimum wage for very long hours hence several were counting down the days till they left ship. P&O all in all do not seem like a very good company to cruise with or work for. Suffice to say we will not cruise with p&o again even my mum who has cruised before said this was by far the worse. Read Less
Sail Date August 2015
First time for us, and the last with P and O I think. Not what I expected for the price, I'm not hard to please but this was quite downmarket. I got the impression from others who had cruised before that they felt the same, perhaps P ... Read More
First time for us, and the last with P and O I think. Not what I expected for the price, I'm not hard to please but this was quite downmarket. I got the impression from others who had cruised before that they felt the same, perhaps P and O are trying to appeal to a wider market but they are certainly not appealing to the higher end market. Glad I chose freedom dining as there were certainly people on the ship I had nothing in common with and I would not have wanted to sit with them for 2 weeks. The ports were great but the excursions over priced, having travelled in Italy on numerous occasions we made our own way to Rome, 9 euros each on an air conditioned train, on time and clean, as oppose to the £54 each for the coach trip in. The 'entertainment' was amateurish apart from the comedian, a lot of it was not entertainment through the days but simply ways to get you to buy treatments from the spa, which were also much more expensive than at home. Even the water in your room has to be paid for, I've stayed in some less expensive hotels and that's not the case with them. I ve also stayed in some expensive hotels and this is not a patch on them I'm afraid, but it does still rate as expensive ! We made the best of it, the Epicurian restaurant was superb but addition cost, and the alcohol was fairly priced, we always have a good time but on this occasion that was down to us and not the cruise. The ship is tried and not very clean, that said the cabin steward did a lovely job, returning to a clean and tidy, cool cabin after the excursions was very nice, he was polite and helpful, in fact we removed our tips, which they take automatically, as the service else where was hit and miss, and we tipped the cabin steward only. I'm told some of the staff work on commission only, and whilst I feel sorry for those guys, the automatic tipping simply helps to cover the wage bill for P and O. Pay the staff properly i say, and leave the tipping to the discretion of passengers who feel they have had good service. Read Less
Sail Date July 2015
My wife and I decided to book at the last minute for a Fjords Cruise on Ventura. We had done a similar thing last year around the baltic on Azura and had a great time so what good go wrong? The check in process was ok even after the ... Read More
My wife and I decided to book at the last minute for a Fjords Cruise on Ventura. We had done a similar thing last year around the baltic on Azura and had a great time so what good go wrong? The check in process was ok even after the hour wait to unload luggage and get the car parked. The cabin we had been allocated was right at the front on deck 11 but was in good condition and clean. The cabin steward was very helpful, friendly and always had a smile. we had no problem for the first couple of days although it was very clear that the waiting staff had a couldn't care less attitude. Particularly in the buffet area where tables were left uncleared for lengthy periods, not good when space is limited. bar staff seemed to be under some sort of pressure to make you buy drinks, being asked if I want a drink 10 times in the space of a few minutes stretches my bounds of continuing to be polite,so it was get up and move on. We did not use the main dining room as we had had problems with food quality on other P&O cruises so decided to eat in the Waterside buffet in the evenings. The food choices were ok but high risk foods like meats were not hot.particularly concerning as they were only luke warm no more than 10 minutes after service started. When I raised the matter with the staff I was told it was because I had put it on a cold plate, this was not the case. Positives from the cruise. The Medical team who looked after my wife when she was exceedingly ill with either food poisoning or Norovirus and had to be taken to the medical centre followed by cabin confinement were excellent as were they poor devils who had to sanitise the cabin and bathroom. The shows we managed to see were really good too so no problem there and as already stated the cabin steward shone out, We will have to give great consideration as to whether we sail with P & O again. Read Less
Sail Date July 2015
We went with our good friends who we have done several cruises with before with Royal Caribbean & Celebrity, and decided to try P&O as we all liked the itinerary for this cruise on Ventura. Enjoyed all ports of call, although both ... Read More
We went with our good friends who we have done several cruises with before with Royal Caribbean & Celebrity, and decided to try P&O as we all liked the itinerary for this cruise on Ventura. Enjoyed all ports of call, although both ships tours we did were poor value for money. Lucca - lovely place and the 2 hrs we were given to explore was far too short and they could have easily given us at least another hour. The ship's 'Roma train to Rome' was expensive - £46 each, compared to the cost of taking one of the local trains ourselves (approx 12 euros). We did have a guide with us on this 'vintage' train- probably to make it seem good value!. But our massive disappointment was with the food - bland, repetitive and no where near the choice and quality we have enjoyed with other cruise lines. We tried the Beach House self service restaurant once and never again, worse than canteen food! The Waterside buffet service was only slightly better -when you managed to find a table. The custard can only be described as sweet water it was horrible. Dinner was taken in the Bay Tree and the food here was a slightly better quality but limited menu choice. Fish or steak usually overcooked so very dry as were the frozen chips served with the steak. After 2 weeks we never wanted to see a green bean or carrot for a long time as they were served up with many dishes!! Our waiters were polite but seemed miserable, as did lots of staff throughout ship (apart from our wine waiter who was always cheerful and Elizabeth our cabin steward was lovely and did a great job of looking after our cabin). The best aspect of the cruise was the entertainment- better than RC or Celebrity. Strictly dancers brilliant and Craig Revill-Horwood is not the mr. nasty he portrays - he's very friendly! All in all good and bad, but the bad outweighed the good and we will not be taking another P&O cruise again unless they drastically improve. Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
Arrived at Ocean Terminal, seemed well organised and despite many arriving early things were kept moving. Water dispensers had no cups so I asked staff at kiosk who said I'd have to pay for empty cups - not a good start! Entered ... Read More
Arrived at Ocean Terminal, seemed well organised and despite many arriving early things were kept moving. Water dispensers had no cups so I asked staff at kiosk who said I'd have to pay for empty cups - not a good start! Entered Ventura to be directed to deck 15 buffet, no welcome or welcome drink. Buffet crowded but we found a table eventually, shortage of cups which happened often thru cruise. No free drink for children except water (unless your child liked tea/coffee), this I thought bad as it was school holiday family cruise. Went to cabins at 2pm, very clean and tidy. Introduced to stewards. Ours named Sunil, lovely chap. Cabin kept well stocked, welcome balloon and sweets for daughter (was her birthday on board). Entertainment in theatre very good, especially 'Badness' with music and humour. Even my 13 YO liked them! Other lounge entertainers were average to good if you could get a seat with a view of them. Havana poorly laid out for view of stage from many seating areas and screens too small to appreciate the acts. As we were on second dinner sitting we were often ready around 7pm but little to no entertainment before our dinner at these times. We were offered bingo instead, not for my 13 YO as not her style lol. Were one or two other acts would have liked to see but due to our dinner sitting and theatre time the acts coincided so could not be in 2 places at once. First night in Bay Tree 2nd sitting (8:30pm), huge queue and late going in. No escort to table so grabbed a waiter and asked where table was. No introduction or friendly welcome by our waiter. Children's mains arrived a good 20 minutes before adult mains so they had finished and sat twiddling thumbs while we ate. Poor selection on children's menu and of deserts in general all menus. Our mains, pork and chicken dishes were so bland, weak gravy/sauces. Addressed future meal arrival times with waiter so one plus point! Another night did not get approached by drinks waiter at all, eventually asked waiter as kids had no drinks, he gave a puzzled look but we got drinks eventually. Just no friendly atmosphere at all! Did not feel like attending last night but we did, I'd have preferred the buffet which had a good although small selection of foods and tasty. Buffet as above, sometimes slow table clearing and tables not wiped properly. Often had to clean food off seats myself. Arrival in Zeebrugge and shuttle buses efficient, used train to Bruges very cheap. Bruges is a lovely town, great for chocolate shops and photo opportunities on bridges. Good boat ride along canals although they pack you in, many places to catch a boat so if queue too long at one place check out another. Prices not bad either for approx. 30 minute ride. Ship did not depart till close to midnight and proceeded at only 10 knots to Guernsey, would have been nice to arrive earlier at Guernsey as limited time due to tender use and departing at 5:30pm. Guernsey is a beautiful island, huge queues for the 91/92 round island buses (£1 each). Recommend a family day bus pass £9 if want to hop on/off buses regularly. We visited Underground Hospital, Little Chapel, Candie Gardens then bus to L'Ancresse, nice beach. Only just made it back for last 2 tenders before 5:30pm. Disembarkation by tender went smooth except for poor announcements and info, required a ticket so rather than kids fidgeting in queue I went alone only to be told when I eventually got to desk that unless rest of my party with me 'no ticket'. Had to go get them and 10 mins later we all queued but this time was half way round the ship so took a while. Sea day, always room to move around and find a spot indoors or out but my youngest is not confident in the pool but wanted to swim. However many youngsters were constantly jumping in/bombing which spoilt her experience. Staff just looked on, this was regular occurrence despite signs. Hot tubs usually full of children, no adults. We just squeezed in otherwise wouldn't have got a look in. Kids clubs/staff did a great job, my 9/10 YO loved it but my 13 YO not so keen. Her choice, wished she'd have given it another go but she was happy sticking with us. Was not the experience I was expecting, especially as it was my daughters first cruise. Ship was relatively clean although I noted rubbish in corridor near our cabins that was there 2/3 days before being removed. Did not seem a happy friendly ship and not as we expected following a ships tour on Azura previously but then they were looking for fresh business I suppose. Sailaway party, where? Very poor, just a band playing! Unlikely to cruise P&O again as prefer tasty food, good smiley friendly service in restaurants and other venues. Sorry this may annoy regular P&O cruisers but having cruised other lines I do have experience to compare and it takes a lot before I'm negative or complain. Hope others on same cruise had better experience! Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
Very second rate Compared to Carnival and Royal Caribbean, the staff could barely speak English and were nowhere near as friendly or professional, the food, entertainment, organisation, embarking and disembarking for trips etc was nowhere ... Read More
Very second rate Compared to Carnival and Royal Caribbean, the staff could barely speak English and were nowhere near as friendly or professional, the food, entertainment, organisation, embarking and disembarking for trips etc was nowhere near as good. Next time I am looking to book a cruise it will not be with P&O. Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
Boarding at Southampton was chaotic. Advanced requests for assistance due to being sight impaired had gone ignored by P&O. A very helpful ABP employee did offer and provide assistance, however, despite his best efforts this was ... Read More
Boarding at Southampton was chaotic. Advanced requests for assistance due to being sight impaired had gone ignored by P&O. A very helpful ABP employee did offer and provide assistance, however, despite his best efforts this was turned into an embarrassing and troublesome experience by other staff in the check-in process. The ship itself and is looking tired, varnish is peeling off the woodwork in all areas, with no apparent ongoing maintenance, which I have always found evident on other cruise lines. This generally faded glory is reflected throughout the Ventura experience. Little touches such as the breakfast menus being filthy dirty and dog-eared, My cabin was HE grade on deck 11, this was a pleasantly sized cabin with balcony. In cabin Tea and coffee making facilities are provided. An in room safe is available to use free of charge. There is an interactive TV which provides updates on your onboard account, two news channels, updates on the ships progress and weather. Films are available on demand, these are charged at £1.99 each. As with most cruise lines, cabins are serviced twice daily by a cabin Steward. I have seen other reviewers write of small showers on other ships, a sentiment my experience has not reflected. I am a slim 68kg (10stone in old money) and I have to admit that the shower aboard Ventura was a very cramped enclosure. The cabin Steward and evening restaurant staff were friendly and offered a polite personal service, even taking the trouble to address passengers by their name. Apart from this service was impersonal and far from effortless, emphasis was very much about maximizing onboard spend. The availability of food throughout the day is excellent The Waterside buffet was very good and well managed, this was one of the few areas where the service excelled Although the food was generally good at the evening formal dining, it is no longer a silver service experience, and in my opinion falls way short of the standard and quality provided by MSC. It also has the has the dubious honor of being the first time I have ever sent food back in a restaurant as being unacceptable. The breakfast service in the formal dining room is abysmal and the in cabin breakfast is not a good option, one day getting the order wrong, and the next not turning up all. I was not the only passenger to remark that it appears that P&O believe toast to be a cold snack, as it is impossible to get a warm piece of toast anywhere on Ventura. The evening entertainment was beyond bad. The main entertainment being a Beattles tribute act and an awful comedian, both pretty second rate on a 4 night cruise this program was repeated twice. All in all a pleasant holiday which would have been most acceptable for a more reasonable price. At a little under £600 for 4 nights, it did not reflect value for money. The P&O experience does not live up to what I know it once was (or that which it currently advertises itself to be) Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
My friend had never cruised before I had been on Oceania, MSC and Fred Olsen cruises, so we decided to try P & O. We embarked from Southampton having driven down we were satisfied with the arrangements and did not have that long to ... Read More
My friend had never cruised before I had been on Oceania, MSC and Fred Olsen cruises, so we decided to try P & O. We embarked from Southampton having driven down we were satisfied with the arrangements and did not have that long to wait to board, considering the numbers they are dealing with. However first impressions of the ship itself were not particularly impressive, staff were not particularly welcoming and the décor lacks the WOW factor. We went for an inside cabin both for economy and also because I had always had an outside or balcony previously and wanted to see if my paying the extra was really worth it. The cabin was very comfortable and bigger than expected but we did miss not having daylight, so yes the extra to get this either by means of window or balcony is worth it. Dining on board was the biggest disappointment, the food was canteen standard and the service was poor, no smiling welcoming waiters here. The entertainment by way of the shows was also poor to pathetic. The ship had a few families on board with children who seemed to be completely on their own (I guess parents were there but we didn't see them with the kids) they jumped into the pools and played in and out in the Jacuzzi, which meant that we didn't bother to try to use either. The staff completely ignored this behaviour and made no attempt to point out the notices that said no jumping or diving in the pool - how an accident didn't occur is miraculous. The general cleanliness of the ship was just about acceptable but never did you see any staff member wiping down handrails or insisting that passengers use the anti-bacterial spray at entrances to dining areas. Neither of us will be going with P & O again, which is such a disappointment as I really thought they would be so much better than this being such an iconic name within the industry. Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
Traveled down to Southampton with the complimentary coach provided from Manchester airport which was stress free. On arrival at Southampton unfortunately the check in at the terminal had technical issue's and held up the check in ... Read More
Traveled down to Southampton with the complimentary coach provided from Manchester airport which was stress free. On arrival at Southampton unfortunately the check in at the terminal had technical issue's and held up the check in procedure for over 1 hour. On boarding the ship we were allowed straight into our room which was a Balcony cabin on Deck A the cabin was good and a good size comfy bed. Now I have been told how good P&O Cruising is I have only done Royal Caribbean and Princess so my expectation was high. Well I was very disappointed first with the internal layout of the ship the Atrium was small and not has impressive of that of Royal Caribbean ships of the same size. The dining experience was not very good at all,dining rooms were drab the staff not very friendly the food was ok. The East restaurant and White room (which was an extra cost) on the other hand were excellent. The bars on the ship were ok but lacked that atmosphere. I thought the shows/entertainment on the ship were very good. I was surprised of the lack of anti-bacterial gel on and off the ship when boarding. Its my first transatlantic crossing which I would not do again, to many sea days. The ship in all I was disappointed with, the ships crew did not go that extra mile a part from Crosby our cabin steward, the ports visited were fine. Will I cruise with P&O again probably but not until the the new ship Brittania is launched. Read Less
Sail Date October 2013
We have done the Transatlantic cruise on board Ventura and Azura for the past few years each time the services you get has been getting poorer and poorer The meals in the main restraunt are becoming ordinary and the level of attention you ... Read More
We have done the Transatlantic cruise on board Ventura and Azura for the past few years each time the services you get has been getting poorer and poorer The meals in the main restraunt are becoming ordinary and the level of attention you get off the staff is left I think this is because they are reducing staff numbers the waiters are looking after more tables. Tips are now added daily to your onboard account so there is no need for the staff to do that little bit extra. The meals are now pre plated rather than the veg being brought and served so you can choose which veg you would like. The entertainment teams are not able to run all the games they once did, When I aked they said because of health and safety they coudnt play the pool games staff v passangers. I am disapointed that Ventura is being based in the med as it is the only ship with a covered pool that at least you can use when the ship leaves southampton in colder weather. Love the ship itself and find it brighter than its sister ship Ventura.and the two smaller ships Oceana which is also a lovelly ship and Oriana that is now a adult only ship and in need of a complete refurbishment. I have only been taking holidays on cruise ships for 5 years but have done two a year. Disapointed for the other members of the family and friends that came with us for the first time as we had over 10 cabins in total.T Theater shows are great Entertainment staff did there best worked realy hard and extremly helpfull went out of there way to make the holiday enjoyable. Just not enough of them felt sorry for them As they ran from event to event. I wnt be booking another with PO this year and will now look at other cruise lines. Read Less
Sail Date October 2013
To say that Ventura was disappointing would be huge understatement. OK firstly I should say that we booked late and got a huge discount, as did pretty much every other guest we spoke to, had we have paid full fare I would have been ... Read More
To say that Ventura was disappointing would be huge understatement. OK firstly I should say that we booked late and got a huge discount, as did pretty much every other guest we spoke to, had we have paid full fare I would have been complaining like crazy. The boat was full of people who had paid less than 500 for an inside cabin and were determined to eat at least 1000 worth of food, if you enjoy all-inclusive holidays in Benidorm then this is the one for you. Does that sound a bit snobbish? Well I'm a council house kid from South East London and I was embarrassed to be British at times. The quality of the food in the main restaurant was poor and service not much better. First night we were treated to a prawn cocktail that consisted of a small lettuce leaf on top of which were piled watery frozen prawns and no sauce, followed by what in the seventies used to be called chicken corden bleu accompanied by croquet potatoes. It was like the chef had been down to Iceland and bought what was on offer that day. I say chef but I use the term loosely, I do not consider heating pre-prepared food as cooking. The Sommelier hadn't the first clue about wine, (apparently Fleurie is now Spanish), and did not even know how to pour a glass of wine properly. In fairness The White Room was excellent in all respects, quality of food & service but at an extra cost of 25 per head. I would whole heartedly recommend it though as it is definitely worth the money. In the self service restaurant pandemonium reigned, apart from the piranha's fighting over every morsel the staff had a habit of randomly shutting off sections of the servery as and when it suited them. On three occasions at breakfast I actually managed to find a croissant available on display, on every other day I had to ask for one. Each time I did this the request would be transferred via two or three people to someone in the bakery area who would miraculously produce a croissant. This ritual was performed by many other guests who as frustrated as I was voiced their displeasure. The bus boys whipped the plates away before the last mouthful was swallowed and had virtually all forgotten how to smile. These are only a few of the daily annoyances( don't get me started on the availability of cups) and basically all come back to one thing - Poor Management. The staff in the bars were a bit better in that they always greeted guests with a smile and took the orders promptly, but then generally left you waiting for a while before the drinks arrived. In fairness the entertainment was very good and in particular the dance instructors were excellent, probably the most enthusiastic people on the boat. The theatre group put on some great shows and most of the entertainers were value for money. One exception though was Kate Robbins, Oh dear! half the audience walked out, I'm not sure if it was because of the rubbish act or the smell of booze. The cabins are not bad, we had a balcony room which was OK, the bathroom was a little on the small side but adequate, and the hanging rail arrangement was better than the wardrobes you usually find. Our cabin steward was excellent. Friendly, helpful and nothing was too much trouble for him, whoever trained him should train the restaurant staff, a smile costs nothing. The weather was a bit rough going across the Bay of Biscay but I didn't think Ventura handled it very well, the ship rocked and rolled all over the place and many people were seasick. We've experienced worse weather than that coming across the North Sea and not had anything like as much movement. Our previous cruise was on Celebrity Eclipse and that ship is a world away from this one, the Eclipse beats Ventura in every single department in my opinion. Our verdict was - P & O Could do better. Next cruise will be Celebrity I think. Read Less
Sail Date April 2013
We sailed out of Southampton on a 16 night transatlantic voyage across to the Caribbean. This was our fifth cruise overall and our first with P&O. Embarkation went without problem and we were on the ship quickly. We found our ... Read More
We sailed out of Southampton on a 16 night transatlantic voyage across to the Caribbean. This was our fifth cruise overall and our first with P&O. Embarkation went without problem and we were on the ship quickly. We found our stateroom and it was decorated to generally good order but was showing signs of wear and tear here and there. There was also a slight sewage smell in the bathroom that was not particularly nice but it was only slight. This is a large ship and as such a lot of passengers were onboard. I'd say it was probably full. Our biggest issue was with the buffet area on the ship. It was very poorly stocked and the size of it is a joke for a ship of this size. The buffet area was regularly severely overcrowded with long lines to get food. Whoever designed this part of the ship really should get the boot. The food selection was also very poor. Most irritating was that when there was a 'theme' night (e.g. curry night) then there was virtually no other choice to be had. Other ships we have been on have had a massive selection all the time. The main restaurant was 'ok'. Food portions were very small and we would get through our evening dining experience in about twenty minutes! Service throughout the ship was also just bad. It is nearly a 100% Indian crew and they all just seemed fed up, overworked and just uninterested in anything. It was the first time ever we contacted the front desk and had the gratuities removed completely - we just could not justify it. We ate at some of the other restaurants on the ship and again we just found the food to be of poor quality and in small portions. We had an ongoing temperature problem in our room as well. Hot one minute and freezing the next. We had around six engineer visits during our time onboard. Public areas on the ship regularly were very busy with lots of people and it just wasn't enjoyable. Overall our experience was more like being on a giant ferry rather than a luxury cruise liner. And luxury it very much is not. Compared to the likes of a hotel rating this ship was probably a two star at best. As one previous reviewer wrote, "Butlins on a boat" isn't too far of the mark. We are unlikely to choose P&O again and will likely stick to the more premium carriers. If you book this ship then as long as you go with low expectations then everything will be great. Read Less
Sail Date September 2012
Ventura Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.2
Dining 4.0 3.8
Entertainment 4.0 3.6
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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