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158 Southampton P&O Cruises Ventura Cruise Reviews

Where to start! I was the lead passenger for a group of 10 travellers. All had sailed with P&O before, however, it was the general consensus of opinion from the group that on this trip standards have dropped. Although the general ... Read More
Where to start! I was the lead passenger for a group of 10 travellers. All had sailed with P&O before, however, it was the general consensus of opinion from the group that on this trip standards have dropped. Although the general condition of the ship was acceptable, it was evident that the ship had seen better days. Some of the carpeting in the public areas shows signs of wear and tear, being thread bear on a number of stairs. The wall covering in some of the corridors was heavily damaged with luggage scuff marks. Most days we had breakfast and lunch in the Waterside Buffet Restaurant, where we found the food choice to be of good quality and plentiful. Because this is a popular restaurant, on occasions there was a short wait for stocks to be replenished. Many of the chairs in this restaurant could have benefited from a good clean, as there was ingrained staining on the plastic covering. Guests are asked to self sanitise their hands to prevent the spread of germs and bugs, however, if the chairs aren't kept clean surely more germs and bugs are encountered. We opted for freedom dining in the Saffron Restaurant. The menu selection in this restaurant, although good, appeared to be less than we had seen on previous P&O menus, even the bread roll selection was limited. One of our party has a gluten free diet requirement which P&O were made aware of and frequently waited more than 30 minutes for their roll to be brought to the table. Being a large party we thought 2 hours would be sufficient time for the meal. On more than one occasion it was an hour to get to the main course. It seems the larger the party the longer it takes to be served. It was noticed that smaller groups of fellow travelers arriving in the restaurant after us, completed their meal and left before we got to the desert course. One evening we found it necessary to leave the restaurant before coffee to enable us to watch a show. P&O please serve people in a timely manner. Its nice to have a drink, that is if you can get one. Something appears to be clearly going wrong with the system for obtaining an a drink, both in the bars and the restaurants. Our group met each evening in a bar for a pre dinner drink, several waiters in the bar and no other customers. Okay so far. You are then subjected to the same service as a previous cruiser reviewed. I should add, we only ever ordered 2 drinks at a time. You cannot order your drink at the bar. A waiter takes your order, after you attract their attention. The waiter then returns to the bar to have the drink(s) made. 10 to 15 minutes later, your drinks arrive. A few minutes later the waiter returns for you to sign for the drinks and return your cruise card. On one occasion we waited 25 minutes just for the drinks to be made. On one occasion we found several waiters standing chatting for several minutes while we waited to order drinks. The cabin stewardess provided a superb service, keeping the cabin clean and tidy and replenishing supplies. The entertainment in the Arena show room was first class. A special mention needs to go to the Headliners, whose shows were to West End standard. Cruising with friends on P&O ships is great fun, but these minor irritations took the edge off it this time. Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
Very good experience.We have travelled on 8 cruises previously,mostly with P&O.On this occasion we booked on an early bird deal which was slightly cheaper which warned us that we could not be certain og getting the table number we ... Read More
Very good experience.We have travelled on 8 cruises previously,mostly with P&O.On this occasion we booked on an early bird deal which was slightly cheaper which warned us that we could not be certain og getting the table number we preferred which in this case was 8.What we were allocated a table for 2 but we had been warned so this was ok.However what we did not bargain for was that any shuttle requirements which are usually free charged early birders £10 per journey which in total was substantially more than the early bird saving.The cruise was from genoa to venice to genoa on the dates provided on this site Needless to say we have never travelled onP&O again.So be warned about such devious tricks.I have subsequently travelled on Cunard which is now more expensive due to working in dollars rather than .However the ports of call were very good but trips were little expensive. Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
We chose this review as the ship was visiting Ports we hadn't had a chance to visit. Embarkation was extremely good. I am a part time wheelchair user and help was on hand to help us onto the ship. Our cabin was spacious and the ... Read More
We chose this review as the ship was visiting Ports we hadn't had a chance to visit. Embarkation was extremely good. I am a part time wheelchair user and help was on hand to help us onto the ship. Our cabin was spacious and the wheelchair slotted under the wardrobe very neatly. The cabin was clean and the bed comfortable, we had a good deal of wardrobe space, but could have done with a few more hangers so we didn't have to double or triple up. The bathroom was adequate although the shower curtain was too short and too narrow to contain the water inside the shower, hence a few puddles. I had requested a disabled toilet and was pleased to see a higher than normal loo. The ship was very pleasant, the halls, public areas, bars and restaurants immaculate. However the basket weave furniture on the pool deck was awful with ingrained food making it too unpleasant to sit at. The furniture either needs a good scrub or replacing. Perhaps basket weave isn't such a good idea with so many people using it? We had chosen second sitting dinner and the food was delicious with at least 4 choices for each course. Our waiters were lovely, friendly and chatted, we liked that rather than just serving us food and not talking. Breakfast again had a good choice if rather small portions. I had cheese omelette which was obviously made with one egg and my husband had a kipper, well half of one side of a kipper actually. There weren't any pastries or croissants offered they had to be requested which hasn't been my experience before. The fruit juice was WATERED down!!!! P&O surely a Cruise costing well over two and a half thousand pounds deserves proper fruit juice please, it was horrible to drink. Also the milk jugs were a nuisance as the lip isn't long enough and the milk pours into the saucer and over the table!!!! The entertainment was good however the price of a soft drink was so over priced it was offputting. A Mocktail well over £5?? Come on P&O play fair. I had promised myself a massage in the Oasis Spa, one look at the exorbitant prices put me right off. I can and do get a facial, eyebrow wax etc much cheaper at my home salon than on the ship. What a shame. We have booked two more cruises in March and October 2018 so I do hope the things I have pointed out will be rectified as although they may sound insignificant to us they were important and we would be prepared to look at other cruise lines. We chose 3 tours with little walking as the wheelchair is a nuisance. Our first was to Cadiz to see Flamenco dancing, it was extremely good and we loved it. The courier was very knowledgable and after the dancing we did a tour of Cadiz. Our second tour was to Barcelona and included the Sagrada Familia which I had longed to see. I wasn't disappointed and although we didn't have time to go in I was elated to sit in the park and just drink in the beauty of the Cathedral. Our third tour was in Gibralter to see the dolphins. A very good tour and we did see dolphins, so were happy. All tours were easy walking and the couriers took great care to ensure we were all together. Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
We have cruised with P&O many times; this would be our second two night cruise break, it came up to expectations! Embarkation/Disembarkation The ship was using the Ocean Terminal in Southampton. The terminal works very well at ... Read More
We have cruised with P&O many times; this would be our second two night cruise break, it came up to expectations! Embarkation/Disembarkation The ship was using the Ocean Terminal in Southampton. The terminal works very well at getting people through as quickly as possible. Most people were carrying on the luggage which simplified things. The terminal was particularly noisy, and had a party atmosphere, we even saw a chap dressed as a bride with boots on! The only slight hold up is having to complete the health questionnaire on arrival, why not offer it for download from the Cruise Personaliser. P&O complicate this by giving you a boarding time, ours is 15:30, it is always a late time whatever P&O cruise we take! We decided to aim for 13:30, and only had to wait around until 14:00 before being called to check-in. We arrived at our cabin by 14:15. Disembarkation is equally efficient. Instructions are dropped off at your cabin on Saturday. We went to the open seating breakfast (served between 07:00 and 09:00), getting in there before the eight o’clock rush. After breakfast, back to the cabin to pick up the bags, then join the queue to get off This moved fairly quickly and we were off 08:20, and joined the queue for a local taxi to the train station. Dining On the first night we ate in Sindhu, had a really good meal in there, soft shell crab to start and then a selection of curies to follow. The service in there is particularly good. We had opted for Freedom Dining which gives great flexibility, but it can get busy at peak times, the best strategy is to be prepared to share a table (requesting a table for two will probably result in being given a pager). We ate in the Saffron Restaurant; we also used it for breakfast. On the second night we met up with friends and shared a table for four. The Saffron Restaurant is very big, but the service is good. The breakfast choices in the MDR are comprehensive, but I don’t think the choice has changed in the 10 years we have been sailing with P&O. Bars Lots of bars as you would expect, some with an emphasis on gin. There is a wide selection of craft gins available in the Red Bar. Most drinks at pub prices, but if you want more than two glasses of wine a bottle of the house (white in our case) is an economical option at £16. Breakers Bar on the Sun Deck was always busy, and on this cruise some of the passengers were shouting at the staff for service. The Glasshouse offers a quieter venue. Cabin Our cabin was port rear on deck 10 (C510), it was a good size; it is described as a superior balcony. The décor and fittings were in reasonable shape. Between the bathroom and main room is a spacious hanging area that really works well. The beds are high enough to take some pretty big suitcases underneath. The balcony is a good size and does have an overhang. Our steward was very cheerful, but we did not have time to get to know her. This cabin was very quiet, nothing rattled. If we had been on a longer cruise we would have asked for the pillows to be changed, they were like paving slabs. Entertainment There was plenty going on, but we stuck to the bars! Photography We went to a reception in Tamarind and the photographers went to great trouble to get a good group photograph which we purchased fro £12. Ports of Call Zeebrugge – Belgium Nothing in particular planned for this day. We caught the shuttle bus into Blankenberge, walked to the marina, then out along the pier and back along the sea front to the top of the main shopping street. Lunch was moules and bread; there was a problem with the fries! Next we bought some chocolate and went back to the ship. Anything Else? Much as expected these cruises breaks are intense and lively, it helped that we had been on the ship before and knew where everything was. There were lots of groups on board, not just stag and hen parties, but birthdays and anniversaries as well. We even got to meet Poppy from Bolsover Cruise Club (our TA) at a get together! We had expected the formal night to be the second night, but it was the first (apparently so the photographers could take and sell more formal prints). It is nice to be able to carry on and off your bags; it makes embarkation and disembarkation much quicker. Read Less
Sail Date September 2017
We were a family of five travelling in three balcony cabins, R303 - accessible cabin, A254 and A251. Embarkation was a farce, chaotic and not helped by rude and unhelpful G4S staff. Didn't see the point of being given an ... Read More
We were a family of five travelling in three balcony cabins, R303 - accessible cabin, A254 and A251. Embarkation was a farce, chaotic and not helped by rude and unhelpful G4S staff. Didn't see the point of being given an embarkation time as this was totally ignored and we were waved disdainfully towards the queue. As a first timer any questions we asked were ignored. All very pleased with our cabins, the accessible cabin was large and well thought out for use by a disbabled guest. Buffet - this was very busy on the first couple of days and choice was not great. Improved greatly over the rest of the cruise and we used daily for breakfast and late lunch. Main Dining Room Saffron - food and choice excellent, service excellent. My daughter, a vegetarian, was given exemplary service with advance orders taken for the following days menu. Sindhu - the only select restaurant we visited and the meal was well worth the additional cover charge. Entertainment- varied and good, house bands were excellent, a couple of the 'tribute' acts bordering on mediocre. 'Gary Barlow' looked like the man himself, didn't sound like him at all. 'Shania Twain' didn't look like or sound like the singer at all. The headline act was Bernie Flint who I'm sure would be unknown to at least half of the passengers. Plenty to do on board, very busy on inside decks when weather not too good though. Service - generally good with staff bordering on indifferent to excellent. Drinks could be slow at times particularly in The Exchange. All of our cabin stewards were excellent. Please beware of the advertised unlimited photos for £99 offer, this is not what it seems. We had an issue over this which to be fair was resolved to our satisfaction. If you are looking to take advantage of this speak to one of the photo team first to make sure you are aware of the numerous, unadvertised, terms and conditions. We had excursions at most ports between us and all were pleased with guides, content and value for money. Special mention for the FC Barcelona, Rome on your own and Pompeii tours. Dress codes - not adhered to in some instances. Would appear that a jacket isn't required on Black Tie, saw one female passenger in main dining room wearing white jeans as part of her outfit. Evening casual, again in dining room saw a female passenger wearing a frayed denim miniskirt. If you're going to have a dress code at least police it so the rest of us who have made an effort don't feel hard done by. Unable to visit Cagliari due to adverse weather leading to an unexpected, rough, additional day at sea. I thought that the ship would cope better with the rough seas, overall we had a couple of days of uncomfortable ship movement. We enjoyed the convenience of no fly but not the four sea days of dull/inclement weather and when looking a Med cruise again would take this into account. All enjoyed our overall P&O Ventura experience and would cruise on her again. Read Less
Sail Date September 2017
Having sailed on Oceana and Britannia we decided to give Ventura a go on a 17 day cruise to the Greek Islands. We were worried before we went, having read some pretty grim reviews of the ship but came away having enjoyed our cruise ... Read More
Having sailed on Oceana and Britannia we decided to give Ventura a go on a 17 day cruise to the Greek Islands. We were worried before we went, having read some pretty grim reviews of the ship but came away having enjoyed our cruise overall. Here are the plus points and areas that we felt needed some attention. Plus points: • The staff overall were probably the friendliest bunch we have ever sailed with on any cruise line. They were happy, professional, helpful and polite bar none. • The ship, though looking tired (and ready for a refit) was kept immaculately clean and all of the public areas were fine. The cabin was looking tired, but nothing major and it was comfortable. No sign of that nasty Norovirus! • The cabin steward, Collin, was exceptional and couldn’t do enough for us. Any issues we had with the cabin t.v.s were sorted within minutes. • The superior deluxe cabin was very spacious and had a lovely sitting area and it was good to have a bath as well as a shower for once. We were right at the front and it was very quiet despite there being 680 children on the ship • The select dining areas were varied and excellent value. We had a lovely meal in the Epicurean and it was great to sit outside and watch the sunset as we ate our meal. The glass house was probably my favourite and the food faultless and excellent value for money. Sindhu’s was good too – and that was a surprise for me as I dislike spicy food. • The food in the Saffron Restaurant was very good and we enjoyed the freedom dining experience again. There were always plenty of tables for 2, though we sometimes had to wait. They told us that the peak time was between 7.30 and 8.30pm if anyone wants to avoid it. • We loved the Greek Island ports in particular and the excursions we did with P&O were superb value for money. We did ‘Ancient Corinth and the Corinth Canal’, ‘Mykonos and Wine Tasting’, ‘Olympia and a Beach Excursion’ , the transfer to Taormina and ‘Secrets of the Rock’ in Gibraltar. They were all excellent and good value. Didn’t like Mallorca much at all and were disappointed with the ‘Formentor and Pollensor’ excursion as it bore no relation to the description we were given. • We only went to one sailaway party – the Great British sailaway – and we enjoyed this as we hadn’t been for a number of years. All good fun! The children were all well behaved so credit to them and their parents. • Our fellow passengers were a mixed bunch from lots of different backgrounds. Everyone we met (bar one snooty, obnoxious lady) was great company and we made many new friends. • There seem to be more sunbeds available on this cruise than on any other cruise we have been on mid school holidays. There were small spaces everywhere and it was lovely to enjoy a dip in the adults only pool at the back. Incidentally, we never saw anyone misusing the pools – i.e. children in adult only pools as had been reported else where. • Embarkation was very good and we were on within 20 minutes – far better at the Mayflower terminal than the Ocean Terminal and the whole experience was stress free. • For anyone who enjoys a drink we would say that prices were very fair and way lower than on American cruise lines. The alcohol policy is still very generous and we took on board a box of wine and purchased some additional bottles in the various ports for use in the cabin. • We found that there was plenty to do and you could make of the cruise what you wanted. ON one evening we noticed that there were some people on top deck drinking by the pool, others in the bar / disco area, others just enjoying the ballroom dancing. There was something for everyone. • We don’t tend to go to the shows though we saw one singer (who was excellent) • The buffet food in the afternoon was more varied than on Oceana • We LOVED the wrap around promenade deck – nice to see on a larger ship • Some people moaned that there were a lot of elderly passengers on the ship. We loved the mix of ages and find this an unfair criticism. Good on the elderly for wanting to go on holiday either alone or on their families – we all get old and we met some delightful 70 / 80 somethings. • Most people dressed up for the formal nights and looked stunning – all ages and backgrounds. We had 5 formal nights and for once gave one a miss as we had 3 in just 6 nights! We ate in the buffet that night, in smart casuals so fail to see why people moan about formal nights. There are plenty of places to go if you don’t want to dress up. • The photograph package seems better value now – 10 photos for £70 which is far better than when it was £20 per photo years ago Not so good points: • Though not P&O’s fault the weather was a bit hit and miss and lots of gloomy, cloudy sea days meant that we couldn’t use our balcony as much as we had liked. Disappointed too that we hardly docked on port side (twice I think) and we were always in the shade at every port. For us this was a shame as we prefer to return from a day out and then chill in the sunshine on the balcony occasionally when returning. If you go for this cruise and like the sunshine then either book starboard or an aft cabin. • We didn’t feel that the ship handled the waves as well as Britannia or Oceana – we always sail at the very front or very back in all ships and found Ventura to be the most ‘bumpy’ even in calmer waters. If you get sea sick go for the middle. We also found that she was at a tilt a lot of the time – the crew told us that this was because of the windy weather. • We had booked a cabin on the no smoking side but discovered that the smell of smoke on our balcony on occasions was from the crew smoking room vent that was just in front of our balcony, off the promenade deck. Why they don’t make port side the smoking side we have no idea so that folk like us, who had chosen the non smoking side (port side) wouldn’t be affected. Would not have cabin D114 again for this reason. • We also found this cabin balcony very windy. The weather was windy anyway, but from talking to others it seemed worse as the balcony was more open. We also had the bridge above us so on a rare sunny day for us (our side) the bridge cast a shadow for a time. Something for any sun worshippers to take note of! • We did not find the Captain to be very obvious and, without going in to details have suggested that he takes lessons from some of the other P&O Captains who appear to value their customers / passengers more. Shame. • Disembarkation was not handled as well as in the other ships. We were sent to a theatre and a number of rude passengers jumped the queue which caused ill feeling and could have caused mayhem. They would be better using the dining rooms as on other ships. • The cabin T.V. was terrible and had a limited choice and I hope that they will be replacing this soon when she has her refurb. • This cruise was 17 days from Southampton, with 9 sea days and 7 ports. There were too many sea days for us and hated the journey back to Southampton as we just wanted to get off and get home as we knew that we were on the way home (and it was miserable weather). We will stick to fly cruising in the future for August. To be fair to P&O other folk enjoyed it and we knew what we were getting in to before we booked. We decided to give it a try though. I suppose this isn’t a negative about the cruise / ship, just something for others to think about when they book. All in all, an enjoyable cruise and, surprisingly for me, we would not hesitate to book this ship again. She is lovely and am sure will be even better when she has had her refurb. Don’t let others put you off with reviews – go and give her a chance. Read Less
Sail Date August 2017
I had been on the venturer before and I wanted to visit Guernsey. Very nice staff and food lots to do , very busy as in school holidays we were informed there was two adult only pools but did not find one without children I love children ... Read More
I had been on the venturer before and I wanted to visit Guernsey. Very nice staff and food lots to do , very busy as in school holidays we were informed there was two adult only pools but did not find one without children I love children but someone I was travelling with is autistic and can become anxious around children but they like to swim however this did not spoil the holiday. Really good entertainment but no room in the theatre for one of the shows we wanted to see. very good reception staff the waiters and cabin stewards were lovely too.shops were good and good prices on drink and perfume .lots of choice of food and different places to eat .the prices of the formal night for photos were too expenditure £16 a photo !!!! Was very impressed getting back off the ship in Southampton no sitting about however was not happy that we birthed in a different place to when we left we had to get a taxi back to our car park luckily one of us had some cash on us Read Less
Sail Date August 2017
We chose this cruise because it started and finished in Southampton, and because it went to Portugal, and because it was well reviewed. Food on the cruise was very good, although we would have liked more local dishes (Spanish, ... Read More
We chose this cruise because it started and finished in Southampton, and because it went to Portugal, and because it was well reviewed. Food on the cruise was very good, although we would have liked more local dishes (Spanish, Portuguese) to have been included on the menus. We were very happy with the freedom dining, and would definitely choose this again. Of the bars, we liked the Glass House best (we bought a bit of food there too, which was excellent). We were slightly disappointed with the entertainment, with the exception of an outstanding 50s/60s band, the Bluejays. Vigo and St Peter Port were nice enough, but we wouldn't rush back there. Lisbon and Porto were GREAT! We booked our own tours in Lisbon and Porto. For Lisbon, we booked the “Pirates of the Cruise Ships” tour from We Hate Tourism, where they pick you up and drop you off at the cruise terminal. What a great decision that was! We saw lots of different aspects of Lisbon and its surrounding towns and scenery, as well as having a great lunch with plenty of wine. And all the time we were engaged in lively conversation with our guide – not just the standard tour guide lecture, but getting real insight into Lisbon life and Portugal as a whole. A really excellent day. Back on the ship, everyone we told about our day was impressed and envious. For Porto, we booked the Downtown Food Tour from Taste Porto. Food tours can be a great way to see a city and understand its influences, its culture and its pride. We’ve done food tours in several cities before, but this was the best yet. It includes a generous selection of varied and interesting food and drink, and gave us a real sense of the passion behind great Portuguese food. The old market was particularly special and memorable – full of long-established family shops with obvious pride in the quality of their products. Our guide was excellent. We were delighted with our choice of how to spend the day, and we definitely want to go back to Porto for longer. Embarkation and disembarkation were both very slick. Read Less
Sail Date August 2017
This was our second P&O cruise having previously sailed on Oceana. We have also sailed with Thomson and Celebrity. Embarkation was well organized: we had been allocated a time of 3pm but arrived two hours earlier as the traffic was ... Read More
This was our second P&O cruise having previously sailed on Oceana. We have also sailed with Thomson and Celebrity. Embarkation was well organized: we had been allocated a time of 3pm but arrived two hours earlier as the traffic was light. We were given a card and we settled down expecting a long wait. However, 30 minutes later we had boarded and were in our cabin. First impressions were mixed. The cabin is a reasonable size (we had C314, a balcony cabin on the port side, floor 10) but the so-called bathroom was a disappointment. It has a total area that is about the size of a phone box and this includes the shower, which had a rather dirty plastic shower curtain. Interestingly, this was replaced on the day we were disembarking! The room needs refurbishing; the carpet looked dirty and the whole room just looked run down. There is plenty of hanging space for clothes but apart from the bedside tables, no drawers. The balcony was a good size though, roughly 2.5 by 3.0 meters I would guess. We were freedom dining in the Cinnamon restaurant and I have to say that the food was as good as any I have had on a cruise. It perhaps lacked the finesse of Celebrity and endless green beans got a little repetitive but overall the food was very good. The buffet was awful as they usually are in my experience, just a fight every day to find a table at breakfast, which was the only meal we ate in there. We didn’t try any of the specialty restaurants, as the food was more than satisfactory in Cinnamon. This was in spite of constantly being given the hard sell everyday by the staff. The entertainment was excellent. The Headliners theatre group was superb, as were the Ventura entertainment team. However, it was a bit like a holiday camp up on the pool decks were you are bombarded by constant noise. Talking of the pools, we didn’t venture in, as they were full of children, including the so-called adult only pool. Also, children were constantly occupying the Jacuzzis, in spite of notices prominently displayed saying that under 16s were no allowed. This was the only time children were, for us, a problem. Apparently there were 740 children on board but they all seemed well behaved and there were no problems as far as I know. As for the rest of the ship, well, it is in need of a full refurbishment. The public areas are decidedly tacky and mostly very dark. It could be a lovely ship and probably was many years ago but it looks and feels very dated now. The itinerary was what we had signed up for so no real complaints. This was Madeira, La Palma, Gran Canaria, Lanzarote, Lisbon, Vigo and back to Southampton. My only grouch was that it took 3 long days to get to Madeira, an extra port could have been included to break this up. We heard a lot of people complaining about this. Many, many people removed or reduced their gratuities. We spoke to a lot of people over the 12 days and apart from one couple, everyone else had asked for gratuities to be removed. My only comment would be that within 2 hours of embarkation, I had been charged the full £144 in advance for service I had yet to receive. Service throughout the ship was on the whole efficient and cheerful although we did encounter some surly attitudes from some staff members but they were the minority. Finally, disembarkation was very well organized and we were able to leave the ship without a long wait or encountering any hassle. So all in all, an enjoyable cruise with some reservations regarding the décor and general state of the ship. I will cruise with P&O again, but not necessarily on Ventura. Read Less
Sail Date July 2017
10-23rd July 2017 Madiera Canaries Lisbon round trip Southampton Ship was looking good I thought if slightly tired bit in no way was that an issue. Good cruise it has been 5 years since I was last on P&O and I thought that certain ... Read More
10-23rd July 2017 Madiera Canaries Lisbon round trip Southampton Ship was looking good I thought if slightly tired bit in no way was that an issue. Good cruise it has been 5 years since I was last on P&O and I thought that certain things had improved, such as three always available menu items including a Steak. Our travelling companions thought that the desserts had reduced in number since last year, but Im not a dessert person anyway. Sindhu absolutely fantastic food and service, they ask you if you want it hotter than the 'norm' we just had standard spiced and it was fine and tasty, wanted to go back but ran out of time! The ship I thought was better than the Emerald Princess last year, it was helped by the lack of riotous 8-14 year old though this year as they hadnt finished school yet!, except for a few Scots who were well behaved! Hahahahaha. Would go again! The ports of call not too spectacular but what is there to see on volcanic islands, enjoyed Maderia and Lisbon particularly when we did our own thing. Entertainment Ships dance and singing troupe (Headliners) put in loads and loads of effort, and in general kept me entertained. Visiting artists well patchy to say the least, Peter Piper not really funny after the first joke, didnt bother with his second show. The Bourbon Street Boys, didnt realise that it was a comedy act until the third song,total rubbish, many people left during the show. Didnt bother for the second night.Rietta Austin, average singer. Again didnt bother with the second show. Now the highlight, save the best until last! Gareth Oliver was fantastic, saw both shows and this guy is funny loved the way even he slagged off the Bourbon Street Boys, although perhaps his joke about getting your feet wet with Costa was a little insensitive. He lost to Susan Boyle on Britains got Talent you know! Remembered Charlie the monkey Im only 4 years old !!!, even though I know that he is a least 20! Need more acts like Gareth, I guess though that at 72 cruises in a year he must be good. Read Less
Sail Date July 2017
Gave up on P and O cruises owing to declining standards. Have been with new favs Celebrity and Princess, but friends invited us on this cruise so we thought why not. Ventura was great, lively friendly crowd on board. Must admit the MDR ... Read More
Gave up on P and O cruises owing to declining standards. Have been with new favs Celebrity and Princess, but friends invited us on this cruise so we thought why not. Ventura was great, lively friendly crowd on board. Must admit the MDR food was superb, always hot, some starters smaller than expected but enjoyed. Buffet just the same, mad rush, cold meals by the time you get a table. Entertainment was good apart from dodgy comedians, Gareth Oliver Ventriliquist was superb, standing ovations both nights. Wow, how did Susan Boyle beat him. Will we return full time to P and O, probably not but now and again maybe. We onoy did one ship excusrion as they come in too expensive, La Palma Buggy adventure, was good but some people did nit realise the buggies were geared, amybe the ship should declare this., Embarkation easy and Cps parking superb. Drinks prices have increased dramatucally Read Less
Sail Date July 2017
Port choice very good, the ship needs a refit but she I still very good.The staff are amazing, the baytree restaurant superb.We went to Marco Pierre White restaurant for a special meal it passed beyond expectations.The choice of food and ... Read More
Port choice very good, the ship needs a refit but she I still very good.The staff are amazing, the baytree restaurant superb.We went to Marco Pierre White restaurant for a special meal it passed beyond expectations.The choice of food and the service amazing.The cruise was excellent , no problems at all,.Our cabin a superior balcony was brilliant plenty of space.Bed more comfortable than our own. We had Champagne and fruit on arrival, with chocolates a very nice gesture.I was lucky enough to receive 12 red roses while on holiday , fourteen days after delivery they have just been thrown out,The florist arrived the day before disembarking to arrange into bouquet, just an amazing service given without being asked.We had brilliant acts on every evening ,a problem some nights when all three act's were worth watching. We will definitely be cruising with P& O again, whether it will be this ship or another. Read Less
Sail Date June 2017
We selected a short 6 night cruise to fit round my working commitments and chose the P & O Ventura. We chose to drive to Southampton from home in Lancashire and set off nice and early even though it was a Saturday sailing. Traffic ... Read More
We selected a short 6 night cruise to fit round my working commitments and chose the P & O Ventura. We chose to drive to Southampton from home in Lancashire and set off nice and early even though it was a Saturday sailing. Traffic and conditions were favourable so we had a great trip and with just slow traffic from about 10 miles out of Southampton but we arrived in the car park at 10.30am. A short walk and into the terminal to await the embarkation process which commenced just before 12 noon. Once on board we made our way to the buffet for a spot of lunch having had no breakfast with our early departure. Whilst in the buffet they announced that cabins were ready early so we made our way to deck 7 and D709, our home for the 6 nights. What an excellent cabin this is, larger than the average with a comfortable bed, sofa and a separate chair, two tv’s and an ample bathroom. We met Frank, our cabin steward who was excellent in the way he took care of everything brilliantly without being noticed at all. Once unpacked we decided to check out the ship and found it most pleasurable and almost a copy of Crown Princess that we had a week on a couple of years ago. The only downside was that as we had booked quite late we were allocated to a table of 8 on late seating in the Bay Tree Restaurant. When will P & O drop this outdated method of allocating restaurants and move to freedom dining for all passengers. We really prefer to be on a table for two but to be fair our table mates were good company on the nights we used the dining room. We had nice meals in the Bay Tree, not special but more than quite adequate but I would prefer the food hotter. We ate in Sindu on the Sunday as a treat for my wife’s birthday and it was excellent. We also had one night in the buffet having arrived back quite late from our day in Bilbao and the Beach House on the last night and all were good. Breakfasts were always taken in the buffet and were of good standard. We sailed later than advertised due to some passengers struggling with traffic on the M3 and I heard later at least one couple might have actually have missed it and only caught us up in La Rochelle. We had a nice sea day on the Sunday and of course as it was one of the hottest days of the year so it was busy on the outer decks with everyone taking advantage. We availed ourselves of most bars over the cruise but as we are not big drinkers so it was more for a change of scenery than anything else. We enjoyed the three production shows that the Headliners cast put on and all were enjoyable, Gareth Oliver was a great act and his comedy and ventriloquism were first class. In other lounges the Up Beats were very good and the Tribute act to Whitney Houston was fantastic. We enjoyed all port stops and also the warm weather. We don’t book ship trips but made our own way without spending silly money. We enjoyed all ports on this trip with La Rochelle being small but interesting and a nice place to walk round. Our second stop was scheduled to be Santander but our excellent captain chose to move the stop to Bilbao about 30 miles away. This was a wonderful exchange with Bilbao being a great city for a day stop. We got off the coach and with the help of the lady tour guide who pointed us to a walking tour around the main sites and we had a great visit. We went back to the ship for something to eat and a rest but as we had a late sail we then ventured out in around the promenade of Getexo to Vizcaya Bridge. This is a great historical site and info as to why, when and how the bridge was constructed. The view from the bridge is spectacular with the sea on one side, Portugalete on the other side and Getxo on another side. The visit to St Peter Port was really good, having never visited to the Channel Islands before. It’s a nice town and we walked round it and then after a bit of local info in a shop we took the lock bus that was just £1 each and took us round the whole island on an hour and a half trip. This just could not be repeated anywhere at that price. You could get off and have a look round or visit any of the great beaches and then get back on a later bus. The night sail back to Southampton was punctuated by a PA message for “flying stations” and then shortly afterwards a helicopter arriving, one assumes to remove a medical emergency, possibly lucky we were so close to Southampton for the unlucky person being airlifted off. Disembarkation was first class, we chose to take our own luggage off and literally had breakfast and walked off the ship, no customs issues or waiting in lounges for times to leave and we were in the car hitting the road back North. We will definitely book with P & O again for another short break cruise. Read Less
Sail Date June 2017
We have recently returned from the 3 night Ventura cruise my feedback is both negative and positive. My negative comments mainly refer to our cabin. We were a group of 3. On arrival to our cabin we found only 2 of everything. We asked ... Read More
We have recently returned from the 3 night Ventura cruise my feedback is both negative and positive. My negative comments mainly refer to our cabin. We were a group of 3. On arrival to our cabin we found only 2 of everything. We asked and the 3rd items arrived in dribs and drabs. Also we left our dry cleaning out as instructed but it was not taken and therefore unable to get it done in time for the formal night.Fortunately they have a passenger lundrey room so we were able to do a DIY dress steam. My friends personal hair towel was taken by mistake and unable to be located. Our next observation was the cleanliness of the room. There were previous guest items on shelves and in draws.The carpet had clearly not been hoover and was not hoovered during our stay. I twice visited the public toilets to find no toilet paper and our drinks tables were not cleared of empty glasses or wiped over enough On a positive, embarkation very smooth and quick, we liked the ship, cabin spacious enough for 3, staff friendly , food excellent, mini break is great value.drinks prices very reasonable. As it's so reasonable it was extremely busy with families and groups, mainly hen parties so all areas were very busy. Pool bars packed but waiting staff walking round were great and quicker service. Loved the ' Great British Sail ' l away party. Also enjoyed the englishness.... like music and staff sense of humor. I have done 8 cruises on RCI and fancied trying P&O as a comparison. I feel RCI definitely have the edge regards dining service . I would happily do another P&O short cruise but choose RCI for longer duration's as service is something that is important to my cruise experience Read Less
Sail Date May 2017
About Time We have cruised with P&O many times, it was our first trip on Ventura although we were familiar with the layout having cruised on Azura and some Princess ships. This cruise was mainly to visit Greece and some of the ... Read More
About Time We have cruised with P&O many times, it was our first trip on Ventura although we were familiar with the layout having cruised on Azura and some Princess ships. This cruise was mainly to visit Greece and some of the Greek islands, but also included Ibiza and Gibraltar. The itinerary had changed twice, Turkey was swapped for Rhodes. The order of ports was changed this meant that we had Santorini to ourselves, instead of being with another four ships, good call! Embarkation/Disembarkation The ship was using the Ocean Terminal in Southampton. The terminal works very well at getting people through as quickly as possible. Porters take your luggage from you in the drop off lanes, next time you see it is outside the cabin. The only slight hold up is having to complete the health questionnaire on arrival, why not offer it for download from the Cruise Personaliser. P&O complicate this by giving you a boarding time, ours is 15:00, it always is whatever P&O cruise we take! We decided to aim for 13:30, and only had to wait around until 14:00 before being called to check-in. We arrived at our cabin by 14:30 and our luggage was already waiting for us. Disembarkation is equally efficient. A few days before the end of the cruise there was an announcement on the back of the Horizon newspaper advising that if you were traveling independently to tell Reception what time you would like to disembark. Instructions are then dropped off at your cabin. We selected 09:00, as did another 800. Our meeting place was the Arena theatre; we duly filed in at 08:00 and filled the theatre from the front to the back, following the instructions of one of the entertainment team (she had quite a job on to retain order!). At 09:00 we left the theatre in a line from front to back, surprisingly this is very efficient if everyone does as they are told. The baggage reclaim is a big hall with the luggage located in deck order. There were plenty of trollies and staff to help find the odd misplaced bag. We were ready and waiting outside for our taxi by 09:25. Cruise Critic Roll Call Meet and Greet No M&G was organised beforehand, we knew that we would all be too busy enjoying ourselves! Dining We had opted for Freedom Dining which gives great flexibility, but it can get busy at peak times, the best strategy is to be prepared to share a table (requesting a table for two will probably result in being given a pager). We tended to eat in the Saffron Restaurant, we also used it for breakfast and lunch. The Saffron Restaurant is very big, but the service is very good. The selection of dishes each evening seemed a little limited, some nights we resorted to the always available steak or salmon. The breakfast choices in the MDR are comprehensive, but I don’t think the choice has changed in the 10 years we have been sailing with P&O. Lunch in the MDR is also pleasant, and fairly quiet with a good set of menu choices and usually an interesting curry. Other dining options that we tried were the Waterside (buffet) is a useful alternative for breakfast and lunch (we did not try it for dinner). It became congested at peak times and on sea days. People did tend to spread themselves out and hoard tables. The Poolside Grill provided a quick and hearty service of burgers and hotdogs. This was very handy when returning from trips. The Poolside Pizzeria was very good with pizzas cooked to order taking about 10 minutes. We also tried the Select dining outlets which incur an additional charge. The Epicurean provides top level dining at a modest charge; we had Chateaubriand (which we had always wanted to try). The service is attentive and personal this makes for a very special and memorable evening. Watch out for the Earlybird offers, a free bottle of house wine if you book to dine before 6:30 The Glasshouse is more relaxed, we tried the special wine pairing meal (usually once a week) the food was amazing and paired with wines that were surprising, but worked well. Each course and wine is described; again the service could not be faulted and was probably the best meal of the cruise. We also ate in the Glasshouse on another evening and again the food and service was very good. Be aware the Glasshouse tends to be where people queue to get into the theatre The Beach House is more of an American style diner, great selection of food, but you need to be hungry; once again, personal and attentive service in a relaxed pleasant environment. My Rib Combo was excellent and there was a lot of it! We did eat in Sindhu where we had an Asian lunch which was charged at £7.50 each and we thought was very good value. Beautifully prepared food with individual service. Bars Lots of bars as you would expect, some with an emphasis on gin. There is a wide selection of craft gins available in the Red Bar and Metropolis. Most drinks at pub prices, but if you want more than two glasses of wine a bottle of the house (white in our case) is an economical option at £16. The Tamarind Club could be difficult because it is also an entertainment venue it can become very crowded and difficult to get a seat, and there were people just sitting there for the live music and not having a drink. Cabin Our cabin was port rear on deck 9 (D612), it was a very good size; it is described as an superior deluxe balcony. The décor and fittings were in reasonable shape. Between the bathroom and main room is a spacious hanging area that really works well. The beds are high enough to take some pretty big suitcases underneath. There is a spacious sitting area with a sofa, chair and variable height table. The balcony does not have an overhang and can be overlooked (no topless sun bathing here!), but it is a good size. Our steward Denzil looked after us well, and was always keen to do more. This grade of cabin comes with fluffy bathrobes, binoculars, atlas and on embarkation Champagne and chocolates. This cabin was very quiet, nothing rattled, but when they test the lifeboats which are immediately under the cabin, the noise of machinery is deafening! Lifeboat tests are usually on port days and at fairly sociable times, any other time and I would be very worried! Entertainment I enjoyed the lecture series, David Russell on aspects of the Royal Navy and John Mercer talking about the First and Second World Wars and some of the personalities. Both fairly male orientated, both very good. I took the Behind The Scenes Tour this was excellent and really worth the £75, but be warned it can be as long as five hours. The most impressive area was the navigational bridge, so spacious and an amazing view, a close second was the Engine Control Room the Chief Engineer Neil Collins really knows this ship inside out. The shows in the Arena Theatre, well we saw both shows with tenor Ben Makisi and they were very good, we would have liked to see more but there was a problem with the theatre. If you didn’t have you bum on a seat at least 30mins before curtain up, forget it. Some passengers had cracked the code and were obviously prepared to eat early, queue and wait for the shows, it seemed that their objective was to get good seats in at least two shows a night. Along with the Havana lounge and Tamarind Club these were the three targeted venues. In the end we gave up and enjoyed leisurely evening meals and drinks in selected quieter bars, each to their own. A special mention for Entertainment Manager (didn’t this used to be called Cruise Director?) Leon de ste. Croix, a real trooper! He can sing dance, do stand up and lecture on astronomy. He had to cope with a lot on this cruise, theatre main projector was off line for several days, one performer failed to appear due to BA problems at Gatwick and a critical member of the dance team went sick meaning a new show had to be shelved. He also had to apologise for a misprint in the newspaper which resulted in passengers changing their clocks a day early, late breakfast was busy that day. All this he carried off, Leon did not pay me to write this!! Photography We were pleasantly surprised by the ship’s photographers and their low key approach, it worked, and we actually bought some, £8 a print is very reasonable. The photographers were also very skilled and did manage a reasonable picture of us! Gym This has to be one of the best gyms afloat that I’ve tried and I used it 10 times (still put on weight though!). The 15 weights machines give you a complete workout. Plenty of tread-mills, cross trainers, bikes and rowing machines. My only suggestion would be to add a sit-up bench. Medical Centre We did not require the services of the Medical Centre, but I was taken round it on the behind the scenes tour, the facilities are comprehensive. One thing I learned was that they are unable to diagnose and treat a stroke, to do this they would require a CT scanner. Spa My wife had a full back massage which she found to be very beneficial, £75 for nearly an hour. Her therapist Theresa was very friendly and professional, and made a follow up phone call the next day just to make sure there were no problems. Ports of Call Ibiza We had been here before, and just took the shuttle bus into town where we had a good walk around and some lunch. There was a lengthy queue for the return shuttle bus, about half an hour. There was an even longer queue to get back on the ship, not quite sure what went wrong there. Athens (Piraeus) We had booked a trip here “The Acropolis and The Plaka”, everything was going well until we arrived at the car park for the Acropolis. On leaving the car park and taking the steps to the base of the Acropolis we became separated from the guide. Although we could hear the guide on the radio she was unaware that we were no longer with the group until she came to hand out the tickets to enter the Acropolis. For our part we searched the promenade at the base of the Acropolis and asked several people if they had seen our guide with our lollipop. After waiting some time we called the ship’s agent, who was not helpful, and told us to call the ship. Reception was very helpful, and arranged for the Excursion desk to call us back. When Ruth called us back we had returned to the car park and were waiting at the bottom of the steps. Kevin from the Excursion desk also called us with updates on progress. It was two hours before the guide eventually found us, by which time another couple who had become separated from the group at the Acropolis had joined us. After a while we could start to hear the guide again, and could hear someone telling her that they had also become separated. Soon after this the guide found us at the bottom of the steps, we then rejoined the group and discovered that the coach would not be picking us up from the car park. On return to the ship we went to the Excursion desk to discuss our problem and were effectively told that the incident was our fault. After a rather heated and fruitless discussion the agent agreed to request an appointment with her manager. No appointment was received, and we returned to the Excursion Desk two days later, to be told that the matter was in hand. The next day we received a letter from the manager apologizing and advising of compensation. In light of this here are our top tips for an enjoyable tour: 1. Make sure that your guide displays their lollipop prominently. 2. Ask your guide to set up a pre-arranged meeting point. 3. Before getting off a coach ask your guide to describe the flow of the tour and where the coach would be picking up from. 4. Ask your guide to provide an emergency contact number. 5. Take the Horizon Newspaper, port guide, working mobile phone and a debit or credit card. Santorini Once the ship was anchored, shore tenders came alongside to disembark passengers; these are much bigger than the ships tenders and provide a smoother ride. New for us was that everyone had to do a step test this involved stepping across two lines 45cm (18 inches) apart to prove that you were mobile enough to get on and off the tender. In the event there were two large gentlemen on the tender who grabbed you and lifted you on! We took the Best of Santorini tour, a very good tour with an interesting guide. You get to see a lot of the island, but I’m not sure how much value the included lunch provided. The lunch was self-service in a large venue with at least another five tour parties, yes, we’ve all been there, average food and not our first choice of wine! The tour could be shortened allowing more time in Fira, and perhaps a better lunch. Rhodes The ship docks very close to the Old Town, we just walked of and took a long walk around the town and harbour, then enjoyed a leisurely lunch and some shopping. Crete, Heraklion We have already seen most of the sights of Crete and Heraklion, so we took the transfer to Aghios Nikolaos. The host on the coach, Sandra was excellent, and when we arrived at Aghios Nikolaos she walked us around to and got us orientated. We had a pleasant walk around the Voulismeni Lake, and enjoyed a relaxed lunch, so relaxed that we did not have time to go to the beach. Our host positioned herself prominently in the coach park and we had no problems finding the coach. Katakolon for Olympia We took the Olympic Spirit tour, our guide Penny was a star, well informed on the historic aspects and highly organised. She kept the party together even when we lost one member they were soon back with us. It’s a fairly uneven site, but quite compact. The museum is definitely worth a visit, though it can become very busy. Aircraft spotters would have particularly enjoyed this trip because the Greek Airforce was practicing nearby! Gibraltar We have been here many times and our call was fairly short, not enough time for lunch. Like everyone else, we got off walked into town, did some shopping, had a beer then got back on board. As we walked back towards Ventura you could hear a lot of bottles chinking around us! Anything Else? Overall, an enjoyable cruise with the exception of some selfish passengers who were totally focused on what they wanted to do, queuing in the Glasshouse to make sure that you got into the theatre is not good, neither is leaving a show early to get to the next venue. This was also the first cruise where we have had three captains: Simon Terry left us in Ibiza for urgent personal reasons Deputy captain Max Rossi took over. In Athens Marcin Banach took over All this happened totally seamlessly. All that now remains is for me to lose the six pounds that I have gained on this cruise, and plan the next one! Read Less
Sail Date May 2017
This was our twelfth cruise, but our first 'short cruise' of just 4 nights. We selected this sailing (to Bruges and Amsterdam) because of the dates, which very specifically took-in the opportunity to visit the Dutch bulbfields ... Read More
This was our twelfth cruise, but our first 'short cruise' of just 4 nights. We selected this sailing (to Bruges and Amsterdam) because of the dates, which very specifically took-in the opportunity to visit the Dutch bulbfields in all their glory. The disappointment came about becuase the expected itinerary (as booked) had been as follows: arrival Amsterdam Day 2 afternoon (Day 1 being departure form Southampton), overnight Amsterdam then all day Amsterdam Day 3 with an early evening departure to Bruges (actually of course, Zeebrugge) for arrival early Day 4 before leaving late afternoon for early morning arrival Southampton Day 5. This was changed by P&O in the last weeks before departure to a reversal of the itinerary. This meant Day 2 in Bruges and Day 3 in Amsterdam with a full day at sea on Day 4. Not really a problem you might think, but in effect we lost the opportunity to go ashore in Amsterdam on two separate days and instead had a whole day of 'thumb-twiddling on the return trip (when P&O doubtless hoped that lots of money would be spent onboard!). We were told that 'P&O had only just become aware that another ship would be berthed at Bruges' and this forced the change of itinerary. This is hard ot believe, since shipping-movements must surely be known months, if not years, ahead! I may be wrong, but the tannoy announcement at Zeebrugge that 'Ventura would be taking on fuel' (which could surely have equally easily been accomplished in Southampton before departure) suggested to me that - consequential on recent economic developments - the much better Euro/Dollar exchange-rate (as against the Pound/Dollar exchange rate) meant that P&O would be able to save a huge amount on their fuel-bill. The ship's fuel-state was possibly known to be adequate to reach Zeebrugge from Southampton, but not Amsterdam. It is of course in 'the small print' that the itinerary can be changed at any time, but this doesn't alter the feeling of having been 'short-changed'. All of that said, we did get to see the Keukenhof bulbfields on the same day as had been originally expected (and they were superb) and very much enjoyed Bruges. The vagueries of the weather cannot be controlled of course, but as it turned out we had a cold and wet day in Bruges (on Day 2) whereas Day 4 (when we should have been there) was fine and sunny. Instead, we were on board ship all day! Ventura itself is OK if you like bigger ships. Shorter trips inevitably attract a different passenger-demographic from longer, more expensive, cruises. We could not fault the food, or the service, in the Bay Tree restaurant. Pleasingly, we enjoyed fixed time/table dining, but most passengers (on this cruise at least) would have experienced 'freedom dining' in the two main reaturants (Cinnamon and Saffron), P&O's term for eating at any time to suit yourself. This more informal approach may be liked by many, but my advice would be that if you prefer a traditional experience, then make sure that you opt for the (slightly) higher-priced P&O fares to ensure a fixed time and table. Despite earlier comments, we enjoyed our trip and from an overall 'value for money' standpoint, it would be churlish to rate the overall cruise experience as anything other than 'very good'. Read Less
Sail Date April 2017
Decided to have a week away and spend some quality time with Dad. My partner and I in one cabin, My Sister and Brother-in-law in the second cabin and our Dad as a single passenger in the third cabin. Our cabin was tended to efficiently by ... Read More
Decided to have a week away and spend some quality time with Dad. My partner and I in one cabin, My Sister and Brother-in-law in the second cabin and our Dad as a single passenger in the third cabin. Our cabin was tended to efficiently by the room Steward, no complaints there. Food overall was very good especially the fine dining we found was delicious . Entertainment was very enjoyable. Overall not much to complain about except the service in some of the bars by several waiters, There was never a problem getting a drink but experienced a number of errors in the orders which was sent back and amended. very frustrating, Even though the staff write the order down mistakes were made often all through the week. Our bonus of the week was definitely the weather. Sailed from Southampton in the sunshine which continued to shine the rest of the week. There was a day when it seemed quite blustery and the pools were netted off but there are many nooks to take advantage of to find a little sun trap. I wouldn't hesitate to recommend this ship. Read Less
Sail Date April 2017
Ventura 21 March 2017 – 2nd April 2017 12 nights N707 Embarkation went smoothly and we were in our cabin soon after. We had been on Ventura a few times before so knew the layout. It was 3 days at sea but with the help of ... Read More
Ventura 21 March 2017 – 2nd April 2017 12 nights N707 Embarkation went smoothly and we were in our cabin soon after. We had been on Ventura a few times before so knew the layout. It was 3 days at sea but with the help of Avomine I was able to carry on oblivious to the pretty rough Bay of Biscay crossing. You know it’s bad when the sick bags appear on the stairwells. I quite like the days at sea, as it gives you time to unwind and realise you are on holiday and can just go with the flow. They showed a few up to date movies in the theatre but then they changed the venue to the Tamarind Club which is totally unsuitable for watching a movie. Unless you were one of the first there your view was almost totally obscured. Ridiculous. We went to lunch in the restaurant every sea day and there was always something on the menu to tempt you. The onboard activities were the usual fare – quizzes and trying to sell you something for your own “wellbeing”. The atrium in the Ventura is where the dancing takes place and I really enjoyed watching the line dancing which was usually followed by a dance lesson by the 2 onboard dance teachers. Both events were well attended. I had applied for (and it had been confirmed) that we would get £60 onboard credit as a shareholder benefit but after 2 days it had still not appeared on my account on the TV. I went to Reception and luckily had proof of entitlement with me so they took a copy and said they would contact someone ashore. 3 days later it still hadn’t appeared. Spoke to Aaron on Reception who said he could see it on his computer and that it would definitely appear in the next 2 days. You guessed it, still nothing. After 2 more visits and over a week into the cruise eventually the credit appeared on my account. No explanation was given so this is a warning to everyone who has Carnival shares – check your account and take proof of entitlement with you. Our ports of call were Palma de Mallorca, Marseille, La Spezia, Ajaccio and Gibraltar. We had been to Palma countless times before so we just did our own thing but the sight of the Cathedral with the fountains etc as you just get off the shuttle bus still takes your breath away. Marseille was a Sunday so we caught the shuttle bus into the port area. There was a warning in the Horizon newspaper to be aware of your surroundings and as we drove in there was a large square which had groups of men hanging around in it. It may me feel unsafe so we just stuck to the port. La Spezia we had never visited before and it was a lovely little place. We would definitely go back there. Ajaccio was also good. There was a big police presence with streets with markets being blocked off by trucks either end which I suppose was to stop any idiot who felt like it drive into the crowd. They obviously took safety very seriously and there were police patrols on foot and in cars. Gibraltar was only half a day stop and I was going to test P&O’s price match promise so when I was passing the Duty Free Shop just as you disembarked I was going to photograph the price of Bombay Sapphire gin. I was just lining up the shot when this guy jumped in front of me with his hand blocking my shot saying, “No photos, no photos” and pointing to a sign (which I never saw) saying “photographs not allowed”. They obviously know about the Price Promise so this was their way of trying to get you to buy from them. Also in town I noticed that most of the prices of drinks had been removed from the window so you couldn’t photograph them either. We had bought 2 bottles of Bombay Sapphire onboard for £30 and it was on offer in Gib for £9.95 a bottle. Luckily, I found a shop with a price showing. The ship price matched and £10 odd was added back to my account. The same with cigarettes. 200 Lambert & Butler was £30 onboard but in Palma Duty Free they were 27 Euros. Again, the price match kicked in. I had looked onboard for a gold charm from Pandora but the choice on the ship was not good so bought one ashore. Unfortunately, 2 passengers were left behind in Gibraltar – the Captain waited 45 mins but had to leave without them. The Captain’s welcome aboard party was on decks 5,6 & 7 and they were pretty generous with the drinks. The luncheon was excellent and although we had dropped from Baltic to Caribbean level we had one of the doctors seated at our table – he was gorgeous. Over 6 ft tall, blonde with blue eyes and a lovely South African accent. He was the best Officer we’d ever had at any of these events. Dishy. The repeaters party went well with the drinks flowing again. It’s lovely to go to these events and meet and hear from past passengers about their cruises past & present. We had Freedom dining which suits us but were a bit disappointed in the number of choices on the menu. Steak, chicken & salmon were now listed which made it look like there was plenty of choice but in actual fact you only had about 2 or 3 choices. This is not an improvement as far as we are concerned. The weather was fine the whole time we were away and some people got in a bit of sunbathing. Both pools were mostly open but because of the choppy seas both ways thru the BOB the pools were shut off. We tried the Burger Bar on deck 15 but I had to ask for a fresh burger as the one I’d been given must have been standing around for a while and was cold. I meant to try the Pizza but run out of days. The buffet looked fine and was usually busy although we didn’t eat a meal there except for breakfast. We only went to one or two shows in the theatre but they were very professional and well received. Ventura crew come across as a happy crew and Ventura a happy ship. It makes a difference when their positivity and eagerness to make your holiday a happy one is genuine and we hope we get back onboard Ventura in the not too distant future. A good cruise. Read Less
Sail Date March 2017
P & O have improved their performance since my last cruise with them. Embarkation was a breeze and our bags arrived in the cabin shortly after we did. Best departure we have had. Cabin staff were polite and efficient and there ... Read More
P & O have improved their performance since my last cruise with them. Embarkation was a breeze and our bags arrived in the cabin shortly after we did. Best departure we have had. Cabin staff were polite and efficient and there were no problems in service standards or room service. The dining experience was much improved. We used the restaurants for nearly all our meals and found that the extra time spent dining was worth it to avoid the buffet. The choices were good and the Marco P White menus were very good indeed paticularly the Beef Wellington fayre. When we did use the buffet it was ok, but we did avoid peaks. There were three sea days from Southampton before we docked at Palma. A stop at Malaga/Cartagena or an alternative would have added a lot to the cruise. Entertainment was good and the theatre company were a vibrant talented troupe with great energy. The veteran comic Mickey Zany added his comic observations and (very dated, to us,as we were under 85) impressions. His gags went down well and there were also performances by Jimmy James who is still in good voice and a stylish vocalist who sang a number of Orbison and Hollies hits. Not Vegas but a good line up and worth the time and money The entertainment was spoilt at times by an inconsiderate passenger bringing her 14 month old daughter into every show. Almost on cue the child cried as soon as the show started and continued throughout the performance. Most would leave out of respect for the rest of the 700 people in the audience. But even when gently prodded by the comic when his punch line was interrupted, the passenger was determined that she would stay put and to hell with everyone else. It is difficult for P & O to correct rank bad manners, but even the broadest hint from the stage left this madam unmoved. That said it was a good cruise with most passengers being courteous and friendly. Read Less
Sail Date March 2017
We like to cruise in the winter, to get away from the dark, rainy days in England, and we didn't want to do a long-haul flight, so it was appealing to sail from Southampton to the Canaries. This was our first cruise on P&O, ... Read More
We like to cruise in the winter, to get away from the dark, rainy days in England, and we didn't want to do a long-haul flight, so it was appealing to sail from Southampton to the Canaries. This was our first cruise on P&O, although we have been on several other lines. Embarkation was really smooth. We arrived a little earlier that our allotted time, but were waved straight through to check-in, which was most efficiently organised. We got to our cabin about 45 minutes after arrival in Southampton, and our cases were already outside. The cabin was fine, with lots of storage space. The bed was comfortable but the pillows a bit too firm for our liking. We were on C deck, which has extra-deep balconies, part shaded, with two loungers, one footstool and a small table. A pity that during the whole two weeks it was only warm enough to sit out there once! The bathroom is tiny, but the shower is really good and powerful, and the bath towels large and quite thick. Our steward, Joseph, kept the place spotless - we witnessed him working a few times and he was really thorough. He always greeted us with a cheerful smile, but after about half the cruise we didn't see him any more, and on asking another steward discovered that he had fractured his hand while cleaning a balcony. Whoever took over did an equally good job, but had a much lower profile and we never knew his name, but the changeover happened seamlessly. We had opted for fixed dining, second sitting, and were at a table for eight in the Bay Tree Restaurant. We were lucky in that all eight of us got on really well and we had a good laugh at mealtimes. And so to the food. I have read a lot of bad reviews of the food on Ventura, but in our opinion it was quite good - certainly not "abysmal" as one man we talked to called it. The portion sizes seemed to vary a bit, I think the presentation was supposed to be "nouvelle cuisine", which really is old hat nowadays. Someone on our table requested extra vegetables one day, and after that each couple got a bowl of extra vegetables without asking. These were often nicer than the vegetables served with the main course! Mostly the food was good, and very tasty, though there were occasions when it seemed a bit dry, and at my last dinner I ordered a vegetarian main course which was so stodgy it was inedible. I was quickly offered an alternative,which I didn't want. I often ended the meal with cheese and crackers. The portions of cheese served were minute. But these are minor niggles. Overall, we were very satisfied. Our waiters were superb, we cannot fault the service. They were quick, pleasant and got to know our preferences after only a couple of days. We only ate lunch in the buffet a couple of times, and didnt like it. It seemed a bit disorganised, it was hard to get a table, and the food choices were poor. We started with three sea days before we got to Madeira. There were so many activities to choose from that you need never be bored, including lectures, table-tennis, dancing classes, singing, the library (small but pleasant) and in the evenings entertainment in one of the many bars or the main theatre. I don't usually like production shows, but the Headliners company were very professional, with some excellent singers and dancers, particularly the lead soloists. We also liked the comedian, and the Arena Theatre is really comfortable. As we went to the 10.30 shows we never had a problem getting a seat. Unfortunately we didn't get the weather we expected on this cruise - hardly the fault of P&O! Although it was certainly warmer that England in Madeira and the Canaries, it was still cool and windy apart from inland in Lanzarote, where it went up to the mid-20s. And because of storms expected in the Bay of Biscay, we had to give Lisbon a miss. The Captain explained that he considered the wind to be too strong to make docking safe there, and there were worse storms on the way, so he decided to try to get ahead of them when crossing the Bay of Biscay. As it was, that was a bit rough, but I gather would have been worse. To make up for Lisbon, we stopped at Cherbourg, but it was cold, wet and windy and we didn't stay there long. Debarkarion was smooth. We had elected to disembark late, and had to wait in one of the bars, but it was all seamless, we had no trouble locating our bags and were off home shortly after 10 am. A good cruise? Yes. An outstanding one? No. But we would go on P&O again. The service is good, the auto-gratuities half of that on the American cruise lines, the drinks reasonable and no 15% service charge. And the service is excellent. Read Less
Sail Date February 2017
We chose this cruise because we needed an extra day towards our Princess loyalty program status. We were very happy in the main with the whole experience. The cabin could have been a little cleaner, the carpet needed a good vacuum as ... Read More
We chose this cruise because we needed an extra day towards our Princess loyalty program status. We were very happy in the main with the whole experience. The cabin could have been a little cleaner, the carpet needed a good vacuum as there were many bits on it and the bedside tables had liquid marks, soon got rid of wth a wet flannel. We wanted to change our allotted table because my wife is in a wheelchair but the staff were not at all helpful so we had to stay with the allotted one. The food quality was very good however the variety at the Waterside Buffet was not as varied as on Princess. Metropolis, the nightclub was excellent, good atmosphere and service. We liked the island servery, better design than the bar in Skywalkers on the Princess Grand class ships. Overall a very good albeit short experience, we would certainly sail with P&O again.R Read Less
Sail Date February 2017
Had not holidayed on a cruise ship before and wanted to visit Amsterdam and Bruge as a family (2 adults and 2 children). For first time cruisers we really did not know what to expect, we had read some reviews and had an idea of what we ... Read More
Had not holidayed on a cruise ship before and wanted to visit Amsterdam and Bruge as a family (2 adults and 2 children). For first time cruisers we really did not know what to expect, we had read some reviews and had an idea of what we wanted to do at each port. Embarkation was extremely easy and despite a full ship there was very little queuing. As we did not have much luggage we decided to carry it on ourselves, unbeknown to us it gave us priority boarding! Cabin was clean and larger than what we were expecting. We have previously traveled to St Malo and was expecting a similar sized cabin and room facilities. We opted for a cabin with an obstructed view, this gave us a partial sea view/life boat view. I would opt for the same again. The shower was powerful and hot and there was enough storage for clothes. On the negative side we all found the beds too hard and the air-conditioning fan made an irritating intermittent rattle which made settling down to sleep difficult. I had read previous reports that the ship was cold. We traveled in February and did not find this to be the case. If anything, we were too hot and turned the heating down to minimum. The food was excellent, good choice and good quality. Drinks prices are similar to a night out. Beer £4-£4.50, soft drinks £1.95, cocktails from £5.85. Good variety of entertainment. I would say something for everyone. The children, aged 9 & 10, loved the kids club and the swimming pools. Amsterdam - We decided not to book any excursions, they seemed quite pricey for what they were. Hindsight, we should have pre-booked Ann Frank's house as you can only visit this museum without booking after 3:30pm! Before that time is for pre-booked tickets only. For info, it took about 30mins to walk from the ship to the museum and would have cost 9 euros per adult, children under the age of 9 were free of charge. We then walked to the Nemo museum, but we did not fall in love with Amsterdam and headed back to the ship early afternoon. Probably would have been best to have booked an excursion for this place. I think the ship arrived about 7am and everyone was back on board by 5:30pm. No charge for disembarking. Zeebrugge - P&O provided free shuttle buses to Blankenburge where you could get the train to Bruge, Ghent and beyond. The train cost 5 euros return to Bruge and children were free. The trains were every hour and took 10-15mins. There was then a 10-15min walk to Bruge town centre. This was a lovely place and we would definitely go back. lots of chocolate shops, beautiful buildings and canals and horse drawn carriages. The queue was too long for the horses for us but the cost was 50euros. Some previous reviews have spoken about walking from Zeebrugge to Blankenburge - We would not recommend this, it did seem a little too far to walk and then to have enough time in Bruge. I heard taxis were charging 50 euros each way from Zeebrugge to Bruge and you then had to get the port shuttle to the ship as taxi's were not allowed in the port. Part of the self service restaurant was closed for upgrading but this did not really have an impact as there were so many other places to eat. Read Less
Sail Date February 2017
We had a wonderful time on Ventura with smooth sailing for the most part and lovely weather. The Caribbean has been on our bucket list and it surpassed all our expectations. So many other reviews have covered things like cabins and dining ... Read More
We had a wonderful time on Ventura with smooth sailing for the most part and lovely weather. The Caribbean has been on our bucket list and it surpassed all our expectations. So many other reviews have covered things like cabins and dining but I will just put a few of mine and my husbands own personal observations down in case anyone is interested. In most areas we were very happy with P and O's product and we are booked for Aurora next year for Scandinavia. This was a fully booked cruise with a lot of very elderly passengers but the staff were so good and efficient and helpful that this did not really impact negatively when getting off and on ship in ports, they handled anyone with mobility problems very speedily and safely. For us 28 nights was a little too long and after the 8 days at sea we were getting cabin fever but we wanted winter sunshine and did not want to fly so we knew we had a lot of sea days. To give P and O credit they do provide a lot of activities but everywhere was so busy with a fully booked cruise that we got sick of fighting to get a seat anywhere so we resorted to sitting on our balcony on most sea days after we did the morning quiz. We had lovely weather once past the Canaries so sitting on the balcony was fine for us. The TV in the cabin was way too small so watching a movie in the evening was not a pleasure as you could barely see the screen and the angle on the wall gave us a neck ache. We watched a few movies in the theatre but the quality was not very good, the film was quite blurred. I suggested on the questionnaire larger TV and for P and O to play the theatre movie in the room the next day for those who could not get to the theatre to view it. The pools were super busy as expected but we found the Terrace pool at back of ship to be the quietest and we always managed to find a sunbed here. Buffet dining we mostly avoided unless hubby fancied a pizza or a burger at lunchtime and these were tasty. We ate breakfast in the Baytree most mornings and the choices and quality were very good. We sometimes had croissants and juice in the cabin and room service was always prompt and polite. We were Freedom dining and once we got the hang of what shows we wanted to see and our timings for meals it worked well for us. We always asked for a table for 2 and that is what we always got, the longest wait we ever had was about 30 minutes but was usually only about 15 minutes or so. The service in Saffron was outstanding from every staff member, they really could not do enough for you. The food was tasty and hot and plenty of selection although a few days before end of cruise the menu was becoming a little boring (but on a long cruise not surprising). We dined in the Beach House one night for an additional supplement but we did not enjoy it at all. The sommelier was very snotty with us and ruined the experience and the steak we had was not good at all. Never mind not the end of the world and lots of people we spoke to did enjoy it. We dined in the Glass house twice and the fish and chips were delicious but the ribeye steak the second time we dined was tough but to be fair they did not charge us for it. We did not dine in Epicurean as we thought £28 per person extra was a bit too much but we did hear good feedback from other passengers. We did all the black tie nights bar the last one as we were sick of it by then so that was why we dined in the Glasshouse the last black tie night it was either that or buffet. The entertainment from headliners in the Arena was very good (wow they work hard !) some of the singing was a little bit shouty but the dancing was superb and the costumes were great. It was difficult to get a seat for the 8.30 show so we went to the 10.30's In my opinion it would be better to have the shows at 8pm and 10pm. We saw the Kenny Rogers tribute who was very good indeed and also the lady who did the Barbara Streisand tribute (I forget her name now sorry, Cassie or Carrie Summers I think ) anyway she was amazing. We did not bother with any of the comedians after the first one as not really our cup of tea. The horse racing night we went to was quite good fun and we won £7 woo hoo ( only cost us £20 to play LOL ). All the quizzes were very good and well attended. Something worthy of mention was the summer fete the entertainment team put on one day at sea to raise money for Teenage Cancer Trust. It was good fun and they raised over £2000 for this wonderful cause. Well done P and O I don;t know of any other cruise line that supports a charity I am impressed. We were in cabin B622 midships aft, port side, Very quiet, some vibration sometimes but nothing too bad. All in all a very good cruise. Read Less
Sail Date January 2017
Overall this was a pleasure with, if I want to be picky, a few grouches. Ship can get a bit overcrowded and shovey if you turn up at peak times for meals in buffet restaurants. Also, to be sniffy, some passengers would seem ... Read More
Overall this was a pleasure with, if I want to be picky, a few grouches. Ship can get a bit overcrowded and shovey if you turn up at peak times for meals in buffet restaurants. Also, to be sniffy, some passengers would seem close chums of portly Onslow and family in that Mrs Bucket comedy series. Or the Royle family on their hols. Brits abroad who let us down. Swilling drinks, shouty, bit whiffy, tattoed, smokers, regular belchers and trumpers, string vests and they care not a jot for other passengers. P&O try hard to maintain good standards but just a few passengers foil them! Not P&O's fault. Food, entertainment, crew and facilities are all good or excellent. Showers are a bit small with no doors, just curtains. Ship looks a bit tired and rusty in places but overall decor etc was good. Very good song and dance team. Theatre is a bit too small so get there about an hour earlier to ensure seats. Best to avoid school holidays. Sometimes have to go up and down stairs or lifts too much to reach restaurants if you're infirm. Conclusion.....Well worth sampling Ventura but some passengers said they also agreed with us that RCI was a bit better. The debate goes on......All depends who you chat to. Edith Evans would not enjoy. Read Less
Sail Date November 2016
I went with my husband, elderly mother and father (80) and brother. We had balcony rooms on R deck. This is the second cruise for my husband and I and we used Princess last time so had something to compare with. I cannot fault this cruise ... Read More
I went with my husband, elderly mother and father (80) and brother. We had balcony rooms on R deck. This is the second cruise for my husband and I and we used Princess last time so had something to compare with. I cannot fault this cruise as all 5 of us enjoyed it and would love to cruise using P&O again. Embankment was no problem, bags were taken from us as soon as we arrived and we were in our rooms in less than an hour. The balcony rooms are lovely and clean and the views are fantastic. Balcony furniture is ideal. I noticed the balcony fronts were always kept clean so views were not compromised. The food was amazing and we used Freedom Dining as our option due there being five of us. We used all available restaurants within the Freedom Dining arrangement and we were never disappointed with the quality, service or menus. You are able to visit three other restaurants on the ship but they incur a service charge but we were very happy with the food experience without adding further expense. I enjoyed the entertainment however the men in our party were not so keen. The dancers and singers gave thier all. The arena was a full house every night and the comedians had us laughing. I would have liked more educational talks in the day but 3000 people are a lot to please. Ports were lovely to visit and enjoyed them all. P&O have shuttle busses laid on which are great. We had rain on some days so a bit of a damper but that had nothing to do with P&O. Staff were so professional and we felt truly pampered. We all enjoyed the cruise and would love to do it all again. Read Less
Sail Date November 2016
Ventura Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.2
Dining 4.0 3.8
Entertainment 4.0 3.7
Public Rooms 4.0 4.0
Fitness Recreation 4.0 3.9
Family 4.0 3.9
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.5
Enrichment 3.0 3.3
Service 4.0 4.0
Value For Money 4.0 3.6
Rates 3.0 3.9

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