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588 Southampton P&O Cruises Ventura Cruise Reviews

I had read some reviews after booking and was a bit concerned that we had made a mistake but we cannot fault the service we had or the quality of the food. We used the coach service and were on board very quickly. We had an outside cabin ... Read More
I had read some reviews after booking and was a bit concerned that we had made a mistake but we cannot fault the service we had or the quality of the food. We used the coach service and were on board very quickly. We had an outside cabin which was very clean on level 8. The soundproofing was better than I expected as I didn't hear other people and I am a light sleeper. We opted for second sitting and ate in The Bay Tree where the service was excellent. We also ate at the same restaurant for breakfast. All the food we ate was lovely and my husband is a picky eater but they made everything that he requested. The entertainment was not really to my taste, but I don't have mainstream music taste. There were plenty of bars to choose from so somewhere for everyone. The pool area wasn't somewhere I spent much time, too many noisy kids but it was school holidays so at other times it would be quieter. We had mixed weather, not what we expected for the time of year but you cannot do anything about that. My husband doesn't like flying so we gave it ago, but we won't rush to book another. I think we prefer the Eurostar with longer on land. Too much sea time for us. If you like cruising I have nothing negative to say. I thought the ship was kept spotless and the carpets looked clean everywhere. All the staff worked very hard. Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
Having never been on a cruise before we found a 2 night mini-cruise on the P&O Ventura over the August Bank Holiday weekend (Southampton to Guernsey and back). My first point would be that if P&O run this mini-cruise again they ... Read More
Having never been on a cruise before we found a 2 night mini-cruise on the P&O Ventura over the August Bank Holiday weekend (Southampton to Guernsey and back). My first point would be that if P&O run this mini-cruise again they should probably consider making it 3 nights and try and include Jersey as a port of call, it would have just been a slightly better length than 2 nights, which was perhaps a bit to short to fully appreciate the cruise experience (and also its nice to see multiple places). As it happened, having been to St Peter Port fairly recently, we didn't actually disembark, so stayed on the ship all day, hoping to take advantage of the reduced crowds...sadly most places seemed closed, so this plan wasn't quite as smart as we thought! Anyway, lets go back to the beginning...in terms of pre-journey information, that was okay, but I feel they could do better and give a 1 page idiots guide to arrival and embarkation. The process was actually seamless, but for example there is no-where on the P&O website that mentions liquids in your luggage. It may be obvious to regular cruisers, but to airline travellers its a valid concern, we had no idea whether we could take full sized shampoo for example or not (albeit google came to our assistance and re-assured us that if we really wanted to, we could). Physically getting on the ship was far quicker than expected, we got given a fastrack card on arrival at the terminal, no idea if that was just luck or not, but our boarding process was very quick, it felt under 30 minutes...until we got on the ship. One point that is worth making, is that as this was a mini-cruise we only had 1 suitcase, which we could have carried ourselves, however the brochure made it sound like you had to check it in. Again its unclear whether this was required, or merely suggested, clarity would be better here. So when stepping on-board it was a bit crowded, but not ridiculously so, we had a welcome photo and then walked towards the lifts (there were plenty of staff to direct people). However the lifts themselves were atrocious. I have never been in any building with such poor lifts and I can't really see why merely being on a ship they should be so bad, at least one was out of action the entire time and two at some points. They appeared to randomly skip floors (or perhaps in reality the display was just not updating quickly enough) and took forever to arrive. Most people gave up and just walked. Whilst I appreciate things can get crowded on embarkation and disembarkation, when I say these lifts were bad, I mean the whole time, even at seemingly quiet times. I feel they need an overhaul. So then we went into the cabin, met the friendly cabin steward and went for a walk around (the cabin was okay, although very dated looking, especially the bath room, I won't say more as I've written a section on the cabin below). We explored the top decks initially and people were already getting into the swing of things, with some already in the pool (quite how they managed that so quickly I have no idea)! The pool's themselves however were very small, much smaller than I'd imagined them to be (even having seen pictures), the whole pool side areas felt quite crowded and more for the hen parties on board than quiet couples, so we never went in, but the water did feel quite cold when I tested it, so I don't feel we missed much! The pool side bars felt a bit rowdy, but nothing over the top, we never saw any trouble (despite mentions of fights and so on, on this ship in previous cruise reviews we found)! This is when we got our first taste of the excellent service, we were just standing by a railing and managed to end up with a couple of very reasonably priced cocktails within minutes. Overall I must commend the staff, the service was excellent, everyone was very helpful, polite and incredibly efficient too, we did tip on top of the standard included tips at dinner, but now I feel slightly bad we didn't tip for drinks too (which being British we wouldn't normally do, but we recently saw a documentary on the wages of cruise ship employees which made us feel bad). Now onto dining…our first taste of the food, was the Waterside buffet, which had a constantly replenished array of snacks and main dishes. It was okay, not spectacular, but then I don’t think it was meant to be, acting more of a quick and easy place to grab something. There was only a minimal queue and reasonable variety, although finding a window table was rarely possible, generally by going into the second room it was possible to find a table (the only exception being upon disembarkation, where everyone had to vacate their cabin’s before breakfast, which created a huge bottleneck). For the first night, for dinner we booked the Epicurian, which is one of the ‘Select Dining’ options available and frankly we were impressed. I popped down a bit early to request a dairy free option (and pre-ordered to make life easier for the chef) and in all honesty it surpassed my expectations. The food (and the service) were both excellent, with very reasonably priced wine to accompany the meal too. The second night we ended up opting to upgrade to Sindu (an Indian themed Select Dining option) and again we were not disappointed, once again the food and service were excellent. The main disappointment with dining was the regular options, which we didn’t try for dinner, purely because the menu just looked a bit rubbish. One thing I noticed, was that (if I recall correctly) every single menu option had dairy in, which isn’t a big deal for many, but in the modern world of allergies and dietary requirements creates an unnecessary headache, surely it wouldn’t kill anyone to create at least one dairy free option (I’m sure the same could be said for gluten, so why not kill two birds with one stone). All that said, of course as I mentioned previously in the restaurants we went to the chef’s did an amazing job of creating special options for me! Aside from the restaurants I’ve already mentioned, there was the poolside grill, which did basic burgers, hot dogs etc. and were pretty much as expected (think university canteen rather than steakhouse burgers). Oh and breakfast too had the usual hot and cold options as expected, it was nice enough and other than the last morning was not too crowded. In terms of bar’s we tried the Tamarind Club, which had a very impressive band called Serious Sounds. They were a group from Barbados and had impressive vocals, with the Keyboard player even outshining the lead singer on occasions! As with everywhere on the ship, the drinks service here was very attentive and quick. We had some cocktails at a bar by the pool and again the service was very rapid, the cocktails were nice too, not watery and reasonably priced (generally sub £6 for a large cocktail, which at least compared to London prices is cheap). Wine was around £20 a bottle, which again felt very good value and a beer was (I think) around £4/£5, which is the same as a cheaper London pub. The other bar I remember, was the British pub themed one called the Exchange, by the Casino, this was showing the football, much to my wife’s horror, however we sat quietly in the corner and had a go on the slot machines as the Casino wasn’t actually open during the day (which was very surprising and a bit odd). We did actually go to one more place, which was a bar / restaurant called the Glass House, this was very wine focused and offered sets of 3 x 100ml sample glasses for around £10 each, which was a nice way to try a few different wines (they also offered standard bottles or glasses of course). Now as I mentioned, we didn’t actually disembark in Guernsey, as we thought with the reduced crowds, it would be a great time to explore the ship, however disappointingly we found the entertainment options pretty limited, with many places closed (such as the Casino, which seems a bit short-sighted). There were some shows on at the Arena theatre and a screen showing children’s films in the Tamarind club, but overall it felt like there wasn’t much left for those who stayed on-board (yet somehow the pools were still crowded)!! In the evening, the entertainment was perhaps more interesting, but after a large dinner, we didn’t really feel like a show, preferring to have a drink or two. It would have been nice if the shows were repeated on different days (perhaps they are on longer cruises), as we had pre-booked dinner before boarding on the first night, which clashed with the only show we really wanted to watch. One thing that was a bit strange is that the entertainment options were not shown in advance, which was a bit annoying, as we would have planned things a bit differently if we had known what was on in advance. We asked to have a look around the children’s clubs (as we do have a small child, although she didn’t come with us on this trip) and to be fair they looked pretty good. The only criticism is that they are rigid about the age range, so a 5 year old can not play in the 2-4 year old play room, which is perhaps a bit unfair as it means children who are days apart in age can’t play together (and there seemed to be more in the smaller children’s room, with the older one still good, but geared more towards the much older kids). The SPA we visited briefly and there is a small pool there, which is adults only, they did also suggest there was a bar there, but oddly we couldn’t find it! The shops were very limited, surprisingly so, I would have thought they would have packed more in, I could imagine on a longer cruise you’d really struggle to find things you needed and would be very bored quickly of looking around the very limited range on offer. I can’t think of much else, so onto Disembarkation. We discovered that we had to vacate our cabin by 8 am and were not impressed by this, perhaps that’s normal with P&O, but having spoken to plenty of older cruisers (including both sets of parents) this is apparently abnormally early. Additionally we were not told this until on-board, which was very frustrating as we had made plans based on our assumption of a later disembarkation. Ignoring the fact that it was annoyingly early, surely P&O know the expected arrival time in advance and could let you know when booking (the same for embarking, although at least we found this out before boarding)!!! For people that have to book a train, especially those coming from further afield, how can they possibly plan ahead??? Very poor communication in my opinion. The other problem with disembarkation was that it didn’t seem to be staggered (I think technically it was, but only in 15 minute slots, which is sort of pointless with circa 3,000 in a confined space), this meant that obviously once again the lifts were an impossibility, but worse still, everyone crowded into the buffet breakfast space, meaning the queues were horrendous and it was impossible to get a table (we managed to find some bar stools outside by a closed bar, but others weren’t so lucky). So overall, the drinks were good value for money, the Select dining was excellent, but the normal dining looked disappointing. The buffet was okay, but unexciting and very poorly co-ordinated on the last morning. Overall the ship just felt very dated and in need of an overhaul, I was surprised to read it was only around 10 years old and has already been refurbished once! It felt as if the décor / facilities were probably older than that. The cabin was okay, but not spectacular (more details in the review below) and overall I guess the value for money was okay. It wasn’t a cheap weekend by any means, but considering how much cruises can cost I don’t think it was ridiculous. Now I do want to mention the staff again, as they were all excellent and deserve to be recognised for their impeccable service. So, would we go again? Well I think we would probably try a cruise again, almost certainly with our little one, as I think she’d really like it, however sadly P&O did not create a great impression so not only would we not go on Ventura again, but would probably be inclined to opt for another operator next time. Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
I’m a well seasoned cruise traveller with over 25 completed to date ranging from Princess, RCI, Celebrity and P&O. I’ve never felt compelled to write a review until now. Having cruised similar with P&O, my partner and I, ... Read More
I’m a well seasoned cruise traveller with over 25 completed to date ranging from Princess, RCI, Celebrity and P&O. I’ve never felt compelled to write a review until now. Having cruised similar with P&O, my partner and I, along with two other friends booked a weekend cruise on Ventura to Guernsey over August Bank Holiday. We sailed on Ventura previously to Brugges, and as Platinum club members with Princess we know the layout of Ventura and Azura mirror their ships, so we were well aware of the ship and what lay ahead – or so we had thought. Firstly upon arrival at Southampton I have to say this was the worst I have experienced to date. Complete chaos. Guests were called in sequence order A-Z depending on what you are given when you arrive at the top of the stairs of the terminal. Waited for approximately 1.5hours to check in (1pm arrival). Terrible. Once onboard we were impressed with the ship layout and how bright and clean it appeared. We had an inside cabin, which was very clean, and enough room for two adults sharing. The bed was probably one of the most comfortable of all liners we have sailed on. The cleanliness is evident throughout from the bars to the pool area, and restaurants. However, in the evenings the majority of toilets throughout the ship smelt really badly – urine quite evident on the floors of several, and also quite a few blockages with no toilet attendant/cleaners in sight (few and far between). On the first evening in the MDR, we had a lovely table for 4. With no introductions or personal welcomes from the waiting staff, we were presented with the main menu - the waiter returned very promptly (in space of 5 minutes) to take the orders. I ordered a lamb shank for my main course and asked the waiter if it was possible to have some mash potato – to which he said he would ask the chef. No drinks, or wine on offer and within 5 minutes our starters arrived. My partner at this point asked was it possible to see a wine list as we felt it was more appropriate to take a drinks order before going full steam ahead and presenting us with our starters! It did feel like a conveyor belt, they wanted us “fed watered and out” with minimal interaction. The bread rolls were dire. Soft rolls, think tesco value on a small scale with zero choice, and put on the side plate with no second offerings. My lamb shank arrived and the waiter took off. I waited whilst my 3 companions tucked into their mains; I assumed the waiter was going to get my potato for the lamb. Again within 5 minutes he returned to clear the plates at which point I asked him did he get the mash as I hadn’t even started to my main yet. He was quick to inform me “no sir there is no mash”. I wasn't happy and I asked why hadn’t he told me this when he presented the plate to begin with. He said he was sorry he had just checked – this itself was a lie as I could see him directly in front of me fiddling with cutlery and the likes. If mash is offered in the buffet, and various other potatoes offered to top that, I didn't quite understand. I again repeated the question you’re telling me there is no mash available, to which he said “sorry no”. I then asked him to fetch me the Maitre’D. when he arrived I asked him if it was possible to have mash – his reply “anything is possible sir”. I told him I was informed mash wasn't available – he seemed surprised. I went on to explain I wasn't very happy at all nor were the others in my party. The lack of wanting to serve us, no drinks menu, orders etc”. I actually handed my main course, untouched, back as I was disappointed by the whole episode. I would like to add to this “Yes this might be a weekend cruise, but you should not treat all guests as first timers on a weekend break whom you assume will probably never return”. We were appalled by the lack of interaction and the lack of personal touch from the MDR waiting staff, their behaviour was definitely the lowest I’ve witnessed. It was quite the contrary in the buffet. Food in the buffet area was lovely, plenty of choice this is one area where the company excel. There were a few hen parties on board who were enjoying themselves Port of Call Guernsey: Tender required. What can I say…….. we docked at 8am – all guests required back on ship for 5pm. We had breakfast and went downstairs to the tender around 11am thinking it will be straight forward as we have tendering numerous times before at other locations worldwide. No - how wrong where we. We were told to join a queue for a ticket to join the tenders. The queue for this alone wrapped around the foyer area back to the art gallery – we waited in line for 1 hour and given tickets to tender. We were then moved into the restaurant, where we waited a further 1.5 hours. With 6 tenders operating, we felt this would have been quicker and should have been better managed. We spoke briefly to the lady (I use loosely as she was abrupt) this was taking forever, she replied by saying “no this is normal”. If this is normal for P&O I would be sacking the management in charge of this process. It was awful. We have experienced several tenders over the years with OTHER liners and never waited longer than 15 mins to disembark the ship, and that also involved a ticket and call by number! Perhaps the ship is too big for tendering to the port, but you've definitely got this so wrong P&O. Guernsey is beautiful, a lovely little place full of charm and very walkable. We had an afternoon tea and stroll, however we felt we should return to the ship around 3 (after just 1 hour on land) to avoid a possible mayhem like the disembarkation to tender earlier . Walking downhill towards the port and tendering area at 3pm, we could see a queue as long as anything with people waiting around. It took us 1 hour 10 mins to board and get back on ship. The whole experience is quite exhausting and not one I will repeat with P&O again. In conclusion, I feel P&O should use smaller ships for the weekend breaks and clearly advertise it involve tendering. Also, other cruise critic members do mention tendering by P&O at Guernsey being the worst experiences witnessed – trust me these people are not telling lies. I for one will NEVER return to P&O on a mini cruise again that involves tendering unless they drastically change their ways - not to mention their manner. Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
I thought cruises were meant to be classy but this one was full of chavs with football shirts and tattoos! I was very surprised. Also I wasn’t expecting to find a hen do on board. Maybe I picked the wrong cruise! It’s very low ... Read More
I thought cruises were meant to be classy but this one was full of chavs with football shirts and tattoos! I was very surprised. Also I wasn’t expecting to find a hen do on board. Maybe I picked the wrong cruise! It’s very low brow! The room is ok, the balcony is very nice. Shame we were next door to a rowdy bunch though! I know people will think I’m being moany but so far this is not what I was expecting from a cruise. I can imagine by 9pm the whole ship will be smashed and balconing! (Just so you get an idea of what I mean). I hope someone can recommend a more old fashioned and classy cruise, I would very much appreciate it. I’m actually now quite glad this is only a 2 night stay. Anyway hope it somehow gets better. May end up just staying in the cabin. Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
Was a on a 2 night Cruise from Southampton on P&O Ventura . Ship embark and debark procedures were smooth and polished. Once on board the ship the bars and public area lounges were nicely appointed bar staff was wonderful and ... Read More
Was a on a 2 night Cruise from Southampton on P&O Ventura . Ship embark and debark procedures were smooth and polished. Once on board the ship the bars and public area lounges were nicely appointed bar staff was wonderful and service was excellent . Our balcony cabin was lovely and had most everything we needed except enough regular ( with caffeine) coffee sachets for 2 people. there was only one. However the Dining Room experience was a far different matter , The late seating dinner at 2030 dining staff was unorganised and dinner was chaotic. We had a table to 7 and a vegetarian customer. The Dinner menu was not exciting and the fish that I had was overcooked and dry. The portion size was smaller than expected. I left the dinner not very amazed by the experience. But I did take into account it was only a 2 night cruise, so my expectations were not as high as if I had been on a 7 day cruise. In cabin Dining Breakfast ordering on Phone to kitchen at 7am We should have had an in room breakfast menu in our cabin, which we did not. We called to order in cabin breakfast and had to spend 20 min on phone speaking to 2 people. It seemed like they did not have a menu check list to fill in for our order and were struggling to know what was offered for Breakfast for in room dining. it was a very painful process to order breakfast on the phone. In the end we got our breakfast but no regular ( with caffeine coffee sachets) On the second dinner it only got worse. Our vegetarian was only given a choice between a Goats cheese appetiser and a Goats cheese main course dinner. Why did the chef only only offer goats cheese for a vegetarian? When we asked for something else they brought a plate of penne pasta with canned tinned tomatoes on top, a children's dinner , which were sent back to kitchen. This was unacceptable. Then only later did the waiter bring a Curry cauliflower and lentils, which made up for the insult of the children's pasta dinner. Please make accommodation for vegetarian guests and have your dining staff more organised to make the evening More seamless. Bar staff was excellent Embark Debark and security staff excellent Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
So this is the first P&O cruise that we've been on (Others include NCL, RCI, MSC, Princess, HAL and Costa) so we weren't sure what to expect. Plus it was a 2night cruise during school holidays. In short it was a great ... Read More
So this is the first P&O cruise that we've been on (Others include NCL, RCI, MSC, Princess, HAL and Costa) so we weren't sure what to expect. Plus it was a 2night cruise during school holidays. In short it was a great cruise, everything went well and would 100% cruise with P&O again! So the cruise itself: - Identical ship to the Sapphire Princess which we've been on before, just slightly understated. - Great pools and hot tubs (more than normal cruise ships) - It was perfectly clean, well kept and plenty to do - Loads of bars and plenty of places to eat - Evening meals at the Cinnamon restaurant were perfect! Good food and good choice, plus great service - Buffet was good quality, but lacked choice compared to NCL and Princess and wasn't well arranged - We watched the Whitney tribute act which was fantastic. Better than any other singer I've seen on a cruise before. - Service and staff were great - Tender service to Guernsey was efficient and we didn't have to wait long. I would say it was a cross between HAL and Princess, but maybe not quite as good quality. But we will definitely sail with them again! Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
Fjords Fantastic, Wheelchair friendly ship and ports. Staff very helpful getting on off ship with wheelchair. Many regular P&O Cruisers reported this being the worst ship they had ever been on. Cruise ship disappointing. This was ... Read More
Fjords Fantastic, Wheelchair friendly ship and ports. Staff very helpful getting on off ship with wheelchair. Many regular P&O Cruisers reported this being the worst ship they had ever been on. Cruise ship disappointing. This was our first cruise, however my parents have done several cruises. Cabins were lovely and our Stewart was brilliant. Dinning Buffet meal good for breakfast, just avoid the Eggs Benedict it was cold & no crispy bacon, omelets lovely, cooked to order. Afternoon tea in buffet good. Formal Restaurant service very slow 2 - 2hrs 45 mins, our quickest service was 1hr 45mins because we didn’t stay for desert, however meals were lovely. Entertainment poor 3 good guest acts, the rest was dire, singers out of tune (and I am tonne deaf). Couple of in house bands were good. Entertainment timings didn’t work in well with Restaurant eating. Shore excursions very expensive far better to research things to do and organise yourself - P&O charging over £48 for an activity that is a 10 min walk from ship and costs £10 to go onto. In saying that the Helecopter over the glazier worth every penny. Bar service good but if you drink a lot it can get expensive. Some reception staff could be a bit abrupt at time My Mum got a 5min lecture on how to look after her room key correctly when it stopped working. Seating around indoor swimming pool, floors often running with water and was very rarely mopped. I would do the Fjords again in a heart beat. Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
Our family party booked a seven-night cruise of the Norwegian fjords: Southampton - Stavanger - Alesund - Olden/Louen - Bergen - Southampton. Embarkation Brisk and efficient as one would expect with a cruise. We were processed and on ... Read More
Our family party booked a seven-night cruise of the Norwegian fjords: Southampton - Stavanger - Alesund - Olden/Louen - Bergen - Southampton. Embarkation Brisk and efficient as one would expect with a cruise. We were processed and on board the ship within half an hour of arriving at the Mayflower Terminal in a taxi. Ship environment Ventura is a nice ship that is spotlessly clean and obviously very well maintained. However, it's a ten-year old ship and looks a bit tired in places. There is a general inconsistency between areas that have clearly been refurbished and those that haven't had a facelift. The atrium in most cruise ships usually has a bit of a wow factor but the central area of the Ventura is a bit poky and unimpressive. The ship's layout is a tad confusing and finding one's way around was a challenge because you can't walk through parts of certain decks. My overall impression of the ship is that it seemed very crowded with seats difficult to find for entertainment activities and sunbeds hard to secure on the open and sun decks. Food and dining The food and service for dinner in the main Bay Tree restaurant was generally excellent, with only a couple of disappointing dishes served during our stay. The menu completely changed daily and offered a wide choice of starters, main courses and desserts. You could also opt for a choice of soups and salads instead of, or in addition to, the starters and main courses, plus cheese and biscuits at the end of the meal, so it was possible to have a six course meal if you so desired. I personally didn't enjoy or rate the Marco Pierre White menu served on the first black-tie evening (and therefore avoided it on the second formal dress night). The desserts on all menus were a little lacklustre compared to the standards I have seen on other cruises. These are small criticisms though and, overall, the standard of the food was top-notch. Two of our party opted to eat in one of the select restaurants, The Epicuran, on one night and they said the food and service there was excellent. On most days we took breakfast in the Waterside buffet and the food here was very good although the choice was quite narrow compared to other cruises. Some of the serving areas are very limited for space and the layout of dishes was illogical (who on earth puts the fried bread and toast after the eggs?!) resulting in a bit of a scrum at busy times as people tried to dart in and out of different areas to assemble their breakfasts. I liked that the toast was prepared for you so you didn't have to faff about with one of those self-service machines. We got a table without too much effort on each day, even though the breakfast service was very busy. If on board, we usually took lunch or high tea in one of the buffet restaurants. Although the quality of the food was ok, the choice was very limited compared to other cruises and it was all really rather bland and uninteresting. I struggled to find something I fancied on more than one occasion, which was a cruise first for me. There is a poolside grill serving burgers, hot dogs, pizza but it isn't very obvious or well advertised and we didn't actually discover it until the final day. A major downer in the buffet restaurants is that only tea, coffee and water is available at lunch and tea with the juice/soft drink machines deactivated. Presumably this is to encourage people to buy soft drinks from the bar, but it seemed very penny-pinching of P&O. All in all the lunch and tea buffet service was significantly below the standards I expect from a premier cruise line. Drinks The bar areas are generally plush with excellent service, although they could get very busy before dinner. We enjoyed pre- or post-dinner drinks in The Metropolis at the top of the ship with stunning views, the Tamarind, Havannah and the Red Bar at various times. All nice environments for a snifter. Drinks on board were expensive but not outrageously so, and there were plenty of waiters around to take your order wherever you were on the ship. P&O didn't offer any all-in drinks packages (other than to buy a package of a few bottles of wine for dinner) which is another big mark against them in my book. Entertainment / activities I found the entertainment on offer good, both in terms of the shows staged by the in-house performers and the guest acts. In fact, the in-house shows were not far off the standards of a West End show. Guest acts I enjoyed included a comic ventriloquist and Nya King, a brilliant Whitney Houston tribute act. Unfortunately, the main theatre suffered intermittent but persistent technical problems with the stage equipment during our stay, which led to the interruption or cancellation of some shows. There was also a packed programme of activities during the day with plenty of talks, demos, sports, bingo and quizzes. My only criticisim of the entertainment is lack of seating in the main theatre and that the timing of some activities clashed with dinner sittings (why not time some events for 10pm rather than 9.30pm or 9.45pm so that dinner second sitters can go to them?). Pools and swimming The indoor pool on the lido deck was freezing and the jacuzzi hot tubs were tiny with brackish and unappealing looking water. I wish they would reserve a couple of the hot tubs in the main pool areas for adults only as you can't really use them when there are other people's unaccompanied children in them. The outdoor pool on the lido deck and end terrace pool were warmer but very deep for young children. There is an adults only pool by the spa but clearly this is suitable only for parties with no children at all, and it was hardly used by anyone from what I could see. No towels are available at the poolside, but blue bathing towels are provided in the room for use at the swimming pools. No blankets available, either, for the loungers, which I thought was unusual on a cruise ship. Ports and shore excursions We mostly did our own thing as the ship docked close to the main downtown areas of each port. We did one shore excursion, the Loen Skylift, which was superb. We would have booked more shore excursions through P&O but we like to book a day or two before rather than weeks in advance and so trips were either fully booked or had been cancelled due to low numbers. We have never had a problem doing it this way with other cruise lines, but it seemed too difficult for P&O. The shore excursion staff member we spoke to was rather dismissive and was more interested in getting away at the end of his two hour desk duty than to sell us anything. I was amazed as presumably there is a good profit in it for them! Generally, port facilties and embarkation were smooth and we did not encounter any problems. Again, though, P&O is without those nice little touches that you get from other cruise operators, such as a welcome back on ship with ice water and a hot flannel or wet wipe to freshen up, or whatever. Conclusion Overall we enjoyed the cruise very much but I am not sure that P&O will ever be our first choice of cruise line. I just felt that there was too much penny-pinching across the board and, although all these niggles were quite small individually, together they added up to an inferior overall experience when compared to Celebrity, Cunard or Royal Caribbean. A cruise is meant to be something really special, but there were too many areas where P&O don't make you feel particularly special at all. Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
As suite passengers,embarkation is always smooth,taken almost immediately and then in to the priority lounge where you get complimentary teas,coffees and snacks. Then onto ship and through to champagne lunch,which we always love. Our ... Read More
As suite passengers,embarkation is always smooth,taken almost immediately and then in to the priority lounge where you get complimentary teas,coffees and snacks. Then onto ship and through to champagne lunch,which we always love. Our cabin was always clean and tidy thanks to the wonderful Umesh,our butler Andrew was also always helpful. Unfortunately,this cruise line are now cutting back on things a little too much and we have cancelled our next 3 cruises with them,such a shame as we have only ever sailed with P&O and usually twice a year and always enjoyed it. Firstly,going into Stavanger on a Sunday,I dare say this is cheaper for P&O as the place is closed,no shops open at all,we found a small bakery open where we had a lovely coffee and croissant but then just walked around waiting for the bars and cafes to open.The other port albeit it was chucking it down was Bergen,back on board by 2.30pm,what a disgrace,never in our cruises to Norway has this happened before and again I'm guessing it has something to do with port fees. On to the dress code,where the majority of people seem to like getting dressed up there are still the usual characters who still chose to slum it in joggers or shorts,even at the captains gala,they also got served their free bubbly,which should not have happened,It may seem trivial but why do these people come on cruises?why not just go to Skegness for a weekend then you can choose to dress as you like(sorry Skeggy) I think P&O are losing the way,trying to cater for all but failing miserably. At Christmas there was a rather nasty case of the noro virus but even after all the advice about using the hand sanitisers there seemed to be hardly any and where there were some,people just ignoring them and staff not telling them,we even heard one woman as we were going into dinner telling her husband she wasn't using it as she washed her hands earlier!!!! These are selfish people who don't seem to realise the noro virus spreads like wild fire and is really nasty Next is the room service,which now has a charge,as a suite passenger I find this appalling,we pay rather a lot more money for a suite and it's benefits so don't expect to pay for room service,we're not eating in the dining room so surely free food in our cabin should be allowed.when it did come my husbands pizza was black round the edges and my brie sandwich had a tiny slither of brie in it. The service as always is second to none and the waiting and cabin staff are just brilliant,always get such a laugh with them. Glass house food is still superb,you may have to wait for it but it's always fab. We are going on Ventura again over Xmas and New year but sadly that is our last with them,giving Cunard a go,they seem to be sticking to what cruising is all about. We are not snobs in any shape way or fashion and I love that EVERYONE can now enjoy cruising but some just don't know how to behave,I'm sure most of you know the type I mean and the cutbacks are just becoming a little too noticable Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
We are regular P&O cruisers and had a party of 12 for a much and long awaited cruise with family. Embarkation was great and we were excited about the widely reported refurbishment - couldn't find anything different I have to say!! ... Read More
We are regular P&O cruisers and had a party of 12 for a much and long awaited cruise with family. Embarkation was great and we were excited about the widely reported refurbishment - couldn't find anything different I have to say!! Started to unpack and found a used sanitary towel in a bed side drawer - that was awful !!!!!!!. The toilet smelt strongly of urine and so did our daughters cabin on another floor - so this wasnt an isolated issue. The showers overflowed every time we used it and the dreaded awful shower curtains remained - the plastic panelling was also cracked in the shower which cant be hygienic. The cabin steward wasnt friendly nor did he clean the bathroom well each day. The toilet often didnt flush and we difinately hadnt put anything down them we shouldn't. The entertainment was awful at times - a duo - the girl just cant sing - heard better buskers - she was totally disinterested and its an insult to field such poor acts. Pulse was also poor - lead singer. Comedian was poor and we saw the same shows as we have done in the past 2 years - so we missed a few this cruise as we have seen them several times before. The Astonishing Show was great - very professional. Serious sounds were fanbtastic as they have been for the last 2 years - didnt tire of hearing the same act for the 3rd year running !! Entertainment Team unprofessional - had a total disregard for their passengers and seemed to be constantly having in jokes with themselves during their evenings with us - not particularly great to listen to and it got tedious. P and O and definately losing it - their focus is on selling Specialist restaurants and trips on board - if only their energies could be spent on getting the basics right. Having people on Reception who can actually help or communicate effectively once a complaint / issue had been raised. The queue for photos last night was over an hour wait and then when we got to the front desk finally they told us they hadnt managed to sort our order out and to come back later!! Not a great way to have to spend your last night - absolutely no customer care or valuing the passengers what so ever. Very rushed at times at breakfast times - Baytree Restaurant - Toast hard as rock and stone cold. When are they going to sort the milk jugs out the milk spilt all over EVERYTIME they were used. My husband paid £80 to see Marco Pierre White yesterday to watch him cook and to sample his dishes - everyone was fish based (no prior warning) and my husband hates fish so he couldnt try any of Marco's food - which was a massive shame and an expensive 2 hours ! I am so sad that P and O wont be the cruise of choice next time, we feel we cant recommend them to anyone again - we will retry Celebrity / Royal Carribean or Princess cruise liners next time in the hope their focus on the customer care and high standards have remained.. Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
this was my first and last cruise with p and o drinks very expensive the draft beer tasted discusting ... Read More
this was my first and last cruise with p and o drinks very expensive the draft beer tasted discusting this was like butlins at sea and the bars and public areas were uncomfatable i bought a pint of peronni and it tasted like dish water in the bar in the casino on formal nights there was karioke on as i said this was like butlins at sea. we did set dinning every night and when you came out you was still hungry as the posions were very pitaful the cheese board only had a selection of four cheeses and most times did not contain blue cheese. there were no extra touches on a night in the cabin like you get on other cruise lines. on a afternoon at 5pm you could not get anything to eat as they shut the full area for childrens tea there was three children in there. i would never go with p and o again and i would not recomment them to anyone Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
This was a last minute booking which had to take place during school holidays,my daughter works in a school, There were many families with children of all ages but we saw no bad behaviour at any time and some of them were charming. The ... Read More
This was a last minute booking which had to take place during school holidays,my daughter works in a school, There were many families with children of all ages but we saw no bad behaviour at any time and some of them were charming. The ship was clean and very well looked after and our cabin (outside double) was spotless and attended to twice a day. So what was the problem? Food, breakfast very good lunch very good, evening meal served in Bay-Tree very poor, usually cold undercooked veg, fish, my favourite had it three times each time 2/10 so did not choose it again, fillet steak unable to cut it others on our table had the same problems, a waste of good food. However the waiters were 1st class, we also enjoyed some good which was reasonably priced. My main gripe is the entertainment - line dance classes which could be heared on the main decks all over the ship each day Films we watched The Darkest Hour - one of our favourite films - although we had seen it twice before - Shows what shows !! A ventriloquist who had an obsession with “farting” I have been on many cruises in the past and this one is the worst. The main reason we booked a cruise was for the evening entertainment a big failure on my part. However we had very good company at dinner and have some good memories. Shirley and Pam. Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
Despite some reservations in view of some reviews the dates worked for us and the Fjords was somewhere we had not previously visited. After speaking to a Travel Agent we went for an early saver fare, guaranteed cabin style but cabin and ... Read More
Despite some reservations in view of some reviews the dates worked for us and the Fjords was somewhere we had not previously visited. After speaking to a Travel Agent we went for an early saver fare, guaranteed cabin style but cabin and dining arrangements advised later / on board. Used CPS for parking - very smooth service would recommend. Embarkation very smooth although we were around one hour early against allocated check in this was not a problem. Within 20 mins we were in our cabin. We booked a deluxe balcony cabin and it was great a bit of a wow factor when you enter and the fizz and chocs made for a great start to our holiday. We were near the back of the ship and I don’t know where I would chose to be, you get a cabin selection option with the select fare but I guess I would always just take what was available in the cabin grade desired. Although I am an inexperienced cruiser. Freedom dining is what it says in the evening you turn up at what time you wish there may be a table available or you will have a wait until one becomes free ( they provide you with a buzzer). The food was fine but for us the service was a little rushed and they pack the tables in - one evening we had a table for 2 but the table next to us was very close. I also think they squeeze 10 onto a 8 seat table.So, we used the specialty dining venues on 5 of the 7 nights which were excellent and represented excellent value. Breakfast and lunch were good we tried both waiter and self service breakfast probably preferred the latter - the waiters are stretched and the wait for coffee can go on a bit but if asked the waiters are very responsive. Self service choice very good. Good selection of bars and we liked the fact they were in different areas of the ship and each one had its own feel. Again waiters can be stretched but if asked / reminded respond positively. Prices we thought were fair and there is no pressure for tips (although a service charge is added per day we were happy with this ) and much better than the more American Royal Carribean approach. Entertainment is personal taste, for us it was a bit hit and miss the venues however are good. Overall and I only have one Royal Carribean cruise to compare to I felt the entertainment could be better. Management of stops was fine and overall the service and facilities were good - we would certainly return to the more British P & O approach before Royal Carribean. Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
A last minute cruise to fill a long weekend. We had done this itinerary on Britannia a couple of years ago so this time we were planing to stay on the ship while in Guernsey and relax. Unfortunately due to high winds the ship could not ... Read More
A last minute cruise to fill a long weekend. We had done this itinerary on Britannia a couple of years ago so this time we were planing to stay on the ship while in Guernsey and relax. Unfortunately due to high winds the ship could not launch the tender so nobody could go ashore and we had a day at sea instead. This did not interfere with our plans but meant we didn't have the ship to ourselves. Very quick and efficient embarkation and disembarkation at Southampton. The only negative was the first night dining; We chose not to dress up and were denied access to all of the restaurants (including both freedom dining ones) also Metropolis and The Red Bar (none of these places were busy which made it worse); we were left with a choice of noisy nightclub type bars or the buffet; it made us feel segregated and penalised for not dressing up even though one pays no premium to do so. We felt this was too restrictive especially for a two-nighter. On our second night we ate in Sindhu which was excellent. Plenty of space onboard, never felt crowded but not the outdoor activities of larger ships. Plenty of seating in Waterside and The Beach House (the buffets on deck 15) but the server in The Beach House was very small tight. A good selection of food in both. We did not experience the entertainment etc so cannot comment although my partner had a massage which he thoroughly enjoyed. For an all-inclusive weekend break we were very pleased with value, accommodation and service. Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
We chose this short cruise to take our two Granddaughters on to see if they would like a longer cruise with us at a later date. Big mistake!! We have cruised with P&O before and had a great time but this was a disaster. The booking in ... Read More
We chose this short cruise to take our two Granddaughters on to see if they would like a longer cruise with us at a later date. Big mistake!! We have cruised with P&O before and had a great time but this was a disaster. The booking in was fine and the cabins were good but the stewards seemed a little confused! As we moved out from Southampton we became aware that we had booked on a 'booze cruise' with the number of Hen and Stag parties on board. The food in the restaurants for adults was fine but very restrictive for young teenagers.. Evening entertainments were good. We only had one stop at Guernsey but the following morning this was cancelled due to weather and the fact that we needed to transfere by tender. My granddaughters were so disappointed. Had we been informed that transfers were subject to weather we would have booked a different cruise where we would have had a definite berthing so they could enjoy the experience of 'going ashore' We were told by the Captain we would have an enjoyable day at sea. It may have been enjoyable for the parties that dominated the pools and hot tubs but for two young girls it was not. I am not a prude but I don't want them subjected to the language we heard. When we finally got into a hot tub just after 6pm it was littered with half eaten food and half empty plastic drink glasses.At this point the crew started to clear all the sun loungers away so we got out. I do not blame the crew for the mess, this was due some selfish passengers. Final point...dining..It was 'hunt the vacant table' time.We ordered drinks with our meals on three occasions and each time they arrived at the end of our meals.Due to the lack on empty tables it felt we were rushed to eat and leave but all of the catering staff. I know that these mini cruises are used to help train the staff but we paid a lot of money for this trip and were all looking forward to it but at the end both granddaughters said thanks but never again,which is a shame as my wife and I have had good cruises with P&O.If your going to take a mini cruise with P&O then be prepared..( I submitted a request to review the cruise with them and to complain but they still haven't replied to date)..We will continue cruising but not with P&O Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
school holidays. 2nd time on Ventura but the lack of coffee machines at the bars is no good for caffeine fans. There us one Costa on level 5 which is so busy one often left due to queues. There are machines in buffet restaurants but ... Read More
school holidays. 2nd time on Ventura but the lack of coffee machines at the bars is no good for caffeine fans. There us one Costa on level 5 which is so busy one often left due to queues. There are machines in buffet restaurants but coffee is often weak I enjoy double shot lattes several times a day. The food is excellent, every restaurant every day but this is only ship I've been on where there id no all inc drinks package. Another deal breaker. Entertainment superb, friendly staff, super ship but lack of coffee machines at bar will not see me return. The breakers sun bar allows smoking outside but only on left hand side. You need to get up there early if you want an outside table. My best cruise by far was with AIDA prima the German cruise liner which is already re booked for next easter. Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
Chose this as our first ever cruise as destinations and length of time ( 7 days) seemed to suit. I really cannot fault anything about our experience. We had a superior deluxe cabin on Deck 9, it was spotless and our cabin steward kept it ... Read More
Chose this as our first ever cruise as destinations and length of time ( 7 days) seemed to suit. I really cannot fault anything about our experience. We had a superior deluxe cabin on Deck 9, it was spotless and our cabin steward kept it that way for the whole 7 days. The whole trip ran to schedule and the seas were smooth, which always helps Guernsey was lovely, although it took an hour to queue for the tender Porto is old and unappealing but Lisbon more than made up for it, fabulous city Vigo surprised me as it was far more appealing and attractive than I had thought it would be We had freedom dining and were lucky to sit with some lovely people every night and had some great banter We also sampled the buffet dining on Waterside and have to say the varied menu every night was brilliant, breakfast is very good there but seats are hard to get hold of. We saw shows in the Arena and Havana and were thoroughly entertained A couple of downsides 1 The smoking rules are largely ignored, especially on the top deck and on the balconies. It needs to be enforced 2 On sea days the top decks get very crowded and sunbeds are hard to get hold of However, all in all we struck lucky and had a great time Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
We were celebrating a significant wedding anniversary. The cabin was fine (we always choose an inside because we sleep better and it is cheaper). The staff on the ship were excellent as was the catering.Entertainment was first class. ... Read More
We were celebrating a significant wedding anniversary. The cabin was fine (we always choose an inside because we sleep better and it is cheaper). The staff on the ship were excellent as was the catering.Entertainment was first class. Points that were not so good. Smoking. There are rules about where but largely ignored by the smokers. Staff not enforcing the rule. In the end we just referred to going out on the open deck as visiting 'cancer corner'! Children. Again rules regarding supervision in and around the ship ignored by some parents but not enforced. The ship. Possible the worst laid out cruise ship I have been on. Even after nearly 2 weeks many passengers were getting lost trying to find places they had visited before. Plus I have never been on a ship that groans and creaks as much as Ventura and we hardly encountered any waves at all on the trip. heaven knows what it would sound like in any type of sea. That and the vibration from the propellers especially the manoeuvring ones which when used for docking the serving staff stand with their backs to the cupboards to stop all the crockery falling out! Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
We have been on around 15 cruises but this was our first on P & O. We chose the cruise for the itinerary. We found the embarkation the best we have experienced. We were processed within 30 mins and on the ship. We had a superior ... Read More
We have been on around 15 cruises but this was our first on P & O. We chose the cruise for the itinerary. We found the embarkation the best we have experienced. We were processed within 30 mins and on the ship. We had a superior balcony D cabin. it was a decent size with a nice size bathroom and balcony. The steward was very good. The ship while a mid size is the most confusing layout of any ship we have been on. The pub area is too small for the number of people using it and the casino is very small. The main theatre is good and we never had trouble getting a seat for the shows which were pretty good. There were two comedians onboard but they had to change their acts in the late show because people had small kids with them even at midnight which we thought was unacceptable. Service in the bars is terrible with the farcical situation of not been able to order directly from the bar tender. The buffet is average with some good British choices although finding a seat can be a challenge. The pools were good although did not see the 30 minute rule for reserving a sunbed been enforced at all. The bar entertainment was not good with one pretty awful band with a woman lead singer who was pitchy to say the least and thought she was great. her band was far to loud. The due as per a previous review I saw were I agree probably the worst due on any cruise ship ever. He had a weak voice and she - when she showed up - was terrible. We went to some good talks although we could not understand why there was zero live entertainment on the last sea day. The main restaurant was fine and the food was good. Service was a little rushed however. We were onboard during the world cup and they made adequate provision to show the games. We had not been to the Canaries before and enjoyed all the trips except one in Tenerefe. Madiera and Lisbon were great. Not sure why they cant add a port on the way back to Southampton as ending with 2 sea days is a little strange. Overall a 3/5 experience. Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
Chose this cruise as we had only been to lanzarote of the Canary Islands before and non of the other ports except Lisbon ( and then only on a business trip) the fact we had been on Ventura before (back in 2010 for our first cruise) and ... Read More
Chose this cruise as we had only been to lanzarote of the Canary Islands before and non of the other ports except Lisbon ( and then only on a business trip) the fact we had been on Ventura before (back in 2010 for our first cruise) and that it had just been spruced up was also an attraction as we would know the ship and hopefully be chilled from the start. This was also the first time our son (16) had had his own cabin, though for the last 6 years we have had Suites on various ships as they worked well for the three of us so we were prepared for some drop in perks etc offsetting the benefit of the fully seperate space. As it turned out the perks loss was no big deal as they are pretty thin on the ground with P&O anyways we did not mi. Boarding was quick and easy, we arrived about 30 mins before our allotted time but were on the ship before it having hardly sat down before our letter card was called. So other than a couple of hours on board, we did not miss the priority boarding. Breakfast in epicurean was missed as it would have been great to welcome the day on the external terrace but the MDR breakfast was ok ( Note that Bay Tree seems to be less crowded and a slightly better atmosphere for breakfast than Saffron - not sure why) Entertainment was a bit hit and miss but that is situation normal for us. We saw a couple of very good headliners shows, an excellent Adele tribute, an interesting cocktail pianist with the most individual timing and the worst duo we have ever seen on a ship. The latter were however so bad it was amusing. The chap was not a bad guitarist but his patter was like the worst of a local radio DJ and his partner was the most disinterested detached performer I have ever witnessed. She always looked like she was on the point of yawning. The music was so weak and laid back and the repertoire was seriously odd. When one night in Metropolis they suddenly broke into AC DC’s ‘highway to hell’ I honestly thought I had fallen asleep and was dreaming it. The mix of bars and performance spaces is good though it was a mistake to reduce the size of the Exchange (pub) to add cabins since our last trip as this space is clearly more popular and hence crowded by the mostly British clientele than the Glass House on the deck above which was often empty despite the excellent wines and food on offer. The pool areas were always crowded and this was exacerbated by the windy conditions which often caused the upper sun decks to be closed. We retreated to a combination of our balconies ( which the steward opened up to connect) and the Retreat which my wife had booked along with some spa treatments. The mix of ports was good though 12 days is an odd period and it would have been nice to throw in another Spanish or Portuguese or even a channel island port to pad it out to 14. Crew and service were almost all excellent with the exception of one rather grumpy sommelier. The drink prices especially the wine are very reasonable compared to other cruise lines and although it was disappointing to see that all of the room service menu was now chargeable generally the on board additional cost items including the speciality restaurants were reasonable. We tried Sindhu and Epicurean and whilst they do not quite have the atmosphere of those on Britannia ( possibly due to the fact that the decor has been adapted from the original fit outs rather than refitted) the food was excellent and the service very good. Generally we found the MDR food pretty good at dinner given the banquet nature of the cooking and the freedom dining and our willingness to share tables led to some great and often hilarious conversation over dinner. Thanks to all that we shared with! We never had to have a pager throughout the cruise which is a major advantage of being willing to share a table. ( at lunch the food was less successful and they would be better concentrating on salads and light bites similar to those in the Glass House rather than a traditional three course meal which boardered on school dinner standards at times). It’s always difficult to go back to any hotel or ship where you have had a great time in the past and as Ventura was the first ship we ever sailed on, and which triggered a year after year cruising habit since, then it was never likely to come up to the heady standards of our first cruise. Overall though we had a great time and would return to Ventura again for the right itinerary without much thought. It’s a very easy ship to enjoy. Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
We choose this cruise, because of the Itinerary? I can’t fly, we have been on 8 previous cruises, once before on the Ventura, we vowed not to go with P&O again,? But the itinerary swayed us? Let me start with the main problem??? If ... Read More
We choose this cruise, because of the Itinerary? I can’t fly, we have been on 8 previous cruises, once before on the Ventura, we vowed not to go with P&O again,? But the itinerary swayed us? Let me start with the main problem??? If you board the Ventura and they give you room C403? RUN!! Do not take it!! It’s by the lift shaft,? And all through the night, we were kept awake by a constant, very loud banging noise! This room is fit for storage purposes only!! We asked to be moved the second day,? But it was full, so we had to endure 12 nights of hell! The food was okay,? My husband and I enjoy curries? Which is just as well? As they were served daily? But we’re good. The entertainment at night was very good, but during the day,? We could either attend a knitting club, a craft club a model boat building club, or a talk on engines? My husband attended this s, but fell asleep 10 minuets after it started?? I had to go find him, after he still hadn’t returned after 2 hours,? He was the only one left in the arena, snoring his head off! I’m sure it was through lack of sleep, and not bordum?? We certainly aunty will be sticking with RCI or NCL in future,? Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
I have previously sailed twice on Princess ships and thoroughly enjoyed the experience and the holidays. We chose this P&O cruise as the dates were ideal and it was a short break away from work to visit some new places. As cruise ... Read More
I have previously sailed twice on Princess ships and thoroughly enjoyed the experience and the holidays. We chose this P&O cruise as the dates were ideal and it was a short break away from work to visit some new places. As cruise holiday expectations are a completely personal thing, I will instead run down some of the good bits we loved about the cruise and some bits we thought could be improved on. Good stuff: Embarkation was smooth and pretty quick! Didn't have to wait in a long queue with the number system they used. The cabin (D514) a deluxe balcony room, was fantastic. Well cared for, tidy and spacious. The balcony was large and the bed very comfy. The bathroom seemed much larger than on Princess, with a bath. The cabin steward Edwin was good, and seemed to work incredibly hard each day. Dinner was fantastic every day in the Bay Tree restaurant (more on this topic to come). The waiters were pretty good and friendly. A wide range of options each day and everything cooked perfectly. Excursions: we did a couple of P&O shore excursions which were well organised, and enjoyable. Catered for young and old with a good range of options for different interests. We particularly enjoyed the Tapas Trail in La Coruna which was brilliant. Speciality restaurants: Sindhu was a lovely choice for a meal at dinner time, with a friendly waitress and plenty of food for your money. Tasty and interesting without being too "out there". Epicurean was good for people with an adventurous streak... Drinks were reasonably priced and there was a good range of choices for both alcoholic drinks and soft drinks. Tasty cocktails and we liked the "wine flights" in the Glass House as a way to try different wines relatively cheaply. Not so good, but could be improved: Food at breakfast and lunch in the main dining rooms (Bay Tree or Saffron) was poor - it was certainly not at the same standard as the dinner meals. Breakfast seemed to be identical to that served in the buffet, and lunch was a little bit like school dinners. The afternoon tea could have been nicer if we weren't all squashed into a tiny section of the dining room. The amount of things which were not included in the fare was very different to the other cruises I have been on - ice cream at the poolside is not included in the fare, nor are cakes/biscuits at the costa cafe. Room service is also chargeable on P&O. This ship felt very crowded from the outset. On the website it says the capacity is 3078 guests, however we found out at the end of the cruise that we had sailed with nearly 3400 guests on board - a lot more people squeezed in! Entertainment was a bit hit and miss on this cruise - we weren't that excited by the theatre shows but the comedy act Mark Walker was really good. There were not many onboard activities which were not aimed at families and children, with only a few quiz type things on offer for adults. The music around the pool, although varied, was incredibly loud - could hear the ship for miles when at port! The coffee shop was a bit of a nightmare as they were not really set up to handle both sit down customers and those looking to grab a takeaway coffee - the waiters and staff got confused easily about who was waiting to order etc so queues of people formed pretty quickly. They need to decide whether they only want sit down customers, or only want takeaway ones in that small space. Decor on the ship was nice, however it didn't seem to have a common theme running through. Some areas looked really plain and others were lovely. The Glass House was the nicest spot we thought, with the Metropolis bar also a nice place to relax. On the whole this was an enjoyable cruise, with a heavy emphasis on families and children (even though it was outside of school holiday time). Would sail with P&O again on either an adults only ship, or for a longer cruise to get more of a quieter time. Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
Chose it after not enjoying hard sell on last celebrity cruise. Rude oppo initially when trying to sort car out...but luggage in cabin once on board.... Ship,difficult,to,find way around as no logical flow Cabin adequate but miss ... Read More
Chose it after not enjoying hard sell on last celebrity cruise. Rude oppo initially when trying to sort car out...but luggage in cabin once on board.... Ship,difficult,to,find way around as no logical flow Cabin adequate but miss having a balcony.... Freedom dining good in Saffron or Cinnamon and other options good for cover charge - Sindhi -Indian/Thai and The Glass house for seafood.... Entertainment patchy but some excellent - e.g Mark Walker but other options rather lack lustre. Service good generally - excellent cabin steward and spa staff good, as are,bar and restaurant staff... Excursions also patchy but Gaudi tour excellent Staff paid commission only on drinks and disclosure of bullying by member of spa staff, juxtaposed,with huge,price,hikes for 2019, Dumbing down in terms of customers including hogging of sun beds and poor supervision of children -,signage not observed in terms of not jumping in pool,and poor behaviour in dining rooms DOUBT IF WOULD GO AGAIN Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
Thought I ought to write a review as I did look on this site for reviews prior to going so only fair really. So in our opinion: PRO's Check in at Southampton took 15 mins and was very straightforward. Compared to boarding a ... Read More
Thought I ought to write a review as I did look on this site for reviews prior to going so only fair really. So in our opinion: PRO's Check in at Southampton took 15 mins and was very straightforward. Compared to boarding a flight from Heathrow its just magical. Staff are very good and often very sweet (must do it because they enjoy it as I expect the wages are terrible) We were on deck 15 (Lido) cabin was ok for size & we had a little balcony although it never saw the sun due to the ship design but nice to get some fresh air sometimes. Cabin attendant (Nora) was super efficient & friendly We found the food to be good or very good in the restaurants and were also very surprised by the choice & quality of the food in the carvery style buffets Always plenty of waiters around so you didn't even need to get up off your sunbed to get a drink, they come straight to you most of the time and you just use your cruise card to pay. Shows we saw were generally very good Enjoyed visiting numerous countries all in the one holiday Thought the cabin insulation was very good, we barely heard a sound at any time but this may of course be due to cabin location. We did the do it yourself disembarkation and were off the ship in 10 mins no problem CON's We found the ship to be very busy & often felt overcrowded but better on port days if you stayed on board Main theatre for evening shows seated about 350 but with around 3000 guests on board roughly a 10 to 1 chance of getting a seat. Show were re-run at 10.30pm but too late for us. Often difficult to disembark at ports of call as you would expect if over 2000 people are trying to go thru one door. Often very difficult to get a seat / sunbed on decks 15/16 Drinks expensive in our opinion, scotch & mixer around £8 Selection of classy shops on board which was nice but couldn't afford to buy anything in them most of the time but nice to brose I guess. Tip: if your looking for drink / tobacco then don't buy on board buy in Gibraltar if its one of your ports (just under half the price) Adult swimming pool could only hold 12 guests, wasn't expecting Olympic sized but could have been bigger when you consider number of guests. Choose excursions carefully, we went on 4 and found them poor & expensive. It would appear most seasoned cruisers do their own thing. If you smoke get a cabin on deck 15, you can smoke there in the evening and on deck 16 during the day but its not always straightforward but better than no smoking. We were fairly careful about spending and total on board bill after 14 nights was around £1000. Didn't think there were many activities during the day, not that interested us anyway Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
Having been on Ventura twice before, thought we would be ok in E112, deck 8 , (affectionately now named "roller coaster" deck), bad mistake - which was admittedly our own fault. After 5 days was unbearable, P&O duty managers ... Read More
Having been on Ventura twice before, thought we would be ok in E112, deck 8 , (affectionately now named "roller coaster" deck), bad mistake - which was admittedly our own fault. After 5 days was unbearable, P&O duty managers excellent and very understanding and changed our cabin to C424, which was so much better. Were told interactive service in cabin was not working for this cruise, however it appears to have been removed long ago. Both cabins were clean, stewards were good. Had freedom dining, which was good as always (saffron), buffet was better than before, lots of choice, only rude passengers pushing in spoilt this. The staff in the buffet and the bars were excellent. Could have a better design in the tea/coffee area, always ends up as a bottleneck trying to get a coffee. Didn't see any evidence of the 30 mins sunbed towel removal rule, but we don't really spend all day sunbathing so not really an issue for us. Disembarkation in ports was good, not in Oporto though and some passengers couldn't get off as shuttle buses were a problem. Tours to Rome and Sorrento & Pompeii really good value for money, tender in Alghero was well organised and not much waiting time. The evening entertainment wasn't as good as on previous cruises but there was enough choice. Overall we love this ship, yes there are some things that may not be as good as previous cruises, but P&O still really good. Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
Ventura Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.2
Dining 4.0 3.9
Entertainment 4.0 3.7
Public Rooms 4.0 4.0
Fitness Recreation 4.0 3.9
Family 4.0 3.9
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.5
Enrichment 3.0 3.3
Service 4.0 4.0
Value For Money 4.0 3.6
Rates 3.0 3.9

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