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157 Southampton P&O Cruises Ventura Cruise Reviews

This was my second cruise on Ventura as a single passenger. I was a little apprehensive going back as I had such a wonderful time last year but I need not have worried it was just the same and more. From my cabin steward to the bar ... Read More
This was my second cruise on Ventura as a single passenger. I was a little apprehensive going back as I had such a wonderful time last year but I need not have worried it was just the same and more. From my cabin steward to the bar staff in all of the bars, from the bow to the stern of Deck 7 (Promenade Dec) the entertainment was brilliant, from the Metropolis on the Sky Deck down to the Restaurants on Dec 6 it was amazing. Brilliant service, lovely food, extremely friendly people. A packed entertainment programme filled each day - but if you wanted to just laze on the deck that was just as amazing. Saw a school of dolphins off the port side one evening before sunset - just breath taking. I am booked on Arcadia next year I hope that this will be just as good. If you are a single/solo traveller and thinking of a cruise - book it - I very much doubt you will be disappointed. Read Less
Sail Date August 2015
I would like to say this is second time with p&o and would recommend them. Before I went I did read some reviews on Ventura but don't take everything to heart. but I feel I wanted to address some things that were said. all the ... Read More
I would like to say this is second time with p&o and would recommend them. Before I went I did read some reviews on Ventura but don't take everything to heart. but I feel I wanted to address some things that were said. all the staff on board were polite no matter where you met them. and couldn't do enough for you. we ate dinner in bay tree and waiters and food was excellent. and we went to buffet during day and sometimes we did have to share a table but this is how to get to know people. and yes we did go wrong way sometimes but we weren't on our own but it adds to the fun. the shows were always good and saw some good comedians as well. so do not be put off by reviews, go and make your own minds up. from Sue a very happy traveller who will be cruising with p&o next year Read Less
Sail Date August 2015
I don't normally leave reviews, but feel that I need to on this occasion for the benefit of first time cruisers like ourselves. After booking our cruise from Southampton to Gurnsey, Portugal and Spain I went online to read reviews ... Read More
I don't normally leave reviews, but feel that I need to on this occasion for the benefit of first time cruisers like ourselves. After booking our cruise from Southampton to Gurnsey, Portugal and Spain I went online to read reviews and comments...I wish I hadn't as I felt quite disappointed and nervous due to the negative comments and complaints. I guess some people are hard to please and can find fault with anything....my nervousness was immediately put to rest from the moment we boarded Ventura. The embarkation ran smoothly and P&O were very organised and professional with every attention to detail covered. Once onboard....wow..wow..wow!!! Our balcony cabin was compact but offered everything we needed for a good nights sleep...there was too much going on to stay in there for long periods of time. Although we cruised in the school holidays, the children aboard were kept busy in the clubs and the swimming pool areas were never too much of a problem. The days at sea were obviously busier but never over crowded which I thought they may have been. All swimming pools and swimming pool areas were immaculate and despite other reviews, there were plenty of sun loungers to be found just not always in the busier and more popular spots. All the staff could not do enough for you, courteous, polite and always checking that you had everything. Our cabin steward was incredible...Manoj....thank you. We chose freedom dining and eat at the buffet style restaurants all week. The variety and choice of food was outstanding (24 hours every day). I think at times I did notice small queues for the waiter service restaurants, but you were provided with an electronic pager and beeped once your table was ready. We used room service once which was perfect and came with some lovely little touches. The port stops were nice, but unfortunately for us the weather was not. We only had one sunny day in Lisbon. Due to the poor weather conditions we were unable to stop at Gurnsey and our crossing over the Bay of Briscay was very choppy. I must admit I didn't like that too much. I cannot comment on the shows or films as we chose to retire early most evenings. I enjoyed the Spa resort, the prices were competitive to salons in the UK. The shops were adequate and offered a nice variety of goods. We were able to view our online account 24/7 on our TV in our room, this was settled very easily on the last night by the card which had been registered on the embarkation day. I could go on, and on .....I'm just so glad that we had this amazing experience which will stay with us forever....thank you P&O and Ventura. 2 travelling adults and 1 teenage son (17 yrs) Read Less
Sail Date August 2015
Have just come back from one of my best holidays ever. This was our second cruise , first one was with the Royal Caribbean. We were a little dubious about this holiday as we had read some of the reviews regarding Ventura and they were not ... Read More
Have just come back from one of my best holidays ever. This was our second cruise , first one was with the Royal Caribbean. We were a little dubious about this holiday as we had read some of the reviews regarding Ventura and they were not good.THE SHIP WAS AMAZING ! Spotlessly clean, crew so friendly and helpful, plentiful of food in all restaurants and delicious, so much to do, shows and bars brilliant, swimming pool areas great. The main theatre had excellent shows twice nightly and there was entertainment in some of the bars. It was hard to choose some nights of which bars to go to as there was so much going on. The excursions were very well organised and so were the free shuttle busses to take you out of the port. What more can I say except that we were very sad when the holiday was over. We are now looking for next years cruise with P&O. Thank you Ventura for the most amazing holiday ever ! Read Less
Sail Date August 2015
My second voyage on Ventura, and still as good as last year. The crew create a happy environment, the ship is spotlessly clean, the cabin (' inside' was more spacious than I thought it would be) and looked after superbly by ... Read More
My second voyage on Ventura, and still as good as last year. The crew create a happy environment, the ship is spotlessly clean, the cabin (' inside' was more spacious than I thought it would be) and looked after superbly by the cabin attendant. I just cannot understand the ' moaners ' who write the reviews they do. Dined in Saffron most nights on freedom dining and always managed a table for two, same at breakfast. Did try ' Sindu ' one night- excellent, and the ' Epincurean ' on two nights for a change of scene. The Epicurean IS worth the extra for a special night, quiet ambience, and service 5* and above, the chateau briand was amazing, the crepe suzette too. Theatre- Headliners as good as always, and the 'Octaves ' a good guy group, ( did perhaps rate the ' 4 tunes ' on last years cruise a shade above... but just personal preference. In the Tamarind - Daniel Boys- amazing voice, should have been given the Theatre.. and he would have filled it. Ports- Guernsey had to be missed due to poor visability. Lisbon was interesting, but rather hot... Tip... we did the 3 sights tour ( as the Discoveries Monument is a bit far out) then the last stop is the city where we stayed longer and were able to walk back to the ship, rather than the tour bus back. Porto - We took the ships shuttle bus to the city and back, Great for walking, the old town down to the river... Funicular up to the top of the bridge, walk across it and take the gondola down, have lunch by the river on that side and walk back over the lower level part of the bridge back to the old town. La Caruna - walk into the old town and along the Promenade to the Roman Lighthouse - YES a longish walk, stop for coffee on the way - DO climb the 240 steps up!!! and then continue along the Prom to the long beach and left into the town and back to the ship. Embarkation and Disembark was fine, we use ' acp ' parking on the other side of the River Test ,they provide a first class service. The ship was full but felt never crowed, NEW sunbeds and plenty of them, always somewhere to sit. The food in the restaurants WAS varied and hot and still up to a high standard, DO remember Ventura is a large ship !!! some critics if they want 1-1 6* should try say Regent/Seabourn with £££££ to match. Yes will sail P&O again and have already booked the next voyage. The prices are in £ on board, and the drinks prices reasonable, quality wines too. Read Less
Sail Date July 2015
Enjoyed this cruise but don't book cabin E215 if you like going to bed early. Cabin is above main theatre and you can hear thumping noise (drums presumably) with every performance. This also included afternoon rehearsals which ... Read More
Enjoyed this cruise but don't book cabin E215 if you like going to bed early. Cabin is above main theatre and you can hear thumping noise (drums presumably) with every performance. This also included afternoon rehearsals which normally started around about 4.0pm. We were not too bothered as we attended the late night quiz every evening and the shows finished at 11.30p.m but if you want an early night this is a cabin to avoid! Apart from that the cabin is fine with plenty of light. Everything else was of a normal high standard. Had freedom dining and met many interesting fellow travellers. Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
This was our first cruise ever - a 'gift' for our wedding anniversary. We were put in cabin B344, an inner one. Although we personally found the temperature to be a bit warm (as we like to sleep in cool temperatures), most ... Read More
This was our first cruise ever - a 'gift' for our wedding anniversary. We were put in cabin B344, an inner one. Although we personally found the temperature to be a bit warm (as we like to sleep in cool temperatures), most would find the 23C all-round room temp to be very cozy. The cabin was certainly big enough for two of us and the queen bed quite ample. We had 2 nights of gale force 8 winds and slept like babies; the most we knew of it was a gentle rocking of the bed and an announcement by the ship the next morning. My wife walks with a stick and we found crew to be very attentive. She was whisked into the ship almost immediately for embarkation, avoiding any crowds or lines of passengers, and we were set into the buffet room to enjoy lunch while the rest of the ship embarked. The same was true of disembarkation - off the ship before the rest of the passengers and out into a flagged-down taxi before the rest arrived. The buffet rooms were lovely - clean and spacious with tons of tables and waiters everywhere waiting to get you another drink or take away your tray the moment you were finished. No table was too far away from a window to not enjoy the view. The food itself was great - we're not into fine dining, we just eat food - and there was plenty of variety for all tastes and lots of it. Everything from cold cuts and rolls, little nibbles, to several main dishes and sides. The desserts were to die for! And it really was 24-hours a day, though you may find yourself switching from one side of the dining room to the other, depending on the time of day. (Little ones had their own tea time at 4-6pm, so they could go to daycare when adults wanted to enjoy themselves.) There were tons of little areas around the ship where you could sit and have a drink (or 10) and we never had to wait more than a couple of minutes for a waiter to take our order and deliver a delicious cocktail. There were a large number of heated pools and wonderful whirlpools -easy to get in and out of - and these all had bar areas and seating around them as well as counters serving fast foods, ice creams, etc. We had signed for low-impact activities, a couple of tour buses, and they had quite a few to chose from and quite a few grey heads and people with mobility problems on them. Again, first on/first off, lots of attendants helping on and off the bus as well as into/out of attractions. We certainly couldn't fault the customer service if we tried. And the excursions were great as well with knowledgeable tour guides. We were so happy with our experience we signed up for another cruise - a 10-night one, on the same ship - on our second day. We did, however, book a balcony cabin. We would personally recommend an inner cabin if you don't plan on doing much besides sleeping it it, but if you like to get away from the crowd, you may wish at least a cabin with a window. Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
We stayed on the Ventura so just thought I would write a review since we were massively impressed with our first time cruising, so here are some tips: When it comes to Gratuities(Tips) you automatically pay a fee a day, we took this ... Read More
We stayed on the Ventura so just thought I would write a review since we were massively impressed with our first time cruising, so here are some tips: When it comes to Gratuities(Tips) you automatically pay a fee a day, we took this off, you just go to the reception and ask to have them removed, that way you can tip who you want to tip throughout your cruise, we did this and ended up tipping more but that way we knew the staff got them. When you arrive go straight to the Waterside Café or Beachside all on deck 15 as you can have food straight away, especially if you had been waiting a long time to Embark. The restaurants that are inclusive are Cinnamon and Safron, they serve the exact same menu and is inclusive of your all inclusive cruise. Could not fault the food at all! They serve Breakfast at Saffron and Cinnamon, then a buffet breakfast in waterside so you can help yourself. Then at dinner it is a 3 course meal and tea it is a 5 course meal. Forgot to mention the hot pizzas and afternoon tea in the waterside. Shows were fab and you don't need to book, they run twice in one evening. The maids are spot on, ours did our room 3 times a day, they constantly check for dirty towels. Overall it was amazing, going on my honeymoon in 5 months, were trying the Oasis of the Seas, Royal Carribean! AMAZING! Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
Got on board, after a stress full drive down the motorway, had a long wait to book in, found we had mislaid our Euros, the young man on Reception left the ship went to our car and brought back our Euros that had dropped out in the car, ... Read More
Got on board, after a stress full drive down the motorway, had a long wait to book in, found we had mislaid our Euros, the young man on Reception left the ship went to our car and brought back our Euros that had dropped out in the car, what service. Our inside cabin was very spacious and very well looked after by our steward, much better than our cabin on Oceana which really should only be sold as a twin bedded cabin. The food and service both in Waterside and Saffron was very good. The entertainment by the Headliners Theatre Company was as usual on P&O ships very good but the icing on the cake for us was that we got another chance to see The Octaves, who we had seen in March on Oceana, they are not only nice young men who are prepared to chat to you but they also sing very well, seeing them again really made our cruise . We didn't do any excursions this time but enjoyed walking round Vigo Lisbon & Oporto, we couldn't get off at Guernsey due to weather conditions, which seems to happen often, obviously safety first but what is the point in having a stop there if people cannot get off, surely P&O would be better going somewhere else. Disembarkation was easy but were not told a particular place to wait so was a bit confusing. This cruise with P&O was one of the best we have done with them so we are looking forward to going on Ventura again. Read Less
Sail Date April 2015
Having not sailed with P & O for a few years , we booked this cruise many months in advance and having read recent poor and scathing reviews we were wondering what we would find onboard Well we found a fabulous ship, wonderful crew ... Read More
Having not sailed with P & O for a few years , we booked this cruise many months in advance and having read recent poor and scathing reviews we were wondering what we would find onboard Well we found a fabulous ship, wonderful crew and we had probably the best cruise we have experienced. I really am puzzled by the bad reviews about this ship. To start with, wherever we were onboard, any crew we met were friendly and polite, that includes the dining room, buffet restaurant, decks, anywhere! The food itself, well I am sure the evening meals are bigger than before with P & O, we thoroughly enjoyed every evening meal. The buffet food too was great, a slight problem was we thought the area around the self service food was a little cramped. Entertainment was undoubtedly top class, I've seen many Headliner shows on P & O and this crowd were amazing, the stage sets and costumes too seemed to be better than before. The other entertainers were varied and enjoyable also. There were very interesting talks given, and demonstrations too. In fact we kept saying how much the overall experience had improved. So we were stunned to hear other guests moaning about the entertainment, waiters etc, truly baffled. I really do wonder if some people can ever be pleased especially given the amazing value of this particular cruise. We felt quite indignant on behalf of the ship's crew, especially having seen some of the other passengers ignorant manners when being served in the dining room, I wonder what impression the Brits give sometimes. We have sailed with many other cruise lines and loved most, however a big thumbs up to the crew of Ventura, they deserve it! Read Less
Sail Date April 2015
Not having sailed with P & O for a few years, and reading some very negative reviews from recent cruisers, we were not sure what to expect on this week long cruise. To start with, the embarkation was fast and efficient, we were ... Read More
Not having sailed with P & O for a few years, and reading some very negative reviews from recent cruisers, we were not sure what to expect on this week long cruise. To start with, the embarkation was fast and efficient, we were onboard within half an hour of arriving at the port terminal. Naturally everyone heads to the buffet restaurant and it is obviously crowded, to be expected. The first night's dining was superb, followed by excellent entertainment by P & O's Headliners troupe. Each day we commented on how everything actually seemed to have improved since we last sailed with P & O, especially the entertainment, but also the food and friendliness of the crew wherever we went on the ship. So we were surprised and a little perplexed to hear other passengers moaning about the entertainment, and also the unfriendliness of some of the waiters. I realise that everyone has different tastes but really, what do people expect? This cruise had 4 top notch song and dance shows, a talented group of harmony singers who went down a storm in the theatre, a comedy ventriloquist, a very funny Magician / Comedian, Gary Barlow tribute and Whitney Houston tribute singers, talks, demonstrations, films etc etc. I defy anyone to find this much variety anywhere else especially for the price I know this cruise was sold at all along. On the flip side, we saw passengers with very dubious manners when being waited on by the crew, we cringed more than once in embarrassment, what they must think of some of the British passengers I dread to think. So a very big thumbs up to P & O's Ventura and her crew, absolutely superb cruise! Read Less
Sail Date April 2015
Never having cruised with p and o before, we were very pleased with the cruise. The cabin,balcony, was lovely,the entertainment was very good and we thoroughly enjoyed the holiday. Having booked at the last minute, it was extremely good ... Read More
Never having cruised with p and o before, we were very pleased with the cruise. The cabin,balcony, was lovely,the entertainment was very good and we thoroughly enjoyed the holiday. Having booked at the last minute, it was extremely good value. The only criticisms of Ventura in our opinion are that the library which we always use on cruises had a limited supply of books and the shelves were only a third full after a few days, the buffet was very cramped with not enough room for people to get round and our third complaint was that Havana lounge was far too small when an act was performing in an evening with many people having to stand. We have always cruised with princess before and have used the buffet there quite a lot, but on Ventura we only went twice and gave up as it was not a pleasant experience. However these are minor annoyances which did not spoil an otherwise perfect cruise, and we would certainly choose Ventura again when the next last minute deal comes up. Read Less
Sail Date April 2015
We have just returned from a fantastic Spring 13 night cruise on Ventura, to the Iberian coast. It was a fabulous cruise with 7 ports of call, so lots of interesting things to do. We were blessed with beautiful weather throughout our ... Read More
We have just returned from a fantastic Spring 13 night cruise on Ventura, to the Iberian coast. It was a fabulous cruise with 7 ports of call, so lots of interesting things to do. We were blessed with beautiful weather throughout our cruise.We had two late evening departures which were lovely. We will never forget dining on the outdoor terrace of the White Room whilst in Gibraltar until 11pm, with amazing views, weather, food, wine and service all coming together to create an outstanding evening. Indeed, every meal was delicious, and consistently, the best food we can remember eating on board any ship. This was our first cruise on Ventura, and it is now our new " favourite ship"! So well done P&O. We had heard that the food on Ventura was very good, and we were not disappointed. It was consistently excellent every day. The dishes were absolutely delicious, and the accompanying sauces were superb. All four Gala Marco Pierre White dinners were outstanding. Every meal was divine, certainly no-one on our many tables ever complained or left any food on their plates! It was consistently, the best food we can remember eating on board any ship. The vegetarian choices were very imaginative and tasty, and Roby our head waiter was keen to offer me a special vegetarian menu every night. This was our first experience of Freedom Dining, and we enjoyed it very much. It suited us to choose different times to dine, as the whim took us, and to enjoy a wide variety of fellow passengers' company which added a new dimension to our dining experience. There were the usual range of entertainment choices on board. The casino was very well attended, as were all the shows. For the regular cruiser, it can sometimes be a challenge to find something new to do. For example, we would like a choice of guest speakers. We found all the staff very courteous,welcoming, friendly and enjoying their jobs. Our cabin steward, Chris, was very helpful and engaging. We had a couple of very minor issues whilst on board, and these were dealt with immediately and effectively. The service was faultless throughout the ship. Ventura has a very good vibe about her! Read Less
Sail Date April 2015
We joined the cruise as first time sceptics, not expecting to enjoy it. From the straightforward embarkation process to the speedy disembarkation (so much faster than an airport) we loved everything about Ventura. We are in our 50s and ... Read More
We joined the cruise as first time sceptics, not expecting to enjoy it. From the straightforward embarkation process to the speedy disembarkation (so much faster than an airport) we loved everything about Ventura. We are in our 50s and 60s and were pleasantly surprised by the mainly younger clientele on board. We didn't like the idea of being surrounded by pensionsers. The service and food in the Saffron restaurant was excellent for the price. I can't praise the staff on board highly enough. Every single individual was friendly, helpful and efficient. Bar prices very reasonable. One small niggle was the fact that we had to wait 20 minutes in cold and rain for our return coach from Blankenburg back to Zeebrugge. Seemed rather unnecessary as there was only 1 train per hour and it would have been easy to have plenty of coaches waiting for the train. The spa was great. Again friendly, helpful staff. Clean facilities, although the steam room did have a rather musty damp smell which was a bit off-putting. A great two nights - we would definitely go on another P&O cruise. Read Less
Sail Date April 2015
We travelled to Southampton by car and our luggage was taken by porters and car handed over to be parked very easily. The check in took longer than expected as there was a problem with the computers but , once in board we could access our ... Read More
We travelled to Southampton by car and our luggage was taken by porters and car handed over to be parked very easily. The check in took longer than expected as there was a problem with the computers but , once in board we could access our cabin straight away . The cabin was a on C deck with spacious balcony , a comfortable bed and tea / coffee facilities. The shower room was small but adequate with plenty of hot water, shower gel , shampoo and conditioner, plus body lotion. Our steward Remy was very attentive and kept the cabin spotless....loved the towel animals and little chocs on the pillow a nice touch ! We were allocated freedom dining in Saffron dining room and the food was fantastic , although we rarely managed to eat all five courses. We tended to eat breakfast and lunch at the buffet , which, despite being busy was very well run . We didn't use the other food venues so can't comment on them . All the staff on board were very friendly and greeted us with a smile . The entertainment was very good at the Arena theatre , we enjoyed the shows very much . There was also entertainment in other venues , spoilt for choice really ! Drinks in the bars , theatre and restuarants were reasonable prices and we also served promptly . You could even grab a costa coffee if wanted. There was always lots going on all day , all over the ship , the choice was yours whether or not to join in . For those who wished to curl up with a good book there was a librarary on board too. The children were well catered for with their own clubs and had their choice of pools to choose from . ( there was an adult pool too ) We stopped at several different ports during our cruise but didn't use the ship excursions , preferring to do our own thing . We used the shuttle buses a few times but these were expensive for the distance covered . In Gibralter we shared a taxi for eight people at a cost if twenty two pounds each . The driver took us to the rock , caves and tunnels then dropped us in the centre to explore the streets and squares ourselves. When we returned to the ship there was a sail away party , complete with flags, where Rule Brittania , among other songs , was sang with gusto by all who attended, along with vigorous waving of flags, great fun . The young lady passenger who performed Irish Dancing alongside the pool was very good , well done ! In Lisbon we used the hop on hop off bus but could have walked to see most if the attractions as they were centrally located . We used a private guide with other passengers in Rome and were fast tracked into the Vatican museums , a must as the queues were very long , perhaps two hours long ! In Palma , Vigo and Barcelona we simply strolled and enjoyed the lovely cafés outside. Monte Carlo was explored using the hop on hop off buses which took us all over . Disembarkation went smoothly I thought , despite the huge amount of passengers. Our luggage was put outside our cabin the night before and was waiting for us in deck order in the terminal . The one thing I would critisize would be that the entertainment is the same on all ships and has been for five years ! As this was our first time with P&O it really didn't matter but it might put me off going on other cruises with them .....think this needs to be addressed . All in all a lovely cruise . Read Less
Sail Date March 2015
Great room, great staff, great food and seemed to be filled with really nice people sailing with us. Staff always reminding people to cleanse hands before entering buffet or retaurant and signs up in toilets, etc. Whole ship was ... Read More
Great room, great staff, great food and seemed to be filled with really nice people sailing with us. Staff always reminding people to cleanse hands before entering buffet or retaurant and signs up in toilets, etc. Whole ship was spotless and staff could be found washing hand rails and door knobs all through the day. We saw the man in charge of buffet, Beach Bar, etc, always patrolling. One day he went mad at staff because he found 1 chip on the floor....hig standards to be sure. Gripes: A lot of upselling, especially drinks waiters, they watch you and pounce! In fact they huddle when a place is quiet then it's a case of which one of them reaches you first...pack mentality! Often food is whipped away if you are up getting a cup of tea...never leave it unattended they are over efficient!! Children....not a problem BUT two nights running in the Havanna lounge, we wnet after 12. A lady kept leaving her children while she danced te night away, they children were aged 3-6. The poor kids were left to sleep on chairs, all unattended and the mother certainly was not watching them. We complained to the bar manager but he just kept saying @It's a family disco'. I pointed out the age of the children, the time of night and the fact that the mother was nowhere to be seen. Nothing was done about this. I ended up sitting watching the kids just in case........ Entertainment not too great but comedian Mark Walker is a must see. The pianist in the Red Bar was funny, friendly and skilled. All staff were very willing to help, always said 'Hi' as you passed them and were always smiling. Photos: Expensive and they don't always upload all the photos, a little disorganised in that sense. The cruise highlights are usually recorded but seems they didn't replace whoever does the recordings after he quit his job at the beginning of the cruise. That was a shame and definitely must have been a financial loss to P & O. We would definitley recommend this ship and the cruise itself. However, travellers should think twice before booking the organised trips as they are very expensive. We went ad hoc and used the taxis and buses at each port....saved a fortune and ended up seeing much more. We will definitely cruise again because it was so cost effective, you couldn't get a five star hotel, the food and service in each country for the price of a cruise. More to the point it makes it so easy to see each country without packing your bags and travelling to each location! Brilliant time had by all. Thanks to all on the Ventura. Read Less
Sail Date March 2015
I was a bit dubious about P&O as I thought it would be older people and all Brits but have just had a great cruise. The ship was modern, spacious with a good selection of bars and restaurants. I couldnt believe there were over 3000 on ... Read More
I was a bit dubious about P&O as I thought it would be older people and all Brits but have just had a great cruise. The ship was modern, spacious with a good selection of bars and restaurants. I couldnt believe there were over 3000 on boar as nowhere seemed crowded. There was some hogging of sunbeds but always somewhere quiet to sit, which suited me more than being round the pool. Entertainment was mostly excellent, especially the Freddie Mercury tribute. Absolutely fantastic. Theatre shows were good - get there 30 mins before to get a good seat. Sometimes the orchestra seemed to be in a battle with the singers but The Headliners are great singers and dancers. There was something for everyone so not all shows to our taste but we found somewhere else to go. Could have done with some craft sessions on sea days - scrap boarding or card making. Also no speaker on upcoming ports or history of the region. Food in the MDRs was excellent. as we had freedom dining and happy to share there was never any waiting. service was good. Only complaint that wine took a long time to come on some nights and we were into the main course before we got a slurp! Embarkation and disembarkation were well planned. On in 30 mins and even quicker getting off. Value of the cruise was stunning as I booked 4 weeks before we sailed. The ports were all excellent and the weather was unbelievable. Well done P&O for providing free shuttles and free laundrettes. Would have liked free ice cream though. I can't find anything to complain about, though we heard people grumbling that standards had gone down. This was our first P&O so don't have anything to compare it with. Compared to our 7 previous cruises, it was an excellent standard. Read Less
Sail Date October 2013
Drove down to Southampton, easy 3 and a bit hours from our home. Little bit of a wait to unload our cases and then into the huge hall. First time ever we have not had to queue to go to the registration desk. Then straight through to ... Read More
Drove down to Southampton, easy 3 and a bit hours from our home. Little bit of a wait to unload our cases and then into the huge hall. First time ever we have not had to queue to go to the registration desk. Then straight through to checking hand luggage and persons through with just a little queue. Our cabin was ready for us in a relatively swift time, soon followed by our cases. Then unfortunately for the boring but essential part of the safety drill. Unpacked our cases and job done! We had travelled on Ventura previously so knew what to expect. We had already booked the White Room and East and looked forward to the Glass House as we had sampled this on Azura the previous Christmas. The staff on board are second to none. Everyone is very friendly, courteous and knowledgeable. Have to give a huge thanks to the Jumping Jacks staff. We couldnt keep our 8 year old daughter away they did such a good job of looking after her. Our trip down the Bay of Biscay was the gentlest one we have ever experienced. Sailing through the straights of Gibraltar was beautiful, saw many dolphins. Our first port was Valencia. Went to the huge beach just a stroll round from where the boat docked, unfortunately it was rather windy. Hubby enjoyed seeing the Grand Prix circuit. Next stop Barcelona. Amazing place, architecture fantastic. The infrastructure left over from the Olympics has made a huge impact. Did an open topped bus tour which was the best way of quickly seeing the sights. Wouldnt have like to have been on the ground as it was packed. Then Monaco, truly stunning. Went to the aquarium and can highly recommend this. We were the only ones in!. Then went on the little train and again a good way of seeing the sights. Walking round the harbour is a must, oggling at the hugely expensive craft. This stop was by tender and love that way of getting to the Port. Next was Rome, again masses of tourists, did a trip to the Colloseum which was dumfounding and had some free time in the afternoon so explored the Panthenon and Trevi Fountain - both a must. Next stop Ajaccio and if there is one place we would like to return to its Corsica. Beautiful, French and not packed with tourists. If it is a lovely day, hop off the boat and 10 minutes to the left you arrive at a beautiful clean beach with clear water. Next to Gibraltar. Did the Secrets of the Rock Tour which was highly informative. Up on the cable car to the top of the rock, saw the apes and watch out for these, they will steal anything and don't rustle in your handbag! Our guide was hugely enthusiastic. We went down into the caves and then visited the tunnels used by the soldiers. We were absolutely pooped at the end but it is well worth it and the history behind the rock is amazing. There were loads of dolphins as we entered and left the harbour in Gibraltar. Unfortunately the weather turned a bit travelling back through the straights and up the side of Portugal and there were a few green faces the next day. Last stop was La Corunna and we decided to stay on board having visited here before. We would have gone to the Beach our 8 year old wanted a day off from tramping round as she called it! Food: Excellent, especially the White Room and East. Can highly recommend experiencing these. We loved the Glass House although expected it to have had a makeover to distinguish it from Las Ramblas as was previous. The only let down we felt with regard to food was the Freedom Dining Cinammon and Saffron restaurants. The quality seemed less than previous. However on the Gala dinner night it was superb (Marco Pierre White menu) - wish it had been like that every night. Breakfasts are fantastic, every option catered for. Room service was bril too - never had to wait too long which was lovely after a tiring day in Rome. Had a lovely chat with Charlie Carr the Captain when he was doing his rounds. He stopped while we were eating to say hello and we found out he lives only a short distance from us with his relatives just down the road - small world. Didnt do any of the shows so cant comment on these although judging by how packed the venue seemed to be perhaps speaks for itself. Best event was Olly Smith's wine talk, hugely informative and what a thoroughly nice chap he seems to be. He is very enthusiastic about his wines and food and can highly recommend this. Also did the Marco Pierre White talk. Pretty much the same as the one we had done previously. Passengers - OMG was there anyone apart from us younger than 50!? Well there were a few but have to say this was the oldest group of fellow passengers we have come across. If we had any gripe it would be that we didnt appreciate finding a previous passenger's underpants and socks behind the small cupboard at the side of the bed. Will definitely return one day and a big thumbs up to the crew and staff for their unstinting customer service.   Read Less
Sail Date October 2013
I have just returned from a lovely cruise with ventura I took my son and his partner as my sister I was going with passed away last month she was so looking forward to another cruise on this ship I found it was to big for me as It there ... Read More
I have just returned from a lovely cruise with ventura I took my son and his partner as my sister I was going with passed away last month she was so looking forward to another cruise on this ship I found it was to big for me as It there was to much walking but I found the entertainment was excellent also choice of food in the bay tree restaurant served by stephen and dev who couldn't do enough for us The organised trips were very good even though pricey Only problem was I never liked the coffee on board could have been the water also the loud music in the casino why do these singers have to shout I enjoyed the pina colader the last two nights as they wasnt filled with ice as I was told they can only make them with ice till a waiter said he would do them for me without the ice and the drink was perfect Read Less
Sail Date September 2013
Stayed night before in Grand harbour hotel,lovely place but didn't really enjoy the early alarm call- 01-10am by the fire alarm !! but hey the two hours outside and in the Holiday Inn you got to meet plenty of people !! Accommadaion ... Read More
Stayed night before in Grand harbour hotel,lovely place but didn't really enjoy the early alarm call- 01-10am by the fire alarm !! but hey the two hours outside and in the Holiday Inn you got to meet plenty of people !! Accommadaion inside cabin A deck.Very nice,plenty storage and cabin steward, Martino was excellent,very attentive and hard working. Food was amazing and we went for Freedom Dining ,met another 3 couples on first night and that was us for the rest of the cruise,great company and what a laugh,thankyou all !! Entertainment was excellent,WestEnd Men,comedians the disco!! and all other entertainers onboard.Had heard a lot of negative comments about the ship but as far as myself and wife were concerned, you will never please all the people all of the time !! Had a fantastic time and can't wait to book the next one. If you've not tried it do it, you won't regret it, its what you make it, isn't it peeps !! Read Less
Sail Date September 2013
We chose P&O from family recommendations and Ventura as she was going to the Fjords at the right time for us. We also wanted to ensure we had lots of choice aboard ship as we hadn't cruised before and wanted to give ourselves ... Read More
We chose P&O from family recommendations and Ventura as she was going to the Fjords at the right time for us. We also wanted to ensure we had lots of choice aboard ship as we hadn't cruised before and wanted to give ourselves options for dining and entertainment. Embarkation was surprisingly quick, from leaving the car with the CPR rep to walking on board took less than half an hour. We were very lucky with the weather most of the week, but were glad of being allowed lots of luggage as we had to cover all options for Norway plus formalwear. The swift embarkation plus no luggage limit scores highly against flying to a holiday in my book. We enjoyed all the ports, however found Stavanger less interesting than the others. The drizzle that day may have had something to do with this of course and we did try to fill our time, visiting two museums. We usually did our own thing, heavily researched online beforehand, but did the tour to the Stave Church in Andalsnes, where we found the local guide on the bus very personable and knowledgeable. Onboard we found 99% of the staff were friendly and approachable. Service was usually excellent in all areas of the ship. The main dining room dinners ranged from OK to good (usually the latter); we also tried the silver service cream tea which was nice, plus had a good evening in Whites, where the service was fantastic (thought they could have done more with the decor). I can't comment on the refit as the ship is new to me, but my one gripe would be the public area toilets. Apart from the ridiculousness of having only two cubicles in the ladies loos nearest the enourmous theatre, many of the loo seats were stained/clearly old and really let the standard down. They were clean, no problems there, just didn't look great. The entertainment was great, a good mix (and of course not everything is for everyone). I enjoyed filling my time on the two seadays, though there were times when we would have appreciated a few more things aimed at the younger end of the market. I enjoyed the tribute acts more than I expected to, in fact we often gravitated to Havana in the evenings and watched the entertainment there. The video wall in Metropolis was broken for most of the week; we saw it doing Hong Kong but weren't overly impressed gven the hype around it. Enjoyed meeting other passengers, usually when it was necessary to share tables (eg at afternoon tea or sometimes when the buffet got full) and had a table for two for dinner. The first night I felt queasy eating in The Bay Tree as you can feel the vibrations underneath you, however I got used to it. Cabin (balcony) was a good size and the bed very comfy. On C Deck the balcony is twice the usual length and is partly shaded, so it's a good one to choose. All in all, I would go back. Read Less
Sail Date June 2013
This short break was to accompany friends trying a first cruise. 5 days was long enough to get a feel for cruising - and to avoid the stag/hen parties on short breaks. Ventura was well presented, well maintained and with good service ... Read More
This short break was to accompany friends trying a first cruise. 5 days was long enough to get a feel for cruising - and to avoid the stag/hen parties on short breaks. Ventura was well presented, well maintained and with good service throughout. However, it is a large ship and could begin to feel crowded inside when the weather was poor. Embarkation was well organised - arriving at the dock gates to settling down to lunch took about one hour. The superior deluxe balcony cabin we had booked gave plenty of space to sit inside and was just adequate for four to share the balcony when the sun shone. Amsterdam was interesting for a first visit. We took an organised tour. The ship moors in a sufficiently central location for a walk into the city centre. The best way to see Amsterdam seems to be by water. We would spend more time on the canals if visiting again. To spread visits to Amsterdam and Guernsey across five days means that travel speeds are necessarily slow. There were two sea days and the weather was disappointingly cool and cloudy on these days. There was sufficient to keep ourselves occupied, but there was less invested in these days than has been our experience on previous, longer cruises. Guernsey required a trip ashore by tender. We enjoyed the time in St Peter Port, visiting Castle Cornet. Guernsey is now on our list of places to spend a little more time in order to see more of the island. We found the service on Ventura to be very good. Cabin, waiting and bar staff were friendly and would happily engage with you if you took the time to speak with them. Food was good if not exceptional. Our experience was that the Glass House offered a great option at a small price supplement, although the service here was slow. We didn't try the more expensive specialist restaurants. Having spent some time on Azura recently I found myself making comparisons between these two sister ships. The layout is essentially the same, with primary differences being the sea screen on Azura and the cover over one pool on Ventura. Decor was different, such that it was clear we were on a different ship. The captain and bridge crew on Azura brought far more homour - and more information - to their messages about where we were, what was going on, how things worked and what to expect of the weather. At first, I thought that the entertainment team on Azura had the edge, but there is probably little to choose - both were good. The cabin and waiting staff were friendly on both ships - but the experience felt different - perhaps Ventura had the edge. This short break attracted a wider age spectrum than we had experienced on longer cruises with P&O. However, there was still a pre-dominance of over 60s. This, together with the very British feel of the ship, clearly influences menu options and also the shows that are presented. There were moments where the shows seemed to be wallowing in nostalgia whilst failing to recognise that those of us alive in the 1960s have also experienced the 70s, 80s, 90s - and even the 21st Century! As a 60 year old I sometimes felt I wasn't old enough yet for P&O. There were no significant disappointments on this cruise - with the possible exception of the weather, which was better at home! If there is one thing I would want to improve then it would be the photo service which is still print based at a time when many of us may prefer a digital option. I don't want photos to frame but would be pleased to pay for some digital photos to include in a digital photo frame or to add to my own pictures in a photobook. This is an area where I consider P&O need to find their way into the 21st Century. Disembarkation at Southampton was the smoothest we have experienced. We left our cabin at 8.00 and were in the car driving home within 40 minutes. Our experience was that this was well organised and smoothly managed. Overall, five days was long enough to make a real break and, at getaway fares, was great value for money. Read Less
Sail Date June 2013
Having just returned from a 2 week cruise round the med on Ventura have to say that unless I can get an absolute bargain we will not be sailing with P&O again. Went on Azura 2 years ago and was really wowed with the ship and had a ... Read More
Having just returned from a 2 week cruise round the med on Ventura have to say that unless I can get an absolute bargain we will not be sailing with P&O again. Went on Azura 2 years ago and was really wowed with the ship and had a great time. Complete opposite this time, the ship had had a make over but this was not very obvious until one of the other passengers explained to us about the addition of the single cabins and the retreat. We booked a getaway deal for a balcony cabin and were allocated a cabin on deck 12, the cabin was tired and really needed a makeover, the steward was spot on and the cabin was kept very clean. The cruise was for my 50th birthday and my husband ordered a dozen red roses to be delivered to the cabin on the day and they were absolutely beautiful. We ate in the Cinnamon restaurant and the food was of a good quality, always hot and plentiful, only had to wait for a table on one night. Tried the Beach Hut restaurant twice and that was excellent. Tried the buffet one night and that was not good, it was Thai night and to be honest I understood that they were themed buffets but assumed that there would have been something light to eat. But nothing appealed so settled on crackers and cheese but guess what they had no crackers so asked a waiter if he could get some more and he came back with a plate with 4 crackers on it !!!! there was an officer stood beside me when I was handed the plate and he could not believe it and asked the waiter to fill up the container but he refused. The entertainment was not up to the same standard as Royal Caribbean, if you could get a seat in the theatre or one of the bars where the entertainment was. Watched the first Headliners show and it was OK the second one was not much better and walked out of the third after five minutes so did not bother with any of the others. Peter Grant was superb, the Neil Diamond and Phil Collins acts were both very enjoyable. The cruise director was very noticeable by his absence we did not see him at any of the shows that we attended we heard his announcement in a morning and that was it. Very poor show by Hughie !!!!! We did notice on this cruise that cost cutting on the ports was very noticeable as the length of time in port seemed to have been reduced. When we tendered to Cannes we were lucky and got off the ship in a timely manner I believe that other passengers were asked not to come down and queue for tender tickets as 500 people were already there. 3 hours to get off for a couple that we met. We did have a trip booked to Monaco but this was cancelled by the ship and we were not informed and when I queried this at the excursion desk was told that I had been sent a letter the night previously to inform me of the cancellation which I had not. On querying this I was basically told not their problem the letter had been sent to house keeping to be delivered so it was out of their hands. Made a complaint to the tour manager who did not want to talk and basically told us to take it up with P&O on shore. We did enjoy ourselves but the holiday was marred by the number of rude and inconsiderate passengers, please note that this was commented on time and time again by other passengers and not just my observation. Unfortunately it was the older passengers who seemed to think that age means that they do not have to queue for lifts, say thank you when people move out of their way or hold back for them. We did meet some lovely people but have decided that maybe P&O is just not for us for at least another 20 years. Read Less
Sail Date May 2013
We are a couple in our late forties, and this May we abandoned our children for the first time (they *are* old enough before you worry) to take a somewhat belated 20th Anniversary break on a cruise liner. A four day break to Zeebrugge in ... Read More
We are a couple in our late forties, and this May we abandoned our children for the first time (they *are* old enough before you worry) to take a somewhat belated 20th Anniversary break on a cruise liner. A four day break to Zeebrugge in Belgium and Guernsey.We've actually been considering this for years, it was seriously mooted for our honeymoon, but we've never really got round to it before. We chose P&O based on a mixture of recommendations, reading, and where we (or to be more precise, the missus) fancied going.We arrived early at Southampton, despite it being a bank holiday. We arranged to book with CPS who handle the parking for that port. Sadly, this was a complete shambles on both entry and exit (see later for exit)On entry, we were fed into a "loop" near the checkin area where they pick up your bags and drive your car off. There were many cars waiting to be checked in, we waited about an hour and a quarter. I spoke to one of the security men who was getting worried because they simply didn't have enough space to put any further cars if any more turned up. In his view (and he was right as far as I could see) the delay was due to undermanning by CPS - there were several 'check in' lanes but only one was in operation and could handle about a dozen cars at once, each taking maybe five minutes. This was hugely unimpressive but we didn't mind too much because it was a nice day.When we actually got to offload this was done very well. We progressed to the terminal building to a far more efficient system run by P+O where they checked tickets, took photographs and credit cards and so on. This took no time at all, but we then went to another long queue caused, I think, by the Port Authorities not employing enough staff where they checked the baggage. Then, finally, we got on the boat and headed for our cabin.We had booked an outside cabin with a balcony on Deck A. It was spacious (more than expected) and clean - there was a large double bed, a TV showing assorted cable-type shows and an information channel, a seperate bathroom and the balcony. We also had a fridge which was filled with the drinks we had brought on board (including a bottle of Champagne the missus had sneaked on)One of the cases was not ours - it belonged to the deck below. We brought this to the attention of the steward (ess ? she was female) and it was taken away. Ten minutes later it was back :) despite being clearly labelled.Staff overall were excellent though throughout, nothing was too much trouble. Most of the staff were Indian, from the Goa area I understand. Our fellow Passengers were also very pleasant. Whether we were lucky, or this is a function of the holiday I do not know, but we spoke with a cross section of ages and social classes over the break (if you know what I mean !) and everyone was very friendly. Didn't see any 'hen party' behaviour at all.The first thing we went to was the raffle for free treatments at the Spa, obviously a loss leader to get people in. Whilst the girls doing the work were excellent, I didn't like its hard sell mentality at all. I was able to hear the manager tell the girls to stand near the exits to give passengers a tour as they exited (most people left after the raffle) and we were asked to stand, for a contrived reason, in cabin floor groups. The cynic in me says this is a handy way of grouping people by finances. The missus did have a massage and said it was very good, but it was expensive, probably a 30% markup unlike the rest of the ship where prices for drinks etc. were about par.We had all our dinners in the Bay View restaurant, club dining, just a table for two though we did chat with the couple on the table next to us. Service was generally excellent, and there was no push towards expensive wines - I don't drink much wine and the missus just drinks a glass or two a night, so we only used two bottles in four days, which was reasonably priced. The food was well presented. Portions were on the small side but there were several courses and we always felt full when we left.We went to the first two of the four main performances in the Arena theatre. The first night the show was a performance of 70s classics (the missus is slighly younger than me, mistaking Suzi Quatro for Blondie - possible grounds for divorce) and was done by the resident song and dance group. It was great fun, lasting about 45 minutes or so with no interval. The second show was a Take That tribute band who were pretty good. I enjoyed it even though I only recognised about half the songs. The third night was the resident theatre group again doing songs from the musicals, and the last night was a comic. There were usually a couple of other performances going on elsewhere, we saw an Annie Lennox tribute, there was a Johnny Cash tribute, an impressionist and two chaps who sang with a piano, and a couple of house singers who appeared at odd times.We slept well. One thing that we didn't suffer from was noisy announcements, these only came though if you had the information channel on.In the morning, just, we went to the Breakfast buffet which was pretty good, a mixture of continental, fruit and English fry up. This was the source of one of the very few complaints I had - the orange juice was frequently watery. It's a sign of how much we enjoyed the cruise that the 'complaints' are pretty trivial.We went to Bruges on Day 2, taking a half day trip. We took the official excursion even though there were options such as the train or taxis, simply because we were cruise rookies. We disembarked (no passports were checked in Zeebrugge or Guernsey) onto a coach. We had a rather eccentric guide who didn't like the Germans very much telling a story of a hotel the Belgians built, then the Germans came in and destroyed it in 1914-18, the Belgians then restored it only for the Germans to destroy it again in 1939-45. Fortunately we didn't have any German passengers :) Bruges we enjoyed, especially the ride round in the horse drawn cab which isn't cheap (and apparently the boat trip is well worth it). Coming back, it chucked it down and we got soaked. There was confusion about a potential missing passenger. Why they didn't keep a list of who was on what coach I do not know. But the organised excursion was pretty well organised.Wednesday was a sea day. This is my other P&O complaint, which might be a function of the trip type. There was plenty going on in the evening, in fact if we did it again we would change to an early dining shift so we could experience more. In the day time there was less going on. Wednesday I thought would be more representative. Discounting childrens activities there were a couple of quizzes, one dance activity (line dancing, the only dancing lesson of any sort all trip), a film (not brand new but recent - Skyfall was on for example). There was one 'lecture' which was about a fellow's time in school (I think, we missed it)Many of the activities documented in Horizon appeared to be the Spa running sales spiels "come and learn all about Acupuncture (and we can flog you a session)" during the day. I was rather disappointed to be honest, but having said that we didn't get bored. I went to a cricket session - got picked last in teams (I am podgy and nearly 50) but I can still bowl fairly sharpish, though my back and shoulders regretted it the next day :)The missus had a massage in the morning and a yoga session in the evening at the Spa and said it was very well done. Good thing considering the price and by this time I just didn't like the people who ran it (not the actual staff themselves)We tried the in cabin service on Wednesday - you can order food through the TV, and this came pretty rapidly - you could order sandwiches and so on for free, drinks (paid, obviously) plus some food was charged (Burger + Chips was Â(EURO)3.50)Wednesday night was also the formal night. We got dressed up in our finery (less so in my case) and there were several people taking photographs in various settings throughout the ship. There was one photographer (David I think) who is quite a diminutive fellow but managed to take a decent set of photos of me, which means the man is a genius. Photos retailed throughout at 10 or formal night photos were 16 (to be fair they were slightly larger). There were regular photo sessions - you had the opportunity at meal time etc., but the photographers were not pushy. We didn't go to the Wednesday show partly because we were slightly late for dinner but mainly because we were slightly smashed.Thursday was Guernsey day. You have to go to Guernsey on the lifeboats/shuttles so there was a ticket system and a long queue. Not ideal but well enough done given the limitations, especially as the weather was borderline. We got plenty of time in St Peters Port. We had planned to visit the Underground Hospital but looking at the bus timetables we decided not to. In retrospect, we would book the trip for Guernsey (which helped with the disembarking) and planned ourselves for the far more ad hoc trip to Bruges. But you live and learn.Thursday we also sampled afternoon tea, and lunch for the only time. Lunch was an alternative of a cut down meal or an assortment of fillers, Afternoon tea was sandwiches and cakes, crumpets and teacakes.As time progressed the prices in the shops dropped, though they never were ridiculous. Apart from the Spa prices were pretty close to normal, no great deals though as promised, tax free cancelling out the mark up. The missus did buy a handbag and checked prices afterwards, it was slightly less than the RRP.On our last day we had a formal breakfast which was very similar to the buffet (slightly extended) but with waiter service. We had sent our cases ahead and got up early for breakfast (most days we weren't early enough for the formal breakfast !). Disembarkation started with those who had kept their cases, then everyone else, we decided to sit and have a drink and wait for the queue to die down, we don't live that far away from the port.In retrospect we would probably keep our cases and get off as early as possible. So, having waited to disembark though our own choice, we went to collect the keys, which was done rather efficiently, and then we found our car easily enough. Then it ground to a complete halt. The reason for this was all the cars went out through the same one track road past two people in Hi-Viz jackets on different junctions who didn't seem aware that there was half a dozen cars in one direction, and hundreds in the other. We were stuck in the queue, frequently not moving for ten minutes at a time for about 90 minutes. Amazingly there were no fights and no shunts.It is rather disappointing. The cruise itself was great but it was spoiled by the parking at the beginning and end - not P&O's fault at all. If (as is likely) we go again I will try the offsite parking with minibus transfer or possibly parking elsewhere in Southampton, because however bad they are they couldn't be worse.Overall though we really enjoyed it. The negatives are almost exclusively about the car parking at either end. We will do it again, I'm sure, and would certainly consider P&O again. The weather was erratic which meant the balcony wasn't used much, and I had concerns about the standards of the daytime entertainment which might be problematical on a cruise with more sea days. Read Less
Sail Date May 2013
On arrival at Ocean Terminal I asked for wheelchair assistance from one of the lovely helpful gentlemen, he took me directly into the terminal & booked me in to receive my cruise card. i was then taken onboard & up to the buffet ... Read More
On arrival at Ocean Terminal I asked for wheelchair assistance from one of the lovely helpful gentlemen, he took me directly into the terminal & booked me in to receive my cruise card. i was then taken onboard & up to the buffet area to await my friend. Incredibly efficient.My Deluxe cabin was wonderful, even bigger than I had expected. A decent sized bathroom with bath + shower; large bath sheets, face cloth & toiletries. There was a dressing area with plenty hanging space & generous sized soft robes. There is a small safe inside the mirrored wardrobe, along with shelf space. My suitcase arrived outside my room by about 3pm, about the same time my friend arrived, this was her first cruise & she was also delighted with the accommodation.This is the first cruise ship I have been on with tea & coffee facilities, including mugs, just lovely touch & appreciated. Our room steward, Morris, introduced himself to me as soon as I arrived in the cabin & was extremely polite, friendly & helpful. I had asked for a feather pillow & an extra blanket but they were not in the room, Morris managed to provide these while we were at dinner.We were allocated Freedom Dining in the Cinnamon restaurant, a new experience for me & we both really enjoyed dining this way, meeting new people each evening & sitting in different parts of the restaurant. There was plenty choice on the menu & food was well presented, there always seemed to be plenty staff around and they worked really hard. We were always offered a large glass of cold water as soon as we sat at the table. Wine waiters would arrive soon after we sat down & everything was well organised. I have particular dietary issues & the ever helpful Joy, Senior Waiter, in Cinnamon, ensured that my needs were met. each evening he would provide me with the following days menu & later discuss any changes I might need. This was done very discreetly & I was never made to feel awkward. One of the first things I did was to fill in a form at reception to withhold tips, choosing to tip staff at my choosing, this way i ended up spending more but I gave to those who made my experience better, including restaurant staff & room steward.The ship had a lovely feel about it, a mix of traditional, stairways & lift areas but also modern, in the atrium. Being Whitsun, there were a lot of families with children aboard & they were all well behaved. The only place one was really aware of them en masse was around the pool areas which we tended to avoid. Not that I was hungry but I tried afternoon tea in Saffron, goodness this was a full on affair. i joined a family & we were offered plenty hot tea, selection of sandwiches, muffins, toasted teacakes, warm scones + jam & cream. In addition to all this there were tiers of cakes on a stand. The children had a bit of everything but I only managed tea & the toasted tea cake. glad to have tried it but I decided it was just too much. We had room service breakfast once but thereafter ate upstairs from the generous buffet in the Waterfront restaurant. Despite the ship being so big & about 3,000 guests we never felt crowded & often wondered where everyone else was. I was disappointed with the library, it was rather small & only4 or 5 chairs to sit on. One was able to pick up a free daily crossword & sudoku from the library, a very brief daily news was also available in the atrium area near the Costa coffee bar. There were a few shops as always. I thought the choice of daily extra sale stands offered rather a poor standard of merchandise compared to other ships I have been on (Cunard & Holland America). We appreciated the shuttle buses as we did our own thing in ports rather than taking one of the fairly pricey organised excursions. The local bus from Brankenburg to Brugge took about 20 mins & was only â,¬5.80 for 2 of us one way. Brugge was lovely, a sort of medieval feel to it. Large lovely old tall buildings, a large central square, plenty of cafe/bars & horse drawn carriages. We had a beer & a coffee at one of the prominent cafes in the square. As I was short on energy we did not do Brugges justice, other guests who took a canal trip said it was good value at about â,¬9 each. We walked to the station, about 15 mins from the centre, through a park. The lovely clean double decker train only cost us â,¬6 for both of us back to Brankenburg where we got on the shuttle bus. We were back on board for a late sit down lunch in Saffron. I would like to return to Brugge. Our sea day was a lovely relaxing excuse to do nothing, along lie & then a meander around the ship. Although there were some activities on offer none of them appealed. A craft session would have been appreciated. I had a Fire & Ice pedicure, 60 mins. It was very pleasant & included a cooling gel, hot stones, exfoliation, massage & nails varnished. It did feel rather impersonal but the girls work a very long day. It cost 45 which was ok but I did not like that they automatically added 10% service charge - this meant I did not then leave a personal tip to my therapist. The sea was very choppy when we arrived at Guernsey where tenders were needed to get ashore. A lot of folk were wanting ashore & the waiting area was very busy, at one stage they stopped handing out tickets for tenders as the weather took a turn for the worse. We did get on a tender, it was definitely choppy but nothing awful. St Peter's Port was overcast, a bit cold & threatening to rain. We opted for the local bus that I had sourced pre cruise, it went all the way round the island from the town's bus station. Although buses generally only go once an hour, they put on extra buses as the cruise ship was in. 2 took us all the way around the island on a journey that took about 1 hour 20 mins - what a bargain. If you wanted to "get on get off" it cost the princely sum of 4.50. Guernsey was rather boring but this is maybe an unfair judgement as we did not get off at any of the tourist spots - you would have needed to take a ship's tour to make the most of this 24 square mile island. Again, we were back onboard for a late lunch & relaxing aft.Our only Formal night was on our sea day & 99% of guests made a real effort which was lovely, it made for a good atmosphere around the ship. Disembarking was efficient although mine was done through the mobility section & not the same experience as others. My friend chose to take her own case ashore & this worked well, I met up with her in the Ocean Terminal entrance while she waited for her Eavesway coach & me for my lift. I was surprised to see people arriving to get aboard on the next short cruise while we were still getting off! All in all a wonderful time, really relaxing, lovely escape from reality & great value. My first but not last time on P&O. 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Sail Date May 2013
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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