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159 Southampton P&O Cruises Ventura Cruise Reviews

As a party of 14 it did feel a bit like herding cattle when we arrived at Southampton. Apart from one of our party having a delay in valet parking, the whole check in and embarkation process was very efficient. As a wedding party with all ... Read More
As a party of 14 it did feel a bit like herding cattle when we arrived at Southampton. Apart from one of our party having a delay in valet parking, the whole check in and embarkation process was very efficient. As a wedding party with all our additional hand luggage - dress, suits, flowers etc etc we were given priority boarding and from check in to boarding took no more than 15 minutes. Once on board we found our cabins very easily. We had booked several cabins on the same corridor so we could be close to each other and we were all impressed with the deluxe balcony cabins. They were very clean, spacious and well appointed with plenty of wardrobe and storage space. The balconies were overlooked from above but to be honest this was never an issue. Our cabin steward Rohan looked after us very well throughout the cruise. We had picked freedom dining as we were such a large group and we all liked to dine at different times. Generally this worked very well and we rarely waited more than 15 minutes for a table - although one night they completely forgot about my parents who had been waiting nearly an hour. Food in the Cinnamon Restaurant was excellent and there was a good choice every night. Service was good but not as friendly as when you are on club dining as you don't get to know your waiters. One of our party is a coeliac and was well catered for in all the dining venues. We also ate at the Beachouse (very good), East twice (excellent food and service) and in Ramblas (again very good). Now onto the wedding itself! Our wedding was one of the first during the cruise and it was fantastic. From the pre-cruise planning to the on board organisation everything went smoothly. Craig the wedding co-ordinator was excellent and arranged everything as we wanted. The ceremony was performed by the captain, Alistair Clark and was lovely. We had a great photographer, Gavin and everyone has commented on how good the photos are. our post ceremony champagne reception was in a cordoned off area of Metropolis which was our favourite bar and we had a lovely waitress looking after us. The canapes were something else - best I've ever had and the wedding cake was delicious. Later we all dined in The White Room which I highly recommend for both food and service. All in all we were treated like VIPS both on the day and throughout the cruise. Overall the cruise was very enjoyable with interesting ports of call - Barcelona, Monte Carlo (nightmare with the tender transfers though), Rome, Florence/Pisa, Palma, Valencia and Gibralter. Unfortunately due to the sea conditions we couldn't dock in Gibralter which was a real shame as it was our last stop before home. We did a couple of excursions with the kids - the Transfer to Pisa was just about right at 3 hours and the Oceanographic Park in Valencia was definitely worth visiting and was a real hit with the kids. We didn't watch much of the entertainment but the shows we saw were good and we particularly like one of the pianists - John Wright. Some of our party used the kids clubs and said they were first class with excellent staff. To sum up I was a little apprehensive going away with a large group aged from 2 to 72 but there really was something for everyone on Ventura and we would definitely cruise on her again. In fact one our party has already booked for her honeymoon next year! Read Less
Sail Date July 2011
I decided to write a review as I know how useful I found others reviews. Our trip to France and Spain from Southampton was on 23rd July. We got to the Ocean Terminal around 11.30am, a little later than we had planned, as the taxi was ... Read More
I decided to write a review as I know how useful I found others reviews. Our trip to France and Spain from Southampton was on 23rd July. We got to the Ocean Terminal around 11.30am, a little later than we had planned, as the taxi was delayed in arriving at the hotel as there were 4 cruise ships leaving that day, so it was very busy. The terminal was very busy but well organised. We were given public health forms to complete, asking if we had been ill the previous week, including coughs and colds. We were given green card letter K and by 1pm, after having our photo taken and given a card each for our room, which also doubled as our on board charge card, we embarked. We were all guided by staff up to the 15th floor, where the waterside buffet restaurant was open. He grabbed a couple to seats next to the pool and had lunch and a couple of drinks. At 1.45pm the captain announced the cabins were ready ahead of time and they were now available. We went to deck 10 (Canada Deck) to C321. The room was very nice with a large balcony, as I had read about on this wen site. I had ordered a bottle of Champagne to be in the room, which it was, but there were no glasses or ice bucket. This was soon remedied by phoning room service. The waiter soon brought them, and by the time I had unpacked it was nicely chilled. The steward Minieviere came and introduced himself. I can say he looked after us very well and the cabin was always very clean, including clean towels twice a day. We enjoyed our time on Ventura, the food entertainment and staff were all excellent. I even managed to go to the gym on 4 of the 7 days, which kept my weight down. I only gained 5lbs. Oh well that's what holidays are about. Anyone going on Ventura I am sure you will enjoy it, like we did Read Less
Sail Date July 2011
I've read a lot of very negative reviews on this ship and so I can not say it was without trepidation that I set foot for the first time on Ventura. I am, you see , a snob. I like nice things, like to stay in fancy hotels, visit ... Read More
I've read a lot of very negative reviews on this ship and so I can not say it was without trepidation that I set foot for the first time on Ventura. I am, you see , a snob. I like nice things, like to stay in fancy hotels, visit exciting and exotic places and mix with 'my kind of people'. I was told that I would struggle to find these on Ventura and would struggle to find anything I wanted to do... Since I had a child 2 ½ years ago, we have had to curb our holiday habits (as roaming the wilds of Africa - all be it in 5 star luxury - and young children simply don't mix) and started cruising. This I admit was always a compromise solution but I have quite caught the bug and can see myself cruising for many years to come. Well enough about me, I'm sure you'd rather hear about the boat... sorry ship. Firstly, we turned up early, as usual, and embarkation was smooth (but we were about 3rd on the boat) and tottered off for lunch. This was the usual buffet fare which TBH is lacklustre and leaves a lot to be desired but does sustain life. (It didn't improve thru'out the events and really P&O this is something you should improve on...) We then headed to our cabin and met our steward, Eleanora who was the best we'd ever had. Our room was not set up how we wanted and this was quickly rectified with minimal hassle to ourselves. It was kept clean and tidy thru'out the holiday and Eleanora carried out her work with a smile on her face and an almost invisible presence. Food in the Main Dining room was variable, we were on 'freedom dining' which we prefer and only once did we wait for a table, although we were happy to share and met some interesting people that way. I'm not a great fan of the shows, and the one we saw was the usual affair, musical without the story kinda thing... just not my cup of tea but well executed if you like that sort of thing. The Ports were variable Vigo is just 'a leg stretch' - nothing special to see - maybe an excursion might be a good idea here. We missed Lanzarote as the weather was bad so an extra night at Gran Canaria was scheduled instead. Gran Canaria and Tenerife were equally OK but a bit bland... But Tenerife got the weather which really is necessary in the Canaries. Maderia is lovely and well worth a visit. We don't do excursions as a general rule as we're not keen on coach trips and feel that they don't offer value for money but we did take the cable cars in Maderia which was well worth the 15 euro return trip. The other passengers were mostly a great bunch - we felt lucky - although we did hear a few whinges about the number of children on board. Piece of advice - if you don't want a cruise with lots of kids, don't choose a trip to the Canaries (or the Med) out of Southampton on a 'family friendly' ship... And there were a few tattoos about - if that's something that worries you... The real pluses of this trip though were the Entertainment staff who were all so positive and fun, the Cruise Director - who followed through when my son demanded 'The Wheels on the Bus' at Sailaway... And.. The Kid's Clubs. With the notable exception of 'Magic Matt' who I believe was booked for 'one cruise only' and let's hope that was the case. The kid's crew or to give them their correct title, 'Reef Rangers' were truly magnificent. How they do what they do, day in day out, with such enthusiasm baffles belief. I would truly like to know what Mark Price is on and where I can get a wagon load of it... Mark and his team made my son's holiday and kept me entertained for much of it... I used to be a 'floating boater' and would sail with any line that offered the right itinerary but the boys and girls at The Reef have made me a devoted follower -P&O fashion... Please, unless you hate children, or want to spend your whole holiday reading a book, don't write off Ventura, and if you have kids, then I don't think there is a better choice. Read Less
Sail Date June 2011
I read many reviews before choosing Ventura and reading between the lines thought it would suit us as we are easy going people. Overall, we enjoyed Ventura alot, there is so much on offer there is something to please everyone.The cabin - ... Read More
I read many reviews before choosing Ventura and reading between the lines thought it would suit us as we are easy going people. Overall, we enjoyed Ventura alot, there is so much on offer there is something to please everyone.The cabin - was clean and comfortable and we were well looked after by our cabin steward. Plenty of cupboard space, no bath but shower was fine and always hot water and fresh towels. We were on C deck and the balcony was double depth, half covered and half exposed so it was perfect for us and we used it alot.Dining - Bay Tree dining room, the food and service here was excellent. We had a table for 2 but as has been said before these are close together and we ended up enjoying meeting our 'neighbours', so in a way we got the best of both worlds. Beach House - in the evening this turns in to an American Grill, which had been strongly recommended to us but this was the meal we enjoyed least, not that it was bad in anyway it just didn't measure up to the hype we'd heard.Waterside Buffet, we ate breakfast, lunch and dinner here......all meals had plenty of selection, it was always fresh and good quality. Delicious puddings !! It was very popular so at times we had to search for a table and one person grab it, while the other went to get their food......but its no hardship, they were not going to run out of food !! Bearing in mind the number of meals that are served here, the staff do an outstanding job with keeping the food refreshed and the tables cleared and always with a smile.Room Service - we ordered breakfast on a couple of mornings which is just continental style. Delivered on the dot by a courteous steward.......you can't ask for more than that.We didn't try the speciality restaurants as we didn't really have time, there are so many places and themed nights to try......maybe we'd give them a go on a longer cruise.We did 2 shore excursions with P & O, both of which were great. We did 2 ports on our own. Out of them all, we got more out of the excursions than our DIY but that was to be expected I suppose. Entertainment - there is so much to keep you entertained. Its not really my cup of tea but we did take in a few shows and they weren't bad. The venues were always full so they were very popular and everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves. There are so many bars with different atmospheres that you can find somewhere to suit your mood almost every hour of the day !! We didn't see any louts or snobs, just friends and families having fun on holiday...... a great cross section of people made a super atmosphere so if that's what you're into then Ventura is for you.Overall, I can't think of anyone thing to criticise.......if I had to pick something the one thing that I thought was cringeworthy was the great british sailaway....as I said earlier organised entertainment isn't for me so didn't actually go to it but we could hear it on our balcony, not tasteful in my opinion but different strokes for different folks, live and let live. Read Less
Sail Date May 2011
This was our third cruise on Ventura, so you already know that she's a ship we like. Ventura's strong points were the same as ever: the balcony cabins (especially the walk-in hanging area), the big C-deck balcony, the quiet of ... Read More
This was our third cruise on Ventura, so you already know that she's a ship we like. Ventura's strong points were the same as ever: the balcony cabins (especially the walk-in hanging area), the big C-deck balcony, the quiet of the stern Terrace, and the touches of formality. But this cruise was principally about the itinerary, which was as good as we'd hoped. The worst destination, Cephalonia, was just a bit boring; but Dubrovnik, the two days in Venice and a further day in Korcula were extraordinary. When a hot day in Corfu ends up seeming just so-so in comparison, you know you've been to some good places. Food in the MDR and buffets was good to very good, while the meals we took in East (three, including a lunch) and at the White Room were exceptional. Service, too, was good in the typical P&O rather under-stated style. We also had extremely good company at dinner. The only area that we were unhappy with was wine availability: the wine stores hadn't been replenished before leaving Southampton, and wines were becoming unavailable from quite early in the cruise. Read Less
Sail Date May 2011
The main thing we learnt from our previous 2 trips on Ventura, was that there would be so much to do that we'd rarely be together as a couple. With a long cruise and many sea days such as this, we went our separate ways so often, that ... Read More
The main thing we learnt from our previous 2 trips on Ventura, was that there would be so much to do that we'd rarely be together as a couple. With a long cruise and many sea days such as this, we went our separate ways so often, that we must have seemed like a couple of singles. There were a number of lectures each sea days, which is my scene; art classes which clashed with the discussion group; films which clashed with the talks on navigation; choir rehearsals which clashed with the Concorde secrets....oh, the joy of being on a ship which had too much entertainment rather than nothing except over-priced ones, or selling talks! The choir especially was fun...having 7 sea days meant lots of rehearsals, before our 2 performances in the atrium, in front of many passengers. We were also part of the bed-making comp, and OH had wins in bingo and poker! The main purpose of the trip was to spend 2 days in Venice....OH's favourite city, and he spent every minute of both days walking round the different areas, or riding the water buses. Cities are not for me, but it's always lovely to return to Venice, even if it's just for a drink next to a narrow canal. This time I wanted to spend a while in Vivaldi's church, which had his music pouring from a good sound system. The sail-in and out- accompanied by the best of Italian opera pouring over the sides of the ship- to some gondolier's joy- are one of the highlights, and moving moments. The other reasons for taking this cruise were to be with friends....when we happened to find them in such a massive ship; to try both of Marco Pierre White's menus, and to go swimming- achieved in several places such as Corfu, Korkula, Kephalonia....and, this time, even on the ship....we don't often have a "warm" cruise, so the pools were put to good use. It's great that a ship sailing from Southampton has a covered pool; we'd be loath to travel on other ships sailing from that port, where you'd have to wait until Portugal for a dip.... The food was excellent in all places- and we did try all, except, this time, East....even the burger bar provided a tasty menu. We ate in the MD only twice, and were impressed by the choice and service....and the lobster... The cabin was slightly smaller, and, being an inside, didn't work for me- I've only had an inside for 7 nights before, on Thomson and Louis cruises, and 17 nights inside was just too much- I was forever popping outside in the late evening. This wasn't helped by P&O's insistance that e-cigs could only be used in smokers' corners....the fact that you're not smoking, only using an inhaler, doesn't seem to have registered. It was my use of an e-cig which had made us choose an inside, but- rules is rules!!:( At least a number of crew came with questions about the inhaler.) For OH, the best of the cruise would have to be Venice, and snorkelling in the Med; for me, it was the tiny ferry ride I took from one side of Kephalonia to the other little town, and the excursion to the Cies Isles, off Vigo- I think that's really my number one excursion of the cruise. Everything- shows, activities, crew, food, ambience, were of high quality. There's no constant begging for money on board- you can play a card of Bingo for the 5 games for a fiver, and do a wine tasting for the same amount. The tipping suggestions are sensible, and the bar drinks are the same- around pub prices. I have added two of the best ports to the Port Review section; sadly, some of the better ones such as Kephalonia and Korkula aren't available on the pop-uplist, and I'm not enough of a techie to override them....All Greek Isles are fantastic, whilst anywhere in Croatia is the med as it once was.... A great holiday, and although I've many more cruise lines to try, this particular journey will take some beating! Jo. Read Less
Sail Date May 2011
Ventura N110 7 days. The view from below Well we set off on Wednesday for our Good Friday departure, (we have a very slow car). Luckily we got to Reading in time to check in to the Crowne Plaza. Very nice location by the ... Read More
Ventura N110 7 days. The view from below Well we set off on Wednesday for our Good Friday departure, (we have a very slow car). Luckily we got to Reading in time to check in to the Crowne Plaza. Very nice location by the Thames, with a park by the river, to walk along. (well in my case ride) The weather was great and sun tan stuff was required. We had dinner in the hotel which was very quiet leading up to Easter. I think the normal clientele are of the business variety. The next day we set off into Reading town centre to look around the shops, a few things to buy. Very pleasant, with the sun again very hot. Coffee was taken. The vital ingredients for our in cabin G&T's were purchased in Sainsbugs. (I had found out about the non in cabin alcohol sales due to no port outside the EU). Dinner that evening was taken at an Indian Restaurant on the river bank near the hotel. Very good and having had a chat to the manager two drinks appeared at the end of the meal, an excellent gesture. We left just before 10 the next day after having a good breakfast. The run down was fine until we came to the back of the queue on the M3. This wasted a half an hour. We got to Southampton to realise we had not put the labels on the cases. So stop and put it right. Then on to dock gate 10, which we approached from the town end. ????? It was about 11.35 and we joined a queue of cars waiting for a space to unload. At that point we could see there were people still getting off the ship. At about 11.50 we moved off parked and got unloaded, cases, scooter, hats and medical equipment. None of the luggage had gone in the hole as we walked to the door. On to the entrance, over to the right sir, was the cry as we came through the door, I think not I said, we are gold (pompous or what). So to the left it was, with an empty queue and instructions to come forward. Smile for the photo and all the other formalities over, through the door to the right and the baggage check. As I do not go through the scanners I am frisked. It is then up the lift and into the ship. Gold sir, that will be deck 7 the Tamarind. What would you like to drink that will be a G&T then and a plate of sarnies. We looked at the time and it was 12.10 so 20 minutes from car stopping, to drink in hand, not bad. Very few get to the club and we are told that there are few gold members on board. 13.30 comes and the nice lady comes and informs us that our cabins are ready. Off we go up to deck 9(D) and find our cabin near the lift. Shock horror our cases are already there. Never had that before So unpack and out for a look around. Safety chat over and out on to deck 7 for sail away, no cheap champers!!!!! Is this another EU only port thing. Band good and loud but only 5 of them, a Jazz band. Back to the cabin to get ready for the off, we go out onto the balcony and who should we see above us ....Sharon. Do you know she pestered us all week for a drink.....no chance. We ran out by Wednesday as it was!! Off to dinner to meet our table companions, a very sedate and quiet table little conversation and banter. Well for 5 minutes anyway, after that it was a riot. We started laughing in six minutes and did not finish until 10.30 on the last night. There were 3 couples and a mother and daughter combo, certainly on of the best yet. At 10.30 I could feel the casino calling, it was a long time since Oceana in October. The cruise followed and we had a fantastic time. Our table continued in the same vein with a week of laughing and good banter. Of course I missed all the shows in the theatre and the show lounges as the casino kept calling me. The casino was as busy as I have ever seen on any ship, with 5/6 tables in constant use and many people using the 'bandits'. Quite a community builds up and the banter improves as the week progresses. Wins are greeted by cheers from all as your luck ebbs and flows. Over the week I was only just down, with plenty money for our tips. With regard to the ship it was much as we had remembered it from January 09. The food was excellent and the staff were equally as good. Our wait staff were very efficient and friendly. One of them thought our table must have known each other before we came on board and was quite surprised when we said we had just met. We had a Superior Deluxe Balcony Cabin which the reception called a mini-suite. It was excellent for my scooter as I could drive it up to the balcony end of the cabin and park it out of the way. It was very comfortable with plenty of storage. Our cabin steward Jackson was excellent, with towel animals every night on our bed. The ice and lemon were always there and the cabin was spotless. The one difference we noted was in the Ramblas bar. On our first cruise on Ventura, the bar seemed cold and uninviting, this time there was a totally different atmosphere. We had some tapas at lunch time, which was very good and the bar was warm & very inviting. In the evening it was a great place for pre dinner drinks with a very good guitarist playing a range of tunes from classical to pop. Not a clue what they did to make the change apart from turning off the air conditioning. The bar staff were excellent always cheerful and attentive. The Ports (for me and my scooter) La Coruna Off at about 10.30,a warm and sunny day. Saw a lot more of the town than I have before with having the scooter. After having a coffee we walked along the promenade and into the town again, making our way to the main square. We found a bar selling tapas and settled down for a spell of people watching. The tapas was very good and we had ordered far too much, so we needed a couple of beers to wash it down. The ship is only 5 minutes from this square so we returned at about 3.00 and went directly to Costa. Bilbao Here there was a problem, because of the tide I could not get off the ship as it was going to be difficult to get back on. Although disappointed I spent a very relaxing day on board ship and my wife had a good day mainly going to the Guggenheim, which she loved. La Rochelle Excellent port, helped by the fabulous weather. We wandered around the old port and marina and then moved into the town with its narrow pedestrianised streets and excellent small shops. We stopped on a few occasions for coffee, beer and then food. The food was Croque Madame and omelette overlooking the old harbour. The sun was high and hot, wonderful. We then wandered over to the information centre to get the shuttle bus. It was about 15.00 and we feared a long queue. There was not at all. The bendy bus came in, leaned over and I scootered on ...... excellent. On the way back we had to stop and the bus was boarded and we had to show our passports. This was the first time ever for us on over 15 cruises. When we left there were over 15 security staff standing in a line waving us off. This was in contrast to the next port Brest when I only saw 2 security and they just waved at the buses as they passed. Brest We have been before so we did not go into the town. However we took the trip to Quimper (Kemper) and did our own thing. A delightful small old town to wander around with an excellent cathedral which had the most wonderful stained glass windows. In the centre there was a small market Les Halles which was very pleasant, however we did notice the high prices especially for vegetables. Just by the market was a bread shop so we got some cheese and then bought a warm baguette, straight out of the oven. We found a seat in the sun and had a simple lunch. What bread!!!! In all we had a wonderful cruise with an excellent table, good banter at the tables in the casino, an excellent pre-dinner location in Ramblas and good ports. We thoroughly enjoyed Ventura. It is an excellent ship and well worth another cruise. That will be next April then. On to Azura in September. Dai Read Less
Sail Date April 2011
We got to Southampton dock and were put into a queue then directed to the unloading area the luggage was taken from us and that was the last we saw of it until it was outside our cabin.The booking in was a bit of a wait but then with over ... Read More
We got to Southampton dock and were put into a queue then directed to the unloading area the luggage was taken from us and that was the last we saw of it until it was outside our cabin.The booking in was a bit of a wait but then with over 3,000 passengers it takes time.The Cabin with balcony was a good size plenty of hanging space and the balcony had a couple of lounge type chairs and a foot rest with a small table included.We found the inside chair were a bit uncomfortable and mostly sat on the bed. The cabin was clean and serviced daily by a very hard working cabin boy. A brass band played us away from the dock side at Southampton which was a great touch.The food on the ship was first class we were in the Bay tree area my wife was having trouble in ordering from the menu as there were a lot of things made with onions which she does not like eating but myself enjoyed the meals but we decided to eat in the waterside as she had a better choice to pick from.I must say the entertainment was first class they have just updated the shows with a Company called the Headliners they were first class and the costumes were out of this world.They had a singer Victor Micheal who sang a lot of Opera which was sung very well ( all though I never understood a word) you had to marvel at his voice.The ship also had a couple of very interesting series of talks on Concord and Bletchley park ww 2 code breakers as well as Norman Hunter giving a after Dinner talk which I enjoyed.There were things going on all over the ship so you should never be bored.The trips were a bit expensive but well conducted, but a Bus Shuttle service was on hand to get you to the town centre which was free.I have a mobility scooter and they helped me on and off the ship and ran spacial buses to carry the scooter on.On the down side they were trying to sell you something most of the time which was a bit annoying I was not very happy with the charge of their WI FI at £30 for a 100 min which was a rip off I and others never bothered with it which was a pity.I had a stomach upset and dehydrated and spent a day in the sick bay which cost nearly £900 so make sure you got a good insurance policy.Over all it was a great experience on a great ship and we would go back tomorrow like a shot. Read Less
Sail Date March 2011
Our first family cruise has turned out better than expected. The Ventura is a super floating 5 star hotel and I find it difficult to find any faults at all. Holiday costs were great free child places meant that it was a reasonable ... Read More
Our first family cruise has turned out better than expected. The Ventura is a super floating 5 star hotel and I find it difficult to find any faults at all. Holiday costs were great free child places meant that it was a reasonable cost for a family of four. (2011 quotes are 2.5K more expensive) On board prices were good value, Stella at £2.95 G&T for just over £3. You can take drinks on board with you but to be fair to P&O why you would at their prices. On board bottle of Bombay Sapphire 1ltr £12. Jamison's Irish whisky 1ltr £15. Kids club was great for our two kids they were gone all day and night with their new friends leaving me and the wife for some quality time together (a first on our holidays) Food was exceptional with choices of buffet dining or a full sit down five course meal. 4 formal dinner nights which you could avoid if you wanted and a pool restraint serving burger pizza etc. Room service if you really want to be lazy was a nice touch. Entertainment was good with a selection of Movies, shows, singers and comedians. Several bars and plenty of fun and games with the entertainment staff. We had a superior balcony room which was great for all four of us. I would not recommend an inside cabin as they looked a little small. To conclude this was our best holiday ever and we are saving up to do it again. Read Less
Sail Date October 2010
We are in our early sixties and were invited to join my cousin and his wife on Ventura. We have been on Celebrity and Princess cruises previously. After driving to Southampton we met a long queue of traffic for the docks. There was the ... Read More
We are in our early sixties and were invited to join my cousin and his wife on Ventura. We have been on Celebrity and Princess cruises previously. After driving to Southampton we met a long queue of traffic for the docks. There was the Southampton Boat Show and two other cruise ships joining that day, not surprising there was a lot of traffic. Once in the port we used the CPS car park which was a slick operation and very efficient. Inside the terminal building the boarding process was quite quick, and we were soon on our balcony, with a mug of tea admiring, the fantastic view of the port and the other two cruise ships. Our cabin was very clean with all we needed. What we miss on the American ships is the capability to brew tea and coffee in our room. Heaven! - lots of tea and wonderful shortbread biscuits plus a tray of delicious sweets. A tour of the ship revealed a similarity to Caribbean Princess. After reading the days info' sheet we realised there was much on offer. The gym was good with loads of kit. I used the mountain bike simulator which I thought was brilliant - only wish I had one at home. We dined in the Bay Tree restaurant on 2nd sitting, sharing our table with two other couples, who were great fun. The food was superb, as was the service from our waiters and wine waiter. We did, however, think that Celebrity had the slight edge on creative presentation. We dined in the Waterline and Beachcomber for lunch and breakfast, both superb too with excellent choices of food. Walk to the rear of the ship and there was always a table. Entertainment was very good. The Ventura Co. did Masquerades - a series of Lloyd-Webber hits from the shows - brilliant - West End quality! The comedian - Peter Piper had us crying - hilarious. His take-off of Basil Fawlty was very realistic. Ventura visited Vigo, Lisbon, La Rochelle and Brest. I would rate La Rochelle as a 5. Free shuttle to the centre. Loads of squares and side streets with bars, eateries and under- archway shops to browse. Coffee overlooking the marina was a treat. Lisbon and La Rochelle were our favourites. Brest was the final stop. We did the 'Breton Delights' tour to the Landenou Bridge, a manor house for crepes and delicious sweet delights with coffee and cider. The manor and people were terrific but the smell of pigs outside was overpowering. 1000 or more! Finally visiting one of the church closes which was very interesting. Overall - Thoroughly enjoyed the cruise, the ship, the food, the service all excellent. Better than Celebrity and Princess. Tea and coffee and biscuits, free shuttle buses, cheaper drinks and wine for meals, cheaper for tipping. We will certainly sail with P and O again and Ventura - thank you for a great holiday. Read Less
Sail Date September 2010
Boarded in Southampton 4th September, compared to flying this is a fantastic way to start to the holiday. on the ship within 50 minutes of arriving- 10/10 A beer/Lunch and look around, the ship is easy to navigate just forget majority of ... Read More
Boarded in Southampton 4th September, compared to flying this is a fantastic way to start to the holiday. on the ship within 50 minutes of arriving- 10/10 A beer/Lunch and look around, the ship is easy to navigate just forget majority of the decks and focus on the ones you need 6/7 bars shops and theatres. and then the top decks for waterside laguna and very rare sunshine. cabins clean tidy and good size, we were on C deck so had a good sized balcony. the cabin steward was very helpful and attended to our needs. the ship overall was spacious and again very clean. FOOD - the food in all the restaurants we used was very good, we ate mostly in the Bay Tree also paid £25 extra for a night in Marco Pierre Whites which was worth every penny. breakfast and lunch in buffet was very good and a couple of evenings in the Boathouse one of which i paid £6.50 supplement for surf n turf fillet steak with the biggest prawns i have ever seen. entertainment was good, and there were bars to suit all tastes. overall the whole experience was a pleasant one. Good and Bad GOOD A litre of Barcardi delivered to your cabin £12.00 our last cruise on Ocean Village you could not do this and a couple of nightcaps in the cabin cost about the same as the full bottle on P & O. Staff very attentive. Very nicely laid out ship. BAD STELLA on tap This seems to be the case with all british ships P & O please note this is awful muck used by yobs to fuel there bravery before causing fights. alternative was to spend the same amount for half a pint of decent beer. THIS IS ALL I CAN FIND TO MOAN ABOUT !! VENTURA AND P & O ARE GREAT Read Less
Sail Date September 2010
This was a superb cruise for our 7- strong family covering 3 generations. The Southampton embarkation and disembarkation were smooth and trouble free.As seasoned cruisers, we knew what to expect on "Ventura".Our son, his wife and ... Read More
This was a superb cruise for our 7- strong family covering 3 generations. The Southampton embarkation and disembarkation were smooth and trouble free.As seasoned cruisers, we knew what to expect on "Ventura".Our son, his wife and their three children were highly delighted with their state rooms and all aspects of their first cruise. The facilities offered to the children aged 9.12 and 15 were vibrant, varied and safe. Adults wanting a quieter time could utilise the peaceful OASIS terrace and pool. The entertainment was intelligently varied - something for everyone! The "Ventura Theatre Company" was superlative. The staff were particularly friendly and attentive to our family`s needs. We were delighted with the Captain since he articulated matters both maritime and social with simple fluency and warmth. The seven ports of call were wisely chosen but it was too hot to enjoy them thoroughly. One might expect with a passenger list of 3,389, that the public areas might be crowded but this was not the case - one could always be accommodated easily in the lounges and restaurants, pool and deck areas. We would recommend "Ventura" without hesitation. Read Less
Sail Date July 2010
We have recently returned from Norwegian Fjords Cruise 7 nights from Southampton 17th to 24th July. The embarkation was efficient and by the time we had got onto the ship we were already saying this is much better than a fly cruise (that ... Read More
We have recently returned from Norwegian Fjords Cruise 7 nights from Southampton 17th to 24th July. The embarkation was efficient and by the time we had got onto the ship we were already saying this is much better than a fly cruise (that we have previously done). We found our cabin immediately P234, spotlessly clean and our steward Nicolau was very pleasant without being overpowering, he kept us with an endless supply of sweeties, biscuits, tea coffee you name it, 3 times a day he was in the cabin changing towels etc etc... we could not have asked for any better treatment if we had booked a suite. Apart from a little niose during the night on a couple of nights this deck is highly recommended for those on a budget, only a few steps through the gallery you were in the atrium, we sat in this area in the evening with a buzzer (for the longest 10 mins) to wait for a table in Cinnamon restaurant. We opted for Freedom dining thinking that this would be less formal and the food would not be up to the standard of Club dining, how wrong we were. The food was bl**dy excellent, piping hot and quick service, the waiters were brilliant - could not fault this service at all, well worth the huge tip we gave them at the end of the cruise.... Only fault was the weather, rained all week apart from the sail up the North Sea and the return my husband and myself both got burned, we did not take sunscreen as we thought it would not be hot (how wrong were we !).. the scenery can only be described as spectacular from entering the Fjords to coming home. We have previously been on 3 cruises to the Med with Ocean Village (which we loved by the way and sorry to see go to Oz), so you can imagine our apprehension of whether we would fit in. We loved every minute and all day today we have been shopping around for the best deal to book for the Med Sept 2011. We are both young 50's and would recommend this to all ages, but do not make the same mistake as we did and didn't take with us the formal attire. We thought we did not have to partake (you don't), but we felt left out and when we decided to go and buy a tie or bow from the onboard shop, all had been snapped up quickly, it appears others had done the same. We watched all the passengers in their sparkly gowns and tuxedo's and wished it was us. The next cruise we are already prepared and know the score... For those of you who are not sure... go on, food excellent, service the same from boarding to disembarking.... I loved Ventura and cannot wait, I am sure it is 56 weeks to go and counting.... Happy cruising.. xx Read Less
Sail Date July 2010
We didn't know what to expect, i had gone on a cruise 30 plus years ago in my teens and couldn't remember too much but my partner had never sailed, so there was a slight concern of sea sickness ....which never came i'm ... Read More
We didn't know what to expect, i had gone on a cruise 30 plus years ago in my teens and couldn't remember too much but my partner had never sailed, so there was a slight concern of sea sickness ....which never came i'm pleased to say. The Ventura was a loverly clean ship and you hardly knew you were sailing. The start / checking in was the best experience ever , the atmostphere was so calm and i lost count of the P&O check in staff at Southampton. This set the holiday off very well . You were given a ticket with a letter on it and when this was called you went up to the check in ....we were there in a full hall and only waited about 20 mins from us arriving ...oh i forgot to add they took our bags at the car and we never saw them again until we gor to our cabin ! The information on board was second to none as your TV gives you information on position, miles travelled etc and also gives very interesting information on video form of your ports you are visiting. The cabin was fantastic and the attendant very polite and friendly . Towels seemed to be changed 2-3 times a day soometimes . They turn your bed down at night and not only do they leave a printed itinerery for the next day they leave small choclates on the bed ! The choice of food was vast and the quality very very good. You can eat in other restarants of varrying tastes at a varring suppliment.Or there is a non formal dinning area which is very nice and no suppliment. But to be honest the main restaurant is as good or better than any 5 star hotel you may visit so we stayed in there !! The entertainment was good some acts better than others but there is so much choice if one wasn't to your liking you can just go and find another going on at the same time ...its that easy. The drinks on the Ventura ar normal pub prices so no worries there. The staff are very friendly and helpfull. Even the collection of our bags at the end was a breeze as i was worried i wouldn't see my plain black case as i'd forgot my bright pink gay pride march strap ! But no worries there , they let you off and you walk into a massive hall / warehouse as part of the route out and your bags are all lined up in deck order so you just find your deck walk along the line ( there's no conveyor belt) and just pick your bags up ....all done ...easy as that !!! We are going again !!! Read Less
Sail Date June 2010
We've been on four cruises in the last two years and to be honest until we got a great deal we considered P & O out of our price range and now it seems we've opted for quantity of holidays as opposed to quality. Last year ... Read More
We've been on four cruises in the last two years and to be honest until we got a great deal we considered P & O out of our price range and now it seems we've opted for quantity of holidays as opposed to quality. Last year (2009) we travelled on both Ocean Village ships and cruised Caribbean and the Mediterranean they were fantastic and everything we expected, but now I'm guessing had we been on a P & O ship first and then travelled with Ocean Village we would probably have felt that they're not a patch on the beauty of Ventura, its elegant decor, the overall layout, outstanding entertainment and the service and food was above all second to none. All though some of our ports of call we visited with Ventura were not as glamorous as the Caribbean and the Mediterranean, add the fact that the weather was a hit and miss affair. Ventura itself certainly more than compensated, the ship is simply a holiday destination on it's own. P & O is most certainly the way to go. Last January we travelled on the Island Escape around the Canary Islands, again the places were great, however the ship was a total disaster, I had been on it years ago, it was great back in 2002, but it was a mere shadow of it's former self, everything about it was substandard, in fact truth be told it was totally awful. So cruising on Ventura in June after Januarys cruise on the Island Escape could be compared to trading in an old Austin Allegro for a Rolls Royce! On Ventura we opted for Freedom Dining instead of set times and had most of our meals in The Cinnamon Restaurant where the food was out of this world, we're not used to the high standard service and quality every night, on other cruise liners you'd have to pay a lot extra for this kind of service and quality. Most evenings Liston and Jessey served us, it seemed they couldn't do enough to please us. In fact all the staff on Ventura are an asset to P & O, all very friendly and extremely helpful. The free shuttle buses from the ports were a great touch as I had researched what to do in each port and I much prefer to explore and find the places of interest without being taken around by a guide. It also saves a pretty penny! The entertainment was superb, we found ourselves rushing round trying to catch two or three shows a night, usually on our past cruises there would be a couple of nights where nothing really appealed to us, in the past we've sat and read books on a balcony or watched a film in our cabin. Ventura's entertainment was action packed from start to finish we enjoyed it immensely; Martin Daniels was highly amusing we didn't expect that! George Michael isn't really my cup of tea but the guy who impersonated him was very entertaining. The musicals in the Arena were truly magnificent, though I have to say the show Flash could have had some better songs, there was a couple of duff numbers in there! We left Southampton on the 5th of June; the 6th was a day at sea. On the 7Th we arrived at La Coruna north of Spain. We walked a straight line from the port into the town until we came out at tram track next to the sea, we walked along the sea front until we came to a little beach that was being worked on, we found a quiet little cove and then walked to the Hercules Light house which was free that day and climbed the stairs to the top had a look around. We then headed towards the main beach area, Riazor Beach and then the sky became overcast, it started to rain a little so we headed back for the ship. The 8th of June we arrived in Bilbao,in Spain's Basque Country. A free shuttle buses took us into the town. After reading reviews about the Guggenheim Museum, a modern art gallery, we decided to check it out, the exterior was a work of art itself, there's a huge spider sculpture, a dog frame covered in flowers and a tall sculpture that looked like silver balloons piled on top of one another, everything outside the museum was very impressive. Warning! Do not waste your money going inside, if you consider the works of the late American Robert Rauschenberg as art then you are just as deluded as the man who created them and about as crazy as the idiot who decided to exhibit them as modern art in the first place! It's simply pieces of metal, from cars and road signs and any other metal junk riveted and welded together to create art? Modern art? I've got our old bath down the side of our house, I lovingly filled with the bathroom debris from a complete refit, so if any gallery wants to pay me a few thousand to exhibit this as an exhibit then please feel free to contact me, it's yours for a couple of hundred pounds though if you are totally eccentric or stupid even then give me a few thousand for it. Another room in the gallery was filled with wooden pallets with mounds of clay on that resembled stacks of human faeces, and to be honest that's what we all thought of it, another room was decorated white with a slash in the wall, we've got a kitchen like that! Are you getting the feeling that we were not impressed yet? I could go on about other totally useless exhibits by other artists there, but seriously don't waste your money or time in the Guggenheim, call me uncultured all you like and straight away I'll be thinking that you are a rather sad individual that really ought to get a life! After the museum that we headed north to the Artix Funcular, a train that takes you up a steep mountain to a recreational area where you can get some great views of the city, well worth a couple of Euros. The 9th of June we arrived in Brest in Brittany France. There was two free shuttle buses, one that takes you into the old town and one that takes you to Oceanopolis a huge aquarium, I heard somewhere that it's the biggest in the world. It was raining that day so we opted for the aquarium it was ok, nothing special though we spent most of the day there, I have to say I prefer the aquariums in Genoa Italy and Long Beach California. We didn't go into town as other passengers had advised it's not one the nicest of places in Brittany and besides it was raining! June 10th we were in La Rochelle France again a free shuttle bus into this lovely old town, we walked around the shops and then the picturesque marina, lots of restaurants, we popped into one for banana chocolate crepes and coffee, then carried on walking around and up to the old towers that guard the harbour before heading back. On June 11th we were in Guernsey tender boats took us across from the ship to St Peter Port. Guernsey was easily our favourite port of call, it's a fantastic very beautiful place to visit, we plan to have a holiday there and next time visit Sark and Herm. There's plenty to see and do with miles of glorious coastline, everything about the place was wonderful. We visited our friends there and had a superb day, it started off with a little light rain and then the sun came out and transformed every view into a picturesque postcard! We arrived on June the 12th back in Southampton. Disembarkation went smoothly and we were off the ship earlier than we had anticipated and had to wait a couple of hours before our scheduled train home. All in all we had a fantastic holiday, totally recommend Ventura to anyone no matter where in the world she goes, you'll enjoy her and all it has to offer. Read Less
Sail Date June 2010
We travelled down to Southampton and stayed the night before at the DeVere hotel right on the front. We booked a stay with breakfast, transfer and park package that cost only slightly more than paying for just parking at the dock. The ... Read More
We travelled down to Southampton and stayed the night before at the DeVere hotel right on the front. We booked a stay with breakfast, transfer and park package that cost only slightly more than paying for just parking at the dock. The hotel was excellent, lovely room, breakfast and well organised transfers to and from the ship by taxi. After a leisurely walk along the quay to take pictures of Eclipse, which was also in port we checked out of the hotel and arrived at the new Ocean Terminal at about 11.45. We were given a card with a letter on and had to wait until about 12.30 before our letter was called as boarding did not start until 12.00, we were efficiently checked in and boarded the ship. We had lovely lunch from the buffet sitting in the sunshine on the Terrace until our cabin was ready at 1.30. We had a cabin on C deck with an extra wide balcony and it was perfect, part under cover and part exposed. This was our second cruise on Ventura and the cabin itself was identical to our previous cabin on B deck. A well designed cabin with all the facilities and storage you need We had a table for 8 in the Saffron restaurant, though in the end there were 6 of us plus one of the ships senior officers who joined us for the whole cruise. It was a very enjoyable experience. The food was generally excellent, I returned one meal, very British style food. We ate one night in The White Room as a celebration and that meal was outstanding, a perfect evening, a lovely table in front of the picture windows. We had breakfast either in the Saffron or the buffet, and enjoyed both, an excellent selection. For lunch we went to either the buffet or Frankies grill. We ate very well indeed, though at times it was busy we always found a seat, and dishes were promptly cleared from tables. We never had to queue. We noticed that people were arriving for dinner more than 15 minutes before the club dining time and then complained that they had to queue, strange, of course they had to wait! We went to all the shows in the theatre and thought they were very professional. We easily found seats at the 7pm performance and then went on to dinner. We did not go to any of the other shows or entertainment. Our favourite bar was Metropolis where we could sit looking out at the beautiful scenery as we passed through the fjord still light at midnight. Drinks were reasonably priced and very well presented and served. We though the wine list limited, though again good value, we did not buy a wine package as we were only on a short cruise, but they were available. Disembarkation was very efficient and civilised very unlike our experience on US ships. Times varied from 7.30am to 11am depending on your form of onward travel. The evening before we were given a card with our departure time, an got off the ship promptly at 8.30 rung the prearranged taxi number and were back with our car by 9am. A perfect cruise, we look forward to our next on Azura in October Read Less
Sail Date June 2010
Myself and three friends are currently university students who took a gap year so had a fair amount of money saved. We want to be able to travel but not do it rough and neither are we clubbers so a traditional "student" holiday ... Read More
Myself and three friends are currently university students who took a gap year so had a fair amount of money saved. We want to be able to travel but not do it rough and neither are we clubbers so a traditional "student" holiday is not at all what we were looking for. I myself had been on a cruise the year before with my girlfriend and three times before with my parents - so pretty knowledgeable. We got the train to Southampton and got a taxi to the port - very easy and then from there the suitcases were unloaded and within an hour we were on the ship having lunch. The atrium of the ship is not as impressive as in Oceana or Aurora - but nothing bad indeed. The decor has a modern feel and was very well looked after while on board - continuously polishing and cleaning. The food was amazing, I could not fault it one bit. There is a vast array of choice at all meal times, the only gripe was with the layout of the Waterside buffet court which was a little small. The room service food was very good as well, with a reasonable choice that was free. Furthermore, the service as a whole was top notch - nothing more to say. We did not partake in any daytime activity but there was plenty to do and the on board shows were very good, they are not outstanding West End production but good enough to sit down and enjoy. There was a comedian who we didn't find funny, but that is personal taste. Overall and excellent holiday - saving up my student pennies for another one soon. One port i went too that I can scroll down and choose is Alicante - it was ok, not very scenic nor much to do, but if you wanted a beach day or shopping day then this is a good port. Read Less
Sail Date June 2010
We've always wanted to visit the North coast of Spain, and with last minute offerings on Ventura- a ship with which we are familiar- we decided that we could spare the time and money to go on this port-filled cruise. This leads me to ... Read More
We've always wanted to visit the North coast of Spain, and with last minute offerings on Ventura- a ship with which we are familiar- we decided that we could spare the time and money to go on this port-filled cruise. This leads me to the difficult bit, and the reason why we've not written a review anywhere before. In the week before our sailing, the area where we live had a major incident, which affected us all. We were reluctant to leave our village at a time of stress, and almost cancelled. The incident did impact on us throughout the cruise, but of all places to be, the Ventura was the most familiar ship to us, and, it being very British, we had no problems going with the flow. We learnt not to say where we were from, and were able to find quiet spots for our sadder days. Having a last minute cruise means taking whatever dining options are offered- we only go with cruise lines which offer Freedom dining- so our slot into 2nd sitting we ignored, going only once, to make sure that the waiters were tipped. Instead, we dined at all the other venues, with a tremendous meal at White's, with Marco himself in and out of the kitchen. We chose his own recommendation of red wine:"Possum", which was £24, and worth every penny. We were very impressed by the tapas in the Ramblas, where you could have a mixture of any kind of main meal, sweet- or just a list of tapas. The tuna pastry was freshly baked, and memorable. We each had a paella; mine the meat, OH the fish. Excellent! Our cabin was way up on A deck, and was similar to the last one we had on C, but without the massive balcony...this was almost a Juliet! Still, there was room to sit and relax away from the crowds. The main reason for grabbing this cruise was to see Santiago de Compostella. We took the ship's tour, and it was brilliant. The coffee break in Santiago's main square was in the ancient hospice, now a Pousada, which would have occupied us for a day of sight seeing alone, with old chapels and courtyards full of statues. Certainly a place to stay in the future. As well as the Cathedral, the guide lead us through the 4 car-free squares surrounding.We only scraped the surface of a fascinating town, but it will need a holiday there to see more. At Bilbao, P&O as always provided a free shuttle bus. Interesting to see the P&O ferry from Portsmouth in the harbour, and reflect that one P&O ship was now owned by Carnival, and the other by a group in the Middle East. We were unable to join any activities or entertainment, due to our tragedy, and unlike our last Ventura cruise; we can wholeheartedly say that she is an excellent ship for people who need to get away. There are quiet corners, and enough open deck to satisfy the most solitary. We self-disembarked, and were able to leave the ship at 7.30am. Taxis were lined up, and we were at the station by 8.50, able to catch an earlier train north, arriving at out little station by 3.45. Jo and G. Read Less
Sail Date June 2010
Cruising on P&O Ventura was a great experience especially as we snagged bargain suite prices by booking only a few days prior to sailing. The party consisted of My wife and I and two of our sons aged 19 and 21. The boarding experience ... Read More
Cruising on P&O Ventura was a great experience especially as we snagged bargain suite prices by booking only a few days prior to sailing. The party consisted of My wife and I and two of our sons aged 19 and 21. The boarding experience was excellent and we were on the ship in the Waterside restaurant within 20 mins of entering the departure building. The suite comprised a bedroom and curtained off sitting room with full bath and shower, a double balcony and an excellent steward called Sam who attended to everything - including unpacking and full English delivered to the suite, and would tell my wife off if he noted that she had attempted to tidy up or clean cups etc. The boys soon got over their initial embarrassment (funnily enough) of having Sam around. The sports and gym facilities on board were top quality and I especially liked the adults only pool (Oasis) at the bow. It is noteworthy that despite 3000 passengers being on board I had this pool to myself for 15-20 mins most sea-day mornings around 930. The food in the restaurant was top quality with 5 courses served each evening and the waiting staff were efficient, friendly yet unobtrusive. The food was so good that despite my suggestion that the boys go eat in the more casual Waterside restaurant at another time so they could watch a World Cup game they insisted on dressing up and not missing their evening banquet! Food menus and hygiene were impressive all over the ship and we had no complaints. Drinks prices were also very reasonable compared to Carnival cruises. The Exchange pub was a great place to have a beer and a snack and enjoy quizzes and bingo as well as catching the big games. The entertainment in the theatre was only an 8/10 lol - but stilled and made up for by the excellent tribute acts (Freddie Mercury, George Michael) in the smaller venues. The midships pool area was a little manic but that's where the families gathered so only to be expected and easily avoided. We only paid for 1 official excursion: Glories of the Gladiators in Rome; because of the long drive from the ship and to ensure we got back on time and also to avoid likely long queues - which we managed to do. We all really enjoyed it and it is definitely recommended for families with older children. In Livorgno we clubbed together with a few other couples and paid for a taxi-bus to take us to Pisa; Be aware however that there is usually a two hour wait to climb the tower once tickets purchased - so it may be worth buying an official excursion if you don't want to miss out. In Lisbon we made our own way around on the trams and in Barcelona we walked everywhere straight from the port except to the Nou Camp which was a cheap taxi-ride away. In Cannes we paid 5 euro for a return train ticket to Monaco and Monte Carlo and had a great day out at a bargain price (compared to the official excursions). The Captain then held a sail-away cocktail party midships and mentioned that he had specifically detoured to Monte-Carlo to provide great views as we left the coast. Typical old-school British class I would say and this was evidenced throughout the ship in terms of service and also the officer of the watch and Captains daily noon briefings. All reminiscent of the calm and efficiency of an officers mess rather than some of the mayhem and especially food queues encountered on Carnival. The motion of the ship was unnoticeable and all-in-all we had a tremendous holiday and would thoroughly recommend Ventura and the P&O experience.   Read Less
Sail Date June 2010
How many times have you heard 'you'll be fine' - 'you'll not really be alone' and inside you are dreading people finding out that you are travelling on you own. It took me a couple of years to find out that ... Read More
How many times have you heard 'you'll be fine' - 'you'll not really be alone' and inside you are dreading people finding out that you are travelling on you own. It took me a couple of years to find out that it's not so bad especially when you cruise. The Ventura sailed from Southampton so no flying and just a short journey with a very heavy case I boarded ship. From the time I boarded I felt a huge sense of freedom - so much to do and see and you had the choice to do it all or do nothing. It was a last minute decision so no excursions had been arranged but I had time to decide where I went and what I did and after speaking to people about their experiences I made better choices. I visited six places that you'd never be able to do in two weeks, met some very interesting people, had so much choice of food I was never hungry. I was allocated a table of 10 people all of whom were older than me but each evening we'd come together and share the days events or recommend trips etc. I had the choice of joining them or doing my own thing. The staff were brilliant - courteous and efficient. I had a great time, relaxed on the sunny deck, visited loads of lovely places, tried lots of different foods and felt recharged. The schedule of activities were varied and I was grateful that there was a news letter containing the next days events as I used this to plan my next day. A real voyage of discovery for me in more ways than one. Read Less
Sail Date May 2010
My wife and I selected the P&O Ventura as a first cruise as the round trip to Lisbon was only for 7 days and we felt we could put up with this whatever it was like. Before booking the cruise our main concerns were would there be ... Read More
My wife and I selected the P&O Ventura as a first cruise as the round trip to Lisbon was only for 7 days and we felt we could put up with this whatever it was like. Before booking the cruise our main concerns were would there be endless queues as upwards of 3,000 passengers could be milling around. (3,400 on our trip). Embarkation at Southampton took about 40 mins from dropping the car. We arrived spot on our allocated time of 12.30pm and were surprised to see how busy the terminal was already - virtually standing room only. There were about 20 embarkation pass groups in front of us but as mentioned it took about 40 mins. We had a balcony cabin on B deck amidships on the port side. One day we had 8 foot waves (moderate apparently) but very little movement in our cabin or indeed of the ship. When docked we rarely had the sunny-side so if you want to sit on your balcony in the sun I would recommend starboard for this schedule. Never had to wait more than a minute or so for a lift except when the theatre (900 people) turned out. Easy to get seat/lounger outside. We opted for fixed, first sitting dining and the service and food choice was excellent in the Cinnamon restaurant. We shared a table for six and the other couples were of similar age (late fifties)and we got on together fine. One other main reason for opting for a cruise was that my wife had recently been diagnosed with Coeliacs (gluten intolerance). We normally take city breaks and the thought of asking for gluten free food in non-English speaking countries was a bit daunting. Every evening the head waiter brought the next day's menus to my wife (lunch and dinner) and helped her choose. Apparently we could have got the ordered meals anywhere on the ship the next day just by quoting our table number. In fact my wife was able to make her own choices from the extensive buffet in the Waterside restaurant. On a couple of occasions when returning from trips in port, we went for the afternoon tea and the staff were able to supply suitable cakes, biscuits and sandwiches almost immediately on request. Seating for breakfast and lunch in the Cinnamon restaurant was arranged by filling tables as people arrived. Therefore different every day. Everybody seemed very easy to talk to and friendly and were a spectrum of ages and cruise experience. Plenty of first timers for the same reason as us eg short trip as a taster. All were pleasantly surprised and would do it again. We used various bars and the Arena theatre for three of the Ventura company musical productions. Good standard and very popular. We were seated about 30 mins before start of 9.00 performance and theatre probably good as full 10 mins later. Also saw the Freddie Mercury and Annie Lennox tribute acts in the Havana club which were also entertaining. Very good drinks service - either get it yourself or from roaming waiters (pub prices). Disembarkation was again problem free. We were given a 10.15 slot to leave by the random allocation system (8.45 earliest) but in fact got off 30 mins ahead of schedule. Overall, we really enjoyed our first cruise and the ease of getting an excellent choice of gluten free dining was a brilliant addition. We would certainly go again but probably only consider the larger vessels so that there is the same level of dining choice and entertainment we would now wish for.   Read Less
Sail Date May 2010
This was our first cruise and we were just amazed when we pulled up at the dock and seen Ventura, she is huge. Our luggage was taken off us and we proceeded to check-in. Once all the formalities of check-in and security were over we ... Read More
This was our first cruise and we were just amazed when we pulled up at the dock and seen Ventura, she is huge. Our luggage was taken off us and we proceeded to check-in. Once all the formalities of check-in and security were over we proceeded to board. We all looked in amazement when we entered Ventura. We were shown to our cabins and our luggage was there waiting and our cabin steward introduced himself. Our cruise was for 7 nights and what a 7 night cruise we had it was fantastic. The staff were friendly and efficient, they did an outstanding job. The food was amazing with a choice of self service restaurants to club dining (which we did). As for things to do on board there was so much from the swimming pools to the numerous quizez to shows and more. The only thing i would have to complain about is some of the other passengers (mainly ones who had been on cruises before)all they did was moan, they were rude to staff and passengers alike complaining the service was slow, the food wasn't good, all i can say is absolute rubbish. We enjoyed cruising with P&O and the Ventura (what an amazing ship)so much that we are already booking for next year. Thank you for a wonderful holiday Ventura. Read Less
Sail Date May 2010
P & O V E N T U R A CRUISE 15TH - 22ND MAY 2010 Saturday 15th May - Southampton - Hampshire - England Partly Cloudy Westerly Force 2 Temp. 59 degrees F Smart Casual Best of British buffet After parking at Southampton ... Read More
P & O V E N T U R A CRUISE 15TH - 22ND MAY 2010 Saturday 15th May - Southampton - Hampshire - England Partly Cloudy Westerly Force 2 Temp. 59 degrees F Smart Casual Best of British buffet After parking at Southampton Airport, we shared a taxi with a French couple Cruising on QM2 to New York. Firstly, the taxi driver took us to the QM2 Terminal (decorated with flags), then to the Ocean Terminal. The cases were promptly placed on the conveyor and we boarded the escalator to the top floor. Embarkation was straightforward after showing passports, paperwork and registering debit card. Soon on board and Dave and I were given a free massage in the Atrium. Our cabin (A416) Australia Deck was really spacious with walk in wardrobe, tea/coffee facilities, pamper pack, and good quality bed linen. Lunch was served in the Waterside Restaurant with a grand view of the harbour. After lunch, quickly unpacked and explored the ship. Lifeboat drill was held at 4 p.m. We sailed at 4.30 p.m. and Keith was with his friends on the beach at Warsash complete with foghorns, so able to speak on mobile. There was a sailaway party and the Salvation Army played on the quayside (a bit mournful!). Had a pimms. With all pre departure checks complete, clearance was granted and the Captain (Julian Burgess) made his departure broadcast. Ventura let go all her lines and moved off berth. She then proceeded down Southampton Water, slowing down at Fawley Oil Terminal before making the two turns, first at Calshot Spit and the other at Brambles Bank. Once complete an easterly course was set along the Eastern Solent. Ventura disembarked her local pilot at 19.02 and once clear of the Nab Tower, she was altered onto a south westerly course through the English Channel. We then went to the spa for the raffle. Had a pre dinner drink in the Metropolis Bar - with virtual wall displays of major cities - tonight London. Dinner was 2nd sitting at 8.30 p.m. (Saffron). Casual. We should have been on a table for 6 but only two others arrived throughout the cruise, a couple from Boston, Lincs. Our waiters were excellent throughout. After dinner, The Arena Theatre - Cruise Director's introductions (Leon de ste. Croix), followed by John Lenahan (magician). Other venues were Havana - disco, The Exchange - group, The Tamarind Club - Jayne Curry. The Tamarind Club was also a coffee bar. The evening passed quickly and the clocks went forward 1 hour at 2 a.m. Chocolates on our pillows each night of the cruise plus biscuits replenished twice a day. Sunday 16th May - Day at Sea Formal Night Fish & Seafood buffet Westerly Force 4 59 degrees F We always enjoy days at sea. After a leisurely breakfast in the Saffron Restaurant, we spent the morning on a conducted tour, then the Endless pool plus Jacuzzis. Lunch in the Saffron (waiter service), followed by a flower demonstration (Atrium) and I was fortunate enough to win the top prize worth £40 in the raffle, a beautiful arrangement. The cabin looked really cheerful. We then enjoyed afternoon tea in the Saffron, which we did on most afternoons. Walked to back of ship via promenade deck. Looked at some of the interesting artwork on board - Rolf Harris CBE. We then discovered the Terrace Bar and pool, where we spent most of our Leisure time. Before dinner we sat under cover watching for wildlife. We saw precisely one bird! Dinner in the Saffron - formal preceded by Captain's Reception, followed by Peter Piper (11 p.m.). (Did not rate). There was a gala ball tonight, but did not go, instead went to our favourite Metropolis Bar Australian evening. From departure Southampton until noon today, Ventura steamed a total distance of 308 nautical miles at an average speed of 18.1 knots. Monday 17th May - 9 a.m. - 4.30 p.m. VIGO Spain - Spain's busiest fishing port Muelle de Transatlanticos Port Smart Casual Asian & Oriental buffet Wind - light airs 64 degrees F A bank holiday in Vigo today, (P & O said they didn't realise) which suited us just fine as all the shops were mainly closed. We went ashore early and virtually did a walking tour. First the church (service in progress), then a walk along the main shopping area up to El Castro Mount, panoramic views over the Galician countryside and down to the Bay, peppered with numerous mussel farms. We saw the bronze fishermen and the statue of the wild horses. We walked down again and visited the Restaurante Casavella and I sampled the oysters. We then walked along the promenade to view the ship before returning for lunch. Spanish VAT was added at 7% in the bars during time in port. The afternoon was spent swimming and relaxing before the sailaway party. Tonight Smart casual dress for dinner in the Saffron. After dinner, Chronicles in the Arena Theatre at 11 p.m.(Adventurers in Africa combining acrobatics, aerial ballet, martial arts, puppetry and special effects.) Followed by Metropolis bar - Las Vegas. Once clear of the Bay of Vigo, a southerly course was set, paralleling the Iberian coast towards Lisbon. Tuesday 18th May - 8 a.m.- 5.30 p.m. LISBON Portugal Smart Casual/60s & 70s Italian buffet Wind - Light Airs 81 degrees F We sailed along the Tagus River to the 25th April Bridge, 230 feet above the water and disembarked and took the P & O shuttle bus (free) to Rossio Sq., where we took the Ascensor da Gloria - The Gloria Funicular - the busiest in the city. The funicular was declared a national monument in 2002. We then enjoyed the views from the gardens and I had a Pasteis da Nata tart. Dave reckoned he spotted Terry Gilliam from Monty Python! To save our legs and it was v. hot, we took an open top bus ride Olipso Tour - Yellow bus for 2 hours complete with head phones and music. We visited many sites. Bairro Alto, Principe Real, Cais do Sodre, Praca da Figueira, Rossio, Twin Towers, etc. After the tour, we took the funicular back down to catch the shuttle back to the ship. After lunch, swimming and relaxing ready for the evening. At 1700 'stand by below' was rung on the ships engines in preparation for our departure. The vessel was thrust to starboard, taking us clear of the berth, before swinging the bow around to starboard to head out down the river passing under the Ponte 25 de April Bridge. Ventura cleared the channel at 18.49 and 'full away on passage' was rung on the ships engines, as we set courses taking us northwards and paralleling the coast of Portugal. Tonight Sir Henry Cooper was the quest speaker in the Arena Theatre. Sir Henry's career spans 16 years and he fought 55 times, winning 40 including winning the British Heavyweight title, and he became the first man to put Cassius Clay on the floor just before he became world champion . In February 2000 he was knighted by the Queen. We also watched Jayne Middleton as Annie Lennox in the Havana. Last thing, the Metropolis bar, mostly had non-alcoholic cocktails here (Shanghai). Wednesday 19th May DAY AT SEA - formal night Ship's clocks put forward 1 hour at 2 a.m. Country & Western buffet Wind - North easterly force 7 59 degrees F Today, another day a sea relaxing and swimming There was an ice carving demonstration and also a deck BBQ, most enjoyable! Afternoon tea with Tiptree jam and scones to die for! Tonight pre-dinner a classical concert by Hiro Tachenouchi, Chopin, Prelude in C sharp Minor Op. 45, Scherzo No. 2 in B flat minor and Sonata No. 3 in B minor Op. 58. in the Tamarind Club. Tonight another formal night, so after dinner Masquerade show in the Arena Theatre, the music of Andrew Lloyd Webber, hits from Jesus Christ Superstar, Evita, Cats, Starlight Express, Phantom of the Opera and Whistle Down the Wind with the Ventura Theatre Company and Followed by a Black & White Ball in The Tamarind Club and late night disco. Metropolis bar to finish (New York). Most nights we had a coffee and snacks in the Waterside. From departure Lisbon until noon today, Ventura steamed a total distance of 284 nautical miles at an average speed of 17.2 knots. Thursday 20th May BILBAO Spain (Basque country) - 8 a.m. until 4.30 p.m. Getxo port Smart Casual Indian buffet Wind - Easterly force 2 64 degrees F Took the free ship's shuttle into Bilbao, approximately 40 minutes. We then crossed the river over the Zubizuri Bridge over the Nervion River. Then we took the Artxandaxo Funicular to the top for good views of Bilbao. Rode back down and walked back over the bridge to the Guggenheim. Didn't pay to go in, but just had a quick peep. Took plenty of outside photos. Then took a gentle stroll back along the riverside (trams alongside) and boarded the shuttle coach near to El Corte Ingles back to port. Popped back on the ship to get some more film and then took the Port Authority's free minibus to the Bizkaia Bridge a hanging bridge which joins the riverbanks at Portugalete and Las Arenas. The bridge is reminiscent of the Eiffel Tower due to its black iron structure and this 109 year old masterpiece of engineering is now the oldest transporter bridge in the world. We took the lift to the top (5 euros) and walked across (good view of the ship) and then the lift down to a flower market and walked along the quayside. Came back over the river on the transporter with the vehicles. Walked back to the port, approximately 45 mins. with views of the different types of architecture along the promenade. Had a some lunch, afternoon tea and had swim. 'Stand By Below' was rung on the ships engines at 1630 as the final passengers returned onboard. With all passengers and crew on board, our gangways were struck and we started to let go our mooring lines. With all lines onboard, Ventura was thrusted to starboard off the berth and into the buoyed channel. We continued to set mainly Westerly courses out through the channel until clear. We disembarked our local pilot once outside the breakwater and 'full away on passage' was rung on the ships engines. We then set courses taking us through the Bay of Biscay, northwards towards our next port, Brest. After dinner did not bother with the theatre, but went to the Metropolis bar - Greg Jardine - and also Tribute to the Stars - Steve Larkins as Freddie Mercury in the Havana. At dinner one evening I spotted several dolphins and also some late one afternoon (the Captain made an announcement). Finished the evening in the Metropolis Bar - Paris. Friday 21 May - BREST France - 9.30 a.m. - 4.00 p.m. (Natural harbour). Smart Casual Mediterranean buffet Wind - Northerly Force 4 63 degrees F After breakfast, we went on our one and only proper excursion which was actually just a transfer to Quimper (a medieval town). After a 1 hour journey, we took the road train (Le petit train de Quimper) around the town. Met some Americans. We then had a drink at the Cafe 21 (vingt et un) opposite St. Corentin's Cathedral. At 1 p.m. we visited the cathedral and then took a quick look at the small shops and indoor typical French market. Bought two crepes which even Dave enjoyed. Walked back to the coach and 1 hour journey back through good countryside. There were some kiosks selling local goods on the quayside. Bought some wine, wooden spoon, and salt pot. Afternoon tea, then packed as cases had to be outside cabin door by 8 p.m. Hot and tired, so had a last quick swim in the Terrace Pool. This is near where the children's clubs took place and where they threw a pirate in the pool. With all of our passengers and crew onboard, 'stand by below' was rung on the ships engines at 16.30. All of our lines were let go, before Ventura was thrusted off the berth. Once clear, the vessel was swung bow to starboard, and once complete, the vessel entered the channel to take us clear of the port 'full away on passage' was rung at 17.30 and Ventura set various courses taking us into the English Channel and towards Southampton. After dinner and saying goodbye to the waiters, we were presented with all the menus for the week (a nice gesture). Tonight Saturday Night Fever in the Arena Theatre. Last drink in the Metropolis bar - Hong Kong. Bedtime reading Britain Today. Saturday 22nd May SOUTHAMPTON - Hampshire England Wind - Variable Force 2 66 degrees F After breakfast in the Saffron Restaurant, we had to vacate our cabin by 8 a.m., so we went up on deck to the Terrace bar and sat in the glorious sun watching the shipping to Isle of Wight. After we disembarked, we quickly located our luggage and took a taxi back to the airport and our car. We then went to Warsash and visited Keith. Had a drink on the terrace and then went to Montisfont Abbey, National Trust property before heading for home. VENTURA'S EATING PLACES Saffron (our restaurant) Bay Tree (dark restaurant) Cinnamon - silver service anytime The White Room - extra East - Asian - extra The Waterside - inside/outdoor self service buffet Frankies Grill Frankies Pizzeria - lovely pizza! Tazzine - coffee lounge - pay for coffee but cake free The Beach House - 24 hours - casual Marcos Roof Cafe - Ice cream Havana - night club Metropolis - real time images of main cities Ramblas - tapas - some items extra 24 hour room service - some items extra Complimentary breakfast - i.e. juice/croissants Tea/coffee making facilities in cabin During cruise VE012 Ventura steamed a total distance of 2126 nautical miles on passage. A most enjoyable cruise and really good weather thoughout! P & O V E N T U R A CRUISE 15TH - 22ND MAY 2010 Saturday 15th May - Southampton - Hampshire - England Partly Cloudy Westerly Force 2 Temp. 59 degrees F Smart Casual Best of British buffet Please see Cruise Log for day by day record of the cruise After parking at Southampton Airport, we shared a taxi with a French couple Cruising on QM2 to New York. Firstly, the taxi driver took us to the QM2 Terminal (decorated with flags), then to the Ocean Terminal. The cases were promptly placed on the conveyor and we boarded the escalator to the top floor. Embarkation was straightforward after showing passports, paperwork and registering debit card. Soon on board and Dave and I were given a free massage in the Atrium. Our cabin (A416) Australia Deck was really spacious with walk in wardrobe, tea/coffee facilities, pamper pack, and good quality bed linen. Lunch was served in the Waterside Restaurant with a grand view of the harbour. After lunch, quickly unpacked and explored the ship. Lifeboat drill was held at 4 p.m. We sailed at 4.30 p.m. and Keith was with his friends on the beach at Warsash complete with foghorns, so able to speak on mobile. There was a sailaway party and the Salvation Army played on the quayside (a bit mournful!). Had a pimms. With all pre departure checks complete, clearance was granted and the Captain (Julian Burgess) made his departure broadcast. Ventura let go all her lines and moved off berth. She then proceeded down Southampton Water, slowing down at Fawley Oil Terminal before making the two turns, first at Calshot Spit and the other at Brambles Bank. Once complete an easterly course was set along the Eastern Solent. Ventura disembarked her local pilot at 19.02 and once clear of the Nab Tower, she was altered onto a south westerly course through the English Channel. We then went to the spa for the raffle. Had a pre dinner drink in the Metropolis Bar - with virtual wall displays of major cities - tonight London. Dinner was 2nd sitting at 8.30 p.m. (Saffron). Casual. We should have been on a table for 6 but only two others arrived throughout the cruise, a couple from Boston, Lincs. Our waiters were excellent throughout. After dinner, The Arena Theatre - Cruise Director's introductions (Leon de ste. Croix), followed by John Lenahan (magician). Other venues were Havana - disco, The Exchange - group, The Tamarind Club - Jayne Curry. The Tamarind Club was also a coffee bar. The evening passed quickly and the clocks went forward 1 hour at 2 a.m. Chocolates on our pillows each night of the cruise plus biscuits replenished twice a day. Sunday 16th May - Day at Sea Formal Night Fish & Seafood buffet Westerly Force 4 59 degrees F We always enjoy days at sea. After a leisurely breakfast in the Saffron Restaurant, we spent the morning on a conducted tour, then the Endless pool plus Jacuzzis. Lunch in the Saffron (waiter service), followed by a flower demonstration (Atrium) and I was fortunate enough to win the top prize worth £40 in the raffle, a beautiful arrangement. The cabin looked really cheerful. We then enjoyed afternoon tea in the Saffron, which we did on most afternoons. Walked to back of ship via promenade deck. Looked at some of the interesting artwork on board - Rolf Harris CBE. We then discovered the Terrace Bar and pool, where we spent most of our Leisure time. Before dinner we sat under cover watching for wildlife. We saw precisely one bird! Dinner in the Saffron - formal preceded by Captain's Reception, followed by Peter Piper (11 p.m.). (Did not rate). There was a gala ball tonight, but did not go, instead went to our favourite Metropolis Bar Australian evening. From departure Southampton until noon today, Ventura steamed a total distance of 308 nautical miles at an average speed of 18.1 knots. Monday 17th May - 9 a.m. - 4.30 p.m. VIGO Spain - Spain's busiest fishing port Muelle de Transatlanticos Port Smart Casual Asian & Oriental buffet Wind - light airs 64 degrees F A bank holiday in Vigo today, (P & O said they didn't realise) which suited us just fine as all the shops were mainly closed. We went ashore early and virtually did a walking tour. First the church (service in progress), then a walk along the main shopping area up to El Castro Mount, panoramic views over the Galician countryside and down to the Bay, peppered with numerous mussel farms. We saw the bronze fishermen and the statue of the wild horses. We walked down again and visited the Restaurante Casavella and I sampled the oysters. We then walked along the promenade to view the ship before returning for lunch. Spanish VAT was added at 7% in the bars during time in port. The afternoon was spent swimming and relaxing before the sailaway party. Tonight Smart casual dress for dinner in the Saffron. After dinner, Chronicles in the Arena Theatre at 11 p.m.(Adventurers in Africa combining acrobatics, aerial ballet, martial arts, puppetry and special effects.) Followed by Metropolis bar - Las Vegas. Once clear of the Bay of Vigo, a southerly course was set, paralleling the Iberian coast towards Lisbon. Tuesday 18th May - 8 a.m.- 5.30 p.m. LISBON Portugal Smart Casual/60s & 70s Italian buffet Wind - Light Airs 81 degrees F We sailed along the Tagus River to the 25th April Bridge, 230 feet above the water and disembarked and took the P & O shuttle bus (free) to Rossio Sq., where we took the Ascensor da Gloria - The Gloria Funicular - the busiest in the city. The funicular was declared a national monument in 2002. We then enjoyed the views from the gardens and I had a Pasteis da Nata tart. Dave reckoned he spotted Terry Gilliam from Monty Python! To save our legs and it was v. hot, we took an open top bus ride Olipso Tour - Yellow bus for 2 hours complete with head phones and music. We visited many sites. Bairro Alto, Principe Real, Cais do Sodre, Praca da Figueira, Rossio, Twin Towers, etc. After the tour, we took the funicular back down to catch the shuttle back to the ship. After lunch, swimming and relaxing ready for the evening. At 1700 'stand by below' was rung on the ships engines in preparation for our departure. The vessel was thrust to starboard, taking us clear of the berth, before swinging the bow around to starboard to head out down the river passing under the Ponte 25 de April Bridge. Ventura cleared the channel at 18.49 and 'full away on passage' was rung on the ships engines, as we set courses taking us northwards and paralleling the coast of Portugal. Tonight Sir Henry Cooper was the quest speaker in the Arena Theatre. Sir Henry's career spans 16 years and he fought 55 times, winning 40 including winning the British Heavyweight title, and he became the first man to put Cassius Clay on the floor just before he became world champion . In February 2000 he was knighted by the Queen. We also watched Jayne Middleton as Annie Lennox in the Havana. Last thing, the Metropolis bar, mostly had non-alcoholic cocktails here (Shanghai). Wednesday 19th May DAY AT SEA - formal night Ship's clocks put forward 1 hour at 2 a.m. Country & Western buffet Wind - North easterly force 7 59 degrees F Today, another day a sea relaxing and swimming There was an ice carving demonstration and also a deck BBQ, most enjoyable! Afternoon tea with Tiptree jam and scones to die for! Tonight pre-dinner a classical concert by Hiro Tachenouchi, Chopin, Prelude in C sharp Minor Op. 45, Scherzo No. 2 in B flat minor and Sonata No. 3 in B minor Op. 58. in the Tamarind Club. Tonight another formal night, so after dinner Masquerade show in the Arena Theatre, the music of Andrew Lloyd Webber, hits from Jesus Christ Superstar, Evita, Cats, Starlight Express, Phantom of the Opera and Whistle Down the Wind with the Ventura Theatre Company and Followed by a Black & White Ball in The Tamarind Club and late night disco. Metropolis bar to finish (New York). Most nights we had a coffee and snacks in the Waterside. From departure Lisbon until noon today, Ventura steamed a total distance of 284 nautical miles at an average speed of 17.2 knots. Thursday 20th May BILBAO Spain (Basque country) - 8 a.m. until 4.30 p.m. Getxo port Smart Casual Indian buffet Wind - Easterly force 2 64 degrees F Took the free ship's shuttle into Bilbao, approximately 40 minutes. We then crossed the river over the Zubizuri Bridge over the Nervion River. Then we took the Artxandaxo Funicular to the top for good views of Bilbao. Rode back down and walked back over the bridge to the Guggenheim. Didn't pay to go in, but just had a quick peep. Took plenty of outside photos. Then took a gentle stroll back along the riverside (trams alongside) and boarded the shuttle coach near to El Corte Ingles back to port. Popped back on the ship to get some more film and then took the Port Authority's free minibus to the Bizkaia Bridge a hanging bridge which joins the riverbanks at Portugalete and Las Arenas. The bridge is reminiscent of the Eiffel Tower due to its black iron structure and this 109 year old masterpiece of engineering is now the oldest transporter bridge in the world. We took the lift to the top (5 euros) and walked across (good view of the ship) and then the lift down to a flower market and walked along the quayside. Came back over the river on the transporter with the vehicles. Walked back to the port, approximately 45 mins. with views of the different types of architecture along the promenade. Had a some lunch, afternoon tea and had swim. 'Stand By Below' was rung on the ships engines at 1630 as the final passengers returned onboard. With all passengers and crew on board, our gangways were struck and we started to let go our mooring lines. With all lines onboard, Ventura was thrusted to starboard off the berth and into the buoyed channel. We continued to set mainly Westerly courses out through the channel until clear. We disembarked our local pilot once outside the breakwater and 'full away on passage' was rung on the ships engines. We then set courses taking us through the Bay of Biscay, northwards towards our next port, Brest. After dinner did not bother with the theatre, but went to the Metropolis bar - Greg Jardine - and also Tribute to the Stars - Steve Larkins as Freddie Mercury in the Havana. At dinner one evening I spotted several dolphins and also some late one afternoon (the Captain made an announcement). Finished the evening in the Metropolis Bar - Paris. Friday 21 May - BREST France - 9.30 a.m. - 4.00 p.m. (Natural harbour). Smart Casual Mediterranean buffet Wind - Northerly Force 4 63 degrees F After breakfast, we went on our one and only proper excursion which was actually just a transfer to Quimper (a medieval town). After a 1 hour journey, we took the road train (Le petit train de Quimper) around the town. Met some Americans. We then had a drink at the Cafe 21 (vingt et un) opposite St. Corentin's Cathedral. At 1 p.m. we visited the cathedral and then took a quick look at the small shops and indoor typical French market. Bought two crepes which even Dave enjoyed. Walked back to the coach and 1 hour journey back through good countryside. There were some kiosks selling local goods on the quayside. Bought some wine, wooden spoon, and salt pot. Afternoon tea, then packed as cases had to be outside cabin door by 8 p.m. Hot and tired, so had a last quick swim in the Terrace Pool. This is near where the children's clubs took place and where they threw a pirate in the pool. With all of our passengers and crew onboard, 'stand by below' was rung on the ships engines at 16.30. All of our lines were let go, before Ventura was thrusted off the berth. Once clear, the vessel was swung bow to starboard, and once complete, the vessel entered the channel to take us clear of the port 'full away on passage' was rung at 17.30 and Ventura set various courses taking us into the English Channel and towards Southampton. After dinner and saying goodbye to the waiters, we were presented with all the menus for the week (a nice gesture). Tonight Saturday Night Fever in the Arena Theatre. Last drink in the Metropolis bar - Hong Kong. Bedtime reading Britain Today. Saturday 22nd May SOUTHAMPTON - Hampshire England Wind - Variable Force 2 66 degrees F After breakfast in the Saffron Restaurant, we had to vacate our cabin by 8 a.m., so we went up on deck to the Terrace bar and sat in the glorious sun watching the shipping to Isle of Wight. After we disembarked, we quickly located our luggage and took a taxi back to the airport and our car. We then went to Warsash and visited Keith. Had a drink on the terrace and then went to Montisfont Abbey, National Trust property before heading for home. VENTURA'S EATING PLACES Saffron (our restaurant) Bay Tree (dark restaurant) Cinnamon - silver service anytime The White Room - extra East - Asian - extra The Waterside - inside/outdoor self service buffet Frankies Grill Frankies Pizzeria - lovely pizza! Tazzine - coffee lounge - pay for coffee but cake free The Beach House - 24 hours - casual Marcos Roof Cafe - Ice cream Havana - night club Metropolis - real time images of main cities Ramblas - tapas - some items extra 24 hour room service - some items extra Complimentary breakfast - i.e. juice/croissants Tea/coffee making facilities in cabin During cruise VE012 Ventura steamed a total distance of 2126 nautical miles on passage. A most enjoyable cruise and really good weather thoughout! Read Less
Sail Date May 2010
Our first P. O. cruise, but not our last. We expected a P. & O. cruise to be a bit special & we were not disappointed, but also a little surprised. Our first surprise was the parking. It all went very smoothly, but not an ... Read More
Our first P. O. cruise, but not our last. We expected a P. & O. cruise to be a bit special & we were not disappointed, but also a little surprised. Our first surprise was the parking. It all went very smoothly, but not an "aston" or a "roller" in sight, just your mondeos & astras.The check in went well considering that over 3200 people were waiting to board.We restricted ourselves to minimal hand luggage but next time we will take a small"pull along" case. Once on board we found our outside cabin quite easily & were surprised on 2 counts.Firstly the cabin,(sorry "stateroom") was quite roomy,larger than we expected & secondly our "ocean view" was only partly obstructed by the supporting structure of the lifeboats & we could see out to sea but not directly downwards.From what I could make out this was the case with all the outside cabins.The cabin was very comfortable & the 'fridge was very useful particularly if you want to chill some wine or beer bought ashore from home or one of the ports of call. There was no problem taking alcohol aboard. It is also worth considering which side of the ship to be on.On our itinery it was a slight disadvantage being on the port side as the ship usually docked with the starboard side against the moorings. A standing joke with cruisers & staff was the size of the ship.There is no doubt that this is a"biggy" & can be confusing, but we thought that this all added to the experience.For those people who are concerned about sea sickness then don't be, as the ship is very stable. We were also slightly surprised at the "mix" of people aboard. We thought that it would be mainly 50's & over, but there were young families. 30 somethings & quite a few disabled people for which the Ventura seems to be reasonably friendly. The dining did not disappoint. We went for the "freedom dining" in the Cinnamon restaurant which went very well. The food was very good with great choice, well presented & excellent service. In our case having a drink is a big part of a holiday & we found prices reasonable.A pint of draught bitter (boddintons) £2.75 & stella £2.95. Large canned beers (spitfire speckled hen etc ) £2.70.Branded spirits £2.10 to £2.40 a shot & bottle of house wine at £11.75.Getting a drink was very quick & easy with waiters hovering around just looking for customers. The entertainment was first rate & would not be out of place on the West End stage. On leaving a port of call there was a"sailway party" up on the top deck, which was great fun but unfortunately there were only 2 despite there being 4 ports of call, this was disappointing. Tipping can be a difficult area, but P & O charged us £11.60 per person for the week which we thought was more than reasonable & we tipped our cabin steward sepatately at the end of the week . Disembarkation went smoothly considering the number of passengers & we were on our way quite quickly. All in all a very pleasant holiday & one that I am sure we will repeat. Read Less
Sail Date May 2010
This was our first cruise, and we were gob smacked! I loved every bit of the cruise, the food (freedom dining) in the cinnamon resturant was beautiful, the buffet, white room and the steak house were all excellent. The shows were ... Read More
This was our first cruise, and we were gob smacked! I loved every bit of the cruise, the food (freedom dining) in the cinnamon resturant was beautiful, the buffet, white room and the steak house were all excellent. The shows were of good standard, and the ship was spotless, and bars offered something for everyone. The gallery was a nice addition too. We used the ship photographers- if you've heard of Venture Photography, the ship photos were of the same quality, but 1/3 of the price. We used the spa, and treatments we very good- however their booking system is a bit caotic. We had an outside cabin and was really pleased with the decor, space and facillities in the room. embarkation was great, really makes you want to cruise all the time, not lugging you bags around. Leaving felt a bit more stressful- as for first time cruises we would have like the information a few days earlier- but for all our worries- P&O had it covered, and once again it was great someone else to cart the suitcases around! We truely loved and if I had the money I would cruise everytime- The Ventura is great for families or couples- i've reccommended cruising to so many people! Read Less
Sail Date October 2009
Ventura Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.2
Dining 4.0 3.8
Entertainment 4.0 3.7
Public Rooms 4.0 4.0
Fitness Recreation 4.0 3.9
Family 4.0 3.9
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.5
Enrichment 3.0 3.3
Service 4.0 4.0
Value For Money 4.0 3.6
Rates 3.0 3.9

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