1. Home
  2. Cruise Lines
  3. P&O Cruises
  4. Ventura Review
  5. Ventura Cruise Reviews

151 Southampton P&O Cruises Ventura Cruise Reviews

Our family party booked a seven-night cruise of the Norwegian fjords: Southampton - Stavanger - Alesund - Olden/Louen - Bergen - Southampton. Embarkation Brisk and efficient as one would expect with a cruise. We were processed and on ... Read More
Our family party booked a seven-night cruise of the Norwegian fjords: Southampton - Stavanger - Alesund - Olden/Louen - Bergen - Southampton. Embarkation Brisk and efficient as one would expect with a cruise. We were processed and on board the ship within half an hour of arriving at the Mayflower Terminal in a taxi. Ship environment Ventura is a nice ship that is spotlessly clean and obviously very well maintained. However, it's a ten-year old ship and looks a bit tired in places. There is a general inconsistency between areas that have clearly been refurbished and those that haven't had a facelift. The atrium in most cruise ships usually has a bit of a wow factor but the central area of the Ventura is a bit poky and unimpressive. The ship's layout is a tad confusing and finding one's way around was a challenge because you can't walk through parts of certain decks. My overall impression of the ship is that it seemed very crowded with seats difficult to find for entertainment activities and sunbeds hard to secure on the open and sun decks. Food and dining The food and service for dinner in the main Bay Tree restaurant was generally excellent, with only a couple of disappointing dishes served during our stay. The menu completely changed daily and offered a wide choice of starters, main courses and desserts. You could also opt for a choice of soups and salads instead of, or in addition to, the starters and main courses, plus cheese and biscuits at the end of the meal, so it was possible to have a six course meal if you so desired. I personally didn't enjoy or rate the Marco Pierre White menu served on the first black-tie evening (and therefore avoided it on the second formal dress night). The desserts on all menus were a little lacklustre compared to the standards I have seen on other cruises. These are small criticisms though and, overall, the standard of the food was top-notch. Two of our party opted to eat in one of the select restaurants, The Epicuran, on one night and they said the food and service there was excellent. On most days we took breakfast in the Waterside buffet and the food here was very good although the choice was quite narrow compared to other cruises. Some of the serving areas are very limited for space and the layout of dishes was illogical (who on earth puts the fried bread and toast after the eggs?!) resulting in a bit of a scrum at busy times as people tried to dart in and out of different areas to assemble their breakfasts. I liked that the toast was prepared for you so you didn't have to faff about with one of those self-service machines. We got a table without too much effort on each day, even though the breakfast service was very busy. If on board, we usually took lunch or high tea in one of the buffet restaurants. Although the quality of the food was ok, the choice was very limited compared to other cruises and it was all really rather bland and uninteresting. I struggled to find something I fancied on more than one occasion, which was a cruise first for me. There is a poolside grill serving burgers, hot dogs, pizza but it isn't very obvious or well advertised and we didn't actually discover it until the final day. A major downer in the buffet restaurants is that only tea, coffee and water is available at lunch and tea with the juice/soft drink machines deactivated. Presumably this is to encourage people to buy soft drinks from the bar, but it seemed very penny-pinching of P&O. All in all the lunch and tea buffet service was significantly below the standards I expect from a premier cruise line. Drinks The bar areas are generally plush with excellent service, although they could get very busy before dinner. We enjoyed pre- or post-dinner drinks in The Metropolis at the top of the ship with stunning views, the Tamarind, Havannah and the Red Bar at various times. All nice environments for a snifter. Drinks on board were expensive but not outrageously so, and there were plenty of waiters around to take your order wherever you were on the ship. P&O didn't offer any all-in drinks packages (other than to buy a package of a few bottles of wine for dinner) which is another big mark against them in my book. Entertainment / activities I found the entertainment on offer good, both in terms of the shows staged by the in-house performers and the guest acts. In fact, the in-house shows were not far off the standards of a West End show. Guest acts I enjoyed included a comic ventriloquist and Nya King, a brilliant Whitney Houston tribute act. Unfortunately, the main theatre suffered intermittent but persistent technical problems with the stage equipment during our stay, which led to the interruption or cancellation of some shows. There was also a packed programme of activities during the day with plenty of talks, demos, sports, bingo and quizzes. My only criticisim of the entertainment is lack of seating in the main theatre and that the timing of some activities clashed with dinner sittings (why not time some events for 10pm rather than 9.30pm or 9.45pm so that dinner second sitters can go to them?). Pools and swimming The indoor pool on the lido deck was freezing and the jacuzzi hot tubs were tiny with brackish and unappealing looking water. I wish they would reserve a couple of the hot tubs in the main pool areas for adults only as you can't really use them when there are other people's unaccompanied children in them. The outdoor pool on the lido deck and end terrace pool were warmer but very deep for young children. There is an adults only pool by the spa but clearly this is suitable only for parties with no children at all, and it was hardly used by anyone from what I could see. No towels are available at the poolside, but blue bathing towels are provided in the room for use at the swimming pools. No blankets available, either, for the loungers, which I thought was unusual on a cruise ship. Ports and shore excursions We mostly did our own thing as the ship docked close to the main downtown areas of each port. We did one shore excursion, the Loen Skylift, which was superb. We would have booked more shore excursions through P&O but we like to book a day or two before rather than weeks in advance and so trips were either fully booked or had been cancelled due to low numbers. We have never had a problem doing it this way with other cruise lines, but it seemed too difficult for P&O. The shore excursion staff member we spoke to was rather dismissive and was more interested in getting away at the end of his two hour desk duty than to sell us anything. I was amazed as presumably there is a good profit in it for them! Generally, port facilties and embarkation were smooth and we did not encounter any problems. Again, though, P&O is without those nice little touches that you get from other cruise operators, such as a welcome back on ship with ice water and a hot flannel or wet wipe to freshen up, or whatever. Conclusion Overall we enjoyed the cruise very much but I am not sure that P&O will ever be our first choice of cruise line. I just felt that there was too much penny-pinching across the board and, although all these niggles were quite small individually, together they added up to an inferior overall experience when compared to Celebrity, Cunard or Royal Caribbean. A cruise is meant to be something really special, but there were too many areas where P&O don't make you feel particularly special at all. Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
As suite passengers,embarkation is always smooth,taken almost immediately and then in to the priority lounge where you get complimentary teas,coffees and snacks. Then onto ship and through to champagne lunch,which we always love. Our ... Read More
As suite passengers,embarkation is always smooth,taken almost immediately and then in to the priority lounge where you get complimentary teas,coffees and snacks. Then onto ship and through to champagne lunch,which we always love. Our cabin was always clean and tidy thanks to the wonderful Umesh,our butler Andrew was also always helpful. Unfortunately,this cruise line are now cutting back on things a little too much and we have cancelled our next 3 cruises with them,such a shame as we have only ever sailed with P&O and usually twice a year and always enjoyed it. Firstly,going into Stavanger on a Sunday,I dare say this is cheaper for P&O as the place is closed,no shops open at all,we found a small bakery open where we had a lovely coffee and croissant but then just walked around waiting for the bars and cafes to open.The other port albeit it was chucking it down was Bergen,back on board by 2.30pm,what a disgrace,never in our cruises to Norway has this happened before and again I'm guessing it has something to do with port fees. On to the dress code,where the majority of people seem to like getting dressed up there are still the usual characters who still chose to slum it in joggers or shorts,even at the captains gala,they also got served their free bubbly,which should not have happened,It may seem trivial but why do these people come on cruises?why not just go to Skegness for a weekend then you can choose to dress as you like(sorry Skeggy) I think P&O are losing the way,trying to cater for all but failing miserably. At Christmas there was a rather nasty case of the noro virus but even after all the advice about using the hand sanitisers there seemed to be hardly any and where there were some,people just ignoring them and staff not telling them,we even heard one woman as we were going into dinner telling her husband she wasn't using it as she washed her hands earlier!!!! These are selfish people who don't seem to realise the noro virus spreads like wild fire and is really nasty Next is the room service,which now has a charge,as a suite passenger I find this appalling,we pay rather a lot more money for a suite and it's benefits so don't expect to pay for room service,we're not eating in the dining room so surely free food in our cabin should be allowed.when it did come my husbands pizza was black round the edges and my brie sandwich had a tiny slither of brie in it. The service as always is second to none and the waiting and cabin staff are just brilliant,always get such a laugh with them. Glass house food is still superb,you may have to wait for it but it's always fab. We are going on Ventura again over Xmas and New year but sadly that is our last with them,giving Cunard a go,they seem to be sticking to what cruising is all about. We are not snobs in any shape way or fashion and I love that EVERYONE can now enjoy cruising but some just don't know how to behave,I'm sure most of you know the type I mean and the cutbacks are just becoming a little too noticable Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
We were celebrating a significant wedding anniversary. The cabin was fine (we always choose an inside because we sleep better and it is cheaper). The staff on the ship were excellent as was the catering.Entertainment was first class. ... Read More
We were celebrating a significant wedding anniversary. The cabin was fine (we always choose an inside because we sleep better and it is cheaper). The staff on the ship were excellent as was the catering.Entertainment was first class. Points that were not so good. Smoking. There are rules about where but largely ignored by the smokers. Staff not enforcing the rule. In the end we just referred to going out on the open deck as visiting 'cancer corner'! Children. Again rules regarding supervision in and around the ship ignored by some parents but not enforced. The ship. Possible the worst laid out cruise ship I have been on. Even after nearly 2 weeks many passengers were getting lost trying to find places they had visited before. Plus I have never been on a ship that groans and creaks as much as Ventura and we hardly encountered any waves at all on the trip. heaven knows what it would sound like in any type of sea. That and the vibration from the propellers especially the manoeuvring ones which when used for docking the serving staff stand with their backs to the cupboards to stop all the crockery falling out! Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
We have been on around 15 cruises but this was our first on P & O. We chose the cruise for the itinerary. We found the embarkation the best we have experienced. We were processed within 30 mins and on the ship. We had a superior ... Read More
We have been on around 15 cruises but this was our first on P & O. We chose the cruise for the itinerary. We found the embarkation the best we have experienced. We were processed within 30 mins and on the ship. We had a superior balcony D cabin. it was a decent size with a nice size bathroom and balcony. The steward was very good. The ship while a mid size is the most confusing layout of any ship we have been on. The pub area is too small for the number of people using it and the casino is very small. The main theatre is good and we never had trouble getting a seat for the shows which were pretty good. There were two comedians onboard but they had to change their acts in the late show because people had small kids with them even at midnight which we thought was unacceptable. Service in the bars is terrible with the farcical situation of not been able to order directly from the bar tender. The buffet is average with some good British choices although finding a seat can be a challenge. The pools were good although did not see the 30 minute rule for reserving a sunbed been enforced at all. The bar entertainment was not good with one pretty awful band with a woman lead singer who was pitchy to say the least and thought she was great. her band was far to loud. The due as per a previous review I saw were I agree probably the worst due on any cruise ship ever. He had a weak voice and she - when she showed up - was terrible. We went to some good talks although we could not understand why there was zero live entertainment on the last sea day. The main restaurant was fine and the food was good. Service was a little rushed however. We were onboard during the world cup and they made adequate provision to show the games. We had not been to the Canaries before and enjoyed all the trips except one in Tenerefe. Madiera and Lisbon were great. Not sure why they cant add a port on the way back to Southampton as ending with 2 sea days is a little strange. Overall a 3/5 experience. Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
I have previously sailed twice on Princess ships and thoroughly enjoyed the experience and the holidays. We chose this P&O cruise as the dates were ideal and it was a short break away from work to visit some new places. As cruise ... Read More
I have previously sailed twice on Princess ships and thoroughly enjoyed the experience and the holidays. We chose this P&O cruise as the dates were ideal and it was a short break away from work to visit some new places. As cruise holiday expectations are a completely personal thing, I will instead run down some of the good bits we loved about the cruise and some bits we thought could be improved on. Good stuff: Embarkation was smooth and pretty quick! Didn't have to wait in a long queue with the number system they used. The cabin (D514) a deluxe balcony room, was fantastic. Well cared for, tidy and spacious. The balcony was large and the bed very comfy. The bathroom seemed much larger than on Princess, with a bath. The cabin steward Edwin was good, and seemed to work incredibly hard each day. Dinner was fantastic every day in the Bay Tree restaurant (more on this topic to come). The waiters were pretty good and friendly. A wide range of options each day and everything cooked perfectly. Excursions: we did a couple of P&O shore excursions which were well organised, and enjoyable. Catered for young and old with a good range of options for different interests. We particularly enjoyed the Tapas Trail in La Coruna which was brilliant. Speciality restaurants: Sindhu was a lovely choice for a meal at dinner time, with a friendly waitress and plenty of food for your money. Tasty and interesting without being too "out there". Epicurean was good for people with an adventurous streak... Drinks were reasonably priced and there was a good range of choices for both alcoholic drinks and soft drinks. Tasty cocktails and we liked the "wine flights" in the Glass House as a way to try different wines relatively cheaply. Not so good, but could be improved: Food at breakfast and lunch in the main dining rooms (Bay Tree or Saffron) was poor - it was certainly not at the same standard as the dinner meals. Breakfast seemed to be identical to that served in the buffet, and lunch was a little bit like school dinners. The afternoon tea could have been nicer if we weren't all squashed into a tiny section of the dining room. The amount of things which were not included in the fare was very different to the other cruises I have been on - ice cream at the poolside is not included in the fare, nor are cakes/biscuits at the costa cafe. Room service is also chargeable on P&O. This ship felt very crowded from the outset. On the website it says the capacity is 3078 guests, however we found out at the end of the cruise that we had sailed with nearly 3400 guests on board - a lot more people squeezed in! Entertainment was a bit hit and miss on this cruise - we weren't that excited by the theatre shows but the comedy act Mark Walker was really good. There were not many onboard activities which were not aimed at families and children, with only a few quiz type things on offer for adults. The music around the pool, although varied, was incredibly loud - could hear the ship for miles when at port! The coffee shop was a bit of a nightmare as they were not really set up to handle both sit down customers and those looking to grab a takeaway coffee - the waiters and staff got confused easily about who was waiting to order etc so queues of people formed pretty quickly. They need to decide whether they only want sit down customers, or only want takeaway ones in that small space. Decor on the ship was nice, however it didn't seem to have a common theme running through. Some areas looked really plain and others were lovely. The Glass House was the nicest spot we thought, with the Metropolis bar also a nice place to relax. On the whole this was an enjoyable cruise, with a heavy emphasis on families and children (even though it was outside of school holiday time). Would sail with P&O again on either an adults only ship, or for a longer cruise to get more of a quieter time. Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
Chose it after not enjoying hard sell on last celebrity cruise. Rude oppo initially when trying to sort car out...but luggage in cabin once on board.... Ship,difficult,to,find way around as no logical flow Cabin adequate but miss ... Read More
Chose it after not enjoying hard sell on last celebrity cruise. Rude oppo initially when trying to sort car out...but luggage in cabin once on board.... Ship,difficult,to,find way around as no logical flow Cabin adequate but miss having a balcony.... Freedom dining good in Saffron or Cinnamon and other options good for cover charge - Sindhi -Indian/Thai and The Glass house for seafood.... Entertainment patchy but some excellent - e.g Mark Walker but other options rather lack lustre. Service good generally - excellent cabin steward and spa staff good, as are,bar and restaurant staff... Excursions also patchy but Gaudi tour excellent Staff paid commission only on drinks and disclosure of bullying by member of spa staff, juxtaposed,with huge,price,hikes for 2019, Dumbing down in terms of customers including hogging of sun beds and poor supervision of children -,signage not observed in terms of not jumping in pool,and poor behaviour in dining rooms DOUBT IF WOULD GO AGAIN Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
Thought I ought to write a review as I did look on this site for reviews prior to going so only fair really. So in our opinion: PRO's Check in at Southampton took 15 mins and was very straightforward. Compared to boarding a ... Read More
Thought I ought to write a review as I did look on this site for reviews prior to going so only fair really. So in our opinion: PRO's Check in at Southampton took 15 mins and was very straightforward. Compared to boarding a flight from Heathrow its just magical. Staff are very good and often very sweet (must do it because they enjoy it as I expect the wages are terrible) We were on deck 15 (Lido) cabin was ok for size & we had a little balcony although it never saw the sun due to the ship design but nice to get some fresh air sometimes. Cabin attendant (Nora) was super efficient & friendly We found the food to be good or very good in the restaurants and were also very surprised by the choice & quality of the food in the carvery style buffets Always plenty of waiters around so you didn't even need to get up off your sunbed to get a drink, they come straight to you most of the time and you just use your cruise card to pay. Shows we saw were generally very good Enjoyed visiting numerous countries all in the one holiday Thought the cabin insulation was very good, we barely heard a sound at any time but this may of course be due to cabin location. We did the do it yourself disembarkation and were off the ship in 10 mins no problem CON's We found the ship to be very busy & often felt overcrowded but better on port days if you stayed on board Main theatre for evening shows seated about 350 but with around 3000 guests on board roughly a 10 to 1 chance of getting a seat. Show were re-run at 10.30pm but too late for us. Often difficult to disembark at ports of call as you would expect if over 2000 people are trying to go thru one door. Often very difficult to get a seat / sunbed on decks 15/16 Drinks expensive in our opinion, scotch & mixer around £8 Selection of classy shops on board which was nice but couldn't afford to buy anything in them most of the time but nice to brose I guess. Tip: if your looking for drink / tobacco then don't buy on board buy in Gibraltar if its one of your ports (just under half the price) Adult swimming pool could only hold 12 guests, wasn't expecting Olympic sized but could have been bigger when you consider number of guests. Choose excursions carefully, we went on 4 and found them poor & expensive. It would appear most seasoned cruisers do their own thing. If you smoke get a cabin on deck 15, you can smoke there in the evening and on deck 16 during the day but its not always straightforward but better than no smoking. We were fairly careful about spending and total on board bill after 14 nights was around £1000. Didn't think there were many activities during the day, not that interested us anyway Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
We were very excited to go on our first cruise, since lots of our friends cruise all the time and recommend them. I'm not sure if we just picked the wrong trip but its really not my thing. The Ventura is very big and busy. The 2 ... Read More
We were very excited to go on our first cruise, since lots of our friends cruise all the time and recommend them. I'm not sure if we just picked the wrong trip but its really not my thing. The Ventura is very big and busy. The 2 worst things were: 1. The meals - mass catered low quality food, even if you opt for a restaurant rather than a buffet 2. The tender transfers. We waited upwards of 90 mins to leave the ship to go to Guernsey and probably 45 mins in a queue to re-board. Just awful! Everyone was moaning. Our cabin was pleasant enough. We got upgraded to one on C deck which had a big balcony, but we couldn't use it on the 2nd day because it rained. I thought the entertainment would be better, but it was a load of tribute acts which my husband called "Butlins at sea". Overall a bit disappointed and don't think I would cruise again anytime soon. Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
This was only our second cruise, having went on our first one with Royal Caribbean last year. Booking onto ship was easy. Cabin was B311 which was next door to service area, so at 0600 every morning was awoken by the cabin staff starting ... Read More
This was only our second cruise, having went on our first one with Royal Caribbean last year. Booking onto ship was easy. Cabin was B311 which was next door to service area, so at 0600 every morning was awoken by the cabin staff starting their day. A smoke detector on Deck 15 exploded on the first day, which meant that maintenance staff were working on starboard side for the whole week, which was a pain. On the second day the Captain said that due to issues we would not calling into Porto. No other communication was given. This was very disappointing, both because the visit was cancelled, and an alternative was not on offer, but also because apart from that initial pipe, no other info was given. Even on the Bridge Report at the end of the trip, it was not mentioned. Vigo was nice, Lisbon lovely. Guernsey too, an age to get off and back on the ship due to tenders being needed. All in all 3 hours was spent getting on and off. Again not a good experience. Cabin (inside) was fine. Overall the ship seemed rocky to me. Cabin staff were brilliant. Food was good, although service in the restaurants was a bit slow, due to staff cutbacks I am guessing. Entertainment was not good, maybe catering for the majority of 9lder folk on board. I loved my first cruise with RC, not so much with P&O. Probably not recommend them. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
We have just returned from this cruise and were somewhat disappointed because we did not stop in Oporto because of problems with the ship. The ports we visited were Vigo which was lovely, then Lisbon where the stay was extended in ... Read More
We have just returned from this cruise and were somewhat disappointed because we did not stop in Oporto because of problems with the ship. The ports we visited were Vigo which was lovely, then Lisbon where the stay was extended in order, I believe, for repairs to be made to the ship. We should have left at 5 pm but infact the visit was extended until the early hours of the following morning and we left at about 5 am. Because of this we had an extra day at sea, which was not ideal bearing in mind the following day was also a sea day, and as it was only a 7 day cruise I did not book to be at sea for two consecutive days. The visit to Guernsey was lovely, apart from waiting for nearly one and a half hours for the tender to get into port. Coming back although there was a long queue the tenders seemed to be operating much quicker. Putting our disappointment aside the holiday was fine. Our cabin was well looked after, the entertainment good and the food was well served although someone did comment that it seems P and O are catering more for fish eaters than meat eaters these days. Having said that there was also plenty of choice and the meal was always finished off with coffee or tea. We did not use of the shore excursions advertised by P and O but instead did our own thing. We find using local services and hop on hop off buses suits us fine. All in all it was a good break but must say there was something missing although neither myself nor my husband can pinpoint what it was as except to say there did not seem to be the same sparkle as on previous cruises. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
We are reasonably well travelled ‘cruisers’ having done 120+ days on Cunard, 7 on MSC and 14 on P&O Britannia last year. The Britannia cruise, repositioning from the Caribbean to the UK in March 2017 was 100% fine and indeed we ... Read More
We are reasonably well travelled ‘cruisers’ having done 120+ days on Cunard, 7 on MSC and 14 on P&O Britannia last year. The Britannia cruise, repositioning from the Caribbean to the UK in March 2017 was 100% fine and indeed we have booked the same cruise for 2019. Anyway, this current P&O 7-day cruise was not quite what we and everyone else expected. Itinerary to be: Southampton (Friday), Sea Day (Saturday), Vigo, Lisbon, Oporto, Sea Day (Wednesday), Guernsey (Thursday), Southampton (Friday). The good points: Embarkation on the 4th was speedy at 12.30 and bags outside cabin by 1.30pm. Obstructed Outside View Cabin E502 (on deck 8) was 100% okay for this short cruise and kept very clean and neat by our unobtrusive cabin steward, Angelo. Food in Saffron Restaurant (Freedom Dining in the evening) was fine and as good as, and perhaps better, than that in Cunard’s Britannia restaurants. Alcohol is much cheaper than Cunard, as are speciality coffees etc., and all WITHOUT the disgraceful 15% auto service charge added. For example, a bottle of Californian Rose wine is £17.95 net on P&O, whereas it is 36$US + 15% on Cunard – exactly the same wine! Service was quick enough in the restaurant. Alternative dining? Sindu is first class for £20 per head and Glass House likewise, but cheaper. Did not try the Epicurean or Beach House on this voyage. Self-Service Buffet had a decent selection throughout the day – cheeses were better than on Cunard(!) according to Mrs F. and no problem with finding a seat, if one was prepared to walk a bit. Entertainment – standard cruise line stuff – guests including Berni Flint, Tony Wallace etc. Disembarkation on Friday 11th – rapid – we were in the car at 8.46am and on our way. The bad points! On Saturday 5th at around 9am the captain announced that the ship had ‘technical’ issues. As a result, Ventura would arrive in Vigo at noon rather than 9am on Sunday 6th, but leave later in the evening to compensate. All rather useless as it was a Sunday and Vigo is hardly the shopping and food capital of Europe. It then got rather more interesting as we would arrive in Lisbon on Monday 7th at noon, but now leave at 3am on Tuesday 8th as this would help compensate for missing Oporto completely on the Tuesday 8th. Now, apart from a very brief slow period on Saturday morning, Ventura managed to get up to 20 knots quite happily as Saturday went on! The 3am departure from Lisbon did not result in the majority of passengers tasting the dubious night delights of Lisbon, as you would expect, and was therefore a total waste of time, although the crew liked it as they disappeared off the ship at 10pm all heading for God knows where. Now for the exciting bit: Costa Mediterranea docked next to Ventura in Lisbon on the Monday shortly after our arrival at noon. It left early that evening after a half-day stop (probably more than enough for most passengers) and then proceeded to Guernsey arriving shortly after us on Thursday morning at 8am, having done another port call in between – could that have been Oporto we all wondered? Ventura then managed to arrive at Southampton, after leaving Guernsey on the Thursday afternoon), bright and early at 6am on Friday 11th ready for the turnaround and yes, closely followed by Costa Mediterranea again. So, in summary most of us poor souls reckoned Ventura never had any intention of going to Oporto and if they had announced that fact before departure, many passengers would have demanded their money back and cancelled. As to what the problem really was? A deadly silence, and rather noticeably the officers were conspicuous by their absence from the public rooms over the 7 days. In summary – a poor effort by P&O, poor communication & no recompense in any form offered such as a free drinks session or whatever. On the plus side, at under £100 per day each, it was a bargain, but no excuse for not going where P&O advertised. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
We chose this cruise as it was visiting Oporto and Lisbon - well meant to have been. On the first sea day we were advised no Oporto due to technical failure which would be rectified in Lisbon. A late arrival in Vigo and evening departure ... Read More
We chose this cruise as it was visiting Oporto and Lisbon - well meant to have been. On the first sea day we were advised no Oporto due to technical failure which would be rectified in Lisbon. A late arrival in Vigo and evening departure From Lisbon to compensate! However with the speed we travelled on departure from Lisbon we are sure an earlier departure would have enabled a half day call at Oporto. Two sea days with little to do on board were rather tedious and we would not have booked a weeks cruise to have three sea days out of the 6 full days, Otherwise we were pleasantly pleased with the cabin HA Balcony on C deck with a 10ft deep balcony. We had travelled in January on the Celebrity Millenium and the cabin on there was dreadful by comparison. The food on board was of a high quality again unlike the Millenium, and the service from the restaurant staff and waiters on board was very good. Would I travel on the Ventura again? I very much doubt it. The ship has 3,500 pax capacity far too many people when endeavouring to disembark/embark by tender with 3 hours total spent queuing in Guernsey. I much prefer smaller ships such as a Queen Victoria and Oosterdam/Nieuw Amsterdam. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
We left Southampton a little later than planned and as it was our first cruise we were unsure as to what to expect but we were impressed with the ship. We fell behind schedule which the passengers were told was due to a 'technical ... Read More
We left Southampton a little later than planned and as it was our first cruise we were unsure as to what to expect but we were impressed with the ship. We fell behind schedule which the passengers were told was due to a 'technical issue' we lost the Oporto stop. We would have preferred P&O to be honest and not gloss over the issue and then forget it happened. We found out that one of the engines had broken down putting us three hours behind. As a result we had to stay in Lisbon longer for it to be fixed. I was horrified to read the reviews that said the same thing happened again a week later! It seems to be a common theme. The safety drill on the first day was a farce, 4 different crew members giving out different instructions and no-one knew what to do. We didn't know what to do but stand in a corner and watch but all we could think was, f this was a real emergency.... The service is mostly fantastic but a few people really let it down. We thought well everyone has a bad day but by the end we were raging at the way we were treated as it continued throughout the week. This included an attitude of 'well that's your problem' to simple queries. 'That's what it says on the sheet' in regards to asking about changes to the entertainment. If you like Bingo - be there in plenty of time. They refused to allow us to join in the bingo as they had too many people in the queue to buy tickets. We ran downstairs to the casino where they would sell us tickets and race back again before it starts - I really couldn't see the difference - it just caused bad feelings. Photography We had a few photos from the team, you take them off the shelf and they scan your card and everyone is happy....until the last black tie event. The queues go back down the corridor waiting for your orders and you don't just queue the once. You have to log into the machine, find your photo, add it to the basket and order it then come back a couple of hours later. We needed help at the machine but the photographer walked off halfway through and helped someone else so we went ahead and ordered the photo. I came back around an hour and a half later as I was worried we hadn't added the payment to the bill. I waited over half an hour in the queue to be told everything is fine and to come back in an hour and a half and the order will be ready and they will scan the card then. So I did this, the third time in the queue for 45 mins this time to be told there was no order and we'd missed a step at the machines. I was furious, that was our last evening this completely ruined it. Tips If this is your first time, prepare to get lost on board a lot!!! Everyone crowds around an A4 plan of the ship and not every lift goes to every deck. Avoid Costa at all costs - it's so bad, my grandmother got burnt on the hand by their stupidity and the next time we tried to use them, they scolded us, for causing them to bring the wrong order over to us- we were stunned! The restaurant food is fantastic, be warned if you share your table with others you will have to wait until everyone is seated and then ordered so your meal time could be a lot longer but then again we enjoyed doing this once or twice. The buffet food was a little limited on one night and I was hungry when I left but this was the exception. Avoid going at the same time as other people if you can as it's like a mad scrum for seats and food. It's a much more relaxed atmosphere but there is no in between of very formal or very casual. Guernsey/Tender Leaving the ship was very smooth, controlled and we felt safe, we had a senior member of the team driving and a member of the entertainment team keeping us informed. I actually quite enjoyed it. Coming back however.......the complete opposite as above, it was frightening and dangerous - we decided we'll never take a tender on a cruise again and I'm not nervous with water. The adrenaline and shaking afterwards took a while to subside. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
This was a first time cruise for us and the main reason for this choice was to be able to visit 4 ports. Apparently there was a technical issue with the ship, which meant that we would not be stopping at Oporto in Portugal. We also ... Read More
This was a first time cruise for us and the main reason for this choice was to be able to visit 4 ports. Apparently there was a technical issue with the ship, which meant that we would not be stopping at Oporto in Portugal. We also didn't go ashore in Guernsey, this was because of the ridiculous amount of time waiting for a Tender. We still have not had any clear answer of what the technical issue was and I am presently waiting for a reply from P&O. I wrote to them to ask why no compensation has been offered for the missed port. Pretty sure I will either get no reply or if they do reply, they will simply fob me off with some small print from their terms and conditions and will state that they don't ever give refunds or compensation. As this was out first ever cruise, we didn't know what to expect. However, before we booked the cruise I did read lots of reviews about various cruise ships. On nearly all the reviews people were saying that being on such big ships we would hardly notice any movement. We were really shocked by the amount of rolling around while we were at sea. It was quite bizarre because the sea was so calm. I can't believe that this was a normal amount of movement and I wonder if it could have been due to the technical issue the ship had. The movement was so strong that most of the swimming pools were closed a good number of times during the cruise. this was a bit of a spoiler for me because I wanted to go for a swim every day. I did take some video footage showing the swimming pools sloshing about and being covered with nets to stop people using them. I would love to be able to speak to some seasoned cruisers that travelled on this particular cruise to find out if they felt this was normal. My girlfriend really suffered with sea sickness during our cruise and it has put her off ever going on another cruise. I am trying to convince her that perhaps this wasn't how it would be next time (unless of course the sea is rough). If anyone can shed any light on this matter or even if anyone knows exactly what the technical issue was, I would love to hear from you. Please feel free to email me: chris.lewis143@ntlworld.com During our cruise we had an inside cabin which was very adequate for us. The cabin was very clean and we were well looked after by our cabin steward Colin. We choose freedon dining, which again was perfect for us and it meant that we could plan our dining around all the entertainment. The food was really nice in the main buffet with loyts of variety and we also enjoyed the lovely food and excellent service in Saffron, which we used on two of our nights. The entertainment was superb. The singers and dancers obviously worked extremely hard every night putting on two shows each night. The visiting acts were also very good. Our overall experience of the service was excellent. Everyone seemed to be very polite and always had a smile for us. Would we go on this ship or another cruise? Not sure at this stage because we need to determine if we would experience the same amount of movement that we did on Ventura or whether this was an abnormal amount of movement due to the technical issue, bearing in mind that the sea was very calm. Obviously we would expect to feel some movement if the sea was rough. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
It seems fashionable today to rubbish the Carnival Corporation for incrementally dismantling and destroying the P&O brand. Sadly, this trend continues apace. In its race to reach the lowest common denominator, Carnival continues to ... Read More
It seems fashionable today to rubbish the Carnival Corporation for incrementally dismantling and destroying the P&O brand. Sadly, this trend continues apace. In its race to reach the lowest common denominator, Carnival continues to provoke negative comment from its unmerited loyal customers. Often with considerable justification. There is no point itemising P&O's death by a thousand cuts...much too painful...besides, Carnival is not remotely interested. As they say in Yorkshire - you cannot educate pork! Do not believe the advertising hyperbole, reduce your expectations, prepare to be underwhelmed, don't be surprised if the ship's engines break down resulting in a missed port, do not expect the advertised celebrity chef to appear on board and despite all of the preceding observations, you just might have a reasonable holiday. We did, but then we are part of Carnival's gang of unmerited loyal customers...no one to blame but ourselves! As they say in Yorkshire.... Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
This was a last minute decision,wanted a bit of sun and the Canaries are always a good choice, in fact it is my second favourite destination for cruising.Last minute booking but not a last minute price, paid the full whack for a DD ... Read More
This was a last minute decision,wanted a bit of sun and the Canaries are always a good choice, in fact it is my second favourite destination for cruising.Last minute booking but not a last minute price, paid the full whack for a DD category Superior Deluxe balcony cabin occupied by one, but paying for two.Must have a balcony when cruising, would not set a foot on a ship otherwise.I have stayed on Ventura 3x in as many years and it has never been plain sailing.My gripe? The hygiene.This is the dirtiest four star cruiser I have ever been on. Even now the overwhelming sense of grubbiness prevailed from the moment I opened the door to the cabin.New carpet?Fluff coming off as I walked around.The cabin is dark,this is not a complaint but a statement of fact,it is the second largest I have ever been in and if the sun does not shine without the lights it is dark.But it has a good size balcony without shelter, this means more sun than if there was another cabin above.Two beds pushed together to make a king size bed ,very uncomfortable,there was no covering on the top of the beds to soften the edges where they were pushed together.I loved showering standing in the bath-tub,the water was always hot and powerful,washing my long hair was easy.Toiletries were from the White Company,my favourite brand.There was no vanity package,in a Superior Deluxe cabin,everything should be provided.There were two soft and large dressing gowns, a pair of slippers, an umbrella and binoculars.The food was a hit and miss affair with more hits than misses,breakfast in the self-service always excellent,lunch not so much, but in the dining room it was adequate.Dinners in the Saffron restaurant were enjoyable,steak cooked to perfection,exactly as I like it,rare,chips always hot.,a nice side salad.The choice of food was good, at least two kinds of fish,good quality meat.Ice cream excellent, good cheese, desserts not to my liking.Entertainment was good,especially the comics.In site of my reservations about the hygiene, I had a lovely cruise.I know I will be back. Yes, I am a glutton for punishment. Read Less
Sail Date April 2018
Having booked Oriana early, we then found ourselves rapidly making the best out of a bad job when P&O cancelled 5 weeks before sailing. Ventura had a similar itinerary sailing during the same timeframe. Many other cancelled guests did ... Read More
Having booked Oriana early, we then found ourselves rapidly making the best out of a bad job when P&O cancelled 5 weeks before sailing. Ventura had a similar itinerary sailing during the same timeframe. Many other cancelled guests did the same and we ended up on an overcrowded ship with pressure on every venue. In order to get a decent seat in the theatre people were queuing from 5.20 pm to get into the Freedom dining restaurant each evening. The Waterside buffet was impossible to get around at peak times. The choice of food everywhere was very good and the menus read as you would expect from fine dining but what a shame they couldn’t deliver! Generally, as food is cooked ahead of time except in eating places that charged extra, it was mostly below par. Overcooked fish, green beans every day even if it wasn’t incuded in your choice from the menu .. It amounted to a piece of meat or fish with veg and potatoes on the whole each day and even the mash was grey! One evening there was Coq au Vin actually on the menu which I chose. It was pan fried chicken and the sauce was made from lamb gravy (very easily detected flavour). Of course, lamb was also on the menu. Much has already been remarked on in other reviews about inadequacy of some venues and the shutting of the shops several days prior to the end of the cruise, the overpriced excursions and pressure on activities due to the volume of people etc etc. It would be easy to go on... but one thing that maybe needs saying is that the total debacle of the immigration process in New Orleans, losing us best part of a day, is being blamed on US immigration...according to a member of US staff, knowing how many passengers there were, Immigration were ready and waiting at 6.30am. The ship did not allow passengers off until nearly 2 hours later. By the time the process had gone on for an hour or so, their staff were needing to go off for breaks making the number of officers less. I can’t verify this, I only know what I was told but I have to say that it looked pretty feasible as why else would they be heading off for breaks an hour after starting work and why on earth did it take all day? We have cruised to US before and had a fairly easy and relatively quick process. Then to not be allowed off the ship after going through the process having returned from a tour because some poor folks were still waiting to get off to go through immigration, was disgraceful. Sadly, all in all it felt like there were lots of moaners on the ship but really P&O, you gave us so much ammunition! The hardworking Staff are pleasant and helpful, endeavouring to do their best for the guests.. they are an asset to the Company. After several very enjoyable cruises over the years, 2 previously with P&O albeit quite a few years ago, this was very disappointing, standards are seriously slipping so we will be looking to other Companies from now on. In particular,those with smaller ships. Read Less
Sail Date February 2018
We chose this cruise for my wife's 60th having used P&O before on a number of occasions, sadly things are not what they used to be. The dining experience is now average in terms of product and service, green beans with everything, ... Read More
We chose this cruise for my wife's 60th having used P&O before on a number of occasions, sadly things are not what they used to be. The dining experience is now average in terms of product and service, green beans with everything, if they could serve them as a dessert I think they would! Waiters have had cutbacks and are overworked resulting in a poorer service which is not their fault. The dining room ceiling leaked form the air conditioning unit and we had this problem on 3 nights, eventually being moved table. The food was passable and you will not go hungry on the ship as there is always a buffet open somwhere on the ship. The ship is in need of the refurbishment it is currently getting in Brest,France. Our cabin was spacious as it was a deluxe cabin and it was also a bit tired, the grouting around the bath was black and carpets needed replaced. There was a leak in our balcony door which soaked the carpet. However saying all that the bed was very comfortable and cabin steward excellent always ensuring we had everything we need for a comfortable stay. The entertainment was of a good standard, other activities where geared for P&Os elderly clientele and was standard fair, is shuffledeck,table tennis, quizes, bridge clubs and not to mention the ballroom dancing classes in the atrium. The Atrium could be put to better use as it is the hub of the ship and we would have liked to see more live music in this area as it would have helped the atmosphere on the 3 floors which it serves. The Arena theatre is the main area for twice night shows and was very busy on our cruise as the ship was full, (in fact you needed to get to your seat 30 minutes before most shows to ensure a seat). The Havana lounge at the opposite end is a terrible venue and was known as the Meerkat lounge due to the high backed seats (the comedian mentioned he could only see the heads of the audience popping up and down like meerkats). The ports of call were good and excursions offered quite good but certainly not cheap. They do look after your safety though and tend to go a bit overboard sometimes, that was not a pun! Overall we did enjoy our cruise however would avoid going back on the Ventura even after the current refit it is undergoing. The ship is just not to our liking, the Arena's seats are to tight, Havana lounge enough said, no separate Cinema which should be a given on such a large ship. Carnival have striped bare much of the niceties of a P&O cruise and not replaced them with anything. We will try other lines in future to see if there is better value for money to be had. Read Less
Sail Date February 2018
we chose this cruise for a relaxed christmas break,the food was of a good standard, up until christmas dinner, and anyone looking forward to good christmas roast would be very disappointed we got a marco white idea of limited minute turkey ... Read More
we chose this cruise for a relaxed christmas break,the food was of a good standard, up until christmas dinner, and anyone looking forward to good christmas roast would be very disappointed we got a marco white idea of limited minute turkey and limited vegetables. Entertainment considering it was christmas and new year was hit and miss,there were a couple of old singers the tassimo club was empty new year eve proberly due to records only being played. there're some reviews complaining the lack of dress code however to be there were to manyblack tie nights 1 take the opinion that holidays are a relaxed affair if people want to be eleltist try cunard not everyone wants to conform to this code. Overall the cruise was ok however,the cost of the cruise for the christmas period did not warrant the extra cost or match up to cruises outside of this period. Read Less
Sail Date December 2017
The cruise was okay overall for December. Weather fair and better than UK so all good. First the gripes. Nobody's fault that the storm hit (second night during dinner) while we were heading south in the Bay of Biscay. It would ... Read More
The cruise was okay overall for December. Weather fair and better than UK so all good. First the gripes. Nobody's fault that the storm hit (second night during dinner) while we were heading south in the Bay of Biscay. It would have been helpful to have had the bridge advise us 10 minutes earlier why the ship was listing so heavily (as our cheese and wine hit the floor together with anything else not being held down). There was a lot of very serious concern and speculation about the extreme experience which none of the seasoned passengers or crew had ever experienced before. I have no doubt that the Captain and his team were facing something they had never experienced before but 3000 passengers were literally in the same boat and a few words of explanation would have helped a lot. Missing the port of Ibiza due to strong winds is no real issue until you try to get a letter from reception to confirm this actually happened (stating why). Initially they promised to generate the letter needed as other P&O ships have done. This is of course needed by our holiday insurers to allow us to claim the £100 each for missing a port. The promised letter did not get delivered to the cabin as advised. When after two days it had not arrived we went back to reception and were advised that "Southampton have decided that you need to contact them on return to the UK to get the letter issued". Heaven knows why this is considered helpful to either party but I digress. - After calling P&O and speaking to a lovely lady, we were advised that it would take up to 28 days to get a reply and "have the matter fully researched". I pointed out that no research was needed by the reception team on Ventura as they knew the problem, the reason and had the means to deal with it without taking undue time to repeat the learning exercise. I got no argument. Bottom line is that P&O are causing unnecessary delay, cost and annoyance to passengers by not doing what should be done at a time that would make sense. Food average for P&O, still unable to get fish from kitchen to plate without it being dried out except when its covered in batter which seems to afford it excellent protection but isn't how I would prefer it.. Notably there was a much better range and quality of cheese than either Brittania or Azura offered this year which was much appreciated. Accommodation good. Embarkation excellent, great team, always good. Entertainment - a fair balance to suit most tastes and we enjoyed several of them. Wonderful to bump into Ben Makisi (Tenor) again, great voice and seems such a lovely chap. Didn't use the gym but looked good. The stairs were our work out as we always avoided the lifts (purely for exercise reasons). Service was good with the usual spectrum of okay to exceptional. Value for money continues to be exceptional. However you rate any part of this experience you simply have to look at it in the round. If you cost this on a daily basis and then compare with any other combined hotel, food, entertainment and foreign travel experience this is simply unbeatable value for money. Read Less
Sail Date December 2017
Great value cruise chosen to get away in December. Embarkation slow and there was very little time to get ready for muster stations. Seas were very rough for the first 2 days and on the second evening we were hit by a 100 mph plus ... Read More
Great value cruise chosen to get away in December. Embarkation slow and there was very little time to get ready for muster stations. Seas were very rough for the first 2 days and on the second evening we were hit by a 100 mph plus side wind. The ship listed badly with lots of beakages and injuries. The crew coped well and had to turn the ship back for around 20 minutes until it was safe to resume course. A number of us spent the night on deck 7 as cabins on decks 10 to 14 were swaying so badly. It was a relief to dock in Lisbon! Lisbon, Cadiz and Valencia are great places to visit but we could not dock in Ibiza due to the high winds. Gibraltar was excellent. I cannot fault the staff who were great in all the bars and especially in the restaurants. Entertainment was fair but not as good as on some of the Royal Caribbean ships. All in all a great value cruise but it causes me to question the use of Southampton for a winter departure. Read Less
Sail Date December 2017
embarkation was very quick and cases were at the cabin soon after we were given a letter saying noro virus was on board last trip and the ship had been cleaned sunday night going through the bay of biscay we hit a squall of 100 knt winds ... Read More
embarkation was very quick and cases were at the cabin soon after we were given a letter saying noro virus was on board last trip and the ship had been cleaned sunday night going through the bay of biscay we hit a squall of 100 knt winds beam on everything ended up on the floor scared my wife half to death .we had freedom dining which suited us because we like to eat early we found the food not as good as last year but the staff were brilliant.the entertainment was also good exspecialy the barbados group seriouse sounds who we watched 3 times. we missed one island ibiza due to strong winds but managed to do all the rest then we had another letter saying noro virus was back on board fon the monday before coming home i became unwell and stayed in the cabin for the rest of the trip had to have a wheel chair to disenbark from there went straight to hospital and was put on a drip and was diagnosed with gastroenteritis ?norovirus and still not right 12 days later m bennett unhappy cruiser Read Less
Sail Date December 2017
How on earth did P&O get to this? It seems the desire to pack the big ships at all costs is precipitating a race to the bottom, particularly the type of people that now appear on this once great cruise line. We went on the ... Read More
How on earth did P&O get to this? It seems the desire to pack the big ships at all costs is precipitating a race to the bottom, particularly the type of people that now appear on this once great cruise line. We went on the Ventura when she was brand new nearly 10 years ago, and my how things have changed. The overall condition of the ship was OK, the food was satisfactory but could be quite repetitive, the entertainment was actually very good. P&O have generally always had an elderly demographic, but this cruise was like Gods waiting room. We are in our early 40's and felt like children on this cruise. The main issue, more than anything, is how standards have slipped. I am presuming to keep headline costs down to attract the masses, is why they are now charging for absolutely everything. Tea and coffee used to be available all day every day. No bathrobes and slippers anymore. But the real kicker, and this will upset people, is the standard of the clientele that are now on board. Areas of the ship now resemble a Butlins camp, with the type of clientele you'd expect to be there. The point of cruising with P&O, was that it was an experience that was special, exciting, something to really look forward to, out of the ordinary. However, now this is no longer the case. Dress codes have been even more relaxed to now include 'smart jeans'! Never have I seen this before. P&O what are you doing? Half the ship dressed smartly, half off to a football match, totally unacceptable. We spoke to a lot of seasoned cruisers who totally agreed with us.How did P&O go from Canberra to this? We all agreed on one thing, if you want class where everyone makes the effort, go to Cunard. That's certainly what we shall be doing from now on. A once great Cruise line now recuced to this. What a shame. Read Less
Sail Date November 2017
Needed a no fly cruise from Southampton and it was this or the Queen Elizabeth and the latter had no balcony cabins left. Disappointing weather but this obviously not P&O's fault. However, bad weather means passengers spend ... Read More
Needed a no fly cruise from Southampton and it was this or the Queen Elizabeth and the latter had no balcony cabins left. Disappointing weather but this obviously not P&O's fault. However, bad weather means passengers spend much more time indoors and with each other and in their cabins. Air conditioning always dries my sinuses so access to the steam room is always essential but on Day I I was told the free steam room was broken and would not be repaired for the duration of the cruise. However, for £20 a day extra I could use the steam room in the spa. I did a Ladies Pamper session and tried out the steam room which is tiny and decided it was definitely not worth spending any extra money to use it. We asked if I might just use the steam room - for ten minutes a day max and was told absolutely not, only if I paid. The spa feels dingy and although the hot beds are nice, I prefer them on ships where you can look out to sea. I asked about a haircut and how much they would charge. a girl disappeared to find out, then I spotted it on their price list...£51 it says. "From £51" she corrected me. Thats for short hair, yours is long so it would be more. Mine is shoulder length. I queried why it would be more, surely it was easier to cut longer hair? She shrugged. I didn't book. Clearly she could have charged me any sum she fancied. I briefly contemplated chopping my hair off in the cabin first so it qualified as a short hair cut but decided to just wash it instead. Half way through the cruise I picked up the inevitable cold as so many fellow passengers seem to think it is OK to sneeze as they walk around and even in the lifts without covering their noses. After that I spent most of the time in the cabin as I was feeling so rotten. This was where I began to notice all the things that need doing to make the cabin worthy of the description "Luxurious" - see below. A nice bath would have been great but was really difficult to achieve. Also the toilet stopped working on two separate days and each time we were told it was because of the weather and because we were right at the back of the ship!!! So, a temperamental bath and loo and I was feeling rotten anyway. But perhaps it was just as well we were cabin bound as on the penultimate day the Captain announced there had been an outbreak of Norovirus and that we should all take extra care. We took cover. frankly, it was a relief to get home. We have been on around 90 cruises on many different lines and have cruised on Ventura already earlier this year and have been on her before as well as most of the other P&O ships. I would say standards have gone down. Yes it is a friendly ship but management seems somewhat loose. For example, the jacuzzis were being regularly used by small children. So that meant adults like us couldn't use them because we all know that children are not as fastidious as they might be. In fact, maybe that's possibly where the Norovirus outbreak started? No decent films to watch on TV either so mostly watched the (Brexit) news from back home. Not a great holiday. Would not go on Ventura again. Have booked Azura with family in the Spring and just hope it's better - it was last year. However, will be cancelling the fortnight we had tacked on afterwards as I know a week will be quite enough. The only really good thing I can say about the food is that the puddings are pretty poor and as I usually have a sweet tooth, I have come home no heavier than I went away... which is unusual for me. Food quality is inevitably better in the restaurant than in the Wayside Buffet but the service can be very slow, especially as most parents seem to think it is Ok to bring their very small children into dinner and big family tables can be very demanding.The coffee is awful everywhere so you have to go to Costa....or make your own in the cabin which is much better. Shopping holds no temptations either....not good value and very limited range. Headliners were Ok, but not as good as they were last year when they first came onboard. But we were clearly in a minority as the theatre was packed out for every show. Read Less
Sail Date November 2017
This was our second trip to Bruges on a cruise ship but this time was disappointing. This ship carries too many passengers to make the trip to shore a pleasant, stress free experience within the time allocated. We did the organised tour ... Read More
This was our second trip to Bruges on a cruise ship but this time was disappointing. This ship carries too many passengers to make the trip to shore a pleasant, stress free experience within the time allocated. We did the organised tour last time so decided to go it alone and take in the local atmosphere at our own pace this time. There was limited information from P&O on how this would work. The cabin newsletter told us about the free shuttle bus to the nearest rail station where we could catch a train to Bruges, but failed to point out there was a limited rail service due to it being a Sunday - just 1 train per hour. This would have been fine if we knew the times of the trains - our shuttle bus driver announced (as we crossed the railway) that the train we could see below was leaving and the next one was in an hour! There was literally nothing to do in the town where we were dropped as it was shut for winter so we wasted an hour of our shore time waiting for the next train in the cold after a fruitless search for life in the surrounding streets. When we finally found Bruges it was a good 30 minutes from the rail station to the centre which was fine but it made us very aware of time and getting back to the rail station again so we didn't miss the ship! We didn't want to risk catching the last possible train in case of delays or overcrowding so we opted to head back on the 2 pm train. Bruges was heaving because of the Christmas Market so it was difficult to find a place to stop, relax and take in the atmosphere. We finally found a restaurant in a side street that allowed us a beer (although they really wanted us to eat but there was no time) and then the mad dash back to the rail station where everyone else had the same idea. The whole process of train, shuttle bus, gaining access back into the port took the best part of an hour and then the eternal wait while each bus queued outside the ship before being allowed to drop us off. We we outside the ship for another 30 minutes or so - it was really unacceptable. We felt like we were being punished for not taking the organised tour option and regretted going to shore after all, it couldn't be classed as a day in Bruges - more a fleeting half day at best. Very disappointing. The ship itself was tired (so were we in the end) but the cabins were lovely and well equipped, with good sized balconies. Service generally was slow but friendly and the restaurant food was good. We opted for the supplement Indian Restaurant one night and found that superb. However, the cattle market canteens on deck 15 were shocking. Over crowded, impossible to find a table, dried up food - just horrid. The whole experience was topped by a shambles of departure from the ship back at Southampton after a rough weather crossing (not the ship's fault). It was too dangerous to come into port at the scheduled time, so we were sent back to The English Channel until conditions improved. This meant the orderly system for leaving the ship deck by deck went completely out of the window with a 3,000 person queue making its weary exit 4-5 hours after anticipated. There was little food left for breakfast (what was there was dry and shrivelled) - every seat was taken - no cups for drinks while we waiting to dock - it was the party that no one wanted to be part of and we couldn't go back to our rooms as they were being cleaned. As I've mentioned before - it's just too many people in 1 place trying to do the same thing. Never again!! Read Less
Sail Date November 2017
Ventura Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.2
Dining 4.0 3.9
Entertainment 4.0 3.7
Public Rooms 4.0 4.0
Fitness Recreation 4.0 3.9
Family 4.0 3.9
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.5
Enrichment 3.0 3.3
Service 4.0 4.0
Value For Money 4.0 3.6
Rates 3.0 3.9

Find a Cruise

Easily compare prices from multiple sites with one click