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590 Southampton P&O Cruises Ventura Cruise Reviews

We are back from our first ever cruise on Ventura. We would definitely recommend Ventura for first timers. We had a really good time. We were apprehensive but needn't have worried. We chose Ventura as it seemed to have everything we ... Read More
We are back from our first ever cruise on Ventura. We would definitely recommend Ventura for first timers. We had a really good time. We were apprehensive but needn't have worried. We chose Ventura as it seemed to have everything we needed. We didn't want to go on a really big ship with other cruise lines. We didn't want to be overwhelmed. When we arrived at the terminal in Southampton everything went so smoothly. There were lots of people waiting to take our luggage, which they loaded on to trolleys immediately and efficiently. As we entered the terminal, there were people telling us where to go to check in. We were given a big coloured letter and told when the letter was called we would be able to check in. Lots of seats in the terminal and very busy. Our check in time was 15 30. No sooner had we completed the health declaration our letter was called to check in. It was only 13 30! We checked in which took about 5 seconds,and went through security in about 10 minutes and then onto the ship! It was so smooth. No problems whatsoever. No hassle, no discomfort. S well organized. As soon as we got on the ship we were welcomed by a very friendly, smiling crew member who directed us which way to the buffet and our cabins, which we found eventually, which was fun! Very impressed with the buffet. I had read that on embarkation days the buffet is always a mad rush, but it wasn't! It was very civilized. The food was very good as were all our meals all through the cruise. Our meals in the Bay Tree restaurant were excellent every single time and the service was always first class. We had club dining which was fine as there was four of us and we had our own table for four which I preferred. Our time was 18 30, which we felt was a little early for us. We may try freedom dining on our next cruise. Our cabin was a balcony cabin. The balcony was quite large. The cabin was surprisingly spacious and the bed was very comfortable. There was plenty of storage space. Bathroom and shower was small but adequate. We explored the ship which was big with plenty of bars and restaurants. Our favourite bars were Metropolis and the Terrace. The atrium was lovely with plenty of seats, Costa Coffee, library and Explorers where we booked an excursion very easily and quickly. Our excursion to The Heart of La Palma was excellent and very well organised, but expensive. The entertainment was very good. We went to the Havana Bar and the Arena a few times. We did find that it was sometimes a bit of a rush to get from our evening meal to the venues in time to get a good seat, but we managed it ok We went to the gym and to a few lectures which were good. We also used the spa which was a little overpriced, but very nice. We thought the daytime activities were good, but a bit repetitive towards the end of the cruise. You can only have so many quizzes! Disembarkation was quite smooth. We thought we were in for a long wait but we were kept informed as to what was happening. We all had our own area to wait to disembark and it was all quite orderly. We collected our luggage fairly easily. All in all we had a wonderful time and we are looking to book our next cruise very soon Read Less
Sail Date October 2016
After a poor 2015 cruise on Aurora, we decided to give P&O another chance. Glad we did as the this was a very enjoyable cruise. Food, service and entertainment where excellent with a wide range of restaurants and bars to suit all ... Read More
After a poor 2015 cruise on Aurora, we decided to give P&O another chance. Glad we did as the this was a very enjoyable cruise. Food, service and entertainment where excellent with a wide range of restaurants and bars to suit all tastes and purses. Beach House was especially good and well worth the small surcharge, however we did miss the outside dining area which was tagged onto Beach House on Aurora, Sindhu was a disappointment with the food rather bland for a " Indian " restaurant. Classical pianist ( sorry i forgot her name and the singer Jenny, where both excellent ) After several disappointing cruises backed up by previous reviews it does appear that P&O have improved for which they must be praised. Only downside, not P&O fault was on disembarking at Southampton we sat on the coach at 8:45 which did not leave until 10:30 as we where waiting for passengers. Read Less
Sail Date October 2016
chose this cruise as it was a British ship 11 nights on the Ventura first time with p&o. We had a fabulous time really enjoyed it nice inside cabin cabin steward was fantastic. Food was very good nice venues plenty to do. The captain ... Read More
chose this cruise as it was a British ship 11 nights on the Ventura first time with p&o. We had a fabulous time really enjoyed it nice inside cabin cabin steward was fantastic. Food was very good nice venues plenty to do. The captain was very nice and entertainment was good. Excellent sail away parties and very good entertainment. Drinks prices were OK and lots of nice shopping. Time ashore was very good. Only one we did not like was Vigo but that was our choice did not go onnany of the excursion so can not comment on them but all ports were eassy accessible. Embarkation and de embarkation was very well organization. Very bimpressed traveled by coach from Washington. Lots of elderly people on board but children's facilities were very good. We did not use the spar at all. Went to see some of the films shown on the afternoon Read Less
Sail Date October 2016
We just wanted a short break and this fitted the bill for my daughter and I, she is 31 and I am 62. We were in cabin E120.I have been on Venture on a 14 nighter but my daughter had never cruised before. Ship was still nice and kept clean ... Read More
We just wanted a short break and this fitted the bill for my daughter and I, she is 31 and I am 62. We were in cabin E120.I have been on Venture on a 14 nighter but my daughter had never cruised before. Ship was still nice and kept clean and tidy. We only ate in the buffet restaurant and we both said the food was excellent. On the last night there was the most flavorsome indian selection. The roast was good too. We also went for the cream tea's there....very nice. We used room service for breakfast and one night for dinner. We wanted a laid back cruise so did not attend the formal night but enjoyed dinner in the cabin and a couple of films. (Sad I know) The theater show was "Walk like a Man" (jersey boys), Brilliant show. Live singers in the Havana bar were a "Take That" group of 3. BUT...........and a BIG BUT !!!! This was a 3 night Cruise and the same entertainment was on for two of the nights in both of the main entertainment areas. This was NOT a good idea. We felt like we had been taken for granted and robbed of an evenings entertainment after paying for it. We enjoyed it once very much but didnt want to see it again. We went on the" Brugge on your own" coach from the ship which was £35pp and convenient. No messing about. They take you in to Brugge with a courier and leave you in the centre and you meet back up at a certain time. Nice trip. The ques to get back on the ship took 30 minutes. Also when we got on the ship I requested we were removed from the auto gratuities, so we could tip the staff who served us as we did not use the main restaurants. Checked the bill on the last day and they had added the gratuities onto our bill. I wasnt happy but it was a bit late in the day to go to reception and spoil a nice break with an argument, I didnt bother. This was half term and the ship was packed. There was one swimming area that was full to the brim with families and children having a lot of fun, it was exceptionally loud but they were all happy. There were lots other areas you could go that were quieter if you didnt like it. Dress code was very very laid back day and evening. We didnt do the formal night so cant comment. We had a nice dinner by free room service and watched films in the room as we were happy to just chill. The first day was spent at sea.......the engine was off and we were just bobbing around off the coast of England on a sea that was flat and calm. I would recommend this ship for a short cruise up to a week but I dont think I would go on her for any longer, I think the sparkle is missing a little now.. We both enjoyed our little break, very much. I have put on a cabin review for E120. Read Less
Sail Date October 2016
Where to start?A booking of Four which included two frail passengers needing two nearby cabin,s placed fifty cabins apart? .I know that because I counted them every morning. They said we had got a special price and couldn't choose ... Read More
Where to start?A booking of Four which included two frail passengers needing two nearby cabin,s placed fifty cabins apart? .I know that because I counted them every morning. They said we had got a special price and couldn't choose but with the state of our health a bit of flexibility would not have gone amiss. We have travelled with most cruise lines and never had any trouble. Forty pounds for a shampoo and blow? Did I take it? No.Fifteen pounds for a book of bingo tickets? Did I play? No. Hair dryers with pins that wouldn't fit into the socket? Could we use them? No. Barely a morning in Gibraltar which we had so looked forward to visiting? Didn't even get as far as Marks and Spencers. On the plus side the cabin staff and catering staff were great. Maybe they should let them run the ship. Would I take a cruise with P and O again? No. Read Less
Sail Date October 2016
Do not pay any attention to poor reviews about this ship..... This was our 2nd cruise on Ventura,and there was nothing at all negative about our time onboard.Some people,it seems,just have to moan about something.P and O are a good ... Read More
Do not pay any attention to poor reviews about this ship..... This was our 2nd cruise on Ventura,and there was nothing at all negative about our time onboard.Some people,it seems,just have to moan about something.P and O are a good company,and Ventura a good ship.Book,go,and enjoy.Far from being "tired",or "in need of updating",the cabins,restuarants,bars,shops,and all public areas are very cosy and stylish.The food onboard,be it in the main dining rooms,self service buffet areas,or speciality restaurants is always of a high standard.The staff are all attentive,helpful,and above all,very good at what they do.And what they all do is ensure you have a wonderful holiday whilst onboard.The entertainment is high quality and varied,with something for everyone.I certainly never saw signs of boredom or dissatisfaction as mentioned in some reviews.Embarkation and disembarkation was extremely efficient,as were the procedures and facilities available for going ashore at ports of call.So to sum up,if you take any notice of the negative reviews and decide not to cruise on Ventura,you will deprive yourself the opportunity to enjoy a brilliant ship,and a wonderful holiday.I only returned home from the cruise yesterday,and this is an honest review,with no connection to P and O cruises,except from being a satisfied customer. Read Less
Sail Date October 2016
This was our first time on Ventura for 3 years, and she remains one of our favourite ships. I was a bit wary of what the weather would be like in early November but it was much better than I feared. Embarkation in the refurbished ... Read More
This was our first time on Ventura for 3 years, and she remains one of our favourite ships. I was a bit wary of what the weather would be like in early November but it was much better than I feared. Embarkation in the refurbished Mayflower Terminal was excellent. Our check-in time was 15:30, but we arrived at 13:15 and had dropped car off, checked in, boarded and got to our cabin within 25 minutes, with luggage already there. There were some minor areas where Ventura could do with a bit of TLC, such as stains on the bed valance, carpets on stair edges and in buffet frayed, and the gold covering on panels in lifts peeling off - but these are just minor cosmetic issues. We chose this cruise because we had not yet been to three of ports: Valencia, Ibiza and Cartagena. And we loved all three ports. Valencia - lovely city, although shuttle bus needed as berth is on the outer limits of the port. Terminal was non-existent, just an empty tent, with no welcome at all. Got bus into city, about 4 miles and did own thing, someone to give maps out would have been nice, but nothing. Ibiza - the old town is beautiful. We walked from the berth, takes about 30 mins but pleasant walk past apartments and hotels. Port workers here were giving out maps but they were of the island, not the town centre, but the town is compact enough not to really need a map. Cartagena - ship berths in city centre, Roman Theatre was impressive and only 5 mins walk from the ship. Read Less
Sail Date October 2016
Overall this was a pleasure with, if I want to be picky, a few grouches. Ship can get a bit overcrowded and shovey if you turn up at peak times for meals in buffet restaurants. Also, to be sniffy, some passengers would seem ... Read More
Overall this was a pleasure with, if I want to be picky, a few grouches. Ship can get a bit overcrowded and shovey if you turn up at peak times for meals in buffet restaurants. Also, to be sniffy, some passengers would seem close chums of portly Onslow and family in that Mrs Bucket comedy series. Or the Royle family on their hols. Brits abroad who let us down. Swilling drinks, shouty, bit whiffy, tattoed, smokers, regular belchers and trumpers, string vests and they care not a jot for other passengers. P&O try hard to maintain good standards but just a few passengers foil them! Not P&O's fault. Food, entertainment, crew and facilities are all good or excellent. Showers are a bit small with no doors, just curtains. Ship looks a bit tired and rusty in places but overall decor etc was good. Very good song and dance team. Theatre is a bit too small so get there about an hour earlier to ensure seats. Best to avoid school holidays. Sometimes have to go up and down stairs or lifts too much to reach restaurants if you're infirm. Conclusion.....Well worth sampling Ventura but some passengers said they also agreed with us that RCI was a bit better. The debate goes on......All depends who you chat to. Edith Evans would not enjoy. Read Less
Sail Date November 2016
First time sailing with P&O, but it will not be the last. We had to be on board at 2.30pm but we arrive at the dock at 1pm thought that we would have a long wait to get on board but we were told to join the line of people follow them ... Read More
First time sailing with P&O, but it will not be the last. We had to be on board at 2.30pm but we arrive at the dock at 1pm thought that we would have a long wait to get on board but we were told to join the line of people follow them to the main hall fill in the medial cards, when our number was called to go to the counter get our information put on record was given our cabin and accounts card and pass throw security and on to the ship all in 15 to 20 mins {not bad time in all}. The staff on board were most helpful as my husband suffers from IBF [Lactose intolerance to daily milk cheese & butter] the restaurants bent over backwards to have meals that he could eat. Room service most helpful in having Lactose free milk so we could enjoy the tea & coffee in our cabin. The only things about the cruise that we find off putting was the Black Tie and Evening wear nights [3 in 10 days cruise] which we find to much it also does not leave many place to eat if you do not want to dress up, also they must do something about the channels on the TV they are very poor in programmers. As we do not tend to go to the shows, this cruise we find they were some entertaining. When come to Disembarking the ship we find again no problem we had the choice of take our suit cases off ship yourself or wait and be called later in the morning to collect them in the warehouse. Read Less
Sail Date November 2016
I went with my husband, elderly mother and father (80) and brother. We had balcony rooms on R deck. This is the second cruise for my husband and I and we used Princess last time so had something to compare with. I cannot fault this cruise ... Read More
I went with my husband, elderly mother and father (80) and brother. We had balcony rooms on R deck. This is the second cruise for my husband and I and we used Princess last time so had something to compare with. I cannot fault this cruise as all 5 of us enjoyed it and would love to cruise using P&O again. Embankment was no problem, bags were taken from us as soon as we arrived and we were in our rooms in less than an hour. The balcony rooms are lovely and clean and the views are fantastic. Balcony furniture is ideal. I noticed the balcony fronts were always kept clean so views were not compromised. The food was amazing and we used Freedom Dining as our option due there being five of us. We used all available restaurants within the Freedom Dining arrangement and we were never disappointed with the quality, service or menus. You are able to visit three other restaurants on the ship but they incur a service charge but we were very happy with the food experience without adding further expense. I enjoyed the entertainment however the men in our party were not so keen. The dancers and singers gave thier all. The arena was a full house every night and the comedians had us laughing. I would have liked more educational talks in the day but 3000 people are a lot to please. Ports were lovely to visit and enjoyed them all. P&O have shuttle busses laid on which are great. We had rain on some days so a bit of a damper but that had nothing to do with P&O. Staff were so professional and we felt truly pampered. We all enjoyed the cruise and would love to do it all again. Read Less
Sail Date November 2016
Just arrived back from our first P&O cruise. Sailed on Ventura 23 November. Overall we felt we received good value for money having booked fairly late and received a good price with generous onboard credit. Embarkation efficiency ... Read More
Just arrived back from our first P&O cruise. Sailed on Ventura 23 November. Overall we felt we received good value for money having booked fairly late and received a good price with generous onboard credit. Embarkation efficiency was excellent and even though we were early we were on board within 20 minutes of arriving at the port. Disembarkation was equally efficient. The cabin was clean and in good condition given the number of passengers to have used it before us. Had a problem with our shower day 2 which was resolved by changing the shower head. The showers were good with sufficient pressure and we never found a lack of hot water. Our steward was superb and always had a smile and a welcome greeting. We found many other staff onboard to be less engaging and some appeared, dare I say, somewhat miserable. Food was decent quality although little of low fat variety unless you were happy with ham salad and fruit each day. We were Freedom dining and found service in the restaurant to be fairly slow so only ate there twice. Food in the Beach House (surcharge) was excellent and better service. Didn't try the poolside grill or pizzeria so can't comment on food quality from those eateries. Similarly we didn't dine in any of the other speciality restaurants. Disappointingly the outside pool was unavailable during the most part of our cruise for repair although other pools and hot tubs were available. We are smokers and have cruised with Celebrity whose staff ensure ashtrays are emptied regularly and smoking areas are kept as clean as other areas. We found this was not the case with P&O on our cruise. The tables on deck 15 were particularly poor (often dirty with meal remnants as well as other stains) and ashtrays often overflowing. Deck 7 was ok and deck 15 aft and deck 16 were better. The enetertainment was pretty good and some excellent guest acts. Would recommend the juggling if you want a workout, we still feel it in the back of our legs (picking up dropped balls)! Overall I will stress we enjoyed our cruise and felt we received value for money. The cruise didn't compare well to Celebrity but given the price differential this is understandable. We would definitely consider sailing with P&O again and would consider Ventura if it were going to the destinations we wanted. Read Less
Sail Date November 2016
We booked this cruise because of the 5 destinations we had never been to 4 of them: La Coruna, Cadiz, Gibraltar and Lisbon. Malaga we'd visited many times but nonetheless it was still great to go back. All the ports were excellent. ... Read More
We booked this cruise because of the 5 destinations we had never been to 4 of them: La Coruna, Cadiz, Gibraltar and Lisbon. Malaga we'd visited many times but nonetheless it was still great to go back. All the ports were excellent. The cruise overall was an excellent value for money deal. Also, we've booked a 2017 cruise on the Ventura with an elderly relative and a wheelchair user so we used this opportunity to check out the ship's facilities which seemed excellent. I'll report back on how that trip goes in August 2017. We travelled by rail to Southampton - a dangerous thing to rely on in the current Southern Rail crisis as it turned out but we left a huge margin for delays and train cancellations. The Ventura is huge and we are relatively new to cruising but the ship felt spacious and, very occasionally, not particularly crowded. The public areas were clean and well presented. My greatest fear was getting caught up in lengthy embarkation and disembarkation queues, and thus wasting precious shore time, but, apart from Gibraltar, getting on and off was handled very efficiently throughout and many passengers seemed to stay on the ship in most ports anyway. There was only half a day in Gibraltar which was not enough by general passenger consensus. Most of the ship's population seemed to want to get off to grab some duty free. Port and ship staff just couldn't process everyone on and off before the scheduled departure time and the queue was nearly an hour to get back on. We had a basic balcony cabin B612 which was excellent. The double bed, apart from the annoying two singles pushed together scenario, was otherwise comfortable and our cabin steward superb. The TV access to our on-board account worked but was incredibly slow. WiFi was expensive at some £12 per day for the intermediate package (ie. no streaming) so we used that on sea days. Outbound, the ship rolled around quite extensively in the Bay of Biscay - surprisingly so (to me anyway) for such a big ship and it was not stormy by any stretch. That coincided unfortunately with our booking in the Sindhu restaurant which was a bit wasted. Yet the food there (and in the Epicurean) was mostly delicious although there was far too much of it. Most of the time we opted for freedom dining in the evening and sat at tables with 6 - 10 people rather than wait typically 40 minutes for a table for two; that proved enjoyable overall and it was nice to meet new people each evening. Freedom dining menus also made it easier to manage portion size compared to the speciality dining and the overall food quality was excellent; I really do not understand some of the reviews that criticise the choice and/or quality of the meals on this ship. Other meals we tended to go for the self service options which had some deliciously healthy salady things as well as mega-calorie options. I can quite believe the unashamedly blatant factoid in the Horizon newsletter that the average passenger gains 7 - 14 lbs on a cruise like this (and so should attend the exercise sessions!). I put on just 2 lbs which was a relief really. Service throughout the ship - in the bars and restaurants - was pretty faultless really given the scale of the operation and numbers of people involved. We went on a 'behind the scenes' tour of the ship which, although a tad expensive, was fascinating, awesome in parts, and most reassuring. A fascinating half hour on the bridge was the highlight of my time on the Ventura. The port excursion desk staff were friendly although not that helpful at enabling independent touring which was actually quite easy in the ports visited. The P&O port guide leaflets highlighted the key must-see sites in each location but generally omitted to show where they were on the map or explain how to get there. Other websites had provided us with the information needed to do our own thing. In La Coruna, for example, we took a (superbly efficient) train to Santiago de Compostela for 19 euros return (for two) rather than £72 for the coach excursion - far more thought and planning involved for sure, but fun also. We did book a P&O excursion for Gibraltar (Secrets of the Rock) which was absolutely superb and really helped make maximum use of the limited time there for us as first-time visitors. The Horizon daily newsletter and hotel team broadcast the huge variety of activities available. I particularly enjoyed the astronomy lecturer on sea days. I tried out a spa back and neck massage treatment which was excellent and my partner swore by the efficacy of a few acupuncture sessions. There were a number of free health related talks but you did need to be prepared for a hard sell should you opt for an individual follow up session. For example, we had some very dubious "body composition tests" carried out following one of the talks which, according to the 'professional', pointed to the urgent need need to invest in a course of detoxifying tablets costing many hundreds of pounds. As ever, it's always best to take results like these away and review what to do in the cold light of day. Not surprisingly, a large area of the ship seems solely geared towards shopping or otherwise extracting money from passengers. Entertainment was mixed and down to personal taste. So I'm not going to comment on it! Final disembarkation was fine for us - we weren't in a rush because Southern Rail had cancelled our train. We were off the ship and out of the terminal ahead of our notified disembarkation time. However, there was some chaos and visible frayed tempers in the Tamarind Bar during the process I think because the system for managing the large groups of passengers was a bit random and unfair. So, a most enjoyable trip and the first cruise for which I am delighted to award an overall excellent rating. This experience compared very favourably to a much less satisfactory short cruise on the P&O Oriana which I've also reviewed on this site. Read Less
Sail Date November 2016
First cruise and first time on the Ventura. Absolutely fantastic ship and we had a great time on the whole. It was all a bit mystifying initially. Embarkation was smooth but once on board it got totally confusing. Very few signs and ... Read More
First cruise and first time on the Ventura. Absolutely fantastic ship and we had a great time on the whole. It was all a bit mystifying initially. Embarkation was smooth but once on board it got totally confusing. Very few signs and port and starboard passageways were done in identical colours which didnt help. Some people tied ribbons at various parts of the ship as a landmark. Main signs were in grey/orange so unreadable. We had to help a few lost elderly people over the course of the trip and likewise others helped us. Having said all that the food was fantastic particularly at fine dining. We had 4 formal nights I think and dressing up was great fun. For those worried about formal nights I can only say Tuxedos are cheap and a bow ties cost little so dont worry and enjoy the experience. The remaining nights are smart casual which I dressed up for as well. Lots of people seem to worry about this but dont and dont miss out on the fine dining. For those that havnt been before there are washing machines,tumble dryers and ironing boards on each accommodation deck and they are free. Dont forget your washing liquid (detergent blocks x 2 for £.60 in shop). The food was amazing. We had everything from Lobster to Beef Wellington. You can go to the Buffet on deck 15 but its plain fare (lots of it) and I avoided this as much as I could. It was obvious that many people gave the fine dining a miss so I guess its whatever you feel comfortable with. You can have lunch in the Saffron restaurant and high tea there as well. This it waiter service also and yet again the food was fantastic. 15,000 meals provided each day by 165 chefs we were informed. The cabins are a decent size and spotless. Beds are amazingly comfortable. No need to bring toiletries as they are provided. You can buy them in Port if you run out. The cabin attendant will clean your room continuously so remember your do not disturb sign when necessary. We had a basic inside cabin. You could go for an outside but not sure its worth the cost. Entertainment was a mixed bag but overall it was enjoyed. Most of our group enjoyed what was provided. Theres several acts on each night so you are bound to find something that floats your boat. The decor was fantastic just like any top class hotel and better than most. Bar areas were nice and the the central area of deck 6 was great for pictures. The ships photographers were annoying ++++ Our Ports of call were good but there was never enough time such as you might have if you were staying over. The excursions are expensive so we didnt book any but if you have the money they are probably a good way to see more of the places visited plus the "not to miss " sights which are invariably out of town. Just a footnote here, the coaches to town are not worth the money in my opinion. For a 5 minute drive it was £4 each way so if your a couple thats £16. Most people walk and thats what I will be doing in future. Drinks wise a Pint is about £3.95 but a glass of wine is around £6. P&O allow you to bring a bottle of wine per person on board. That was handy. Most other cruise dont allow any alcohol and some even confiscate water. I was advised that NCL are one of the strictest so you will never catch me travelling with them as a matter of principle. Hats off to P&O on this one. Water can be bought on board at about £10 for 6 small bottles. Oh a litre of Teachers (duty free) was £8.50 on board. It was even cheaper in Gibralter. I bought a Litre of Bombay Saphire there for £7. Claymore whiskey was £3.40 a litre just to give you an idea. A decent btl of wine about 2.9 Euros. Our cruise did not experience any bad weather of note so most of the time it was hard to believe you were on a ship just in case you havnt been and are worried about that aspect of your trip. Met met lots of cruise addicts who were on their 40th 50th 60th cruise. One elderly chap had managed 66. All gave us helpful tips on what to do and not do (never leave your washing or ironing unattended or they could get stolen). I was a bit gobsmacked at that one but yes its true. With about 3000 people on board anything can happen. I should say here that fares booked in advance can be extremely cheap. This cruise was for us but others paid almost double what we did .Lastly gratuities are £5.50 per person per day. Its an awful way to be paying staff. We paid it and gave several staff tips on top. Its down to yourself as to how you want to manage that one. All that said a fantastic experience. We have already lined up our next 2 cruises. I hope this rather lengthy message is of help to anyone who are planning to go on their first cruise or are considering one. Read Less
Sail Date November 2016
Thought we would give P&O a try as they are held in such high esteem by their past customers, maybe I set my expectations too high? We selected a 10 day Iberia cruise in an outside unobstructed cabin The departure port was Southampton ... Read More
Thought we would give P&O a try as they are held in such high esteem by their past customers, maybe I set my expectations too high? We selected a 10 day Iberia cruise in an outside unobstructed cabin The departure port was Southampton which was a first for us. Here are my thoughts about my 14th cruise but first with P&O. I have cruised with 5 other cruise lines. Positives - It was a reasonable price for a 10 day cruise, the entertainment was good and the staff on the whole were efficient, hard working and polite but not over friendly (which suits me). The itinerary was good (except Gibraltar) and the bar/entertainment areas were nice to visit in the evening. We really enjoyed all the entertainment and drinks prices were reasonable. There were quite a few negatives however which will put me off cruising with P&O again. The cabin was dated and small, the age profile of the other guests was extremely old (I am in my 50's and felt young) Everyone was British so on board, it was like a sketch from Little Britain and didn't feel like a med cruise when returning on board each day. The dining room experience was extremely rushed and the 2 person tables were very very close to the next table so no privacy at all. The food in the dining room was uninspiring, I felt that they were working to a budget. Mains such as pies, fish, cornish pasty etc cropping up more than once. Boring food, very disappointing and just the 3 courses! My starter was virtually removed while I was still chewing and replaced immediately by my main course so the dining experience was around 30 minutes in total most nights. The staff worked hard but the ratio of staff to cruisers meant that they had no time to chat and build a rapport which is a first for me on a cruise Apart from a couple of Indian nights in the buffet we felt that the choice and availability of food was the worst we had seen on any cruise. A roast dinner and one other choice plus a very sad salad and desert bar. It closes very early and by around 9 pm there was a tiny station still left open. Pizza bases were not even freshly made on board, a minor thing but summed up the lack of effort for me. Lastly, I felt that the rigorous enforcement of the dress code was very out dated when compared to up market lines such as Celebrity or Holland America. They were happy for you to wear a cheap black suit and tie but not to wear an expensive smart outfit? Why? Consequently I think it attracts its fair share of "twopence ha'penny millionaires" which is quite amusing to watch but sad for P&O as surely they won't survive. Its a package holiday remember and only a 3* at that so they need to improve and move with the times. I am British but will not be selecting P&O again sadly. Read Less
Sail Date November 2016
We have just come back from a cruise on the Ventura. We were on it in April 2016 and everything was ok. They seem to have cut costs on the food. Used to get 4 - 5 king prawns with a prawn cocktail now lots of little ones with no taste. ... Read More
We have just come back from a cruise on the Ventura. We were on it in April 2016 and everything was ok. They seem to have cut costs on the food. Used to get 4 - 5 king prawns with a prawn cocktail now lots of little ones with no taste. Steaks have shrunk to half the size and depth also lacking taste. Breakfasts are good except for the toast. Tea time in the waterside buffet was not worth going to tasteless sandwiches. Curled up toasties. Hard Teacakes. The cabin was good (De luxe balcony). They have also increased the cost of using the internet. Its now £12 for 24hours for browsing and we used to get 120 mins for £35. I had already booked to go on the Azura in april 2017 and i hope its not the same as ventura or we shall be going to another cruise company. Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
My first cruise on Ventura was back in 2010 when I was not impressed with the ship, so it was with some in trepidation that I returned to her. However, I must say that I was most impressed with the improvements I found. I am a frequent ... Read More
My first cruise on Ventura was back in 2010 when I was not impressed with the ship, so it was with some in trepidation that I returned to her. However, I must say that I was most impressed with the improvements I found. I am a frequent cruiser having done over 50 cruises with more than 10 cruise lines. Ventura and Azura are the largest ships I have travelled on and now I am starting to recognise the benefits of a larger ship. I had priority boarding but there were a lot of frequent cruisers (Caribbean level and above) on this cruise. However, I was still on board within 20 minutes of arriving at the port. There have been many comments about the state of Ventura with the ship being tired and in need of a refit. Yes, there is some worn carpet but it took me two days to find one stair that had some threads showing. To be honest I didn’t look that hard as I was enjoying myself. Given reports of norovirus on many ships it was good to see that there were staff cleaning lift controls and stair banisters on a regular basis. I went on this cruise with the intention of having a rest and to get some sun. This was achieved as both crossings of the Bay of Biscay were smooth and once clear of the bay it was t-shirt and shorts weather. Good weather in the Canaries and Agadir. I only took the shuttle in port where available and the most surprising port was Agadir – so much nicer than Casablanca – and well worth getting off the ship to see. I was on club dining and had the second sitting with a table of singles. Service was very good with all courses being served in time to get to any of the 10:30 shows. Menus were very good and seem to be the new ones that P&O planned to introduce. A good choice of six starters, three soups plus a salad. Mains usually had a choice of six or seven plus a further three regional/regular ones. Deserts also had a good selection with a couple of ice cream choices. As usual there was cheese and stilton available and the waiters were keen to give a large portion. Entertainment can be a bit hit or miss but as the ship has three main entertainment areas, there was a good selection to choose from in addition to entertainment in various bars and atrium. Some shows were very well attending with standing room only if you arrived close to the starting time. One downside was that there was only one speaker who gave seven talks. These were of interest to me but may not appeal to everyone. Some days, a film was shown in the theatre in the afternoon. I never had any difficulty finding a seat on deck or in any of the bars with the exception of the coffee shop. I had booked an HF grade cabin which was upgraded to an HB one. This was mid-ships on R deck and apart from some noise with people walking on the deck above was fine. My cabin stewardess saw that I always took an early breakfast so always serviced the cabin by the time I had finished breakfast. Food in the alternative restaurants was very good and the menus changed for the second week of the cruise. There were some early dining offers where a bottle of wine was included if you booked for 6:30 or earlier. I also sampled the food/wine pairing meal in the Glasshouse which was good value compared to other lines. Staff in all areas of the ship were friendly and keen to help and many would say hello as you went around the ship. SO, would I go in Ventura again? Answer is yes and have a further three cruises booked on her. The ship met my expectations, not as elegant as say the Cunard Queens but more than adequate for a winter break. You can find issues on most ships, but none spoilt my enjoyment of this cruise. Read Less
Sail Date January 2017
We chose this company because we were told that P & O were the best around so we booked a 16 day holiday around the Canary Islands in celebration of my wife,s birthday.Getting on the ship was fairly quick and easy,with plenty of ... Read More
We chose this company because we were told that P & O were the best around so we booked a 16 day holiday around the Canary Islands in celebration of my wife,s birthday.Getting on the ship was fairly quick and easy,with plenty of helpful and friendly staff to assist with embarkation.We had booked a room with a balcony,which we found to be ok in size with lots of room for all our clothes etc.We found the cabin steward,Suresh,was always friendly and helpful,nothing was too much trouble. We were allocated "Freedom Dining" in the Cinammon Restaurant which meant we could go in there at any time in the evening.The trouble was that if we wanted a table for two there was almost always a wait of anywhere between 20 and 40 minutes.The staff in the restaurant were great and nothing was too much trouble but the food was repetative with not too much choiceAlso on other cruises we have been on the food was delivered to your table with dishes of vegetables served seperately but here everything was plated and then delivered to your table.In the mornings we had breakfast in the buffets on Platform 15.This was always packed and more often than not we had trouble finding a table Often there were people just sitting at the window seats just reading books obviousely that was their seat for the day.There were queues for everything.Also the food was almost everytime cold,and during the whole holiday I never once had a soft yolked egg There wasn't a great deal of choice either.In the end we never bothered about breakfast.We ate at lunchtimes at the pool grill but even the burger and chips were frequently cold The onboard entertainment was great especially the staff with the only reservation was that people were rushing in the venues approx.two hours before the shows to make sure they got their seats,making it sometimes impossible to get into the show you wanted to see. At the various ports it was always easy to get on and off the ship with the staff being friendly helpful and professional in their efforts. We only went on one excursion which was to Benfica Football Stadium in Lisbon.That was well run with friendly and knowledgeable staff,even giving us a tour of the city on the way back We found that the staff were great with nothing being too much trouble On the whole the ship was good,the staff great ,the food OK but not great.It was just that we were expecting something very special and it did not reach those heights Read Less
Sail Date January 2017
We chose this ship and P&O because Cunard did not sail at the time we wanted. It was our first time to the Caribbean and coincided with our 40th Anniversary. We had not expected Ventura to rival Queen Elizabeth and chose a Superior ... Read More
We chose this ship and P&O because Cunard did not sail at the time we wanted. It was our first time to the Caribbean and coincided with our 40th Anniversary. We had not expected Ventura to rival Queen Elizabeth and chose a Superior Deluxe Balcony cabin for the extra room and facilities indicated. In this respect Ventura provided all we asked for with a good walk-in clothes space and a generous-sized bathroom. However the soft furnishings were rather shabby and the bed/settee sagging and uncomfortable. This is inexcusable when you have paid extra for a comfortable cabin which you want to spend time in. Nor did four days without heating help - or the lack of interest by the staff on reception - one of whom suggested we were lying about ever having complained. All was eventually sorted - but it is not how you wish to start your holiday. At least we were near the lifts and just two decks up from the main dining rooms, so it was easier to walk. Our cabin steward was friendly, efficient and helpful. Whatever else the Ventura is, it is not Cunard and has little wow factor or style about its public areas. The grand atrium is anything but and the scenic lifts are bit of a gimmick. I was surprised to learn that the dance floor at the bottom was introduced in a recent refit as it seems something of an afterthought. Photographs of the tightly packed sun loungers around the various pools on the upper decks suggested these would be like Clacton on a Bank Holiday Monday and so they proved. As we are not into sunning ourselves to a dark shade of mahogany this was not on our agenda and one advantage of cruise liners of all kinds is that you can pick and choose the parts you wish to inhabit. My partner, however, greatly appreciated a swim at the crack of dawn with a few other hardy souls. Both of the daytime speakers - criminologist going out and army/war-time expert on the return leg - were excellent. And they played to packed audiences. There were some good films on most afternoons and later on we discovered more were available on the TV. Entertainment could be found in some of the bars and club areas but the headline acts were in the theatre. The Headliners house troupe of singers and dancers were excellent and of West End standards. But the support acts on other evenings were somewhat second rate and the three comedians without exception terrible. One was so bad we walked out - only to find half the audience following us. Someone needs to do some equalities training within the entertainment department. Some of the 'jokes' are not acceptable in the 21st Century and given that the average age of the paying guests on this trip were 60 and over these comedians need to tailor their acts rather more - it is not clever to insult your audience. Food - well there's plenty of it. But not of very high quality, rather bland and, with very few exceptions, very forgettable. The menus are huge - and given that you are given very little time to peruse them it would be better to reduce the options and improve the quality. Marco Pierre White was supposed to have devised menus for formal nights but this got a bit out of kilter on this trip which rather spoils the point of dressing up for something special. And expensive ingredients are sometimes highlighted but are actually subservient when they appear on the plate which is just not on. We had a regular table for two on the second sitting and I must say our table crew worked their socks off and were always affable and obliging. There are other dining options at extra cost. The Epicurian calls itself fine dining and aims higher but falls victim to gimmicks which are unnecessary at best while on a long 28 day cruise like this one become stale and rather irritating. Wine is generally far cheaper that on Cunard albeit with a more limited choice. Another paid-for dining experience is Sindhu - an Asian establishment overseen by Michelin starred Atul Kucher - but we found it very little if at all better than our local in London. And who ever thought that the horizontal bamboo screen was a suitable sound barrier from the cacophony of chatter as people walked by on the main internal deck? Or for that matter, the walls of passenger mug shots outside to gaze upon? The biggest surprise was Ollie Smith's Glasshouse wine bar. Food can be a bit hit and miss at many wine bars but this had that standout ingredient TASTE. My first lunch here was calves liver - two large, tender, perfectly-cooked pieces simply bursting with flavour. On later visits we had excellent fish and chips and you could also opt for light bite platters by choosing three items from an extensive list. All excellent. Port and shore excursions were generally as we expected but while initial embarkation had been faultless disembarkation was a nightmare. This was made worse by us being from the theatre. We were encouraged to come down from the rear of the theatre - where most people enter from - and then the person in 'charge' got all huffy about people standing and started spouting health and safety. All the outer seats were taken by people with mobility issues so we had to scramble over them carry heavy hand luggage. My back was put out for several weeks as a result. The MC then said people would leave from the front row but he completely ignored dozens of others streaming down from the higher tiers on the far side until people in the second and third rows complained very vocally. To be fair he was on his own and back-up stewards were really required to prevent cheating. But this fiasco made a mockery of health and safety. The cruise was good overall, with calm seas and excellent weather. That said we will probably not venture on the Ventura again or any other large P&0 cruise liner. We have booked Oriana later in the year and hope that this may be more us. We've heard good reports and it has just had a refit. Here's hoping. Read Less
Sail Date January 2017
On arrival at the terminal you were herded by colour cards to your point of registration,as we were on our honeymoon and booked the cabin we wanted months in advance,we were shocked to be told our cabin had been changed to a cabin on the ... Read More
On arrival at the terminal you were herded by colour cards to your point of registration,as we were on our honeymoon and booked the cabin we wanted months in advance,we were shocked to be told our cabin had been changed to a cabin on the same deck,P&O staff said it was an up grade,not an upgrade to my wife who was upset at this change to a holiday she had been looking forward to.Once onboard we complained but staff did not give a reasonable explanation,later we found out P&O could move you if a person who had cruised with them on a lot of cruises and used that cabin before they could request it so first time cruise person could be moved.I was also informed that as an x serviceman I could claim £250 off the cruise price.The food at allocated dining room on this cruise was poor,potatoes were hard ,veg over and under cooked the toast at breakfast was thin and brittle fried bread was like a frisbee.The wine in the dining room was expensive you could purchase the same wine for a third of the price in a supermarket in the UK.The shops onboard where very good, but could be expensive.Shows onboard are okay if you could get a seat.Loungers around the pools where so close together it was difficult to get off them.,plus people leaving towels on bed then going of for lunch or to the bar for more than one hour so others could not relax around the two pools area.The overall cost of the cruise was not worth it,and we would not recormmend this P&O ship as it would be classed 3 star if it were a hotel.This was my wife first cruise,while I have been on a number of cruises. With my late wife. Read Less
Sail Date January 2017
We had a wonderful time on Ventura with smooth sailing for the most part and lovely weather. The Caribbean has been on our bucket list and it surpassed all our expectations. So many other reviews have covered things like cabins and dining ... Read More
We had a wonderful time on Ventura with smooth sailing for the most part and lovely weather. The Caribbean has been on our bucket list and it surpassed all our expectations. So many other reviews have covered things like cabins and dining but I will just put a few of mine and my husbands own personal observations down in case anyone is interested. In most areas we were very happy with P and O's product and we are booked for Aurora next year for Scandinavia. This was a fully booked cruise with a lot of very elderly passengers but the staff were so good and efficient and helpful that this did not really impact negatively when getting off and on ship in ports, they handled anyone with mobility problems very speedily and safely. For us 28 nights was a little too long and after the 8 days at sea we were getting cabin fever but we wanted winter sunshine and did not want to fly so we knew we had a lot of sea days. To give P and O credit they do provide a lot of activities but everywhere was so busy with a fully booked cruise that we got sick of fighting to get a seat anywhere so we resorted to sitting on our balcony on most sea days after we did the morning quiz. We had lovely weather once past the Canaries so sitting on the balcony was fine for us. The TV in the cabin was way too small so watching a movie in the evening was not a pleasure as you could barely see the screen and the angle on the wall gave us a neck ache. We watched a few movies in the theatre but the quality was not very good, the film was quite blurred. I suggested on the questionnaire larger TV and for P and O to play the theatre movie in the room the next day for those who could not get to the theatre to view it. The pools were super busy as expected but we found the Terrace pool at back of ship to be the quietest and we always managed to find a sunbed here. Buffet dining we mostly avoided unless hubby fancied a pizza or a burger at lunchtime and these were tasty. We ate breakfast in the Baytree most mornings and the choices and quality were very good. We sometimes had croissants and juice in the cabin and room service was always prompt and polite. We were Freedom dining and once we got the hang of what shows we wanted to see and our timings for meals it worked well for us. We always asked for a table for 2 and that is what we always got, the longest wait we ever had was about 30 minutes but was usually only about 15 minutes or so. The service in Saffron was outstanding from every staff member, they really could not do enough for you. The food was tasty and hot and plenty of selection although a few days before end of cruise the menu was becoming a little boring (but on a long cruise not surprising). We dined in the Beach House one night for an additional supplement but we did not enjoy it at all. The sommelier was very snotty with us and ruined the experience and the steak we had was not good at all. Never mind not the end of the world and lots of people we spoke to did enjoy it. We dined in the Glass house twice and the fish and chips were delicious but the ribeye steak the second time we dined was tough but to be fair they did not charge us for it. We did not dine in Epicurean as we thought £28 per person extra was a bit too much but we did hear good feedback from other passengers. We did all the black tie nights bar the last one as we were sick of it by then so that was why we dined in the Glasshouse the last black tie night it was either that or buffet. The entertainment from headliners in the Arena was very good (wow they work hard !) some of the singing was a little bit shouty but the dancing was superb and the costumes were great. It was difficult to get a seat for the 8.30 show so we went to the 10.30's In my opinion it would be better to have the shows at 8pm and 10pm. We saw the Kenny Rogers tribute who was very good indeed and also the lady who did the Barbara Streisand tribute (I forget her name now sorry, Cassie or Carrie Summers I think ) anyway she was amazing. We did not bother with any of the comedians after the first one as not really our cup of tea. The horse racing night we went to was quite good fun and we won £7 woo hoo ( only cost us £20 to play LOL ). All the quizzes were very good and well attended. Something worthy of mention was the summer fete the entertainment team put on one day at sea to raise money for Teenage Cancer Trust. It was good fun and they raised over £2000 for this wonderful cause. Well done P and O I don;t know of any other cruise line that supports a charity I am impressed. We were in cabin B622 midships aft, port side, Very quiet, some vibration sometimes but nothing too bad. All in all a very good cruise. Read Less
Sail Date January 2017
Ship Lovely ship, great public areas, clean and pleasant. Cabin balcony cabin, a bit rattly when the winds blew hard at sea but otherwise good dining. The TV quality is a bit dated and is in need of updating but the on board ... Read More
Ship Lovely ship, great public areas, clean and pleasant. Cabin balcony cabin, a bit rattly when the winds blew hard at sea but otherwise good dining. The TV quality is a bit dated and is in need of updating but the on board information on them was good freedom dining, main dining rooms superb with excellent food, buffet food at times a bit dried up. entertainment some acts good, some i did not enjoy but other passengers did, depends on personal preference, main thing was there was always a choice. Theatre company superb services staff could not have been better, courteous, hard working, always happy to go the extra mile. ports good locations but shore excursions a little expensive compared to sorting an excursion ourselves. My main criticism is the disembarkation at Southampton which was a disgrace & dangerous. The warehouse was overfull with luggage, with a free for all with trolleys going into peoples ankles Read Less
Sail Date January 2017
Last year's 28 day cruise to the Caribbean was so brilliant in every way, so we'd no hesitation, along with many others, about booking the same cruise for this January. Why, after so many different cruises with other ships and ... Read More
Last year's 28 day cruise to the Caribbean was so brilliant in every way, so we'd no hesitation, along with many others, about booking the same cruise for this January. Why, after so many different cruises with other ships and other lines, do we keep returning to Ventura? Because life is so easy. There's nothing to trip you up- no hard sell; no immense tipping; few announcements about expensive events; no bar on the alcohol you can take on board; plenty of activities and entertainment without pre-booking. Even small things count- a first timer on P&O asked how one paid for the launderettes... I replied that this was P&O, which is just so easy... and yes, even that is a free service. For some reason, the only port stop before Barbados was in A Coruna instead of Madeira, which did mean a lengthy number of sea days- but sea days are one reason for choosing this. My husband enjoys the crossing, but his delight is snorkelling on the islands, which he managed most of the time. Age is beginning to show, though, and he had to miss one of the precious days through sheer exhaustion. I'm not a fan of the Caribbean, so limited myself to a little shopping and spent time back on the ship in the air conditioning. Our cabin steward was on his first ever cruise, and was an absolute delight. He went out of his way to help us, and the cabin was always immaculate. We do enjoy the walk-in wardrobe style of the Grand Class ships. We had chosen an obstructed outside cabin, and were delighted to be upgraded to a less obstructed one- a lower style of lifeboat under the window, marring very little of the view. We're not big eaters, so chose the buffet for most meals, where the choice was good; our favourite places to eat were Beach House and the Glass House, although we had excellent, imaginative meals in Sindhu and Epicurean, with incredible service and attention. One pleasure of taking Ventura in the winter is having a covered pool, but it didn't take many days before the outside pools were in use. This is not the time of year when children are on board- we probably noticed a dozen or so- and the majority of people were probably retired or semi retired; this didn't seem to stop the evening activities such as dancing, but we possibly missed having younger people around. However, we had a large group of friends from the previous year, and made many more over the four weeks. There were certain niggles- the activities were not as numerous as last year, when we frequently missed lunch to fit them all in; the choice of films shown in the Arena wasn't very good, although I watched two memorable ones, and the Horizon Bar, as always, is a disaster if you want to see what's happening on the stage...it's hardly a live performance if you're simply watching a TV screen. The famous waterfall from deck 16 aft down on to the Terrace Bar made many appearances- we still have the photos from last year of people standing with umbrellas beneath it- but as we've known this since our first visit in 2009, it's become just a minor annoyance. As is the background music both in that bar and in the buffet- you're aware of a noisy beat and a screaming woman, but have no idea what actual music is being played. Minor niggles, not likely to put us off, and certainly nothing as major as on other lines we've used. Perhaps we'll do this again next January, although living in a remote place means a difficult journey- much aided this year by having our luggage collected earlier. Unfortunately, P&O only leaves from Southampton... our hope is that when little Adonia returns, she might be home ported somewhere in the North. Until then, we have a short cruise booked out of Newcastle, with easier journeys to and fro. Read Less
Sail Date January 2017
Chose this cruise simply because we wanted to visit the Caribbean without having to fly. We have previously cruised with Royal Caribbean, Princess and Celebrity, but were told by other cruisers that "P&O is the best" so ... Read More
Chose this cruise simply because we wanted to visit the Caribbean without having to fly. We have previously cruised with Royal Caribbean, Princess and Celebrity, but were told by other cruisers that "P&O is the best" so we were very excited at the prospect of sampling "the best". However if this cruise on Ventura is anything to go by, then P&0 is in my opinion very far from being THE BEST. Try Celebrity Eclipse for starters! The shore excursions were excellent, well organised with brilliant local guides. On board entertainment - variable. Some guest performers were truly very talented, others simply loved themselves, and watching/listening to them perform was painful! The dining experience was either brilliant or awful - no half measures.Some of the main restaurant meals (Saffron) were superb others inedible. A lamb leg steak so tough that I could not get the knife through it. The first forkful of what looked like a beautiful piece of Hake only to end up with my mouth full of fish bones - (not a good experience). The disembarkation process almost turned into a riot. One person with a microphone tried to organise the movement of 800 passengers who had been crammed into a Theatre for over an hour.Anyone with a grain of common sense could have told them that it would not work, as people pushed and shoved instead of leaving in an orderly manner row by row, as "instructed" A miracle that no one was injured. In short, I'm in no hurry to repeat the P&O experience. Read Less
Sail Date January 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

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