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591 Southampton P&O Cruises Ventura Cruise Reviews

Departed from Southampton after a lengthy rail trip from Edinburgh. Arrived around 2 pm and were on board an hour later without any hassle. Loved our balcony cabin and the option to smoke outside. We were on A deck so completely private. ... Read More
Departed from Southampton after a lengthy rail trip from Edinburgh. Arrived around 2 pm and were on board an hour later without any hassle. Loved our balcony cabin and the option to smoke outside. We were on A deck so completely private. Our steward was Virag, but as he said at the end of the cruise "sorry I was not able to do much for you". We had to keep phoning up for ice, not once did they offer it.We were on Freedom Dining at the Cinnamon Restaurant. Myself, partner and 12 year old sulk-bag. He does not eat much, so requested the chicken breast on several occasions. This was served to him whilst we were being served starters, not ideal as he then wanted to leave before our main meals had been served. We stopped using this restaurant as, to be honest, the portions were tiny and not enough to fill us up. We requested that the £22 per person which had been added on as gratuities be deducted, and this was done without question. When being served a champagne sorbet, my partner uttered "where is it?" and a waiter came to explain it was champagne sorbet, an in-between course. It was tiny and over in 2-3 mouthfuls.We tried the "afternoon tea" once. Nothing special, and no indication that there was anything vegetarian available.We did enjoy the Indian night in the buffet, plenty for the vegetarian and meat eating amongst us. Though I'm still confused why they had to make the spinach soup from fish stock?All the Headliners shows were magnificent. I ended up going to these shows alone. The only comment I would make is that they did "Reflex" an 80s-themed night and forgot about the most influential band of the 80s - The Smiths.We attended most of the quizzes i.e. Name That Tune and were quite successful - I won a torch and a bookmark light and felt right pleased with myself. We also took part in the Afternoon at the Races, made comical with the West Country bird and her sexes. And Bingo, though I never won anything at that.I had read about the sun lounger complaints on this site and was expecting never to find a free sunbed. Though I did take it upon myself to move towels from sunbeds and nobody challenged me on their return (very late in the day!) We had fabulous weather for most of the cruise and by the time it turned cloudy I had had enough of the sun anyway! I am currently peeling away to pre-holiday whiteness.Our last port of call was supposed to be Gibraltar, but it was decided not to call here as it was "too windy". I had been looking forward to this stop and was well disappointed that whoever it was had taken this decision. No compensation offered, but they did play "The King's Speech" in the Arena Theatre. Read Less
Sail Date July 2011
I decided to write a review as I know how useful I found others reviews. Our trip to France and Spain from Southampton was on 23rd July. We got to the Ocean Terminal around 11.30am, a little later than we had planned, as the taxi was ... Read More
I decided to write a review as I know how useful I found others reviews. Our trip to France and Spain from Southampton was on 23rd July. We got to the Ocean Terminal around 11.30am, a little later than we had planned, as the taxi was delayed in arriving at the hotel as there were 4 cruise ships leaving that day, so it was very busy. The terminal was very busy but well organised. We were given public health forms to complete, asking if we had been ill the previous week, including coughs and colds. We were given green card letter K and by 1pm, after having our photo taken and given a card each for our room, which also doubled as our on board charge card, we embarked. We were all guided by staff up to the 15th floor, where the waterside buffet restaurant was open. He grabbed a couple to seats next to the pool and had lunch and a couple of drinks. At 1.45pm the captain announced the cabins were ready ahead of time and they were now available. We went to deck 10 (Canada Deck) to C321. The room was very nice with a large balcony, as I had read about on this wen site. I had ordered a bottle of Champagne to be in the room, which it was, but there were no glasses or ice bucket. This was soon remedied by phoning room service. The waiter soon brought them, and by the time I had unpacked it was nicely chilled. The steward Minieviere came and introduced himself. I can say he looked after us very well and the cabin was always very clean, including clean towels twice a day. We enjoyed our time on Ventura, the food entertainment and staff were all excellent. I even managed to go to the gym on 4 of the 7 days, which kept my weight down. I only gained 5lbs. Oh well that's what holidays are about. Anyone going on Ventura I am sure you will enjoy it, like we did Read Less
Sail Date July 2011
Embarkation-smooth and fast, polite, patient staff. However, when sent to the ship, nobody explained what we had to do or where to go. When we got to our cabin, our cases were missing and we had to walk all around our deck to find our ... Read More
Embarkation-smooth and fast, polite, patient staff. However, when sent to the ship, nobody explained what we had to do or where to go. When we got to our cabin, our cases were missing and we had to walk all around our deck to find our cases, which were not near our cabin!Cabin- carpet was very grubby and needs a good clean. There were black (I presume shoe marks) all over the ceiling. Only two complimentary bottles of water in the cabin despite being three people. When we asked the cabin steward, he told us it was P&O policy. Come on P&O, three people have paid thousands between them for the cruise and you only give them two bottles to share. Annoyed on last evening to find cabin steward had packed away out toiletries and not only were they mixed up; some were not ours so god knows where he got them from. The first week we had a fresh flower in a vase, which was a lovely touch but this had been removed by the second week despite it still being in a good condition. We could never get any cold running water to clean our teeth. The shower leaked but was nice and powerful. Could not hear any of the announcements in the cabin until we opened the door to the corridor as they are not available in the cabin.Decks- Filthy most of time. Glasses were left for hours on the floors and in some cases up to a day. Not enough tables to put drinks on. The few ashtrays available were emptied infrequently resulting in many ashtray fires. Joggers causing problems. There should be one designated deck to jog on because we saw quite a few people knocked flying by these inconsiderate people; one old man nearly went overboard as the jogger knocked him hard! If you did not move out of their way quick enough, they would run on the spot quickly behind you making you jump until you moved. There is a good gym on the ship with running machines so why don't P&O insist they use this facility or only allow jogging on one deck? Running on slippery decks is dangerous for anyone.Sun beds- Do not bother trying to get a sun bed on the top deck as towels were seen to go out in the dark at 6am. Even children had their own sun beds, which they never used as they were too busy jumping and diving into the pools (signs clearly stated no jumping or diving)! We deliberately booked early July as we knew the school holidays were later but we did not know the Scottish school holidays had started (we will not make that mistake again). We were told there were 400 children on the ship and on the whole they were great but as usual you get unsupervised ones that spoil other people's holidays. They were racing each other up and down the stairs, using the phones around the ship to mess about, messing about in the lifts and generally running around with food or making a lot of noise. We mentioned these 'naughty' children to a member of staff and he told us that under no circumstances are staff allowed to speak to the children or prevent them from doing anything (even dangerous). They have to ring the Youth Team, who will then speak to the parents. Staff have spoken to children in the past and children have then told their parents and parents then had a go at the member of staff or complained to their superiors.Food- Very good throughout the ship and caters for all tastes. We had no trouble finding a seat in any of the eating areas. The pizza place and burger bar are very good if you want something different. We only had to queue a few minutes whilst the pizza was cooking. Although (in the buffet) the cold plates are always hot as they have just come out of a dishwasher. The tables are often dirty and not cleaned enough. The trays are bulky and heavy before you even begin so you need a lot of arm strength by the time you have food on your plate. UHT milk and cream used throughout the ship so if you don't mind this in your drinks, desserts or cereal etc you will be OK.Drinks- The Great Ice Rip-Off we named it. Staff fill glasses with ice, which subsequently results in less of your original drink. We paid for a pint of cola and when we poured it into an empty glass, without the ice, there was less than half a pint. Even when you ask for no ice or only one cube, they still put loads in. This is a trick that bar staff are taught to maximise profits on mixers, soft drink etc. The first week we got fruit on sticks in our cocktails but we never saw it the second week.Costa Coffee - UHT milk is used in the drinks, which alters the taste of the coffee significantly. We had purchased about 10 coffees before we saw the sign that states you get a free piece of cake with each drink purchased. Staff had never mentioned this or offered cake previously so we had been missing out!Staff- Very miserable on the whole. No eye contact, no smiling, no conversation, no manners, and some actually snatch a pen or receipt out of your hand. This ship had the most miserable staff we have ever encountered out of all the cruises we have been on. This resulted in us only drinking in the Ramblas Bar as Wiston there always had a smile and a wave for us. He was one of the few nice staff we met on the ship and by the middle of the first week, he greeted us by name.Dress- Unlike previous reviews, we are not clothes snobs, as we do not want to waste all our baggage allowance on long dresses and suits. We would never dream of 'reporting' people for having jackets over the backs of their chair or the wrong dress code! One suit for the men and a couple of dresses for the ladies will suffice (for four formal nights). There were lots of people, including children, that wore football shirts in the day (we never saw this during the evening meals) but perhaps that was because there had been a tour to the Nou Camp Stadium in Barcelona and people wanted to show off their purchases. If you are a clothes snob then this ship is not for you as they are thankfully more relaxed on dress codes (we have been told this is because it is a family ship). Yes, some of the young girls wore shorts skirts and dresses but they looked very classy and not chavvy as previously suggested (I suggest you look up what stereotypical descriptions of chavs are and what they are supposed to wear). I am not shallow enough to judge a person by their tattoos. I like to get to know the person and not judge on appearances. We met many people who had a tattoo (young and old) and guess what?- they were lovely, some had very good jobs but unless you spoke to these tattooed people, you would never know.Excursions-The Pisa tour guide walked too fast and I am sure the coach could have dropped us off closer to Pisa to drop us off and then parked in the coach park where we were dropped off. Two elderly people had been left behind by their guide, as they could not walk as fast as their group, so we had to direct them. Their guide should have known that they were missing. Excursions are expensive compared to what you would pay for a local taxi. My husband and son went to the Nou Camp excursion and said they were rushed round and hardly had any time to stop and look at anything but then the guide wasted time showing them the views of Barcelona, which they had not requested or paid a for. They said they would have preferred more time at the stadium. The free shuttle buses were great, although we had to pay 5 Euros each for one of them. The tenders at Monaco were a disaster. We waited 4 hours to get off and one hour in the boiling sunshine to get on. The queue to return to the ship was very, very long and only two tenders seemed to be working. We had to queue at the side of a narrow road, which was dangerous (especially for those with children) as we had to move near a drop into the water to allow cars and vans to pass us. Eventually, P&O staff brought round water and cold flannels but there were not enough for everyone in the queue. We did not get to Gibraltar because of weather conditions (we were told) but we did see that planes were taking off and landing there without any problems and a yacht managed to sail! We thought the weather excuse was a lie because we were told by a member of staff that there were too many ships in Gibraltar so we could not get into the port. The member of staff said this also happens a lot on Gibraltar ports of call. All P&O offered as compensation was a film that had been showed before or a talk on UFOs. We were extremely angry that P&O did not try and get us into another port instead such as somewhere in Portugal or France. To dock in Gibraltar is very expensive, which is why you only get a few hours, so P&O seemed to keep this saving to themselves. They could have offered a discount in the shops as everyone seemed to rush down there to buy last minute gifts and duty frees. I bet Ventura's coffers swelled that afternoon, which I believe is why they didn't try too hard to dock somewhere else.On the whole we did enjoy the cruise but there are a few simple things P&O could do to make this a perfect ship i.e. a good clean up, more tables and ashtrays and more smiling staff. Read Less
Sail Date July 2011
This was our fourth cruise and our second with P&O. Our first cruises were on the Island Star and Ocean Village. We sailed on the Arcadia to the Canaries in July 2011 and the difference between the two ships is obvious in many areas. ... Read More
This was our fourth cruise and our second with P&O. Our first cruises were on the Island Star and Ocean Village. We sailed on the Arcadia to the Canaries in July 2011 and the difference between the two ships is obvious in many areas. Firstly, I have to say that my wife and I liked the Ventura in general. More than enough bars for anyone and a wider selection of places to eat. Good size cabins and a choice of three pools and associated sunbathing facilities. Ventura is big and it can be a long walk between venues but, for some strange reason, the designers could not provide a single, unbroken promenade deck! The usual P&O offerings are available within the staterooms e.g. tea/coffee making, hair dryer, Steward service at least twice a day and a fridge. The bars still serve Stella and Boddingtons on draught and a good range of spirits and soft drinks at or below UK pub prices. In comparison with our Arcadia cruise, the most obvious difference is in the food and service. The main dining experience on the Arcadia was quite good whereas, the Ventura main dining (we went freedom dining) experience was not good. The food was average at best and the service was terrible in the Cinnamon restaurant reserved for freedom dining. We only used the Cinnamon restaurant twice as, on our second visit, it took 20 minutes to get a wine waiter and 45 minutes for our starter to arrive. We withdrew our automatic gratuities at reception a couple of days later. It was also obvious that the Cinnamon restaurant waiters were not interested in offering alternative starters if the ones on the menu did not suit. On the Arcadia, the waiters would have a salad made or a melon selection but on the Ventura, not interested! Waiter service for drinks in other venues (especially on the upper decks) was appalling and it took a long time to even place a drinks order. There were too few waiters and they took ages to return with drinks. The food in the buffet restaurant, on the other had, was far better than on the Arcadia and the Beach House Diner was also very good. The grill and pizza venues were awful! Dress code was not rigidly enforced! For heavens sake P&O, if you are going to have formal evenings, don't let people into the main dining room without a tie or jacket! I reported a table, on our second and last night in the Cinnamon, where there were three men seated, two with jackets removed and a third with no jacket at all and no tie. The restaurant manager said that they did enforce the dress code but could offer no explanation for the diners we had reported. Now for the worst aspect of the cruise... the passengers, not all of them but enough to make us wonder if we had booked with CHAVcruises! We thought our first two cruises with Island Star and Ocean Village were at the low end of the market but, I can seriously state that the passengers on those ships were far better mannered and friendly than a lot we met on the Ventura. We witnessed queue jumping, bad manners, under age drinking (reported to crew but not acted upon) foul language in public areas from teenagers, racist remarks about crew and much, much more. Thankfully there were enough "normal" passengers with good manners, the ability to speak without using four letter words, and interests other than football so we were able to still enjoy ourselves. We would go back on the Ventura but only when the number of children and foul mouthed teenagers is at a minimum. I dread to think what this ship is like in the school holidays... Read Less
Sail Date July 2011
Extremely busy at embarkation terminal, arrived at around 2.30pm and expected to be in there for ages, but P and O seem to have mastered this to near perfection, we were checked in and on board at 3.15pm. Cabin as usual was clean ... Read More
Extremely busy at embarkation terminal, arrived at around 2.30pm and expected to be in there for ages, but P and O seem to have mastered this to near perfection, we were checked in and on board at 3.15pm. Cabin as usual was clean and well presented. Disappointed to find a note from the restaurant manager, advising we could not have freedom dining as we originally requested due to overbooking, and we were put on second sitting at 8.45pm which for us is too late. However there are many other dining options available of which we used. Food everywhere is of good quality Ship was full to capacity but did not at anytime feel overcrowded, no long queues for anything. Bar staff all polite and serving drinks at your table. In fact all of the staff were courteous and very helpful as appears to be the norm for P and O in our experience, Victor, our cabin steward was extremely good, probably the best one so far. Ships facilities are very good, shows and entertainment day and night, with plenty of bars and lounges. ports of call were Le Havre which was OK, quiet but it was Sunday. La Rochelle in France is simply stunning, a beautiful harbour town with cafes and bars spilling out onto the streets. Bilbao, hmmm not for us but we are not the City types. La Coruna, again a very nice place with lots of shops within easy walking distance of the ship Weather was a bit disappointing with only 2 days out of the 7 having sunshine, but overall a great break and looking forward to the next one!! Read Less
Sail Date July 2011
From start to finish this cruise was amazing. I will break it down into different areas for easy reading: Embarkation- Faster than any airport you will check into. Arrived and boarded the ship all in 15 minutes! Our luggage was even ... Read More
From start to finish this cruise was amazing. I will break it down into different areas for easy reading: Embarkation- Faster than any airport you will check into. Arrived and boarded the ship all in 15 minutes! Our luggage was even taken to the room for us. Very organised, P & O staff readily available to help. Cabin- Basic but had everything needed. Impressed with it considering it was an inside cabin, a good size! The room attendant came in to see to tidy the room twice each day. once to have a general tidy up and once to prepare the bed for you to sleep in it! Also we were each given a chocolate mint was given each night- a nice touch! Dining- It was possible to choose between two dining slots, one which was at 6.30 and one at 8.30pm. On entering the restaurant we went to our allotted table. The waiter came over straight away, I think it was something like 1 waiter per three tables, so good service. The waiters would do anything they could to help you. The choice of food was great. The food tasted fantastic, all cooked to perfection. It was possible to mix and match if there were certain things that you didn't like. We chose to sit on our own, but we got chatting to the people next to us and have even kept in touch with them! Entertainment- The entertainment was fantastic, great things to choose from, the Headliners theatre company being the highlight, there were other great acts too. The only problem really was if you were going to something that was really popular you had to be there half an hour before to guarantee a seat, some performance times being more popular than others. On one of the days at sea the entertainment wasn't fantastic, but there are always plenty of things to do. Fitness and recreation- There were some sport tournaments on, we took part in a couple of them. There was adults football and table tennis which were good fun. There were plenty of pools, however the children were good at invading them! The best one to go to was the spa one where no kids were allowed. Service- Wherever you went on the ship the staff were great, there were always waiters around to ask if you wanted a drink. Shore excursions- The excursions on offer were great, not cheap, but it was Norway! The only sad thing was that most people had booked their excursions online in advance. We felt sorry for the older people who were trying to book trips as nearly all the spaces were gone. Some people were on a waiting list right from the start. We booked one of ours on the Internet before travelling and the second one we booked on the ship, we did get on a waiting list to start with though as there were no spaces, but we did get on it in the end. Value for money- It was good value for money. The drinks package was a bit disappointing, £30 for 20 fizzy drinks. We only bought one as I don't drink fizzy drinks. There was always free water and tea and coffee in the one buffet bar. It was good to be able to keep track of on board spending on the TV in our room, stopped us getting too carried away! Overall- It being our first cruise we didn't know what to expect. We were totally amazed and this was probably our best holiday yet, and we have been to a few countries now! We would definitely recommend the Ventura, what a truly amazing ship. Disembarking- A bit annoying having to sit round with your bags, we were given a disembarkation card and we had to wait for it to be called. All the luggage was laid out according to what deck you were on which was very convenient, no looking out for your luggage like at airports! Again a very fast disembarkation once the card was called. In summary we look forward to doing another cruise! We would be happy to travel on Ventura again anytime! Read Less
Sail Date August 2011
To avoid any anxious feelings of being stuck on the M25, we decided to stay at the De Vere Hotel in Southampton the night before our cruise. We headed to the port about 3.00 to board the ship, we are first time cruisers so didn't ... Read More
To avoid any anxious feelings of being stuck on the M25, we decided to stay at the De Vere Hotel in Southampton the night before our cruise. We headed to the port about 3.00 to board the ship, we are first time cruisers so didn't really know what to expect. As we arrived at the port the staff directed us to the car park, where we waited no more than fifteen minutes. We unloaded our luggage while one member of staff checked our car details and another member loaded our luggage onto the trolley. We handed our car keys over and one member of staff drove our car away while the other person wheeled our luggage away. We were directed into the arrivals lounge where we waited an hour before being checked through security and then on to the ship. Perfect, this certainly beats the stress of flying, so far so good. Our cabin was the perfect size for our family of four, and our cabin steward couldn't do enough for us. He kept our cabin immaculately clean and was always close by if we needed him for anything. We had a nice balcony with two reclining chairs a foot stall and a small table. We chose club dining and the Saffron Restaurant was five star dining, we had a wonderful table next to a large window, where we could see the sun setting while we were enjoying fine dining at its best. The entertainment in the evening was very good, lots of choice for every taste, Steve Tandy the comedian is extremely funny. The ports of call were all very nice places and the sail-away parties were lots of fun. We are extremely fussy holiday makers, my husband often calling me a holiday snob, and I can confirm that this holiday was first class, I couldn't fault not one single thing. I can't wait to cruise again on the Ventura. Read Less
Sail Date August 2011
This was our second cruise to the Canaries on The Ventura. The first was also with P&O on the Azura to the Caribbean. We enjoyed the cruise, but we did prefer the Azura, and while this may have been partly because the destination was ... Read More
This was our second cruise to the Canaries on The Ventura. The first was also with P&O on the Azura to the Caribbean. We enjoyed the cruise, but we did prefer the Azura, and while this may have been partly because the destination was more exciting the first time, there were several other reasons. The ships are broadly similar, but for us the Azura was better. The Ventura had no darts or pool table and the table tennis tables are located under the sliding roof on the top deck, where the floor was slippery and it was very hot and humid there. As a vegetarian, I found the Italian restaurant on the Azura excellent with a variety of vegetarian options. Unfortunately, the alternatives to the main restaurant on The Ventura are extremely poor. We went to the non-buffet one, which did pizza, but were told they could only do Margherita and when it arrived, it compared unfavourably to a cheap supermarket pizza. Alternative options there were not much better. After that experience we stayed in the main restaurant throughout, which was ok, but not much fun if you are vegetarian as you only ever have one option. By the end of the cruise, I was getting pretty fed up with mushrooms! On one occasion, one of the "special" main courses turned out to be vegetarian, but our table staff were unable to tell us this when we asked at the time we ordered. Breakfast, buffet lunch and the poolside pizza were all very good. There was no organised bridge, but there was an organised whist drive. This made no sense as more people wanted to play bridge than whist. We were given some spiel about it being because some ships were trying to be modern and others trying to be traditional that made very little sense. Why not provide both, and why deliberately not provide something there is demand for? Eventually, we persuaded the entertainment officer to allow us to play bridge alongside the whist drive, which we organised ourselves, and eventually they also added it to the daily bulletin. It was a shame they did not advertise it in the first place, as it was no effort on their part to allow us to organise it ourselves. Unfortunately, there was no bridge equipment and initially we were told we couldn't even use the cards because they were needed for the whist drive! Probably it is just luck, but on The Azura we had a very diligent steward, and every time we left our room, when we returned it had been cleaned. This was probably beyond the call of duty, but in contrast on The Ventura, our cabin steward did the minimum possible, and if we had not left the room in the morning when she deemed it was time to clean it, we could return late in the afternoon to find it still had not been cleaned. The staff in the restaurants were all very pleasant, but I would have to say that overall we found the staff on the Azura much better. We wouldn't recommend wandering around Las Palmas on Gran Canaria. There seemed there of much interest. After walking for a couple of hours, we got to the old town, but there really wasn't anything much to see. Not a great destination. Maybe one of the tours would have been more interesting, though they didn't look that appealing. Lisbon and Cadiz were both very nice places to visit, and we also enjoyed Funchal. We just wandered around all of these doing our own thing. A trip around Mount Teide on Tenerife was good, though it was a shame there wasn't time to climb Mount Teide. We were impressed with the efficiency and speed of embarkation and Southampton. We were considerably less impressed with the disembarkation. First, queuing for ages because an escalator to get off the ship had broken. Then the label had come off one of our suitcases, although it had been securely fastened and rather than being placed in an area of unidentified suitcases, it was placed randomly with the suitcases of some other deck we weren't on, so it took over an hour to find. The headliner theatre company we had already seen on the Azura, but still enjoyed. Most of the tribute music groups were not that great. There was a comedian Fogwell Flax we saw twice, who was outstanding. Read Less
Sail Date September 2011
Having sailed on the old Adonia which was wonderful and Arcadia in the carribean i was looking forward to our 3rd cruise with P&O on Ventura, we sailed from Southampton and after arriving at the new terminal which was very busy, we ... Read More
Having sailed on the old Adonia which was wonderful and Arcadia in the carribean i was looking forward to our 3rd cruise with P&O on Ventura, we sailed from Southampton and after arriving at the new terminal which was very busy, we waited about 20 mins before being called through security, not too bad i thought. We had a balcony for the first time which was wonderful and all was good and clean accept there was some drink staines on the valance around the bed, so i assume these are not changed every cruise? The food was good and so was the service from the P&O staff. I didnot like the some of the layout on Ventura there is no crows nest like the other ships we have been on, just a wasted shaded area for relaxing that nobody used and around the pool area people are squashed together like sardines. I used the spa once for reflexology a cost of 66, never again what a waste on money and painful and not at all relaxing. On the second week of the cruise i was ill, came down with a bad chest infection and was coughing really badly and i know i was not the only one, thats the trouble with air conditioning bugs get passed on quickly. I would like to be able to say i really enjoyed this cruise but i didnot, i wont blame Ventura for my illness but i got it from somewhere and it did spoil my holiday. I think i will go on Arcadia the next time. Read Less
Sail Date September 2011
We booked rather late for this cruise through Gills Cruises about 10 days before they went bust. Fortunately the money we paid was already in the hands of P&O. At the time of booking it was on a guaranteed cabin basis. The cruise ... Read More
We booked rather late for this cruise through Gills Cruises about 10 days before they went bust. Fortunately the money we paid was already in the hands of P&O. At the time of booking it was on a guaranteed cabin basis. The cruise start end and dates were 3rd September and 15th September 2011. Checking In The allocated boarding time was 1530 with check-in closing time of 1545. If I had planned my departure from home using these times , a traffic disruption on the M25 , which could last a few hours, would have resulted in missing the boat. We left home early and our car was collected from us by 11.50 am. The check in process was straight forward and by 12.20 pm we were on board. Nobody asks you for the allocated check in time. We have noticed this on our other cruises from Southampton and Dover. Cabin We paid for out tickets on a guaranteed basis and was told by Gill Cruises that a cabin number would be allocated on check-in. In fact we had a letter from P&O with our cabin number -- deck 5 starboard side, within 20 steps of the atrium. It would have been an excellent cabin, except that we suffered from terribly loud noises and vibration for many hours on the 1st, 2nd and 5th nights, and the 1st day at sea. I was tempted to sleep on the sofas in the atrium. After 2 sleepless nights I assumed we were over the worst. I only complained when the loud noises reappeared on the 5th night. Without any hesitation, the person I complained to, told us that the noise was due to the stabilisers being in operation. The sea was choppy , hence the need for stabilisers. She obviously has had the same complaint before. She apologised that she could not move us, because there were no empty cabins available in our price category. We were in Cabin P321 on deck 5, and I have come across (on cruise reviews) that cabin P323 has also been a problem cabin for the same reason. ( See links below). You could be lucky and not have any noise problem if sea had been calm and stabilisers are not deployed. Cabin P321 is in the vicinity of where the pilot gets on board to take the ship into port. You can expect to be woken up with a loud whining noise and banging while preparations are being made for the pilot to come on board. The noise only lasts a couple of minutes , very early in the morning, and we had no problem with it. It was barely a whisper compared to the noise generated by the stabilisers. Entertainment The several performances by the Headliners group of singers/dancers were excellent. So was the comedian Martin Gold. Another comedian Ray Turner was mediocre. He relied on picking on the passengers and was not funny. However, he was a better singer than a comedian. He was due to appear again on another night and I am sure many of the passengers would have chosen to go to another venue than put up with him. On the morning of the night he was due to perform again , there was an announcement that he would not be able to do so because he was unwell. We were told that he was taken to hospital when we docked at Gibraltar. Sue Holderness (Marlene in Fools and Horses) gave us an entertaining talk about her experiences on that show. The ship does not have a dedicated cinema and so films were shown in the theatre on sea days. Two of the films shown had been released in the UK after the cruise in September. Food We ate at the Waterside buffet restaurant for breakfast and lunch. Although we had opted for Freedom dining, half our dinners were at the buffet restaurants. The variety and quality of food was very good. Excursions We never bothered with any excursions but we always went ashore and walked around the town. Barcelona and Civitavecchia (Rome) are the only ports where P&O provided a free shuttle. In Gibraltar you could take the local shuttle for which you have to pay, or it would take about 15-20 minutes to walk to the main street.. I wonder if any one noticed that almost all shops in the main street of Gibraltar and owned and operated by Indians. They also own and operate shops outside the main street.. The ship docks in the town at Ajaccio, and in the case of Villefranche the ship's tender drops you in the town. At Barcelona we took the free shuttle bus into town. In Civitavecchia the shuttle bus drops you at the port gate Disembarkation It was well organised and we got off the ship at 10.30 am, slightly earlier than the allotted time of 10.45 am. It was a short walk to where our car was parked. Parking We had booked our parking with CPS (Cruise & Passenger Services) and it was an efficient operation. The cost for the 12 days was £130. Correspondence with P&O I have written to P&O about the noise problem which others have mentioned on cruise reviews. Complainants have been told by the staff on board that the noise was due to the stabilisers. P&O head office will not mention the word "stabilisers" no matter how many times you mention the word in your letters. They dismiss the noise problem by saying that what is scarcely noticed by one is a problem to another. Initially I was offered £200 discount on a future cruise to be taken within 12 months. After my second letter asking them to investigate the problem for the benefit of future occupants of "problem cabins, they sent me a cheque for £200. I still think there is a noise problem in some cabins on deck 5, when stabilisers are deployed, but P&O does not want to know. It is unbelievable that a 21st century liner is being operated with horrendous noise within some cabins. I have had experience in noise surveys in a petrochemical plant an a boiler house , and the noise level in the cabin would be considered unacceptable in the work environment, let alone sleeping accommodation. Unfortunately people do not complain or their complaints are dismissed and are offered ear plugs. I too did not complain after putting up with the first 2 sleepless nights , and only did so after the 5th night when the noise started. Other relevant Ventura reviews http://www.cruise.co.uk/cruise-reviews/pando-cruises/ventura/read_review_6030/ http://www.cruise.co.uk/cruise-reviews/pando-cruises/ventura/read_review_8008/ http://www.wecruise.co.uk/cruise-reviews/po-cruises/ventura/947-brilliant-cruise-ship This extract is from the above link : "Cabin was excellent, and our cabin steward was very efficient. However, would suggest cabin on a higher deck (we were on deck 5), as when weather is rough, the extra stabilisers they use to steady the ship make a horrendous noise all through the night which dramatically disrupts sleep." Guaranteed Cabins Beware of guaranteed cabins. Ours was a guaranteed cabin and we were told that cabin number would be allocated when we checked in at the dock. We received our cabin number a few days after the book and not at the time of booking. After our experience, I have become cynical about guaranteed cabins. I suspect that "problem cabins" are allocated closer to the cruise date when most of the other cabins are sold out. If there are any cancellations closer to the sailing date, the people allocated the less desirable guaranteed cabins are then offered other cabins that become available in the same price category. Read Less
Sail Date September 2011
I took my family for a cruise along the Western Med in Sept 2011 on the P&O Ventura. I chose the Ventura as its is widely halied as a British Family cruise ship which I cannot fault. From what I can gather most of the passengers had a ... Read More
I took my family for a cruise along the Western Med in Sept 2011 on the P&O Ventura. I chose the Ventura as its is widely halied as a British Family cruise ship which I cannot fault. From what I can gather most of the passengers had a good time, however there was a simmering air of under expectation and certainly talking to some of the passengers there was a air of disappointment hoering over the ship. Why would this be. From my point I can understand. Although the Ventura has not been vruising for many years there as feeling of tirdness about the boat,its not any thing specific but the ventura just feels like its been arounf for alot longer and is quite worn in, when compaired to some other cruise ships. It was very apparent that P&O have embarked upon a process of cost cutting, to such an extent that we struggled to get sufficient drinking water in our room until I actually complained. The food was really quite appalling, I grew up eating school dinners but some of the stuff that was laid out was really even below that. I have to say I have never tased Oats porridge like that before. One always got the feeling that the catering staff were watching to see that passengers didnt help themselves to too much food in the buffet resturants. While I am at it I should also mention that the staff were a constant enigma to me. Often staff showed such indifference, it was just quite sad to see. The amount of time I saw staff mucking about together and ignoring passengers was far too often, there was just a feeling that P&O training has somehow slipped, as the customer service was plain and simply awful. P&O have obviously tried to create an environment that sets traps for passengers to part with money and for the uninitiated it would be very easy to find oneself stuck with a very large bill at the end of the cruise, although this is no different to other cruise operators P&O seem to have conered the market of being blatanly obious about it. On the plus side though were the ports opf calls were well organised, the reception staff were very professional and the cabin staff we had was impeccable. For myself I will cruise again, but never on P&O, this is not for me, Considering I parted with few thousand pounds for this cruise I know I cand do better. Read Less
Sail Date September 2011
We were a little concerned that the hassle finding the correct coach from our service station pickup point, would have been how the holiday would continue...how wrong were we. The usual efficient check in at Southampton, we travelled as a ... Read More
We were a little concerned that the hassle finding the correct coach from our service station pickup point, would have been how the holiday would continue...how wrong were we. The usual efficient check in at Southampton, we travelled as a group of five including our five year old granddaughter. She had dairy free diet which was discussed with head waiter who took care of everything on the first evening, also check every day to ensure she was happy, actually hunting us out wherever we were on the ship. Bay of biscay was rough, forcing me to medical room for injection, this worked very quickly after a nap and was back to myself within the day and eating normally. Weather was glorious every day, sometimes too hot. Not trouble getting sun beds, but then we were up early. We used the jacuzzi several times beside oasis pool, plus the pool itself. There were a few snooty so and so's that think they own the ship, stating kids under sixteen not allowed in the pool, she was 4 years old for god's sake causing no harm to anyone plus the pool was empty. Barcelona we did on our own, knowing the ropes from a previous visit, really enjoyed this yet again. Monaco and monte Carlo did excursion from ship, again really enjoyed this including the guide. Had loads of free time to ourselves which suited, spent loads of time in gardens which we missed last time due to the walking tour not visiting this area. Civitavecia we did the Bracciano tour, rather than Rome. still full day tour but well worth every penny. Visiting castle where Tom Cruise married Katie Holmes, spectacular views over volcanic lake. Plenty of free time again, but sadly no souvenir shops, just restaurants and coffee bars. In fact we said it was so beautiful we could set up a souvenir stall and make a killing. Great photo opportunities at castle and lake and on journey back to the port. Corsica was wonderful, not at all like our first experience some years ago, streets were dirty, dog poo everywhere. This time completely opposite, spotless..lovely Market great bargains spent loads! Visited the tortoise park a must for everyone, taxi cost 80 euros driver waited an hour for us and took us back to the Market area, far cheaper than P&O. Gibraltor lovely although quiet due to festival the weekend before, most shops don't open till 11am, you have to be back on board at 1.30, so it was a sprint to get the excellent duty free's a good opportunity to stock up on cigs, tobacco, spirits, jewellery etc..some real bargains here good opportunity to get rid of the remaining euros left too but also take sterling which is good, very friendly shops and cafes. Back on board for the dreaded sail back to southampton and again the bay of biscay rough again, suffering the tail end of hurricane katia, confined to cabin again, next time I will be prepared with ginger as that seemed to help. Now for the ship...cabin excellent bit of mechanical noisy but to be expected on deck 5. We liked the proximity to Atrium and cinnamon restaurant so happy to put up with noise. Cabin Steward Martin polite and efficient, kept cabin spotless as expected. spent most of our evening meal times at Cinnamon which made our holiday, food again excellent, they made a great fuss of our granddaughter and nothing was too much trouble. Went to Beach house and although service is a bit slower than Cinnamon it was still lovely and didn't feel rushed to finish. Breakfasts and lunches to our satisfaction having the freedom to eat when you want and where, on deck mostly, pizzas and burgers from Frankies regularly, plus the ice cream to finish off lunch. entertainment excellent west end style, all shows we attended were excellent and hats off to the production even during the bad swells. Visited most of the bars where my granddaughter enjoyed dancing on an empty floor, really cheering up some of the oldies who started looking out for her change of outfits. the photo crew have been given a bad rep on most reviews, if you don't want a photo politely say no and they leave you along, but on the plus side we wanted some nice holiday photos of Grace and our group, one of the photographers kindly obliged when we collared him one evening, when he was on his way to a different area, he could have said no but didn't. To sum up, apart from a couple of days with sea swells this holiday was brilliant, nice and hot and enough ports to allow a relaxing holiday. Cannot wait for next July for 7 ships sail away already booked. Had an excellent time and hats off again to P&O, well done !!! Read Less
Sail Date September 2011
Travelled by car to Southampton and found CPS car parking efficient and easy.Long queues for embarkation but we were on the ship within an hour and half of our allocated time. Whilst waiting in line for security we were accosted by ... Read More
Travelled by car to Southampton and found CPS car parking efficient and easy.Long queues for embarkation but we were on the ship within an hour and half of our allocated time. Whilst waiting in line for security we were accosted by photographers wanting to take photos of us on embarkation; this was to be a theme on Ventura - photographers were everywhere - on disembarkation at every port, in every bar/club, even each meal time they would pounce on you. This was annoying and oppressive, particularly since the photos were selling at £5.95 for a small one. Nobody we met on the cruise actually purchased any. Fair enough having photographers available but allow us to make the decision as to whether or not we wish to use their services. The cabin was well presented and spacious and we were quite happy with it, until one night the balcony door (a heavy glass door) actually came off its runners in my hand as I was trying to open it. My partner was asleep and the sea was choppy, so he couldn't hear me calling him for about 10 minutes and I had to stand there holding this huge door to prevent it from dropping onto the floor or blowing overboard and taking me with it. This could have caused a serious accident. We called reception and they sent the housekeeper to our room, who managed to put the door back in with our help, but it wouldn't close; we had the rest of the night with a howling gale blowing through the cabin - mainatanence men don't work out of hours!! The cabin had a fridge and tea making facilities which were replenished frequently, and the room service was good value with a wide range to choose from (when you could actually get them to answer the phone). The first port of call was Barcelona and we were sitting on the balcony waiting for our excursion time. Enjoying a leisurely breakfast, we were suddenly drenched with a high powered hose pipe from the bridge; the crew were cleaning the floors and underside of the floors directly above our balcony. To say we were soaked is an understatement; our breakfast was floating, guide books were ruined and the camera had a lucky escape. We complained about this and were told that the crew only cleaned on port days when most passengers were off the boat. However a good many of us were still on the boat and we could be seen from above where the cleaning was going on, had anyone bothered to check. We got a gruding apology and were made to feel as though we were causing trouble. The manager said that we had to produce any ruined items so that they could consider what they "may be able to do about them". After making a fuss (mainly becuause of the need to forcibly extract an apology)we did get a bottle of duty free wine. We unfortunately had further cause to complain when trying to access the internet. P&O charge 50p a minute, or you can buy an hour for £35.00. This is daylight robbery and is certainly one factor that will prevent us going with P&O again. We run a business and left 7 children at home, so making contact with home is crucial to us. But the annoyancy didn't end there! We went to sign up for an account only to find that we had to pay £2.50 to even register. Reluctantly we had to do this, however, half way through a one line email the system crashed and I had to start again. one email cost me over £7.00 and on arriving home, I discover that my email did not even get sent. They do advertise that the connection will be slow, but slow doesn't even begin to describe it. Absolute rip off. We complained about the system crashing and as a goodwill gesture, they knocked £2.00 off the total cost. Outrageous. The TV in the cabin was poor, only channels really were news and P&O spin channels. There were some films available at a cost of £5.95 each. We luckily had our laptop with us and a selection of films - top tip for anyone about to sail as days at sea can be long. The cinema had a daily showing whne at sea, but the films were not new films and we had seen them all before. P&O could at least have put on some current films and more than one showing (usually 1pm. The entertainment overall was a washout; we were really disappointed and after a few days we didnt' even bother to go. It was second rate and I would say not even Butlins standards. The activities similarly were not worth bothering with, nor the talks, unless you were interested in cars, flying or back pain. There was no atmosphere at night - only one party type evening on the top deck on the saturday night, which seemed to be mostly crew letting their hair down. Nothing at all on the last night and the bars were sedate and disappointing. We had been looking forward to a disco onboard but nothing we encountered could be described as a disco really. Meals were overall quite good; but we were restriced to the same restaurant each night at 8.45, which didn't always suite us. We could have used the buffet if we didn't want a sit down meal, or paid to dine in one of the paying outlets, but we had been warned off doing this by other passengers as not good value for money. The wine onboard was expensive and although you could take your own, there was a £10.00 corkage fee. It did feel to us as though we were being accosted at every turn for more money; we would have preferred to have paid more up front than having to keep shelling out for extras. For example, bottled water for the excursions - £4.95 for two small bottles. This isn't a very honest way - lure the passangers on with the hype and spin and then rip them off in whichever way you can. The excursions were variable in quality; we went on a bike tour of Barcelona, which was excellent and we had a super guide. Really would recommend that - not strenuous at all but a great way to see the city. We then did the 'easy Nice' tour - what a joke!! 68 Euros for a lift into town basically!! The guide was a silly, giggly woman who told the coach her life story and even pointed out where she lived. She then told the group to follow her hat as she steamed ahead, only to take her hat off in the crowds so nobdoy could see her. The worst of it though, was when we came to some steps down into the old town - the guide had vanished off into the distance and we were left to help 2 wheelchair users down the steps - they were elderly and if we hadn't been lagging behind the group, they wouldn't even have had our help. You would have thought that the guide would take note of this and choose a route without steps that was suitable for all passengers - disgusting. We left the group and go the bus to Monte Carlo for 1 Euro - and back again almost right to the port. Avoid this tour!! Gibraltar excursions were all sodl out by the time we tried to book, but in the event there were a number of tour guides on the quayside selling tours for half the price that P&O were charging. These tours included twice as much as the P&O one, and was very good. Don't bother booking with P&O as again, a rip off.They were running seperate tours for each attraction, whereas the one we took covered all of them for 25 Euros. Overall, we did have a really good time with enforced rest and nothing really to have to think about. We will definately go on another cruise but not with P&O - it was a real let down. Read Less
Sail Date September 2011
My husband and I sailed on Ventura in September to the Med. We cannot understand some of the reviews that have been put on this site, only that these people were on a different cruise to us! The food on this cruise was amazing - how ... Read More
My husband and I sailed on Ventura in September to the Med. We cannot understand some of the reviews that have been put on this site, only that these people were on a different cruise to us! The food on this cruise was amazing - how anyone can say the portions were small is beyond me - the food in the restaurants excellent and if you wanted more, you only had to ask! From what I saw on some peoples plates, not many people went hungry!! The service in the restaurant - we used Saffron - was also excellent - thanks to our waiter Newby who was always one step ahead when filling our glasses, etc. The cabin was lovely, cleaned and tidied twice a day by our cabin attendant, Orlando, who always had a smile and a kind word. It was always fully stocked with tea, coffee and biscuits, with a chocolate at night! We only went on one excursion - we did our own thing at other ports - but this again, was well organised, with a knowledgeable guide - the cost of the excursions was also a lot cheaper than other cruise lines. I do not normally write reviews on holidays, but really felt I had to put forward a realistic view. Why go on a lovely cruise and then come home and moan .............. some people will never be happy! Read Less
Sail Date September 2011
Super ship but disappointed with Itinerary. Just five Ports to visit in 12 days Initial three days at sea before reaching Barcelona frankly seemed too long. Why for example pass Vigo, Lisbon,Malaga, or even Palma and forge on all the ... Read More
Super ship but disappointed with Itinerary. Just five Ports to visit in 12 days Initial three days at sea before reaching Barcelona frankly seemed too long. Why for example pass Vigo, Lisbon,Malaga, or even Palma and forge on all the way to Barcelona cannot comprehend the thinking behind this. On the plus side the Entertainment particularly the Dancers and Singers were truly awesome. They put on a breathtaking show every night each one on a different theme. The Costumes and sets on a par with any West End Production. Comedians and Solo acts also very good. The Lectures were first class. But dear oh dear the Dining Room was a monumental disappointment. The word miniscule would best describe the size of every portion no matter what the dish on offer. Certainly one did not have to watch one`s weight when tackling the Menu this had been taken care of for you. Read Less
Sail Date September 2011
Embarkation and disembarkation at Southampton port were seamless. Ventura is a huge ship but all its facilities and where they are takes some fathoming out especially when some of the lifts don't go to where you want to go. Our aft ... Read More
Embarkation and disembarkation at Southampton port were seamless. Ventura is a huge ship but all its facilities and where they are takes some fathoming out especially when some of the lifts don't go to where you want to go. Our aft cabin was lovely, except for the broken drawer, and had a large balcony. Tea and coffee making facilities were a boon and very welcome early morning, whilst getting ready for dinner and late at night before retiring. Socorro, our cabin steward, kept everything ship shape except for the broken drawer which attempted to kick me several times. Oh and did I mention the frilled half moon balcony mat which tripped me up a couple of times. I moved it. Not all the service staff had read P & O's 'be friendly to the cruisers' booklet but on average they were fine even if some appeared preoccupied or fed up. Maybe they were thinking of the Caribbean, who wouldn't, the ship's next destination. The food was lovely and varied. However I never got a piece of decent toast or a fried egg to my liking. Must have gone to the Buffet at the wrong time, so my fault both were elusive. We didn't partake of all the entertainment but what we saw was really good. Booked three trips out and all were great. Although I prefer smaller cruise ships, with no broken drawers or frilled mats, I would travel on Ventura again if the itinery was right. Read Less
Sail Date October 2011
We have just returned from the Ventura one week 'Atlantic Coast' cruise. We have cruised before a couple of times (Ocean Village and RCL Voyager of the Seas) and wanted to try out a no-fly cruise and also see what P&O was ... Read More
We have just returned from the Ventura one week 'Atlantic Coast' cruise. We have cruised before a couple of times (Ocean Village and RCL Voyager of the Seas) and wanted to try out a no-fly cruise and also see what P&O was like. It started off very well, getting to Southampton from Norfolk was about the same as getting to Gatwick and the embarkation was very well handled plus the cabin was ready early! The cabin, a balcony on B deck was fine, a little tired perhaps, but the Tea-making facilities made up for that, and the cabin steward was very welcoming. We had a quick explore of the ship (not as impressively glitzy as Voyager but fine for us), and as we were tired a relaxing meal in the Waterside. We'd had lunch there (limited selection) but assumed that the evening meal would be more impressive. Wrong! The was very limited choice of mains, they were presented in school-meals style and tasted as if they had been prepared days ago. Also, it may be a small thing but the hand-sanitizers were on the wall and there was no attempt to get you to use them. It was down-right depressing all the staff seems dour-faced and there under sufferance. In fact we seemed to be in the way as staff pushed past to slop more food into the waiting troughs. Where were the friendly welcoming faces of the other boats who seemed pleased to see us? When we tried the main dining room (Freedom dining) we had a half-hour wait (shorter than we expected and we had the buzzer to tell us when a table was ready), but the service was impersonal and rushed -- we were asked for drink preferences only when we were waiting for our sweets and then hassled out at the earliest convenience (for the staff that is). And we were expected to wear a Tuxido/Suite on formal nights for this? We were lucky to discover the Beach House (evenings only -- free but some items had a supplement attached) and East (charged £20pp) both of which had friendly, attentive staff who seemed interested in ensuring that you had an enjoyable meal. The main dining room (served) and Waterside (buffet) which were the only two options for breakfast, saw equally poor quality food. Almost certainly kept hot for ages, rubbery rolls and toast, with second rate coffee. Although, to be fair, dining room coffee had been only slightly better on the other boats -- I wonder what it is, this was sub-instant by a long chalk. And on that subject (coffee) we did try Tazzine but the 'Costa' coffee there, despite the long wait (waiter had loooong chat with mate at bar) just tasted of diluted milk. Other passengers seemed to find the food OK or even enjoying it with plates piled high with salads, curries, roasts (yes all on the same plate) which they attacked with gusto. Also there seemed a good take-up of the Tuxedo standard on formal nights (Lobster Tails (1st) and Sirloin Steak(2nd)) but in general I felt that this was people on a very ordinary cruise trying to pretend that they were on a 'Posh' boat. Both of us got 'tummy trouble' which we put down perhaps unfairly (?) to poor food standards when lunching in Waterside, so we changed to Pizza on deck (although the burgers did look OK too) not bad but I should mention that the Diavola was one day so chilli-hot as to be almost inedible and the next not a trace of heat to be found-strange. The shows appeared to be of a high standard (selections from West End x 3, Beatles Tribute) and the films were all recent and popular (P&O get good marks in this area). The ports of calls were fine and probably good choices for the Atlantic Coast (Corunna, Bilbao, St Rochelle & Le Havre), shuttles were free even when the town centre was distant (Bilbao), we didn't do any of the P&O trips preferring a leisurely walk round the towns and a much needed (decent) local coffee. What we found was that whole ship's staff was generally unfriendly/disinterested with some oasis's of good service (Cabin Steward, East, Beach House, Metropolis). Would we sail again with P&O? Probably not Ventura, due to the two main issues food and staff, but maybe one of the other smaller ships. We would be very careful to read the reviews first, we had though that P&O was a premium band (which it isn't!) and be tempted by an exciting itinerary. Having said that, as there are a lot of cruise lines offering similar trips on genuinely 4* ships and with service/food to match and I think that we would want to try these before giving P&O a another chance. Read Less
Sail Date March 2012
We this cruise on the Ventura and spent one week on 'Atlantic Coast' cruise in Mrach where the weather was surprisingly warm and generally good! We have cruised before a couple of times (Ocean Village and RCL Voyager of the ... Read More
We this cruise on the Ventura and spent one week on 'Atlantic Coast' cruise in Mrach where the weather was surprisingly warm and generally good! We have cruised before a couple of times (Ocean Village and RCL Voyager of the Seas) and wanted to try out a no-fly cruise and also see what P&O was like. It started off very well, getting to Southampton from Norfolk was about the same as getting to Gatwick and the embarkation was very well handled plus the cabin was ready early! The cabin, a balcony on B deck was fine, a little tired perhaps, but the Tea-making facilities made up for that, and the cabin steward was very welcoming. We had a quick explore of the ship (not as impressively glitzy as Voyager but fine for us), and as we were tired a relaxing meal in the Waterside. We'd had lunch there (limited selection) but assumed that the evening meal would be more impressive. Wrong! The was very limited choice of mains, they were presented in school-meals style and tasted as if they had been prepared days ago. Also, it may be a small thing but the hand-sanitizers were on the wall and there was no attempt to get you to use them. It was down-right depressing all the staff seems dour-faced and there under sufferance. In fact we seemed to be in the way as staff pushed past to slop more food into the waiting troughs. Where were the friendly welcoming faces of the other boats who seemed pleased to see us? When we tried the main dining room (Freedom dining) we had a half-hour wait (shorter than we expected and we had the buzzer to tell us when a table was ready), but the service was impersonal and rushed -- we were asked for drink preferences only when we were waiting for our sweets and then hassled out at the earliest convenience (for the staff that is). And we were expected to wear a Tuxido/Suite on formal nights for this? We were lucky to discover the Beach House (evenings only -- free but some items had a supplement attached) and East (charged £20pp) both of which had friendly, attentive staff who seemed interested in ensuring that you had an enjoyable meal. The main dining room (served) and Waterside (buffet) which were the only two options for breakfast, saw equally poor quality food. Almost certainly kept hot for ages, rubbery rolls and toast, with second rate coffee. Although, to be fair, dining room coffee had been only slightly better on the other boats -- I wonder what it is, this was sub-instant by a long chalk. And on that subject (coffee) we did try Tazzine but the 'Costa' coffee there, despite the long wait (waiter had loooong chat with mate at bar) just tasted of diluted milk. Other passengers seemed to find the food OK or even enjoying it with plates piled high with salads, curries, roasts (yes all on the same plate) which they attacked with gusto. Also there seemed a good take-up of the Tuxedo standard on formal nights (Lobster Tails (1st) and Sirloin Steak(2nd)) but in general I felt that this was people on a very ordinary cruise trying to pretend that they were on a 'Posh' boat. Both of us got 'tummy trouble' which we put down perhaps unfairly (?) to poor food standards when lunching in Waterside, so we changed to Pizza on deck (although the burgers did look OK too) not bad but I should mention that the Diavola was one day so chilli-hot as to be almost inedible and the next not a trace of heat to be found-strange. The shows appeared to be of a high standard (selections from West End x 3, Beatles Tribute) and the films were all recent and popular (P&O get good marks in this area). The ports of calls were fine and probably good choices for the Atlantic Coast (Corunna, Bilbao, St Rochelle & Le Havre), shuttles were free even when the town centre was distant (Bilbao), we didn't do any of the P&O trips preferring a leisurely walk round the towns and a much needed (decent) local coffee. What we found was that whole ship's staff was generally unfriendly/disinterested with some oasis's of good service (Cabin Steward, East, Beach House, Metropolis). Would we sail again with P&O? Probably not Ventura, due to the two main issues food and staff, but maybe one of the other smaller ships. We would be very careful to read the reviews first, we had though that P&O was a premium brand (which it isn't!) and be tempted by an exciting itinerary. Having said that, as there are a lot of cruise lines offering similar trips on genuinely 4* ships and with service/food to match and I think that we would want to try these before giving P&O a another chance. Read Less
Sail Date March 2012
From the minute we stepped on the Eavesway coach from Preston we experienced first class service! The staff on Ventura were absolutely fantastic ALWAYS happy, polite, efficient and eager to be of service, such a refreshing change from the ... Read More
From the minute we stepped on the Eavesway coach from Preston we experienced first class service! The staff on Ventura were absolutely fantastic ALWAYS happy, polite, efficient and eager to be of service, such a refreshing change from the usual British service! Our cabin was spotless, and perfectly adequate, our cabin steward John made sure it remained so throughout our cruise. We opted for Freedom dining which meant that we sat with different people each meal, this was perfect for us and we had the pleasure of meeting lots of very nice and interesting people. The food was always beautifully presented, there was always a good choice of menu and it was always delicious! The only real criticism was the price of ordinary lager. The only draught lager was Stella Artois which my husband dislikes and so he had to settle for cans of lager which proved very expensive.....a 330ml can of carlsberg cost £3.50...that meant a pint cost £7.00 which was really quite outrageous when compared to Stella which cost half of that! The wines were nice, I drank Bili Bili Shiraz which was lovely and cost £17.95 per bottle, which is probably comparable to British restaurant prices. The entertainment on offer was very good, and the cinema offered some excellent films on the days we were at sea. We didn't use the pools because the weather wasn't brilliant but there was always plenty to do so that was no great hardship. Apparently there were about 700 children on board but the kids clubs must have been excellent because it never felt as if there were many children on board.....and those that we saw were very well behaved! Of the places we visited, our favourites were Monte Carlo and Barcelona. I had looked forward to our tour of the Vatican on Easter Saturday but unfortunately it was so busy and overcrowded we were just pushed along with the crowds and not allowed to stop and browse the beautiful art work.....there was actually no enjoyment, it was all just too uncomfortable! I think most passengers were surprised and disappointed that our stopover in Cadiz was suddenly changed to Gibralter.....we're still not sure about why the decision was made...apparently it had something to do with paying VAT if we did not visit a non EU country ???? All in all we had a fantastic time on the beautiful Ventura, and despite the few negative comments, we really loved our time on the cruise and will certainly be cruising with P&O again....in fact we have already paid our deposit! Read Less
Sail Date April 2012
after stopping in the premier inn overnight we transfered to ventura where on arrival our luggage was taken off us ,we were then given a coloured ticket to check in which took no time at all.after boarding we were told to go to the ... Read More
after stopping in the premier inn overnight we transfered to ventura where on arrival our luggage was taken off us ,we were then given a coloured ticket to check in which took no time at all.after boarding we were told to go to the waterside restaraunt for lunch till our cabin was ready. when we got to our cabin it was of a very good size with a large picture window comfortably furnished with tv and chairs,the bathroom was fairly small but ok for what we needed.the safe was free aswell which when we have been on other ships you have had to pay,when we set sail the captain announced we would not be calling at cadiz which didnt go down too well with a lot of passengers myself included but the other ports of call were excellent . vigo: what a nice little place this was but very hilly lisbon:they put courtesy busses on to take you to the main square but the queue for the busses back was horrendous so we got a taxi,do check the fare before you get in 1 as we were charged 20 euros and another family were charged 10 euros so we were ripped off. chivitevichia:we went on the 1/2 day panoramic tour well worth it. livorno:missed due to high winds monte carlo:i wasnt impressed with this place to many posers in there ferraris showing off. barcelona:great place to visit with plenty to do gibraltar:been here several times so stayed on board. the staff on board were a vast improvement from when we 1st went on ventura,this time they could not do enough for you. the showteam put on some excellent shows in the arena theatre and the guest acts ,mick miller from the comedians fame was very good,the freddy mercury tribute was fantastic and the other guest comedians were very good both in the arena and havana,the only guest speaker john kettley(weatherman)why they had this man giving a after dinner speech was beyond me. the days at sea were ok with having no problem finding sunbeds when the sun was out which was different to the last on board where they were all reserved before breakfast. the exchange bar was a decent night out with andy the entertainments officer. all in all it was a excellent cruise meeting lots of nice people each night cannot wait to go back on board. Read Less
Sail Date April 2012
Ventura, 1st April Med cruise All started well with a B&B with parking and transfer at Chilworth Hilton, Transfer got us on the way before 12 and with an excellent check in we were having lunch on board soon after 1pm. We went to ... Read More
Ventura, 1st April Med cruise All started well with a B&B with parking and transfer at Chilworth Hilton, Transfer got us on the way before 12 and with an excellent check in we were having lunch on board soon after 1pm. We went to check out the cabin and we were told not to go in because it was being used as a show cabin (very abrupt). When we were let in our Superior Deluxe Balcony Stateroom, we were overcome with the smell of urine in the bathroom, the flowers in the cabin were dead, the white room pamper pack was missing, the carpet was stained, the settee was threadbare, the window was covered with children's hand prints and every flat surface was covered in thick dust. I ran my finger over one area and could have knitted a jumper with the fluff. On investigation of the bathroom we found the bath had black mould all round it as did the shower curtain, the toilet seat was badly chipped and ingrained with yellow stains, no guessing what that was. We reported the issues to reception who said it may not have been cleaned yet, so we left it for another hour and reported it again. The housekeeper came round had a look in the bathroom and said it was the ventilation. I explained to him it was due to the mould on the shower curtain and the state of the toilet. We left the matter with them and they changed the shower curtain. This did seem to reduce the smell, so my wife cleaned the room for them with ant-bacterial wipes and this got rid of most of the smell. The following day a man came to strip out the bath seal and replace it, at least this looked more inviting to have a shower or bath. The toilet seat was never changed and is still there for the next people, I just hope they notice and put paper on it. The cabin was never dusted in all the time we were there so I wrote DUST on every surface this was still ignored and will be there today. So that was the cabin but in general the ship is not very clean, the only parts are the bits you can see; but if you look if it does not move then no one will notice its not been done. The public don't help with leaving plates etc. anywhere on the floor, stair wells, lifts, but then there does not seem to be any member of staff willing to move them. If you want a real shock that should but does not shame P&O, then check out the floor in "Havana". Without exaggeration I have seen cleaner underpasses in city centres. It is the type of tiled floor you get in a shop and should be stripped and polished every week and buffed daily. It has less foot fall than a shopping centre and they seem to be able to keep them clean. This should be a dance floor but it is covered with chairs and never used for its original purpose. As expected for an Easter cruise there were a lot of children on board, in the main they seem to be catered for very well apart from the pool areas. Be aware if you have children this is a danger area in every sense of the word, it is unsupervised and they are allowed to "bomb" into the pool and even go in on very rough days when waves in the pool could have smashed a child's head on the side of the pool. They were allowed into the Jacuzzis unsupervised with adults, and it only needs the wrong sort of adult to be in with them and who knows what could happen. I did report this as a child protection issue as many adults had also expressed concern and no action had been taken. The entertainment in the theatre was first class and they worked very hard throughout the cruise, there were some low points with the one off acts but the show team, band and production staff put on some class shows. The food in the main dining room was very good and varied; we never felt the need to try the specialist venues due to the quality of fare. The staff who attended us were first class, and though the tips were now put on the bill it did not seem to affect the attitude and service we received. Yes we did have a lot of gripes but feel they were justified and put a damper on the cruise, we visited some very nice places and on the whole had good weather, apart from missing Laverno due to strong winds; but this was compensated for by moving quickly to our next port of Monte Carlo for an afternoon docking and an overnight and next day stay. The original port of Cadiz was also changed to Gibraltar, this did not bother us but had upset others who were meeting people in Cadiz. The disembarkation went quite smooth and again we were well looked after with the Hilton having the transfer waiting for a quick return to pick up the car. In summary far from being a superior deluxe cabin though it was a good size it was more "inferior". The ship looks impressive from the outside, but very dull on the inside, not very clean, a lot of "dead spots" during the evening away from the theatre, the entertainment just does not seem to flow. The tribute acts left a lot to be desired, Freddy Mercury looked like a cross between Bugs Bunny and Billy Bunter and Phil Collins tried to sing with a fake cockney accent and sounded more like Dick Van Dyke in Mary Poppins. Our standard of cleanliness is as a minimum what we have at home, but if paying a lot of money expect this with extra touches. You get the latter but this does not cover up the dirt. Do not be fooled with the brochure or internet as it must have been done when the ship was new. Read Less
Sail Date April 2012
just got back from the Norwegian Fjiord cruise. This was my second cruise in the company of my two sisters one of whom is severely disabled and confined to a wheelchair. The cabin was a balcony suite with disabled facilities which were ... Read More
just got back from the Norwegian Fjiord cruise. This was my second cruise in the company of my two sisters one of whom is severely disabled and confined to a wheelchair. The cabin was a balcony suite with disabled facilities which were ideal for our needs. The Butler Dheeraj and our cabin steward Surrendra were fantastic and could not do enough to meet our needs. Surrendra especially went over and above his duties to ensure our comfort. All the waiting staff whether in the waterside,other restaurants, bars etc were friendly and helpful, I cannot understand those who complain that they are surly and unfriendly, perhaps they respond to being treated as equals and not as servants, as we found them all to be friendly if addressed in the proper manner. The food was as usual superb, in all the dining experiences. The fjiords were picturesque but mostly the waterfalls were still frozen so we did not quite see the at their best.Also it was very cold when off the ship. I have always wanted to see the fjiords from my schooldays, now i have but i must say i prefer the sun. The entertainment was very good. The Headliners put on a great show.The comediens were good, The Freddie Mercury tribute was good as well as hilarious and guest speaker Sue Holderness from "Only Fools and Horses" was excellent Only one complaint,our luggage should have been in the priority disembarkation area, it was'nt and it took 30 minutes to find it in a vast hall full of suitcases, not easy. Read Less
Sail Date May 2012
AS SOON AS WE ARRIVED AT SOUTHAMPTON DOCKS OUR FAMILY HOLIDAY BEGAN. AS SOON AS I PULLED INTO THE DOCKS AT SOUTHAMPTON, A VERY FRIENDLY GENTLEMAN GREETED US, HE REQUESTED WE OFF LOAD ALL OUT BAGGAGE. ALL OUR CASES WERE TAKEN FROM US ... Read More
AS SOON AS WE ARRIVED AT SOUTHAMPTON DOCKS OUR FAMILY HOLIDAY BEGAN. AS SOON AS I PULLED INTO THE DOCKS AT SOUTHAMPTON, A VERY FRIENDLY GENTLEMAN GREETED US, HE REQUESTED WE OFF LOAD ALL OUT BAGGAGE. ALL OUR CASES WERE TAKEN FROM US STRAIGHT AWAY, HE THEN ASKED FOR MY CAR KEYS AND HE DROVE MY CAR TO THE OVERSTAY CAR PARK. We walked into the arrival lounge, sat there for 30 minutes then we were being called to go on the ship! So much better than an airport when you have two children aged 4 and 11. This cruise ship is amazing for families with young children. My husband and I have two daughters aged 4 and 11. The childrens clubs are amazing. Both our children couldn't wait to go every day. Young children up to the age of 8 have their own indoor soft play area in the theme of Noddy, Noddy is on the ship aswell and they had a noddy welcome party and he joined the children to watch Noddy movies and eat ice cream. Our older daughter enjoyed pool parties everyday with her club and enjoyed lots of games and competitions whilst on board Both our children made lots of friends whilst on holiday, the staff were amazing with both our daughters. In the afternoon there was noddy tea time during 5-6.30pm in the waterside restaurant and all the food was children food. Both our girls looked forward to going to dinner every evening. My husband and I both relaxed on this holiday, seeing our children having so much fun made us both very happy. You can stay with the younger children in the clubs but by the end of the holiday our 4 year old didn't worry if we were there or not because she was having so much fun and made lots of friends! All the bars on the ship would give me milk in the evening for our youngest daughter without any charge. This ship made us feel so welcome with our young children. The interior of this ship is beautiful, there are lots of bars, restaurant and entertainment to keep you busy. We visited the Norweigan Fjords during our cruise and even thought the weather was a little cold the places that we visited were so beautiful. Would definately recommend this ship to families. Thank you P&O Cruises for making our holiday so amazing, your staff were excellent and the ship is brilliant. Can't wait to cruise on this ship again! Read Less
Sail Date May 2012
Before I do a general overview of the cruise here is some useful information. The Inside cabin: The room was big enough to have two single beds pushed together to make a large kingsize bed yet there was still 18 inches either side to ... Read More
Before I do a general overview of the cruise here is some useful information. The Inside cabin: The room was big enough to have two single beds pushed together to make a large kingsize bed yet there was still 18 inches either side to get around the bed. There is small amount of light entering the room through the door air vent so it is not pitch black. The room has a hairdryer and tea and coffee making facilities which are refilled a couple of times a day and there are also biscuits. The water from the tap in the bathroom is drinkable and we saved our 2 small bottles to refill with tap water to take to the sunbeds with us. You can buy small bottle of water for 80p or large bottles of spring water from Costa Coffee on deck 5. The bathroom is not huge but is functional and has enough room to move around. You also get towels for sunbeds so you don't need to take them with you. You store your cases under the beds and there is plenty of room Laundry and ironing: Not sure if this applies to all decks but there was washing and drying facilities on deck 11 which also has 2 ironing boards and steam irons. Shops: There are several shops on deck 6 and 7 midships near the atrium which sell clothes including Tuxedo jackets and dickie bows. You can buy paracetemol and tummy tablets etc and toiletries. There are jewellers on board with various kinds of jewelry and watches. Costa coffee is on deck 5 and has similar prices to home and don't forget to get your free piece of cake. Dining: When we booked 10 weeks before departure we opted for freedom dining but when we arrived we were allocated places on a table for 8 on second sitting. Apparently freedom dining was over subscribed so we could not have this option they did however put us on a table of 8 on first sitting in the Bay Tree when we requested a change and we had lovely company. What we did not realise is that if you opt for freedom dining you can only use this option in the cinnamon restaurant. Our cruise experience. We used the CPS parking at the dockside at Southampton and the service was quick and efficient and cost £148 for 2 weeks. Having only been on one previous cruise on Island Star a few years ago we did not know what to expect. This cruise experience it has to be said was a cut above. The room was bigger and more comfortable the food in the restaurants was excellent although I have to admit that I felt the beach house and waterfront restaurants were a bun fight so we tried to avoid these after the first couple of days and had breakfast and lunch in the Saffron which was far more pleasant. The five course menu in the evening offered 3 choices of starter, 2 choices of soup, 5 choices of main course and 3 choices of sweet plus cheese and biscuits and coffee. After finishing dinner at 8pm we went to watch several of the shows in the Arena theatre . The Headliner theatre group put on some lovely shows of west end quality which lasted 45 mins. A couple of comedy shows including Mark Walker were excellent and his impressions of Liam Gallager and Billy Connelly were very funny. To ensure you get a seat make sure that you get to the theatre at least 20 mins before the show starts because they fill up quickly and the ship was under capacity by 400 passengers. First port of call was Cadiz on Day 4 which was a lovely town but to be honest we did not need to use the open top bus to get around it. As you come out of the gate there was an information desk with a useful map and it is easy to walk around. The second stop was Barcelona and again we did the Green route open top bus tour which takes around 70 mins but this is mainly due to stop start heavy traffic. Parc Guell was a nice place to see but be warned that where you get off the open top bus it is approximately 400 yds to walk up a fairly steep incline and free entry. Saw La Sagrada Familiar from the bus and it was very busy around the area. We then went onto the cathedral and Las Ramblas which was nice to walk around. Third Stop was Ville Franche which we had to land by Tender. This was quite efficient and we only had to wait 20 mins. Once there we picked up a map from the information desk and asked the ladies for directions to the bus for Nice. This is a 10 minute walk up hill to the bus stop. The number 100 runs apx every 15 mins and costs one euro. There are information screens on the bus showing where you are, we did not get off at the first bus stop but at the terminus which was one stop later and in the centre of Niece. Journey time is about 20 mins and you get the same bus back. A taxi will cost you 35 Euro each way. Nice is nice but not cheap. A 500ml bottle of coke from a news stand was 2.8 euro, a coffee and a beer on the promenade was 8.8 Euro. I liked Ville Franche it's a very pretty town. Stop 4 Civitavecchia Having done Rome before we stayed on the boat here. Stop 5 Livorno We did not do Pisa or Florence as again we had done this before but we did visit the town and it was pleasant to walk around the indoor market and have a coffee in one of the squares. From the shuttle bus drop off point it was about a 10-15 minute walk to the centre. Stop 6 Alicante This was a pleasant place to visit with a nice beach area and centre. Had a look around the modern art gallery which was free to enter and was quite interesting. Some nice buildings to see and the town is easy to walk around. Stop 7 Gibralter. Had a walk into Gibralter for some Duty Free alcohol and it is much cheaper than on the ship. The main street seemed to go on forever with Perfume, jewelry and duty free shops all over the place. To summarise we really enjoyed our cruise on Ventura and would certainly consider this trip in the future. Our cabin Steward Mack on deck 11 was wonderful and really took care of us. The drinks are reasonably priced and the entertainment and nightly quizzes were great fun. The holiday was made more special by the lovely people we met, including Ian ,Ann, Roz , Lisa, Vic and Val. Must not forget Jo from the entertainment team nice girl with a BIG personality. Some Technical Info The ship uses 96 gallons of fuel per mile at 17.8 Knots and can carry 3200 tonnes of fuel on board which is enough to travel 8400 miles. Our cruise was apx 4500 miles which mean we must have used over 400000 gallons of fuel so if you are bothered about your carbon footprint ????????. Ventura makes its own water from Seawater and can store 3 million litres in its 12 tanks. Read Less
Sail Date May 2012
Just returned from a Norwegian Fjords cruise for our anniversary. We have been told on numerous occasions to try P & O cruises, so that it what we decided to do on Ventura for 7 days, with an excellent offer of £499 for a weeks ... Read More
Just returned from a Norwegian Fjords cruise for our anniversary. We have been told on numerous occasions to try P & O cruises, so that it what we decided to do on Ventura for 7 days, with an excellent offer of £499 for a weeks cruise. We had never been in and inside cabin before and although apprehensive it was fine. Very small when you are used to Balconies but still livable. We noticed that we could not have bath robes because of the grade of cabin we were in and we didn't get any animal sculptures ( but that was okay by us). We did however have an excellent cabin steward Dipu who went out of his way to do anything for us and kept the cabin immaculate. Embarkation was good and we used P & O valet parking which although we had to wait for 20 mins was efficient. We didn't use shore excursions and were able to get off freely and explore ourselves. We did have very heavy rain in Stravanger and because of this people returned to the ship sooner, getting back on board was a joke and we got soaked in a 40 minute queue not impressed. The Headliner shows were very good but we found that there was just not enough time to see a lot of what was offered in the evening and it all seemed to be very good. We opted for fixed dining on a table of 8 on 8.30pm dining. This was our first experience of this and we were lucky and had a full table, some were only half full. We have eaten better food but it was okay, I think we expected better. The lack of Steak, Fish or a Pasta meal as an alternative to the daily recommendations was not to our liking but we didn't go hungry. Cheese boards are a joke so poor!!!!!!!!!!!! We had booked a celebration pack costing £60 this was well worth doing, apart from Champagne and chocolates on arrival we had the most incredible Champagne Breakfast delivered to our cabin and were able to have a photograph taken on our anniversary included in the package. We chose to self disembark and this was brilliant, easy and we were off the ship by 7.40am. Read Less
Sail Date May 2012
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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