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78 Southampton P&O Cruises Ventura Cruise Reviews

We went a Ventura cruise for two weeks in the Med. We are experienced P&O cruisers aged early 50s. The basic facts, as objectively as possible: Embarkation was fairly swift a Southampton but the ship left port late due to ... Read More
We went a Ventura cruise for two weeks in the Med. We are experienced P&O cruisers aged early 50s. The basic facts, as objectively as possible: Embarkation was fairly swift a Southampton but the ship left port late due to underestimating the amount of baggage to be loaded. The ship is huge and 90% of it is done very well. Two spacious show lounges plus the theatre. Unfortunately, despite P&O adding an additional performance at each of the shows (three times a night instead of two) the theatre and lounges are not enough for 3,200 passengers. The old activities of flower arranging and making a corsage for Ladies Night have been replace with computer skills, circus lessons, etc. Shore excursions were fine from our perspective and there is a much wider choice than a few years ago. We tried the new "Freedom Dining" option which worked reasonably well although "freedom" meant 7.00 pm or 9.00 pm usually and only if you booked at 8.00am two days in advance. Entertainment was a mix of good and bad...not sure the punk rock group was such a good idea. Martin Gold was quite a funny comedian but some of the others were rubbish. Steward service in the bars was good. The ship did not seem as clean as other P & O ships. Now to my subjective view. Ventura is essentially Butlins at sea. P& O have made a great mistake with this ship with their obvious intention to grow their business outside of the established model. I may be wrong but only if they think they can fill this ship every cruise with families with children, and then only those who are happy that there is no control over their children. It is full at the moment because P&O's loyal cruisers are trying it out as well as their new demographic group. In the whole two weeks we were on board I did not hear one "cruiser" say anything other than they would never cruise on her for a second time. We ourselves have cancelled a cruise on Ventura booked for next year. Children are everywhere, the lounges, all the pools, Jacuzzis used as paddling pools....family friendly maybe...but not children controlled surely!! It just doesn't have the feel of the other ships...like it has dropped down a class. No risk assessments can have been done as children as young as two are allowed to jump into the pools without supervision. I wonder when the first major accident will happen. None of the pools are shallower than 6 feet and the very small children's paddling pool was closed throughout the cruise. There are no adult only bars. The poor replacement for a Crows Nest bar on other P&O ships (Metropolis) was full with children running and playing. Very sophisticated...NOT. There are not enough sun beds even though they are packed in like sardines and, unlike other P&O liners, no one stops the "towels on the beds mentality". Ironically the famous P&O non-common sense rule comes into play here as well. We had a massive balcony with two tiny non-reclining chairs and a small table. If all the balconies had had decent seating the pressure on the sun beds on deck would have been alleviated. We warned the reception desk on the second day that using automatic hand cleaning dispensers in the buffet instead of the good old method of a member of the crew proffering it would lead to a Norovirus outbreak and it did on the fourth day. Drinks menus disappeared, as did salt & pepper cellars and the buffet was served to you. In fact anything that might transfer germs. Another classic case of stable doors and horses bolting! The only exception was the ice cream vendor who continued to use his fingers to add sprigs of mint to ice creams at all times. Even after we reported it twice!! The reception desk needs a special mention. An example..and by no means the only one. We complained about our TV not working five times. Eventually an office came down and told us it wasn't working. Duh! In the end I fixed it myself by rebooting the interactive system. Whatever was said to reception went in one ear and out of the other. A classic "lights on but nobody home". The dinner menus have lost the option to have a steak, chicken, salmon option to the table d'hôte although I am informed it is still available on a wink wink nudge nudge system. The problem with a bigger ship becomes apparent in port. Getting on and off is more difficult with longer queues. At tender ports especially this resulted in long waits onshore to get back to the ship. I have seen a review of this cruise already which was basically thumbs down but they did make the point that if people didn't like the kids why cruise on a Family Friendly ship. I think the point was missed. We don't mind well behaved children on a cruise. We used to take ours. But this is a ship where any complaint about children is greeted by the response that it is "up to the parents". In this day and age that is laughable. And what adult would risk going into a small pool filled with children in today's climate...not I for one. Children rule on this ship. And they will do until next season when P&O will see the cancellations and the poor bookings and think again. We had 230 children on board. I was told this will increase to 600 in the school holidays. I pity anyone sailing on Ventura then. God bless Aurora...she still has children...but is never taken over by them. Read Less
Sail Date May 2008
What excitement to think that we had managed to book on to P+O's largest ship ever. This is a British ship and Helen Mirren had named her only in April.Our Travel agent arranged for us to be picked up at the house by mini bus and then ... Read More
What excitement to think that we had managed to book on to P+O's largest ship ever. This is a British ship and Helen Mirren had named her only in April.Our Travel agent arranged for us to be picked up at the house by mini bus and then taken to Magor Services where we joined many other people all going to Southampton on the Ventura. We did not arrive until mid afternoon and with so many people to cater for the ship had set sail before we had our cases delivered to our cabin. We were not shown how to get to our cabin so we found it quite frustrating. We had booked club dining and asked for second sitting which we were told was fine. When we looked around the cabin we discovered a notice saying they were pleased to allocate us "Free Dining". This is not Free at all as one has to book the previous day. If you do not book but just arrive, then you could find yourself waiting a long time for table. We booked for 7p.m. each night and had no problem getting a table but as it was a different table each night you never knew who you would be sitting with. This was disappointing as you never got to know anyone really well and as we were just a couple we more often than not found ourselves on a table with a foursome who had come together. Sometimes this was great but at other times we found ourselves 'left out' and just talking to ourselves. We discovered that there were a lot of other people who had booked club dining and found themselves with "freedom dining" but there was nothing we could do about it. Our balcony cabin was at the rear of the ship and if we wanted to go to anything at the front we had a long long walk. Freedom dining was on deck 5 and we were on deck 12, so the first night we decided to walk down the stairs but when we got to deck 6 we could not go down any further. One then had to go back up to deck 7, walk along to the centre of the ship and only then could we go down to deck 5. This was very confusing and even at the end of the cruise one could find people who were lost. The food was excellent and extremely well presented and if you did not like anything on the menue you could always ask for a steak or salad. The self service restaurants (there were two of them, so one was always open) had a good variety of meals and snacks but no custard or real cream. The scones in the afternoon were freshly baked but very small and the pot of cream was synthetic!!! This was the first time I have tasted chocolate eclairs with synthetic cream. The children seemed very well catered for and we rarely saw them on the ship unless accompanied by a minder. Compared with The Royal Caribbean ships the shows were very poor and we only managed to get seated during the middle show once. It seems a very small theatre for the amount of people although they do put on three shows the last one does not start until 10.45p.m. I would suggest that you take any medicines and tablets that you think you could possibly need with you as there is very little in the small shop. So if you want asprins,something for a sore throat, a bad back etc etc you would have to visit the medical centre and see the doctor. This costs £40 plus the cost of the tablets(much more expensive than you get back home in the chemist. As the excess on insurance is generally £50 cheapest a few more items in your case would prove well worth while. The cabins were quite large with a walk-in wardrobe (take some more hangers!!)and you can keep four large cases under the twin beds. The beds were comfortable and I believe that if you asked your cabin lad you can have them pushed together to make a double bed. Some of the ports we took excursions but on others we were so close to the town that we either walked or took the shuttle bus. The shuttle buses were free except for the one into Helsinki which cost 20 dollars but you could pay in pounds. We enjoyed the excursions we did take except for one in St Petersburg The Seige of Leningrad" which was first of all going around an old ice breaker ship- the smell of stale tobacco smoke was not very pleasant, and then around a large museum. This was quite interesting but by the time the Russian guide had her say then the translator it took a very long time and we spent over an hour or more. A lot of people asked to go outside as there were few seats and it did get very repetitive. It would have been better to cut this short and then to maybe go to the commemorative cemetery where they have the flames lit continually. So on that trip we did not see anything of St Petersburg and there is so much to see. As each port of call used a different currency we decided to just have some euros and this was taken by all of them although in St Petersburg they did like you to have American dollars(unless you had roubles of course). My 4 favorite ports of call were Stockholm - loved by most people with it many islands joined by over fifty bridges, a beautiful city but expensive. Then St Petersburg which has so much that one can never see it all. Tallinn which has an old town with cobbled streets and is so so pretty and relatively unexpensive. A shuttle bus took us into the old town and there is plenty to see and plenty of eating places. Then last but not least was Warnemunde, an East German sea-side resort which seems to be getting onto the itinerary of our ships at last. It is only a very short walk from the dock and there are loads of small shops, cafes and boat trips and train trips - I suggest you do your own thing again. The library is quite comprehensive but there are no seats and there is not anywhere that one can exchange books. Most people take some reading matter with them and when finished would like to swap it for another book. We used the computer room a lot and this was never full and the person in charge was very helpful whether you are a complete beginner or more advanced. The dance floor is very small especially considering the size of the ship and the 3,000 odd passengers. Plenty of bars and places for coffee, chocolate etc. The gym is large and has lots of different machines and one could always find a free one to use. Plenty of sun loungers and there were always plenty free. With five pools, one now allocated for adults only there is never a problem when you want a swim. The weather was kind to us most of the time although it was too windy to go into Copenhagen which was a disappointment. A smaller ship would have had no problem. Summing up - a Baltic trip is a must and I would not have missed it for anything but would certainly not go back on the Ventura. Of all the people we spoke to or heard talking there were only two who said they would have another cruise on the Ventura. As this was our first trip with P+O we were told numerous time not to judge P+O by this ship ?????? Read Less
Sail Date June 2008
Ventura Canaries July 2008 This is our fourth cruise the last on being with the century of the celebrity line to the Baltic, great ship great cruise, so I thought at£3000 more the p and o Ventura would be fantastic, I was wrong! ... Read More
Ventura Canaries July 2008 This is our fourth cruise the last on being with the century of the celebrity line to the Baltic, great ship great cruise, so I thought at£3000 more the p and o Ventura would be fantastic, I was wrong! Firstly the reception at Southampton was poor, We arrived 4 hours early due to flights, we were ignored for 3 1/2 hours the facilities were very poor with no one willing or able to take our bags, there were about 5o people in the same boat. When I asked if we could sit some where sit, could someone take our bags? I was told by one of there reps what I already knew, we were early and no they couldn't take the bags, but were we excited? Em no! Disappointed, uncomfortable yes, excited ,no. It did not impress us particularly as other people were getting the 5 star treatment, future customers apparently, to see if they would book for future trips Those of us that had parted with their hard earned money well they could just wait outside! The Ship The ship its big too big ,it rolls like an old man on skates,even on a milk pond if windy it cant get into some ports because its too big,(we missed Lanzarote). It's also too big because they is a staff ratio of only 1/3 on all other ships we have been on its been 1/2 this means that the cabins are tided, not really cleaned The public areas ,particularly the public toilets are disgusting, with poo on the seats and floor! This is the only ship I have been on where they do not insist you use hand gel When entering the main dining, so prepare for tummy upset down the line There are not enough sun-beds and they were so desperate to fill the ship i think they have let anyone on, a friend of mine has experienced fing and blinding over sun-beds with the only pool patrols being waiters selling drinks. There are several pools and one we use had enough chlorine to turn the kids eyes red and their swimmers green. There is no sign of security to keep an eye on some who look like they would be happier on a beach in Ibiza. The British staff are as pleasant and helpful as you would find at Woolworths the Filipino and Indian staff are much better as are the spa and internet staff. A word of warning the camera memory card viewer wiped out half my photographs and damaged the card, apparently that was my fault! The food is good but the dining experience, in fact everything is not as good as our previous Celebrity cruise. To sum up too big too dirty, too bad ,P and O have got it badly wrong and their Customer service is very poor, the loading manager was very rude and unhelpful to my wife when we were disembarking, funny that! Read Less
Sail Date July 2008
We are seasoned cruisers and have cruised many times before most recently with Royal Carribean, NCL and Princess so this was our first P&O cruise and we must say were not impressed in comparrison! Embarkation/Disembarkation This was ... Read More
We are seasoned cruisers and have cruised many times before most recently with Royal Carribean, NCL and Princess so this was our first P&O cruise and we must say were not impressed in comparrison! Embarkation/Disembarkation This was very efficient we arrived at Southampton around 11.45 and we were on board the ship within half an hour very organised lots of desks open to check you in. Great start to our holiday or so we thought! Disembarkation was very organised you are given coloured cards and get off once your colour has been called however don't try and get off before your colour is called as you will be sent back. Cabin The smallest cabin we've had especially the bathroom which was very petite. We had an inside cabin on deck 12 which was fine despite being a bit smaller than what we are used to. Our steward did a good job throughout although we did miss the small finishing touches that we ve always had like towel animals being left on your bed at night. Other than that it was fine. Food & Drink The food was the highlight probably some of the best food we've had on any cruise I am wheat and gluten free and they were great at accomadating me with this. If there was something I didn't like on the menu the chef would make it especially if he could, as I pre-ordered my meals the night before the same with afternoon tea as long as I pre ordered they would accomadate me. The White Room was FANTASTIC well worth the £25 per head extra charge. Drinks were very reasonable around £2.25 for a can of beer £4.20 for a cocktail. The downside to this was the waterside buffet on deck 15 it was a NIGHTMARE! The restaurants closed at 9am for breakfast so if you wanted a lie in you had to go to Waterside, we have never ever had to queue for breakfast or for a seat before on this cruise we constantly had to queue it was awful. We chose freedom dining which was ok but if you want a table for 2 be prepared to wait up to an hour most nights as we had to wait, a bit annoying that you cant book a table like we could last year on Royal Carribean. Entertainment The only word for it is RUBBISH! Very poor throughout the cruise a long way off the standards of the american cruise lines and not enough activities during the day.We felt like we were on a floating butlins or a package holiday at sea not what we are used to at all. Ports Of Call Lisbon, Vigo, La Rochelle and Brest. The ports of call were ok but we much prefer the med if you are going to cruise Europe we did a tour in Lisbon and La Rochelle which again were o.k but over priced like most excursions. What they don't tell you is there are free shuttle buses at every port which is useful but we had already booked our tours so were unable to make use of these in Lisbon and La Rochelle. In vigo we got off and walked into town which we thought was a bit of a dump and Brest we didn't get of the ship so cant comment on that. Service The service was ok not the most friendly service we've had but we didn't have any problems either the staff were pleasant but didn t go out of there way where service is concerned. Ventura "ROLL" We were told this at breakfast yesterday by a lady sitting on our table that she was told by someone at P&O the Ventura is known as The VENTURA Roll and boy did she rock. We have cruised out of New York in winter we have cruised Alaska and never experienced movement like this before it was VERY VERY ROCKY. Alot of people were suffering from sea sickness that we spoke to. She is not a very stable ship at all the swells and sea conditions we were told by the captain were fine. If the Ventura rocks like that in ok weather I dread to think what she would be like in bad weather. Summary The demogarphic on this ship was vast I have never seen so many tattoo's in one space before, there were alot of babies and alot of diabled and wheelchair passengers on board. We feel this cruise was aimed at the more cheaper end of the market which is why it gave us the feel of a floating butlins or package holiday at sea. The ship was full 3,500 passengers and this is the first time we've felt it was crowded, we have often been on large ships but have never felt crowded before. The food was great however not much else was as i've said above and in future we will pay a bit more and stick with Celebrity and Royal Carribean and will certainly never cruise with P&O again. Read Less
Sail Date September 2010
We had often wondered would we enjoy a large cruise ship after the ultimate experience of Azamara could anything be better than that.,so when I saw a 2 night cruise to Zeebruger to visit Bruges and try all that chocolate and special price ... Read More
We had often wondered would we enjoy a large cruise ship after the ultimate experience of Azamara could anything be better than that.,so when I saw a 2 night cruise to Zeebruger to visit Bruges and try all that chocolate and special price balcony cabin same as inside i booked it.What a mistake from the moment of check in at Southampton to the chaos of disembarkation nothing lived up to expectation,Too many people, nowhere quiet to relax,queues for everything from breakfast to lifts, buses,everywhere you went people pushing and so much noise.The cabin clean and bed very comfortable ,best of all cruises we,ve had,plenty of hot water and good shower.No water in the room to drink and 2 sachets of coffee a day!!!Food ok could be better, buffet breakfast lacked imagination and fresh fruit could have been fresher.Staff fairly indifferent but polite chatted a lot to each other.Would recommend that P and O .staff do an Azamara cruise they could learn a lotWill never chance P and O again Read Less
Sail Date March 2011
Our cruise from Southampton to Bruge, a two day taster cruise that left on the 25th March 2011 and returned on the 27th March and cost us £350 per person plus extras, was a big disappointment I'm sorry to say. As quite experienced ... Read More
Our cruise from Southampton to Bruge, a two day taster cruise that left on the 25th March 2011 and returned on the 27th March and cost us £350 per person plus extras, was a big disappointment I'm sorry to say. As quite experienced cruisers we wanted to taste the delights of P.& O. which we thought would be a real treat and cut above the others (Royal Caribbean and Princess). From the very beginning organisation was a real issue. We arrived at the cruise terminal (Southampton) to be handed the colour coded cards with letters on, with no explanation as to the procedure other passengers filled us in, and over an hour later waiting in a huge hot hanger (please please tell me that's air conditioned in summer ?) we were called. Then you que for check in, then you que for security now I understand that some queing when dealing with 3000+ passengers must be inevitable but there are ways to handle large groups with courtesy and tact rather than making them feel like cattle, and this was not attempted here.We arrived on board and a few staff were "hanging around" and we managed to find out where are cabin was ,but on previous cruises this has been handled as a warm welcome with smiles and grace, not so here.Best Bit of cruise was the brass band on the dock which played us off, magic. Our cabin was adequate, with furnishings as expected but the overall feel was that the decor, fabrics and flooring were very tired. A small TV on which little information was ever displayed and PAY per view films ! unlike Princess or Royal Caribbean where the latest movies run for free, with plenty of choice of other channels and information is updated daily in a rolling show recorded by the cruise director. (Dont even think P&O have a cruise director).In the bathroom were decent size toiletries, but a shower curtain rather than a door. In the Room were tea and coffee making facilities and a fresh daisy, all small nice touches. On the balcony, nice furniture two loungers, one foot stool (every one else had two??) and an occasional table (what do occasional tables do the rest of the time? [I digress]).We went for a wander around the ship and came back to find our case had been left outside someone else's cabin, luckily we walked past that particular cabin so reclaimed our case !!! can you imagine the problems we could have had had we not been lucky enough to spot it?There was no explanation of where we could eat (this was the major problem of this cruise there was never any information or help or organisation), we ended up on the deck eating hot dogs and burgers although, I believe, we could have eaten a nice afternoon tea in the buffet but no one told us!The restaurant was pleasant, the food and service excellent, we had first sitting 6.30pm and a table with two other couples and although we were strangers we got on well and I have no complaints about the restaurant and my partner was pleased to note that on the formal night people were denied access to the dining room if they were not adhering to the specified dress code. The breakfast (which we took in the buffet on deck 15) was also excellent with masses of choice and very nice food. My partner had full English and I had continental with fruit and yogurt all lovely and well presented. We will give credit where credit is due the staff and food served on this ship were top notch.The entertainment on board for this two night cruise were awful, a bad comedian, two X-factor rejects, a sub standard tribute to the four tops and a George Micheal tribute act. I hope that normally on longer cruises the shows would be good but might have expected at £350 a head for two nights we deserved better. The crew also seemed to think this was a "Party Cruise" nobody billed it as a party cruise when we booked it, it was described as a "Taster" and we expected a taste of P.& O.'s usual standards.Bruge and the shore excursion- We booked the four hour tour, boat ride and shopping advertised as "A Taste Of Bruge" £40 a head.Our coach was half an hour late leaving the ship due to lots of chatting and checking lists by the P&O staff, so we were instantly late starting our walking tour. No problem for the guide who was 6'4" with a stride to match and decided to do the whole thing at top speed with no "comfort stops", in the end three of us ladies had to demand a toilet break which went down very badly and he went into a complete sulk when half the group decided not to continue with the tour and make their own way back to the ship (at considerable expense). If I were you I would book the "Bruge at your own pace" (£28)which is basically a transfer to and from the ship and look round Bruge at your leisure. A lady however told me that this was also fraught with disaster for some people as when they went to get the buses back, some how the buses filled before every one who had paid were seated on them. The driver of the last bus refused to carry these passengers, despite their having tickets and turning up in good time ( one was even in a wheelchair), and left them to make their own way back to the ship, ten miles away. Perhaps to make your own way to and from Bruge via the train is the best option as many more experienced passengers did. Bruge by the way is lovely. The boat "driver" we had was very funny and we tipped him because he was the best bit of the tour.Disembarkation- We have been on many cruises and are used to the system, you keep the bare essentials with you and put your main case(s) outside the night before you dock. In the morning those who want to get off quick (and didn't put their cases out the night before) get off first. Then the others are kept in different lounges and called in order (usually colour coded) to avoid chaos, no one ques for longer than necessary and you wait in comfort! That's how they do it on other ships, not here though, lip service was paid to the organised way, we waited for the calls for disembarkation but after nothing for an half an hour my partner went to find out what was happening. He was told by a member of staff that they'd abandoned any attempt at organisation and everyone was now queing (3000+ people) to leave the ship by one gang plank!!! madness which we then had to join. What a rubbish way to end a rubbish weekend. Everyone was hot,tired and very fed up, it didn't have to be like that, the fact that the ship was late docking should not have caused this chaos.When we got home a P.&O. brochure was awaiting us, and leafing through I was amazed to find that this ship is only 3 years old, it has not aged well. It needs a deep clean and preferably a complete refurbishment, it needs someone to organise the staff and provide more information, where are the little cards with maps of the ship ? (so handy on other cruises we've been on). The staff need to up their game be polite and informative (one spoke to me so rudely he alone would have put me off P.& O. single handedly) the general attitude seemed to be it's only a two day cruise we dont give a damn about the passengers. You will not be surprised that we will not be travelling with P.& O. again and are having our next cruise with Princess, they know how to treat their customers (and we've already booked it).It saddens me that a great British company has been reduced to this. Read Less
Sail Date March 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
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
We sailed out of Southampton on a 16 night transatlantic voyage across to the Caribbean. This was our fifth cruise overall and our first with P&O. Embarkation went without problem and we were on the ship quickly. We found our ... Read More
We sailed out of Southampton on a 16 night transatlantic voyage across to the Caribbean. This was our fifth cruise overall and our first with P&O. Embarkation went without problem and we were on the ship quickly. We found our stateroom and it was decorated to generally good order but was showing signs of wear and tear here and there. There was also a slight sewage smell in the bathroom that was not particularly nice but it was only slight. This is a large ship and as such a lot of passengers were onboard. I'd say it was probably full. Our biggest issue was with the buffet area on the ship. It was very poorly stocked and the size of it is a joke for a ship of this size. The buffet area was regularly severely overcrowded with long lines to get food. Whoever designed this part of the ship really should get the boot. The food selection was also very poor. Most irritating was that when there was a 'theme' night (e.g. curry night) then there was virtually no other choice to be had. Other ships we have been on have had a massive selection all the time. The main restaurant was 'ok'. Food portions were very small and we would get through our evening dining experience in about twenty minutes! Service throughout the ship was also just bad. It is nearly a 100% Indian crew and they all just seemed fed up, overworked and just uninterested in anything. It was the first time ever we contacted the front desk and had the gratuities removed completely - we just could not justify it. We ate at some of the other restaurants on the ship and again we just found the food to be of poor quality and in small portions. We had an ongoing temperature problem in our room as well. Hot one minute and freezing the next. We had around six engineer visits during our time onboard. Public areas on the ship regularly were very busy with lots of people and it just wasn't enjoyable. Overall our experience was more like being on a giant ferry rather than a luxury cruise liner. And luxury it very much is not. Compared to the likes of a hotel rating this ship was probably a two star at best. As one previous reviewer wrote, "Butlins on a boat" isn't too far of the mark. We are unlikely to choose P&O again and will likely stick to the more premium carriers. If you book this ship then as long as you go with low expectations then everything will be great. Read Less
Sail Date September 2012
To say that Ventura was disappointing would be huge understatement. OK firstly I should say that we booked late and got a huge discount, as did pretty much every other guest we spoke to, had we have paid full fare I would have been ... Read More
To say that Ventura was disappointing would be huge understatement. OK firstly I should say that we booked late and got a huge discount, as did pretty much every other guest we spoke to, had we have paid full fare I would have been complaining like crazy. The boat was full of people who had paid less than 500 for an inside cabin and were determined to eat at least 1000 worth of food, if you enjoy all-inclusive holidays in Benidorm then this is the one for you. Does that sound a bit snobbish? Well I'm a council house kid from South East London and I was embarrassed to be British at times. The quality of the food in the main restaurant was poor and service not much better. First night we were treated to a prawn cocktail that consisted of a small lettuce leaf on top of which were piled watery frozen prawns and no sauce, followed by what in the seventies used to be called chicken corden bleu accompanied by croquet potatoes. It was like the chef had been down to Iceland and bought what was on offer that day. I say chef but I use the term loosely, I do not consider heating pre-prepared food as cooking. The Sommelier hadn't the first clue about wine, (apparently Fleurie is now Spanish), and did not even know how to pour a glass of wine properly. In fairness The White Room was excellent in all respects, quality of food & service but at an extra cost of 25 per head. I would whole heartedly recommend it though as it is definitely worth the money. In the self service restaurant pandemonium reigned, apart from the piranha's fighting over every morsel the staff had a habit of randomly shutting off sections of the servery as and when it suited them. On three occasions at breakfast I actually managed to find a croissant available on display, on every other day I had to ask for one. Each time I did this the request would be transferred via two or three people to someone in the bakery area who would miraculously produce a croissant. This ritual was performed by many other guests who as frustrated as I was voiced their displeasure. The bus boys whipped the plates away before the last mouthful was swallowed and had virtually all forgotten how to smile. These are only a few of the daily annoyances( don't get me started on the availability of cups) and basically all come back to one thing - Poor Management. The staff in the bars were a bit better in that they always greeted guests with a smile and took the orders promptly, but then generally left you waiting for a while before the drinks arrived. In fairness the entertainment was very good and in particular the dance instructors were excellent, probably the most enthusiastic people on the boat. The theatre group put on some great shows and most of the entertainers were value for money. One exception though was Kate Robbins, Oh dear! half the audience walked out, I'm not sure if it was because of the rubbish act or the smell of booze. The cabins are not bad, we had a balcony room which was OK, the bathroom was a little on the small side but adequate, and the hanging rail arrangement was better than the wardrobes you usually find. Our cabin steward was excellent. Friendly, helpful and nothing was too much trouble for him, whoever trained him should train the restaurant staff, a smile costs nothing. The weather was a bit rough going across the Bay of Biscay but I didn't think Ventura handled it very well, the ship rocked and rolled all over the place and many people were seasick. We've experienced worse weather than that coming across the North Sea and not had anything like as much movement. Our previous cruise was on Celebrity Eclipse and that ship is a world away from this one, the Eclipse beats Ventura in every single department in my opinion. Our verdict was - P & O Could do better. Next cruise will be Celebrity I think. Read Less
Sail Date April 2013
Traveled down to Southampton with the complimentary coach provided from Manchester airport which was stress free. On arrival at Southampton unfortunately the check in at the terminal had technical issue's and held up the check in ... Read More
Traveled down to Southampton with the complimentary coach provided from Manchester airport which was stress free. On arrival at Southampton unfortunately the check in at the terminal had technical issue's and held up the check in procedure for over 1 hour. On boarding the ship we were allowed straight into our room which was a Balcony cabin on Deck A the cabin was good and a good size comfy bed. Now I have been told how good P&O Cruising is I have only done Royal Caribbean and Princess so my expectation was high. Well I was very disappointed first with the internal layout of the ship the Atrium was small and not has impressive of that of Royal Caribbean ships of the same size. The dining experience was not very good at all,dining rooms were drab the staff not very friendly the food was ok. The East restaurant and White room (which was an extra cost) on the other hand were excellent. The bars on the ship were ok but lacked that atmosphere. I thought the shows/entertainment on the ship were very good. I was surprised of the lack of anti-bacterial gel on and off the ship when boarding. Its my first transatlantic crossing which I would not do again, to many sea days. The ship in all I was disappointed with, the ships crew did not go that extra mile a part from Crosby our cabin steward, the ports visited were fine. Will I cruise with P&O again probably but not until the the new ship Brittania is launched. Read Less
Sail Date October 2013
We have done the Transatlantic cruise on board Ventura and Azura for the past few years each time the services you get has been getting poorer and poorer The meals in the main restraunt are becoming ordinary and the level of attention you ... Read More
We have done the Transatlantic cruise on board Ventura and Azura for the past few years each time the services you get has been getting poorer and poorer The meals in the main restraunt are becoming ordinary and the level of attention you get off the staff is left I think this is because they are reducing staff numbers the waiters are looking after more tables. Tips are now added daily to your onboard account so there is no need for the staff to do that little bit extra. The meals are now pre plated rather than the veg being brought and served so you can choose which veg you would like. The entertainment teams are not able to run all the games they once did, When I aked they said because of health and safety they coudnt play the pool games staff v passangers. I am disapointed that Ventura is being based in the med as it is the only ship with a covered pool that at least you can use when the ship leaves southampton in colder weather. Love the ship itself and find it brighter than its sister ship Ventura.and the two smaller ships Oceana which is also a lovelly ship and Oriana that is now a adult only ship and in need of a complete refurbishment. I have only been taking holidays on cruise ships for 5 years but have done two a year. Disapointed for the other members of the family and friends that came with us for the first time as we had over 10 cabins in total.T Theater shows are great Entertainment staff did there best worked realy hard and extremly helpfull went out of there way to make the holiday enjoyable. Just not enough of them felt sorry for them As they ran from event to event. I wnt be booking another with PO this year and will now look at other cruise lines. Read Less
Sail Date October 2013
Boarding at Southampton was chaotic. Advanced requests for assistance due to being sight impaired had gone ignored by P&O. A very helpful ABP employee did offer and provide assistance, however, despite his best efforts this was ... Read More
Boarding at Southampton was chaotic. Advanced requests for assistance due to being sight impaired had gone ignored by P&O. A very helpful ABP employee did offer and provide assistance, however, despite his best efforts this was turned into an embarrassing and troublesome experience by other staff in the check-in process. The ship itself and is looking tired, varnish is peeling off the woodwork in all areas, with no apparent ongoing maintenance, which I have always found evident on other cruise lines. This generally faded glory is reflected throughout the Ventura experience. Little touches such as the breakfast menus being filthy dirty and dog-eared, My cabin was HE grade on deck 11, this was a pleasantly sized cabin with balcony. In cabin Tea and coffee making facilities are provided. An in room safe is available to use free of charge. There is an interactive TV which provides updates on your onboard account, two news channels, updates on the ships progress and weather. Films are available on demand, these are charged at £1.99 each. As with most cruise lines, cabins are serviced twice daily by a cabin Steward. I have seen other reviewers write of small showers on other ships, a sentiment my experience has not reflected. I am a slim 68kg (10stone in old money) and I have to admit that the shower aboard Ventura was a very cramped enclosure. The cabin Steward and evening restaurant staff were friendly and offered a polite personal service, even taking the trouble to address passengers by their name. Apart from this service was impersonal and far from effortless, emphasis was very much about maximizing onboard spend. The availability of food throughout the day is excellent The Waterside buffet was very good and well managed, this was one of the few areas where the service excelled Although the food was generally good at the evening formal dining, it is no longer a silver service experience, and in my opinion falls way short of the standard and quality provided by MSC. It also has the has the dubious honor of being the first time I have ever sent food back in a restaurant as being unacceptable. The breakfast service in the formal dining room is abysmal and the in cabin breakfast is not a good option, one day getting the order wrong, and the next not turning up all. I was not the only passenger to remark that it appears that P&O believe toast to be a cold snack, as it is impossible to get a warm piece of toast anywhere on Ventura. The evening entertainment was beyond bad. The main entertainment being a Beattles tribute act and an awful comedian, both pretty second rate on a 4 night cruise this program was repeated twice. All in all a pleasant holiday which would have been most acceptable for a more reasonable price. At a little under £600 for 4 nights, it did not reflect value for money. The P&O experience does not live up to what I know it once was (or that which it currently advertises itself to be) Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
My friend had never cruised before I had been on Oceania, MSC and Fred Olsen cruises, so we decided to try P & O. We embarked from Southampton having driven down we were satisfied with the arrangements and did not have that long to ... Read More
My friend had never cruised before I had been on Oceania, MSC and Fred Olsen cruises, so we decided to try P & O. We embarked from Southampton having driven down we were satisfied with the arrangements and did not have that long to wait to board, considering the numbers they are dealing with. However first impressions of the ship itself were not particularly impressive, staff were not particularly welcoming and the décor lacks the WOW factor. We went for an inside cabin both for economy and also because I had always had an outside or balcony previously and wanted to see if my paying the extra was really worth it. The cabin was very comfortable and bigger than expected but we did miss not having daylight, so yes the extra to get this either by means of window or balcony is worth it. Dining on board was the biggest disappointment, the food was canteen standard and the service was poor, no smiling welcoming waiters here. The entertainment by way of the shows was also poor to pathetic. The ship had a few families on board with children who seemed to be completely on their own (I guess parents were there but we didn't see them with the kids) they jumped into the pools and played in and out in the Jacuzzi, which meant that we didn't bother to try to use either. The staff completely ignored this behaviour and made no attempt to point out the notices that said no jumping or diving in the pool - how an accident didn't occur is miraculous. The general cleanliness of the ship was just about acceptable but never did you see any staff member wiping down handrails or insisting that passengers use the anti-bacterial spray at entrances to dining areas. Neither of us will be going with P & O again, which is such a disappointment as I really thought they would be so much better than this being such an iconic name within the industry. Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
Very second rate Compared to Carnival and Royal Caribbean, the staff could barely speak English and were nowhere near as friendly or professional, the food, entertainment, organisation, embarking and disembarking for trips etc was nowhere ... Read More
Very second rate Compared to Carnival and Royal Caribbean, the staff could barely speak English and were nowhere near as friendly or professional, the food, entertainment, organisation, embarking and disembarking for trips etc was nowhere near as good. Next time I am looking to book a cruise it will not be with P&O. Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
Arrived at Ocean Terminal, seemed well organised and despite many arriving early things were kept moving. Water dispensers had no cups so I asked staff at kiosk who said I'd have to pay for empty cups - not a good start! Entered ... Read More
Arrived at Ocean Terminal, seemed well organised and despite many arriving early things were kept moving. Water dispensers had no cups so I asked staff at kiosk who said I'd have to pay for empty cups - not a good start! Entered Ventura to be directed to deck 15 buffet, no welcome or welcome drink. Buffet crowded but we found a table eventually, shortage of cups which happened often thru cruise. No free drink for children except water (unless your child liked tea/coffee), this I thought bad as it was school holiday family cruise. Went to cabins at 2pm, very clean and tidy. Introduced to stewards. Ours named Sunil, lovely chap. Cabin kept well stocked, welcome balloon and sweets for daughter (was her birthday on board). Entertainment in theatre very good, especially 'Badness' with music and humour. Even my 13 YO liked them! Other lounge entertainers were average to good if you could get a seat with a view of them. Havana poorly laid out for view of stage from many seating areas and screens too small to appreciate the acts. As we were on second dinner sitting we were often ready around 7pm but little to no entertainment before our dinner at these times. We were offered bingo instead, not for my 13 YO as not her style lol. Were one or two other acts would have liked to see but due to our dinner sitting and theatre time the acts coincided so could not be in 2 places at once. First night in Bay Tree 2nd sitting (8:30pm), huge queue and late going in. No escort to table so grabbed a waiter and asked where table was. No introduction or friendly welcome by our waiter. Children's mains arrived a good 20 minutes before adult mains so they had finished and sat twiddling thumbs while we ate. Poor selection on children's menu and of deserts in general all menus. Our mains, pork and chicken dishes were so bland, weak gravy/sauces. Addressed future meal arrival times with waiter so one plus point! Another night did not get approached by drinks waiter at all, eventually asked waiter as kids had no drinks, he gave a puzzled look but we got drinks eventually. Just no friendly atmosphere at all! Did not feel like attending last night but we did, I'd have preferred the buffet which had a good although small selection of foods and tasty. Buffet as above, sometimes slow table clearing and tables not wiped properly. Often had to clean food off seats myself. Arrival in Zeebrugge and shuttle buses efficient, used train to Bruges very cheap. Bruges is a lovely town, great for chocolate shops and photo opportunities on bridges. Good boat ride along canals although they pack you in, many places to catch a boat so if queue too long at one place check out another. Prices not bad either for approx. 30 minute ride. Ship did not depart till close to midnight and proceeded at only 10 knots to Guernsey, would have been nice to arrive earlier at Guernsey as limited time due to tender use and departing at 5:30pm. Guernsey is a beautiful island, huge queues for the 91/92 round island buses (£1 each). Recommend a family day bus pass £9 if want to hop on/off buses regularly. We visited Underground Hospital, Little Chapel, Candie Gardens then bus to L'Ancresse, nice beach. Only just made it back for last 2 tenders before 5:30pm. Disembarkation by tender went smooth except for poor announcements and info, required a ticket so rather than kids fidgeting in queue I went alone only to be told when I eventually got to desk that unless rest of my party with me 'no ticket'. Had to go get them and 10 mins later we all queued but this time was half way round the ship so took a while. Sea day, always room to move around and find a spot indoors or out but my youngest is not confident in the pool but wanted to swim. However many youngsters were constantly jumping in/bombing which spoilt her experience. Staff just looked on, this was regular occurrence despite signs. Hot tubs usually full of children, no adults. We just squeezed in otherwise wouldn't have got a look in. Kids clubs/staff did a great job, my 9/10 YO loved it but my 13 YO not so keen. Her choice, wished she'd have given it another go but she was happy sticking with us. Was not the experience I was expecting, especially as it was my daughters first cruise. Ship was relatively clean although I noted rubbish in corridor near our cabins that was there 2/3 days before being removed. Did not seem a happy friendly ship and not as we expected following a ships tour on Azura previously but then they were looking for fresh business I suppose. Sailaway party, where? Very poor, just a band playing! Unlikely to cruise P&O again as prefer tasty food, good smiley friendly service in restaurants and other venues. Sorry this may annoy regular P&O cruisers but having cruised other lines I do have experience to compare and it takes a lot before I'm negative or complain. Hope others on same cruise had better experience! Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
We went with our good friends who we have done several cruises with before with Royal Caribbean & Celebrity, and decided to try P&O as we all liked the itinerary for this cruise on Ventura. Enjoyed all ports of call, although both ... Read More
We went with our good friends who we have done several cruises with before with Royal Caribbean & Celebrity, and decided to try P&O as we all liked the itinerary for this cruise on Ventura. Enjoyed all ports of call, although both ships tours we did were poor value for money. Lucca - lovely place and the 2 hrs we were given to explore was far too short and they could have easily given us at least another hour. The ship's 'Roma train to Rome' was expensive - £46 each, compared to the cost of taking one of the local trains ourselves (approx 12 euros). We did have a guide with us on this 'vintage' train- probably to make it seem good value!. But our massive disappointment was with the food - bland, repetitive and no where near the choice and quality we have enjoyed with other cruise lines. We tried the Beach House self service restaurant once and never again, worse than canteen food! The Waterside buffet service was only slightly better -when you managed to find a table. The custard can only be described as sweet water it was horrible. Dinner was taken in the Bay Tree and the food here was a slightly better quality but limited menu choice. Fish or steak usually overcooked so very dry as were the frozen chips served with the steak. After 2 weeks we never wanted to see a green bean or carrot for a long time as they were served up with many dishes!! Our waiters were polite but seemed miserable, as did lots of staff throughout ship (apart from our wine waiter who was always cheerful and Elizabeth our cabin steward was lovely and did a great job of looking after our cabin). The best aspect of the cruise was the entertainment- better than RC or Celebrity. Strictly dancers brilliant and Craig Revill-Horwood is not the mr. nasty he portrays - he's very friendly! All in all good and bad, but the bad outweighed the good and we will not be taking another P&O cruise again unless they drastically improve. Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
My wife and I decided to book at the last minute for a Fjords Cruise on Ventura. We had done a similar thing last year around the baltic on Azura and had a great time so what good go wrong? The check in process was ok even after the ... Read More
My wife and I decided to book at the last minute for a Fjords Cruise on Ventura. We had done a similar thing last year around the baltic on Azura and had a great time so what good go wrong? The check in process was ok even after the hour wait to unload luggage and get the car parked. The cabin we had been allocated was right at the front on deck 11 but was in good condition and clean. The cabin steward was very helpful, friendly and always had a smile. we had no problem for the first couple of days although it was very clear that the waiting staff had a couldn't care less attitude. Particularly in the buffet area where tables were left uncleared for lengthy periods, not good when space is limited. bar staff seemed to be under some sort of pressure to make you buy drinks, being asked if I want a drink 10 times in the space of a few minutes stretches my bounds of continuing to be polite,so it was get up and move on. We did not use the main dining room as we had had problems with food quality on other P&O cruises so decided to eat in the Waterside buffet in the evenings. The food choices were ok but high risk foods like meats were not hot.particularly concerning as they were only luke warm no more than 10 minutes after service started. When I raised the matter with the staff I was told it was because I had put it on a cold plate, this was not the case. Positives from the cruise. The Medical team who looked after my wife when she was exceedingly ill with either food poisoning or Norovirus and had to be taken to the medical centre followed by cabin confinement were excellent as were they poor devils who had to sanitise the cabin and bathroom. The shows we managed to see were really good too so no problem there and as already stated the cabin steward shone out, We will have to give great consideration as to whether we sail with P & O again. Read Less
Sail Date July 2015
First time for us, and the last with P and O I think. Not what I expected for the price, I'm not hard to please but this was quite downmarket. I got the impression from others who had cruised before that they felt the same, perhaps P ... Read More
First time for us, and the last with P and O I think. Not what I expected for the price, I'm not hard to please but this was quite downmarket. I got the impression from others who had cruised before that they felt the same, perhaps P and O are trying to appeal to a wider market but they are certainly not appealing to the higher end market. Glad I chose freedom dining as there were certainly people on the ship I had nothing in common with and I would not have wanted to sit with them for 2 weeks. The ports were great but the excursions over priced, having travelled in Italy on numerous occasions we made our own way to Rome, 9 euros each on an air conditioned train, on time and clean, as oppose to the £54 each for the coach trip in. The 'entertainment' was amateurish apart from the comedian, a lot of it was not entertainment through the days but simply ways to get you to buy treatments from the spa, which were also much more expensive than at home. Even the water in your room has to be paid for, I've stayed in some less expensive hotels and that's not the case with them. I ve also stayed in some expensive hotels and this is not a patch on them I'm afraid, but it does still rate as expensive ! We made the best of it, the Epicurian restaurant was superb but addition cost, and the alcohol was fairly priced, we always have a good time but on this occasion that was down to us and not the cruise. The ship is tried and not very clean, that said the cabin steward did a lovely job, returning to a clean and tidy, cool cabin after the excursions was very nice, he was polite and helpful, in fact we removed our tips, which they take automatically, as the service else where was hit and miss, and we tipped the cabin steward only. I'm told some of the staff work on commission only, and whilst I feel sorry for those guys, the automatic tipping simply helps to cover the wage bill for P and O. Pay the staff properly i say, and leave the tipping to the discretion of passengers who feel they have had good service. Read Less
Sail Date July 2015
12 nights on the Ventura was a struggle for my husband, 14yr old, 9yr old, 71 yr old mum and myself, unless you like a 'Butlins/Haven holiday camp type holiday at an extortionate price point'! (A fellow passengers words). Not ... Read More
12 nights on the Ventura was a struggle for my husband, 14yr old, 9yr old, 71 yr old mum and myself, unless you like a 'Butlins/Haven holiday camp type holiday at an extortionate price point'! (A fellow passengers words). Not classy and upmarket as they profess to be. Chavvy, raucous and packed like a cattle market, and I'm no snob. The ship was so over packed, that unless you stayed in your cabin, you had no peace, (even in there you could hear kids running up and down). Everywhere was congested, with 3,400 passengers the facilities were packed day and night during sea days. We walked around for over half an hour looking for somewhere to sit for breakfast in the buffet area, walking around looking for sun loungers was another daily challenge. My 2 star rating is for the Headliners performance group (I'm a sucker for musical theatre) and the service we recieved from our cabin steward and freedom dining waiter. Everyone/thing else is not worthy of a peanut. Be Warned they automatically add gratuity charges of £60 per person over 12yrs and unless you fill in a form to remove this they will keep it and expect you to tip! The captain also announced a "free" shuttle bus service on port days but my mum & daughter were still charged. The entertainment team is irritating and false at best and very amature at what they do. The girl doing quiz round the pool was unbearable! Every opportunity is used to sell something, be it a guest speaker, a performer selling CDs, table sales, or a spa promotion, making more money on top of already inflated prices. The excursions are completely overpriced, in their literature they say they offer the cheapest packages - not true! We copied their advertised excursions off our own back on a couple of islands for half the price using a private cab, do not be fooled by p&o. Kids clubs for 9yr old seemed safe enough with a sign in/out policy but my daughter felt it was chaos in there after 3 separate days visits so didn't want to go back. The teenagers 13yrs plus, are free to go and come as they please, although my 14yr old made friends from there she preferred to meet with them outside of that room as it seemed like a pick up joint for the older teenagers, especially at night. We couldn't get near the pools for congestion, the hot tubs full of kids too, the adult only area is at a price and their pool ice cold. I'm struggling to give you positives. Cabin was kept very clean & tidy Freedom dining, you can please yourself time wise & sit with others or alone if you choose Waiters very professional & friendly, as is cabin stewards, (can't say the same for reception staff thou) The White company complimentary products in your cabin are lovely, but you won't get a replacement unless you ask for it Really can't think of anything else good to say, other than Don't waste your money! Top tips...... If you are partial to perfumes or drink in duty free, cheaper to buy outside in ports you visit than on board. We found a difference of £10-£20 less off ship and stock on board not great either. Spoke to some staff who said they were being paid less than minimum wage for very long hours hence several were counting down the days till they left ship. P&O all in all do not seem like a very good company to cruise with or work for. Suffice to say we will not cruise with p&o again even my mum who has cruised before said this was by far the worse. Read Less
Sail Date August 2015
This was my first ever cruise and I was looking forward to it so much. My son also married on board. There were some positive points I.e. Loved my cabin and balcony, the housekeeper kept this very well but having said that as a solo ... Read More
This was my first ever cruise and I was looking forward to it so much. My son also married on board. There were some positive points I.e. Loved my cabin and balcony, the housekeeper kept this very well but having said that as a solo occupant I was also v tidy. My five year old grandson loved the kids club but we were a little concerned when told that they were registered for 100 in a relatively small area. Fortunately, on the times he attended this number did not materialise. Sindhu was a lovely restaurant as was the glasshouse - at a supplementary charge .... The main at the Epicurean was delicious but service very poor and seemingly lacking leadership. The weather was poor and as a result the planned stop at Guernsey was cancelled and we set off for Lisbon. crossing the Bay of biscay was rocky but not unexpected as this is a renowned area of inclement weather. Neither can P & O be held accountable for poor weather. However, with three thousand plus passengers crammed on board the whole ship was overcrowded and it did feel like Butlins on a boat. With tots in our party the swimming pools were unsafe due to overcrowding (way over the recommended number and no checks made) and it was impossible to use jacuzzis as these were both monopolised , and overcrowded, with young teens. The retreat for adults is available - at an additional cost ... We waited patiently to use the single netted area on deck 19 to vacate so we could play with a five year old. Unfortunately, within minutes of entering there, a group of young teens also decided they would go in - result was people and balls flying everywhere. No system or checking therefore older children again monopolising the area. With cricket bats and balls it is an accident waiting to happen. A safer, and fairer, syestem would be allocated time slots and supervised by staff to ensure safety. For three thousand plus passengers to have one netted area, one golf area, one set for quoits and one giant set of chess - it's a bit lacking !! The captain was an affable gentleman and the wedding went well, canapés were laid on whilst we awaited the couple having photos taken. The GF canapes were delicious but no drinks had been provided - not even water - these were extra and had to be purchased. One small bowl of crisps for four young children seems a bit stingy and others, were requested and provided at additional cost - (spice flavoured). The wedding meal was held in the Epicurean. Staff here seemed ineffective, over loaded and confused. My son, daughter in law and her parents sat on one table and the rest of us round the corner, up against a wall, on another table. Staff had lists which had been meticulously sorted by my well organised daughter in law but seemed unable to refer to them and mixed up many of the meals - which arrived at various intervals. One child waited A long time for a dessert - by which time we had all finished ours although three of us left them as they were raw pastry. Some three hours later, with tired and bored children we left before coffee was served as everything seemed to take an age. Food in the buffet was a case of attempting to find a table first - quite a feat as everywhere packed. It did not cater at all well for coeliac individuals and staff seemed poorly informed. No labels on any food stating GF or veggie so had to ask which was suitable - much to the annoyance of other passengers waiting behind. Given conflicting information resulting in one very upset stomach and a sleepless night. food was canteen style and quality. Spoke to other people with similar probs and they were terribly disappointed. Almost in tears one day when told the only sauce I could eat on my steak was tomato ketchup. I paid the same price as everyone else but had very, very limited options. I had one of the worst GF pizzas I had ever eaten whilst on board - burnt on the outside and cold in the middle. Apart from restaurants where we paid extra the food was a massive disappointment to me. To summarise, there were some highlights and good points I.e. Embarking and disembarking was very slick, cabin and balcony, the glasshouse, Sindu and the main at the Epicurean but I think P &O should look to either selling purely family cruises or other as they seem to want to capture all groups of clientele and, in my opinion, this is not working. They also seem The experience for me was one of 'pack them in and get them to spend'. Staff work very hard and are mostly polite and helpful but way overloaded in restaurants especially. Maybe another carrier would offer a better experience. Read Less
Sail Date August 2015
I have cruised many times but this was my first with P and O. For various reasons, we had cancelled a trip away the week before and booked a 2-night trip on Ventura to Guernsey as a last-minute getaway. Embarkation was well organised ... Read More
I have cruised many times but this was my first with P and O. For various reasons, we had cancelled a trip away the week before and booked a 2-night trip on Ventura to Guernsey as a last-minute getaway. Embarkation was well organised and smooth. We arrived well ahead of our 'given' time, but only waited for around half an hour before we were boarded. We headed for the buffet for lunch, which soon filled to the point of being overcrowded and unpleasant. It was a beautiful day so many passengers were out on deck. However, there were nowhere near enough chairs or tables set out, leaving many people standing. Not particularly relaxing. We were able to get into the cabin at 14:00. We had booked a superior deluxe balcony, which was a great size, so no complaints there. What was to be complained about was how dirty and dusty it was. There was broken glass in the tea and coffee making area, as well as pills rolling around from the previous guests. One of the glasses had a huge crack all the way round the rim. I fail to understand how the room attendant missed any of these things, all were quite obvious. The room attendant was not up to what I have been used to - our room did not get turned down the first night, which meant our room service plates etc were still in the room. For the first time ever, I did not leave an extra tip. Food - we ate in Sindhu the first night. The food was average, sometimes bland. The service was worse. Our waitress struggled to pay attention to us, as it appeared whatever her colleague was doing was clearly far more interesting. I nearly asked her if she needed to attend to something else and why not come back when she was able to actually turn her head towards us. We didn't eat in the main dining room so cannot comment on this. One highlight was The Glass House - lovely wines and the light bites are definitely worth the little extra on the bill. Very nice food and lovely service. Formal night - I have to admit to being a bit shocked that we were not served in one of the bars because my partner did not have a tie on. I am on holiday, not at school, I do not expect to be told what to wear. I have never been on a cruise where formal dress is compulsory. What irked me more about being refused service is that there were some very drunk people in the bar, all without ties, dancing and being very loud and irritating. But it was ok to serve them. However, I think the barman did us a favour not serving us as the singer was worse than the karaoke in my local working men's. I actually thought it was karaoke, not a 'professional'. Overall, as many others have said, the public areas are too small for the number of passengers, so be prepared to feel crammed and a little claustrophobic. With regard to the comments about waiting for a lift - we used the stairs at all times (deck 5 to 15 when we first got on was a killer!!). No danger of the carpet on the stairs getting worn out too soon, hardly anyone else used the stairs so the lifts are bound to take forever. Not the best cruise experience I have had, but I do think it takes a lot to beat Celebrity. Read Less
Sail Date September 2015
At times service in the main bar was particularly bad, waiting 45 minutes just to get a drink, refusing to let you get one from the bar. Areas of the ship discusting filthy, especially the toilets, very stained toilet seats. Public seating ... Read More
At times service in the main bar was particularly bad, waiting 45 minutes just to get a drink, refusing to let you get one from the bar. Areas of the ship discusting filthy, especially the toilets, very stained toilet seats. Public seating areas, fithy, even in the buffet resturant. Entertainment not brilliant although some was good but very repetitive and catered for the o.a.p's! Not all holiday makers were over the age of 65 and wanting to sit around knitting all day or doing the tango to a 1940's tune! Nor did we want to jive everry evening. Formal evenings were a joke, put on your best gear to have dinner, sit on dirty seats and maybe have a picture taken, costing around £20 to buy it, no special evening event, well i suppose you could do a ballroom dance in the foyer. Drinks at the bars although not too expensive, slightly more than in my local but there again my local pays the english taxes whereas the ship does not. Everything was about making money on the ship, go to an event, expect them to try and get you to pay for expensive treatments! The best thing about the cruise ship was the food, you could not go hungry, plenty of choice and great food. If the weather is not great, expect to be bored as there is little to do! Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
We went on the Ventura this December at a cost of £4875.00 in a superior cabin on the 9th Deck. The weather was very rough the fast few days and the cabin creaked all through the cruise. We only had 3 nights sleep out of 12 because of the ... Read More
We went on the Ventura this December at a cost of £4875.00 in a superior cabin on the 9th Deck. The weather was very rough the fast few days and the cabin creaked all through the cruise. We only had 3 nights sleep out of 12 because of the noise from the cabin. We complained on the second day and was told it was how the ship was built and not made for bad weather!!. On the 3rd night we were so tired we complained again about the creaking In the cabin. And the cabin supervisor came to see us and again told us the ship expands with the bad weather and that's how the ship was made. I was very frightened and so was other passengers that we spoke to. My husband also was very sick after eating a burger on board as the person serving the burgers used the same rubber glove to serve burgers and chicken and bus and fries. We did not use the dining rooms but send the Self service restaurant where the food was not very good. I will never use P&O again . Have used Royal Carribean Ships and they are so much better. Read Less
Sail Date December 2015
We sailed with P&O on a Christmas cruise on the Arcadia out of Southampton in 2013. It was heavy weather but we are used to bad weather and the whole cruise was a relaxing, enjoyable experience. We'd booked late for unavoidable ... Read More
We sailed with P&O on a Christmas cruise on the Arcadia out of Southampton in 2013. It was heavy weather but we are used to bad weather and the whole cruise was a relaxing, enjoyable experience. We'd booked late for unavoidable reasons but it was inconsequential. My husband was 80 on Christmas Day 2015 and we booked on Ventura to celebrate. True we had to book late again because a family member was terminally ill and subsequently died. We booked a superior balcony cabin which was not allocated and no explanation was given, P&O couldn't even answer our email. We telephoned customer services to ensure freedom dining and were given that assurance. 1 The weather was not quite as bad as we have experienced previously but the effect on our cabin was appalling. We had fitful sleep for 7 days because of the constant vibration of ill fitting walls and ceiling. There was also a noise which can only be described as like wet washing hitting a wall. We complained continuously. Wedges applied to the ill fitting coving made no difference. 2 On 19th we received a letter informing us that we were allocated a dining time of 20.45 on Christmas Day. No effort had been made to tell us that freedom dining would be suspended. We do not query their right to do this but they should have warned us prior to booking when they were given an opportunity. The restaurant manager told us he had been innundated with complaints about the later sitting and he could do nothing about it and we could eat in the buffet if we didn't like it. He was irritated an dismissive. I have a medical condition and cannot eat late. Christmas Day evening was like a school canteen. Their were long queues and the food was luke warm and really inedible. The restaurant manager acknowledged that the situation was unacceptable but asked what he could do about it? We had already passed a closed dining room where the ship's officers were dining in style. 3 A lot of passengers are not using hand sanitisers before entering restaurants. On the Arcadia a crew member was allocated to each dispenser and courteously but firmly directed diners to use it. This ship is not well managed. The cabin staff and the waiters etc are lovely, kind and considerate. The management is inept and P&O is too focused on marketing to concentrate on providing essential information to passengers. Read Less
Sail Date December 2015
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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