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158 Southampton P&O Cruises Ventura Cruise Reviews

Just back from 7 days aboard Ventura. The start wasn't too promising. Ventura docked 3 hours late from it's previous trip due to bad weather we were told. We were sent messages asking us to delay our port arrival ! On arrival we ... Read More
Just back from 7 days aboard Ventura. The start wasn't too promising. Ventura docked 3 hours late from it's previous trip due to bad weather we were told. We were sent messages asking us to delay our port arrival ! On arrival we queued for at least an hour before we were allowed to off load our luggage. In the terminal lounge there was at least 3000 people but the 'booking in was controlled'. We were reasonably lucky once we'd received our ship cards we went through reasonably quickly, however moments after we got through the terminal PC's all crashed which delayed things even more. However, once on board all seemed to go well. The weather on the first couple of days was terrible, it caused us to miss stopping at Guernsey but we can't hold anyone accountable for that. The ship was very clean and tidy and kept that way all throughout our cruise. The food on board in the main restaurant was to a very high standard, as was the service. The cabin (we had an inside cabin) was always serviced exceptionally well (Molivoy was the steward). The bars where serviced well by the waiters HOWEVER.... a big criticism of mine is that there are very few draught beers in each bar, and each bar has a different set. So if you wanted to watch a particular show you had to drink whatever that bar had to offer, which I believe in this day and age is unacceptable. The entertainment I felt was acceptable but not outstanding, which was a little disappointing. This is my 3rd P&O cruise and the previous ones all seemed to have a little better in terms of popularity (On Aurora we were entertained by Tom O'Connor). Another disappointing aspect to Ventura is the deck layouts. The size of the vessel dictates the need for lifts BUT they all seemed to have different amounts of deck coverage i.e. the rear lifts went to deck 18 but not 19, the centre lifts only went to deck 15, the front lifts didn't go all the wall down etc. It was sometimes difficult to plan your day/night out as you have to remember to change lifts if you were changing decks..... in some cases but not all. I thought the staff were very attentive and the service was very good in all areas. The ports of call were reduced as said earlier, but we stopped at Lisbon, Oporto, La Corunda. The first two were 'ok', but La Corunda was very disappointing, a lot of the shops were closed due to the economy being in such a state. In future I would consider staying on the ship if we called there. The disembarkation was also a little disappointing as it took over two hours for us to get off, I'm sure it could of been done quicker. Overall I would recommend a cruise on this ship. In future I would recommend choosing a cruise that stopped at some better ports, but I accept we're all different and our needs vary. I do think P&O are a very good cruise line and they serve the UK really well. Read Less
Sail Date July 2015
This was our fourth cruise on this lovely ship. We did not think standards had fallen despite recent reviews we had seen. The only disappointment was the weather and the entertainment - see below. Good quality and variety of food in the ... Read More
This was our fourth cruise on this lovely ship. We did not think standards had fallen despite recent reviews we had seen. The only disappointment was the weather and the entertainment - see below. Good quality and variety of food in the buffet and main restaurants. We had Freedom dining in the Cinnamon and never had a problem getting a table when we wanted (we were happy to share though). We also paid the supplement for the Beach House one evening but did not think there should have been additional surcharges for a lot of choices on the menu. It would have been better to have a higher charge initially and have everything included. Two of the Headliners shows we had seen on previous cruises several years ago. Surely these should be updated on a yearly basis. Also the other entertainment was tired. P&O need to look to the American cruise lines for ideas on updating the entertainment. Pleasant and efficient service in the buffet and main restaurants and Metropolis bar. Read Less
Sail Date August 2015
Embarkation at Southampton quick and easy, cases outside our cabin upon getting to it. The cabin itself was clean and tidy but a little tired especially the carpets. The public areas again were clean and tidy, but the years of continuous ... Read More
Embarkation at Southampton quick and easy, cases outside our cabin upon getting to it. The cabin itself was clean and tidy but a little tired especially the carpets. The public areas again were clean and tidy, but the years of continuous use were starting to show. However look at your own place before doing a "Grand Designs" on the ship, the upkeep of which must be on a staggering scale . There is an automatic per person daily charge added to you account, this can be removed by filling in a form from reception. The food I found was excellent, available 24/7, with plenty of choice and more than you could eat. I read with amusement the reviews which say the choice of food was not enough or not of a high enough standard, when you would have nothing like that choice or quality at home. I would definitely recommend eating at both Sindhu and Epicurian, the small cover charge is worth every penny. As for Butlins at sea, it could be if you wanted it to be and if you did not there were plenty of quite places you could hide away from it all. Why put yourself in a position or location you do not have to be in then moan about being there...leave! I found the service on board to vary from place to place, from cabin stewards who could not do enough for you, waiters who knew your favorite desert (and always brought me two causing me to put on a few pounds) to one of the most unhelpful and rude shop assistants it has ever been my misfortune to deal with. Overall though the crew were polite helpful and attentive. I cannot really comment on the entertainment as I was not at Butlins and found other things to do. If you cannot find anything to do on a ship of this size in the evenings something is wrong. You could probably do what you do every night at home and sit and watch TV in your cabin instead of your lounge. Now the beware bit. Without being fully aware or having it explained our travel agent (Thomson) booked some of our excursions through a company called "Cruising Excursions" and not through P&O. It would take me another page or so to explain just how bad the service provided by their representatives on one our excursions was. I must say however the second excursion was better but not up to the standard of those booked on ship. I cannot speak for all of their excursions and some people will disagree with me, but I would never use them again. I strongly recommend booking direct with P&O online or on board. Overall the cruise was very good, if I had only one serious point it would be that the time ashore at each port was to short, I think P&O would rather have you spending your cash on board than ashore. The cruise is what you make it, if you get on with a negative attitude it is spoiled before you start. I will book with P&O again Read Less
Sail Date August 2015
Just returned from our canary cruise. Had a wonderful cruise plenty of good food and entertainment. This is our honest review:- Embarkation: Pulled up in car, cases taken away by porter, checked in at 11 35, eating our lunch at 12 ... Read More
Just returned from our canary cruise. Had a wonderful cruise plenty of good food and entertainment. This is our honest review:- Embarkation: Pulled up in car, cases taken away by porter, checked in at 11 35, eating our lunch at 12 30. In cabin at 2pm unpacked and off for a drink on top deck. Cabin: We always have an inside as we don't spend much time in it, therefore, the savings we have allows us to take 3 cruises per yr. Lovely cabin girl Estela, Queen bed, lots of storage, shower not large but adequate. Good info on tv, lots of films. Restaurants: Cinnamon/freedom dining. We sat on different table each night and met lots of lovely people. Food good different menu each night. Buffet: Waterside/Beach house We had our breakfast and lunch in these restaurants, they are the only negatives on the ship, people just walking around with trays looking for seats, no organization. We were always pretty lucky and found a table. Plenty to eat breakfast and lunch. At 3pm its cake and tea until 5pm. There are some very greedy people on board I might add! Epicurean/White room: It will cost you £28pp supplement but it is well worth it, the food is outstanding and the service is excellent. We went there twice, 1st week menu 1 and 2nd week menu 2. Bars: Tamorind/Havana: Good atmosphere in both with comedians, singers, and the ventura orchestra. Our favorite were the 'serious sounds' from Barbados they really rocked the place. They also did a great tropical party on top deck. Metropolis Bar: top deck Nice quiet bar with piano and girl singer. There are coffee bars on deck 5/6. Swimming pools: one with covered roof if raining, never had trouble finding a bed, Atrium: dance teachers: Lovely to sit with your coffee and watch. Had bad crossing on the Bay of Biscay. Heavy rain when we docked in Vigo. Stayed on board. Lisbon: Did the 3 sites trip, excellent, saw the main attractions. Lanzarote: Arrecife not a very good port Tenerife: Had walk around Santa Cruz Gran canaria: Nice little streets Maderia: Fab place, lovely little streets, went up in the cable car. Funchal was definitely one of the best. La Coruna: Did the trip to Santiago Da Compostela, really glad we did it, lots of people doing the pilgrimage. Free shuttle bus at each port: Southampton: Disembarkation: Off ship at 9 35 and on our way home. Do not take any notice of all the moaners it is a lovely ship, friendly staff and well worth the money. ENJOY. Oh and the drinks are not to dear either. Read Less
Sail Date September 2015
This was my first cruise, but my wife had cruised before when she was a young girl. At first site the ship is really impressive. The food was excellent and the quality of service in the restaurants was friendly and professional. The ... Read More
This was my first cruise, but my wife had cruised before when she was a young girl. At first site the ship is really impressive. The food was excellent and the quality of service in the restaurants was friendly and professional. The balcony cabin was very comfortable and extremely well maintained by the cabin steward, Edwin. Our towels were changed twice a day and there was very ample storage space. Our first day was rather spoilt by the staff in the spa area, who were rude when we wanted to view the special relaxation area and then when we were shown round the spa facilities, we were bombarded with a hard sell of the very expensive offerings. You have to pay to attend fitness classes. On the subject of paying, I would expect WiFi to be provided free in these circumstances, but in practice the package offered was extremely poor value. The quality of entertainment was generally very good. The headliners were very professional and some of the other acts were very entertaining. The ballroom dance instructors were excellent, but the area allocated for ballroom dancing is much too small. Surely this is one of the traditions of cruising? On this theme the facilities on the ship seem to be have deigned by an accountant and not an entertainment specialist. There are not enough seats in the theatre and other entertainments areas. (Or there are too many passengers!) There was a constant scrabble for seats. On deck near the Lagoon bar, the entertainment seemed to be designed for young people at Butlins, which did not represent the cross section of people on the cruise. Totally unsuitable music throughout, with very little classical, jazz or even Charleston period. They should pay more attention to their passengers and less to the personal preferences of the entertainment team. Unfortunately the cruise ended on a low note as a passenger was lost overboard and extra time was spent searching for him but to no avail. We will cruise again but not on this ship. They should reintroduce a more formal dress code and try to make things more upmarket. We may try one of the smaller P and O ships or else a different line with a greater focus on traditional values. Read Less
Sail Date September 2015
This was my 10th. cruise and my second on P&O. As with my previous reviews, I will split the review into sections... Embarkation/Disembarkation. Brilliant! Arrived at the docks in Southampton and joined a queue for car parking ... Read More
This was my 10th. cruise and my second on P&O. As with my previous reviews, I will split the review into sections... Embarkation/Disembarkation. Brilliant! Arrived at the docks in Southampton and joined a queue for car parking (free from P&O). The car parking was by CPS and my car was taken to a secure area for the two week cruise. CPS is not a "fly-by-night" company and the secure car park is surrounded by a high wire fence and patrolled by security staff. I went into the P&O area for passport checks (basically a formality) and was given my ship keycard. The whole process took less than 45 minutes with minimal security procedures-although my bags were x-rayed. On board, my bags were outside my cabin within a couple of hours. No mess, no fuss, just fantastic organisation. Disembarkation was a little different due to unforeseen circumstances (see "On a sad note" below) but when we were allowed off, I was in my car within 30 minutes and back on the road home. A genuinely pleasurable experience. All cruise companies need to be as good as this! Demographics. This ship is targeted at British passengers. All of the passengers were from the UK with a contingent of Scots and a handful of Northern Irish. There was an Australian family on board, but they were on the ship with relatives from the UK. The ages of the passengers was quite varied but I estimate the average age was around the late 50's/early 60's range (I am 52 myself) and there were NO kids on board-apart from less than a handful on under 10's, a few toddlers and quite a few under a year old. Why would anybody bring a child that young on a cruise? After my last cruise with dozens of screaming kids running amok around the ship, this was very refreshing. Food. I selected first sitting (6.30) and was on a table for eight but after a couple of evenings, four of the diners (two couples travelling together) decided to go to the "anytime dining" option which left four of us. Myself, Carolyn a retired Army Major, Richard from Liverpool and Maureen who is in her late 70's. Maureen recently lost her husband which meant we were all single travellers. After a few dinners together we got on like a house on fire. The food on offer was top notch with a varied selection each evening. I will say that some of the menus didn't float my boat and I won't eat some of the offerings on principal (game, venison, veal) but the restaurant did have a "standard" menu available each night. Our two waiters were brilliant. I asked for an extra gravy boat and each night they brought me one without being asked. Carolyn and I went to Sinhdu-an Asian style restaurant run by Michelin Starred chef Athul Kotcher. This carries a small charge (£15 a head) but was well worth the money. I went to the buffet (Waterside Cafe) for breakfasts and again as with my last P&O cruise, it was basically "full English" every day. Although there were other options-cereals, porridge, smoked fish, muffins-I was disappointed with the selection, often choosing beans on toast for something different. But the food was of a good quality as was the lunch selection, afternoon tea and night time with a vastly varied selection of foods. Pizza, curry's, roast meats, seasonal veggies etc. All in all, very good. Cabins/Ship interiors. I had a window cabin with a partially obscured view. The cabin felt quite roomy and was kept spotless by my cabin stewardess, who's name I don't remember. The interior decorations were in keeping with previous cruise ships-not my taste-but was also kept completely spotless by the staff. Talking of staff.. The lower order of staff (waiters, cabin crew) were almost all Indian with just a few Filipino. They were very polite and helpful. Nothing was too much trouble. Most of the officers were white European with a few Indian. Again, all very helpful. Our intinerary/excusions. We visited Barcelona, Livorno and Civittavecchia (Italy), Alicante (Spain again) and Gibraltar. We were supposed to visit Monaco (the reason I chose this cruise as I am a huge F1 fan) but due to adverse weather conditions, the Captain abandoned the attempt following advice from the Safety Officer. This was due to very high winds and heavy rain. We couldn't dock in Monaco as it's too shallow and Monaco itself is only one mile long. The ship is over 1,000 feet long so tenders would have to be used. A large percentage of the passengers were very disappointed that we couldn't go to Monaco as most of them were also F1 fans and had trips booked-myself included. But the Captain said no and we left for Livorno. My excursions were "The best of Barcelona" including the Sagrada Familia Bascilica designed by Antonio Gaudi. The streets around the Bascilica were extremely crowded and it wasn't enjoyable. Anyone who want's to visit the Bascilica, I suggest you do so on your own-but be prepared to put up with literally 10's of thousands of people. Wine tasting in Livorno and Civittavecchia and parks/churches/museums in Alicante. I did have a trip booked in Gibraltar but decided not to go as I wanted to do some shopping. I booked these online several weeks before the cruise. Although some were a little pricey, I think that they were just about value for money. AGAIN please note...If you do your own thing in a port of call and you're not back in time for the ship-TOUGH. The captain has a schedule to keep and will not wait for stragglers. Entertainment day/night. I'm not a show person but I did attend one of the shows-a comedian. He was ok but I think he could have got a little closer to the bone as I felt that his act was toned down a bit. There were the usual in-house troop "Headliners" doing Broadway/West End shows. I didn't see one but I was told they were very good. We also had guest singers and tribute acts-Niel Diamond, Tina Turner. Again I didn't attend but reports were all favourable. After one of the guest singers had left the ship, two of the "Headliners" singers took over for one night. These two blokes were terrible. They sung in the Tamarind Bar but after a few songs, people started leaving. I was at the bar talking to fellow passengers and these two guys were useless. Apparently, they had just singed new contracts-I think P&O have made a huge mistake. They were just two gay guys camping it up on stage-rubbish. If the "Headliners" were all like this, I felt sorry for anyone who saw a show. Daytime activities were not my taste-quizzies, fitness courses, outdoor games etc. I avoid quizzes as I used to write them as a hobby and it would be unfair for me to take part. There was Mr. Colin van Giffen-a British bloke who gave lectures on various subjects, including the history of the Sptifire, flying boats, the Schnieder Trophy, T. E. Lawrence (as in Lawrence of Arabia) and various other subjects. These were very enjoyable and very well attended to the point of standing room only! On a personal note... I was disappointed by the attitude of some of the passengers who thought they were above the rest of us. As I have mentioned above, talking to fellow passengers at the Tamarind Bar in particular a rally driver on holiday with his wife a a couple of friends. We recieved a message from the bar staff that we were "talking too loud". I would like to say that the singer on stage-Josh Warne-was very loud and the passengers who complained would have had great difficulty hearing us. I spoke to this guy the next night and told him I went to the reception to make a comment on the record about this-although I didn't make an official complaint-my views were written down. I don't know if anything was said to staff or passengers, but my comments must have been heard by those that needed to know as we were not spoken to again. I was also told that decks 5 and 6 were all one group of people and that these passengers refused to talk to anyone but themselves. A bit too stuck up for me! Why go on a cruise with 3,600 people if you're not going to interact with anybody? On a sad note.. As we were rounding the Isle of Wight on the way to Southapton, the "man overboard" alarm was raised at 0320 hours BST on Saturday October 10th. The ship was searched from top to bottom and no stone was unturned in this search, but the man was not on board. The Captain turned the ship around to search for the passenger at his last known sighting-around 10 miles south of the Isle of Wight. We were joined by several lifeboats from the south coast along with the local Air/Sea Rescue helicopter. The ship searched from around 0500 until around 1000 when we were released from the search by the rescue teams so that we could dock in Southampton. The search carried on until around 1830-but unfortunately the man was not found. The authorites called off the search at 1900 as it was too dark to continue. I'm not going to include the mans name in this review as he still hasn't been found. I expect that his body will be found on the south coast of England or the northern coast of France in the next few days/weeks. This is the first time I have been on a cruise and we have lost a passenger overboard. I have read of people who have vanished from cruise ships around the world and it must be a nightmare for his family. Conclusions.. Food-very good. Staff-excellent. Alcohol-Too dear. Bottled beers almost £4 a bottle with draught beers-John Smiths, Stella, Carling, Guiness also at almost £4 a pint with some premuim beers over £4 a pint. Entertainment-reports from fellow passengers said very good-but my experience of the shows in the open bars wasn't too good at all. Excursions-a little pricey but I think they were worth the money. Expect crowding at the more popular places such as Barcelona, Pisa/Florence from Livorno and Rome from Civittavecchia. One of my fellow diners-Richard (who has severe mobility problems) told me Rome was "a nightmare" especially around the Colloseum. The ship itself-a "medium" sized vessel around 115,000 tons felt a little too big but navigation around the ship was easy. Marks out of ten? I'll give this trip eight out of ten. Much better that my last trip on the "Azura" in 2013. Recommended? Yes-for the first-timers and experienced cruisers...But as I have already mentioned, avoid the excursions at the more popular destinations. Read Less
Sail Date September 2015
We travelled on the Ventura during October half term, so there were quite a few kids, which was a nice selection of ages. Embarkation was just about ok, we had cruised earlier on this year with Princess and their embarkation process was ... Read More
We travelled on the Ventura during October half term, so there were quite a few kids, which was a nice selection of ages. Embarkation was just about ok, we had cruised earlier on this year with Princess and their embarkation process was far better. We had no problems with our cabin which was a balcony on deck 12, we had a pull down bunk bed for our daughter which worked out ok but a week is plenty with this set up. I would like to comment on our cabin neighbours who were just awful, loud and had obviously never encountered a sliding door before as this seemed to be a fascination for them, opening it and slamming it every few minutes along with anything else that opened and closed, they were an older couple who had obviously no social manners what so ever. We had freedom dining and were allocated Cinnamon , the food in fact was very good but the service was sooo slow, I would agree with other reviews that the staff although pleasant were not friendly, never experienced this before on any cruise, much the same in the buffet. We never had any problem in getting a table in the buffet and the one evening we did eat our main meal there we were pleasantly surprised it was set up lovely and it was quite quiet so we had no problem getting a table. The poolside burger and pizza places also served nice food. Personally I thought the drinks were expensive at nearly £6.00 for a glass of wine it soon mounts up, although the bottles of wine were reasonably priced. P and O didn't offer any drinks packages, our daughter has always had a soft drinks package where she can go to any bar and get a coke or juice and on our last cruise a Princess one, we purchased the ultimate drinks package which was great and well worth the money but nothing like this available on P and O. I've gave 4 stars because it was a pleasant cruise and considering all the bad reviews it wasn't that bad, the entertainment was good, a couple of good singers and the ship's band Dynamite Groove were very good, we went to the arena theatre one night the see Headliners, not so good, there didn't seem to be any air conditioning on and it was so hot in there, then the sound went astray but it was handled well by the entertainments guy, the show was a bit poor. We went to see a film also in the Arena theatre which was packed, the picture quality was good considering it's not a cinema . We took a shuttle bus to Lisbon , I mis -read the price I thought it was £4 per adult this turned out to be £4 per adult single journey, so for the three of us £24.00, expensive I thought, so when the same was charged at Cherbourg we decided not to take the shuttle bus bus stayed around the port area which we really enjoyed, we paid to go aboard a submarine (which my husband loved), there was lots of Titanic tributes as Cherbourg had been one of it's ports and and aquarium, this was well worth the 48 euro we paid. The Ventura is a nice ship, very modern and bright but absolutely no WOW factor, quite boring in fact. We have questioned whether we would cruise P and O again, we like NCL and really enjoyed Princess , I can't quite put my finger on it but there was something missing from P and O so unless we got a really good deal I don't think we would. Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
We are seasoned cruisers, but this was my first with P&O, but not for my wife. It was a short seven day cruise that went as far as Lisbon. The weather was mixed with some wet days and some better days. I won't comment on the ports ... Read More
We are seasoned cruisers, but this was my first with P&O, but not for my wife. It was a short seven day cruise that went as far as Lisbon. The weather was mixed with some wet days and some better days. I won't comment on the ports but focus on the cruise. The good things. We were given a time to embark. This worked better then I thought. We arrived at 3pm, and were on board well before 3.30pm. The food. Outstanding. Up there with the very best we have had on cruises. The variety of food in the buffet was vey good. We used it most days for breakfast and lunch. The quality was also excellent. We went freedom dining and the choice, quality and service in our restaurant was outstanding. The ship itself was in good shape given it is seven years old. It was very clean both in the public areas and our cabin. Our cabin steward was also excellent. The entertainment was good. We enjoyed the production shows, four in a week. The dancers were excellent, although the singers did not quite have the range we have seen elsewhere, good at rock, not so good for musicals. Our loo was blocked but sorted within thirty minutes. The Not so Good The interactive TV was not. We asked for it to be resolved but it was not. Could take fifteen minutes just to check the inboard account. We gave up checking messages. The bar staff were not always efficient at serving. Once we waited more then twenty minutes. Went to the counter, but was told to wit for a waiter to serve us. Some of the swimming pools were out of action for much of the cruise. Given it was half term, the others were full of children, so never really got a swim. More avoiding kids in the pool. We like quizzes but felt they were held in the wing place. Many were in a small bar area, which was full fifteen minutes before start time. The ones we were able to attend were good. We also saw two recent films. However all in all we had a good time and would be happy to go with P&O again. Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
It took around 45 minutes to get through embarkation, and we had a superior deluxe balcony cabin ( D709 ), which was great for two of us - fridge, two tv screens, full size bath and seating area. Our toilet did try to overflow with clean ... Read More
It took around 45 minutes to get through embarkation, and we had a superior deluxe balcony cabin ( D709 ), which was great for two of us - fridge, two tv screens, full size bath and seating area. Our toilet did try to overflow with clean water a few times, but you could usually hear it filling up, and if you pressed the flush button again, it usually stopped. If anything, the pillows were the only dire thing, being comparable to bags of sand in comfort. Our steward (Noel) was nice and did a very good job, remembering to fill our ice bucket more times than he forgot. The Bay of Biscuits was predictably a bit rough going out from Southampton, but we took sea-sickness tablets which seemed to work, although some other passengers were affected badly and spent a lot of time in their cabins. On the return journey, it was much smoother. One thing P and O excel at, is schemes to part you from your money. Photographers lurk on every port terminal, at evening meal times, and at the regular "formal" nights, with pics starting at £11-80p if you can't be bothered to take your digital camera. They try to sell you beauty treatments, "pictures" from an art gallery, gold-plated chain (by the inch), excursions, and bingo tickets fly alongside the casino/slots. As it was a Christmas Cruise, we got their version of a "Christmas Market", where tubloads of low-end watches/jewellery and failed clothing were wheeled out. Entertainment was fine, particularly the Headliners, but their "pay a supplement" restaurants were mostly empty, and the battleground buffet restaurants would benefit from either more seating, or by extending to use the underused "supplement" restaurants. Read Less
Sail Date December 2015
We had been allocated 15.30 embarkation time, however we decided to leave our hotel around 2pm and after being given a coloured letter card we were on board by 2.30 and our luggage was already at our cabin. Our steward Nicholau introduced ... Read More
We had been allocated 15.30 embarkation time, however we decided to leave our hotel around 2pm and after being given a coloured letter card we were on board by 2.30 and our luggage was already at our cabin. Our steward Nicholau introduced himself and explained procedures as we were freedom dining that let him know when he could service our cabin. He looked after us really well and on finding out that I didn't like ginger he never left them again, nothing was too much for him, or cabin was C603. We found the service in the main restaurant to be very good much better than we received on Arcadia but found the choice of meals to be rather limited and P&O had removed the always on option. We ate once in Beachouse which we fond to be good value but last time we ate in the equivalent on Azura there was no charge except for a couple of dishes which still carry extra charges. The weather was a little lively for first couple of days and the ship rocked and rolled a lot on the Friday night so had little sleep. We have had a lot worse conditions but nowhere near the movement we received on Ventura. The entertainment was a bit hit and miss with some being really good and others poor. The Ents team did their best but they were short staffed for the entire cruise. One of the best nights was Christmas Day quiz in the pub it was hilarious. We did Mountain of Fire in Lanzarote which was brilliant. Disembarkation went very smoothly. Read Less
Sail Date December 2015
Embarkation was good, inside cabin was ok but next time will get a window. Queen bed was Comfortable should have brought my own pillows. Shower curtain was too short and I slipped on my back the first night, should have put towels down. ... Read More
Embarkation was good, inside cabin was ok but next time will get a window. Queen bed was Comfortable should have brought my own pillows. Shower curtain was too short and I slipped on my back the first night, should have put towels down. Cabin Stewart was very good and we found all the staff very helpful. We had freedom dining and we loved the choice of the food waiters were excellent. We hated having to pay for wfi. Entertainment was ok. Got fed up with woman running sequence dances just for the benefit of about 12couples in the Antrim. House band was good. Will choose a smaller ship next cruise with all inclusive drinks.our bar bill was high and we had no on board spend. Read Less
Sail Date December 2015
in jan the weather in uk is rubbish so why not do a caribean cruise from southampton to break up the winter . .the drive from scotland is 450 m so we stop near oxford for an overnight break and then on to southampton the folowing day.the ... Read More
in jan the weather in uk is rubbish so why not do a caribean cruise from southampton to break up the winter . .the drive from scotland is 450 m so we stop near oxford for an overnight break and then on to southampton the folowing day.the port parking in southampton is so expensive we use park at my house .com or similar and use taxi to get to p&o terminal .in the past we allways payed the tips up front but due to lack of intrest from some off the staff on board we now cancell tips and reward the staff that we think deserve the tips .at this point i would have to say p&o represent good value for money and you do get what you pay for . the majority of the staff are very good and unlike most off the cruise ships we are permited to bring a bottle off spirits on board for consumpsion in the cabin.p&o are very uk orientated and are used to uk market the bars are pub prices the wine a litle expensive in the restaraunt .we book our own shore excursions with an independent company.day time entertaiment at sea is very good.embarcation and disembarcation is a hit or miss. our first cruise with p&o was on the canberra p&o decided to cancel all our previous points attained with them and also with the princess line .princess which was sister ship company to p&o have given all the all the points for p&o cruises that we have done so sailing with princess we have lots more benifits and loyalty with princess than we have with p&o which is a little sad but there you go .its good you can wash your clothes in the laundry and get all the gossip much more goes on on a cruise ship than you think good bye Read Less
Sail Date January 2016
We have just returned from the above Canary Islands cruise. As with our previous trips on Ventura the standards in most cases were very high. Embarkation did not go smoothly as it started 15 minutes late and it appeared that the whole 3000 ... Read More
We have just returned from the above Canary Islands cruise. As with our previous trips on Ventura the standards in most cases were very high. Embarkation did not go smoothly as it started 15 minutes late and it appeared that the whole 3000 passengers were in the hall. There was minimum crowd control as people were milling around often in the queue areas when letters were called. At one time there were about 3 separate queues trying to merge into the main one. I must take issue with some previous reviews complaining about food in the restaurants and attitude of staff. We were freedom dining and the food was of a very high standard. Those passengers who felt quality was poor but found the buffet choice on deck 15 to be much better I feel were looking for quantity ie heap your plate and help yourself to several desserts. Restaurant was fine dining whereas the buffet was a typical eat as much as you like. All members of staff that we encountered could not have been more pleasant and helpful. Our waiters in Cinnamon, Alister and Jeoffrey were excellent, experienced, attentive and were quick to respond to requests. I agree that some areas need a bit of TLC but in no way affected our enjoyment of the cruise. Best Headliners group we have come across over 10 plus P&O cruises. Brand new group who joined ship same day as us. Brilliant Major complaint the weather ( no doubt some people will blame P&O for that) Read Less
Sail Date February 2016
I'm currently encounter home from our first P&O Cruise. We have cruised before with Celebrity and Thompsons. On arrival at the terminal we had to wait until our card was called, we only had a short wait and embarkation was ... Read More
I'm currently encounter home from our first P&O Cruise. We have cruised before with Celebrity and Thompsons. On arrival at the terminal we had to wait until our card was called, we only had a short wait and embarkation was pretty good. We boarded the ship there was nobody there to greet us and we had to find our way to our cabin, where our cases were sitting outside the door. Our inside cabin was on the 10th floor at the back of the boat. The cabin was spotless clean but not much room for manoeuvre. We had a double bed but the two upper singles folded into the wall meant we had to virtually crawl into and out of bed. There was loads of hanging and cupboard space but the toilet was small. We had bigger toilers in overnight ferries to France. There was a fridge that was handy, and tea/coffee making facilities which were replenished daily. Due to the location of the cabin, ever time the boat was docking, the noise was unbearable. There was heavy vibration throughout the room during the Is time. Due to having an atrium the ship was hard to get used to at first as you can only access areas at the front of the ship by going to certain floors. The ship was spotless clean throughout. We were assigned the Cinnamon restaurant but only ate there once as we prefer the buffet dining. The food was brilliant. There was something for everyone and it was always piping hot. The staff at the buffet and the restaurant were always friendly and chatty. The worked hard keeping the busy area clean. We had a meal in the Sindu Indian restaurant once, you pay £15 per head extra for this but I enjoyed it. We never tried the other restaurants. There is a pizzeria and burger bar at the pool. The food here was great however. There was no drinks machines around and you then needed to go back into the buffet restaurant for a tea/coffee. There is no drinks package like we have enjoyed on other cruises. Bar prices were not too bad. A vodka and mixer was £4.75 as was a glass of prosecco. A pint of peroni was about £3.75. We would still prefer the drink package to save continually checking our account for onboard spend. You are allowed to take your own drink onboard and also what you buy offshore but not what you buy on the ships duty free shop which is a little pointless. The entertainment was not the greatest. However a huge shout out to the Headliners who were fantastic. It we never seen enough of them, we also enjoyed the tribute acts to John Denver and Annie Lennox was amazing. The other acts were pianists, a violinist and a few comedians. There were also an ex policeman and jeweller speakers if that's your cup of tea. The quizzes in the Exchange we're good,with something for everyone. Andrea was a great hostess. The karaoke hostess, Lauren however was allowing the same singers singing the same songs and not allowing new singers up which was disappointing. We spent some time in the casino which was good fun. Croupiers Gypsy, Jemima were always happy to see us and gave friendly advice to us beginners to ensure we players with The proper table etiquette. The waiters around the exchange and Havana were brilliant. A special mention to Joel, Neil and Who were always laughing and happy to see us. There are shops onboard selling bags, jewellery, and a range of duty free items, plenty of choice however, I wouldn't buy anything for the first few days as there are normally special offers throughout the cruise on items. We bought a painting I the gallery after being assured there would be no further discounts on these only to find 10% sale the next day. A visit to tbd gallery to discuss this and the lady was happy to give us the discount retrospectively. The ports we stopped at were Lisbon, Lanzerote, Santa Cruz, Teneriffe, Gran CanariA, Madeira, Las Palmas, La Coruna. Madeira was our favourite. This was also the cheapest for the duty fee cigs and spirits, even cheaper than the ship. We never done any excursions as it was easy enough to get around independently however don't rely on too much help with this from the staff. Overall we had a great time, met loads of nice people too. The only thing was the weather which can't be helped I suppose. Out of our three cruises Celebrity still way way ahead for everything but P&O now 2nd with Thompsons third. Hope this helps you prepare for your trip. Read Less
Sail Date February 2016
Only our second cruise (previously on RCI Brilliance of the Seas) but we were happier with P&O and Ventura in most aspects. Entertainment was superb with highly competent resident bands and excellent theatre shows, on some sea days ... Read More
Only our second cruise (previously on RCI Brilliance of the Seas) but we were happier with P&O and Ventura in most aspects. Entertainment was superb with highly competent resident bands and excellent theatre shows, on some sea days there were up to 3 different shows in addition to usual residents. We enjoyed the quizzes, the visiting expert was talking on sea mammals so regrettably did not catch our interest, I joined the sea days choir which was enthusiastically run, great ents team stirring things up at all times especially sailaways. One specific criticism is that the live music is relentlessly aimed at the over 60s and I do not think I heard a single song released since 1985!! Come on P&O we love the likes of Adele even if we are not the rap generation. Cabins good, like the long wardrobe rail and dressing area, nothing missed out. Perhaps Brilliance ots felt more luxurious. (Outside cabin - part restricted view Deck E looking over lifeboat) Food in main restaurant excellent at all times. We were very impressed by Marco Pierre White designed seven course menu on last black tie night. (Four black tie nights in 14 day cruise with dress code "Strictly enforced" according to notices). Lunch in buffet got a bit boring but we had a possible virus outbreak and self service was abandoned and staff brought in to serve which did restrict some options (Burger and Pizza bars closed for a couple of days). Bar service was good- always available but never overbearing or hinting for tips. Ports were mostly new to us and access in to town was easy from all of them so we did not take any excursions. Excellent selection other than Casablanca which everyone had warned us not to get excited about. Ship was fully booked but rarely felt crowded, plenty of seating available in most areas with reasonable (if not home sofa) comfort. Everywhere was clean and well looked after with design and furnishings up to four star standard. P&O are trying to organise embarkation and disembarkation but still involved long queues and waiting well after scheduled times. Would be happy to go back on Ventura anytime. Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
Just returned from a 14 night cruise on Ventura to include Casablanca and Madeira. Overall good cruise, great weather, great destinations. However the cruise could still have been better. We had an outside balcony cabin that was fine other ... Read More
Just returned from a 14 night cruise on Ventura to include Casablanca and Madeira. Overall good cruise, great weather, great destinations. However the cruise could still have been better. We had an outside balcony cabin that was fine other than a wall that squeaked badly whenever the ship rolled. Shower head needed replacing (more like a tap than a shower) and the soap dispenser in the shower cubicle was broken (they always seem to be broken), otherwise no complaints. Our steward, Stevely, was good keeping the cabin clean and tidy. Hygene: Outbreak of Norovirus well handled by cew, but could it have been prevented in the first place? I witnessed many examples of passengers handing food directly with their hands from the serving dishes in the buffet and entering the buffet without using gel. P&O need to be more vigilant and demanding when it comes to hygene. Dining: Mixed experience. Sindhu, excellent, great value for money. Buffet good although a little crowded at peak times and hygene issues. Epicurean, food good (but not brilliant), enviroment good, service first class. Worth £28 a head extra, maybe! Main restuarants (Cinammon and Saphire), a bit crowded, pretty noisy and waiters always rushing around. Food good on some evenings but poor on others. Overall not the best dining experience. Glass House at lunchtimes was very good, well worth the extra. Entertainment: Best Headliners company we have ever seen, well done. Other entrenainers were good including Tom O'Conner. Daytime entertainment, usual blend of talks and quizzes, not my cup-of-tea. Films shown in the Havana show room a waste of time, not enough room and passengers jostling to get best positions. Drinks etc: Good service in all bars although waiters seemed more 'pushy' that on previous cruises (notably In Tamarind). Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
Looked into cruising a little, but always felt daunted by it. Took the plunge based on the rights dates and great last minute price. To give an idea of what type of travellers we are, We are a married couple, both 37, who enjoy good food ... Read More
Looked into cruising a little, but always felt daunted by it. Took the plunge based on the rights dates and great last minute price. To give an idea of what type of travellers we are, We are a married couple, both 37, who enjoy good food and wine, sightseeing and relaxing on holiday. We travel anywhere from traditional Spanish resorts, to Bali and Malaysia and skiing. Here's a list of what we thought. Travelling from and to Southampton was brilliant. There was a wait of around an hour to get on the ship, but so easy once checked in. We used the recommended car parking company and it was so simple, like meet and great. We chose self disembarkation. This is not really explained well, but basically means you leave before 8.45 in the morning. I.e. Before the hoards of people enter the massive luggage claim area to try and locate their luggage. Breakfast is best in the main restaurants, but only served to 9 on port days and 9.30 on sea days. The buffet is ok for breakfast, but of lower quality. I'd avoid the buffet at any other time, it's ok but there are so many better places. Not a lot was explained to you. Being a new cruising puts you in the minority. Thus, ask, read the horizon guide each night and explore the ship fully in your first day or so. We found food in the main restaurant bland other than on gala nights. They are catering for a mass market after all. It was very good, but needed seasoning, herbs, spices etc. The additional paid for restaurants are wonderful, and good value. Yes, you can eat for no extra cost, but for a feeling of going out for a meal, they are great. Service is quality and there is not the noise and bustle of a mass catering environment. The glass house is fabulous, a must try. They do wine flights, 3 x 125ml wines for around £10 or £11. Lots of different ones to try. The tapas plates are brilliant. Sihdu was also very good, with scallops and lobster on the menu. The beach house is a great American BBQ style, and excellent value. You get more generous portions in the paid for restaurants. Note, the glass house do a tasting menu with wine paring for £30 a head. This is something not advertised until the day before in the horizon magazine. However, all regular cruisers know about it, as they rush to reception to book as soon as they get on board. I don't blame them, but unfair of P and O not to advertise in advance so us new people can also get a chance to try. Other restaurants and events are easily booked on board, and some you can't book anyway. We never had a problem. Good tip, the glass house serves food till 10.30 ish, an hour after all other restauarants. There is so much entertainment, you have to pick what you want to do. Most is duplicated in the evening, at 8.30 and 10.30, which for us seemed too early to have finished dinner then go, and too late to always go after dinner. However, most things last 45 mins to an hour. Have a run around on the first night or two and work out what you like. We like live bands and music more than the shows, so planned accordingly. The live bands were very very good. There were two comedians on our cruise. One was brilliant, the other ( who has been doing the cruises since i was born) was awful, clearly the material is getting a little tired. Cabin (balcony) was bigger than I expected. However, it had a sense of the hospital room about it. Wiped down walls, plastic moulded work tops, bad pictures on the wall. The bed was comfy. The to was awful. News channel and that was it. Loads of films to watch but the to was so bad, the picture and sound was not good. There is free room service, which is good quality and fairly speedy to arrive. Shower is powerful. There is a full size bottle of white company shower gel attached to the wall, plus 100ml size of white company shampoo, conditioner and lotion. I'm sure you can ask for more if needed. The ship itself was impressive due to size. Some public areas were canteen like or reminded me of bars in Benidorm hotels. Other areas more elegant, such as the glass house, art gallery and metropolis bar. Something for everyone so you just find what you like. Getting on and off the ship was easy. We experienced a queue only when you had to use the shuttle bus, but it was only 20 minutes or so. Going from Southampton means you can take on drinks etc with you and keep in your fridge, just top up at each port. Drinks on board we brilliant. Extremely good wine list and all low prices, cheaper than in the uk. About £17 gets you a great bottle and most were in that region, rather than one or two then loads at higher prices. Cocktails about £5.50 to £6.50. The vast majority of men are in black bow tie for gala night. I dont think I saw a standard suit. However, there are areas you can dress casual ( the buffet). At other times though, this is not a posh ship. You get the odd one or two people who do dress up every night, but most people are casual or wearing what you'd expect for a normal meal out somewhere. Pools are all heated, which is fab. The two in the middle were usually busy and noisy. The adult only was closed the whole time we were on board, which is disappointing. There is a big mix of people. Apologies if I offend any regular visitors here, but I want to be honest. There are a lot of very old people, who would not look too out of place in a care home ( a cruise is cheaper), there are a lot of people who are less able (both medically and die to size), which could be due to being no fly. There were a few families and kids were all well behaved. Couples like us were in the minority, with most resembling our parents (daily mail in one hand, free glass of prossecco in the other). Spa treatments were good, but overpriced compared to uk, and come with a heavy sales pitch to buy products and Botox. Excursions were overpriced compared to what you get in port, but come with the safety net of not missing the ship. If the shuttle is paid for, generally means you don't need to use it unless you fall into one of the categories I've described above. I thought bingo and the race night were pricey ( no, not our usual sort of thing, but we'd thought we'd try it, especially with a last minute extra sea day due to rough weather). Every member of staff is brilliant. Genuinely helpful and happy. Not pushing for tips. Always there to offer you a drink or help, but not pushy. A real asset to P and O. Everything is cash free. You can even gamble and charge to your room ( dangerous). You cannot add tips on to any bill, so would need cash. That said, we saw zero people tipping. We decided to in the paid for restaurants though. The gym is large, but the equipment is not great quality. Runners were about usable. Cross trainers very light weight. It was also very hot! Overall, we loved visiting several cities we wouldn't have gone to otherwise in one holiday. It's wonderful to arrive in the port, go on a ( self organised) walking tour, stop for lunch, then hop back on the boat. Being on the ship was relaxing in itself, as you can't go anyway so just sit back and relax. The good and drink was excellent, which we like. The entertainment was great. People watching may not have been exactly what I was expecting, but it's good to know cruising is not always a stuck up affair. We will do a cruise again, and would use p and o and other similar lines. Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
My and my husband loved this cruise, we sailed to Vigo, Lisbon, Oporto and Cherbourg. The only down point I had of this cruise was the size of the ship but that it personal choice nothing else, the food was amazing, couldn't fault the ... Read More
My and my husband loved this cruise, we sailed to Vigo, Lisbon, Oporto and Cherbourg. The only down point I had of this cruise was the size of the ship but that it personal choice nothing else, the food was amazing, couldn't fault the service of any of the crew. Embarkation was nice and smooth so was disembarkation, we had an inside cabin which was spacious, the restaurants never got busy always had somewhere to sit and eat, the entertainment was very good, we never actually got to Cherbourg as there was a storm and the Captain didn't want to risk taking the ship into port so unfortunately on the last day we spent it on the English Channel. Overall I would book with P&O again but maybe on one of their smaller ships, I did miss the personal touch, like not having the same waiter of the same bar person, Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
The cruise was very enjoyable on the whole but we did not like the ship as much as we liked Arcadia. As we had booked an early saver deal we were very pleased and surprised to get a high deck midships cabin.We also got our first choice ... Read More
The cruise was very enjoyable on the whole but we did not like the ship as much as we liked Arcadia. As we had booked an early saver deal we were very pleased and surprised to get a high deck midships cabin.We also got our first choice dining arrangements and in retrospect given the saving involved would be unlikely to book the select price again. We dined in Saffron most lunchtimes and the Bay Tree in the evening and found the service and food excellent in both.Apart from breakfast we did tend to avoid the buffet as it felt crowded and hectic,but the food was fine. We didn't use the pool areas as the weather on many days was too inclement for the outside pool areas and the main pool with the sun dome always feels like a public swimming baths as it is uncomfortably warm,noisy and smells of chlorine.But this is why for us it is always worth paying for a balcony cabin. We enjoyed all the ports of call apart from Barcelona,which for us was too large ,busy and crowded.But anyone who loves the buzz of big vibrant cities will love it. Cartagena.La Spezia and La Coruna were our favorites.La Spezia was a big surprise as P&O imply it's not worth visiting and try to sell you expensive and lengthy (10 Hours) trips to Pisa and Florence.It was a lovely place with fantastic views from the castle. Read Less
Sail Date April 2016
Chose this cruise for itinerary and sailing from Southampton. No complaints with embarkation, we arrived early as did most people because of the weather but the wait was not too bad and went very smoothly. Once on board attended the ... Read More
Chose this cruise for itinerary and sailing from Southampton. No complaints with embarkation, we arrived early as did most people because of the weather but the wait was not too bad and went very smoothly. Once on board attended the emergency muster which compared to other cruise ships was pretty poor, no headcount to make sure everyone attended. Ship - It is a large ship and I,m sure we didn't see everything, not the easiest to navigate round but it is a nice ship. There are smoking areas on deck 7,15 and up one set of stairs from deck 15 and at rear on ship at the poolside bar. If deck 7 is closed off its because of bad weather and avoids injuries with heavy doors, it's for passenger safety so don't complain just go to the other areas. There are plenty shops, bars, seating areas. We see other comments about not enough seating areas, this is because people sitting about in the same places every day, just explore the ship and find somewhere else, there is a huge seating area with glass all round on deck 16 and is nearly always empty. We understand that on a previous sailing there had been a Nora virus outbreak. One thing that the ship needs to get to grips with is the hand cleaning, there are not enough sanitiser stands on the ship as compared to others but also not enough people using them. Dining - We had freedom dining and are both vegetarian, on past ships we have struggled but not here, the choice was great as there is a choice on the main menu and a separate vegetarian menu, the food was always hot in the dining room, we also had breakfast in the dining room every morning. We met so many nice people which made the cruise great. The Waterside buffet area is nice but the lay out is not good, anyone with half a brain can see that it should be a one way system, this would save on time,frayed tempers, accidents and spills. The food Was plentiful but we only went for a snack and not main meals. Cabin - room was a good size with great storage space for clothes, only down side was the shower had a curtain which is changed once a week, on second week the curtain was too short so the water went out onto floor. Our cabin was deck 12 A627 with small balcony Entertainment - Not the best , in the evening there were only a handful out of the 2 weeks that we enjoyed, we went to the 10.30pm shows and always got a seat. The daytime entertainment was an insult, same old same old every day with the timetable filled with talks about health & beauty, table tennis, cricket, port talk, and knit & natter!!!!!! The lectures could be seen on the Tv in your cabin, for a whole 2 weeks every day was a lecture about different drugs!!!! The channels on the Tv are limited but was not a problem for us. Come on P&O is this the best you can do. Ports & Excursions - most of the time we went ashore ourselves but the organised trips are a huge and I mean huge rip off so, if you can do the trips yourself I suggest you do because if you go with the organised trip you don't get much time to do anything. We had to go ashore using the ships tender at one port, the ship asks you to make sure you are fit enough to get on and off the tender, I must say a lot of people with sticks and walking aides were not true to themselves and should not have been on the tender. Service - the staff in the dining rooms were very friendly and polite and nothing was too much trouble, staff in the buffet areas were the same. The entertainment staff... Where were they!!! The officers were always polite but the one set of staff I thought were unfriendly and un-inviting were the security, not once was there a welcome from them as people embarked or dis-embarked. The staff in the shops were friendly whether you wanted to spend money or not. On every ship you meet people who just love to boast & compare about past ships they have been on but mostly complain. You can't please all of the people all of the time, all I can say is that there is good and bad on every ship and like any religion or political group if you could take a little bit of every ship/cruise line and put it together you would be happy... Perhaps. The Ventura is a nice enough ship, the itinerary was good, the cruse on a whole was good value for money. The weather was good for April apart from getting caught in the tail end of storm Frank for 3 days on the way out, that is beyond P&O,s control. Read Less
Sail Date April 2016
Chose this cruise because of a 'big' birthday, wish we'd waited another 2/3 weeks because the weather wasn't too good in the ports, the sea was calm though even across the bay of Biscay. I've cruised around 10 ... Read More
Chose this cruise because of a 'big' birthday, wish we'd waited another 2/3 weeks because the weather wasn't too good in the ports, the sea was calm though even across the bay of Biscay. I've cruised around 10 times, not on a ship this big before - I couldn't understand why people said it was too big? Possibly because of the amount of passengers...but you do know this when you book. Overall we enjoyed it, I won't compare with other ships - I have rated on 'value for money' - which this is definitely in my view is a definite 4 star. Some people paid the equivalent of £70 a day for inside cabins! Shows in the theatre were good, we also enjoyed comedians, the resident band Dynamite Groove in the Havana bar. We had cabin with balcony which was good when the weather allowed us to use it. We thoroughly enjoyed the evening meals, lunch was a little bit repetitive but there was a large choice so there was always something different to choose. The cruise news always included some 'hard sell' seminars I.e. Come along to see how you can lose weight, or deal with arthritis, back pain etc. - too much in my opinion.... The exchange bar was a large area that included casino, slot machines, large screen tv, bingo playing, resembled a pub taproom - I didn't use it because it has no interest to me. When the weather allowed there was a 'sail away party' - not my thing at all, very crowded, very loud music, passengers walking around with pieces of pizza in their hands, cheese dripping everywhere. Lots of smokers huddled in the designated areas... These negatives wouldn't prevent me using the ship again though - I just don't use the areas that I dislike... I have to agree with a previous review though - the dress code of some of the passengers leaves a lot to be desired, football shirts and canvas pumps in the evening is not acceptable - particularly on black tie evening...obviously not allowed to use the main dining areas in such attire but it did 'lower the tone' .... Overall, staff very nice and pleasant, cabin/bed comfortable, public rooms attractive, evening meal (flexible dining) very good, getting on and off the ship at Southampton was well organised. I didn't use any shore excursions, we like to do our own thing and this was very easy in all the ports - Lisbon, Cadiz, Valencia, Ibiza, Cartagena, Gibraltor. These were quite expensive for those people unable to walk into town, I would suggest getting a taxi from the port area, there are plenty available. Read Less
Sail Date May 2016
We had cruised on Ventura last September and were a bit anxious about such a big ship as we had found Britannia not to our taste. However we loved her and so were happy to book again for this May.Arrived in Southampton at 1pm for our timed ... Read More
We had cruised on Ventura last September and were a bit anxious about such a big ship as we had found Britannia not to our taste. However we loved her and so were happy to book again for this May.Arrived in Southampton at 1pm for our timed slot of 1.30pm and were amazed that in less than 1 hour we were on board eating a delicious lunch in the Cafeteria. We had requested Freedom Dining as usual and were very happy to be given that option. It worked well and we shared tables with many nice people and found the change added to the enjoyment of meeting new people on a daily basis.The menu has been refined slightly from previous cruises but we were nearly always spoiled for choice. My Crab starter one evening was the best I have ever had anywhere. The weather was not as good as previous cruises with rain for the first 4 days but gradually improved.For the first time there were a number of small children on board and because it was so unpleasant outside the indoor areas became a bit crowded at times and the noise level at the indoor pool was a bit high. Not good if you wanted to relax with a good book..but we managed.!! For the first time ever on a criuse we were attracted to an offer for the Sindhu @ East Restaurant and so made a booking.What a good decision. The whole experience was superb from the attention of the staff to the delicious food we ate. So impressed that we booked again when the menu change happened during the second week. Would not hesitate to eat there again when we cruise next time God willing. There were three new ports of call for us..Valencia,Ibiza and Cartagena. All three worth a visit but Valencia was stunning. Hope to go again some day. All in all we thoroughly enjoyed our 6th crise with P & O and can't wait to do the next one when time and funds allow. Read Less
Sail Date May 2016
After 25 or so cruises mainly on RCI , NCL and Celebrity. This was our first P & O cruise. We chose the cruise because we were taking our 8 year old grandson on holiday and the dates fitted with other family commitments. I ... Read More
After 25 or so cruises mainly on RCI , NCL and Celebrity. This was our first P & O cruise. We chose the cruise because we were taking our 8 year old grandson on holiday and the dates fitted with other family commitments. I initially wasn't best pleased to find that we would be allocated a check in time and was unable to arrived at a time to suit our commitments and on departures day. However we were allocated 1300 and arrived at 1210 and were processed almost immediately, so that gripe was soon over and forgotten. I'm not sure I would have been so forgiving if we had been allocated 1500 and found ourselves with 3 hours to kill after having to check out of the Premier Inn Southampton at 1200. Ventura is a very nice ship, well kept and cared for, with some very pleasant public areas to suit all tastes ,we particularly like a quiet drink in the evening and are not big on entertainment so were very happy to find some nice quiet bars with background music. Our cabin was an outside cabin on deck 5 and I have to praise P & O and on its unique design with a large walk in wardrobe area cleverly separated from the main sleeping area . It was kept spotless by our cabin attendant, who each night lowered the overhead bunk to accommodate our Grandson. The food was, in the main very good and plentiful. Every evenings we ate early in the main dining room which allowed us to have a drink after dinner, whilst our grandson was entertained at the Children's Club. Our waiters in the MDR were excellent, probably some of the best we have experienced , they catered for our grandson from the children's menu, always finding him an extra treat at the end of each meal . The Children's Club and its staff just surpassed all expectations there were events and activities for all ages and our grandson just loved it. There are just a couple of adverse comments I have to make, firstly, apart from our waiters in the MDR and our cabin attendant who dealt with us personally, other staff just didn't seem happy, bar waiters just waited and if you passed housekeeping staff in corridors there was no smile or good morning, afternoon or whatever , however they all did their job and we were certainly not looking for friends for life but a little more interaction would do wonders from a customer service point of view , possibly we've just been used to better interaction on other cruise lines. Secondly there seemed to be times, especially during the daytime where there was little of no staff, especially in outdoor public areas, again not a huge problem as I'm not adverse to going to the bar to buy a drink but even then there was quite a wait to get served. Maybe these two points are relative to each other and P & O need to rethink their staffing strategies. One thing I don't normally relish are Formal Evenings, after 25 cruises they just seem to have lost their magic, which is one reason we particularly like NCL. However I bit the bullet took my black suit and actually enjoyed the Formal Evenings and it was good to see that P & O did their best to enforce the dress code where applicable, two formal nights on a 7 Night cruise was however quite enough for me. We didn't use any of the speciality restaurants, we very rarely bother with them unless they are so desperate for custom and offer discounts to get you through the door. We don't buy photographs as we have a perfectly good camera of our own , the nice thing about P & O was that staff weren't constantly in you face trying to sell speciality restaurants and a polite, "no" to the photographers and they went away. Prices on board were , we felt acceptable and certainly comparable to most four star European hotel or resort on land and 18% was not automatically added for a tip. We are not at all adverse to paying gratuities and prefer them to added our final cruise bill thereby prepaying before departure. However this facility is not available on P & O so a very reasonable £37.50 pp gratuity was added to our on board account and we certainly didn't feel the need to remove it and the good thing on P & O is that this was only payable by adult passenger One event that impressed us was the Sail Away parties held on departure from every port, these were amazing the entertainment staff worked hard to ensure their success and it certainly worked, well done P & O on that score. Overall a very nice cruise and we will certainly consider using P & O again. Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
Just returned from our 3rd cruise with P&O. We did 14 nts on the med calling in 6 ports with 1 overnight stay in Barcelona (8th/22nd July). We had a wonderful enjoyable cruise with no problems at all..There are lots of moaners, as ... Read More
Just returned from our 3rd cruise with P&O. We did 14 nts on the med calling in 6 ports with 1 overnight stay in Barcelona (8th/22nd July). We had a wonderful enjoyable cruise with no problems at all..There are lots of moaners, as usual, goodness knows what they want or expect. We have done 10 cruises and loved everyone. Before leaving for our cruise I read all the reviews with lots of people complaining of bad service, poor food, dirty areas and rude miserable staff. Well we never found any of these complains to be true. The service we encountered was always spot on. All public areas were kept exceptionally clean, although on deck 7 smoking area, i'm afraid they always seemed to leave it in a mess even though there were bins for them, who do they think is going to clean their dirty mess up, you wouldn't do that at home (or would they). Also some of the complaints were about the type of people P&O were getting on the cruises, yes there were some, but the biggest majority were well mannered lovely people. The staff were always well mannered and helpful. CABIN; inside deck 12. plenty of wardrobe space etc., Lovely steward Kundan who kept it immaculate. One of the best stewards we have had. ENTERTAINMENT.We loved the Serous Sounds a Caribbean group who were on the Ventura in Sept, pleased they were still on. They certainly get you dancing. The resident Electrix group ok but the new girl singer no good. Some good comedians on in the bars. The Headliners put on some good shows in the Arena theatre. Our favourite were the Brit Tones a 4 man group they were excellent. The Tropical night on deck15 had a good atmosphere with the Serious Sounds playing. Everyoned dressed in Caribbean shirts etc., DINING we were freedom dining and sat with lots of different people each night all had good conversations, good food choice on menu in the Cinnamon. EPICUREAN We had fab meal there on the day we were leaving Rome. We sat on its balcony (aft) with the sun going down, good service.£3o supp pp GLASSHOUSE They did a special dinner there for about 12 couples (book early) it was a foodie meal where they compliment each course with the correct wine. We sat with a nice couple and got on really well, excellent £28 supp pp. WATERSIDE BUFFET We used the buffet for breakfast & lunch plenty to choose from.Gets abit chaotic at times but we got on with it. PORTS Gibraltar been before so only walked into town. BARCELONA shuttle bus into town where you can pick the red tour bus up which we did cost of 28 euros each. We still walked 8.8 miles. CANNES Beautiful port, went in by tender lovely walk along front, walked as far as the famous Carlton Hotel. ROME Did the excursion, Rome on your own, walked rather a lot but saw what we wanted as we have been before, I would like to add that we found Rome had got very dirty, lots of gravity, wasn't like that the last time we visited about 15 yrs ago. Very sad in such a beautiful ancient city, still enjoyed it though.CARTENAGA Lovely looking little port, had walk up the lovely shops area. SEVILLA excursion Sevilla on your own. Nice city, did the horse & carriage ride lasts about an hour 45 euros. but glad we did it because we did see alot more than we would have done walking. All in all had a smashing time, and cant wait for our next P&O cruise which is already booked.Dont take any notice of the negative reviews you read. This is a very large ship catering for 3000 passengers so they are not going to please everyone.Its only what you make of the holiday yourselves so enjoy. Read Less
Sail Date July 2016
Chose this cruise to celebrate wifes birthday, daughters birthday and our golden wedding. Generally very good but a number of noisy kids whose parents just were not interested in their activities. Carpets on cabin quite dirty, bed ... Read More
Chose this cruise to celebrate wifes birthday, daughters birthday and our golden wedding. Generally very good but a number of noisy kids whose parents just were not interested in their activities. Carpets on cabin quite dirty, bed had broken spring, shower head very old and ineffective. Ship needs a bit of an upgrade. Cabin steward (Racquel) was first class and workerd very hard. Food quite good but they have cut down on choices. Entertainment quite good, Headliners as usual very good though we have seen some of the routines several times before. All in all a pleasant cruise to Greek islands and was very hot. Value for money? Yes, but the daily charge we cancelled and the £98 per person was cancelled. The photographers were not professional and did not have a clue about composing the shots, Also the prices for photos is just getting stupidly expensive. £17.99 for a 8 by 10 is just too much. Holiday cruise families turned this into Butlins afloat in some instances. We will niot do this again in july!! Read Less
Sail Date July 2016
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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