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155 Southampton P&O Cruises Ventura Cruise Reviews

We chose this cruise because it started and finished in Southampton, and because it went to Portugal, and because it was well reviewed. Food on the cruise was very good, although we would have liked more local dishes (Spanish, ... Read More
We chose this cruise because it started and finished in Southampton, and because it went to Portugal, and because it was well reviewed. Food on the cruise was very good, although we would have liked more local dishes (Spanish, Portuguese) to have been included on the menus. We were very happy with the freedom dining, and would definitely choose this again. Of the bars, we liked the Glass House best (we bought a bit of food there too, which was excellent). We were slightly disappointed with the entertainment, with the exception of an outstanding 50s/60s band, the Bluejays. Vigo and St Peter Port were nice enough, but we wouldn't rush back there. Lisbon and Porto were GREAT! We booked our own tours in Lisbon and Porto. For Lisbon, we booked the “Pirates of the Cruise Ships” tour from We Hate Tourism, where they pick you up and drop you off at the cruise terminal. What a great decision that was! We saw lots of different aspects of Lisbon and its surrounding towns and scenery, as well as having a great lunch with plenty of wine. And all the time we were engaged in lively conversation with our guide – not just the standard tour guide lecture, but getting real insight into Lisbon life and Portugal as a whole. A really excellent day. Back on the ship, everyone we told about our day was impressed and envious. For Porto, we booked the Downtown Food Tour from Taste Porto. Food tours can be a great way to see a city and understand its influences, its culture and its pride. We’ve done food tours in several cities before, but this was the best yet. It includes a generous selection of varied and interesting food and drink, and gave us a real sense of the passion behind great Portuguese food. The old market was particularly special and memorable – full of long-established family shops with obvious pride in the quality of their products. Our guide was excellent. We were delighted with our choice of how to spend the day, and we definitely want to go back to Porto for longer. Embarkation and disembarkation were both very slick. Read Less
Sail Date August 2017
I had been on the venturer before and I wanted to visit Guernsey. Very nice staff and food lots to do , very busy as in school holidays we were informed there was two adult only pools but did not find one without children I love children ... Read More
I had been on the venturer before and I wanted to visit Guernsey. Very nice staff and food lots to do , very busy as in school holidays we were informed there was two adult only pools but did not find one without children I love children but someone I was travelling with is autistic and can become anxious around children but they like to swim however this did not spoil the holiday. Really good entertainment but no room in the theatre for one of the shows we wanted to see. very good reception staff the waiters and cabin stewards were lovely too.shops were good and good prices on drink and perfume .lots of choice of food and different places to eat .the prices of the formal night for photos were too expenditure £16 a photo !!!! Was very impressed getting back off the ship in Southampton no sitting about however was not happy that we birthed in a different place to when we left we had to get a taxi back to our car park luckily one of us had some cash on us Read Less
Sail Date August 2017
Having sailed on Oceana and Britannia we decided to give Ventura a go on a 17 day cruise to the Greek Islands. We were worried before we went, having read some pretty grim reviews of the ship but came away having enjoyed our cruise ... Read More
Having sailed on Oceana and Britannia we decided to give Ventura a go on a 17 day cruise to the Greek Islands. We were worried before we went, having read some pretty grim reviews of the ship but came away having enjoyed our cruise overall. Here are the plus points and areas that we felt needed some attention. Plus points: • The staff overall were probably the friendliest bunch we have ever sailed with on any cruise line. They were happy, professional, helpful and polite bar none. • The ship, though looking tired (and ready for a refit) was kept immaculately clean and all of the public areas were fine. The cabin was looking tired, but nothing major and it was comfortable. No sign of that nasty Norovirus! • The cabin steward, Collin, was exceptional and couldn’t do enough for us. Any issues we had with the cabin t.v.s were sorted within minutes. • The superior deluxe cabin was very spacious and had a lovely sitting area and it was good to have a bath as well as a shower for once. We were right at the front and it was very quiet despite there being 680 children on the ship • The select dining areas were varied and excellent value. We had a lovely meal in the Epicurean and it was great to sit outside and watch the sunset as we ate our meal. The glass house was probably my favourite and the food faultless and excellent value for money. Sindhu’s was good too – and that was a surprise for me as I dislike spicy food. • The food in the Saffron Restaurant was very good and we enjoyed the freedom dining experience again. There were always plenty of tables for 2, though we sometimes had to wait. They told us that the peak time was between 7.30 and 8.30pm if anyone wants to avoid it. • We loved the Greek Island ports in particular and the excursions we did with P&O were superb value for money. We did ‘Ancient Corinth and the Corinth Canal’, ‘Mykonos and Wine Tasting’, ‘Olympia and a Beach Excursion’ , the transfer to Taormina and ‘Secrets of the Rock’ in Gibraltar. They were all excellent and good value. Didn’t like Mallorca much at all and were disappointed with the ‘Formentor and Pollensor’ excursion as it bore no relation to the description we were given. • We only went to one sailaway party – the Great British sailaway – and we enjoyed this as we hadn’t been for a number of years. All good fun! The children were all well behaved so credit to them and their parents. • Our fellow passengers were a mixed bunch from lots of different backgrounds. Everyone we met (bar one snooty, obnoxious lady) was great company and we made many new friends. • There seem to be more sunbeds available on this cruise than on any other cruise we have been on mid school holidays. There were small spaces everywhere and it was lovely to enjoy a dip in the adults only pool at the back. Incidentally, we never saw anyone misusing the pools – i.e. children in adult only pools as had been reported else where. • Embarkation was very good and we were on within 20 minutes – far better at the Mayflower terminal than the Ocean Terminal and the whole experience was stress free. • For anyone who enjoys a drink we would say that prices were very fair and way lower than on American cruise lines. The alcohol policy is still very generous and we took on board a box of wine and purchased some additional bottles in the various ports for use in the cabin. • We found that there was plenty to do and you could make of the cruise what you wanted. ON one evening we noticed that there were some people on top deck drinking by the pool, others in the bar / disco area, others just enjoying the ballroom dancing. There was something for everyone. • We don’t tend to go to the shows though we saw one singer (who was excellent) • The buffet food in the afternoon was more varied than on Oceana • We LOVED the wrap around promenade deck – nice to see on a larger ship • Some people moaned that there were a lot of elderly passengers on the ship. We loved the mix of ages and find this an unfair criticism. Good on the elderly for wanting to go on holiday either alone or on their families – we all get old and we met some delightful 70 / 80 somethings. • Most people dressed up for the formal nights and looked stunning – all ages and backgrounds. We had 5 formal nights and for once gave one a miss as we had 3 in just 6 nights! We ate in the buffet that night, in smart casuals so fail to see why people moan about formal nights. There are plenty of places to go if you don’t want to dress up. • The photograph package seems better value now – 10 photos for £70 which is far better than when it was £20 per photo years ago Not so good points: • Though not P&O’s fault the weather was a bit hit and miss and lots of gloomy, cloudy sea days meant that we couldn’t use our balcony as much as we had liked. Disappointed too that we hardly docked on port side (twice I think) and we were always in the shade at every port. For us this was a shame as we prefer to return from a day out and then chill in the sunshine on the balcony occasionally when returning. If you go for this cruise and like the sunshine then either book starboard or an aft cabin. • We didn’t feel that the ship handled the waves as well as Britannia or Oceana – we always sail at the very front or very back in all ships and found Ventura to be the most ‘bumpy’ even in calmer waters. If you get sea sick go for the middle. We also found that she was at a tilt a lot of the time – the crew told us that this was because of the windy weather. • We had booked a cabin on the no smoking side but discovered that the smell of smoke on our balcony on occasions was from the crew smoking room vent that was just in front of our balcony, off the promenade deck. Why they don’t make port side the smoking side we have no idea so that folk like us, who had chosen the non smoking side (port side) wouldn’t be affected. Would not have cabin D114 again for this reason. • We also found this cabin balcony very windy. The weather was windy anyway, but from talking to others it seemed worse as the balcony was more open. We also had the bridge above us so on a rare sunny day for us (our side) the bridge cast a shadow for a time. Something for any sun worshippers to take note of! • We did not find the Captain to be very obvious and, without going in to details have suggested that he takes lessons from some of the other P&O Captains who appear to value their customers / passengers more. Shame. • Disembarkation was not handled as well as in the other ships. We were sent to a theatre and a number of rude passengers jumped the queue which caused ill feeling and could have caused mayhem. They would be better using the dining rooms as on other ships. • The cabin T.V. was terrible and had a limited choice and I hope that they will be replacing this soon when she has her refurb. • This cruise was 17 days from Southampton, with 9 sea days and 7 ports. There were too many sea days for us and hated the journey back to Southampton as we just wanted to get off and get home as we knew that we were on the way home (and it was miserable weather). We will stick to fly cruising in the future for August. To be fair to P&O other folk enjoyed it and we knew what we were getting in to before we booked. We decided to give it a try though. I suppose this isn’t a negative about the cruise / ship, just something for others to think about when they book. All in all, an enjoyable cruise and, surprisingly for me, we would not hesitate to book this ship again. She is lovely and am sure will be even better when she has had her refurb. Don’t let others put you off with reviews – go and give her a chance. Read Less
Sail Date August 2017
We were a family of five travelling in three balcony cabins, R303 - accessible cabin, A254 and A251. Embarkation was a farce, chaotic and not helped by rude and unhelpful G4S staff. Didn't see the point of being given an ... Read More
We were a family of five travelling in three balcony cabins, R303 - accessible cabin, A254 and A251. Embarkation was a farce, chaotic and not helped by rude and unhelpful G4S staff. Didn't see the point of being given an embarkation time as this was totally ignored and we were waved disdainfully towards the queue. As a first timer any questions we asked were ignored. All very pleased with our cabins, the accessible cabin was large and well thought out for use by a disbabled guest. Buffet - this was very busy on the first couple of days and choice was not great. Improved greatly over the rest of the cruise and we used daily for breakfast and late lunch. Main Dining Room Saffron - food and choice excellent, service excellent. My daughter, a vegetarian, was given exemplary service with advance orders taken for the following days menu. Sindhu - the only select restaurant we visited and the meal was well worth the additional cover charge. Entertainment- varied and good, house bands were excellent, a couple of the 'tribute' acts bordering on mediocre. 'Gary Barlow' looked like the man himself, didn't sound like him at all. 'Shania Twain' didn't look like or sound like the singer at all. The headline act was Bernie Flint who I'm sure would be unknown to at least half of the passengers. Plenty to do on board, very busy on inside decks when weather not too good though. Service - generally good with staff bordering on indifferent to excellent. Drinks could be slow at times particularly in The Exchange. All of our cabin stewards were excellent. Please beware of the advertised unlimited photos for £99 offer, this is not what it seems. We had an issue over this which to be fair was resolved to our satisfaction. If you are looking to take advantage of this speak to one of the photo team first to make sure you are aware of the numerous, unadvertised, terms and conditions. We had excursions at most ports between us and all were pleased with guides, content and value for money. Special mention for the FC Barcelona, Rome on your own and Pompeii tours. Dress codes - not adhered to in some instances. Would appear that a jacket isn't required on Black Tie, saw one female passenger in main dining room wearing white jeans as part of her outfit. Evening casual, again in dining room saw a female passenger wearing a frayed denim miniskirt. If you're going to have a dress code at least police it so the rest of us who have made an effort don't feel hard done by. Unable to visit Cagliari due to adverse weather leading to an unexpected, rough, additional day at sea. I thought that the ship would cope better with the rough seas, overall we had a couple of days of uncomfortable ship movement. We enjoyed the convenience of no fly but not the four sea days of dull/inclement weather and when looking a Med cruise again would take this into account. All enjoyed our overall P&O Ventura experience and would cruise on her again. Read Less
Sail Date September 2017
We have cruised with P&O many times; this would be our second two night cruise break, it came up to expectations! Embarkation/Disembarkation The ship was using the Ocean Terminal in Southampton. The terminal works very well at ... Read More
We have cruised with P&O many times; this would be our second two night cruise break, it came up to expectations! Embarkation/Disembarkation The ship was using the Ocean Terminal in Southampton. The terminal works very well at getting people through as quickly as possible. Most people were carrying on the luggage which simplified things. The terminal was particularly noisy, and had a party atmosphere, we even saw a chap dressed as a bride with boots on! The only slight hold up is having to complete the health questionnaire on arrival, why not offer it for download from the Cruise Personaliser. P&O complicate this by giving you a boarding time, ours is 15:30, it is always a late time whatever P&O cruise we take! We decided to aim for 13:30, and only had to wait around until 14:00 before being called to check-in. We arrived at our cabin by 14:15. Disembarkation is equally efficient. Instructions are dropped off at your cabin on Saturday. We went to the open seating breakfast (served between 07:00 and 09:00), getting in there before the eight o’clock rush. After breakfast, back to the cabin to pick up the bags, then join the queue to get off This moved fairly quickly and we were off 08:20, and joined the queue for a local taxi to the train station. Dining On the first night we ate in Sindhu, had a really good meal in there, soft shell crab to start and then a selection of curies to follow. The service in there is particularly good. We had opted for Freedom Dining which gives great flexibility, but it can get busy at peak times, the best strategy is to be prepared to share a table (requesting a table for two will probably result in being given a pager). We ate in the Saffron Restaurant; we also used it for breakfast. On the second night we met up with friends and shared a table for four. The Saffron Restaurant is very big, but the service is good. The breakfast choices in the MDR are comprehensive, but I don’t think the choice has changed in the 10 years we have been sailing with P&O. Bars Lots of bars as you would expect, some with an emphasis on gin. There is a wide selection of craft gins available in the Red Bar. Most drinks at pub prices, but if you want more than two glasses of wine a bottle of the house (white in our case) is an economical option at £16. Breakers Bar on the Sun Deck was always busy, and on this cruise some of the passengers were shouting at the staff for service. The Glasshouse offers a quieter venue. Cabin Our cabin was port rear on deck 10 (C510), it was a good size; it is described as a superior balcony. The décor and fittings were in reasonable shape. Between the bathroom and main room is a spacious hanging area that really works well. The beds are high enough to take some pretty big suitcases underneath. The balcony is a good size and does have an overhang. Our steward was very cheerful, but we did not have time to get to know her. This cabin was very quiet, nothing rattled. If we had been on a longer cruise we would have asked for the pillows to be changed, they were like paving slabs. Entertainment There was plenty going on, but we stuck to the bars! Photography We went to a reception in Tamarind and the photographers went to great trouble to get a good group photograph which we purchased fro £12. Ports of Call Zeebrugge – Belgium Nothing in particular planned for this day. We caught the shuttle bus into Blankenberge, walked to the marina, then out along the pier and back along the sea front to the top of the main shopping street. Lunch was moules and bread; there was a problem with the fries! Next we bought some chocolate and went back to the ship. Anything Else? Much as expected these cruises breaks are intense and lively, it helped that we had been on the ship before and knew where everything was. There were lots of groups on board, not just stag and hen parties, but birthdays and anniversaries as well. We even got to meet Poppy from Bolsover Cruise Club (our TA) at a get together! We had expected the formal night to be the second night, but it was the first (apparently so the photographers could take and sell more formal prints). It is nice to be able to carry on and off your bags; it makes embarkation and disembarkation much quicker. Read Less
Sail Date September 2017
We chose this review as the ship was visiting Ports we hadn't had a chance to visit. Embarkation was extremely good. I am a part time wheelchair user and help was on hand to help us onto the ship. Our cabin was spacious and the ... Read More
We chose this review as the ship was visiting Ports we hadn't had a chance to visit. Embarkation was extremely good. I am a part time wheelchair user and help was on hand to help us onto the ship. Our cabin was spacious and the wheelchair slotted under the wardrobe very neatly. The cabin was clean and the bed comfortable, we had a good deal of wardrobe space, but could have done with a few more hangers so we didn't have to double or triple up. The bathroom was adequate although the shower curtain was too short and too narrow to contain the water inside the shower, hence a few puddles. I had requested a disabled toilet and was pleased to see a higher than normal loo. The ship was very pleasant, the halls, public areas, bars and restaurants immaculate. However the basket weave furniture on the pool deck was awful with ingrained food making it too unpleasant to sit at. The furniture either needs a good scrub or replacing. Perhaps basket weave isn't such a good idea with so many people using it? We had chosen second sitting dinner and the food was delicious with at least 4 choices for each course. Our waiters were lovely, friendly and chatted, we liked that rather than just serving us food and not talking. Breakfast again had a good choice if rather small portions. I had cheese omelette which was obviously made with one egg and my husband had a kipper, well half of one side of a kipper actually. There weren't any pastries or croissants offered they had to be requested which hasn't been my experience before. The fruit juice was WATERED down!!!! P&O surely a Cruise costing well over two and a half thousand pounds deserves proper fruit juice please, it was horrible to drink. Also the milk jugs were a nuisance as the lip isn't long enough and the milk pours into the saucer and over the table!!!! The entertainment was good however the price of a soft drink was so over priced it was offputting. A Mocktail well over £5?? Come on P&O play fair. I had promised myself a massage in the Oasis Spa, one look at the exorbitant prices put me right off. I can and do get a facial, eyebrow wax etc much cheaper at my home salon than on the ship. What a shame. We have booked two more cruises in March and October 2018 so I do hope the things I have pointed out will be rectified as although they may sound insignificant to us they were important and we would be prepared to look at other cruise lines. We chose 3 tours with little walking as the wheelchair is a nuisance. Our first was to Cadiz to see Flamenco dancing, it was extremely good and we loved it. The courier was very knowledgable and after the dancing we did a tour of Cadiz. Our second tour was to Barcelona and included the Sagrada Familia which I had longed to see. I wasn't disappointed and although we didn't have time to go in I was elated to sit in the park and just drink in the beauty of the Cathedral. Our third tour was in Gibralter to see the dolphins. A very good tour and we did see dolphins, so were happy. All tours were easy walking and the couriers took great care to ensure we were all together. Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
Very good experience.We have travelled on 8 cruises previously,mostly with P&O.On this occasion we booked on an early bird deal which was slightly cheaper which warned us that we could not be certain og getting the table number we ... Read More
Very good experience.We have travelled on 8 cruises previously,mostly with P&O.On this occasion we booked on an early bird deal which was slightly cheaper which warned us that we could not be certain og getting the table number we preferred which in this case was 8.What we were allocated a table for 2 but we had been warned so this was ok.However what we did not bargain for was that any shuttle requirements which are usually free charged early birders £10 per journey which in total was substantially more than the early bird saving.The cruise was from genoa to venice to genoa on the dates provided on this site Needless to say we have never travelled onP&O again.So be warned about such devious tricks.I have subsequently travelled on Cunard which is now more expensive due to working in dollars rather than .However the ports of call were very good but trips were little expensive. Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
We have cruised before with Royal Caribbean, Carnival and Cunard. We wanted a Southampton sailing, to a warm location, to coincide with our November wedding anniversary so this cruise fitted the bill. We were travelling without our ... Read More
We have cruised before with Royal Caribbean, Carnival and Cunard. We wanted a Southampton sailing, to a warm location, to coincide with our November wedding anniversary so this cruise fitted the bill. We were travelling without our children and are pre-disposed to be optimistic and generally expect to enjoy our holidays. We’d done a lot of research and thoroughly enjoyed this cruise. We used Parking4Cruises which were great value and very efficient. Embarkation at Mayflower was smooth although facilities are pretty basic we felt. We had a 3pm embarkation time and we were called at exactly 3pm. We went straight to our cabin, where we unpacked as cases had arrived. We opted for Freedom dining and were assigned Saffron. People we met said we could use Cinnamon as well. If so, this wasn’t made clear to us officially and we aren’t sure why you would want to anyway, as the menu is identical. We shared a table of 6 or 8 each night and met interesting people. Food was of a good, if not great, quality with about 6 choices of starter, main and dessert. There was an option for salad or soup too and we usually had coffee and cheese/biscuits too. Service was never rushed, one night it took over 2.5hrs but generally the meal was served at a sensible pace and we never had to wait for our wine for long. On the formal nights, the menu included a set menu option – although we later found out you could actually swap dishes around which would have been good to know before! We only used Waterside for the odd midnight snack – usually the cheese board had been decimated by then but there were hot options – pizza, sausage roll etc. Breakfast via Room Service was included in price (all other room service items carry a charge). It was always on time, sometimes 10 mins early in fact! Food was good quality although options are more limited than in the main dining rooms and did become a little restrictive – not enough to make us get up and go out for breakfast though :-) The tables for 2 in the main dining rooms were very close together so rather than dine alone when you aren’t really alone, we chose to dine in Epicurian, Glasshouse and Beach House. The food in these was of a better quality, more tasty with friendlier, more engaged service as clearly they have more time to spare. We also did the Paired menu in Glasshouse which we enjoyed. Be sure to book early in your cruise as places are limited to about 24 people and it only seems to happen about once a week. Our other Glasshouse dinner was tapas style and we enjoyed that greatly, though tempura batter was rather soggy. The wine flights served in the Glasshouse were fun to try too. The food in Saffron would have been fine for the whole 12 nights but we enjoyed all the other venues we tried. Prices for the Select Dining we felt to be towards the top of acceptable range except for the Pairing menu which was better value, at £30 each, as it included 5 small glasses of wine. One meal that exceeded our expectations bizarrely was afternoon tea in Saffron – which we think was available most, if not all, days. Proper clotted cream, mini scones, absolutely delicious tea cakes, fresh sandwiches and lots of hot tea made this a real highlight on the days we could manage it! It did not have the queue we remember from afternoon tea on Cunard (albeit there are no white gloves on P&O) and was nicer than Carnival or Royal Caribbean. On a negative note, we were not aware free icecream/cone was available – this is something we have enjoyed on previous cruises but P&O seem of offer a premium product at an additional charge only, or keep the free icecream hidden from our, admittedly not very diligent, search! We don’t think the ship was full, and it was not overly sunny on this cruise either, although it was warm, but we did not have issue finding a sun bed mid afternoon. Another thing we really liked was the dancing lessons. It might be that we had more opportunity to attend, as we were not travelling with our children this time, but it certainly felt like there were more classes offered. Seas days had line-dancing, two sessions with the dance instructors on a new dance each day and a daily session, with two of the Headliner dancers, on Salsa. We thoroughly enjoyed every session although the Headliners seemed much happier with everyone’s progress than the dance instructors! Only issue is that the Atrium floor is rather small for the number of people who wanted to join in the lessons. Many evenings, the dance instructors also offered dancing in the Atrium where they would tell you the dance for a piece of music and sometimes accompany someone without a partner. It was fun to watch and a good opportunity, for the brave, to practice the dances you’d been taught. In general, there were more activities offered than we could attend – partially because we were at the dancing lessons, but also because there seemed to be lots on offer that we were interested in – films, talks, quizzes, art, exercise classes, deck games and on top of all that, obviously the gym, eating, shopping, watching the shows/entertainers, drinking, reading, walking all the way round the ship on Deck 7 (Fabulous!), watching the ocean and afternoon napping! The evening entertainment and shows offered were so plentiful, that we often had to make a choice and usually it was a hard decision, as everything appealed. P&O’s own theatre company, the Headliners, were all talented dancers or singers who worked hard every show to give a West End worth performance. The guest entertainers were singers, impersonators, comedians and we enjoyed them all, along with the ship’s band – Serious Sounds – and the Ventura’s Orchestra too! However, we met people who did not like the entertainment. We think this must just be personal preference, or perhaps they have cruised a lot more than we have, as we often had an early dinner in order to make two of the shows each night (8.30 and 10.30) – they were that good! As previously said, we don’t think the ship was full and we could get seats in practically all the shows if we arrived 10 mins in advance – arriving 20 mins beforehand allowed us a choice of seats. We did not use the library but it was pleasant room with a good selection of books, certainly better than some of our previous cruises. The ship provided a brief, daily news update along with a crossword/Suduko. These can be collect from Deck 6 near the shops and a silent quiz (where the answers are on the back of the sheet, so you are only competing against yourself) could be found each day on the piano in the Red Bar. Generally, we found the service to be efficient but not overly friendly. Staff seemed content and helpful but did not naturally smile as we moved around the ship. There were exceptions – the Headliners /dance instructors always smiled at us, staff in the shops were friendly and we found the staff in Tazzine quite unhelpful – possibly as they were having to work with a silly system requiring us to order coffee from a waiter/waitress but queue up to order cake! This cruise occurred outside school holidays but there were some children on board – both pre-school and those we estimated to be of school age. They caused no issues to our cruise – indeed we were rarely even aware they were on board, except in the Beach House, which is directly under the children’s club and we could hear the stamping and running of small feet above us as we dined. The Captain (Simon Terry) seemed very personable and I enjoyed his occasional tannoy briefings. The ship suffered two power failures during our cruise – once late afternoon for about 30 mins and then on another morning so only continental breakfast was available for a couple of hours. I appreciated that the Captain gave the tannoy updates – we felt it showed he took responsibility and he was clear they were trying to find the source of the problem, as they did not know what the issue was, though my husband thought he apologised too heartily – though we thought that may well be because he knows how quickly some of his passengers will complain! We had been aware the Bay of Biscay (BOB) can be very unpleasant – all our previous cruises have been blessed with calm seas (and avoided BOB) but fortunately, the Bay was calm for both our crossings this time. There was some rolling along the west coast of Spain and Portugal both ways. The Captain did indicate that the seas were expected to be a little rougher, so that if you were prone to sickness you had fair warning to take a tablet. I took Sturgeon, and my husband decided to take nothing, and we were both fine. Disembarkation was fairly smooth though there were no seats left in our designated lounge when we arrived 30 mins before the stated time. We got up at 7, finished packing, breakfasted with our hand luggage at 8 in Bay Tree (where a full breakfast service was offered), went to our designated lounge at 8.50 and started disembarkation at 9.10 finally getting off ship at 9.30. Parking4cruises had automatically been aware we were returning to a different terminal from embarkation, so once our cases had been swiftly retrieved from Ocean terminal (there were plenty of free trolleys), we walked the short distance to pick up our car from the short-term carpark. Despite lots of research we list below the things it would have been good to know: • Set menus in the main dining rooms – are not fixed. You can swap dishes for other menu options if you want. • Carpet on the stairs is brown at the front of ship, red in middle and grey at back – that really helped! • Winning a quiz or activity earns you a stamp which can then be exchanged for a gift at the end of the cruise. Our one win earned a nice pen and key ring so, in our estimation, the prizes on P&O are better than other lines have offered us. • Shampoo, conditioner and body lotions (all 100ml) weren’t replaced. Bring extra unless the higher prices, and very limited selection, in the on board shops are acceptable. • Photos taken by the ship’s photographers can be viewed on the terminals under “Portraits”. However, you do need to know where your photo taken and it might not be obvious – for example Gold 5. So be sure to ask your photographer the name of your location each time you have a photo taken. Alternatively, there is a option once you locate one picture for the system to retrieve related images – using, no doubt, some very clever facial recognition software. However, if you take this option, we found any side on photos were missed – presumably because the half faces did not bear enough resemblance to the original photo!! We also heard, but have no personal experience that: 1. The Waterside buffet restaurant got very busy, with jostling and some difficulty in finding seats. 2. The spa passes on this ship gave you access to very limited facilities, i.e. no pool and the steam room/sauna that were available to spa pass holders only, were out of service for a number of days. Certainly the lady we spoke to felt it was not worth buying spa passes on Ventura (although if the ship was full, and getting sunbeds was an issue, then the pass might be more worthwhile but certainly not for the facilities offered otherwise.) Ports: Lisbon – berthed at Santa Apolonia which was a very short walk into the main area. We took a “free” walking tour with Lisbon Chill Out Tours. It was a good, and fun, introduction to this pretty, hilly city. Tenerife – berthed in Santa Cruz port – it’s quite a walk to get out of the port (10-15 mins) but you are then in town. A shuttle was provided. We wandered taking in this pretty city, visiting Jardin Garcia Sanabria, along the lovely tree lined streets (for example Las Ramblas) finishing up with a very enjoyable visit to the Palmetum and a walk back along the seafront to the ship. We did not depart until 10pm and it was lovely to watch the lights twinkle and disappear as we sailed away. Gran Canaria – berthed right in Santa Cruz again with an easy walk to the new part of town. Did not make it far as the old town, which was perhaps a shame as the new town has little to recommend it beyond bars and shops, though it does have a nice beach if that is your thing. La Palma – took a ship excursion to drive buggies in the centre of this steep, green island. We thoroughly enjoyed it - if I found it a little nerve-wracking, my husband loved it. There was plenty of time on our return to walk into the main town which was the prettiest of all 3 Canary Islands we visited. Much was closed as it was Sunday but we still spent a very pleasant hour wandering. Madeira – possibly our favourite port as we visited 20 years ago, and it was nice to reminisce. There are lots of things to do very close to the port. We visited Blandy’s for Madeira wine tasting, followed by a visit to the Story Centre and then a walk literally down memory lane. In summary - Our research indicated the some people felt Ventura was tired and food/entertainment was poor. Clearly if you have been cruising for a long time, things may well be getting worse but from our fairly new point of view, this was a wonderful, memorable holiday. We would certainly sail with P&O again.....though I suspect we will try another new line next time – it seems to be our theme! Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
This 12 night cruise is our longest to date. We normally head to Lanzarote for a week in December for a land based holiday but decided to take a cruise to see some of the other islands this time and also to enjoy the 6 sea days. ... Read More
This 12 night cruise is our longest to date. We normally head to Lanzarote for a week in December for a land based holiday but decided to take a cruise to see some of the other islands this time and also to enjoy the 6 sea days. Embarkation at Southampton Excellent service and within 45 minutes we were in our cabin and the luggage was already there. Cabin B749 is an aft balcony cabin on the end of the row so it has the wrap around balcony which is approx 10' square with ample room for chairs and tables. I loved having the wake to listen to. There is more noise when arriving and departing with the thrusters going, but this was not really of detriment to us. If you have one of the other aft cabins on B deck, other the far end opposite to us, you pretty much can only look straight out to sea without sticking your head right out over the rail. Our steward was Grace who is a lovely girl and looked after us well. Food We prefer to eat in the MDR for most of our meals and we found it to be to the previously good standards we've had on board. We also ate in Sindu, Epicurean, Glass House and Beach House and equally enjoyed those an the more attentive service and excellent choices. Service in MDR overall was also very good. Entertainment We really enjoyed all of the Headliners Shows and appreciate the dedication and hard work thy put in to the shows. Destination Dance was particularly good. We enjoyed Jenny Wiliams, crossover vocalist (classical / musical / pop) and also Paul Hughes (Buble / Sinatra / Darren). Roy Walker, comedian, was on board and gave two good entertainig and humorous shows. Tom Binns (hospital radio show) also gave two good shows, although the humour may offend some, but there was a warning in Horizon to be fair. We laughed along though. Ports of Call / Excursions Favourite was Madeira - I did my own thing and hubby went on the 4x4 tour which he thought was great. We then met up at the cable car and ascended to enjoy the great views. Definitely one place to head back to for a longer stay Tenerife - we did the flavours and history tour which was OK, but a bit disappointed as it was only about 9km from the port to the town of La Laguna and whilst we had a guide, you could get there yourself by taxi quite easily. We ended up at the opera house and some appetisers and drink which were very good and the hosts very welcoming. We did not get to go inside the venue, but had access to the external balcony Gran Canaria - we stayed in the port town of and ventured over for a walk along the beach which was very good - flat, promenade, plenty of bars etc. Buildings are all along it and not the most attractive though being 60s style. La Palma - lovely island and really interesting to visit the national park and head up to the caldera which was incredible - this was on the heart of la palma excursion Lisbon - been before so enjoyed a casual stroll around the narrow streets and enjoyed coffee an custard tart Ship Facilities / Activitis The ship is showing signs of wear and tear in places with worn carpet edges in places and chairs looking a bit grubby, so the refit in March will give it a needed lift, but overall the appearance is still very good, clean and attractive. I participated in the Ventura Vocalists having 6 sea day rehearsals and a performance to conclude with in the atrium which was well supported by the other passengers. This was great fun to be part of and was run by Jayson and Eiophe from the Headliners. The music director on board played piano, although to me he seemed very disengaged from the group and seemed to be just going through the motions both at rehearsals and performance, never once giving us a word of encouragement. Spa We had treatments as part of the 180 package we'd previously purchased and these were very good. Lily, assistant spa manager runs a very efficient spa and was very good with clients and showing us around the facilities. Captain Simon Terry was a very pleasant man and kept us updated regularly as to weather and anything of note as we went from port to port. There is plenty to do for most people on board if you choose to do them. Some people do complain but I think it is a case of what you make of it and we certainly enjoyed and appreciated what was on offer. It was lovely to have the chance to relax on board, although the weather on the sea days could have been better. There were children around, but they were all lovely and it was great to see them dressed up on the formal nights. Lots of people with mobility issues using wheelchairs and scooters and I have to say how much I admire their courage and determination to get on with things as at times access in the ports must be difficult. Also to the carer who assisted them - a great thing you are doing. We actually stayed on board for the next cruise N730 which was a 3 nighter to Bruges - a different experience entirely for which I shall write separate review! Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
Where to start! I was the lead passenger for a group of 10 travellers. All had sailed with P&O before, however, it was the general consensus of opinion from the group that on this trip standards have dropped. Although the general ... Read More
Where to start! I was the lead passenger for a group of 10 travellers. All had sailed with P&O before, however, it was the general consensus of opinion from the group that on this trip standards have dropped. Although the general condition of the ship was acceptable, it was evident that the ship had seen better days. Some of the carpeting in the public areas shows signs of wear and tear, being thread bear on a number of stairs. The wall covering in some of the corridors was heavily damaged with luggage scuff marks. Most days we had breakfast and lunch in the Waterside Buffet Restaurant, where we found the food choice to be of good quality and plentiful. Because this is a popular restaurant, on occasions there was a short wait for stocks to be replenished. Many of the chairs in this restaurant could have benefited from a good clean, as there was ingrained staining on the plastic covering. Guests are asked to self sanitise their hands to prevent the spread of germs and bugs, however, if the chairs aren't kept clean surely more germs and bugs are encountered. We opted for freedom dining in the Saffron Restaurant. The menu selection in this restaurant, although good, appeared to be less than we had seen on previous P&O menus, even the bread roll selection was limited. One of our party has a gluten free diet requirement which P&O were made aware of and frequently waited more than 30 minutes for their roll to be brought to the table. Being a large party we thought 2 hours would be sufficient time for the meal. On more than one occasion it was an hour to get to the main course. It seems the larger the party the longer it takes to be served. It was noticed that smaller groups of fellow travelers arriving in the restaurant after us, completed their meal and left before we got to the desert course. One evening we found it necessary to leave the restaurant before coffee to enable us to watch a show. P&O please serve people in a timely manner. Its nice to have a drink, that is if you can get one. Something appears to be clearly going wrong with the system for obtaining an a drink, both in the bars and the restaurants. Our group met each evening in a bar for a pre dinner drink, several waiters in the bar and no other customers. Okay so far. You are then subjected to the same service as a previous cruiser reviewed. I should add, we only ever ordered 2 drinks at a time. You cannot order your drink at the bar. A waiter takes your order, after you attract their attention. The waiter then returns to the bar to have the drink(s) made. 10 to 15 minutes later, your drinks arrive. A few minutes later the waiter returns for you to sign for the drinks and return your cruise card. On one occasion we waited 25 minutes just for the drinks to be made. On one occasion we found several waiters standing chatting for several minutes while we waited to order drinks. The cabin stewardess provided a superb service, keeping the cabin clean and tidy and replenishing supplies. The entertainment in the Arena show room was first class. A special mention needs to go to the Headliners, whose shows were to West End standard. Cruising with friends on P&O ships is great fun, but these minor irritations took the edge off it this time. Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
Cruise review - P&O Ventura 10th - 13th November 2017 Part One The Ventura if you haven’t been on it, is a ‘Grand Class’ ship and as such is pretty much identical in layout as The Azura and many of the Princess ships such ... Read More
Cruise review - P&O Ventura 10th - 13th November 2017 Part One The Ventura if you haven’t been on it, is a ‘Grand Class’ ship and as such is pretty much identical in layout as The Azura and many of the Princess ships such as The Grand, Emerald, Crown and Caribbean. Right, that’s the educational part of this review over...let’s get cracking with the nonsense. We were asked to go on this cruise to act as carers for our good friends, from Colchester...can’t say the names because one of them was supposed to be at work. For this reason, they shall be known as Betty and Barney. So, a relaxing three day cruise to look forward and we decided to make it a bit longer by going down to Southampton the night earlier and stayed at the Ageus Hilton, which is at Hampshire County Cricket Clubs ground. Very nice it is too. Being only three years old, the hotel is in excellent condition and certainly didn’t fall short of the standards that you would expect at a ‘proper’ Hilton Hotel. Dinner in ‘Beefy’s’ which is a very nice restaurant inspired ex England and Somerset cricketer, Ian Botham...some say ex Northants player Peter Willy would have been a better choice but that’s for you to decide. After a good nights sleep and we headed into Southampton the next morning and having some time to kill, we headed to the West Quay shopping centre (which is a bit like Bluewater on valium) Plenty of shops though, just like we have back in the civilised part of the country but ‘Next’, which is a clothes shop in Lakeside, is actually a funeral parlour in Southampton...who knew?!? A cheeky Costa then it’s time to head towards the port to get the ship. We knew a few P&O Cruise Fans would be on board, including the Litherlands from beyond the wall (Wildlings to you and me) Zoe and Carl who said they were going to be on the ship but I think they literally got on just to get their P&O Cruise Fans hoodies then jumped off again...can’t think of any other reason people would avoid me for three days! (it’s not like they’re family!) After 17 cruises we finally got our first upgrade!...we had booked an inside cabin on deck 15 but ended up with an outside stateroom somewhere in the basement but it was nice to have a window (especially with the waves lapping at it on the way back!) We met up with the Rubbles and the inevitable drinks started to flow, we commandeered the chaises long outside the Glass House and settled in for a session, Betty and Barney hit it hard and for octogenarians it was a pretty impressive sight! Leslieann, fresh from her memories of the first day on the Crown Princess in August with Betty and Barney restrained herself which meant she was awake for dinner a few hours later.... To be continued, I’m a bit tired and want some dinner... Cruise review - P&O Ventura 10th - 13th November 2017 Part Two Did I mention we got an upgrade?... Anyway, it's as if P&O had been monitoring my Facebook posts because our new cabin, was literally yards from the Costa coffee shop on deck 5! That was very handy and having never had a cabin that low on a ship before, I think I liked it, useful for the atrium, reception and prom decks etc - also far enough away from the buffet to make it good news for the FitBit steps quota! Dinner the first night was in the MDR, service was good, food was good and it was a pleasant experience. From there we sampled the casino which is much smaller on the Ventura than we are used to. After a quick dabble on the roulette table, Betty and Barney said they are too tired off to bed (10.30pm) Where these kids get their stamina from is anyone's guess! Day two was a sea day, which is completely unnecessary on a short trip to Zeebruge, we ended up going back and forth along the channel trying to kill time, in fact 24 hours after leaving Southampton, we were off the coast of Eastbourne! I'm trying to remember what we did on day two!...nothing memorable apparently...oh that's right, we went to the cinema, in the theatre which was showing a badly out of focus version of the new Planet of the Apes film, set somewhere in America where it is always snowing...fair play to P&O for making it a realistic experience by turning the aircon down to minus 30 degrees...then moaning when I start a small BBQ to try to defrost my decaf medium latte. The whole idea of going on this cruise was to celebrate Barney's 40th Birthday so we booked a table in Sindu (East) for some of Atul's finest food. We weren't disappointed, the food was excellent, as was the service, I went for a chicken curry thing as a starter then the chicken curry thing as a main, both tasted a bit chickeny to me, I'm wondering if they are starting to cut kormas in the kitchen? So we've just had our main courses and ordered desserts when the waiter appears out of nowhere with a massive cake and puts it down in front of me...without really looking, I point to Barney and say 'I think that's meant for birthday boy' It's then pointed out that the cake is actually for me and is a direct response from P&O Cruises for a post I had put on their Facebook wall regarding the new rules coming out in January! - I had asked if my dragon would still be allowed on the ship and was told that he would, as long as he only brings one bottle of booze with him. What great customer service from P&O!...this wasn't the first time they had responded onboard to comments made on Facebook!...I felt a bit bad about upstaging Barney who also had a small cake presented to him but it had been broken when he unknowingly dropped it on the floor in a carrier bag in the Red Bar beforehand! Dinner over, we talk about going to see a show but the old folks say they are too stuffed and tired and they are going to bed...9.45pm! To be continued...I have work to do! Cruise review - P&O Ventura 10th - 13th November 2017 Part Three Third and final part of the trilogy... After 38 hours at sea, we finally made our destination...in roughly the same time that The Pride of France ferry had made the journey 18 times from Dover! Anyway, a day in Bruge was our much awaited destination so Leslieann, me and the narcoleptics got a taxi into the heart of medieval cit. This cost about 50 euros each way and is a stress free way of doing it. The rain was falling as we got there so a quick stop in one of the many restaurants/cafes in the square for a coffee and a bite to eat (don't forget, it had been over 30 minutes since breakfast on the ship) I live about 20 minutes from Maidstone but worked out that I have actually been shopping in Bruge more times than I had there! Being a Sunday, not a lot was open, we were two weeks too early for the Christmas Market so it was a disappointment to miss out on that disgusting German creation, Gluvine. We wandered around in the rain perhaps regretting not asking the taxi driver to come back earlier than the 3.00pm time slot we had scheduled. So to kill time we popped into another eatery for a snack 9 euros for a plate of chips was the reward. We still had 45 minutes to kill when we left there so another wander down a closed high street and we spotted the taxi we had booked parked up, a full 20 minutes before time! - Never been happier to see a Belgian! Back to the port gates then, and onto a shuttle bus for the 200 yard journey to the ship! seriously! Heavy winds meant the sailing was delayed by about 45 minutes with the captain then announcing that with the forecast 70 knot winds, he couldn't guarantee to keep the ship upright! - maybe he could have worded that better?!? We met up with the Lagerlouts, sorry, Litherlands in the Glass House (or was that the day before?) (No it was Sunday, I remember now) It's interesting when you meet foreigners and listen to their funny accents. It turns out Sue Lagerlout is a bouncer at Mothercare in Warrington, Mike Lagerlout trains undercover goldfish for the Manchester Police and Rubella Lagerlout runs a protection racket in Oldham...who knew? Anyway...dinner was good, Barney didn't fall asleep in the sweetcorn this time but he was close to nodding off in the prawn cocktail. Dinner done, we thought we'd catch a show or go to the casino but the pint of lager had really done Barney in so he and Betty headed for bed, understandable really, given the hour we were getting back, in real time it was almost a quarter to nine... Leslieann Osborn and I did manage to catch a show at last!...we went to see Showmaddymaddy in the Cuban themed lounge at the back end of the ship...I'm not sure if these were the same guys who did the Badness show earlier in the cruise? My thoughts on the Ventura?...I like it, it's the same layout as the Azura but is looking a bit tired now, everything was good though, staff were friendly, service was pretty good and overall it was a good cruise. Tune in next month when I try 4 nights on the CMV Columbus from Tilbury! Read Less
Sail Date November 2017
This was my first cruise. My first impression was, this needs a uplifte looks tired. Few staff were sarcastic and belittling. I was not impressed like me don’t eat meat, choice offered was not interesting, found mashed potatoes we beaten ... Read More
This was my first cruise. My first impression was, this needs a uplifte looks tired. Few staff were sarcastic and belittling. I was not impressed like me don’t eat meat, choice offered was not interesting, found mashed potatoes we beaten so bad they all became like liquid, and so called wedges were always hard, they do t know how to make custard was always lumpy. Sweets or pudding, were not worth having.As for self service, was like a free for all and food kept running out and had to ask to be re filled, staff had lay back attitude in this restaurant, and too many people were picking food up and putting them down.. Lifts could do with more labelling, along with direction where to go... would be nice to have a little direction of where shops are . You had to pay £4 ew per person ew on shuttle bus. I felt cold in bars, the shows were quite good. bedrooms were very clean, and most places were clean. I did get annoyed the way staff just constantly kept coming up asking you to fill your glass, just as you get to bottom, and when you said no I’m fine, then next one comes and ask same question. I thought they put a mat down to show you did not want a drink. Must say get in on and off was very efficient. I’m only say saying what I feel for my first experience. I felt if we had had third person in cabin we would on top of each other . Read Less
Sail Date November 2017
We picked the cruise because we had only been to 1 of the ports of call. Although we had visited Lisbon numerous times before it is a city that we like a lot so that was ok. We also visited Valencia, Alicante, Gibraltar and Cadiz - ... Read More
We picked the cruise because we had only been to 1 of the ports of call. Although we had visited Lisbon numerous times before it is a city that we like a lot so that was ok. We also visited Valencia, Alicante, Gibraltar and Cadiz - Alicante was supposed to be Cartegena but P&O seemed somewhat surprised that a marathon was being run there and so most of the town was closed down! We were livid about this, we really wanted to visit Cartegena and they must surely have known up front, if not somebody needs a demotion. We had heard that Ventura is getting abit tired - sure there are signs that she has been at sea for nearly 10 years now but it's nothing to be put off by. They were replacing carpets with nice new fluffy ones on some of the stair ways, it was done with the minimum of disruption. The wetaher was most excellent apart from a nasty storm we hit just south of Bilbao, that made me sea sick and I missed the only night they served lobster on board - most annoying but nobody's fault. Now we come to the food - it is in this area that you can see cutbacks particularly if you don't like fish. The choice is much less than it used to be, the servings of vegetables are tiny, the always available options of steak and chicken never change - they could offer different sauces but all you get is bearnaise with the steak, the chicken is always cooked exactly the same way and with no choice. There were too many fish dishes and not enough imagination. The dishes sounded good on the menu but were often a bit bland and missing the wow factor they used to have. The food in Waterside was ok but it's such a bun fight that we did not enjoy eating up there. The food in the main dining rooms was variable in quality, one night they served lamb leg steaks, I have brought it home to repair my work boots with, I expect it to last a few years as it is tough stuff :-) We went for freedom dining, which threw up a strange dislike - every night the conversation was the same and very boring. There seem to be so many people that just can't wait to tell you how many cruises they have been on and how big their houses are. It seemed to happen most nights and every attempt to talk about something else was just brought back to the same old topics by somebody on the table. Surely there are other things to talk about? I think it is some sort of snobbery, I have experienced it before but never to this extent. It's not P&O's fault in any way, just thought I would mention it. We would probably have swapped to fixed dining if we could as tables for 2 are rather scarce and even if you do get a table for 2 there will be someone on the next table that can't wait to tell you that their next cruise is already booked despite Bert's lumbago and the fact it's going to take 12 people 10 days to paint the back wall in their massive kitchen. Overall the cruise was very good, the entertainment was excellent apart from a couple of people that had been described as comedians being about as funny as a ruptured spleen. The cabin was always clean and tidy thanks to Sheldon , who was simply brilliant. Overall it was excellent value for money - the trip to the top of the rock of Gibralter was the highlight of the holiday. We will go again but next time I will take ear plugs. And sea sickness pills. Read Less
Sail Date November 2017
Having loved last years Cruise so much (our first) we decided to go again this year. Its a lovely ship but interestingly its surprising how much more critical one becomes second time round. Having said that our rating is still "Very ... Read More
Having loved last years Cruise so much (our first) we decided to go again this year. Its a lovely ship but interestingly its surprising how much more critical one becomes second time round. Having said that our rating is still "Very Good". At embarkation I already knew things would be different. A fellow passenger sitting beside us ripped open his prepacked sandwich with his teeth, guzzled it down and scattered crumbs everywhere. It set me wondering if this was the sort of pleasantries in store for us on the voyage to come. Boarding was a breeze and finding the Cabin was as difficult as ever (that never changed during our entire trip). The room was clean but the carpet looked shabby in areas. Otherwise no complaints. The room steward was fantastic and I should mention at this point that all the staff we had dealings with were excellent too. The Norovirus warning letter that we were presented with at the beginning of the cruise did raise some alarm bells and the subsequent letter confirming an outbreak of Norovirus during the Cruise was a worry. Thankfully we didn't succumb but looking at the unhygienic behaviors of passengers in the Buffet its not unsurprising there was an outbreak. Apart from people coughing and sneezing as the walked around the food areas (already mentioned in another Ventura review) I actually saw several passengers nip in through the central exit of the Buffet in order to avoid the hand washing. One elderly gentleman strode around picking buns and croissants without using the tongs, piled them up on his chest and strode out again. In order to avoid the above we used fine dining every night and sat with 4 lovely individuals with impeccable manners. I would recommend this choice to anyone as the food was generally excellent and you can avoid for the best part the unpleasantries of the Buffet. I know you need to dress up particularly on the formal nights but its great fun. Sadly on this trip some formal nights were missed out and the casual dress code did lead to some shocking sights (never with the ladies I hasten to add). For example as we left the Bay Tree one evening I walked behind a fellow diner. His shirt was a mess of wrinkles and hanging outside his trousers. Luckily the tail wasnt autographed. His trousers were about 9 inches too long and hung over a tatty pair of shoes. He reminded me of a farmer on his way to assist a pig farrowing rather than a fellow passenger just leaving fine dining. Conversation at our table was often hilarious usually reflecting on some of the "sights " we had seen on the ship the detail of which I wont go into but if you were there you will know what I mean. There was one incident where two of our companions had chosen the Buffet for dinner only to tell us "never again". They recounted trying to strike up a conversation with shall we say a "rather large" gentleman at their table. His response was "sorry no time to chat, i'm eating". They said that if he had a garden shovel as opposed to a knife and fork he would have used it. Sadly you will see this all too often in the Buffet areas an although you may have to endure it for breakfast I would suggest you head for the fine dining every evening and of course the Saffron for lunch. My final bugbear is that I do wish some people would bring a bar of soap with them or at least use the shower gel and toiletries provided. On a cruise I shower at least twice a day. This is not for all I guess but I did encounter several people in the lifts and other confined spaces that had not made the acquaintance of a bar of soap for some months or years even. Several times I had to hold my breath and make a hasty exit. This wasnt confined to the lifts in fact queuing for dinner at the Bay Tree some nights was equally unpleasant. What was good. Well the Ventura is a lovely ship. It has plenty of venues and you can tour around to your hearts content. The food at times was fantastic particularly when you consider how reasonably priced the Cruise is. Entertainment, well my Wife loved it so I am not going to say much more this. I dutifully went along to each show and endured o the offerings. Performance wise everything seemed a little more slick and polished than last year and I actually enjoyed some of it. The guest speaker was particularly enjoyable with his take on those high profile murder cases. We met lots of really nice people which is a great thing about cruising. I am forever indebted to the lady who who told me how handsome she thought I was much to my Wifes chagrin. Thats a first for me, perhaps she needed glasses. The ports of call were "same old same old" but the walks were always worth it and a pleasant and healthy change from being on board. Its funny but you can always differentiate passengers from locals whilst walking around town. The locals are the fit and healthy looking ones and passengers tend to be as round as they are tall and wobble along the cobble streets in their droves. I am surprised no one has mentioned the storm in the Bay of Biscay in more detail. There were several injuries on board and we did see one elderly gentleman lying prostrate on the Buffet floor with staff in attendance. I did hear that passengers at the head of the table during the second sitting were showered with everyone else cutlery dinner plates and wine glasses as the ship listed whilst turning into he wind. We did not hear any warning that this manouvre was about to be undertaken so as we left our cabin we were flung towards our neighbors door opposite. They had opened theirs to see what was going on and we almost ended up in their cabin. There was a tannoy broadcast apparently but it was not audible in our cabin. Rather shocking really. So would we go again. Absolutely. Pound for pound these Cruises are absolute bargains. They are mostly stress free and the standard of service is excellent. Has the standard dropped...Well absolutely even in terms of what I can see. Some reviews are now referring to "the Butlins mob". Its a bit like Air travel which was only for the privileged before the budget carriers came along. The only thing I would say here is that people should not be so keen to let the side down. Invest in a Tuxedo and bar of soap and try and be on your best manners. Read Less
Sail Date December 2017
A lot has been said about the 9th December cruise, the listing that terrified people was just that, terrifying. I think the deck could have told us not to worry much sooner. The cost of excursions is a joke, some walking tours were in ... Read More
A lot has been said about the 9th December cruise, the listing that terrified people was just that, terrifying. I think the deck could have told us not to worry much sooner. The cost of excursions is a joke, some walking tours were in excess of £30. They were well supported though. They took money off lots of people for a highlights DVD & never produced it. Not even sure we got a refund. Meet the captain, looked forward to it but he was 20 minutes late & we had to go for food & missed it. Smoking on all outside decks on starboard side is incredible, think about it, half the cruise the only sun is on the starboard side, try and get some & get kippered. One deck, highest obviously, would be enough. I hate formal nights (My wife loves them) Booked a balcony, complete waste of money on a winter cruise. Sounds like I hated it eh? Well I had a pretty good time, liked the food & entertainment, drink a little expensive. Jason & Eifa did a great job with the choir, headliners theatre company were good. The girls, Teresa, Faye & Joana were great in Waterside late night snacks. We booked again not long after we came back for Azura to Barbados in October. After we booked we got an offer from P&O giving us extra spend if we booked another cruise. That offer came too late. Canin C622, perfectly adequate. Read Less
Sail Date December 2017
Sailed from Southampton and on board for lunch in the Waterside buffet. We chose Freeedom dining, which gave us the opportunity to mix with different people each evening, so never a dull moment. The next day (at sea) proved to be really ... Read More
Sailed from Southampton and on board for lunch in the Waterside buffet. We chose Freeedom dining, which gave us the opportunity to mix with different people each evening, so never a dull moment. The next day (at sea) proved to be really rocky and by the evening we were experiencing high winds. Unfortunately, we missed out on Ibiza. The entertainment by the Headliners was first class. Before dinner most evenings, we took part in a quiz either in the Red Bar or the Exchange. On the 6 sea days, I attended the Ventura choir practice which resulted in a performance in the Atrium on the last evening. My husband attended the free art classes. The entertainment was provided by Ben Makisi,Lloyd (singer), Lloyd Davis (comedian), Peter Howarth (Hollies), Jeff Stevenson (comedian) and Helen Ward-Jackson. The day time speaker on past murders was not to our liking! Wish P & O would book something more suitable! The ports visited were:- Lisbon, (took a taxi to the Jesus Christ Statue over the River Tagus), Cadiz - walked along to the old fort of Castle of San Sebastian), Valencia - shuttle to main area and indoor market, Cartegena - boat trip around the harbour, Gibraltar and finally Vigo (unscheduled stop due to medical emergency). There was a chocoholics afternoon tea in the Bay Tree Restaurant one afternoon which was well received by all. We had dinner at the Beach House one evening, £7.50 cover cover but well worth it. The Headliners performed Jingle Bell Rock, which was their first ever performance. There was also a festive radio style pantomime. We also played numerous deck quoit competitions. The cruise was thoroughly enjoyable despite the rocky seas! Disembarkation was easy after breakfast in the main restaurant. Read Less
Sail Date December 2017
We love the Caribbean in Jan/ Feb to escape the UK winter. Ventura was late arriving in Southampton due to bad weather, thank goodness we weren’t on that cruise! P&O gave us all £15pp extra onboard spend to cover lunch on the way ... Read More
We love the Caribbean in Jan/ Feb to escape the UK winter. Ventura was late arriving in Southampton due to bad weather, thank goodness we weren’t on that cruise! P&O gave us all £15pp extra onboard spend to cover lunch on the way as we were advised to arrive later in the day to allow disembarkation. There was free tea and coffee at the terminal and we didn’t wait too long to be transferred to the ship. The sea was choppy for the first 2days at sea but soon improved ( or maybe we just found our sea legs quickly). Madeira was nice and sunny. Went to the gym on sea days to offset the extra food and actually rather enjoyed it! There was always something going on on board but same list most days. The talks are usually interesting. Did lots of sunbathing and actually used our sun beds for hours. We saw loads of beds though which were reserved for hours with no one on them. P &O need to take the bull by the horns and sort out this problem which causes so much anger. The entertainment was mostly good and especially ‘The Runaround Kids’ who got a standing ovation both nights. Metropolis was a nice place in the evenings and much quieter than other venues where the microphones were a bit too loud. Havana is the most ridiculous design and needs a complete overhaul. The half walls are too high, there are posts where they obstruct too much of the view and what on earth the two high tables are for at the front I can’t imagine. We didn’t come on holiday to have to watch acts on the tv screen! The staff were great as usual and cabin stewards very friendly. We had a few problems this cruise with excessive noise in cabin late at night (don’t book around inside cabin R717 ) and after being moved we had a water leak. We were unlucky because this was our 18th cruise with P&O and our first problematic one. The islands were great as normal and the people who moaned about the port of Guadeloupe should have done their research and travelled outside the port area. We had a lovely trip there to the beach and the nicest swimming conditions ever. All in all another successful cruise. Read Less
Sail Date January 2018
This was our third year running on this cruise to the Caribbean from Southampton and return, on Ventura. This time, departure was two weeks earlier than the two previous years and this seemed to have a considerable effect on the weather, ... Read More
This was our third year running on this cruise to the Caribbean from Southampton and return, on Ventura. This time, departure was two weeks earlier than the two previous years and this seemed to have a considerable effect on the weather, which was windier and wetter, even in the Caribbean, than previous voyages. Generally, the ship was in good condition, given the imminent refit (March) which is desperately needed. The crew work tirelessly to do what they can with failing technical issues, and maintain very good standards of attentiveness and service to their customers. Failing technical issues included automatic doors which no loner work, power failures, problems with rudder response and what seemed to us to be some very peculiar motion - an odd 'shimmy' which was especially noticeable on higher decks aft. This seemed to improve after an extended stay in Antigua to effect rudder repairs. On the way home, however, there was a period of some six or seven minutes during which the ship had a quite alarming six degree list to port. There was a strong wind onto the starboard side at the time, but it seemed that the usual automated stabiliser and/or ballast transfer corrective actions did not kick in. There was also an engine problem during the voyage home, though we did arrive in time. There were two late itinerary changes - an earlier than expected arrival in Antigua in the evening rather than morning, and an overnight to follow, due to the need to repair the rudders, and an inability to call in at Grenada due to strong winds, resulting in an evening arrival in Barbados rather than the following morning. Having said that staff were excellent, there were two major niggles, both with reception. First when the terrace bar closed at ten thirty instead of the advertised time of eleven thirty, and crew started hosing the aft terrace deck down at that time, we complained and were given a total cock and bull story that 'there hadn't been a quiz in the waterside buffet that was why the bar closed'. There had never on any occasion been a late evening quiz in the waterside but this disinformation came from the bar manager, who had clearly confused the terrace bar with the beachcomber bar. No explanation at all was offered as to who had ordered the deck crew to start hosing down the deck so early when customers were still using the space. The second niggle was that when my wife asked reception to find out what the odd six degree list had been, reception assured her they would ask the bridge and leave a message on our phone with the response. No message was ever left. One final niggle concerned the quality of berths in port. At two locations, the ship berthed with the stern immediately adjacent to unloading container vessels, with resulting noise, smell of diesel exhaust smoke, disturbance and unpleasant aspect. This seemed almost as though P&O were unwilling to pay for the better and more convenient berths that other lines used, but even if not the case, given that in each case the ship had to turn when leaving, it would have been far preferable to turn first and berth bow to container vessel rather than stern since there are no balconies, suites and open decks immediately adjacent to the bow and noise etc would therefore have been minimised. Generally, however, an excellent cruise with some very good friendships renewed, or made, including Amanda, Paul and Louisa and Jan and Dave. Food was, we felt, back to the standards of two years ago after a noticeable drop in quality in 2017. Read Less
Sail Date January 2018
Because we wanted to try cruising, we usually have seven weeks in Key Largo, we decided we needed a change. Because we wanted some sun a Caribbean cruise seemed a good option. Also the ship left and returned to Southampton. The cabin, ... Read More
Because we wanted to try cruising, we usually have seven weeks in Key Largo, we decided we needed a change. Because we wanted some sun a Caribbean cruise seemed a good option. Also the ship left and returned to Southampton. The cabin, food and entertainment suited us fine. I attended art classes every sea day, they were brilliant. As we were first time cruisers I was scared of missing boat and so we booked P and O trips in all the Caribbean Islands, New Orleans and Charleston. Apart from the kayaking and snorkleing in Antigua which was marvellous, the Dunnes Falls etc. In Jamacia and the Tea Plantatin visit (me) and Patriots Point (husband ) in Charleston the trips in Barbados and New Orleans were the biggest waste of time and money I've ever spent. The people who organise these trips for P and O need to get out and do them themselves before they charge the exorbitant prices they do. In New Orleans we booked ourselves onto a Mississippi Riverboat trip for $40 for two, P and O charged over $60 per person for exactly the same trip. This is a rip off and they should be ashamed. P and O also need to get into a discussion with US immigration and refuse to use American ports until they streamline the exit process for 4000 passengers and crew. It took us from docking and collecting our exit ticket at 7:15am until 12:45pm to leave the ship and it took other passengers a great deal longer. Therefore a day wasted. Take away the income these ships bring in and it will soon be sorted. Put a woman in charge!! Read Less
Sail Date February 2018
There were several negative reviews of Ventura and P&0 in general before we stepped onboard. We booked end of the summer 2017,we wanted a winter cruise visiting some places we had not been before. Picked our cabin, balcony on A deck, ... Read More
There were several negative reviews of Ventura and P&0 in general before we stepped onboard. We booked end of the summer 2017,we wanted a winter cruise visiting some places we had not been before. Picked our cabin, balcony on A deck, received good onboard spend and free coach to and from Southampton. Because of the hurricane a couple of Caribbean islands were changed, but that could not be helped. Coach trip was fine, comfortable Ellison bus. We were quickly onboard, cases arrived and unpacked before muster! Cabin was clean and comfortable, well looked after by our cabin girl. My OH found the bed uncomfortable, happened to mention this to the hotel manager, within half an hour we had new mattress and a follow up phone call asking how the bed was. Then we came back from dinner to find a floral arrangement compliments of the deck manager for our inconvenience. Ate in Cinnamon restaurant on a freedom basis. Shared tables, but found if we went around 7.30pm the guests who queued for the restaurant opening at 6pm, were coming out and we often got a table for 2. Sometimes we had a bleeper,never had to wait long. Food was good, lots of choice, always got offered cheese and biscuits. Plates were hot. Waiters pleasant, remembered you even though you were not at their tables every night. Went 3 times to Beach House, and twice to Sindhu. All fantastic meals. Only went to buffet for occasional breakfasts and lunches, again food good, but could not be doing with the ‘scrum’. You had to pick your time. Used Costa for breakfasts, yogurt and fresh fruit. Entertainment is subjective, for our taste, we found it good. A range of excellent musicians,comedians, Headliner shows,and singers. If you are into quizzes and bingo, plenty to keep you entertained. We enjoyed interesting lectures, some good and nots so good films. We booked most of our shore excursions through P&O before we sailed. Very pleased that we did because a lot of excursions were waiting list only or sold out. Enjoyed them all. Especially Barbados, we had an excellent guide. Emigrated in New Orleans which took quite a while. We were lucky and had picked a morning excursion, we were only an hour and a half late, some passengers did not get off the ship until 4pm! Not so good points. There was a huge storm in the Atlantic which the captain quite rightly decided to avoid, this meant that we had 10 straight sea days back to Southampton. Missing out the Azores. Also a medical emergency. All praise to the crew on both the ship and Spanish helicopter who safely airlifted the passenger. The Havana lounge is a dreadful venue. Christened the ‘meerkat ‘ lounge ! Ventura is at this moment undergoing a refurbishment. It certainly was not as scruffy as portrayed in some reviews. Drinks are still reasonable with no service charge added. All the shops are being changed with Harding Bros. no longer have the franchise. Staff without exception are pleasant and helpful. P&O still have a good product, cruising has changed in the last few years, not for the better if you listen to the long time cruisers. Even though we have cruised with several other companies we still come back to P&O. Thank Read Less
Sail Date February 2018
A cruise chosen because of the itinerary (including New Orleans, Tortola and Amber Cove) but which was a little disappointing when Tortola and Amber Cove were changed to Antigua and Ocho Rios after Hurricane Irma. The ship itself was OK if ... Read More
A cruise chosen because of the itinerary (including New Orleans, Tortola and Amber Cove) but which was a little disappointing when Tortola and Amber Cove were changed to Antigua and Ocho Rios after Hurricane Irma. The ship itself was OK if not a little tired, it has gone in for a refit now. Have never heard so much moaning among fellow passengers about nearly everything. Food in main restaurants was pretty bland and nearly all overcooked. If you liked French beans you'd be OK because they were served with just about every meal!! However, the food in the specialty restaurants being Epicurean, Sindhu and the Glass House was superb and worth the extra money. They should give the waiting staff in the main restaurants lessons in the art of conversation (we are used to having conversations with the staff on Princess and building relationships but this was non existent on Ventura). Entertainment was excellent but I wish Spa staff would stop the hard sell tactics after a massage or gym class. We don't go on holiday to be at the receiving end of this kind of high pressure selling!! Read Less
Sail Date February 2018
Having only ever cruised with Disney we weren’t sure what standard to expect but we were pleasantly surprised. The cruise was for my fathers 80th birthday and we had a party of 7 including 2 children aged 15 and 12. The ship has ... Read More
Having only ever cruised with Disney we weren’t sure what standard to expect but we were pleasantly surprised. The cruise was for my fathers 80th birthday and we had a party of 7 including 2 children aged 15 and 12. The ship has recently had a refit of the public areas to include new carpets throughout. Everywhere was immaculately clean. We were particularly impressed with The Arena which is a great venue with comfortable seating. We felt this should be used more preferably for the showing of movies which were shown in the bars which had inadequate screens and seating. The Costa Coffee Lounge was great, always busy but great service and a nice place to relax with a good coffee. We opted for freedom dining which worked perfectly and we did not experience any waiting for tables as suggested by other reviews. Staff were attentive, polite and immaculately presented. We all remarked how clean and smart the staff were throughout the ship. The menus were varied and service was efficient. The food was good overall, well presented and tasty. We had afternoon tea in the Epicurian which was superb and worth the premium. We also had dinner in the Epicurian and Sindhu which both have excellent service and tasteful decor. Excellent staff and a few nice touches made it extra special and worth a visit. We used the gym and spa facilities which were both excellent. Our children loved the ship and both enjoyed the kids clubs. We found the 9 to 12 kids Club sign in/sign out restrictions tricky to manage as the children are unable to contact you if they want to leave the club and consequently we had to take frequent trips up to top deck checking that they wanted to stay or leave. Disney have a gps bracelet where children of that age can sign in and out independently which we thought worked better. Evening entertainment in terms of bars etc was really good with lots of activity and we particularly liked the Glass House and The Exchange with The Casino. We arranged our own on shore excursions - getting on and off the ship was swift and straightforward. Transfer coaches were readily available and ran frequently. Coaches at all ports were of a high standard. Disembarking the ship was easy and straightforward. Our coach transfer to and from Southampton was excellent and the coach was modern and comfortable. The whole party really enjoyed the cruise and would highly recommend it to others. Our Cabin was superb with a lovely balcony and we would highly recommend Deck 9 D316 We will definitely cruise with P and O again Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
Last minute bargain and thoroughly enjoyed. Food in buffet was pretty good although sometimes lukewarm but guess this is to be expected when such large quantities are being served. Meals in Baytree restaurant were really nice and ... Read More
Last minute bargain and thoroughly enjoyed. Food in buffet was pretty good although sometimes lukewarm but guess this is to be expected when such large quantities are being served. Meals in Baytree restaurant were really nice and service was prompt and friendly. Entertainment onboard was excellent. Ship was clean and all staff friendly and polite. We had an inside cabin which was fine but quite dated. Don’t think P&O should change for the shuttle service though, this should be included in the price. My only bugbear is people who don’t wash their hands after using the toilet nor using the sanitizer, I can never understand this and the lack of hygiene is pure laziness in my opinion! Surely it’s in everyone’s interest to keep sickness and diarrhoea bugs away so everyone can have a happy and healthy cruise. Embarkation at Southampton was quick, disembarkation a little slower but it was great not having to have the hassle of airports. Overall a great cruise and would definitely go on this ship again. Read Less
Sail Date April 2018
This was my wife and I's first cruise and thought it best to start with a short 7 day cruise to see if we liked it. Our friends and family who have been on cruises have been raving about them and saying that once you do one you will ... Read More
This was my wife and I's first cruise and thought it best to start with a short 7 day cruise to see if we liked it. Our friends and family who have been on cruises have been raving about them and saying that once you do one you will be hooked. We travelled as a party of 5 with my wife's sister and brother in law as well as her dad First the positives all of the staff on the ship were without doubt some of the most pleasant and helpful we have come across from our cabin steward (Anil) to our waiters in the Bay Tree restaurant and all the entertainment team. The dancing instructors (Roanna and Goran) were great and very helpful with beginners like us. We managed to do quite a few of their classes and saw their evening shows. It was a real highlight of the cruise. We went for the select dining option and had the bay tree first sitting at 6:30 which meant that we didn't have to wait for a table. The food was of good quality and the wine package was a good deal so worth considering. The prices were in line with high street restaurants with a very good selection and quality. The selection of food changed every night with some choices always available. The evening entertainment shows were excellent from the comedians to the dancing and singing shows. The standard was very high and you would have to pay a great deal for these in your local theatre. there were loads of day time entertainment options and even a large children's area which we didn't visit but seemed well organised. The negatives the other passengers were on the whole the complete opposite of the staff i.e. rude and didn't seem to be enjoying their holiday the ship seemed to have some technical problems which meant that it could not call at Oporto as planned and seemed to more unsteady than we had been led to believe. This led to the pools being out of action some of the time as well as an additional day at sea which could have been the cause of the issue with our fellow passengers the air conditioning in the cabin made it quite stuffy even with the thermostat turned down to the minimum. It was great to have a balcony so that we could open this to get fresh air the food in the buffet restaurant could be a little sloppy and not very hot, this was not helped by our fellow passengers who insisted on piling their plates so high and taking lots of food. For breakfast its probably best to go for something cooked to order e.g. an omelette or poached eggs to ensure you get piping hot food Overall Would we cruise again - definitely but probably try a different cruise line like Cunard or a river cruise Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
Apart from the delayed start at Southampton for engine troubles and the aborted trip to Cadiz (instead it was a port stop at Virgo on a Sunday afternoon -that was poor),the rest of the cruise was very good.we choose freedom dining and ate ... Read More
Apart from the delayed start at Southampton for engine troubles and the aborted trip to Cadiz (instead it was a port stop at Virgo on a Sunday afternoon -that was poor),the rest of the cruise was very good.we choose freedom dining and ate mainly in the buffet resturants.we found the food and its variety very good. the entertainment was first class, had to get to the venues a little early though ,but that was no problem. the ship was always clean and tidy and the ships crew did thier utmost to please you and with a smile.the shore excursions were well organised. Embarkation and dis-embarkation went smoothly. All in all we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves and have booked a further cuise with P and O for May of next year. We done the Stickly Come dancing theme and found it brillient. the dancing team put themselves about the ship and they were all happy and polite. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
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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