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587 Southampton P&O Cruises Ventura Cruise Reviews

Oh Dear! P & O seem to have lost the plot. I’ve recently returned from a 15 day cruise to the Caribbean on board P & O Ventura. I’ve cruised with P & O previously as well as with other Cruise Lines. I feel that since their ... Read More
Oh Dear! P & O seem to have lost the plot. I’ve recently returned from a 15 day cruise to the Caribbean on board P & O Ventura. I’ve cruised with P & O previously as well as with other Cruise Lines. I feel that since their amalgamation with Carnival Lines, P & O’s standards have fallen drastically in all areas. The sorry story begins at the online booking stage when, for a period of time, our arrival by air back at Gatwick seemed to alternate between North and South Terminals resulting in my having to change my parking arrangements several times. At Southampton, I was advised there was a computer failure and check-in was severely delayed. Fortunately, I had priority boarding and was not affected. Many other passengers were severely delayed with some still boarding after the advised time of departure. I learned also that many passengers had to leave their passports at the check-in terminal and retrieve them the following day on board. A worrying fact for some I would imagine in these times of identity theft. I also spoke to one passenger in possession of a Canadian passport who had done the responsible thing and checked his Visa requirements. When he tried to retrieve his passport from Reception he was abruptly (And incorrectly) informed that he did require a Visa, that he would not be able to leave the ship at any port of call and that his passport would be retained until his return to Southampton. It was only after several heated discussions and his final insistence that he speak with the Captain that the error was admitted and his passport returned. Our cabin was really very nice and apart from the stained carpet together with ripped and stained bed sheets was very comfortable. Our literature advised that in addition to Champagne and chocolates we would be met with a luxurious bouquet of flowers. This amounted to a single bloom in a specimen vase, although there was an attractive display of artificial flowers. On the plus side, our cabin Stewardess was wonderful; always smiling, helpful and pleasant. Nothing was too much trouble for her. This was even more remarkable towards the end of our cruise as she had no doubt heard about the Typhoon which had devastated many parts of her country. The cabin televisions worked well even if the interactive system was painfully slow. I was astonished to find however that if I wanted to watch a movie in my cabin I would be charged £1.99 on each occasion. Not a huge sum, but outrageous to think that on previous cruises the movie channel was complimentary. The interactive system also provided a messaging system and messages appeared in my inbox on a daily basis. However, without exception these messages were purely inviting me to buy something or the other. I had arranged fixed time dining and had confirmed I would be seated on a table for four (Myself and the three others in my party). On the first evening in the Bay Tree restaurant we were placed on a table for eight with four perfect strangers. It was only after a great deal of wrangling that we finally managed to secure a table for four even though our requested arrangement was confirmed to me at time of booking. I was looking forward to the “Dining Experience” as previously on P & O cruises the food in the dining rooms had been excellent. Sadly, each dish seemed to be prepared en masse, served and cleared very quickly without ceremony in an apparent attempt to clear the dining room as quickly as possible. The food itself was, for the most part, quite bland. Wines were reasonably priced but the wine was poured quickly in one visit by the Wine Waiter and the bottle swept away. What should have been a leisurely fine dining event was in fact a hurried, second rate disappointment. The dining room was very noisy, due to a large extent that P & O seem to prefer a greater number of tables seating six, eight or ten rather than tables for two or four. Our table seemed to be located in a particularly noisy area and I had noticed another table for four in a quieter spot that had been occupied only once in the entire cruise. We asked if we could move to that table but were told it would not be possible as the original occupants might at some stage choose to dine there. In addition, there was one table which had eight occupants on the first evening but after three or four evenings one passenger was left to eat entirely alone. This may have been his preference but I did think that he should at least have been approached to see if he would like to move to another table. I noticed that the Dining Room was becoming progressively less busy as the cruise went on. It seems that other passengers too were avoiding the “Fine Dining Experience”. One evening I thought we should try the Dinner Menu in one of the buffet restaurants on Deck 15. I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised as the food here seemed to be freshly cooked to order and a definite improvement on that served in the Dining Room. At Breakfast, my preference with one other of my party was to eat in the Saffron Restaurant. Each morning we requested a table for two and each morning we were told none was available and we would have to wait. Generally, after a few minutes we were shown to a table for two only to observe that there were at least twelve tables for two available. I can only guess at the reason for this and conclude it was more convenient for the Waiters to serve large, rather than smaller tables. Breakfast was generally good if you excuse the bullet proof toast that was supplied and Waiters seeming to misunderstand or ignore requests. “One croissant please” generally resulted in two being served. There were also many inconstancies in service; for example one day baked beans would be served directly on the plate and the next day in a ramekin. Not the end of the world I know but typical of the niggling little differences in service I experienced. Having met and had conversations with many fellow passengers, I was left reeling with regard to the discrepancies in pricing. Leaning over the balcony one day and talking to my next door neighbours I learned they had paid more than double the amount I had paid for an identical cabin and had one night less on board than me. I feel what I paid was reasonable but was shocked to find another set of passengers in the same grade of cabin had paid considerably less than I had. I also spoke to one couple who had booked an inside cabin at a much lower price but were able to upgrade to a Superior Deluxe cabin for a nominal charge. I would advise anyone considering a P & O Cruise in the future to monitor online how bookings are going and to leave making a reservation until a few weeks or even a few days before departure. The cruise was marred, in part, by some of the passengers. There seemed to be quite a lot of less than good behaviour. The rule about reserving Sun Loungers was totally ignored with towels and books etc., being left on loungers from early in the morning. One night I couldn’t sleep and went for a stroll around the ship at 4.30 a.m. I was amazed to see that as early as 5a.m. there were passengers reserving the loungers in the best spots. This isn’t the fault of P & O but they do nothing to enforce the rule as is the practice on other cruise lines. On one occasion the Sun Lounger issue led to an altercation between two female passengers which at one stage it seemed was about to degenerate to the physical. Also, there were several instances where quite young children were playing in and around the pools late at night, unsupervised. Again this was not acted upon by any member of staff. I have to add this is the first time I have seen paper cups, glasses and food wrappers left in the lifts and on stairways. The pools didn’t appear to be heated and the forward adults only “Endless Pool” seemed to be working for a short while on the first day but didn’t function again after that. I’ve never been a great fan of the shows on board so I’m in no position to criticise them either way. However, when we are promised “Gentle Calypso music under the stars on a warm Caribbean evening”, that is what I expect. I had the stars and the warm evening, but the gentle calypso was the resident reggae band belting out the same numbers at ear splitting decibels; there is a limit to how many times in fifteen days you can listen to a poor rendition of “I shot the Sheriff”. This band frequently went into “Jam” sessions where a repetitive rhythm was played for an extensive period of time. It seemed as though the band were playing for their own enjoyment rather than that of the passengers. Communication seemed to be an ongoing difficulty. One day when leaving the ship, passengers were advised to disembark forward, Deck 4. We attempted to do so but were told by the gangway staff that instead we would have go back up to Deck 5 and use the exit by the Coffee Shop. This exit was closed and we were advised to go back down to Deck4 where once again we were instructed to go back up to Deck 5. At this point, I used an internal ‘phone to call reception and ask where exactly we should disembark. I was told that we should definitely exit up on Deck 5. On arriving there we found the exit still closed. By this time, we had collected a group of twelve or so people who had also been going back and forth between Decks 4 and 5. I spoke to a Reception Officer and explained our dilemma. She herself called Reception to tell them they should stop sending passengers to Deck 5 for disembarkation. As a group, we insisted this Officer accompany us back to Deck 4. When we arrived and were this time allowed to disembark those Officers who had refused us earlier had now miraculously disappeared. One morning I was standing out on my balcony when I was drenched with water. I thought it was a sudden and heavy rain shower but looking up I saw someone hosing down part of the ship. I had to shout at him to stop as my clothes and books on the balcony table were saturated. Half an hour later, a message broadcast from the Bridge advised passengers that cleaning of outside areas was due to take place and we were requested not to use our balconies for a short while; a reasonable request, but in my case thirty minutes late. All passengers were required to complete several forms for “Landing” in Barbados. The forms were delivered to our cabin in an envelope. One of the forms was a luggage declaration form. As there were two sets of every other form in the envelope but only one luggage declaration I called reception to ask if a separate form was needed for each passenger and was advised assuredly that only one of these forms was needed per cabin. Only when I had almost finished completing the form did I see that if passengers were of different surnames, a separate form would be required for each passenger so I had completed the form incorrectly regarding the amount of luggage. I called reception to say that I had been given incorrect information and they said two forms would be sent up. The forms didn’t arrive so I went to collect them myself. I said quite clearly to the Reception Officer that I needed two forms. He went off and after a short while came back with one! This is only one more example of where I felt I was not being listened to. On our final day we had to vacate our cabin by 9a.m. We rose at 7a.m. in time for breakfast and to give our cabin a final check etc. We disembarked at 1.15p.m. and were transported to the Airport. Security checks were carried out quite quickly so we had quite a long wait for our flight at 4.45p.m. The flight time was about eight hours, arriving back at Gatwick at approximately 5.30a.m. U.K. time. Being so early in the morning, our passage through Gatwick was quite swift. We then had a drive home of about an hour and a half. All in all a very long day. I appreciate it’s difficult to strike a happy balance between those passengers departing and those arriving but I do consider to eject us from our cabins so early is unreasonable given our flight departure was not for almost eight hours (Some passengers were booked on flights later than this). The flight home with Thomas Cook airlines was the worst I have ever experienced. I don’t expect Business Class standards on a charter flight but a rock hard seat is unacceptable for a flight of this duration. My upper thighs were aching for days afterwards even though I did manage to stand up and move around several times during the flight. In addition, as soon as we took off and began to climb, water started to pour down in our laps. It was flooding out of a light diffuser above our heads. We called the Flight Attendant as soon as possible who responded by offering us a tissue. I pointed out my concern was more about where the water was coming from. She told us it was from the air conditioning and that the Flight Engineer had checked it and deemed it to be safe. I asked her if the Flight Engineer had checked it and was aware of the situation why hadn’t he done something about it. She then replied “I feel like you’re having a go at me”, offered me another tissue and looked as though she was about to burst into tears. I dread to think how she might react in a true emergency. The aircraft looked dirty and generally well worn. Whilst on the ship, the subject of hygiene was addressed strongly (And quite rightly), although there were inconstancies in procedures here. Sometimes at restaurant entry points a waiter would dispense anti-bacterial gel into everyone’s hands. On other occasions this didn’t happen and the bottles of gel that were present were empty. It was somewhat disconcerting therefore to see one of the flight attendants rub her hands across her nostrils and mouth, across her hair then position her hands around the spout of a teapot while she spoke to a colleague. Needless to say, I declined the offer of tea and coffee for the duration of the flight. It’s sufficient to say the food on this flight was disgusting. Cruising with P & O used to be a delightful and memorable experience. It’s still memorable, but for the wrong reasons. If you’re happy with Benidorm on sea then choose a P & O cruise. If you’re looking for something special forget P & O. Choose instead one of the Cruise companies that still know how to provide a memorable experience. They may cost more of course but perhaps that’s the price of civilised company, professionalism and real service.   Read Less
Sail Date October 2013
This was our 10th cruise and the first with P&O we looked forward with great expectation to this cruise. Our booking was made on the 16th Sept 2012 outside twin grade LC with freedom dining,sailing date 21st October. We booked a ... Read More
This was our 10th cruise and the first with P&O we looked forward with great expectation to this cruise. Our booking was made on the 16th Sept 2012 outside twin grade LC with freedom dining,sailing date 21st October. We booked a overnight stay with parking for the duration of the cruise and a taxi to the port and back,it makes it a little less stressful than traveling the 300+ miles we have to travel on the sail-away day. Embarcation was swift and well organised and after a cup of coffee in the Waterside we found our cabin ready for use though the luggage was still to be delivered it wasn't long before it arrived. The cabin was as we expected it to be twin beds plenty of hanging space and good decor typical of most cruise ships of this size,on the bed were the ships daily information paper and a letter addressed to my wife and I which I eagerly opened only to be disappointedly informed we were allocated 2nd sitting dining on a table of 8 and that freedom dining had been full since July,how can this be possible we booked in September surely they could have told us,so we went in search of the Restaurant's Manager to try and resolve the issue and found him in the Saffron dining room ,when eventually we were let through to see him (we were just one of many couples queuing to see him)we explained that late dining was not something we can handle as it affects both our sleeping patterns,he was not in the least interested his attitude was like it or lump it and if you want to eat early you can eat in the Waterside.We have in the past sailed with Ocean Village and this was a relaxed freestyle type of cruising where we eat buffet meals and very good they were so we resigned ourselves to eating in the Waterside. only one night did we have any thing that resembled a decent British meal of Beef and Yorkshire Pudding, nearly every other meal was a Theme Night consisting of spiced dishes and rice with a few exceptions,by the half way stage we were living on salad and ham and sick of the sight of it. Entertainment was pretty good especially the singers and resident dancers and a couple of guest tribute artists, a guest speaker in shape of Ray Clemence gave us a insight into his life with Liverpool and Spurs. On board activities were very poor unless you were into losing pounds of your waist and pocket,not forgetting deck quoits and shuffle board. Ports of call were what we expected having spent holidays in all the Canary Islands but Lisbon and Virgo were worth the visit. To sum up we had as good a time as we could make of it but its not looking good for any future P&O cruises. Read Less
Sail Date October 2012
We this cruise on the Ventura and spent one week on 'Atlantic Coast' cruise in Mrach where the weather was surprisingly warm and generally good! We have cruised before a couple of times (Ocean Village and RCL Voyager of the ... Read More
We this cruise on the Ventura and spent one week on 'Atlantic Coast' cruise in Mrach where the weather was surprisingly warm and generally good! We have cruised before a couple of times (Ocean Village and RCL Voyager of the Seas) and wanted to try out a no-fly cruise and also see what P&O was like. It started off very well, getting to Southampton from Norfolk was about the same as getting to Gatwick and the embarkation was very well handled plus the cabin was ready early! The cabin, a balcony on B deck was fine, a little tired perhaps, but the Tea-making facilities made up for that, and the cabin steward was very welcoming. We had a quick explore of the ship (not as impressively glitzy as Voyager but fine for us), and as we were tired a relaxing meal in the Waterside. We'd had lunch there (limited selection) but assumed that the evening meal would be more impressive. Wrong! The was very limited choice of mains, they were presented in school-meals style and tasted as if they had been prepared days ago. Also, it may be a small thing but the hand-sanitizers were on the wall and there was no attempt to get you to use them. It was down-right depressing all the staff seems dour-faced and there under sufferance. In fact we seemed to be in the way as staff pushed past to slop more food into the waiting troughs. Where were the friendly welcoming faces of the other boats who seemed pleased to see us? When we tried the main dining room (Freedom dining) we had a half-hour wait (shorter than we expected and we had the buzzer to tell us when a table was ready), but the service was impersonal and rushed -- we were asked for drink preferences only when we were waiting for our sweets and then hassled out at the earliest convenience (for the staff that is). And we were expected to wear a Tuxido/Suite on formal nights for this? We were lucky to discover the Beach House (evenings only -- free but some items had a supplement attached) and East (charged £20pp) both of which had friendly, attentive staff who seemed interested in ensuring that you had an enjoyable meal. The main dining room (served) and Waterside (buffet) which were the only two options for breakfast, saw equally poor quality food. Almost certainly kept hot for ages, rubbery rolls and toast, with second rate coffee. Although, to be fair, dining room coffee had been only slightly better on the other boats -- I wonder what it is, this was sub-instant by a long chalk. And on that subject (coffee) we did try Tazzine but the 'Costa' coffee there, despite the long wait (waiter had loooong chat with mate at bar) just tasted of diluted milk. Other passengers seemed to find the food OK or even enjoying it with plates piled high with salads, curries, roasts (yes all on the same plate) which they attacked with gusto. Also there seemed a good take-up of the Tuxedo standard on formal nights (Lobster Tails (1st) and Sirloin Steak(2nd)) but in general I felt that this was people on a very ordinary cruise trying to pretend that they were on a 'Posh' boat. Both of us got 'tummy trouble' which we put down perhaps unfairly (?) to poor food standards when lunching in Waterside, so we changed to Pizza on deck (although the burgers did look OK too) not bad but I should mention that the Diavola was one day so chilli-hot as to be almost inedible and the next not a trace of heat to be found-strange. The shows appeared to be of a high standard (selections from West End x 3, Beatles Tribute) and the films were all recent and popular (P&O get good marks in this area). The ports of calls were fine and probably good choices for the Atlantic Coast (Corunna, Bilbao, St Rochelle & Le Havre), shuttles were free even when the town centre was distant (Bilbao), we didn't do any of the P&O trips preferring a leisurely walk round the towns and a much needed (decent) local coffee. What we found was that whole ship's staff was generally unfriendly/disinterested with some oasis's of good service (Cabin Steward, East, Beach House, Metropolis). Would we sail again with P&O? Probably not Ventura, due to the two main issues food and staff, but maybe one of the other smaller ships. We would be very careful to read the reviews first, we had though that P&O was a premium brand (which it isn't!) and be tempted by an exciting itinerary. Having said that, as there are a lot of cruise lines offering similar trips on genuinely 4* ships and with service/food to match and I think that we would want to try these before giving P&O a another chance. Read Less
Sail Date March 2012
We were a little concerned that the hassle finding the correct coach from our service station pickup point, would have been how the holiday would continue...how wrong were we. The usual efficient check in at Southampton, we travelled as a ... Read More
We were a little concerned that the hassle finding the correct coach from our service station pickup point, would have been how the holiday would continue...how wrong were we. The usual efficient check in at Southampton, we travelled as a group of five including our five year old granddaughter. She had dairy free diet which was discussed with head waiter who took care of everything on the first evening, also check every day to ensure she was happy, actually hunting us out wherever we were on the ship. Bay of biscay was rough, forcing me to medical room for injection, this worked very quickly after a nap and was back to myself within the day and eating normally. Weather was glorious every day, sometimes too hot. Not trouble getting sun beds, but then we were up early. We used the jacuzzi several times beside oasis pool, plus the pool itself. There were a few snooty so and so's that think they own the ship, stating kids under sixteen not allowed in the pool, she was 4 years old for god's sake causing no harm to anyone plus the pool was empty. Barcelona we did on our own, knowing the ropes from a previous visit, really enjoyed this yet again. Monaco and monte Carlo did excursion from ship, again really enjoyed this including the guide. Had loads of free time to ourselves which suited, spent loads of time in gardens which we missed last time due to the walking tour not visiting this area. Civitavecia we did the Bracciano tour, rather than Rome. still full day tour but well worth every penny. Visiting castle where Tom Cruise married Katie Holmes, spectacular views over volcanic lake. Plenty of free time again, but sadly no souvenir shops, just restaurants and coffee bars. In fact we said it was so beautiful we could set up a souvenir stall and make a killing. Great photo opportunities at castle and lake and on journey back to the port. Corsica was wonderful, not at all like our first experience some years ago, streets were dirty, dog poo everywhere. This time completely opposite, spotless..lovely Market great bargains spent loads! Visited the tortoise park a must for everyone, taxi cost 80 euros driver waited an hour for us and took us back to the Market area, far cheaper than P&O. Gibraltor lovely although quiet due to festival the weekend before, most shops don't open till 11am, you have to be back on board at 1.30, so it was a sprint to get the excellent duty free's a good opportunity to stock up on cigs, tobacco, spirits, jewellery etc..some real bargains here good opportunity to get rid of the remaining euros left too but also take sterling which is good, very friendly shops and cafes. Back on board for the dreaded sail back to southampton and again the bay of biscay rough again, suffering the tail end of hurricane katia, confined to cabin again, next time I will be prepared with ginger as that seemed to help. Now for the ship...cabin excellent bit of mechanical noisy but to be expected on deck 5. We liked the proximity to Atrium and cinnamon restaurant so happy to put up with noise. Cabin Steward Martin polite and efficient, kept cabin spotless as expected. spent most of our evening meal times at Cinnamon which made our holiday, food again excellent, they made a great fuss of our granddaughter and nothing was too much trouble. Went to Beach house and although service is a bit slower than Cinnamon it was still lovely and didn't feel rushed to finish. Breakfasts and lunches to our satisfaction having the freedom to eat when you want and where, on deck mostly, pizzas and burgers from Frankies regularly, plus the ice cream to finish off lunch. entertainment excellent west end style, all shows we attended were excellent and hats off to the production even during the bad swells. Visited most of the bars where my granddaughter enjoyed dancing on an empty floor, really cheering up some of the oldies who started looking out for her change of outfits. the photo crew have been given a bad rep on most reviews, if you don't want a photo politely say no and they leave you along, but on the plus side we wanted some nice holiday photos of Grace and our group, one of the photographers kindly obliged when we collared him one evening, when he was on his way to a different area, he could have said no but didn't. To sum up, apart from a couple of days with sea swells this holiday was brilliant, nice and hot and enough ports to allow a relaxing holiday. Cannot wait for next July for 7 ships sail away already booked. Had an excellent time and hats off again to P&O, well done !!! Read Less
Sail Date September 2011
Departed from Southampton after a lengthy rail trip from Edinburgh. Arrived around 2 pm and were on board an hour later without any hassle. Loved our balcony cabin and the option to smoke outside. We were on A deck so completely private. ... Read More
Departed from Southampton after a lengthy rail trip from Edinburgh. Arrived around 2 pm and were on board an hour later without any hassle. Loved our balcony cabin and the option to smoke outside. We were on A deck so completely private. Our steward was Virag, but as he said at the end of the cruise "sorry I was not able to do much for you". We had to keep phoning up for ice, not once did they offer it.We were on Freedom Dining at the Cinnamon Restaurant. Myself, partner and 12 year old sulk-bag. He does not eat much, so requested the chicken breast on several occasions. This was served to him whilst we were being served starters, not ideal as he then wanted to leave before our main meals had been served. We stopped using this restaurant as, to be honest, the portions were tiny and not enough to fill us up. We requested that the £22 per person which had been added on as gratuities be deducted, and this was done without question. When being served a champagne sorbet, my partner uttered "where is it?" and a waiter came to explain it was champagne sorbet, an in-between course. It was tiny and over in 2-3 mouthfuls.We tried the "afternoon tea" once. Nothing special, and no indication that there was anything vegetarian available.We did enjoy the Indian night in the buffet, plenty for the vegetarian and meat eating amongst us. Though I'm still confused why they had to make the spinach soup from fish stock?All the Headliners shows were magnificent. I ended up going to these shows alone. The only comment I would make is that they did "Reflex" an 80s-themed night and forgot about the most influential band of the 80s - The Smiths.We attended most of the quizzes i.e. Name That Tune and were quite successful - I won a torch and a bookmark light and felt right pleased with myself. We also took part in the Afternoon at the Races, made comical with the West Country bird and her sexes. And Bingo, though I never won anything at that.I had read about the sun lounger complaints on this site and was expecting never to find a free sunbed. Though I did take it upon myself to move towels from sunbeds and nobody challenged me on their return (very late in the day!) We had fabulous weather for most of the cruise and by the time it turned cloudy I had had enough of the sun anyway! I am currently peeling away to pre-holiday whiteness.Our last port of call was supposed to be Gibraltar, but it was decided not to call here as it was "too windy". I had been looking forward to this stop and was well disappointed that whoever it was had taken this decision. No compensation offered, but they did play "The King's Speech" in the Arena Theatre. Read Less
Sail Date July 2011
This was our second cruise with p&o. Both med cruises. Service was exceptional, food always lived up to expectations. Entertainmet varied and of good quality. Headliners presented broadway style musicals and deserved to be introduced ... Read More
This was our second cruise with p&o. Both med cruises. Service was exceptional, food always lived up to expectations. Entertainmet varied and of good quality. Headliners presented broadway style musicals and deserved to be introduced as such, spectacular and brilliantly choreographed, Beegee tribute was fun and entertaining. Martin Daniels and his comedy magic show amazed and amused us. George King and his gardening jokes, jept it clean and family orientated.However, the stars of the cruise, from our families point of view, were the tireless and patent childrens entertainers. Each age range have their own group of reef rangers with activities throughout the day. Crackers and Cheese entertained with funny and wow factor magic hows and fun houses. Most days they were in the buffet for childrens noddy tea with balloons and magic. They were genuinely interested in the children, who inevitably stopped them around the ship. Even when they were off duty and wondering around the port stops, they always took the time to chat and have some fun with the children. Genuinely nice couple as well!! Adults being entertained is one thing, but when children feel like they are safe and entertained then everyone can relax and enjoy them selves. Well done P&o and well done reef rangers and especially Crackers and Cheese!!! We will travel again with you Read Less
Sail Date June 2011
We are just back from the Ventura's three night short cruise and have been more then pleased after reading some of the negative reviews here beforehand.Our inside aft cabin (B721) was nicely decorated and more roomy than expected. We ... Read More
We are just back from the Ventura's three night short cruise and have been more then pleased after reading some of the negative reviews here beforehand.Our inside aft cabin (B721) was nicely decorated and more roomy than expected. We were woken by the engines as the ship was docking, but soon went back off to sleep. If you are a very light sleeper you may want to consider another location on the ship. The food was fantastic, not one complaint. The buffet was fresh and plentiful, we didn't have to que once. Dinner in the main dining room was outstanding, from the food to the service, to the surroundings, just perfect. We also ate one evening in the Beach House and had another very enjoyable meal. The menu in there doesn't change, we both had Buffalo wings to start and ribs for main, with a side of Bruchetta. Although it's not fine dining its was all cooked and presented beautifully, we had a window table overlooking the ocean watching the sun set - what more could you ask for?Service throughout the ship was second to none, we didn't go to the bar for our own drinks once. There are plenty of bar waiters to bring your drinks to the table and they keep an eye on your drinks for refills.Everything was well organised apart from disembarking. Luckily we were one of the first off but can imagine the chaos that we left behind. People were queuing up the stairwells and the whole atrium area was packed.Brugge was lovely and very easy to get to on the train, there is no need to pay the £28pp excursion fee. Le Havre was like a ghost town because it was a Sunday and everything was shut.On formal night it seemed everyone made the effort, we didn't see anyone under dressed. Many people were dressing in suits and smart dresses for the smart casual night too.There were a couple of hen parties, but they certainly didn't make a nuisance of themselves. All in all a good trip. Read Less
Sail Date April 2011
Our very first P&O cruise taken recently on the Venturs was a mixed bag of reactions. First of all it is the very first time we have ever had a delay in sailing and the 15 hours we spent on board before sailing was spent trying to find ... Read More
Our very first P&O cruise taken recently on the Venturs was a mixed bag of reactions. First of all it is the very first time we have ever had a delay in sailing and the 15 hours we spent on board before sailing was spent trying to find our way in this huge vessel. This was certainly the very best cabin with the most comfortable bed we have ever had on any cruise. The cabin was immaculate and well planned so that we had room to move and our clothes were easy to unpack and store in the roomy wardrobe area. The cabin steward did a first class job every day witrh clean fresh towels and no sooner we left the room for breakfast in the morning and our room was cleaned and replenished immediately, we never came back to an unprepared cabin. The service in this respect was first class. The food also was of a superior standard and the choices were varied and numerouos. Quality was first class although the waiters did not provide much more than an adequate service. We had to ask the waiter on a number of occasions for things we expected to be on the table, e.g. NO steak knives - apparently this ship does not carry steak knives. As each course was served, the waiter had to place soup spoons, knives etc in relation to what was ordered. Why can't the tables be set up to provide all the required cutery? The formal nights were also something of a disappointment, out of the four we attended only one had a pre-dinner reception. The other nights had no reception or after dinner show, so why were they classed as special nights? they were exactly the same as all other nights (except we had taken care to dress extra special). We enjoyed the cruise, despite having to miss out one port of call due to the delayed sailing but we have decided that the ship was too big for us, and we prefer the smaller ships with a more intimate atmosphere and more organisation on the gala nighhts. Read Less
Sail Date October 2010
First of all let me say that the negative reviews we have read nearly put us off booking the ventura, thank goodness we didn't listen to the doom mongers! From arriving at the terminal to eating lunch at the waterside was 45 ... Read More
First of all let me say that the negative reviews we have read nearly put us off booking the ventura, thank goodness we didn't listen to the doom mongers! From arriving at the terminal to eating lunch at the waterside was 45 minutes. 30 Minutes later our cabin A309 was ready, all our luggage arrived 30 minutes later. Our balcony cabin was surprisingly spacious and there was lots of storage for all of our clothes and three large suitcases plus 2 carry on bags etc.. We had a table for 8 late sitting and all of our dining companions were lovely, we used to spend our evenings all together as the week went on. The food was good, the waiters were attentive and the wine list was surprisingly good. A decent bottle could be had for £17, dessert wine £9. Had the internet package in the cabin 250 minutes plus 30 free for £65. The ship was full and apparently there were 700+ children on board, however we never really noticed the ship was full and we didn't see many children milling about and the ones we did see were very sweet and polite, so P&O kids clubs must be good. Didn't have too much trouble finding a sun bed, although around the pool area was very busy and had we wanted to sit there I think we would have to get there early. We took two trips to Florence and Rome, we enjoyed both and thought they were reasonably priced. The only complaint we have was the attitude of one miserable old bloke on the last day as we we self disembarked we were directed to the queue by the crew and told to join the queue towards the front of the ship and the miserable old boy decided we were pushing in and tried to start an argument, you know the type the same ones that think it is OK to push their way to the front of the lifts, however we had had such a good time we just laughed at him and let it go over our heads.. For anyone thinking twice about booking Ventura because of the negative reviews, don't worry and book asap. Read Less
Sail Date August 2010
This was our second cruise with P and O, the first being last year on Britannia, which was disappointing. We have cruised with different companies previously so do have some idea of expectations! We returned from a cruise to Norway on ... Read More
This was our second cruise with P and O, the first being last year on Britannia, which was disappointing. We have cruised with different companies previously so do have some idea of expectations! We returned from a cruise to Norway on Ventura yesterday we were disappointed to find that there was a lack of activities during the cruise. The tables in some of the bars and on the tables on deck 15 were not cleaned after use. There didn't seem to be enough staff to serve guests in any of the bars and we were not the only ones who failed to be served in the exchange or on deck 15. Some staff we found to be rude. This was not what we expected. We ate in the restaurant and in the Glass house. The Glass house was excellent, it is a shame that the same can not be said for the main restaurant, we were either rushed through courses and left with the menu for desserts for a cknsiderable period, on some occasions we were asked if we wanted cheese and coffee and others not and felt that although we were asked, we shouldnt have said yes we wanted both, there didnt seem any consistency within the restaurants Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
Chose this cruise for a first time cruise. Brochure made it look very nice. We would not recommend this cruise Too many people, not enough space or things to do - just cramped. Everywhere busy, queues and everything expensive. Queues ... Read More
Chose this cruise for a first time cruise. Brochure made it look very nice. We would not recommend this cruise Too many people, not enough space or things to do - just cramped. Everywhere busy, queues and everything expensive. Queues to get on and off ship (one day 90 minutes waiting in the rain to get back on ship). Cabins small and basic. Nothing grand. Nothing like photos in brochure. Tired. Food below average only bonus lots of it - keep piling your plate up If you like the previous sittings left overs served up again you are okay. No idea of waiting your turn more like a push in and free for all. No where to sit and eat though.... Entertainment dire. A la carte restaurant a joke. Requested a small table as only 3 of us. Allocated a table of 10. Spent 2 hours waiting for food that was to be honest just crap. All pomp and put on - people dressing up and pretending. Complain to front desk - you are ignored and fobbed off Customer services on return - a hamper was sent and basically that’s it Facilities for disabled - poor Would not recommend unless you like paying a lot of money for lousy food and accommodation and being ripped off for excursions in ports and being ignored by the ships staff who are all well trained in fobbing you off. Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
We have taken over 35 cruises and this was the worst ever. We ate in the main dining room on a table of 8 at the 8.30 sitting. Waiters were friendly but rushed off their feet. Food was ok but lacked any sparkle. Gone are the days ... Read More
We have taken over 35 cruises and this was the worst ever. We ate in the main dining room on a table of 8 at the 8.30 sitting. Waiters were friendly but rushed off their feet. Food was ok but lacked any sparkle. Gone are the days when you would have lobster or a nice steak on the black tie nights- pretty standard fare. The evening shows were generally good with the runaround kids and the magic show being by far the best. Watched a few films during sea days- good choice. Waited over an hour to park the car at portside and a further one hour 20 mins to board ( we later found out that there were delays in disembarkation causing delays in boarding) no communication- it was a shambles Once on board we settled into our cabin - a superior delux balcony with a bath- which combined with our cabin stewardess was excellent. Visited the buffet once - pretty standard food with no imagination. We had coffee and some lovely cakes ( at a cost of £2.50 a cup) at the Costa bar. Service there was always polite although my wife was told that she couldn't have a cake or sandwich if she didn't buy a coffee , despite no signs advising us of this fact being present. Not handled by well by waitress - Very rude. First port was Vigo - took a Santiago de Castella on your own tour ie coach picked you up at port dropped you off and collected you £40 per person - what a rip off. 50 passengers at £40 gave P&O £2000 to hire a coach for 5 hours Next port was Lisbon. P&O provided a shuttle bus at £4 each way. We walked into the center square - took us around 20 minutes in a leasurely stroll and had a coffee / custard tart - lovely. Our call at Porto was cancelled due to "high swell" so we stayed in Lisbon for a further half day. Leaving for our next port at Guernsey early afternoon. Woken early on the Thursday morning by the noisy motors lowering the tender boats to go into St Peter Port. P&O kindly provided us with a detailed sheet on the tendering process and pointed out that there was an early morning rush to get off ( what a surprise) and if guests waited until 11.30 any wait would be small. We duly arrived at 11.30 to catch the tender to be met with chaos. Very upset Passengers who had been waiting, staff who didn't have a clue what was going on and no communication / apology from the bridge. Only 3 tender boats running although someone said they were trying to increase the number. We waited for 3 hours to get to the tender (2.30) and in the end didn't go as the last tender back was 5pm. Spoke to several passengers who said they had waited hours to return to the ship. Next problem was due to the late return of the tenders we left Guernsey late and hence returned to Southampton late. We always walk off early with our own cases. But instead of 7.15 ( when everything is quiet ) it was past 8 when all the lifts were full. Gangway was on same deck as breakfast que it was chaos , again angry passengers fed up of being pushed around by staff, and staff who just had no idea of how to communicate or organise - it was shameful. Finally got off the ship and picked up the car with no problem. P&O need to do a lot better - it's a very competitive cruise market with lots of choice. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
Friend checked for reviews of cabin f334 and it stated do not expect a good night's sleep. Absolutely correct as cabin creaked from set sail and reported many times, promised would be transfered to next available cabin. NOTHING ... Read More
Friend checked for reviews of cabin f334 and it stated do not expect a good night's sleep. Absolutely correct as cabin creaked from set sail and reported many times, promised would be transfered to next available cabin. NOTHING HAPPENED! Could not get cabin cool enough.Reported many times, kept getting cards left stating ventilation engineer had called but no change. Eventually met with engineer and was told that was impossible to reduce temperature as not individually cabin controlled. Why not told in first place? Food of poor standard, especially in Waterside where food frequently not hot. Staff tried their best in restaurant but not good. Lunchtime menu very poor. Duty free shop very expensive for cigarettes price up almost 50% since December on Oriana. Staff responded well to my special requirements and a big thank you to them. Cabin steward was excellent. Overall got impression staff were not well motivated which must reflect on ship's management. Disembarkation was a complete fiasco and whoever was responsible should be called to account. After over 20 years sailing with P & O this experience has confirmed my decision taken following a bad event on previous cruise that they do not not value their clients and they will get no more business from me. Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
I thought cruises were meant to be classy but this one was full of chavs with football shirts and tattoos! I was very surprised. Also I wasn’t expecting to find a hen do on board. Maybe I picked the wrong cruise! It’s very low ... Read More
I thought cruises were meant to be classy but this one was full of chavs with football shirts and tattoos! I was very surprised. Also I wasn’t expecting to find a hen do on board. Maybe I picked the wrong cruise! It’s very low brow! The room is ok, the balcony is very nice. Shame we were next door to a rowdy bunch though! I know people will think I’m being moany but so far this is not what I was expecting from a cruise. I can imagine by 9pm the whole ship will be smashed and balconing! (Just so you get an idea of what I mean). I hope someone can recommend a more old fashioned and classy cruise, I would very much appreciate it. I’m actually now quite glad this is only a 2 night stay. Anyway hope it somehow gets better. May end up just staying in the cabin. Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
this was my first and last cruise with p and o drinks very expensive the draft beer tasted discusting ... Read More
this was my first and last cruise with p and o drinks very expensive the draft beer tasted discusting this was like butlins at sea and the bars and public areas were uncomfatable i bought a pint of peronni and it tasted like dish water in the bar in the casino on formal nights there was karioke on as i said this was like butlins at sea. we did set dinning every night and when you came out you was still hungry as the posions were very pitaful the cheese board only had a selection of four cheeses and most times did not contain blue cheese. there were no extra touches on a night in the cabin like you get on other cruise lines. on a afternoon at 5pm you could not get anything to eat as they shut the full area for childrens tea there was three children in there. i would never go with p and o again and i would not recomment them to anyone Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
We chose this short cruise to take our two Granddaughters on to see if they would like a longer cruise with us at a later date. Big mistake!! We have cruised with P&O before and had a great time but this was a disaster. The booking in ... Read More
We chose this short cruise to take our two Granddaughters on to see if they would like a longer cruise with us at a later date. Big mistake!! We have cruised with P&O before and had a great time but this was a disaster. The booking in was fine and the cabins were good but the stewards seemed a little confused! As we moved out from Southampton we became aware that we had booked on a 'booze cruise' with the number of Hen and Stag parties on board. The food in the restaurants for adults was fine but very restrictive for young teenagers.. Evening entertainments were good. We only had one stop at Guernsey but the following morning this was cancelled due to weather and the fact that we needed to transfere by tender. My granddaughters were so disappointed. Had we been informed that transfers were subject to weather we would have booked a different cruise where we would have had a definite berthing so they could enjoy the experience of 'going ashore' We were told by the Captain we would have an enjoyable day at sea. It may have been enjoyable for the parties that dominated the pools and hot tubs but for two young girls it was not. I am not a prude but I don't want them subjected to the language we heard. When we finally got into a hot tub just after 6pm it was littered with half eaten food and half empty plastic drink glasses.At this point the crew started to clear all the sun loungers away so we got out. I do not blame the crew for the mess, this was due some selfish passengers. Final point...dining..It was 'hunt the vacant table' time.We ordered drinks with our meals on three occasions and each time they arrived at the end of our meals.Due to the lack on empty tables it felt we were rushed to eat and leave but all of the catering staff. I know that these mini cruises are used to help train the staff but we paid a lot of money for this trip and were all looking forward to it but at the end both granddaughters said thanks but never again,which is a shame as my wife and I have had good cruises with P&O.If your going to take a mini cruise with P&O then be prepared..( I submitted a request to review the cruise with them and to complain but they still haven't replied to date)..We will continue cruising but not with P&O Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
We choose this cruise, because of the Itinerary? I can’t fly, we have been on 8 previous cruises, once before on the Ventura, we vowed not to go with P&O again,? But the itinerary swayed us? Let me start with the main problem??? If ... Read More
We choose this cruise, because of the Itinerary? I can’t fly, we have been on 8 previous cruises, once before on the Ventura, we vowed not to go with P&O again,? But the itinerary swayed us? Let me start with the main problem??? If you board the Ventura and they give you room C403? RUN!! Do not take it!! It’s by the lift shaft,? And all through the night, we were kept awake by a constant, very loud banging noise! This room is fit for storage purposes only!! We asked to be moved the second day,? But it was full, so we had to endure 12 nights of hell! The food was okay,? My husband and I enjoy curries? Which is just as well? As they were served daily? But we’re good. The entertainment at night was very good, but during the day,? We could either attend a knitting club, a craft club a model boat building club, or a talk on engines? My husband attended this s, but fell asleep 10 minuets after it started?? I had to go find him, after he still hadn’t returned after 2 hours,? He was the only one left in the arena, snoring his head off! I’m sure it was through lack of sleep, and not bordum?? We certainly aunty will be sticking with RCI or NCL in future,? Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
Friday 11th May. Departure delay due to ‘technical difficulties’ which I have now seen from various forums was experienced by the previous cruise. ‘Sail away’ party abruptly cancelled and finally left Southampton without ceremony ... Read More
Friday 11th May. Departure delay due to ‘technical difficulties’ which I have now seen from various forums was experienced by the previous cruise. ‘Sail away’ party abruptly cancelled and finally left Southampton without ceremony at 23:00. First port (Cadiz) due to be visited on Monday 14th May replaced by Vigo on Sunday at 17:00. Pointless stop for passengers as the port was closed except for a Burger King and street sellers displaying fake designer bags on the pavement 200 yards from the ship. I can only presume the stop was to fix the ship as the captain announced that night “the problem with the thruster has now been resolved”. The ship was so unsteady from Southampton to Vigo a large majority of passengers were unable to leave their cabins due to severe sea sickness. Myself and daughter included. Passengers are shoulder to shoulder on sunbathing on deck and around the pools. The adult pool was not open until Tuesday. Any entertainment worth seeing was overcrowded. Tickets given for Strictly Come Dancing Show clash with set dinner time. While all staff were very helpful throughout I can honestly say the whole experience has put me and my daughter off cruises for life. We were so unhappy we decided to fly home at the next available port (Barcelona). The ship was so unstable during the journey from Southampton to Vigo, particularly at night, we were genuinely scared. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
Birthday gift for daughter absolutely ruined the ventura should be taken out of service missed port entertainment puerile I wouldn't recommend it to my worst enemy I cannot believe p&o decided to set sail with an unstable ship it ... Read More
Birthday gift for daughter absolutely ruined the ventura should be taken out of service missed port entertainment puerile I wouldn't recommend it to my worst enemy I cannot believe p&o decided to set sail with an unstable ship it was like substandard holiday camp and no this was not my 1st cruise we have cruised for the last 15 years and to top it all they were reluctant to give us a letter stating there was a technical problem so we could claim for missed port of call The ship was so unstable and my daughter was so seasick she flew home early when booking we were not told it was a strictly come dancing cruise or that most of the entertainment would be on that theme shame on p&o for ruining my daughter's holiday of a lifetime they have had problems on the ventura since February but they still took our money 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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