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13 P&O Cruises Ventura Cruise Reviews for Family Cruises to Mediterranean from Southampton

This was the second time that we’d cruised on this ship. Standards have certainly dropped. Firstly the good points. Embarkation at Southampton was excellent and totally stress free. The cabin was ready as soon as we walked onboard and ... Read More
This was the second time that we’d cruised on this ship. Standards have certainly dropped. Firstly the good points. Embarkation at Southampton was excellent and totally stress free. The cabin was ready as soon as we walked onboard and our room was very good. The ship has recently been upgraded and is very nice.Our cabin attendant was also very good throughout our holiday. Entertainment was also generally good. The bad points. The food was very poor in the main dining rooms and buffet areas. With the choice in the Waterside very limited. The payable restaurants were much better. The catering staff didn’t have any interest in the passengers and appeared sullen and unhelpful. I wonder if this is anything to do with the discontinuance of gratuities . I think that P&O need to ‘up their game’ to keep up with Celebrity and others. The overall experience has certainly put us off another P&O cruise. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
It had been a long held dream to sail to Santorini ................ Unfortunately we did not get to see Santorini or Mykonos on this cruise (the whole reason why we booked the cruise) and of course no one can argue with the forces of ... Read More
It had been a long held dream to sail to Santorini ................ Unfortunately we did not get to see Santorini or Mykonos on this cruise (the whole reason why we booked the cruise) and of course no one can argue with the forces of nature that were blowing through the Greek Islands at that time - but there was no comparable alternative offered. Just an extra day at sea (in the safe knowledge people would spend even more money in the shops/bars etc) Followed by a visit to Sardinian port, on a Sunday, which to all intents and purposes was closed. The half day visit to Gibraltar could have been extended I’m sure but that wasn’t to be. From the moment we came out of hiding in Piraeus, it seemed to be ‘full steam home’. The Captain could have been more communicative throughout this time, although P&O will say that’s NOT what passengers want! We paid five thousand pounds for a very disappointing cruise and for the money P&O must have saved by cancelling three ports and having an extra day at sea, the insult of ‘ a free drink 'with the Captain' in compensation is truly shameful. Entertainment was poor with the exception of a Gary Barlow tribute act. During the day there were all sorts of lectures and seminars which didn’t have universal appeal. Bizarrely, on one occasion, you could have your tongue examined for free in the Spa, along with the usual overpriced ‘treatments’. Unfortunately, P&O appear to have an archaic pseudo class system in place. We paid for our balcony at a higher price than they sell to their preferred 'loyalty' guest and yet because we chose to eat every night in either the Waterfront or Beach House, something as simple as blue cheese was not available unless we were prepared to eat in the Cinnamon which is cramped, noisy and to be honest when we visited The Cinnamon (just the once) the food was tasteless and lukewarm. By comparison, the food at the Waterfront was lovely, always hot and enough choice. The chefs were friendly and approachable and the waiting staff at both venues are absolutely 1st Class - fabulous. If P&O do not have a critical look at themselves and NOT move forward with the times, we feel they could be left with the same reputation as SAGA once had as the 'cruise line for the elderly cruise snobs' because that's exactly the kind of cruise we feel we have just experienced. We are absolutely sure that the time we took to answer their survey following the cruise will have been for nothing. Although P&O seem to have a monopoly on sailings from Southampton, we would think seriously about booking with P&O again. They need to bring their cruises into the 21st century - look at Royal Caribbean and yes even NCL & Marella on which we have had much better experiences. They won't of course, because they probably prefer their elitist, pretentious customer base, of which we are not. We are both professionals and wear uniforms daily and, along with many other passengers, we chose not to dress up in the P & O uniform of black tie on the formal evenings. Subsequently we were ostracized to the Waterfront, which suited us just fine. Everyone we ate with in the Waterfront and Beach House were dressed beautifully for dinner. Not once did we see anyone looking 'under-dressed' or 'scruffy' but the attitude of some of the old regulars towards 'dress code' is incredibly supercilious and snobbish. One ‘gentleman’ ordered a fillet steak on a lava rock – (which you cook yourself) he sent back to the kitchen as he didn’t like the way it was cooked !!! I don’t know how the wonderful staff put up with people like that. We overheard terrible comments being made about guests who chose not to wear black tie - I wonder if those same snobs would be particular if a paramedic and nurse who were not in formal dress might need to attend to them in an emergency ? Shame on P&O for encouraging this archaic attitude. Read Less
Sail Date September 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 are regular P&O cruisers and had a party of 12 for a much and long awaited cruise with family. Embarkation was great and we were excited about the widely reported refurbishment - couldn't find anything different I have to say!! ... Read More
We are regular P&O cruisers and had a party of 12 for a much and long awaited cruise with family. Embarkation was great and we were excited about the widely reported refurbishment - couldn't find anything different I have to say!! Started to unpack and found a used sanitary towel in a bed side drawer - that was awful !!!!!!!. The toilet smelt strongly of urine and so did our daughters cabin on another floor - so this wasnt an isolated issue. The showers overflowed every time we used it and the dreaded awful shower curtains remained - the plastic panelling was also cracked in the shower which cant be hygienic. The cabin steward wasnt friendly nor did he clean the bathroom well each day. The toilet often didnt flush and we difinately hadnt put anything down them we shouldn't. The entertainment was awful at times - a duo - the girl just cant sing - heard better buskers - she was totally disinterested and its an insult to field such poor acts. Pulse was also poor - lead singer. Comedian was poor and we saw the same shows as we have done in the past 2 years - so we missed a few this cruise as we have seen them several times before. The Astonishing Show was great - very professional. Serious sounds were fanbtastic as they have been for the last 2 years - didnt tire of hearing the same act for the 3rd year running !! Entertainment Team unprofessional - had a total disregard for their passengers and seemed to be constantly having in jokes with themselves during their evenings with us - not particularly great to listen to and it got tedious. P and O and definately losing it - their focus is on selling Specialist restaurants and trips on board - if only their energies could be spent on getting the basics right. Having people on Reception who can actually help or communicate effectively once a complaint / issue had been raised. The queue for photos last night was over an hour wait and then when we got to the front desk finally they told us they hadnt managed to sort our order out and to come back later!! Not a great way to have to spend your last night - absolutely no customer care or valuing the passengers what so ever. Very rushed at times at breakfast times - Baytree Restaurant - Toast hard as rock and stone cold. When are they going to sort the milk jugs out the milk spilt all over EVERYTIME they were used. My husband paid £80 to see Marco Pierre White yesterday to watch him cook and to sample his dishes - everyone was fish based (no prior warning) and my husband hates fish so he couldnt try any of Marco's food - which was a massive shame and an expensive 2 hours ! I am so sad that P and O wont be the cruise of choice next time, we feel we cant recommend them to anyone again - we will retry Celebrity / Royal Carribean or Princess cruise liners next time in the hope their focus on the customer care and high standards have remained.. Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
We chose this cruise for the destinations. We stayed in Southampton for a few night previous to the cruise to get over jetlag. Getting to Southampton is not the easiest we have done and was very laborious. We did not need transfers to ... Read More
We chose this cruise for the destinations. We stayed in Southampton for a few night previous to the cruise to get over jetlag. Getting to Southampton is not the easiest we have done and was very laborious. We did not need transfers to the port as we had a car. The ship was a great ship, one of their medium size ships. The cabins are very similar to Princess ships, although you are able to have a kettle in your cabin which is fantastic. The activities on the ship were better than most, but the entertainment was not as good and could be improved. The ports are the reason that we picked this cruise. The shore excursions were also better than most. The dining to me was more refined and what cruising dining in the dining rooms should be. The service was outstanding. The staff were very helpful. Embarkation and dis-embarkation was a breeze and very easy to do, wish they were all like that. Read Less
Sail Date May 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
We chose this cruise as we were travelling with an extended family group (9 in total including 3 children) and wanted to depart from Southampton and visit somewhere sunny with beaches. I travelled with my husband and our children (age 1 ... Read More
We chose this cruise as we were travelling with an extended family group (9 in total including 3 children) and wanted to depart from Southampton and visit somewhere sunny with beaches. I travelled with my husband and our children (age 1 and 2), my parents-in-law, and my sister-in-law, her partner and son (age 10). We have cruised many times but it was a first cruise for the rest of the group. We booked a Superior Deluxe Balcony cabin (DE) almost a year in advance on a Select fare, and 2 weeks before our departure noticed on the cruise personaliser that our cabin had changed - to a family suite (BE)! With much excitement we frantically researched suite perks and butlers as had never travelled in a suite before. The rest of our group were in standard balcony cabins. Priority embarkation was brilliant, we arrived at the terminal, used CPS for parking, and were directed straight into a VIP area to wait to board (coffee and cake provided), however within seconds of arriving we were immediately directed through security and straight onto the ship. We went to a priority boarders lunch in one of the main dining rooms, received a glass of fizz and chose a light lunch from a small but tasty buffet selection. It was very calm and a pleasant start to our holiday. We then went to find our cabin and were thrilled to find it was double the size of the DE cabin we had booked, and basically had an inside cabin set within its footprint which we used for our two children. The suite gave us 2 bathrooms and double the usual amount of storage in a regular cabin, which was fantastic for all the baby clutter we had with us. There was also a large lounge area with 2 sofas and a double size balcony. We have sailed Ventura twice before (in a balcony and a superior deluxe balcony) but always aft to mid ship. The family suite was however right at the front and we felt far more movement than we were used to, the only disadvantage of our otherwise very lucky upgrade. the balcony furniture banged and rattled against our doors in the bad weather as we sailed down through the Bay of Biscay. We then enrolled our children for kids club, our daughter was old enough to go to Splashers (age 2-4) and we signed both up for night nursery - however never used it in the end. It turned out that our daughter absolutely loved her club and spent a couple of hours there most days, usually whilst our son napped, giving us some free time either to relax in the cabin or on the balcony, or for family to babysit so we could go out and about. We were impressed by how many hours a day the kids club was open, but think this was just due to it being a school holiday cruise. My nephew enjoyed his age group's club too and the evening sessions there let his parents drop him off after dinner and have some grown up time in the bar and at shows etc. The ship had just had a refit when we boarded, with carpets replaced, some soft furnishings changed and a refresh of the shops. This smartened the ship up and it seemed in good shape and looked cleaner and tidier than when we had last sailed on her 4 months earlier. The only negative change was that the interactive TV function to check bills and order room service had gone. We had freedom dining however went for dinner about 6pm every day as a large group. We were very well looked after in the main dining room by very friendly and accommodating waiters, we asked to be seated in the same area every night as these staff looked after us so well. We hardly used the buffet on this cruise as we found it too hectic and tricky to navigate with 2 toddlers and a buggy. As suite guests we were able to have breakfast in the fantastic Epicurean restaurant each morning which was such a treat. Top notch service and cooked to order food in a beautiful and calm setting. The only select dining restaurant we used was Sindhi, once for a romantic dinner for two and on the last day for a special lunch for the 4 of us. Both were excellent and we really enjoyed the food and were well looked after. Our room steward was also excellent and coped with all our mess so well. The butler however did not seem to do much, we just saw him once every evening when he brought us canapes, menus and milk for our children. As we were travelling with our young children we didn't really see any of the entertainment or make use of many facilities on board, other than Splashers, the Nursery where we played with our son each day, and one afternoon we managed a soak in the hot tub by the adult only spa pool whilst we were child free. We played in the casino a couple of times and Metropolis was our favourite spot for a drink day or night due to the great views. We didn't book any excursions and only used the shuttle buses in Madeira and Lisbon, both fast and efficient, with no queues by the time we left the ship after a late breakfast. In each port we just went for a walk, visited a beach, had an ice cream and found a playground. It worked well for us and made it a cheap trip! We would then get back on board for a late lunch. We loved the idea of pizza by the pool but the pizza was very disappointing. To conclude, the suite was an amazing upgrade, although the location not very desirable. The ship suited us well as a family, and we will be sailing Ventura again in November due to a great price on a Spain & Portugal itinerary. Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
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
Been on Azura 3 Times decided to try Ventura Food was Terrible in Buffet Indian and Asian food for 12 days, Food was always barely warm if not cold, if you wanted a salad,forget Ham or Prawns were only out twice complained to ... Read More
Been on Azura 3 Times decided to try Ventura Food was Terrible in Buffet Indian and Asian food for 12 days, Food was always barely warm if not cold, if you wanted a salad,forget Ham or Prawns were only out twice complained to Management only to be told it was exactly the same on all their ships!! What a load of rubbish could not fault anything on Azura, entertainment everything was brilliant . Unlike Ventura entertainment was poor, 1 band was on every night for 12 days ! We had a luxury executive room with balcony, sofa looked like it needed a good clean stained and faded as we're the curtains,. Will never go on his ship ever again, They say you pay for what you get well that's not true cost nearly £5000 for 3 of us for 12 days, don't feel I want to use P O ever again Read Less
Sail Date August 2016
This was a family cruise. Fifteen of us. Accommodated us all very well in the dining room with two tables next to each other. Also accommodated one vegetarian every night with a special menu. (Cruisers need to make known at time of ... Read More
This was a family cruise. Fifteen of us. Accommodated us all very well in the dining room with two tables next to each other. Also accommodated one vegetarian every night with a special menu. (Cruisers need to make known at time of booking if anyone is a vegetarian). All balcony cabins were good except one. There was a persistent knocking sound. After reporting to reception was moved to another cabin. Went during school holidays but did not really notice any children on board - we did not spend time by the children's pool. All the ports were walking distance - Vigo Oporto Lisbon Guernsey - no need to book excursions we felt. Entertainment was very good. Food was good although puddings a little disappointing. Also the buffet a little disappointing - not much chocolate in the way of cakes! We cruise every year but had five new cruisers in our party. The younger adults in our group said it was nice but were not hooked on cruising. One felt a little sick but soon overcame this. Read Less
Sail Date August 2016
Went with friends to celebrate special birthday on Iberian cruise. Weather pretty awful and very rough in Bay of Biscay. First two ports ruined by heavy rain, but weather improved after that. Although perfectly clean the ship looked quite ... Read More
Went with friends to celebrate special birthday on Iberian cruise. Weather pretty awful and very rough in Bay of Biscay. First two ports ruined by heavy rain, but weather improved after that. Although perfectly clean the ship looked quite tired with dirty carpets and bathroom looked in need of refurb. All staff were excellent and food was good in restaurants we used although evening buffet was a bit boring. Special mention for Headliners theatre company who were fantastic and filled the theatre every night, so much so that you needed to get there at least three quarters of an hour early to get a seat. Other entertainment was variable, but not bad. Not all to our taste. Main complaint was that the facilities were inadequate for the number of passengers and the ship felt very overcrowded and noisy, particularly on sea days. Frustrated to have only half days in Cartagena and Gibralter when ship seemed to travel very slowly after leaving them. This is the only cruise we have been on where we felt overcrowded and also slept badly as beds felt uncomfortable. Probably would not travel with P&O again, particularly from Southampton as there were too many sea days. Have travelled with other cruise lines and very much enjoyed it, particularly in Caribbean. Read Less
Sail Date May 2016
This was our third cruise with P&O in less than 12 months and the previous two on different ships were faultless. We could not praise them enough. Unfortunately Ventura let them down. In one of the bars we were served drinks in ... Read More
This was our third cruise with P&O in less than 12 months and the previous two on different ships were faultless. We could not praise them enough. Unfortunately Ventura let them down. In one of the bars we were served drinks in FILTHY glasses. We did tell the bar staff and all they did was pour the drinks into other glasses . We did report them to Reception and were told someone would be in touch the next day at the latest. Two days later nobody had bothered so we complained to reception, When we went back to the cabin there was a message on the phone but we never heard from him again. We did go on a tour which was a long day and when we got back there was another message from a different person.As it was late I left a message at reception that we could be contacted the next sea day, Never heard from him again. This was not the only problem in the buffet restaurant there were dirty cups and broken plastic glasses. Although hand washes were available and passengers were encouraged to use them which we agree with, not once did we see any of the staff use them, even when stacking glasses and cups. Also the majority of the restaurant waiters were miserable. We always tried to get to a certain part of the restaurant where the waiters were fantastic. Since returning home I have written to P&O and last contact we were told they were contacting the ship. Today 1/616 I was told that they did not think I want feed back. In other words sames as on the ship if we ignore you will go away. Read Less
Sail Date April 2016
I don't normally leave reviews, but feel that I need to on this occasion for the benefit of first time cruisers like ourselves. After booking our cruise from Southampton to Gurnsey, Portugal and Spain I went online to read reviews ... Read More
I don't normally leave reviews, but feel that I need to on this occasion for the benefit of first time cruisers like ourselves. After booking our cruise from Southampton to Gurnsey, Portugal and Spain I went online to read reviews and comments...I wish I hadn't as I felt quite disappointed and nervous due to the negative comments and complaints. I guess some people are hard to please and can find fault with anything....my nervousness was immediately put to rest from the moment we boarded Ventura. The embarkation ran smoothly and P&O were very organised and professional with every attention to detail covered. Once onboard....wow..wow..wow!!! Our balcony cabin was compact but offered everything we needed for a good nights sleep...there was too much going on to stay in there for long periods of time. Although we cruised in the school holidays, the children aboard were kept busy in the clubs and the swimming pool areas were never too much of a problem. The days at sea were obviously busier but never over crowded which I thought they may have been. All swimming pools and swimming pool areas were immaculate and despite other reviews, there were plenty of sun loungers to be found just not always in the busier and more popular spots. All the staff could not do enough for you, courteous, polite and always checking that you had everything. Our cabin steward was incredible...Manoj....thank you. We chose freedom dining and eat at the buffet style restaurants all week. The variety and choice of food was outstanding (24 hours every day). I think at times I did notice small queues for the waiter service restaurants, but you were provided with an electronic pager and beeped once your table was ready. We used room service once which was perfect and came with some lovely little touches. The port stops were nice, but unfortunately for us the weather was not. We only had one sunny day in Lisbon. Due to the poor weather conditions we were unable to stop at Gurnsey and our crossing over the Bay of Briscay was very choppy. I must admit I didn't like that too much. I cannot comment on the shows or films as we chose to retire early most evenings. I enjoyed the Spa resort, the prices were competitive to salons in the UK. The shops were adequate and offered a nice variety of goods. We were able to view our online account 24/7 on our TV in our room, this was settled very easily on the last night by the card which had been registered on the embarkation day. I could go on, and on .....I'm just so glad that we had this amazing experience which will stay with us forever....thank you P&O and Ventura. 2 travelling adults and 1 teenage son (17 yrs) Read Less
Sail Date August 2015
Ventura Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.2
Dining 4.0 3.8
Entertainment 4.0 3.6
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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