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5 P&O Cruises Ventura Cruise Reviews for First-Time Cruisers Cruises to Europe - All from Southampton

Spent 3 nights aboard Ventuta sailing to Le Havre and Zebrugge. This was my first ever cruise and I went with my mother who has cruised a few times,so has more insight into cruising than myself.Firtsly I must say We were both impressed ... Read More
Spent 3 nights aboard Ventuta sailing to Le Havre and Zebrugge. This was my first ever cruise and I went with my mother who has cruised a few times,so has more insight into cruising than myself.Firtsly I must say We were both impressed with the speed of embarkation and the helpfulness of the P&O team ashore.Our cabin C316,was very tired looking and the shower facility not really adequate,however cabin was clean and well serviced by our steward.The food really let the ship down.Rushed meals and not particularly well presented.The Waterside buffet was a bit of a bun fight to say the least.Entertainment was mediocre and the background music in the bar areas way too loud,although you could find quiet areas.Excursions were good with informative tour guides.Would we go on this ship again? Definitely not for me. Read Less
Sail Date November 2015
We are seasoned cruisers, but this was my first with P&O, but not for my wife. It was a short seven day cruise that went as far as Lisbon. The weather was mixed with some wet days and some better days. I won't comment on the ports ... Read More
We are seasoned cruisers, but this was my first with P&O, but not for my wife. It was a short seven day cruise that went as far as Lisbon. The weather was mixed with some wet days and some better days. I won't comment on the ports but focus on the cruise. The good things. We were given a time to embark. This worked better then I thought. We arrived at 3pm, and were on board well before 3.30pm. The food. Outstanding. Up there with the very best we have had on cruises. The variety of food in the buffet was vey good. We used it most days for breakfast and lunch. The quality was also excellent. We went freedom dining and the choice, quality and service in our restaurant was outstanding. The ship itself was in good shape given it is seven years old. It was very clean both in the public areas and our cabin. Our cabin steward was also excellent. The entertainment was good. We enjoyed the production shows, four in a week. The dancers were excellent, although the singers did not quite have the range we have seen elsewhere, good at rock, not so good for musicals. Our loo was blocked but sorted within thirty minutes. The Not so Good The interactive TV was not. We asked for it to be resolved but it was not. Could take fifteen minutes just to check the inboard account. We gave up checking messages. The bar staff were not always efficient at serving. Once we waited more then twenty minutes. Went to the counter, but was told to wit for a waiter to serve us. Some of the swimming pools were out of action for much of the cruise. Given it was half term, the others were full of children, so never really got a swim. More avoiding kids in the pool. We like quizzes but felt they were held in the wing place. Many were in a small bar area, which was full fifteen minutes before start time. The ones we were able to attend were good. We also saw two recent films. However all in all we had a good time and would be happy to go with P&O again. Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
We arrived in Southampton at around half 12, and weren't supposed to embark until about half 3, but only had to wait about 10 minutes in the lounge area before we were called. Had picture taken, gave credit card details, and went ... Read More
We arrived in Southampton at around half 12, and weren't supposed to embark until about half 3, but only had to wait about 10 minutes in the lounge area before we were called. Had picture taken, gave credit card details, and went through customs all very smoothly, the whole process took less than 20 minutes. When we got on the ship we were told that we would not be able to go to our cabins until around 2pm, but that wasn't a problem, as we only had our hand luggage and a couple of suit bags. We made our way up to deck 15 where the buffets, bars and pools were and as soon as we sat down we were approached by a member of the bar staff, who was extremely helpful and service was with a massive smile, which is what you want to see on your holidays. When we got to our balcony cabin, we were pretty surprised at how roomy it was and the balcony was very spacious too. We asked our cabin steward for an ice bucket and glasses, as we had brought champagne on board with us. Nothing was too much trouble for the cabin steward, who turned our beds down each night and left a chocolate. I could get used to this lifestyle. Although the sail away was a little late, we were very lucky with the weather and able to go onto the open deck 15 and listen to the band, and watch everyone / join in the party. We ate in Saffron, one of the freedom dining restaurants on both nights, where we had the choice to wait for a table for two, or share. We chose to share, and met some really lovely people. We also went to the Arena theatre on the first night, although I wasn't overly impressed with the comedian. Then off to the Havana nightclub, first night was a Take That tribute and second night was a Tina Turner tribute, the club was packed both nights, but this didn't present a problem for the bar staff, who were really hard working and efficient. We also had breakfast and afternoon tea in one of the buffet restaurants, which we were happy with. We had breakfast on the second morning in Saffron, and the quality was excellent, as was the service, always with a smile. The only complaint we had about the breakfast was that the toast was hard and cold, and had obviously been pre prepared. However, this didn't spoil our breakfast at all. We didn't get to see all the areas of the ship in the two days, it just wasn't enough time, but what we did see was fab. We went on a coach trip excursion on Guernsey, which wasn't very good, and didn't leave a great impression of the island, its probably not somewhere we would choose to visit to be honest, and we have decided not to bother with any more excursions when we go on future cruises. We weren't due to disembark until half 3, but as we were ready at around half 9, we were allowed to leave the ship and collect our luggage, which was waiting for us. A very smooth disembarkation. Fantastic weekend, we are already looking at booking our next cruise with P&O. Read Less
Sail Date September 2015
This was my first ever cruise and I was looking forward to it so much. My son also married on board. There were some positive points I.e. Loved my cabin and balcony, the housekeeper kept this very well but having said that as a solo ... Read More
This was my first ever cruise and I was looking forward to it so much. My son also married on board. There were some positive points I.e. Loved my cabin and balcony, the housekeeper kept this very well but having said that as a solo occupant I was also v tidy. My five year old grandson loved the kids club but we were a little concerned when told that they were registered for 100 in a relatively small area. Fortunately, on the times he attended this number did not materialise. Sindhu was a lovely restaurant as was the glasshouse - at a supplementary charge .... The main at the Epicurean was delicious but service very poor and seemingly lacking leadership. The weather was poor and as a result the planned stop at Guernsey was cancelled and we set off for Lisbon. crossing the Bay of biscay was rocky but not unexpected as this is a renowned area of inclement weather. Neither can P & O be held accountable for poor weather. However, with three thousand plus passengers crammed on board the whole ship was overcrowded and it did feel like Butlins on a boat. With tots in our party the swimming pools were unsafe due to overcrowding (way over the recommended number and no checks made) and it was impossible to use jacuzzis as these were both monopolised , and overcrowded, with young teens. The retreat for adults is available - at an additional cost ... We waited patiently to use the single netted area on deck 19 to vacate so we could play with a five year old. Unfortunately, within minutes of entering there, a group of young teens also decided they would go in - result was people and balls flying everywhere. No system or checking therefore older children again monopolising the area. With cricket bats and balls it is an accident waiting to happen. A safer, and fairer, syestem would be allocated time slots and supervised by staff to ensure safety. For three thousand plus passengers to have one netted area, one golf area, one set for quoits and one giant set of chess - it's a bit lacking !! The captain was an affable gentleman and the wedding went well, canapés were laid on whilst we awaited the couple having photos taken. The GF canapes were delicious but no drinks had been provided - not even water - these were extra and had to be purchased. One small bowl of crisps for four young children seems a bit stingy and others, were requested and provided at additional cost - (spice flavoured). The wedding meal was held in the Epicurean. Staff here seemed ineffective, over loaded and confused. My son, daughter in law and her parents sat on one table and the rest of us round the corner, up against a wall, on another table. Staff had lists which had been meticulously sorted by my well organised daughter in law but seemed unable to refer to them and mixed up many of the meals - which arrived at various intervals. One child waited A long time for a dessert - by which time we had all finished ours although three of us left them as they were raw pastry. Some three hours later, with tired and bored children we left before coffee was served as everything seemed to take an age. Food in the buffet was a case of attempting to find a table first - quite a feat as everywhere packed. It did not cater at all well for coeliac individuals and staff seemed poorly informed. No labels on any food stating GF or veggie so had to ask which was suitable - much to the annoyance of other passengers waiting behind. Given conflicting information resulting in one very upset stomach and a sleepless night. food was canteen style and quality. Spoke to other people with similar probs and they were terribly disappointed. Almost in tears one day when told the only sauce I could eat on my steak was tomato ketchup. I paid the same price as everyone else but had very, very limited options. I had one of the worst GF pizzas I had ever eaten whilst on board - burnt on the outside and cold in the middle. Apart from restaurants where we paid extra the food was a massive disappointment to me. To summarise, there were some highlights and good points I.e. Embarking and disembarking was very slick, cabin and balcony, the glasshouse, Sindu and the main at the Epicurean but I think P &O should look to either selling purely family cruises or other as they seem to want to capture all groups of clientele and, in my opinion, this is not working. They also seem The experience for me was one of 'pack them in and get them to spend'. Staff work very hard and are mostly polite and helpful but way overloaded in restaurants especially. Maybe another carrier would offer a better experience. Read Less
Sail Date August 2015
We joined the cruise as first time sceptics, not expecting to enjoy it. From the straightforward embarkation process to the speedy disembarkation (so much faster than an airport) we loved everything about Ventura. We are in our 50s and ... Read More
We joined the cruise as first time sceptics, not expecting to enjoy it. From the straightforward embarkation process to the speedy disembarkation (so much faster than an airport) we loved everything about Ventura. We are in our 50s and 60s and were pleasantly surprised by the mainly younger clientele on board. We didn't like the idea of being surrounded by pensionsers. The service and food in the Saffron restaurant was excellent for the price. I can't praise the staff on board highly enough. Every single individual was friendly, helpful and efficient. Bar prices very reasonable. One small niggle was the fact that we had to wait 20 minutes in cold and rain for our return coach from Blankenburg back to Zeebrugge. Seemed rather unnecessary as there was only 1 train per hour and it would have been easy to have plenty of coaches waiting for the train. The spa was great. Again friendly, helpful staff. Clean facilities, although the steam room did have a rather musty damp smell which was a bit off-putting. A great two nights - we would definitely go on another P&O cruise. Read Less
Sail Date April 2015
Ventura Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.2
Dining 4.0 3.8
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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