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99 Southampton to Europe - Western Mediterranean P&O Cruises Ventura Cruise Reviews

Good itinerary inc. Rome/Naples/Sardinia, and whilst we are not anti-kids this was the first one outside the school holidays. Usually take a suite but prices were crazy, typically double what we normally pay, and P&O were still ... Read More
Good itinerary inc. Rome/Naples/Sardinia, and whilst we are not anti-kids this was the first one outside the school holidays. Usually take a suite but prices were crazy, typically double what we normally pay, and P&O were still offering a suite at top price on the morning we sailed. Opted for E730 Superior Deluxe and it was great with the big end/corner balcony, and none of the horror stories about noise from the nightclub below or engine vibrations - there must be some very picky light sleepers who find this cabin a problem. Lots of familiar friendly faces in the crew who remembered us from previous cruises and were genuinely pleased to see us and chat and update us on the families, lovely. Food was generally good in MDR and Buffet at lunch, and lots of veg. choice, not all green beans as some so often point out. Galley tour and Brunch was good. Buffet not as frenetic as it can be and far less table reserving whilst one goes to the Buffet and one stays holding table - which takes too much time if tables are busy. MDR menu cycles are a bit repetitive, same cycle for a number of years, but with ten main course choices at dinner not an issue. Epicurean continues to be a delight, and on day one excellent value at £17 per person. Did three shows all good, "Phantom" singer, comedy pianist, and Astonish which was amazing, OK you can work out some of the illusions but not all, and I'm still trying to work out the 4 card trick you all take part in! WW2 talks are same/similar as in all previous cruises over the years, and are getting a bit long in the tooth, you will be c90 now to have been in service in WW2. Some new topics perhaps, still military, what about Falklands, and current armed forces? Dancing is not my love although the Leader of the Opposition loves it and I can get round the dance floor. Goran and Roanna who we have been with before are excellent, and with Roanna even I thought I could Cha Cha. Met some nice fellow dancers and "watchers". Wheelchair/scooters not as many as can be sometimes, and none were demanding special service/queue/lift jumping. Second time on Ventura this year and 6/7 times overall. Been on other P&O ships and all good but we like Ventura and Azura best - big enough to have everything but not too big, mind you we will give Iona a try. Booked two cruises on Board - best value. Took one P&O excursion to Amalfi coast and Pompeii excellent, two through Cruise Excursions Barcelona Gaudi and Rome under our own steam - dropped off at the Colosseum and picked up at St Peters, easy and Rome done leisurely. Captain was quite visible around the ship and approachable. Rescued three migrants halfway between Africa/Spain, an increasing issue I suspect, well done to passengers and Bridge spotting them. Embarkation and disembarkation seemed to be further tweaked and improved, very little waiting around or big queues. An excellent cruise as ever. Martin Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
We selected this cruise as it was one of the only ships that had a suite with two bedrooms and was traveling to Monaco between the two Grand Prixs and the track was set up; Our cabin was the Oriana Suite with a balcony Situated at the ... Read More
We selected this cruise as it was one of the only ships that had a suite with two bedrooms and was traveling to Monaco between the two Grand Prixs and the track was set up; Our cabin was the Oriana Suite with a balcony Situated at the front Port side of the ship;There are two bedrooms which we had set up as two king beds; There were two Pulman beds in the second bedroom which we did not use, we also noticed that the two sofas in the living room were also sofa beds; both rooms had a dressing area, ample storage and hanging space, dressing table in each room with hair dryer, three small TVs and BOSE sound system; Bathroom in main suite area had a bath and overhead shower, the second bedroom had a shower room. Both rooms had a connecting door and each cabin had its own door and key; the second cabin would be considered an Interior cabin as it did not have window; Ample space for four adults; The Butler service was not really necessary as he was lazy and tardy, All talk and no action; However our cabin Steward Vincent, was amazing and picked up the chores that Butler was meant to be doing; However we spoke to lead steward and explained what was happening and they immediately addressed and things improved; The food was amazing we took breakfast in The White Room (Epicurean) each morning and sat outside on the rear deck the food and service were amazing in this restaurant, We also enjoyed the Champagne afternoon tea in this restaurant and ate our Evening Meal several times also in this fantastic restaurant; The Sindu Restaurant was also very good and again the food quality was excellent; Small Cover charges apply in these two restaurants but well worth it; We were also surprised at the quality of the food served in the Cinnamon and Saffron restaurants, three of our cruise nights we spent in these and again the food was very good; The Glass house was also excellent, lovely staff, we did not eat in the buffet so we are not able to comment on this food. The staff all over the ship were so happy and helpful and minor glitches were sorted instantly along with a complimentary drink or bottle of wine so nothing to grumble about as any issue was sorted immediately along with care and consideration Unfortunately we delayed with a propeller issue before we left port, but we were kept fully informed and eventually sailed at 11.30pm but we were not too bothered as we had been able to start our holiday have a lovely leisurely lunch explored the ship, had a facial and lovely evening meal before we left Port; Had we had a flight delay we would have been stuck in airport searching for meals and listening to frustrated passengers demanding information from service desk; We missed the port of Cadiz as the captain had to divert to Vigo but again we were offered excellent trips in Vigo and our own Cruise Insurance refunded £150.00 each for the schedule Change and having paid an extra £12.00 to cover the excess we received the full amount of £300.00. The P&O excursions were also very good although we had a small glitch in Livorno whereby the river trip was cancelled; BUT by that evening after telling the excursion desk when we returned we missed the river trip due to the boat breakdown, our on board account received a 25% credit for each person and a letter of apology; Amazing after sales service; A couple of the P&O excurisions were fully booked and we used a company called www.cruisingexcursions.com this company was excellent and amazing value for money; The Entertainment on this cruise was mostly around Strictly Come Dancing which was well advertised before we booked and we knew this was going to be on board, we did not realise that a lot of the normal entertainment shows would not be available, although alternative entertainment was available in the Havanah and Tamerind Clubs; The two on board Guest Speakers were very good; The ship itself was very tidy and clean, Our cabin recently had a new carpet installed and again the service was excellent; I have read through other reports and notice some very disappointing feed back, I have to say having been on several cruise lines, Cunard, Regent Seven Seas, P&O and Royal Caribbean, thus far, this was fantastic Value for money and exceed our expectations for the money we paid; We felt we received far more than we paid for, would definitely book this ship again and recommend this ship without hesitation; My advice is IF THERE IS ANYTHING you are disappointed with speak to any of the Managers at the time you are experiencing the problem and they will help / explain and ensure you understand what is going on; This was the best customer service we have received in a long time; Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
We chose this cruise as it was visiting Oporto and Lisbon - well meant to have been. On the first sea day we were advised no Oporto due to technical failure which would be rectified in Lisbon. A late arrival in Vigo and evening departure ... Read More
We chose this cruise as it was visiting Oporto and Lisbon - well meant to have been. On the first sea day we were advised no Oporto due to technical failure which would be rectified in Lisbon. A late arrival in Vigo and evening departure From Lisbon to compensate! However with the speed we travelled on departure from Lisbon we are sure an earlier departure would have enabled a half day call at Oporto. Two sea days with little to do on board were rather tedious and we would not have booked a weeks cruise to have three sea days out of the 6 full days, Otherwise we were pleasantly pleased with the cabin HA Balcony on C deck with a 10ft deep balcony. We had travelled in January on the Celebrity Millenium and the cabin on there was dreadful by comparison. The food on board was of a high quality again unlike the Millenium, and the service from the restaurant staff and waiters on board was very good. Would I travel on the Ventura again? I very much doubt it. The ship has 3,500 pax capacity far too many people when endeavouring to disembark/embark by tender with 3 hours total spent queuing in Guernsey. I much prefer smaller ships such as a Queen Victoria and Oosterdam/Nieuw Amsterdam. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
We chose this cruise as we went on a 7 day cruise for the first time last August on P & O's Britannia and we decided there and then that we would do the Mediterranean this year and as we had such excellent treatment with P & O ... Read More
We chose this cruise as we went on a 7 day cruise for the first time last August on P & O's Britannia and we decided there and then that we would do the Mediterranean this year and as we had such excellent treatment with P & O Cruises, we would use them again. Our cruise had seven ports of call and seven sea days and every part of it was wonderful, from the crew, waiters and waitresses, entertainers, chefs, cabin steward and shore excursions, the whole deal was perfect! On our arrival back at Southampton, I said that I could gladly do the same cruise again as each of the ports of call, you could visit and see something totally new the next time. It was our first visit to Italy and our excursions to Rome, Sorrento and Pompeii were stunning. Our cabin steward, Ramesh was such a happy, cheerful guy, always greeting us every morning, before starting his long day. Then again in the evening Ramesh would wish us an enjoyable evening on our way to dine at the restaurant, it was a pleasure to have him looking after us throughout the cruise. Having now done two cruises with P & O I can honestly say that the entertainment on board their fleet is second to none and the Headliners dancers, singers and musicians are extremely talented and so pleasant. The entertainments team work so hard doubling up with various tasks throughout the cruise and are helpful, polite and fun loving. From comedians, shows, speakers, illusionists, singers, etc. our entire cruise was non-stop entertainment, and it didn't cost us a penny! We dined in the Bay Tree restaurant each evening and our waiters, Rally and Mario were so much fun and so hard-working - they never stopped. Our wine waiter Johnathan was also a hard-worker, I regularly saw him working the various parts of the ship during the day, our restaurant at night and in the clubs after the restaurants had closed. The Ventura is a family friendly ship and there were young families on board, yet it didn't impact on anyone's enjoyment, well not on ours anyway, in fact there is nothing better than the sound of youngsters enjoying themselves. Read Less
Sail Date June 2017
My first cruise on Ventura was back in 2010 when I was not impressed with the ship, so it was with some in trepidation that I returned to her. However, I must say that I was most impressed with the improvements I found. I am a frequent ... Read More
My first cruise on Ventura was back in 2010 when I was not impressed with the ship, so it was with some in trepidation that I returned to her. However, I must say that I was most impressed with the improvements I found. I am a frequent cruiser having done over 50 cruises with more than 10 cruise lines. Ventura and Azura are the largest ships I have travelled on and now I am starting to recognise the benefits of a larger ship. I had priority boarding but there were a lot of frequent cruisers (Caribbean level and above) on this cruise. However, I was still on board within 20 minutes of arriving at the port. There have been many comments about the state of Ventura with the ship being tired and in need of a refit. Yes, there is some worn carpet but it took me two days to find one stair that had some threads showing. To be honest I didn’t look that hard as I was enjoying myself. Given reports of norovirus on many ships it was good to see that there were staff cleaning lift controls and stair banisters on a regular basis. I went on this cruise with the intention of having a rest and to get some sun. This was achieved as both crossings of the Bay of Biscay were smooth and once clear of the bay it was t-shirt and shorts weather. Good weather in the Canaries and Agadir. I only took the shuttle in port where available and the most surprising port was Agadir – so much nicer than Casablanca – and well worth getting off the ship to see. I was on club dining and had the second sitting with a table of singles. Service was very good with all courses being served in time to get to any of the 10:30 shows. Menus were very good and seem to be the new ones that P&O planned to introduce. A good choice of six starters, three soups plus a salad. Mains usually had a choice of six or seven plus a further three regional/regular ones. Deserts also had a good selection with a couple of ice cream choices. As usual there was cheese and stilton available and the waiters were keen to give a large portion. Entertainment can be a bit hit or miss but as the ship has three main entertainment areas, there was a good selection to choose from in addition to entertainment in various bars and atrium. Some shows were very well attending with standing room only if you arrived close to the starting time. One downside was that there was only one speaker who gave seven talks. These were of interest to me but may not appeal to everyone. Some days, a film was shown in the theatre in the afternoon. I never had any difficulty finding a seat on deck or in any of the bars with the exception of the coffee shop. I had booked an HF grade cabin which was upgraded to an HB one. This was mid-ships on R deck and apart from some noise with people walking on the deck above was fine. My cabin stewardess saw that I always took an early breakfast so always serviced the cabin by the time I had finished breakfast. Food in the alternative restaurants was very good and the menus changed for the second week of the cruise. There were some early dining offers where a bottle of wine was included if you booked for 6:30 or earlier. I also sampled the food/wine pairing meal in the Glasshouse which was good value compared to other lines. Staff in all areas of the ship were friendly and keen to help and many would say hello as you went around the ship. SO, would I go in Ventura again? Answer is yes and have a further three cruises booked on her. The ship met my expectations, not as elegant as say the Cunard Queens but more than adequate for a winter break. You can find issues on most ships, but none spoilt my enjoyment of this cruise. Read Less
Sail Date January 2017
First time sailing with P&O, but it will not be the last. We had to be on board at 2.30pm but we arrive at the dock at 1pm thought that we would have a long wait to get on board but we were told to join the line of people follow them ... Read More
First time sailing with P&O, but it will not be the last. We had to be on board at 2.30pm but we arrive at the dock at 1pm thought that we would have a long wait to get on board but we were told to join the line of people follow them to the main hall fill in the medial cards, when our number was called to go to the counter get our information put on record was given our cabin and accounts card and pass throw security and on to the ship all in 15 to 20 mins {not bad time in all}. The staff on board were most helpful as my husband suffers from IBF [Lactose intolerance to daily milk cheese & butter] the restaurants bent over backwards to have meals that he could eat. Room service most helpful in having Lactose free milk so we could enjoy the tea & coffee in our cabin. The only things about the cruise that we find off putting was the Black Tie and Evening wear nights [3 in 10 days cruise] which we find to much it also does not leave many place to eat if you do not want to dress up, also they must do something about the channels on the TV they are very poor in programmers. As we do not tend to go to the shows, this cruise we find they were some entertaining. When come to Disembarking the ship we find again no problem we had the choice of take our suit cases off ship yourself or wait and be called later in the morning to collect them in the warehouse. Read Less
Sail Date November 2016
I went with my husband, elderly mother and father (80) and brother. We had balcony rooms on R deck. This is the second cruise for my husband and I and we used Princess last time so had something to compare with. I cannot fault this cruise ... Read More
I went with my husband, elderly mother and father (80) and brother. We had balcony rooms on R deck. This is the second cruise for my husband and I and we used Princess last time so had something to compare with. I cannot fault this cruise as all 5 of us enjoyed it and would love to cruise using P&O again. Embankment was no problem, bags were taken from us as soon as we arrived and we were in our rooms in less than an hour. The balcony rooms are lovely and clean and the views are fantastic. Balcony furniture is ideal. I noticed the balcony fronts were always kept clean so views were not compromised. The food was amazing and we used Freedom Dining as our option due there being five of us. We used all available restaurants within the Freedom Dining arrangement and we were never disappointed with the quality, service or menus. You are able to visit three other restaurants on the ship but they incur a service charge but we were very happy with the food experience without adding further expense. I enjoyed the entertainment however the men in our party were not so keen. The dancers and singers gave thier all. The arena was a full house every night and the comedians had us laughing. I would have liked more educational talks in the day but 3000 people are a lot to please. Ports were lovely to visit and enjoyed them all. P&O have shuttle busses laid on which are great. We had rain on some days so a bit of a damper but that had nothing to do with P&O. Staff were so professional and we felt truly pampered. We all enjoyed the cruise and would love to do it all again. Read Less
Sail Date November 2016
We booked this cruise because of the 5 destinations we had never been to 4 of them: La Coruna, Cadiz, Gibraltar and Lisbon. Malaga we'd visited many times but nonetheless it was still great to go back. All the ports were excellent. ... Read More
We booked this cruise because of the 5 destinations we had never been to 4 of them: La Coruna, Cadiz, Gibraltar and Lisbon. Malaga we'd visited many times but nonetheless it was still great to go back. All the ports were excellent. The cruise overall was an excellent value for money deal. Also, we've booked a 2017 cruise on the Ventura with an elderly relative and a wheelchair user so we used this opportunity to check out the ship's facilities which seemed excellent. I'll report back on how that trip goes in August 2017. We travelled by rail to Southampton - a dangerous thing to rely on in the current Southern Rail crisis as it turned out but we left a huge margin for delays and train cancellations. The Ventura is huge and we are relatively new to cruising but the ship felt spacious and, very occasionally, not particularly crowded. The public areas were clean and well presented. My greatest fear was getting caught up in lengthy embarkation and disembarkation queues, and thus wasting precious shore time, but, apart from Gibraltar, getting on and off was handled very efficiently throughout and many passengers seemed to stay on the ship in most ports anyway. There was only half a day in Gibraltar which was not enough by general passenger consensus. Most of the ship's population seemed to want to get off to grab some duty free. Port and ship staff just couldn't process everyone on and off before the scheduled departure time and the queue was nearly an hour to get back on. We had a basic balcony cabin B612 which was excellent. The double bed, apart from the annoying two singles pushed together scenario, was otherwise comfortable and our cabin steward superb. The TV access to our on-board account worked but was incredibly slow. WiFi was expensive at some £12 per day for the intermediate package (ie. no streaming) so we used that on sea days. Outbound, the ship rolled around quite extensively in the Bay of Biscay - surprisingly so (to me anyway) for such a big ship and it was not stormy by any stretch. That coincided unfortunately with our booking in the Sindhu restaurant which was a bit wasted. Yet the food there (and in the Epicurean) was mostly delicious although there was far too much of it. Most of the time we opted for freedom dining in the evening and sat at tables with 6 - 10 people rather than wait typically 40 minutes for a table for two; that proved enjoyable overall and it was nice to meet new people each evening. Freedom dining menus also made it easier to manage portion size compared to the speciality dining and the overall food quality was excellent; I really do not understand some of the reviews that criticise the choice and/or quality of the meals on this ship. Other meals we tended to go for the self service options which had some deliciously healthy salady things as well as mega-calorie options. I can quite believe the unashamedly blatant factoid in the Horizon newsletter that the average passenger gains 7 - 14 lbs on a cruise like this (and so should attend the exercise sessions!). I put on just 2 lbs which was a relief really. Service throughout the ship - in the bars and restaurants - was pretty faultless really given the scale of the operation and numbers of people involved. We went on a 'behind the scenes' tour of the ship which, although a tad expensive, was fascinating, awesome in parts, and most reassuring. A fascinating half hour on the bridge was the highlight of my time on the Ventura. The port excursion desk staff were friendly although not that helpful at enabling independent touring which was actually quite easy in the ports visited. The P&O port guide leaflets highlighted the key must-see sites in each location but generally omitted to show where they were on the map or explain how to get there. Other websites had provided us with the information needed to do our own thing. In La Coruna, for example, we took a (superbly efficient) train to Santiago de Compostela for 19 euros return (for two) rather than £72 for the coach excursion - far more thought and planning involved for sure, but fun also. We did book a P&O excursion for Gibraltar (Secrets of the Rock) which was absolutely superb and really helped make maximum use of the limited time there for us as first-time visitors. The Horizon daily newsletter and hotel team broadcast the huge variety of activities available. I particularly enjoyed the astronomy lecturer on sea days. I tried out a spa back and neck massage treatment which was excellent and my partner swore by the efficacy of a few acupuncture sessions. There were a number of free health related talks but you did need to be prepared for a hard sell should you opt for an individual follow up session. For example, we had some very dubious "body composition tests" carried out following one of the talks which, according to the 'professional', pointed to the urgent need need to invest in a course of detoxifying tablets costing many hundreds of pounds. As ever, it's always best to take results like these away and review what to do in the cold light of day. Not surprisingly, a large area of the ship seems solely geared towards shopping or otherwise extracting money from passengers. Entertainment was mixed and down to personal taste. So I'm not going to comment on it! Final disembarkation was fine for us - we weren't in a rush because Southern Rail had cancelled our train. We were off the ship and out of the terminal ahead of our notified disembarkation time. However, there was some chaos and visible frayed tempers in the Tamarind Bar during the process I think because the system for managing the large groups of passengers was a bit random and unfair. So, a most enjoyable trip and the first cruise for which I am delighted to award an overall excellent rating. This experience compared very favourably to a much less satisfactory short cruise on the P&O Oriana which I've also reviewed on this site. Read Less
Sail Date November 2016
Thought we would give P&O a try as they are held in such high esteem by their past customers, maybe I set my expectations too high? We selected a 10 day Iberia cruise in an outside unobstructed cabin The departure port was Southampton ... Read More
Thought we would give P&O a try as they are held in such high esteem by their past customers, maybe I set my expectations too high? We selected a 10 day Iberia cruise in an outside unobstructed cabin The departure port was Southampton which was a first for us. Here are my thoughts about my 14th cruise but first with P&O. I have cruised with 5 other cruise lines. Positives - It was a reasonable price for a 10 day cruise, the entertainment was good and the staff on the whole were efficient, hard working and polite but not over friendly (which suits me). The itinerary was good (except Gibraltar) and the bar/entertainment areas were nice to visit in the evening. We really enjoyed all the entertainment and drinks prices were reasonable. There were quite a few negatives however which will put me off cruising with P&O again. The cabin was dated and small, the age profile of the other guests was extremely old (I am in my 50's and felt young) Everyone was British so on board, it was like a sketch from Little Britain and didn't feel like a med cruise when returning on board each day. The dining room experience was extremely rushed and the 2 person tables were very very close to the next table so no privacy at all. The food in the dining room was uninspiring, I felt that they were working to a budget. Mains such as pies, fish, cornish pasty etc cropping up more than once. Boring food, very disappointing and just the 3 courses! My starter was virtually removed while I was still chewing and replaced immediately by my main course so the dining experience was around 30 minutes in total most nights. The staff worked hard but the ratio of staff to cruisers meant that they had no time to chat and build a rapport which is a first for me on a cruise Apart from a couple of Indian nights in the buffet we felt that the choice and availability of food was the worst we had seen on any cruise. A roast dinner and one other choice plus a very sad salad and desert bar. It closes very early and by around 9 pm there was a tiny station still left open. Pizza bases were not even freshly made on board, a minor thing but summed up the lack of effort for me. Lastly, I felt that the rigorous enforcement of the dress code was very out dated when compared to up market lines such as Celebrity or Holland America. They were happy for you to wear a cheap black suit and tie but not to wear an expensive smart outfit? Why? Consequently I think it attracts its fair share of "twopence ha'penny millionaires" which is quite amusing to watch but sad for P&O as surely they won't survive. Its a package holiday remember and only a 3* at that so they need to improve and move with the times. I am British but will not be selecting P&O again sadly. Read Less
Sail Date November 2016
This was our first time on Ventura for 3 years, and she remains one of our favourite ships. I was a bit wary of what the weather would be like in early November but it was much better than I feared. Embarkation in the refurbished ... Read More
This was our first time on Ventura for 3 years, and she remains one of our favourite ships. I was a bit wary of what the weather would be like in early November but it was much better than I feared. Embarkation in the refurbished Mayflower Terminal was excellent. Our check-in time was 15:30, but we arrived at 13:15 and had dropped car off, checked in, boarded and got to our cabin within 25 minutes, with luggage already there. There were some minor areas where Ventura could do with a bit of TLC, such as stains on the bed valance, carpets on stair edges and in buffet frayed, and the gold covering on panels in lifts peeling off - but these are just minor cosmetic issues. We chose this cruise because we had not yet been to three of ports: Valencia, Ibiza and Cartagena. And we loved all three ports. Valencia - lovely city, although shuttle bus needed as berth is on the outer limits of the port. Terminal was non-existent, just an empty tent, with no welcome at all. Got bus into city, about 4 miles and did own thing, someone to give maps out would have been nice, but nothing. Ibiza - the old town is beautiful. We walked from the berth, takes about 30 mins but pleasant walk past apartments and hotels. Port workers here were giving out maps but they were of the island, not the town centre, but the town is compact enough not to really need a map. Cartagena - ship berths in city centre, Roman Theatre was impressive and only 5 mins walk from the ship. Read Less
Sail Date October 2016
After reading some of the adverse remarks on Cruise Critic, we were a little apprehensive of what we may find on this ship, but I have to say we were pleasantly surprised. When weighing the pros and cons up with Celebrity and Royal ... Read More
After reading some of the adverse remarks on Cruise Critic, we were a little apprehensive of what we may find on this ship, but I have to say we were pleasantly surprised. When weighing the pros and cons up with Celebrity and Royal Caribbean, P & O came out very well. Not perhaps as luxurious as Celebrity but just as good, if not better, than RCI. We found the Staff to be very pleasant and helpful, especially our Cabin Steward, Monoj, who always remembered our slices of lemon and ice for our G & T's!! If you treat people well, you will usually find the same treatment. We chose Club dining and again the food was better than expected, not as good as it used to be but nowhere near as poor as we had been led to believe on earlier reviews, and we are 'foodies' and quite picky! We ate in Sindhu on 2 occasions and thoroughly enjoyed the food - it has certainly spoilt us for our local Indian! The Glass House is a favourite of ours and never disappoints! We did not eat in Epicurean this time, as we feel £40 per head is a little over the top - the standard of food should be this good throughout the ship. We ate breakfast in the Bay Tree and often went up to the Beach House for a late lunch around 2 -2.30 when it was quiet and much more pleasant than the usual bun fight! We didn't see anyone dressed 'scruffily' at dinner as had been mentioned before - in fact people were much more smartly dressed than on Celebrity or RCI, especially on formal nights - it wasn't unusual to see lovely long dresses and white tuxedos. The entertainment was very good, especially The Opera Boys and Sam Kane and the Headliners were first class. A lot has been said about the loud music blaring out on deck, but this can easily be toned down, sitting on your own balcony or in the many quiet parts of the ship. The Metropolis was the best place for a drink before or after dinner, good atmosphere and music. A great shame that people don't actually get up and dance! There are lots of things we could criticise, but what is the point, it wont make any difference in the long run! Sometimes you have to just make the best of things! Read Less
Sail Date September 2016
We would not normally travel during the school holidays but due to circumstances it was now or wait until November which we did not want to do. However, any concerns we had about children running riot were soon dispelled as those we came ... Read More
We would not normally travel during the school holidays but due to circumstances it was now or wait until November which we did not want to do. However, any concerns we had about children running riot were soon dispelled as those we came across were very well behaved and we loved seeing them all dressed up in their little DJs and sparkly dresses on the formal nights. Didn't see one tantrum during the whole fortnight! Don't get me wrong, we are not anti children but don't particularly want screaming kids running around out of control when we are trying to relax. The greater age range this enabled was also good. On some cruises we have come out of the late show to find that everyone appears to have gone to bed. It was great to have a bit of a buzz later at night! Embarkation was excellent. From parking the car to being in our cabin took about 45 minutes. More or less walked straight on. We were blessed with beautiful weather and saw some truly amazing sunsets. Also lots of pods of dolphins. Reading a previous review, someone commented that the fruit juice at breakfast was made from powder. I can reassure readers that this is not the case as I saw the dispensers being topped up several times from juice cartons. We enjoyed the entertainment we saw. On a personal note, it really annoys me that some people will stay for 10 minutes, decide it is not for them and then disrupt everyone around them by walking out. The shows only last about 40 mins so even if it is not for you, please, have a little respect and wait until the end. It's not like you have to sit through something 3 hours long. If you're not sure you will like it, please stand at the back thereby not disturbing other peoples' enjoyment. So rude! Rant over. Didn't do any ships tours as we prefer to do our own thing, so cannot comment. Found the food to be very good. Always a good choice in the Waterfall buffet and in the Bay Tree where, incidentally, we were very well looked after by Ketan and Sudesh. I don't know how they manage to keep so cheerful with all the work they have to do. The Waterfall can get busy at lunchtime on sea days but we never had a problem finding a seat as the staff were very efficient at clearing tables and we got to talk to lots of different, lovely people. Someone mentioned that curry was on the menu every day. I have to say that I never noticed that this was the case and I'm not particularly a curry fan. All the staff were cheerful. The only point I would make is that they could do with more staff in Tamarind as on some nights it took some time to get a drink even though the waiters were working so hard. Overall, an excellent cruise and we would definitely do school holidays on the Ventura again. OK, there was some very minor wear and tear in places but with that many people passing through it is never going to stay pristine. There are always some people who will find fault but, hey, you're on holiday, if it does not cause a major impact to you, just enjoy! Read Less
Sail Date August 2016
Embarkation at Southampton was awful. I am disabled & reliant on my female P.A & there was no guidance or assistance in unloading the car with our luggage. We were told to put our suit/dress holders in our suitcases yet we saw ... Read More
Embarkation at Southampton was awful. I am disabled & reliant on my female P.A & there was no guidance or assistance in unloading the car with our luggage. We were told to put our suit/dress holders in our suitcases yet we saw other people carrying theirs. Upon entering the terminal we were given a fast track card, what a joke! We were waiting more than 1 hour! We were quickly rushed on to the ship, shown our cabin & straight to the life jacket drill. My cabin was B302 an accessible cabin which was very roomy & quiet despite being close to the staircases & lifts. Access to the balcony was excellent. The wet room floor was slippy, the toilet not raised & the grab rails were not in a good position. The staff on main reception were useless, unhelpful & bad mannered! We asked 2 questions & both times were told to look at our newsletter. When we disembarked the bill was wrong. I had been mis-sold some treatments in the spa costing £112 which I returned the same day & was told by the spa reception that mŷ account would be credited within 2 hours which it hadn't. Be careful with the spa receptionists as they sold me a treatment which I did not ask for that was £30 more expensive without telling me the cost. They also added a 10% gratuity cost without telling me before the treatment. Also, my partner nearly ate a piece of plastic in her desert in The Sindhu Restaurant which they said they would deduct the cost of the wine of £19 from the cost of our meal due to the chef's mistake. Main reception were so unhelpful, it felt like 'we have got your money, now leave the ship'! I did not leave the ship until the bill had been altered & yet when I got home I checked my credit card statement they had debited the wrong amount including the £112! I had to phone P & O customer services & miraculously the £112 was credited to my credit card the next day! Main reception told us the night before disembarkation to phone them the next day so they could arrange for my wheelchair, bed post, walking frame & shower chair to be collected. We were then told by reception that we should have left all the equipment outside my cabin the night before! They then said that they could not arrange for the equipment to be bought down from my cabin! They expected my female partner to carry all that equipment & 3 bags of hand luggage by herself! Disgraceful P & O!! Fortunately I had read on a piece of paper that assistance was available in the bar next to the casino & they were very helpful. Incidentally they were not P&O staff! What a surprise! Apart, from all that we had a great time but that was down to ourselves, the entertainment I.e Paul Emanuelle (great singer), the karaoke night, sail aways, and not to mention the food & service in The Epicurian Restaurant (fantastic). Read Less
Sail Date August 2016
This was our third cruise it was my husbands retirement cruise .we visited the Parma the Greek islands and Gibraltar,it was amazing.the ship was stunning,the balcony cabin was big and kept spotless by Kathy who was loverly.and could not do ... Read More
This was our third cruise it was my husbands retirement cruise .we visited the Parma the Greek islands and Gibraltar,it was amazing.the ship was stunning,the balcony cabin was big and kept spotless by Kathy who was loverly.and could not do enough for us.all the staff were amazing kind friendly and would do anything for you.we ate in the bay tree restaurant.it was loverly,the food was first class,I am a picky eater,and lactos intolerant but everyday the head water gave my a menu for the next day that was catered for me,pedro our waiter was wonderful he never stopped making sure we were happy with the food and made sure there was nothing on my menu that contained milk if there was he arranged with the chef to get me something milk free.i can not praise the staff enough.the entertainment was as good if not better than you can see in the westend of London.the entertainment team were amazing and made the cruise great.the pools were loverly and there was loads of sun beds.i must congratulate p&o for their staff who they should be very proud of .i can't wait to book my next cruise and will be going on the Ventura. Read Less
Sail Date July 2016
This was a relatively inexpensive cruise and it showed. While nothing was particularly bad it was not particularly good either. The food was mediocre both in the Waterside buffet and in the restaurant (Saffron). The entertainment was, in ... Read More
This was a relatively inexpensive cruise and it showed. While nothing was particularly bad it was not particularly good either. The food was mediocre both in the Waterside buffet and in the restaurant (Saffron). The entertainment was, in the main 'cheap and cheerful', certainly nothing special. The enrichment activities during the day were practically non-existent unless designed to part you with as much money as possible. The off-shore excursions were an absolute rip-off - a trip to Rome which involved driving up and down streets hearing about the sites for which Rome is famous without actually seeing them. (A complaint to the Excursions Manager was met by complete indifference and actual rudeness - they obviously have a lot of complaints!). This is not a cruise company I will ever use again. The request for a cabin near our freedom dining restaurant was ignored which meant my elderly parents had a very long walk each day. The staff spent three days cleaning the corridor carpet - both noisy and obstructive. The ship was very crowded. While it was always possible to get a seat in the theatre the other venues were a different matter and the design of the Havana meant that quite a number of seats had a restricted view. Fred Olsen are more expensive but they are much much better. Please be aware Princess Cruises and P & O are the same company and much the same experience. (Tried both) Read Less
Sail Date July 2016
Can only compare to the Britannia and it is my personal opinion. Embarkation was quite smooth but we arrived around our allocated time of 3pm.Car parked with CPS who are excellent. A very large ship with very nicely renovated public areas ... Read More
Can only compare to the Britannia and it is my personal opinion. Embarkation was quite smooth but we arrived around our allocated time of 3pm.Car parked with CPS who are excellent. A very large ship with very nicely renovated public areas and the atrium forms the hub. Its more glitzy than the Britannia which is more like a boutique hotel. There was always a bit of a buzz around the hub with lots of people enjoying coffee or a drink and lots of shops to peruse plus the library and future cruise sales. I found the upper deck with the pools quite spartan especially the covered pool which was reminiscent of a public pool. This area was always crowded with plenty of bed hoggers as the weather wasn't too good. The aft terrace pool was a lovely sunny spot but sadly spoilt by the smokers. The smoke clung around the surrounding areas including the corridors which isn't too great if you don't smoke. Cabin was a superior deluxe on D deck and was quite large and spacious with a balcony that jutted out. We didn't find many people hanging over their balcony's looking down onto ours and were happy with the position mid aft. Sucurro our room steward was very nice and did an excellent job looking after us. Relatively quiet. Inside the cabin, however, was in need of a makeover. The carpets and furnishing were shabby and worn. The bed was really comfy. The TV system dire .It took ages to boot up and quite frustrating. It was handy to have the onboard account visible to check. The bathroom again seemed ancient but the shower was powerful and although not a fan of the shower curtain there was enough space. We had freedom dining in the Cinnamon restaurant and found the staff attentive and courteous. We had to wait on average about 30 mins for a table for two. The meals were generally very nice and with a good choice. The fish was excellent as were the soups. The waterside buffet ,however was not our favourite. Not enough room in the food area and people queued a lot. If you wanted a simple bowl of soup and salad for lunch you seemed to have to queue with everyone else . On Britannia there was much more room in the buffet with a better flow and a better choice of food. There seemed to be lots of elbows and trays pushing around. Lots of filthy manners like helping remove food with fingers, licking them and diving in again. Saw someone with his nose almost in the milk jug stretching across. Gross! Where were the staff to check on things? My other half actually stopped someone manhandling food.The table hoggers were out in force and it was frustrating trying to find a table. In bad weather people wouldn't move after their meals, couples would sit diagonally on a table for four or drape bags/ clothes on chairs to stop others sitting down. I moved a couple of times earlier than I would have wanted to let wheelchair users have the table. The afternoon tea at 4pm was a lovely treat in the main dining room. The Beach House very pleasant but the portions huge and not enough choice in my opinion. The Epicurean nice for an indulgent evening but not as nice as the Britannia. The theatre filled up very quickly at night an if you weren't in for 8pm you would struggle for a seat. The Headliners troop were very good especially the movie type show. No famous names on our ship like jimmy James, Kiki Dee etc... or celebrity chefs. We didn't find much else that we enjoyed. Lots of anti wrinkle/ swollen leg lectures. The gym was well equipped but lacking in instructors for advice. There were three computerised bikes but only one worked properly. There was a Cuban comedian who was very funny and a good Tina Turner impersonator. We found the Ventura a nice friendly ship. We didn't find one grumpy member of staff. The waiters, room stewards, bar people etc... very pleasant. The ports were very clean and interesting to walk around. The fortress tour of Gibraltar was excellent especially the guide. We had a very nice holiday but wouldn't go on Ventura again. We like the Britannia too much. Read Less
Sail Date May 2016
Chose this cruise because of a 'big' birthday, wish we'd waited another 2/3 weeks because the weather wasn't too good in the ports, the sea was calm though even across the bay of Biscay. I've cruised around 10 ... Read More
Chose this cruise because of a 'big' birthday, wish we'd waited another 2/3 weeks because the weather wasn't too good in the ports, the sea was calm though even across the bay of Biscay. I've cruised around 10 times, not on a ship this big before - I couldn't understand why people said it was too big? Possibly because of the amount of passengers...but you do know this when you book. Overall we enjoyed it, I won't compare with other ships - I have rated on 'value for money' - which this is definitely in my view is a definite 4 star. Some people paid the equivalent of £70 a day for inside cabins! Shows in the theatre were good, we also enjoyed comedians, the resident band Dynamite Groove in the Havana bar. We had cabin with balcony which was good when the weather allowed us to use it. We thoroughly enjoyed the evening meals, lunch was a little bit repetitive but there was a large choice so there was always something different to choose. The cruise news always included some 'hard sell' seminars I.e. Come along to see how you can lose weight, or deal with arthritis, back pain etc. - too much in my opinion.... The exchange bar was a large area that included casino, slot machines, large screen tv, bingo playing, resembled a pub taproom - I didn't use it because it has no interest to me. When the weather allowed there was a 'sail away party' - not my thing at all, very crowded, very loud music, passengers walking around with pieces of pizza in their hands, cheese dripping everywhere. Lots of smokers huddled in the designated areas... These negatives wouldn't prevent me using the ship again though - I just don't use the areas that I dislike... I have to agree with a previous review though - the dress code of some of the passengers leaves a lot to be desired, football shirts and canvas pumps in the evening is not acceptable - particularly on black tie evening...obviously not allowed to use the main dining areas in such attire but it did 'lower the tone' .... Overall, staff very nice and pleasant, cabin/bed comfortable, public rooms attractive, evening meal (flexible dining) very good, getting on and off the ship at Southampton was well organised. I didn't use any shore excursions, we like to do our own thing and this was very easy in all the ports - Lisbon, Cadiz, Valencia, Ibiza, Cartagena, Gibraltor. These were quite expensive for those people unable to walk into town, I would suggest getting a taxi from the port area, there are plenty available. Read Less
Sail Date May 2016
Chose this cruise for itinerary and sailing from Southampton. No complaints with embarkation, we arrived early as did most people because of the weather but the wait was not too bad and went very smoothly. Once on board attended the ... Read More
Chose this cruise for itinerary and sailing from Southampton. No complaints with embarkation, we arrived early as did most people because of the weather but the wait was not too bad and went very smoothly. Once on board attended the emergency muster which compared to other cruise ships was pretty poor, no headcount to make sure everyone attended. Ship - It is a large ship and I,m sure we didn't see everything, not the easiest to navigate round but it is a nice ship. There are smoking areas on deck 7,15 and up one set of stairs from deck 15 and at rear on ship at the poolside bar. If deck 7 is closed off its because of bad weather and avoids injuries with heavy doors, it's for passenger safety so don't complain just go to the other areas. There are plenty shops, bars, seating areas. We see other comments about not enough seating areas, this is because people sitting about in the same places every day, just explore the ship and find somewhere else, there is a huge seating area with glass all round on deck 16 and is nearly always empty. We understand that on a previous sailing there had been a Nora virus outbreak. One thing that the ship needs to get to grips with is the hand cleaning, there are not enough sanitiser stands on the ship as compared to others but also not enough people using them. Dining - We had freedom dining and are both vegetarian, on past ships we have struggled but not here, the choice was great as there is a choice on the main menu and a separate vegetarian menu, the food was always hot in the dining room, we also had breakfast in the dining room every morning. We met so many nice people which made the cruise great. The Waterside buffet area is nice but the lay out is not good, anyone with half a brain can see that it should be a one way system, this would save on time,frayed tempers, accidents and spills. The food Was plentiful but we only went for a snack and not main meals. Cabin - room was a good size with great storage space for clothes, only down side was the shower had a curtain which is changed once a week, on second week the curtain was too short so the water went out onto floor. Our cabin was deck 12 A627 with small balcony Entertainment - Not the best , in the evening there were only a handful out of the 2 weeks that we enjoyed, we went to the 10.30pm shows and always got a seat. The daytime entertainment was an insult, same old same old every day with the timetable filled with talks about health & beauty, table tennis, cricket, port talk, and knit & natter!!!!!! The lectures could be seen on the Tv in your cabin, for a whole 2 weeks every day was a lecture about different drugs!!!! The channels on the Tv are limited but was not a problem for us. Come on P&O is this the best you can do. Ports & Excursions - most of the time we went ashore ourselves but the organised trips are a huge and I mean huge rip off so, if you can do the trips yourself I suggest you do because if you go with the organised trip you don't get much time to do anything. We had to go ashore using the ships tender at one port, the ship asks you to make sure you are fit enough to get on and off the tender, I must say a lot of people with sticks and walking aides were not true to themselves and should not have been on the tender. Service - the staff in the dining rooms were very friendly and polite and nothing was too much trouble, staff in the buffet areas were the same. The entertainment staff... Where were they!!! The officers were always polite but the one set of staff I thought were unfriendly and un-inviting were the security, not once was there a welcome from them as people embarked or dis-embarked. The staff in the shops were friendly whether you wanted to spend money or not. On every ship you meet people who just love to boast & compare about past ships they have been on but mostly complain. You can't please all of the people all of the time, all I can say is that there is good and bad on every ship and like any religion or political group if you could take a little bit of every ship/cruise line and put it together you would be happy... Perhaps. The Ventura is a nice enough ship, the itinerary was good, the cruse on a whole was good value for money. The weather was good for April apart from getting caught in the tail end of storm Frank for 3 days on the way out, that is beyond P&O,s control. Read Less
Sail Date April 2016
Looked into cruising a little, but always felt daunted by it. Took the plunge based on the rights dates and great last minute price. To give an idea of what type of travellers we are, We are a married couple, both 37, who enjoy good food ... Read More
Looked into cruising a little, but always felt daunted by it. Took the plunge based on the rights dates and great last minute price. To give an idea of what type of travellers we are, We are a married couple, both 37, who enjoy good food and wine, sightseeing and relaxing on holiday. We travel anywhere from traditional Spanish resorts, to Bali and Malaysia and skiing. Here's a list of what we thought. Travelling from and to Southampton was brilliant. There was a wait of around an hour to get on the ship, but so easy once checked in. We used the recommended car parking company and it was so simple, like meet and great. We chose self disembarkation. This is not really explained well, but basically means you leave before 8.45 in the morning. I.e. Before the hoards of people enter the massive luggage claim area to try and locate their luggage. Breakfast is best in the main restaurants, but only served to 9 on port days and 9.30 on sea days. The buffet is ok for breakfast, but of lower quality. I'd avoid the buffet at any other time, it's ok but there are so many better places. Not a lot was explained to you. Being a new cruising puts you in the minority. Thus, ask, read the horizon guide each night and explore the ship fully in your first day or so. We found food in the main restaurant bland other than on gala nights. They are catering for a mass market after all. It was very good, but needed seasoning, herbs, spices etc. The additional paid for restaurants are wonderful, and good value. Yes, you can eat for no extra cost, but for a feeling of going out for a meal, they are great. Service is quality and there is not the noise and bustle of a mass catering environment. The glass house is fabulous, a must try. They do wine flights, 3 x 125ml wines for around £10 or £11. Lots of different ones to try. The tapas plates are brilliant. Sihdu was also very good, with scallops and lobster on the menu. The beach house is a great American BBQ style, and excellent value. You get more generous portions in the paid for restaurants. Note, the glass house do a tasting menu with wine paring for £30 a head. This is something not advertised until the day before in the horizon magazine. However, all regular cruisers know about it, as they rush to reception to book as soon as they get on board. I don't blame them, but unfair of P and O not to advertise in advance so us new people can also get a chance to try. Other restaurants and events are easily booked on board, and some you can't book anyway. We never had a problem. Good tip, the glass house serves food till 10.30 ish, an hour after all other restauarants. There is so much entertainment, you have to pick what you want to do. Most is duplicated in the evening, at 8.30 and 10.30, which for us seemed too early to have finished dinner then go, and too late to always go after dinner. However, most things last 45 mins to an hour. Have a run around on the first night or two and work out what you like. We like live bands and music more than the shows, so planned accordingly. The live bands were very very good. There were two comedians on our cruise. One was brilliant, the other ( who has been doing the cruises since i was born) was awful, clearly the material is getting a little tired. Cabin (balcony) was bigger than I expected. However, it had a sense of the hospital room about it. Wiped down walls, plastic moulded work tops, bad pictures on the wall. The bed was comfy. The to was awful. News channel and that was it. Loads of films to watch but the to was so bad, the picture and sound was not good. There is free room service, which is good quality and fairly speedy to arrive. Shower is powerful. There is a full size bottle of white company shower gel attached to the wall, plus 100ml size of white company shampoo, conditioner and lotion. I'm sure you can ask for more if needed. The ship itself was impressive due to size. Some public areas were canteen like or reminded me of bars in Benidorm hotels. Other areas more elegant, such as the glass house, art gallery and metropolis bar. Something for everyone so you just find what you like. Getting on and off the ship was easy. We experienced a queue only when you had to use the shuttle bus, but it was only 20 minutes or so. Going from Southampton means you can take on drinks etc with you and keep in your fridge, just top up at each port. Drinks on board we brilliant. Extremely good wine list and all low prices, cheaper than in the uk. About £17 gets you a great bottle and most were in that region, rather than one or two then loads at higher prices. Cocktails about £5.50 to £6.50. The vast majority of men are in black bow tie for gala night. I dont think I saw a standard suit. However, there are areas you can dress casual ( the buffet). At other times though, this is not a posh ship. You get the odd one or two people who do dress up every night, but most people are casual or wearing what you'd expect for a normal meal out somewhere. Pools are all heated, which is fab. The two in the middle were usually busy and noisy. The adult only was closed the whole time we were on board, which is disappointing. There is a big mix of people. Apologies if I offend any regular visitors here, but I want to be honest. There are a lot of very old people, who would not look too out of place in a care home ( a cruise is cheaper), there are a lot of people who are less able (both medically and die to size), which could be due to being no fly. There were a few families and kids were all well behaved. Couples like us were in the minority, with most resembling our parents (daily mail in one hand, free glass of prossecco in the other). Spa treatments were good, but overpriced compared to uk, and come with a heavy sales pitch to buy products and Botox. Excursions were overpriced compared to what you get in port, but come with the safety net of not missing the ship. If the shuttle is paid for, generally means you don't need to use it unless you fall into one of the categories I've described above. I thought bingo and the race night were pricey ( no, not our usual sort of thing, but we'd thought we'd try it, especially with a last minute extra sea day due to rough weather). Every member of staff is brilliant. Genuinely helpful and happy. Not pushing for tips. Always there to offer you a drink or help, but not pushy. A real asset to P and O. Everything is cash free. You can even gamble and charge to your room ( dangerous). You cannot add tips on to any bill, so would need cash. That said, we saw zero people tipping. We decided to in the paid for restaurants though. The gym is large, but the equipment is not great quality. Runners were about usable. Cross trainers very light weight. It was also very hot! Overall, we loved visiting several cities we wouldn't have gone to otherwise in one holiday. It's wonderful to arrive in the port, go on a ( self organised) walking tour, stop for lunch, then hop back on the boat. Being on the ship was relaxing in itself, as you can't go anyway so just sit back and relax. The good and drink was excellent, which we like. The entertainment was great. People watching may not have been exactly what I was expecting, but it's good to know cruising is not always a stuck up affair. We will do a cruise again, and would use p and o and other similar lines. Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
Embarkation and disembarkation can only be described as shambolic. It seemed everyone was at the terminal at the same time and so no seats and long delays to embark. They give people a piece of paper with an allocated colour for ... Read More
Embarkation and disembarkation can only be described as shambolic. It seemed everyone was at the terminal at the same time and so no seats and long delays to embark. They give people a piece of paper with an allocated colour for disembarkation but once the first call was made there was a mass exodus because no checks were made about what colour people were allocated . How hard would it be to give everyone a coloured card like they do on the fly cruise so the staff can easily check your correct time. This caused long delays. There was an outbreak of norovirus for the last week luckily we escaped it. The staff worked hard in the second week sanitising everything and everyone. I know passengers should all be hygienic but unfortunately some aren't. However P&O need to take some responsibility as passengers and crew were not forced to sanitise on embarkation and when returning from ports nor when entering restaurants, the gel stands were there but a lot of passengers and crew just walked past. This was enforced only after the outbreak. Even after the outbreak security took hold of everyone's card to scan them when getting on and off and no gloves were used by some of the security. Surely this is a guaranteed way of spreading the virus!! There hadn't been such a big outbreak in this ship for some time so maybe P&O were becoming complacent. I have pointed out the same lack of sanitisation before to P&O and this has put me right off them. Ports of call were mostly good but Casablanca is not very nice a lot of people not bothering to get off, don't know why they persist on stopping here. Entertainment was a bit mixed Tom O'CONNOR was brilliant headliners WERE OK but seen better Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
When we first seen Ventura we was in awe.it took us a few days to get our orientation right. We found the ship too big in our opinion,we felt you did not get that personnel touch compared with the oceana last year.the ship in parts are ... Read More
When we first seen Ventura we was in awe.it took us a few days to get our orientation right. We found the ship too big in our opinion,we felt you did not get that personnel touch compared with the oceana last year.the ship in parts are a bit tatty with mainly worn carpets.cabin never hoovered.never seen any entertainment at the 8.30pm show due to getting filled up at 7.00pm.half way through the cruise there was an outbreak of some kind of virus.in the self service restaurants you were served by the staff,even the hot drinks etc,staff washing down chairs in the bars etc soaking wet!this was a pain in the backside.most days the buffet restaurant was that busy you had to carry your tray to another restaurant to get a seat!the positives,the freedom dining worked a treat.the covered swimming pool I enjoyed for a early morning swim before breakfast. Going back on the oceana in May but I am reading some negative reviews lately especially the standard of the food which we mostly enjoyed last year. Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
Just returned from a 14 night cruise on Ventura to include Casablanca and Madeira. Overall good cruise, great weather, great destinations. However the cruise could still have been better. We had an outside balcony cabin that was fine other ... Read More
Just returned from a 14 night cruise on Ventura to include Casablanca and Madeira. Overall good cruise, great weather, great destinations. However the cruise could still have been better. We had an outside balcony cabin that was fine other than a wall that squeaked badly whenever the ship rolled. Shower head needed replacing (more like a tap than a shower) and the soap dispenser in the shower cubicle was broken (they always seem to be broken), otherwise no complaints. Our steward, Stevely, was good keeping the cabin clean and tidy. Hygene: Outbreak of Norovirus well handled by cew, but could it have been prevented in the first place? I witnessed many examples of passengers handing food directly with their hands from the serving dishes in the buffet and entering the buffet without using gel. P&O need to be more vigilant and demanding when it comes to hygene. Dining: Mixed experience. Sindhu, excellent, great value for money. Buffet good although a little crowded at peak times and hygene issues. Epicurean, food good (but not brilliant), enviroment good, service first class. Worth £28 a head extra, maybe! Main restuarants (Cinammon and Saphire), a bit crowded, pretty noisy and waiters always rushing around. Food good on some evenings but poor on others. Overall not the best dining experience. Glass House at lunchtimes was very good, well worth the extra. Entertainment: Best Headliners company we have ever seen, well done. Other entrenainers were good including Tom O'Conner. Daytime entertainment, usual blend of talks and quizzes, not my cup-of-tea. Films shown in the Havana show room a waste of time, not enough room and passengers jostling to get best positions. Drinks etc: Good service in all bars although waiters seemed more 'pushy' that on previous cruises (notably In Tamarind). Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
We have done may cruises before with many different cruise companies, I think P & O was the ninth different operator, so I think we have a wide range of experience. On the positive side, embarkation and disembarkation was good. The ... Read More
We have done may cruises before with many different cruise companies, I think P & O was the ninth different operator, so I think we have a wide range of experience. On the positive side, embarkation and disembarkation was good. The ship was better than we expected in terms of decor etc as I had read some reviews that said the ship was tired and shabby, we would not agree with this view at all. We had booked only a month before sailing but were very happy with our balcony cabin as it was clean, the bed was comfortable and it was quiet. What really let it down was the dining ! We did not pay to eat in any of the 'Select' dining restaurants as a matter of principle, as, to me cruising should go hand in hand with a 'Fine dining' experience. On P & O this was not the case. The food was mostly edible both in the Bay tree restaurant, and in the Waterside buffet but it was boring! Ok it all you want is 'meat & two veg'! Also I thought that the presentation of the food in the buffet was poor, more like a reasonable canteen, that what i have come to expect from a ship. We had a last minute break in a Tenerife hotel in January and the buffet dining experience there was far superior! The main restaurant dinner menu is principally just 3 courses, (except formal nights) although you could stretch it to 5 if you ordered a soup and another starter, and then a sweet and then the cheese. There was never a salad course. The food was always typicalyl British - , no curry, chilli or any other foreign cuisine. So dining ok if all you want is a full stomach! The other big disappointment, and really the most important, was the lack of hygiene precautions on the ship, - very lax compared to others we have sailed on and therefore no surprise that myself and many other passengers were struck down with norovirus or the like and confined to cabin for 48 hrs to endure room service meal options - dont get me started on that one!! Although there was gel near the gangways, initially nobody was interested in whether passengers used it when boarding after the port stops and it wasn't much better afterwards either, with passengers not even being asked to use the gel if they didn't voluntarily. It was available in the main restaurant and generally used but again I think it was initially easy for people to ignore it if they chose to. When it came to the Waterside buffet restaurant, there was gel available, if you entered to food selection service area, but not when you entered the restaurant seating area, so people could and did, help themselves to coffee, tea etc from the drinks dispensers and then sit at the table and drink them without there even being a bottle of gel in view for them to use. This was generally the case is all buffet areas, and for the pizza and grill options, in the beginning no gel available so it was possible to, for example have a pizza, pick up cutlery take it to a table and sit down and eat it without even looking at a bottle of gel! Is it any wonder there were problems. When we have sailed with other companies, hand hygiene was always much better. The entertainment on board was generally varied and good, some better than others, but it's a matter of personal taste so what some passengers liked, others less so. It was geared very much for the British market. We didn't bother with the photographer so can't comment. The shops were ok, the usual and mostly reasonably priced . They had a guest Marine biologist, Philip Price who did 6 lectures, and was excellent. They had the usual bingo, quizzes etc so pretty typical entertainment overall. We only did 2 shore excursions and the Trip to Seville was excellent while the Lisbon 3 stops one was ok except somehow we only had 2 stops. Value for money is probably average as shore excursions go. We were really interested in booking a World Cruise, and this trip was a try out for P & O but I'm afraid they failed miserably! There is no way I would want to spend 3 months with them! Back to the drawing board on that one! Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
GOOD First and foremost Headliners Theatre Company. Thoroughly professional, energetic and imaginatively choreographed. In particular lead vocalist Jayson Keeler was outstanding. Best we've seen on a cruise. We also enjoyed E. ... Read More
GOOD First and foremost Headliners Theatre Company. Thoroughly professional, energetic and imaginatively choreographed. In particular lead vocalist Jayson Keeler was outstanding. Best we've seen on a cruise. We also enjoyed E. Sarah Carter, a talented and vibrant fiddler. Embarkation and disembarkation straight forward and organised. Art consultant Lindsay gave interesting and informative lectures. Fitness room well equipped and spacious. Guest lecturer, Kathy produced well researched, interesting talks. Cabin Steward Ports of call. Quiet breakfasts at Tazzine (Coffee card advised) Tea and biscuits in cabin NOT SO GOOD Ship needs a makeover. Stained carpets, inadequate cleaning and a lack of maintenance in some public areas. Food variable. Bread not fresh and on one occasion too stale eat. Soup cold but not Gazpacho! Breakfast in Saffron dreadful, cold poached eggs sent back and no pot of tea so waited ages for refill. Service in Baytree at Dinner good ( maybe a little too fast) and one Gala meal was first class but most meals okish with excellent sweets. Not possible to 'lap the deck' as front section mostly closed due to bad weather? Had to walk back and forth and past lots of smokers so I did a bit of passive inhalation on my walks. Stern of Promenade Deck often awash and deck often crowded so v. dangerous to run. Shows so popular that it was wise to arrive a least 30 mins before start to get a decent seat. TV and interactive stuff slower than a one legged cheeter. Read Less
Sail Date November 2015
Having gotten married in Bristol on the 26th Sep my wife and I were very excited when the taxi collected us from our hotel at 11am on the 27th to take us to Southampton. The journey was due to take a couple of hours but was a little over ... Read More
Having gotten married in Bristol on the 26th Sep my wife and I were very excited when the taxi collected us from our hotel at 11am on the 27th to take us to Southampton. The journey was due to take a couple of hours but was a little over three due to all three lanes of the M4 being closed near Newbury. Fortunately the motorway reopened pretty quickly. We arrived in Southampton at about 3pm. We got out of the taxi to be met by porters who took our suitcases and we walked into the departure lounge. We were given our embarkation card which was then called immediately so we walked upto registration, then through security and onto the ship. We literally walked straight from the taxi to out cabin with no delay at all – perfect! Once onboard we swiftly opened a bottle of champagne as we settled into our C deck, forward, port side cabin. It’s true – the balconies on C deck are huge! I measured it at one point and it was 10 foot x 10 foot. More than big enough for our needs. I had prebooked a welcome on board package of champagne, flowers and chocolates. I was a little disappointed that the champagne was in the fridge rather than in an ice bucket, also we had no champagne glasses. We called room service but didn’t get them until 3 hours later (I accept it was busy on embarkation day) so we drank champagne from the tumblers! After the muster drill we finished unpacking, relaxed on the balcony and then got ready for dinner. We were on freedom dining and were allocated Saffron. We asked for a table for two and were given a buzzer so we went to the Exchange for a drink and were bussed within 10 minutes. Incidentally this was the only time that we had to wait for a table for 2, although most nights we were happy to share a table. The quality of the food on the first night was perfectly ok but not great. Of more concern was the attitude of the waiting staff. They weren’t rude but certainly weren’t friendly. Both my wife and I have cruised before but this was our first cruise together and we both remarked that we had not experienced this attitude before. Fortunately this was the only time that we experienced this. Every other evening we were served by friendly, helpful staff in both Saffron and Cinnamon (we ate in Cinnamon one night to see how it compared to Saffron). Before reiting for the evening we had a couple of drinks in the Red Bar and then went to the Glass House where we booked a food & wine pairing evening for later in the holiday. The following morning we decided to have breakfast in the MDR so went to Bay Tree at about 9:15. We were sat right at the back and had a wonderful view of the wake of the ship as we ate breakfast – what a great start to the honeymoon!. After breakfast we explored the ship before meeting up with Cruise Critic Roll Call members in the Exchange for a few drinks. It was lovely to meet people in person. Then it was off to the Waterside buffet for lunch. Now I read A LOT of reviews before going on Ventura (either my wife or I have sailed on her before) and I was a little anxious about how busy it might be. Well, I needn’t have worried. We walked straight in, picked up a tray, selected our food and then sat down. No waiting and certainly no ‘bun fight’. The food was warm rather than hot but was pretty much what I would expect from a buffet in a large hotel/resort. There was plenty of it and it was tasty. After lunch I explored the ship some more and took lots of photos. After which it was time for a quick bite of afternoon tea in the Waterside, again no queueing and plenty of food available. After a snooze it was time for our first formal night. We went to the Atrium for about 8am and were quickly provided with complimentary drinks for the Captains gala reception (Whisky & lemonade for me and wine for my wife). The captain gave a great speech which was a little overshadowed by two emergency medical messages. We had our photo taken with the captain and I was amazed to hear that there were over 3,000 people on board. It never felt cramped or busy to me. We sat on a shared table for the first black tie night and met some great people. The food was well presented, hot, tasty and service was friendly. As far as I’m concerned that’s all that matters. The next day we spent relaxing on the balcony, exploring the ship (it really is big!) and of course, eating! We visited the Glass House for a wine flight. This was fantastic value for money. Three glasses of wine with tasting notes for about a tenner. A lovely way to spend the afternoon. We had afternoon tea in Saffron and evening meal in Cinnamon. Afternoon tea in Saffron was very polite, a little slow perhaps but very pleasant. Evening meal was excellent. A haggis and potato tartlet for starter was fantastic. We spent in the evening in the Metropolis bar. After an hour or so we managed to get the seats on the port side overlooking the front of the ship. What a view! We could have stayed there forever! At this point I would like to mention the P&O ‘moaners’! Now I accept that my wife and I were excited because we were on honeymoon and therefore perhaps we were more willing to overlook issues that other, more regular cruisers, may take exception with however there is a limit. Whilst we were in the Metropolis an elderly gentlemen came and stood next to us to admire the view over the front of the ship (as I said the view was fantastic). I mentioned that it was a lovey view to which there was no reply. Then after a pause he replied “there’s not much in the way of other shipping”. I didn’t know what to say. If your response to such a wonderful view is the lack of other shipping then I think that belies a mindset that suggests you will always find something to complain about it. Still, that phrase has now become a running joke with my wife and I..!! On another occasion I overheard 3 couples moaning about almost everything imaginable. After half an hour one of the couples left at which point one of the ladies said that she had really enjoyed meeting them and thoroughly enjoyed their chat, yet all they did was moan for half an hour. At this point I began to accept that some people actually enjoy moaning!! Anyway, after Metropolis we headed back to the buffet for a midnight snack. My wife said she couldn’t eat a thing…until she saw the pizza!! The following day we got up early and went to one of the Jacuzzi’s and had a swim. The weather had warmed up so we spent the day sunbathing (although I did visit the gym in the afternoon) and drinking cocktails. I was a little disappointed that P&O don’t seem to do cocktail of the day anymore but that just meant we could explorer cocktails on our own!! This evening we attended the food and wine pairing event in the Glass House. We were seated with another couple who were great company and easy to talk with. The meal consisted of 4 courses accompanied by 5 different wines. Each course was presented with a short talk from the waiter about the food followed by a short talk about the wine from the wine waiter. The quality of both food and wine was excellent. We really enjoyed the expertise of the waiters and the opportunity to learn a bit more about wine. It was a thoroughly enjoyable evening and I would recommend it to anyone who is even remotely curious about trying different wines. The next day was our first port of call (Barcelona). The weather overnight was very bad and we didn’t get much sleep. We didn’t go on an organised tour preferring to go on HopOnHopOff bus. We had tickets for Sagrada Familia but didn’t use them as there were just too many people. That night we ate at Sindhu. It was simply excellent. The food was gorgeous, the service and attention to detail was remarkable. Very much worth the surcharge. The next day we were due to visit Monte Carlo however due to the weather the captain was unable to use the tenders. There was then a technical fault with retrieving the tender meaning that we spent a few hours in the Metropolis bar looking at Monte Carlo. Perhaps not as good as being in Monte Carlo but a close second!! The next day we were in Livorno and we took the P&O coach to Florence. We had a great time although again Florence was very busy. We didn’t try to go into any museums due to queues but did walk around the main centre of Florence and had a lovely lunch in a small restaurant off the Ponte Vecchio and in fact we sat next to another couple on the same cruise as us!. Once we were back on board we very very tired and decided to eat in the Waterside so that we wouldn’t have to get changed out of shorts/t-shirts. I really appreciate this kind of flexibility. The food was hot and plentiful and we had no problem getting a table. The next day we were due to go on a P&O coach to Rome from Civitavecchia however given that it was the first Sunday of the month (meaning that the Colosseum would be free) and there were 5 cruise ships in port we decided to avoid the crowds and stay in Civitavecchia. It reminded me of a slightly run down seaside town but was pleasant for the day and was certainly quieter than Rome would have been. The next day was another sea day and we decided to go to the Retreat. We had no problem getting day passes (there were only about 6 people in the Retreat). The sunloungers are much more comfortable than elsewhere on the ship and are worth the £20 per person fee alone! The lunch provided left something to be desired though but that was easily remedied by a trip to the poolside grill and bringing back a burger and chips! The two stewards in the Retreat were nowhere to be seen however meaning that we couldn’t get a drink (other than water) – we could have gone to the bar of course but we were busy relaxing! The Endless Pool feature of the Oasis Pool is brilliant. It’s like a treadmill in the water. Great for working off some of those cooked breakfasts! And so onto Alicante. Again we didn’t have a P&O trip booked so caught a tourist bus up to the castle and got off by the market. We strolled through the town and made our way to the beach before having lunch on the promenade (along with some sangria) before heading back to the ship. This evening was tropical night and thanks to cruise critic I had managed to get a truly awful £4 ebay purchase before we left. It was great to join in on the tropical fun. In fact more than one person asked where I got my shirt from and one chap even complained that he had a great shirt at home but that he didn’t know about tropical night. It seems that P&O don’t tell people in advance, in fact I only knew from reading reviews. Our final stop was in Gibraltar where we went on a P&O dolphin watching tour which was one of the highlights of the trip. We saw literally hundreds of dolphins. We walked back to the ship from the marina stopping off for ice cream and a bit of cuty free shopping. All too soon we were leaving Gibraltar and the (infamous) great british sailaway. Neither my wife nor I wished to partake so we stayed on our balcony. Ventura was docked opposite the Royal Caribbean Explorer of the Seas and the sound from the party bounced off the ship and we could hear it all. I have to say that it was actually good fun. People on Explorer were waving and there was lots of singing. Perhaps it was all aided by the champagne that we were drinking and the room service sandwiches – hey we were on honeymoon! We were booked into Epicurean this evening and although it was a casual dress code we decided to dress up. The restaurant is simply fantastic. Easily the best meal of the holiday, which is saying something. The food was outstanding. The staff were very attentive and friendly. The restaurant location is great. I had prebooked (and prepaid) this dinner so was a little put out to find that we had been charged again on the evening but this was soon rectified. For the cost of the surcharge we simply had no complaints whatsoever. It was a wonderful evening which we both thoroughly enjoyed and have wonderful memories (and photos) of the evening. The last two days were spent relaxing and enjoying the ships facilities, particularly the Glass House before packing and preparing to go home. I wont mention in detail the incident on the last night where a passenger went overboard as this has already been covered both in reviews and in the media. Needless to say it was a sad ending to the holiday but nothing we could do about it other than choose not to dwell on it. I would like to make a few general comments about certain things. First the food. Having read some very poor reviews I was concerned about what we had let ourselves in for. This concern was truly unfounded. Each morning we had breakfast in the Waterside, other than 2 MDR breakfasts and 2 in the cabin. I wouldn’t recommend breakfast in the cabin however I really enjoyed breakfast in the Waterside. I love a cooked breakfast so being able to have it every day on holiday is a real treat. The waterside could be busy in the mornings and we often asked people if we could share their table however we never spent more than perhaps 60 seconds looking for a table. The staff were helpful and friendly although the arrangements for getting tea/coffee seem a little convoluted. The quality of the food at breakfast, and indeed throughout the cruise ranged from very good to excellent. The main restaurants could be very busy at times but never too busy (for us) and we were always seated promptly (other than the very first night). Flexible dining was certainly the best option for us. Yes we did have lots of ‘have you cruised before’ conversations but we also had lots of other conversations too. We met some really great people both in the dining rooms and across the ship. The select restaurants were simply outstanding. Thoroughly enjoyable and were (culinary) highlights of the cruise for us. I can remember one poor quality meal in Saffron but in reality this was just overcooked chicken. The rest of the meal was fine so perhaps I’m being a little picky but I am trying to give a fair review. As regards entertainment we saw two BlueJays shows (50’s rock n roll) which were outstanding. Easily the best entertainment of the holiday. They had a standing ovation after the second show! We never had a problem getting a seat in the Arena theatre although we did usually arrive 20-30 minutes early for the second show. We only saw one Headliners act which was Paradise City. This was easily the worst show of the cruise. It was truly awful! It was so bad that it gave us plenty to laugh about! We saw a mind reader who did two shows. The first was very good but he had a few issues with the second show and it didn’t really flow. We also saw a Cuban comedian who had an uncomfortable mixture of being very funny combined with an unpleasant trait of making fun of certain members of the audience. That’s not my idea of entertainment. There were films shown each day. I went to see one film in the Arena. The quality of the picture was truly awful. It was embarrassing and reminded me of an illegally downloaded film from the internet. It was literally unwatchable. Dark scenes were just a mess. No definition of picture at all. I left after half an hour as the picture was that bad. I’m a big fan of real ale and was aware before booking the cruise that P&O would only have Marstons, Pedigree, Old Thumper and a couple of others on board. Whilst this was OK with me it was certainly an area for improvement especially considering the dedicated beer menu that is now available on Britannia. After a couple of days I discovered that the Exchange sold a beer called Jaipur from Thornbridge brewery. This is one of my favourite beers and was indeed good news but why was it not advertised – anywhere? Also it was only available in the Exchange which unfortunately is also the place for bingo and quizzes etc. All of which involved too much noise for us! Such a shame that the best beer was only available in the worst bar. I though in general the prices were reasonable given that we are a captive audience on the ship. Beer was approx.. £4 a bottle, not cheap but certainly not expensive (to me). I thought the cocktails were a little steep but then I don’t really have much experience of buying cocktails! They were around the £6 mark. Wine was reasonable. We had a bottle of wine with dinner each evening, usually choosing the recommended white and we paid around £16-18 a bottle. One night we tried their ‘bin ends’ wine and had a bottle of Spanish white for £13. It wasn’t very nice! In terms of facilities I think it’s fantastic that Ventura has 4 swimming pools. Unfortunately one of the 2 main pools is also where they play loud music all day so we didn’t stay there very long but then I guess this is what teenagers want. We preferred the Oasis Pool which, although small, was never crowded and has the great ‘endless pool’ feature. Perhaps the most frequently annoying aspect of the cruise, and in fairness it wasn’t that annoying, was the constant waiting for lifts. There just aren’t enough of them and people became rather protective about making sure that they got in the lift before anyone else. At one point a today actually physically barred me from getting into the lift until her family had all got in. The lifts seemed to be a constant source of complaint amongst passengers. Finding our way around Ventura was helped enormously by the map that we were given an embarkation. This, combined with the useful fact that whenever you exit a lift on Ventura you are facing forwards (with the exception of the glass elevators in the Atrium). Even so, we still managed to go the ‘wrong’ way more than once. I was a little disappointed by the lack of speakers/talks on board especially on sea days. There was a single speaker who, although a good speaker, only spoke about military aviation. One or two talks were fine but not every day. Almost everything else seemed to be a thinly disguised attempt to get you to spend more money. I had pre-booked an internet package however when we got to our cabin there was no gift receipt with internet access details. We spoke to reception the next day who said they had no record of the booking and said they needed to check with HQ which would take upto 2 days! Given that our first 3 days were at sea we had wanted the internet access for those days. Anyway, two days later reception told us that they had no record of the purchase. We decided not to purchase any internet access in the end and relied on wifi and data roaming when in port. We didn’t miss wifi at all but it was a little annoying that I now need to check my credit card to make sure that I wasn’t charged. Finally disembarkation was delayed by about 6 hours due to the incident of the overboard passenger. P&O allowed us to stay in our cabin until gone 1pm. We waited in the Arena theatre until our colour was called at about 3pm. Once we were called (waiting to be called was the worst bit) we were off the ship, reunited with our luggage and in the taxi within 45 minutes. That seems pretty fair to me. So, in summary it was an almost perfect honeymoon. The very small issues were just that, small issues that could happen on any ship or at any holiday resort and I have only included them here in order to try to help inform fellow cruisers. Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
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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