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279 P&O Cruises Ventura Cruise Reviews

This was our third cruise on Ventura, so you already know that she's a ship we like. Ventura's strong points were the same as ever: the balcony cabins (especially the walk-in hanging area), the big C-deck balcony, the quiet of ... Read More
This was our third cruise on Ventura, so you already know that she's a ship we like. Ventura's strong points were the same as ever: the balcony cabins (especially the walk-in hanging area), the big C-deck balcony, the quiet of the stern Terrace, and the touches of formality. But this cruise was principally about the itinerary, which was as good as we'd hoped. The worst destination, Cephalonia, was just a bit boring; but Dubrovnik, the two days in Venice and a further day in Korcula were extraordinary. When a hot day in Corfu ends up seeming just so-so in comparison, you know you've been to some good places. Food in the MDR and buffets was good to very good, while the meals we took in East (three, including a lunch) and at the White Room were exceptional. Service, too, was good in the typical P&O rather under-stated style. We also had extremely good company at dinner. The only area that we were unhappy with was wine availability: the wine stores hadn't been replenished before leaving Southampton, and wines were becoming unavailable from quite early in the cruise. Read Less
Sail Date May 2011
The main thing we learnt from our previous 2 trips on Ventura, was that there would be so much to do that we'd rarely be together as a couple. With a long cruise and many sea days such as this, we went our separate ways so often, that ... Read More
The main thing we learnt from our previous 2 trips on Ventura, was that there would be so much to do that we'd rarely be together as a couple. With a long cruise and many sea days such as this, we went our separate ways so often, that we must have seemed like a couple of singles. There were a number of lectures each sea days, which is my scene; art classes which clashed with the discussion group; films which clashed with the talks on navigation; choir rehearsals which clashed with the Concorde secrets....oh, the joy of being on a ship which had too much entertainment rather than nothing except over-priced ones, or selling talks! The choir especially was fun...having 7 sea days meant lots of rehearsals, before our 2 performances in the atrium, in front of many passengers. We were also part of the bed-making comp, and OH had wins in bingo and poker! The main purpose of the trip was to spend 2 days in Venice....OH's favourite city, and he spent every minute of both days walking round the different areas, or riding the water buses. Cities are not for me, but it's always lovely to return to Venice, even if it's just for a drink next to a narrow canal. This time I wanted to spend a while in Vivaldi's church, which had his music pouring from a good sound system. The sail-in and out- accompanied by the best of Italian opera pouring over the sides of the ship- to some gondolier's joy- are one of the highlights, and moving moments. The other reasons for taking this cruise were to be with friends....when we happened to find them in such a massive ship; to try both of Marco Pierre White's menus, and to go swimming- achieved in several places such as Corfu, Korkula, Kephalonia....and, this time, even on the ship....we don't often have a "warm" cruise, so the pools were put to good use. It's great that a ship sailing from Southampton has a covered pool; we'd be loath to travel on other ships sailing from that port, where you'd have to wait until Portugal for a dip.... The food was excellent in all places- and we did try all, except, this time, East....even the burger bar provided a tasty menu. We ate in the MD only twice, and were impressed by the choice and service....and the lobster... The cabin was slightly smaller, and, being an inside, didn't work for me- I've only had an inside for 7 nights before, on Thomson and Louis cruises, and 17 nights inside was just too much- I was forever popping outside in the late evening. This wasn't helped by P&O's insistance that e-cigs could only be used in smokers' corners....the fact that you're not smoking, only using an inhaler, doesn't seem to have registered. It was my use of an e-cig which had made us choose an inside, but- rules is rules!!:( At least a number of crew came with questions about the inhaler.) For OH, the best of the cruise would have to be Venice, and snorkelling in the Med; for me, it was the tiny ferry ride I took from one side of Kephalonia to the other little town, and the excursion to the Cies Isles, off Vigo- I think that's really my number one excursion of the cruise. Everything- shows, activities, crew, food, ambience, were of high quality. There's no constant begging for money on board- you can play a card of Bingo for the 5 games for a fiver, and do a wine tasting for the same amount. The tipping suggestions are sensible, and the bar drinks are the same- around pub prices. I have added two of the best ports to the Port Review section; sadly, some of the better ones such as Kephalonia and Korkula aren't available on the pop-uplist, and I'm not enough of a techie to override them....All Greek Isles are fantastic, whilst anywhere in Croatia is the med as it once was.... A great holiday, and although I've many more cruise lines to try, this particular journey will take some beating! Jo. Read Less
Sail Date May 2011
Ventura N110 7 days. The view from below Well we set off on Wednesday for our Good Friday departure, (we have a very slow car). Luckily we got to Reading in time to check in to the Crowne Plaza. Very nice location by the ... Read More
Ventura N110 7 days. The view from below Well we set off on Wednesday for our Good Friday departure, (we have a very slow car). Luckily we got to Reading in time to check in to the Crowne Plaza. Very nice location by the Thames, with a park by the river, to walk along. (well in my case ride) The weather was great and sun tan stuff was required. We had dinner in the hotel which was very quiet leading up to Easter. I think the normal clientele are of the business variety. The next day we set off into Reading town centre to look around the shops, a few things to buy. Very pleasant, with the sun again very hot. Coffee was taken. The vital ingredients for our in cabin G&T's were purchased in Sainsbugs. (I had found out about the non in cabin alcohol sales due to no port outside the EU). Dinner that evening was taken at an Indian Restaurant on the river bank near the hotel. Very good and having had a chat to the manager two drinks appeared at the end of the meal, an excellent gesture. We left just before 10 the next day after having a good breakfast. The run down was fine until we came to the back of the queue on the M3. This wasted a half an hour. We got to Southampton to realise we had not put the labels on the cases. So stop and put it right. Then on to dock gate 10, which we approached from the town end. ????? It was about 11.35 and we joined a queue of cars waiting for a space to unload. At that point we could see there were people still getting off the ship. At about 11.50 we moved off parked and got unloaded, cases, scooter, hats and medical equipment. None of the luggage had gone in the hole as we walked to the door. On to the entrance, over to the right sir, was the cry as we came through the door, I think not I said, we are gold (pompous or what). So to the left it was, with an empty queue and instructions to come forward. Smile for the photo and all the other formalities over, through the door to the right and the baggage check. As I do not go through the scanners I am frisked. It is then up the lift and into the ship. Gold sir, that will be deck 7 the Tamarind. What would you like to drink that will be a G&T then and a plate of sarnies. We looked at the time and it was 12.10 so 20 minutes from car stopping, to drink in hand, not bad. Very few get to the club and we are told that there are few gold members on board. 13.30 comes and the nice lady comes and informs us that our cabins are ready. Off we go up to deck 9(D) and find our cabin near the lift. Shock horror our cases are already there. Never had that before So unpack and out for a look around. Safety chat over and out on to deck 7 for sail away, no cheap champers!!!!! Is this another EU only port thing. Band good and loud but only 5 of them, a Jazz band. Back to the cabin to get ready for the off, we go out onto the balcony and who should we see above us ....Sharon. Do you know she pestered us all week for a drink.....no chance. We ran out by Wednesday as it was!! Off to dinner to meet our table companions, a very sedate and quiet table little conversation and banter. Well for 5 minutes anyway, after that it was a riot. We started laughing in six minutes and did not finish until 10.30 on the last night. There were 3 couples and a mother and daughter combo, certainly on of the best yet. At 10.30 I could feel the casino calling, it was a long time since Oceana in October. The cruise followed and we had a fantastic time. Our table continued in the same vein with a week of laughing and good banter. Of course I missed all the shows in the theatre and the show lounges as the casino kept calling me. The casino was as busy as I have ever seen on any ship, with 5/6 tables in constant use and many people using the 'bandits'. Quite a community builds up and the banter improves as the week progresses. Wins are greeted by cheers from all as your luck ebbs and flows. Over the week I was only just down, with plenty money for our tips. With regard to the ship it was much as we had remembered it from January 09. The food was excellent and the staff were equally as good. Our wait staff were very efficient and friendly. One of them thought our table must have known each other before we came on board and was quite surprised when we said we had just met. We had a Superior Deluxe Balcony Cabin which the reception called a mini-suite. It was excellent for my scooter as I could drive it up to the balcony end of the cabin and park it out of the way. It was very comfortable with plenty of storage. Our cabin steward Jackson was excellent, with towel animals every night on our bed. The ice and lemon were always there and the cabin was spotless. The one difference we noted was in the Ramblas bar. On our first cruise on Ventura, the bar seemed cold and uninviting, this time there was a totally different atmosphere. We had some tapas at lunch time, which was very good and the bar was warm & very inviting. In the evening it was a great place for pre dinner drinks with a very good guitarist playing a range of tunes from classical to pop. Not a clue what they did to make the change apart from turning off the air conditioning. The bar staff were excellent always cheerful and attentive. The Ports (for me and my scooter) La Coruna Off at about 10.30,a warm and sunny day. Saw a lot more of the town than I have before with having the scooter. After having a coffee we walked along the promenade and into the town again, making our way to the main square. We found a bar selling tapas and settled down for a spell of people watching. The tapas was very good and we had ordered far too much, so we needed a couple of beers to wash it down. The ship is only 5 minutes from this square so we returned at about 3.00 and went directly to Costa. Bilbao Here there was a problem, because of the tide I could not get off the ship as it was going to be difficult to get back on. Although disappointed I spent a very relaxing day on board ship and my wife had a good day mainly going to the Guggenheim, which she loved. La Rochelle Excellent port, helped by the fabulous weather. We wandered around the old port and marina and then moved into the town with its narrow pedestrianised streets and excellent small shops. We stopped on a few occasions for coffee, beer and then food. The food was Croque Madame and omelette overlooking the old harbour. The sun was high and hot, wonderful. We then wandered over to the information centre to get the shuttle bus. It was about 15.00 and we feared a long queue. There was not at all. The bendy bus came in, leaned over and I scootered on ...... excellent. On the way back we had to stop and the bus was boarded and we had to show our passports. This was the first time ever for us on over 15 cruises. When we left there were over 15 security staff standing in a line waving us off. This was in contrast to the next port Brest when I only saw 2 security and they just waved at the buses as they passed. Brest We have been before so we did not go into the town. However we took the trip to Quimper (Kemper) and did our own thing. A delightful small old town to wander around with an excellent cathedral which had the most wonderful stained glass windows. In the centre there was a small market Les Halles which was very pleasant, however we did notice the high prices especially for vegetables. Just by the market was a bread shop so we got some cheese and then bought a warm baguette, straight out of the oven. We found a seat in the sun and had a simple lunch. What bread!!!! In all we had a wonderful cruise with an excellent table, good banter at the tables in the casino, an excellent pre-dinner location in Ramblas and good ports. We thoroughly enjoyed Ventura. It is an excellent ship and well worth another cruise. That will be next April then. On to Azura in September. Dai Read Less
Sail Date April 2011
We tried our first cruise last year from Dubai with Royal Caribbean. We were unsure if we liked it or not, so tried P&O this year, Transatlantic from Barbados to Southampton. We booked late and got a great deal. Had to fly from ... Read More
We tried our first cruise last year from Dubai with Royal Caribbean. We were unsure if we liked it or not, so tried P&O this year, Transatlantic from Barbados to Southampton. We booked late and got a great deal. Had to fly from Manchester, but only 2 hours away. The Thomson flight was fine. left early, arrived on time. Bus to Ship from the bottom of plane steps (great)direct tothe port. Registration in no time, very efficient. (by-passed the photographer!) Found cabin which was excellent (twice the size of last years BOS balcony cabin!) Savio, our Steward, led us in and explained everything to us, he was excellent the whole cruise. We downed our Champagne and chose the Buffet and an early night. Surprise 1 - Last year a bottle of wine started at $40 this year £9 for house white, everything else normal pub prices. The buffet was good and fresh/warm. Yes there are 3000 passengers, but Ventura is a big ship, and you can find a quiet bar (10 to choose from)and somewhere to sit/lay, We never bothered round the pools, as it wasn't worth the hastle, but there are many places to relax, from comfortable chairs on the Promenade deck 7 to beds always available over the Spa at the front (adult only!) Children were not a problem, only 126 on board, and never caused us any heartache.3 Islands 3 days in the Caribbean then 5 days to cross the Atlantic to Tenerife then 3 days to Southampton. Too many sea-days, we got a little bored. There are activities throughout the day, but we stuck to relaxing in the sun and the Spa.Everyone was so friendly on board both Crew and Passengers. Some passengers left a little to be desired and surprised us but hey they paid for their holiday the same as everyone else and so they have the same rights.We ate in every restaurant (9 but 3 formal/allocated ones, so 7 to choose from)Whites was superb, as was the Asian one, East and Ramblas (Spanish) The Bay House was turned into an American diner each night and the buffet had a theme night each night (all good)in fact the food was excellent everywhere.We enjoyed the evening entertainment and went nightly to the TheatreNegatives - The 4 formal evenings became tiresome, and the photographers also everywhere, but looking at the queues waiting for their picture proves there is a need both to dress up and have their photo's taken, so who are we to complain!and we could avoid them. It is a big ship, you could meet someone at lunchtime, and never see them again! likewise the entertainment bars could not cope with demand. If there was a good entertainer on you had to go early for a seat. As said before Sea days became boring, but we just did not appreciate the distance across the Atlantic at 19knotsOverall, much better this year. I fear over capacity will lead to more last minute "deals" and attract the wrong clientele. We will have another go, but either a smaller ship, or a larger with less passengers Read Less
Sail Date March 2011
We got to Southampton dock and were put into a queue then directed to the unloading area the luggage was taken from us and that was the last we saw of it until it was outside our cabin.The booking in was a bit of a wait but then with over ... Read More
We got to Southampton dock and were put into a queue then directed to the unloading area the luggage was taken from us and that was the last we saw of it until it was outside our cabin.The booking in was a bit of a wait but then with over 3,000 passengers it takes time.The Cabin with balcony was a good size plenty of hanging space and the balcony had a couple of lounge type chairs and a foot rest with a small table included.We found the inside chair were a bit uncomfortable and mostly sat on the bed. The cabin was clean and serviced daily by a very hard working cabin boy. A brass band played us away from the dock side at Southampton which was a great touch.The food on the ship was first class we were in the Bay tree area my wife was having trouble in ordering from the menu as there were a lot of things made with onions which she does not like eating but myself enjoyed the meals but we decided to eat in the waterside as she had a better choice to pick from.I must say the entertainment was first class they have just updated the shows with a Company called the Headliners they were first class and the costumes were out of this world.They had a singer Victor Micheal who sang a lot of Opera which was sung very well ( all though I never understood a word) you had to marvel at his voice.The ship also had a couple of very interesting series of talks on Concord and Bletchley park ww 2 code breakers as well as Norman Hunter giving a after Dinner talk which I enjoyed.There were things going on all over the ship so you should never be bored.The trips were a bit expensive but well conducted, but a Bus Shuttle service was on hand to get you to the town centre which was free.I have a mobility scooter and they helped me on and off the ship and ran spacial buses to carry the scooter on.On the down side they were trying to sell you something most of the time which was a bit annoying I was not very happy with the charge of their WI FI at £30 for a 100 min which was a rip off I and others never bothered with it which was a pity.I had a stomach upset and dehydrated and spent a day in the sick bay which cost nearly £900 so make sure you got a good insurance policy.Over all it was a great experience on a great ship and we would go back tomorrow like a shot. Read Less
Sail Date March 2011
Just back from 2 week cruise on Ventura.Our flights from Manchester with Thomas Cook were excellent.Complimentary drinks,food and toiletries and good choice of films.Arrival in Barbados and onto ship was so well organised.Waited around 2 ... Read More
Just back from 2 week cruise on Ventura.Our flights from Manchester with Thomas Cook were excellent.Complimentary drinks,food and toiletries and good choice of films.Arrival in Barbados and onto ship was so well organised.Waited around 2 hours for cases to arrive so used the time to look around the ship-and what a ship!! It was our first cruise so we had nothing to compare it to but we were very impressed.We had an inside room which was lovely,mirrors all around gave it a good sense of space.Compact bathroom,powerful shower and loads of white towels. A kind of walk in wardrobe with shelf space and electronic safe.The cabin guy Ronald was great and kept everything clean and tidy.We had no problem at all with kids running around or making noise (there were 250 on our cruise!).The thing about this ship is that its big enough to get away from the noise-which leads me to the great sunbed debate!! Yes-there is a shortage of them around the pools which is where all the noise and kids hang out,but if you just use your legs and walk a bit further there are loads of beds scattered around.We are total sun-worshippers and never had a problem in 2 weeks at all.Entertainment had good and bad points but its not the thing we go on holiday for really.The food was very nice and there was something for everyone. Ate in Baytree at night and were very impressed with the waiter service-always with a smile. Now for our (only!) dislikes. The first 2 ports of call (Bonnaire and Aruba) were stunning,friendly and welcoming. It went downhill from there! Jamaica next,nightmare! We could see a lovely beach from the ship and thought we'd have a nice stroll and a couple of hours on it. From leaving the gate of the port we had nothing but hassle,often abusive.Payed few dollars to get on beach and still hounded every few minutes,necklaces,aloe vera, bars, jet-skis-just won't leave you alone.I know they rely on tourism for their livelihood but this high-pressure salesmanship is surly putting tourists off? Couldn't wait to get back to the safety of the ship where we heard lots of other stories about harassment-even those on organised trips. St Lucia was just as bad.Grand Turk and St Maarten no problem,Dominica a waste of time. I would definitely recommend Ventura-we had a really fantastic holiday, i would just be wary about which Islands you visit Read Less
Sail Date February 2011
Just returned from a fortnight on board Ventura. Must admit I was a little concerned about some of the mixed reviews. Should not have been, ship was lovely, staff were friendly, helpful and always smiling and the food was fab. We mainly ... Read More
Just returned from a fortnight on board Ventura. Must admit I was a little concerned about some of the mixed reviews. Should not have been, ship was lovely, staff were friendly, helpful and always smiling and the food was fab. We mainly ate at the 6.30 sitting for evening meal - food was lovely throughout and the service very attentive (Sherif and Hemanth). Neither myself or my husband found anything to complain about - we both cook so can be a bit fussy about the quality of food presented. The wine waiter was also attentive and informative. We only ate at the 'buffet' for lunch twice and again were impressed with the food. Buffet breakfast was good too but we preferred the waiter service. All in all the food and standard of service was very good. Couldn't fault the cabin or our steward (Senim) who looked after us well. There was lots of entertainment, the highlights for us were 'Freddie Mercury', Soul Connection and the Irish comedian whose name I forget. We did have a 5 hour delay going home but the reception staff were really helpful and smiling despite the pressure this put them under. Would definitely cruise with P&O again. Read Less
Sail Date January 2011
We opted to take this cruise because we found a particularly attractive deal through an internet agency . We have previously enjoyed visiting the Caribbean twice before. However, we normally refrain from any form of package holiday, ... Read More
We opted to take this cruise because we found a particularly attractive deal through an internet agency . We have previously enjoyed visiting the Caribbean twice before. However, we normally refrain from any form of package holiday, preferring to arrange everything ourselves. We value privacy and 'doing our own thing' so taking a cruise with 3000+ other souls represented a significant departure for us. We were very impressed with the smooth arrangements from checking in at Gatwick to our arrival in our stateroom. This was very slick indeed. The flight was with Thomson and the crew worked very purposefully to ensure that we were comfortable, and they plied us with complimentary drinks. The 4 sea days were probably our least enjoyable. The clamour and reservation of sunbeds, with extended periods of conspicuous non-occupancy, led to justifiable resentment. However, we are not as keen on sunbathing as many on board. The beds are often very close together, to the extent that navigating a clear passage to another area of the ship was often something of a challenge. We found many areas to be rather lively, and it wasn't easy to find somewhere quiet to read in relative peace. We were very glad to have a balcony, where we could read, play travel games etc - this was a major boon. We enjoyed visiting all the islands, each of which had individual appeal. We are not divers and we do not snorkel, yet we still found plenty to do to keep our interest. We often took a P&O tour in the morning, returning to the Ventura for lunch. We then pottered around the nearby town in the afternoon. It was very hot, so it was always a joy to return to the air-conditioned comforts of our cabin. Dining We started by breakfasting in Waterside / Beach house. When we were there quite early (ie before 07:30) we found these restaurants to be perfectly adequate, without lengthy queues and reasonably easy to find a table. At peak times we found these restaurants to be too crowded. We had breakfast once in Baytree. Here the service was slow and we were required to share a table with 3 other couples. On port days we had room service breakfast on our balcony. All but once, the breakfast arrived punctually at the pre-organised time. It was a joy to watch our arrival at an island whilst scoffing a pain au chocolat on our balcony. Lunchtimes were taken in Waterside / Beach house. Again, these were quite busy on sea days. On port days it was always easy to have a quiet (and relatively quick) lunch before heading into town. One distasteful aspect of buffet dining was the opportunity for gluttony and wastage. We saw people taking 3 desserts, having a sample of each and leaving the rest. For our part, we were happy to have a salad, the daily variety of which was highly commendable. As we were on freedom dining, we could eat when we chose. We normally ate in the Cinnamon restaurant, arriving before 7 o'clock. This meant there was no waiting for a table for 2. These tables are set quite close to one another, so we could chat to our neighbours quite easily. The food in this restaurant was of a uniformly high standard. House wines were set at favourable prices. We normally opted to eat 3 courses although others with a more capacious appetite went for the soup and fish courses as well. On one occasion we were asked (very politely) to vacate our table as it was needed for another couple. We had finished our coffee and were chatting to our neighbours so this was entirely reasonable. On another occasion when we were equally tardy, the arrival of the new butter pats for the next diners was a more subtle way of encouraging us to move. It made us smile. We also ate at 'East' twice and 'The White Room' once during the fortnight. Both of these restaurants offered sumptuously presented, top quality meals. Service was impeccable, and the experience was entirely worth the small supplement. (We booked both restaurants almost as soon as we arrived in our cabin on the first day - a wise measure to avoid disappointment.) Entertainment We thought that the Ventura company were very versatile and we enjoyed the shows. During the fortnight, there was a wide selection of shows, each performed thrice nightly. The acrobats (ex Cirque de Soleil) were outstanding. We enjoyed one of the comedians (Ray Turner) with his adroit observational humour. Another (Fogwell Flax) worked hard but anyone who laughs at his own jokes is rather too artificial for our liking. My wife enjoyed line dancing with 'Lonestar LIbby (!!). There was plenty of other activities but Bingo, horse racing etc we can do without. Stateroom Excellent in every respect. Very comfortable bed. Quality toiletries. Slightly odd choice of TV channels, not that we wanted to spend our time watching television. Service Our cabin steward kept our cabin in a spotless condition. He was the soul of discretion, being able to work around our variable timetable with the utmost aplomb. His unfailing good humour and civility made our cruise experience all the more enjoyable. Service in the restaurants was of a very high calibre, particularly in the speciality restaurants. Read Less
Sail Date January 2011
The first thing to be said is that P & O have got their model right, and the very few mistakes we witnessed were caused by individuals, rather than systems they have put in place. Their use of bonds to transfer baggage and people is ... Read More
The first thing to be said is that P & O have got their model right, and the very few mistakes we witnessed were caused by individuals, rather than systems they have put in place. Their use of bonds to transfer baggage and people is very efficient, and greatly reduces the tensions associated with air travel in these fraught times. Once checked-in at Gatwick, the next time we saw our baggage was when it was delivered, in a timely fashion, to our cabin. There were no immigration and customs controls to navigate at Bridgetown; instead we stepped off the plane and into a minibus, which delivered us direct to the cruise terminal - we were in our cabin an hour and a quarter after landing. On the return journey immigration controls were cleared on the Ventura, a simple security form completed in our cabins resulted in boarding passes, baggage reclaim tags and security stickers being delivered, and again the baggage was next sighted at Gatwick. Passengers were bussed to Bridgetown Airport, where P & O had arranged a dedicated security lane, and we were airside within minutes. Cabins were impressively kitted, with UK king-sized beds, fridges, good quality toiletries, and interactive televisions, through which it was possible to order food, drinks, excursions etc, and which kept us up to date with our spend on board. There were restaurants to suit everyone, ranging from traditional two-sitting silver service, through freestyle eating to self service. The quality of the food was generally very good.We were first sitting in Bay Tree restaurant, where we were seated with 2 other couples. I suspect that these arrangements were made by age, and they worked - we loooked forward to their company every evening. The waiting staff were attentive, and on the first evening spotted that one of the ladies had problems with food. They summoned the head waiter, and every evening thereafter she was given the next day's menu, to make her selection at leisure. On several occasions they gladly provided items not on the menu. We ate in White's twice, and felt thoroughly spoilt. The food and service were definitely 5-star. The gym was equipped with state-of-the-art machines, and the staff were both approachable and knowledgeable. There was entertainment to suit all tastes, and on the couple of occasions we found ourselves in the wrong place at the wrong time, we merely moved on to another venue, to enjoy other offerings. The ship's resident show troupe included three excellent singers, a stand-out balletic trapeze artist, and two acrobats ex Cirque de Soleil. There was one show where events conspired against them, but we all enjoyed watching them ad-libbing their way through it. Highlights of the cruise included an unscheduled meeting with our sister ship Azura in Aruba. She sailed just before us, and as we exited the harbour she steamed past us, with both liners thundering the air apart with volleys of salutes from their massive horns. That caused the hairs to stand up! The other was an organised reef snorkel and swim with sting rays off Grand Turk. The briefing given by Captain Stumpy was very thorough, and he even warned us of the predators we might encounter. However, he didn't prepare me for the five-foot barracuda, which swam out of the depths! The good captain did admit, afterwards, that they throw overboard the odd scrap to attract this beast. Finally,as a proud Highlander I was impressed by the piping of the haggis and the Address on Burn's Night. I was rather less pleased to find that the Drink of the Day was an Irish whiskey. Read Less
Sail Date January 2011
We booked our cruise in November 2010 and got a substantial reduction on the brochure price but with no on board spend. We certainly feel we got value for money. Our flights from Manchester were only an hour late leaving and on time for ... Read More
We booked our cruise in November 2010 and got a substantial reduction on the brochure price but with no on board spend. We certainly feel we got value for money. Our flights from Manchester were only an hour late leaving and on time for the return. Drinks were complimentary courtesy of P and O. Stepped off the plane in Barbados and straight to the boat via a coach from the aircraft steps. No immigration whatsoever. Perfect. Asked for freedom dining but got a table for 8 at 6.30. After suffering from a little temper tantrum in private and a quiet word with the Maitre D we were allocated a table for 2 at 8.30. Problem sorted. The food in the saffron restaurant was very good and the service was excellent. Wines were good and well priced and the glass was never left to go dry. Wine packages were available which gave about a 20% disc on the price. Tried both the White room and East. Both were very good but not quite as sharp as the alternate dining on other ships such as Todd English or Sabatini's. On a 2 week cruise though a change of venue just reminds you how good the main restaurant was. Didn`t use the buffet except for a snack and always found a table. Always took room service breakfast. Served by the same waiter everyday. Again Excellent. With Tea and coffee facilities in the room there was always a hot drink to go with that. Our room was good but not great. The carpet was stained I think because of the Tea facilities. It was shampooed after a couple of days and came up a treat. Should have been done before we boarded. In general the room was a little tired. An apple and an orange doesn`t constitute a fruit basket either in my book. I could have refilled it myself from the buffet I suppose. Had to ask for ice but then it was there everyday. If you want a sun lounger in a prime spot on a sea day get up and on it before 9.am otherwise your just going to be disappointed. No point complaining that's just the way it is. Entertainment in the evening is pretty good some great acts and some a little less so. I saw more shows on this cruise than on any other I`ve been on. The ship is short of intimate drink venues though for a nice pre dinner drink. Red is very open and Metropolis is fine if there's live music but not consistent. Drinks packages available for your room and pretty much duty free prices so I guess that's the place to have a pre dinner drink if you have a view. The ports of call were excellent pretty much toured the entire Caribbean. They are what you make of them. If you just wander round the port you`ll doubtless be disappointed. Organised tours were reasonable value for money and if you get on the Internet its possible to find great deals with local tour companies or just find a taxi in port and head off. Overall the cruise was good fun. Met fantastic fellow passengers. A warm and friendly crowd. Lots of first time cruisers. Some folks felt that the cheap last minute deals maybe attract the wrong crowd. Well as i booked last minute I could hardly agree could I. I did wonder if there was a convention for the tattoo`d on board but perhaps I`ve led a sheltered life and some choice language on a couple of occasions though nothing I haven`t heard before. Overall we had a great holiday with good company and got fantastic value. I think we`ll be back. Read Less
Sail Date January 2011
Just returned from a fantastic fourteen day cruise around the Caribbean. What a way to start your holiday, straight off the plane and on to awaiting coaches avoiding the hassle at the airport and enjoying a drink on the ship less than an ... Read More
Just returned from a fantastic fourteen day cruise around the Caribbean. What a way to start your holiday, straight off the plane and on to awaiting coaches avoiding the hassle at the airport and enjoying a drink on the ship less than an hour after landing. We opted for freedom dining and the staff in the Cinnamon restaurant were very attentive and pleasant at all times. We only had to wait twice for a table and the most we waited was 10 minutes. Excellent spa facilities. Had a Elemis facial, Swedish massage and fourteen day pedicure which still hasn't chipped 18 days later. We dined in The White Room twice, and on one occasion we dined under the stars on our way to Jamaica. We also dined in East once, each time the food and service was exceptional and exceeded any service we have experienced in England. We pre booked the Celebration Package which included champagne, chocolates and flowers on arrival in our cabin, a champagne breakfast in bed, two spa treatments and a portrait photograph for £145 which was exceptional value. The champagne breakfast was so good we decided to book another one during our second week. The entertainment team work very hard, and the sail away parties are not to be missed. A couple of nights there was some movement on the ship, but nothing to worry about. Our favourite bar was The Metropolis (deck 18) where we enjoyed pre and after dinner drinks. It was so relaxing. Overall we has a wonderful holiday, we could not fault P & O cruises and are already looking for next years cruise. Read Less
Sail Date January 2011
Flew out to Barbados on Thomson B767...P&O gave comp drinks..bags deliverd to cabin after last seen @ LGW.Embarkation so easy inc. a 30 min mini-bus ride to ship side.Return from BGI just as easy and painfree. We had a BALCONY cabin ... Read More
Flew out to Barbados on Thomson B767...P&O gave comp drinks..bags deliverd to cabin after last seen @ LGW.Embarkation so easy inc. a 30 min mini-bus ride to ship side.Return from BGI just as easy and painfree. We had a BALCONY cabin midships.Very nice that biscuits supplied with kettle and a choc on pillow at night. The beds were very narrow(and we're slim!),and balcony not that large but OK.Good shower and plenty of towels. We dined in Saffron for B'fast+Dinner and the Maitre D' was so good in finding us a table-for-2.No good not to sit and hear the USUAL moans and groans! The deck 15 buffet was manic...a glorified Mc Donalds frequented by the greedy ones(plates piled high with often uneaten food!) We dined in WHITE CLUB for £20 each..not as good as AZURA XVII speciality. Splashed out 15 quid each for EAST which was superb..best ever Sea Bass and gentle Thai service. The Beach House on D15 was also v.good,especially the "pay-food". Pizzeria(15) also superb and very QUICK. Just loved the 4 lectures by Mike Whitehouse,a former RED ARROW(1978-80),who also spoke on 617Sqn Dambusters.The shows weren't the best as male singer poor,but fab costumes. We loved the Lulu,George Michael and Cher tributes but best of all was Brett Cave..even better than Elton John..this boy is a "class act". Down on deck 5 was the WHITEWALL Art Gallery. 3 super talks on Rolf Harris,Jack Vettriano and the oh-so-fab Argentinian Fabian Perez given by Ryann(S.A).Kirsty And Ryann were so delightful and pleasant..and not a bit "pushy". I finished up buying an Original..and bubbly on Whitewall!!! There was usual stampede for sunbeds..but we're not into Skin Cancer..so no problem forus. Uncontrolled smoking on adjacent balconies was a prob for some..but we got lucky! The port highlight was St.Maarten(Dutch) where we took a $10 taxi to wetch a KLM B747 almost land on the beach..Air France send a A340 but,also NOT daily. Grand Turk was gorgeous.. pink sand/turquoise sea..beach stone's throw from ship! Ocho Rios is AWFUL...hostile natives +dreaded SANDFLIES. Domenica just a mass of trees/rainforest..been there,sadly got the T-Shirt!! Special mention for Maitre D' Joy Fernandez from Mumbai and also Victor,Head Waiter,from Goa..both such wonderful ambassadors for P&O. The Indian(GOA) waiters worked their butts off to give us all a super holiday. Capt.Hamish Reid was a real character..theatre full to hear him! Only bad thing for me was the intensely aggressive, and totally unnecessary, security on boarding and reboarding.You'd have thought they were expecting the TALIBAN not nice Brit,well behaved passengers.Control freak/racism comes to mind. P&O you did it for us...RCI beaten all hands down. Read Less
Sail Date November 2010
We wanted to do something different for our 25th anniversary and found a Caribbean cruise on the Ventura. Money first, at a discount which effectively meant two for the price of one this represented tremendous value. Drinks, ... Read More
We wanted to do something different for our 25th anniversary and found a Caribbean cruise on the Ventura. Money first, at a discount which effectively meant two for the price of one this represented tremendous value. Drinks, however, are expensive, P&O clearly use drinks to make up their money. A good idea would be to try and sell more at lower prices. Comparing Ventura to the Dawn Princess, well there is just no comparison, the Ventura is streets better is terms of options, facilities, and feeling of space. Plus points include the ability to cope with different groups of people, of different age ranges and expectations, from young people, couples with children, older people like us, as well as making single people welcome and apparently having excellent disabled capabilities as well. There was no feeling of intrusion or confinement on board. The non basic restaurants are excellent, particularly Ramblas (Tapas) and East, which despite a slightly odd location on board is just perfection. Service and atmosphere in each was just incredibly good. The Oasis Spa and Fitness Centre is excellent. Great value. Shore Excursions are very well organised and the staff exceptionally conscientious. One of the staff was so concerned about whether one of our bookings was right that he searched for us in order to double check that we had what we wanted. Entertainment is good overall, much better than we expected. There are some downsides. This is a Caribbean cruise, and the only concession on board to being in the Caribbean was a steel band who knew about twelve songs, which grated by day three. Otherwise, we could have been anywhere. Training the bar staff to make some Caribbbean drinks would be good, don't order a rum punch unless you are highly addicted to sugar. Actually, getting some Caribbean bar staff would be even better. The Reception staff were with one exception worse than useless, rude, unhelpful and ignorant. We found that it was 100% better to ask our cabin steward! It doesn't help that the in cabin manual is incorrect and the online information via the cabin television is incorrect. They do not, for example, change travellers cheques despite saying that they do. The bar staff were disappointing and there was no atmosphere in any of the bars. This made the entertainers jobs a lot harder in trying to build an atmosphere at some of the events. All lot of people would leave when the act was finished instead of staying and savouring an atmosphere, because of the bar staff. Surprising, because this must be costing P&O a lot in lost revenue. Despite having a large number of drinks waiters wandering round, particularly on deck, it was a minor miracle if one actually asked if you wanted anything and when approached, which was the requirement in order to get served, most found it extremely difficult to comprehend what you wanted. Surprising again, because this must be costing P&O a lot in lost revenue. The standard restaurants were pretty good, the buffet "Waterside" restaurant was ideal for breakfast. Our main dining was in Saffron. Vegetarian and Meat based dishes were good but the chefs have no idea how to cook fish, which all looked as if it was boiled for a standard ninety minutes! Back to school there I am afraid. The menus are a bit pretentious, and they do not in some cases do what they say. The waiters were reasonable although with a tendency, because of the fixed periods, to interrupt you if you happened to be speaking when they approached. The ship offers special facilities such as weddings and renewal of vows. These seemed to be very well organised but we tried to order on board and had a bit of a nightmare, best advice, book those sort of things in advance. Disembarkation paperwork was a shambles. By the admission of staff, 20% of passengers did not receive the paperwork or instructions. I think this is another "Reception" issue. Having paid effectively half price we felt this was almost excellent. If we had paid full price we might have had a more critical view. The challenge for P&O is to work on the 10-15% of issues to turn this from being very very good into something world class. Read Less
Sail Date November 2010
Well, from beginning to end we were treated as you would expect on the occasion of your wedding, like royalty. P&O have the mechanics of embarkation and disembarkation down to a tee. No problems. The wedding ... Read More
Well, from beginning to end we were treated as you would expect on the occasion of your wedding, like royalty. P&O have the mechanics of embarkation and disembarkation down to a tee. No problems. The wedding co-ordinator, Kat had everything we required organised and sorted and any little extra or change we asked for was quickly and efficiently dealt with. Th wedding day itself was a complete dream. The Captain, Hamish Reid conducted a fantastic ceremony; the photgraphy was artfully done in various locations around the ship (thnaks to another Kat!), with the biggest difficulty of the whole trip deciding which prints went into the album. For cocktail hour we retired to Metropolis, we the orderes canapes were waiting for all our guests. As with the whole trip, the service here was impeccable. we had then booked to eat in the White Room as a sort of on-board reception, and we would recommend all who cruise on Ventura do sample this restaurant. Our cabin was looked after superbly by Stanley, nothing but praise for him and the rest of the staff. Indeed the service on board the whole ship was second to none, whether in the restaurants, bars or pub it just can't be faulted. The islands visited are all simply beautiful, with Grand Turk and Antigua highlights for us. Jamaica (Ocho Rios) was pretty intimidating, the only downside to the cruise. As a first cruise, not to mention our wedding/honeymoon, it just couldn't be bettered. Staff, ceremony and setting all contributed to to a never-to-be forgotten experience. Read Less
Sail Date November 2010
Our first family cruise has turned out better than expected. The Ventura is a super floating 5 star hotel and I find it difficult to find any faults at all. Holiday costs were great free child places meant that it was a reasonable ... Read More
Our first family cruise has turned out better than expected. The Ventura is a super floating 5 star hotel and I find it difficult to find any faults at all. Holiday costs were great free child places meant that it was a reasonable cost for a family of four. (2011 quotes are 2.5K more expensive) On board prices were good value, Stella at £2.95 G&T for just over £3. You can take drinks on board with you but to be fair to P&O why you would at their prices. On board bottle of Bombay Sapphire 1ltr £12. Jamison's Irish whisky 1ltr £15. Kids club was great for our two kids they were gone all day and night with their new friends leaving me and the wife for some quality time together (a first on our holidays) Food was exceptional with choices of buffet dining or a full sit down five course meal. 4 formal dinner nights which you could avoid if you wanted and a pool restraint serving burger pizza etc. Room service if you really want to be lazy was a nice touch. Entertainment was good with a selection of Movies, shows, singers and comedians. Several bars and plenty of fun and games with the entertainment staff. We had a superior balcony room which was great for all four of us. I would not recommend an inside cabin as they looked a little small. To conclude this was our best holiday ever and we are saving up to do it again. Read Less
Sail Date October 2010
We are in our early sixties and were invited to join my cousin and his wife on Ventura. We have been on Celebrity and Princess cruises previously. After driving to Southampton we met a long queue of traffic for the docks. There was the ... Read More
We are in our early sixties and were invited to join my cousin and his wife on Ventura. We have been on Celebrity and Princess cruises previously. After driving to Southampton we met a long queue of traffic for the docks. There was the Southampton Boat Show and two other cruise ships joining that day, not surprising there was a lot of traffic. Once in the port we used the CPS car park which was a slick operation and very efficient. Inside the terminal building the boarding process was quite quick, and we were soon on our balcony, with a mug of tea admiring, the fantastic view of the port and the other two cruise ships. Our cabin was very clean with all we needed. What we miss on the American ships is the capability to brew tea and coffee in our room. Heaven! - lots of tea and wonderful shortbread biscuits plus a tray of delicious sweets. A tour of the ship revealed a similarity to Caribbean Princess. After reading the days info' sheet we realised there was much on offer. The gym was good with loads of kit. I used the mountain bike simulator which I thought was brilliant - only wish I had one at home. We dined in the Bay Tree restaurant on 2nd sitting, sharing our table with two other couples, who were great fun. The food was superb, as was the service from our waiters and wine waiter. We did, however, think that Celebrity had the slight edge on creative presentation. We dined in the Waterline and Beachcomber for lunch and breakfast, both superb too with excellent choices of food. Walk to the rear of the ship and there was always a table. Entertainment was very good. The Ventura Co. did Masquerades - a series of Lloyd-Webber hits from the shows - brilliant - West End quality! The comedian - Peter Piper had us crying - hilarious. His take-off of Basil Fawlty was very realistic. Ventura visited Vigo, Lisbon, La Rochelle and Brest. I would rate La Rochelle as a 5. Free shuttle to the centre. Loads of squares and side streets with bars, eateries and under- archway shops to browse. Coffee overlooking the marina was a treat. Lisbon and La Rochelle were our favourites. Brest was the final stop. We did the 'Breton Delights' tour to the Landenou Bridge, a manor house for crepes and delicious sweet delights with coffee and cider. The manor and people were terrific but the smell of pigs outside was overpowering. 1000 or more! Finally visiting one of the church closes which was very interesting. Overall - Thoroughly enjoyed the cruise, the ship, the food, the service all excellent. Better than Celebrity and Princess. Tea and coffee and biscuits, free shuttle buses, cheaper drinks and wine for meals, cheaper for tipping. We will certainly sail with P and O again and Ventura - thank you for a great holiday. Read Less
Sail Date September 2010
Boarded in Southampton 4th September, compared to flying this is a fantastic way to start to the holiday. on the ship within 50 minutes of arriving- 10/10 A beer/Lunch and look around, the ship is easy to navigate just forget majority of ... Read More
Boarded in Southampton 4th September, compared to flying this is a fantastic way to start to the holiday. on the ship within 50 minutes of arriving- 10/10 A beer/Lunch and look around, the ship is easy to navigate just forget majority of the decks and focus on the ones you need 6/7 bars shops and theatres. and then the top decks for waterside laguna and very rare sunshine. cabins clean tidy and good size, we were on C deck so had a good sized balcony. the cabin steward was very helpful and attended to our needs. the ship overall was spacious and again very clean. FOOD - the food in all the restaurants we used was very good, we ate mostly in the Bay Tree also paid £25 extra for a night in Marco Pierre Whites which was worth every penny. breakfast and lunch in buffet was very good and a couple of evenings in the Boathouse one of which i paid £6.50 supplement for surf n turf fillet steak with the biggest prawns i have ever seen. entertainment was good, and there were bars to suit all tastes. overall the whole experience was a pleasant one. Good and Bad GOOD A litre of Barcardi delivered to your cabin £12.00 our last cruise on Ocean Village you could not do this and a couple of nightcaps in the cabin cost about the same as the full bottle on P & O. Staff very attentive. Very nicely laid out ship. BAD STELLA on tap This seems to be the case with all british ships P & O please note this is awful muck used by yobs to fuel there bravery before causing fights. alternative was to spend the same amount for half a pint of decent beer. THIS IS ALL I CAN FIND TO MOAN ABOUT !! VENTURA AND P & O ARE GREAT Read Less
Sail Date September 2010
This was a superb cruise for our 7- strong family covering 3 generations. The Southampton embarkation and disembarkation were smooth and trouble free.As seasoned cruisers, we knew what to expect on "Ventura".Our son, his wife and ... Read More
This was a superb cruise for our 7- strong family covering 3 generations. The Southampton embarkation and disembarkation were smooth and trouble free.As seasoned cruisers, we knew what to expect on "Ventura".Our son, his wife and their three children were highly delighted with their state rooms and all aspects of their first cruise. The facilities offered to the children aged 9.12 and 15 were vibrant, varied and safe. Adults wanting a quieter time could utilise the peaceful OASIS terrace and pool. The entertainment was intelligently varied - something for everyone! The "Ventura Theatre Company" was superlative. The staff were particularly friendly and attentive to our family`s needs. We were delighted with the Captain since he articulated matters both maritime and social with simple fluency and warmth. The seven ports of call were wisely chosen but it was too hot to enjoy them thoroughly. One might expect with a passenger list of 3,389, that the public areas might be crowded but this was not the case - one could always be accommodated easily in the lounges and restaurants, pool and deck areas. We would recommend "Ventura" without hesitation. Read Less
Sail Date July 2010
We have recently returned from Norwegian Fjords Cruise 7 nights from Southampton 17th to 24th July. The embarkation was efficient and by the time we had got onto the ship we were already saying this is much better than a fly cruise (that ... Read More
We have recently returned from Norwegian Fjords Cruise 7 nights from Southampton 17th to 24th July. The embarkation was efficient and by the time we had got onto the ship we were already saying this is much better than a fly cruise (that we have previously done). We found our cabin immediately P234, spotlessly clean and our steward Nicolau was very pleasant without being overpowering, he kept us with an endless supply of sweeties, biscuits, tea coffee you name it, 3 times a day he was in the cabin changing towels etc etc... we could not have asked for any better treatment if we had booked a suite. Apart from a little niose during the night on a couple of nights this deck is highly recommended for those on a budget, only a few steps through the gallery you were in the atrium, we sat in this area in the evening with a buzzer (for the longest 10 mins) to wait for a table in Cinnamon restaurant. We opted for Freedom dining thinking that this would be less formal and the food would not be up to the standard of Club dining, how wrong we were. The food was bl**dy excellent, piping hot and quick service, the waiters were brilliant - could not fault this service at all, well worth the huge tip we gave them at the end of the cruise.... Only fault was the weather, rained all week apart from the sail up the North Sea and the return my husband and myself both got burned, we did not take sunscreen as we thought it would not be hot (how wrong were we !).. the scenery can only be described as spectacular from entering the Fjords to coming home. We have previously been on 3 cruises to the Med with Ocean Village (which we loved by the way and sorry to see go to Oz), so you can imagine our apprehension of whether we would fit in. We loved every minute and all day today we have been shopping around for the best deal to book for the Med Sept 2011. We are both young 50's and would recommend this to all ages, but do not make the same mistake as we did and didn't take with us the formal attire. We thought we did not have to partake (you don't), but we felt left out and when we decided to go and buy a tie or bow from the onboard shop, all had been snapped up quickly, it appears others had done the same. We watched all the passengers in their sparkly gowns and tuxedo's and wished it was us. The next cruise we are already prepared and know the score... For those of you who are not sure... go on, food excellent, service the same from boarding to disembarking.... I loved Ventura and cannot wait, I am sure it is 56 weeks to go and counting.... Happy cruising.. xx Read Less
Sail Date July 2010
We didn't know what to expect, i had gone on a cruise 30 plus years ago in my teens and couldn't remember too much but my partner had never sailed, so there was a slight concern of sea sickness ....which never came i'm ... Read More
We didn't know what to expect, i had gone on a cruise 30 plus years ago in my teens and couldn't remember too much but my partner had never sailed, so there was a slight concern of sea sickness ....which never came i'm pleased to say. The Ventura was a loverly clean ship and you hardly knew you were sailing. The start / checking in was the best experience ever , the atmostphere was so calm and i lost count of the P&O check in staff at Southampton. This set the holiday off very well . You were given a ticket with a letter on it and when this was called you went up to the check in ....we were there in a full hall and only waited about 20 mins from us arriving ...oh i forgot to add they took our bags at the car and we never saw them again until we gor to our cabin ! The information on board was second to none as your TV gives you information on position, miles travelled etc and also gives very interesting information on video form of your ports you are visiting. The cabin was fantastic and the attendant very polite and friendly . Towels seemed to be changed 2-3 times a day soometimes . They turn your bed down at night and not only do they leave a printed itinerery for the next day they leave small choclates on the bed ! The choice of food was vast and the quality very very good. You can eat in other restarants of varrying tastes at a varring suppliment.Or there is a non formal dinning area which is very nice and no suppliment. But to be honest the main restaurant is as good or better than any 5 star hotel you may visit so we stayed in there !! The entertainment was good some acts better than others but there is so much choice if one wasn't to your liking you can just go and find another going on at the same time ...its that easy. The drinks on the Ventura ar normal pub prices so no worries there. The staff are very friendly and helpfull. Even the collection of our bags at the end was a breeze as i was worried i wouldn't see my plain black case as i'd forgot my bright pink gay pride march strap ! But no worries there , they let you off and you walk into a massive hall / warehouse as part of the route out and your bags are all lined up in deck order so you just find your deck walk along the line ( there's no conveyor belt) and just pick your bags up ....all done ...easy as that !!! We are going again !!! Read Less
Sail Date June 2010
We've been on four cruises in the last two years and to be honest until we got a great deal we considered P & O out of our price range and now it seems we've opted for quantity of holidays as opposed to quality. Last year ... Read More
We've been on four cruises in the last two years and to be honest until we got a great deal we considered P & O out of our price range and now it seems we've opted for quantity of holidays as opposed to quality. Last year (2009) we travelled on both Ocean Village ships and cruised Caribbean and the Mediterranean they were fantastic and everything we expected, but now I'm guessing had we been on a P & O ship first and then travelled with Ocean Village we would probably have felt that they're not a patch on the beauty of Ventura, its elegant decor, the overall layout, outstanding entertainment and the service and food was above all second to none. All though some of our ports of call we visited with Ventura were not as glamorous as the Caribbean and the Mediterranean, add the fact that the weather was a hit and miss affair. Ventura itself certainly more than compensated, the ship is simply a holiday destination on it's own. P & O is most certainly the way to go. Last January we travelled on the Island Escape around the Canary Islands, again the places were great, however the ship was a total disaster, I had been on it years ago, it was great back in 2002, but it was a mere shadow of it's former self, everything about it was substandard, in fact truth be told it was totally awful. So cruising on Ventura in June after Januarys cruise on the Island Escape could be compared to trading in an old Austin Allegro for a Rolls Royce! On Ventura we opted for Freedom Dining instead of set times and had most of our meals in The Cinnamon Restaurant where the food was out of this world, we're not used to the high standard service and quality every night, on other cruise liners you'd have to pay a lot extra for this kind of service and quality. Most evenings Liston and Jessey served us, it seemed they couldn't do enough to please us. In fact all the staff on Ventura are an asset to P & O, all very friendly and extremely helpful. The free shuttle buses from the ports were a great touch as I had researched what to do in each port and I much prefer to explore and find the places of interest without being taken around by a guide. It also saves a pretty penny! The entertainment was superb, we found ourselves rushing round trying to catch two or three shows a night, usually on our past cruises there would be a couple of nights where nothing really appealed to us, in the past we've sat and read books on a balcony or watched a film in our cabin. Ventura's entertainment was action packed from start to finish we enjoyed it immensely; Martin Daniels was highly amusing we didn't expect that! George Michael isn't really my cup of tea but the guy who impersonated him was very entertaining. The musicals in the Arena were truly magnificent, though I have to say the show Flash could have had some better songs, there was a couple of duff numbers in there! We left Southampton on the 5th of June; the 6th was a day at sea. On the 7Th we arrived at La Coruna north of Spain. We walked a straight line from the port into the town until we came out at tram track next to the sea, we walked along the sea front until we came to a little beach that was being worked on, we found a quiet little cove and then walked to the Hercules Light house which was free that day and climbed the stairs to the top had a look around. We then headed towards the main beach area, Riazor Beach and then the sky became overcast, it started to rain a little so we headed back for the ship. The 8th of June we arrived in Bilbao,in Spain's Basque Country. A free shuttle buses took us into the town. After reading reviews about the Guggenheim Museum, a modern art gallery, we decided to check it out, the exterior was a work of art itself, there's a huge spider sculpture, a dog frame covered in flowers and a tall sculpture that looked like silver balloons piled on top of one another, everything outside the museum was very impressive. Warning! Do not waste your money going inside, if you consider the works of the late American Robert Rauschenberg as art then you are just as deluded as the man who created them and about as crazy as the idiot who decided to exhibit them as modern art in the first place! It's simply pieces of metal, from cars and road signs and any other metal junk riveted and welded together to create art? Modern art? I've got our old bath down the side of our house, I lovingly filled with the bathroom debris from a complete refit, so if any gallery wants to pay me a few thousand to exhibit this as an exhibit then please feel free to contact me, it's yours for a couple of hundred pounds though if you are totally eccentric or stupid even then give me a few thousand for it. Another room in the gallery was filled with wooden pallets with mounds of clay on that resembled stacks of human faeces, and to be honest that's what we all thought of it, another room was decorated white with a slash in the wall, we've got a kitchen like that! Are you getting the feeling that we were not impressed yet? I could go on about other totally useless exhibits by other artists there, but seriously don't waste your money or time in the Guggenheim, call me uncultured all you like and straight away I'll be thinking that you are a rather sad individual that really ought to get a life! After the museum that we headed north to the Artix Funcular, a train that takes you up a steep mountain to a recreational area where you can get some great views of the city, well worth a couple of Euros. The 9th of June we arrived in Brest in Brittany France. There was two free shuttle buses, one that takes you into the old town and one that takes you to Oceanopolis a huge aquarium, I heard somewhere that it's the biggest in the world. It was raining that day so we opted for the aquarium it was ok, nothing special though we spent most of the day there, I have to say I prefer the aquariums in Genoa Italy and Long Beach California. We didn't go into town as other passengers had advised it's not one the nicest of places in Brittany and besides it was raining! June 10th we were in La Rochelle France again a free shuttle bus into this lovely old town, we walked around the shops and then the picturesque marina, lots of restaurants, we popped into one for banana chocolate crepes and coffee, then carried on walking around and up to the old towers that guard the harbour before heading back. On June 11th we were in Guernsey tender boats took us across from the ship to St Peter Port. Guernsey was easily our favourite port of call, it's a fantastic very beautiful place to visit, we plan to have a holiday there and next time visit Sark and Herm. There's plenty to see and do with miles of glorious coastline, everything about the place was wonderful. We visited our friends there and had a superb day, it started off with a little light rain and then the sun came out and transformed every view into a picturesque postcard! We arrived on June the 12th back in Southampton. Disembarkation went smoothly and we were off the ship earlier than we had anticipated and had to wait a couple of hours before our scheduled train home. All in all we had a fantastic holiday, totally recommend Ventura to anyone no matter where in the world she goes, you'll enjoy her and all it has to offer. Read Less
Sail Date June 2010
We travelled down to Southampton and stayed the night before at the DeVere hotel right on the front. We booked a stay with breakfast, transfer and park package that cost only slightly more than paying for just parking at the dock. The ... Read More
We travelled down to Southampton and stayed the night before at the DeVere hotel right on the front. We booked a stay with breakfast, transfer and park package that cost only slightly more than paying for just parking at the dock. The hotel was excellent, lovely room, breakfast and well organised transfers to and from the ship by taxi. After a leisurely walk along the quay to take pictures of Eclipse, which was also in port we checked out of the hotel and arrived at the new Ocean Terminal at about 11.45. We were given a card with a letter on and had to wait until about 12.30 before our letter was called as boarding did not start until 12.00, we were efficiently checked in and boarded the ship. We had lovely lunch from the buffet sitting in the sunshine on the Terrace until our cabin was ready at 1.30. We had a cabin on C deck with an extra wide balcony and it was perfect, part under cover and part exposed. This was our second cruise on Ventura and the cabin itself was identical to our previous cabin on B deck. A well designed cabin with all the facilities and storage you need We had a table for 8 in the Saffron restaurant, though in the end there were 6 of us plus one of the ships senior officers who joined us for the whole cruise. It was a very enjoyable experience. The food was generally excellent, I returned one meal, very British style food. We ate one night in The White Room as a celebration and that meal was outstanding, a perfect evening, a lovely table in front of the picture windows. We had breakfast either in the Saffron or the buffet, and enjoyed both, an excellent selection. For lunch we went to either the buffet or Frankies grill. We ate very well indeed, though at times it was busy we always found a seat, and dishes were promptly cleared from tables. We never had to queue. We noticed that people were arriving for dinner more than 15 minutes before the club dining time and then complained that they had to queue, strange, of course they had to wait! We went to all the shows in the theatre and thought they were very professional. We easily found seats at the 7pm performance and then went on to dinner. We did not go to any of the other shows or entertainment. Our favourite bar was Metropolis where we could sit looking out at the beautiful scenery as we passed through the fjord still light at midnight. Drinks were reasonably priced and very well presented and served. We though the wine list limited, though again good value, we did not buy a wine package as we were only on a short cruise, but they were available. Disembarkation was very efficient and civilised very unlike our experience on US ships. Times varied from 7.30am to 11am depending on your form of onward travel. The evening before we were given a card with our departure time, an got off the ship promptly at 8.30 rung the prearranged taxi number and were back with our car by 9am. A perfect cruise, we look forward to our next on Azura in October Read Less
Sail Date June 2010
Myself and three friends are currently university students who took a gap year so had a fair amount of money saved. We want to be able to travel but not do it rough and neither are we clubbers so a traditional "student" holiday ... Read More
Myself and three friends are currently university students who took a gap year so had a fair amount of money saved. We want to be able to travel but not do it rough and neither are we clubbers so a traditional "student" holiday is not at all what we were looking for. I myself had been on a cruise the year before with my girlfriend and three times before with my parents - so pretty knowledgeable. We got the train to Southampton and got a taxi to the port - very easy and then from there the suitcases were unloaded and within an hour we were on the ship having lunch. The atrium of the ship is not as impressive as in Oceana or Aurora - but nothing bad indeed. The decor has a modern feel and was very well looked after while on board - continuously polishing and cleaning. The food was amazing, I could not fault it one bit. There is a vast array of choice at all meal times, the only gripe was with the layout of the Waterside buffet court which was a little small. The room service food was very good as well, with a reasonable choice that was free. Furthermore, the service as a whole was top notch - nothing more to say. We did not partake in any daytime activity but there was plenty to do and the on board shows were very good, they are not outstanding West End production but good enough to sit down and enjoy. There was a comedian who we didn't find funny, but that is personal taste. Overall and excellent holiday - saving up my student pennies for another one soon. One port i went too that I can scroll down and choose is Alicante - it was ok, not very scenic nor much to do, but if you wanted a beach day or shopping day then this is a good port. Read Less
Sail Date June 2010
We've always wanted to visit the North coast of Spain, and with last minute offerings on Ventura- a ship with which we are familiar- we decided that we could spare the time and money to go on this port-filled cruise. This leads me to ... Read More
We've always wanted to visit the North coast of Spain, and with last minute offerings on Ventura- a ship with which we are familiar- we decided that we could spare the time and money to go on this port-filled cruise. This leads me to the difficult bit, and the reason why we've not written a review anywhere before. In the week before our sailing, the area where we live had a major incident, which affected us all. We were reluctant to leave our village at a time of stress, and almost cancelled. The incident did impact on us throughout the cruise, but of all places to be, the Ventura was the most familiar ship to us, and, it being very British, we had no problems going with the flow. We learnt not to say where we were from, and were able to find quiet spots for our sadder days. Having a last minute cruise means taking whatever dining options are offered- we only go with cruise lines which offer Freedom dining- so our slot into 2nd sitting we ignored, going only once, to make sure that the waiters were tipped. Instead, we dined at all the other venues, with a tremendous meal at White's, with Marco himself in and out of the kitchen. We chose his own recommendation of red wine:"Possum", which was £24, and worth every penny. We were very impressed by the tapas in the Ramblas, where you could have a mixture of any kind of main meal, sweet- or just a list of tapas. The tuna pastry was freshly baked, and memorable. We each had a paella; mine the meat, OH the fish. Excellent! Our cabin was way up on A deck, and was similar to the last one we had on C, but without the massive balcony...this was almost a Juliet! Still, there was room to sit and relax away from the crowds. The main reason for grabbing this cruise was to see Santiago de Compostella. We took the ship's tour, and it was brilliant. The coffee break in Santiago's main square was in the ancient hospice, now a Pousada, which would have occupied us for a day of sight seeing alone, with old chapels and courtyards full of statues. Certainly a place to stay in the future. As well as the Cathedral, the guide lead us through the 4 car-free squares surrounding.We only scraped the surface of a fascinating town, but it will need a holiday there to see more. At Bilbao, P&O as always provided a free shuttle bus. Interesting to see the P&O ferry from Portsmouth in the harbour, and reflect that one P&O ship was now owned by Carnival, and the other by a group in the Middle East. We were unable to join any activities or entertainment, due to our tragedy, and unlike our last Ventura cruise; we can wholeheartedly say that she is an excellent ship for people who need to get away. There are quiet corners, and enough open deck to satisfy the most solitary. We self-disembarked, and were able to leave the ship at 7.30am. Taxis were lined up, and we were at the station by 8.50, able to catch an earlier train north, arriving at out little station by 3.45. Jo and G. Read Less
Sail Date June 2010
Cruising on P&O Ventura was a great experience especially as we snagged bargain suite prices by booking only a few days prior to sailing. The party consisted of My wife and I and two of our sons aged 19 and 21. The boarding experience ... Read More
Cruising on P&O Ventura was a great experience especially as we snagged bargain suite prices by booking only a few days prior to sailing. The party consisted of My wife and I and two of our sons aged 19 and 21. The boarding experience was excellent and we were on the ship in the Waterside restaurant within 20 mins of entering the departure building. The suite comprised a bedroom and curtained off sitting room with full bath and shower, a double balcony and an excellent steward called Sam who attended to everything - including unpacking and full English delivered to the suite, and would tell my wife off if he noted that she had attempted to tidy up or clean cups etc. The boys soon got over their initial embarrassment (funnily enough) of having Sam around. The sports and gym facilities on board were top quality and I especially liked the adults only pool (Oasis) at the bow. It is noteworthy that despite 3000 passengers being on board I had this pool to myself for 15-20 mins most sea-day mornings around 930. The food in the restaurant was top quality with 5 courses served each evening and the waiting staff were efficient, friendly yet unobtrusive. The food was so good that despite my suggestion that the boys go eat in the more casual Waterside restaurant at another time so they could watch a World Cup game they insisted on dressing up and not missing their evening banquet! Food menus and hygiene were impressive all over the ship and we had no complaints. Drinks prices were also very reasonable compared to Carnival cruises. The Exchange pub was a great place to have a beer and a snack and enjoy quizzes and bingo as well as catching the big games. The entertainment in the theatre was only an 8/10 lol - but stilled and made up for by the excellent tribute acts (Freddie Mercury, George Michael) in the smaller venues. The midships pool area was a little manic but that's where the families gathered so only to be expected and easily avoided. We only paid for 1 official excursion: Glories of the Gladiators in Rome; because of the long drive from the ship and to ensure we got back on time and also to avoid likely long queues - which we managed to do. We all really enjoyed it and it is definitely recommended for families with older children. In Livorgno we clubbed together with a few other couples and paid for a taxi-bus to take us to Pisa; Be aware however that there is usually a two hour wait to climb the tower once tickets purchased - so it may be worth buying an official excursion if you don't want to miss out. In Lisbon we made our own way around on the trams and in Barcelona we walked everywhere straight from the port except to the Nou Camp which was a cheap taxi-ride away. In Cannes we paid 5 euro for a return train ticket to Monaco and Monte Carlo and had a great day out at a bargain price (compared to the official excursions). The Captain then held a sail-away cocktail party midships and mentioned that he had specifically detoured to Monte-Carlo to provide great views as we left the coast. Typical old-school British class I would say and this was evidenced throughout the ship in terms of service and also the officer of the watch and Captains daily noon briefings. All reminiscent of the calm and efficiency of an officers mess rather than some of the mayhem and especially food queues encountered on Carnival. The motion of the ship was unnoticeable and all-in-all we had a tremendous holiday and would thoroughly recommend Ventura and the P&O experience.   Read Less
Sail Date June 2010
Ventura Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.2
Dining 4.0 3.8
Entertainment 4.0 3.7
Public Rooms 4.0 4.0
Fitness Recreation 4.0 3.9
Family 4.0 3.9
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.5
Enrichment 3.0 3.3
Service 4.0 4.0
Value For Money 4.0 3.6
Rates 3.0 3.9

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