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854 P&O Cruises Ventura Cruise Reviews

I'd never fancied a cruise - this was a friend's choice for a "girly weekend away" for us 2 older ladies. I expected to hate every minute - but actually really enjoyed it. Our cabin was spotless and the beds were ... Read More
I'd never fancied a cruise - this was a friend's choice for a "girly weekend away" for us 2 older ladies. I expected to hate every minute - but actually really enjoyed it. Our cabin was spotless and the beds were really comfortable. The whole experience was so good that we have booked another cruise for the Autumn. I simply don't understand the poor reviews given by some people regarding the staff/food/bars, etc. All the staff were fantastic: always helpful and cheerful. There were a number of bars, all with different atmospheres. If you don't want karaoke, then there's a lot more to choose from! (We liked The Red Bar, which was quiet and uncrowded.) The food was amazing, considering they were catering for 3,000 people! High-quality food in the restaurant at dinner. The Waterside buffet was busy at peak times, but what do people expect? We did joke that you could probably eat yourself to death if you wanted to - and some people seemed to be trying. We had a late lunch and watched one family finish their (huge) lunches and then go straight on to afternoon tea with mounds of sandwiches and platefuls of cakes! There was one hen-party group on board who were a bit of a pain during the emergency drill, but we never saw them again and we were told that hen parties weren't being accepted in future. Overall, we thought we got excellent value for money and would certainly recommend. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
this was our 9th. cruise cruise having tried fred olson and r.c.i. we felt r.c.i. where getting to be to pushy so thought we would give P&O a go .our embarkation was good and we found our cabin to be 1st class on deck d extra large ... Read More
this was our 9th. cruise cruise having tried fred olson and r.c.i. we felt r.c.i. where getting to be to pushy so thought we would give P&O a go .our embarkation was good and we found our cabin to be 1st class on deck d extra large balconey very nice The ship was just the right size no problems getting about we booked 1830hrs meals in M.D.R. all very nice allways good choice and plenty of good food, service also very good some of the shows where not to our liking however we allways found somewhere to go. Frankie Gliksman was a realy talented entertianer and realy made up for any short falls on the show side staff where very help full in partcular the young lady on recieption who found a small screw driver to fix my glasses we did shore trips at every port with P&O all where very good in fact we hade such a good time we have booked P&O agian for next year book early for good on board spend money and to make sure you get the cabin you want Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
Wanted to cruise and wanted to see Norway, what a super experience for my first Cruise. Ventura is a well appointed, spotlessly clean. Staff lovely, nothing too much trouble. Food in Bay Tree Restaurant exceptional, waiters lovely, ... Read More
Wanted to cruise and wanted to see Norway, what a super experience for my first Cruise. Ventura is a well appointed, spotlessly clean. Staff lovely, nothing too much trouble. Food in Bay Tree Restaurant exceptional, waiters lovely, service excellent. Plenty of choice, can honestly say enjoyed everything I ate. Buffet good for breakfast and lunch, great choices, tea and coffee always available. Entertainment was really good, shows very professional, comedian very funny. Cabin very comfortable, staff lovely, thank you.Bed made up and towels changed, nothing at all to complain about. Had wonderful company on table 23, hard to say goodbye. All in all recommend it to anyone, I was a solo traveller, felt special, would go again in a flash, have to start saving up. Norway Fjiords were stunning,just as expected, scenery out of this world. Saw glaciers, snow capped mountains, museums, you will have njoy it very much, believe me. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
We are veterans of twenty cruises and this was our first time with P&O, we chose a seven night trip to the Norwegian Fjords leaving from Southampton. Parking was superb, boarding efficient our bags were outside our cabin by the ... Read More
We are veterans of twenty cruises and this was our first time with P&O, we chose a seven night trip to the Norwegian Fjords leaving from Southampton. Parking was superb, boarding efficient our bags were outside our cabin by the time we got there, room attendant excellent and beyond reproach. The ship itself was just dull, no wow factors at all everything Brown and beige. The shops were likewise dull with low end products nothing exciting on show. Food in the main dining room just not good same menu every day with a couple of changes not well presented and everything was just bland. The waiters were indifferent to rude, never introduced themselves just took orders and slapped the food in front of you. The buffet option was so small and cramped to be a joke the food simply dreadful. The late night snack options a joke. Entertainment was a mixed bag, one funny comedian one that should have been sent home. A couple of good tribute bands and an excellent rock headliner show. Day time offerings poor. Drink prices very attractive compared with RCL and Celebrity around £5 to £6 for a cocktail. Staff generally just not helpful or up to the standard we have learned to expect. We heard to of them chatting about passengers and laughing at them, to my mind totally unacceptable. Our first and last trip with P&O Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
Seemed like a good idea at the time, first day we were greeted by a pedal bin in the toilet full of tissues and a used tampon smiling at us, reported it and all we got was a grunted apology whereas friends of ours got a fifty pound extra ... Read More
Seemed like a good idea at the time, first day we were greeted by a pedal bin in the toilet full of tissues and a used tampon smiling at us, reported it and all we got was a grunted apology whereas friends of ours got a fifty pound extra spend because some noise was heard early one morning.Although not P&O,s fault the ship was overun with wheelchairs, zimmer frames and mobility scooters.Technical faults ensued throughout and rudely awoken at 4.20 one morning with chairs etc being moved above us, when complained was virtually called a liar as no one goes above deck until 7.00 am to move stuff ,haunted ship I suppose. I dont think I've seen so many vastly overweight people in one place before, food ok but nothing wonderfull but most staff ok with some of the younger girls very smiley and chatty. One waiter virtually threw the food at us and seemed like he would rather be elsewhere . Two P&O cruises and four Princess and will go back to Princess in future , shame really as we would rather support home grown. Freddy Mercury tribute was awful if you were a queen fan and on a last note ive never seen food consumed in such large ammounts by people in their 80s as on this trip, no wonder it cost so much in care homes, lovely bunch though. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
First p&O cruise , we have always gone with tui (Thomson) before but wanted to see what it was like going from Southampton, we got there earlier than are allocated time and must say went through the embarkation procedure very ... Read More
First p&O cruise , we have always gone with tui (Thomson) before but wanted to see what it was like going from Southampton, we got there earlier than are allocated time and must say went through the embarkation procedure very smoothly, I had read previous reviews about the ship some good some bad , although some areas looked a bit tired overall the ship was fine, the cabin was no better than what we have had on Thomson ships. We found the afternoon tea was very limited (the same things on all the food areas ) Our breakfasts and evening meals were taken in the baytree restaurant and we found them excellent a good choice at every sitting, our waiters were very friendly and attentive (jam and dominic) table 109. Did not think the entertainment was that brilliant some acts were good (but not the shows like we have seen on Thomson) Our cabin steward was very good cabin always spotless. Went to Madiera for the first stop and on the cable car and toboggan ( this was a great experience , our last stop was in Lisbon and we went on the amphibious duck what a great laugh that was our guide Gonzales was brilliant. Would go again but did find drinks quite expensive you can get a drinks package but at £39.95 each a day and you must both have it think its a bit much. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
Not impressed with the food. Had breakfast in the main restaurant. Bacon was very fatty. toast was cold, and hard. Also not very much choice of daily dinner choices in the main restaurant. Four items were always on the menu. Had eggs ... Read More
Not impressed with the food. Had breakfast in the main restaurant. Bacon was very fatty. toast was cold, and hard. Also not very much choice of daily dinner choices in the main restaurant. Four items were always on the menu. Had eggs benedict one morning in the buffet restaurant, the muffin was very hard and dry. Had to pay extra in The Beach House for our evening meal to get food that you usually get on a cruise ship. Attitude of some of the staff where not what you normally get a on a cruise. Bit rude, and not very helpful. Not very much going on at the day at sea. Was looking forward to hear one of the guest speakers. Which we have experienced on previous P & O cruises. That did not happen. The entertainment was very good. We were very disappointed. Will not be cruising with P & O again Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
Family getaway over the Easter hols. Boarding was OK and smooth. Cabin was ok (inside twin with 2 bunks) but too small for four people. Service for food and drink was painfully slow, no fault of the staff, just not enough of them ... Read More
Family getaway over the Easter hols. Boarding was OK and smooth. Cabin was ok (inside twin with 2 bunks) but too small for four people. Service for food and drink was painfully slow, no fault of the staff, just not enough of them for the amount of passengers, of which there were far too many; one couldn't move in any of the swimming pools! We ate in the buffett restaurant, Saffron and cinnamon restaurants and the poolside grill. All food was OK but nothing really stood out, not even on the formal nights; A cheese board consists of 2 tiny bits of cheese and a couple of jacobs crackers! The ship is generally clean and tidy and in a good state of repair. P&O are the Ryannair of the ocean...EVERYTHING is extra! P&O need to stop being so greedy and bring the luxury back to cruising or they wont be around for much longer. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
I would of given 4 stars as an overall rating as everything else except the cabin was very good . Embarkation was speedy as was disembarkation. The food was great in the dining room and the buffet . The waiters were all polite and helpful. ... Read More
I would of given 4 stars as an overall rating as everything else except the cabin was very good . Embarkation was speedy as was disembarkation. The food was great in the dining room and the buffet . The waiters were all polite and helpful. The excursion from Zeebrugge was excellent. I learnt more about Belgium from our guide than I ever knew before ! We went to a small village, a castle come Manor House and finished at a chocolate factory. We were disappointed that the ship couldn’t stop at Peter Port yet again. I feel it’s time to find another port in northern France that would make it easier to disembark passengers safely. I’ve suggested on previous questionnaires that a dedicated cinema would be great with films on at times you can watch them!! Nobody has paid attention yet ! All in all apart from the cabin we had a great time and have booked a 2 week cruise to the Baltic’s next year. Excellent value. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
Had good responses from people using P & O. Having had Cruises with Royal Caribbean & Cunard, we thought we would see how they compared. Firstly, the boarding chaos was never explained by any P & O official. (It took over ... Read More
Had good responses from people using P & O. Having had Cruises with Royal Caribbean & Cunard, we thought we would see how they compared. Firstly, the boarding chaos was never explained by any P & O official. (It took over one hour & 30 mins TO check in). You were left in your car outside the dock for 45 mins WITH NO EXPLANATION before being herded into a chaotic receiving hall where we were given Numbers & told to take a seat (There were none) until your number was called. Cabin & Steward was excellent, & kept spotless during the voyage. Dining was very good in the Saffron Restaurant & waiters were brilliant. We also used the Self-service dining areas which were pleasant & fairly spacious & well staffed; However, the buffet area was quite small & crowded. There are activities but they are fairly low key & mostly appealing to children. One activity in the main Atrium was a display of how to make a Bed in under 2. 30 secs?! This actual drew a sizeable crowd, I think primarily because of disbelief that this could be a judged an 'activity.' People on holiday actually took part! The trips/excursions were a shambles. Oporto was called off because of rough seas, with the Captain sounding less than sympathetic! Spending an extra day in Lisbon. Then two full days at sea?! Until Our visit to Guernsey!! Where to begin... 21/2 hours queue to get a ticket to get into the 'Actual' queue for the Tender. 3hrs.20 mins set foot on Guernsey! Then, a 3-hour queue to come back. You couldn't invent it! The Ventura left 2 Hours later than the original 'back to the boat' They have no concept of how to organize any large gathering & Officers are nowhere to be seen. Finally, 2 hours to disembark! I shall leave the tale of Two ships there. Good Cabins & Good food vs laughable organization skills. I leave you with final Bon-Mot. An Illusionist was booked for the Area theater but couldn't be found? Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
Embarkation. A bit chaotic, to say the least. We were due to check in at 15:30 but were still queuing to park the car at that time. Apparently there were issues with the airbridge connecting the ship to the terminal, although we were never ... Read More
Embarkation. A bit chaotic, to say the least. We were due to check in at 15:30 but were still queuing to park the car at that time. Apparently there were issues with the airbridge connecting the ship to the terminal, although we were never told officially. We eventually boarded at around 17:00, just in time to get to the emergency drill. Ship & cabin. It was our fifth time on the Ventura and the ship & cabin were spotless. She's a good ship with plenty of room and public spaces. Dining. Definitely gone downhill. First night's meal in the MDR was what I'd expect to be served in prison. It got better but not as good as it used to be. The food at the Sindhu was excellent, however, and well worth the £20 surcharge. The buffet is a bit of a bunfight; too much pushing and shoving in the queues and not enough seating. Entertainment. Singing and dancing is not our cup of tea but there’s plenty of it if you like that sort of thing. The comedian/magician was a bit amateurish and bordering on racist and didn’t get many laughs. The quizzes are good, though, and there’s a good atmosphere in the pub/bar (The Exchange). The Great British Sailaway was jingoistic and cringe-worthy. Ports. Vigo is not the most exciting port in Europe but we had a nice walk to the top of the hill and had a couple of drinks, getting back on board just before the heavens opened. Lisbon is a great city. We walked to the castle and had a good stroll around the squares. Sadly Porto had to be cancelled due to the rough seas. The captain was apologetic but one or two people were heard moaning. They’d have moaned even more if the ship had run into difficulties getting into port. Guernsey is a tender port and we decided to skip breakfast and get on an early tender. Luckily there was not much of a wait. A different story coming back, though. Some choppy seas slowed the tendering process down and we waited for 45 minutes to get back to our ship; a lot quicker than some people from what I heard. Disembarkation. A total shambles. We elected to self-disembark but so did half the ship apparently. They were totally unprepared and the queues were ridiculous. Took over an hour to get off of the ship. Nobody seemed to be organising anything and the crew just seemed to be helpless observers. Overall a good cruise but P&O are not what they used to be. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
This was our first cruise with P&O and we had both good and bad experiences. We would try P&O again but I think the experience we had this time was not the best. Positives Ship was excellent, really good condition. We loved ... Read More
This was our first cruise with P&O and we had both good and bad experiences. We would try P&O again but I think the experience we had this time was not the best. Positives Ship was excellent, really good condition. We loved the Metropolis and Tamarind bars. Evening dining was good considering the number of people they have to serve. Service was efficient but not particularly friendly. Cabins were good, well appointed and clean. Entertainment was of good quality (although sometimes not for us). Decent drinks prices. Negatives Both Embarkation and disembarkation were delayed. We missed Oporto so had our excursion cancelled. Evening and daytime entertainment were swapped around, cancelled and delayed (to be fair this was partly due to weather conditions). The Retreat & Oasis pool were unavailable for the whole cruise even though other pools were in use. As a couple of adults this was a disappointment. Buffet wasn't great... Dried food and plastic desserts. Bars were often crowded and loud and we had difficulty getting a seat. Theatre shows in the evening were also very busy. Outstanding We thought the on board comedy magician was naughty but great fun! Our room steward and our table waiters were also excellent, friendly and efficient. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
We have taken over 35 cruises and this was the worst ever. We ate in the main dining room on a table of 8 at the 8.30 sitting. Waiters were friendly but rushed off their feet. Food was ok but lacked any sparkle. Gone are the days ... Read More
We have taken over 35 cruises and this was the worst ever. We ate in the main dining room on a table of 8 at the 8.30 sitting. Waiters were friendly but rushed off their feet. Food was ok but lacked any sparkle. Gone are the days when you would have lobster or a nice steak on the black tie nights- pretty standard fare. The evening shows were generally good with the runaround kids and the magic show being by far the best. Watched a few films during sea days- good choice. Waited over an hour to park the car at portside and a further one hour 20 mins to board ( we later found out that there were delays in disembarkation causing delays in boarding) no communication- it was a shambles Once on board we settled into our cabin - a superior delux balcony with a bath- which combined with our cabin stewardess was excellent. Visited the buffet once - pretty standard food with no imagination. We had coffee and some lovely cakes ( at a cost of £2.50 a cup) at the Costa bar. Service there was always polite although my wife was told that she couldn't have a cake or sandwich if she didn't buy a coffee , despite no signs advising us of this fact being present. Not handled by well by waitress - Very rude. First port was Vigo - took a Santiago de Castella on your own tour ie coach picked you up at port dropped you off and collected you £40 per person - what a rip off. 50 passengers at £40 gave P&O £2000 to hire a coach for 5 hours Next port was Lisbon. P&O provided a shuttle bus at £4 each way. We walked into the center square - took us around 20 minutes in a leasurely stroll and had a coffee / custard tart - lovely. Our call at Porto was cancelled due to "high swell" so we stayed in Lisbon for a further half day. Leaving for our next port at Guernsey early afternoon. Woken early on the Thursday morning by the noisy motors lowering the tender boats to go into St Peter Port. P&O kindly provided us with a detailed sheet on the tendering process and pointed out that there was an early morning rush to get off ( what a surprise) and if guests waited until 11.30 any wait would be small. We duly arrived at 11.30 to catch the tender to be met with chaos. Very upset Passengers who had been waiting, staff who didn't have a clue what was going on and no communication / apology from the bridge. Only 3 tender boats running although someone said they were trying to increase the number. We waited for 3 hours to get to the tender (2.30) and in the end didn't go as the last tender back was 5pm. Spoke to several passengers who said they had waited hours to return to the ship. Next problem was due to the late return of the tenders we left Guernsey late and hence returned to Southampton late. We always walk off early with our own cases. But instead of 7.15 ( when everything is quiet ) it was past 8 when all the lifts were full. Gangway was on same deck as breakfast que it was chaos , again angry passengers fed up of being pushed around by staff, and staff who just had no idea of how to communicate or organise - it was shameful. Finally got off the ship and picked up the car with no problem. P&O need to do a lot better - it's a very competitive cruise market with lots of choice. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
This was the first cruise for our daughter and son in law with two children age nine and six. We as grandparents have been on Ventura before. Our daughter was impressed with how smart the ship was and we, since our last trip. have been ... Read More
This was the first cruise for our daughter and son in law with two children age nine and six. We as grandparents have been on Ventura before. Our daughter was impressed with how smart the ship was and we, since our last trip. have been with Royal Caribbean, Princess and Celebrity and agree the ship is not a let down. The family chose an extra large balcony cabin on Deck 9 (D728) and that was great for four people. We had a regular balcony on the same deck (D734) and we faced aft. We gained an extra large balcony, mostly shaded, but when ship was at sea the noise from the wake was loud. We had some moderately rough weather and did feel movement and vibration but nothing outrageous. Cabin service was good, our steward cleared the fridge for our bottles and made regular deliveries of ice and lemon. Breakfasts were delivered on time and accurately when we asked. We mostly ate in the main dining room and food was generally very good, only two or three dishes would have been sent back if we were paying by the dish!! The first formal night, with Captain's reception offering a choice of drinks (not just cheap fizz!!) and a special menu, was as as good as any gala night at sea in seven cruises. The disappointment came when the second black tie event did not have any extras and we chose uninspiring dishes from a rather ordinary menu. Our grandchildren appreciated the children's buffet but our daughter and son in law did not enjoy the atmosphere in the main buffet. Following our experience on the American lines the buffet choice is very limited with three counters of the same offering where as others have much greater variety, including free ice cream. Tables were cleared promptly and it felt clean. Entertainment around the ship was varied and generally of good quality. The entertainment manager took a low profile and we appreciated how this avoided a "holiday camp" atmosphere. Astonishing, the new magic and illusion show is brilliant and definitely as good as anything we have seen. The other acts in the main theatre, however, were aimed at the older age group which was a shame on what was intended to be a family cruise during the school holidays with more passengers under 50 that we have ever seen before. The company production of Burt Bacharach songs was well done, but the other four nights we had two shows from a Rock and Roll Band and two shows from a Tina Turner tribute act (All these dating back to the 1950/60s!!). We were not enthusiastic and our children did not even bother after the first night. There were disruptions from weather and other factors which were handled exceptionally poorly. We had an hour long queue in the car to drop off luggage- never known that before. Then, as ship was late in port and there were gangway problems, everyone was boarding at least an hour late. We were however well informed at this stage and seating was available. In Lisbon we were told the weather was too bad to get into Porto so we were staying another day in Lisbon. That second day we left at 11:30 in the morning and this was very limiting as we knew from the first day nothing was fully open before 10am. We reached Guernsey which we knew was a tendered port but the waits to get off ship were horrendous. It was suggested we join the queue late but it took from 10:45 to 1pm to get ashore. We were watching the queue to get back on the ship from about 3 pm and it was never shorter than an estimated two hours. We joined the last tender and got back to the ship 1h15 after it was due to leave. We spent more time waiting than exploring St Peter Port. We did hear there was an extra tender boat for hire but if this could not be used then there should have been a booking system,even a ballot for the popular times. The port arrangements at Vigo and Lisbon were fine both within walking distance of town. Returning to Southampton there was a delay notified the day before but we still had to vacate cabins by 8am and breakfast finished at 9am. We could not get ashore until ten to eleven but Anthony from the ents staff kept us informed as we waited in a restaurant. Our grandchildren really loved the children's clubs and children's entertainer Josh was excellent, but we would have enjoyed more enrichment for the adults to enjoy the free time. We found the drinks very good value and a meal at Sindhu was excellent. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
We have done 15 previous cruises with a variety of lines but felt if the opportunity arose we should try P&O as departing from Southampton was very convenient. This opportunity came with a short break we were planning to Lisbon and ... Read More
We have done 15 previous cruises with a variety of lines but felt if the opportunity arose we should try P&O as departing from Southampton was very convenient. This opportunity came with a short break we were planning to Lisbon and Porto and we discovered that Ventura was doing a 7 day cruise with these two ports on the itinerary plus Vigo and Guernsey and it would work out roughly about the same cost as a land based trip We had ‘parking’ included in our fare and arrived at the port at 12.30 pm, only to be held in a queue gazing at the ship for 45 mins until we could start the drop off process for the car and our luggage. Apparently this was due to the late clearing of the ship from the previous cruise. When we made it into the cruise terminal an hour or so later it was heaving with people; it appeared no-one had actually been boarded yet. The culprit of this delay turned out to be a malfunctioning air bridge and eventually after much time spent trying to fix the problem unsuccessfully, boarding commenced via the key side gangplank. Fortuitously, we had been given a blue card which meant that we were amongst the first to board. We found the layout of the Ventura very familiar to other similar class ships we had sailed on and so were very comfortable with our surroundings, we were also pleased to find that although now quite old by cruise industry standards, and a bit dated, she was in good conditional overall. We had booked an ocean view cabin, figuring that we wouldn’t have much use of a balcony crossing the bay of Biscay in April (good call as it turned out) but had to settle for an ‘obstructed view’, this also turned out better than we had hoped as the obstruction was a white life raft container which only blocked half the window vertically so we had an uninterrupted view from the other half. Our steward dropped by to introduce himself and to remind about muster drill at 4.30 pm and to ‘remember to take our life jackets’ (slightly disappointing as other lines no longer require you to take along your life jacket, sensibly deciding that passengers trailing straps caused greater H&S hazards). Our steward was efficient, pleasant and unobtrusive, so full marks there. We headed to the Waterside buffet for something to eat, expecting it to be busy but it was surprisingly quiet. Our first meal was a little uninspiring – limited choice and quite bland, but our expectations of buffet food are never high. We followed this up with coffee and cake at the Costa outlet – whats this? Only ‘one treat’ supplied with each drink purchased!!! We tried not to make comparisons with the International Café on Princess ships where you can gorge yourself on as much as you can eat 24/7 and so many tempting choices. At 4.20 we thought we should get ourselves prepared for muster drill and set off to try and get a seat at our muster station. We did this very easily – there was no-one about apart from a few passengers wandering aimlessly with their life jackets and a bored looking ‘Muster’ crew member perched on a window ledge studying his phone. 4.30 came and went and only one or two people appeared for the drill so we waited, and then just before 5.00 pm it was announced that due to the late boarding of many of the passengers, muster drill had been put back until 5.30 pm grrrrr.. We were on flexible dining and headed off to eat at about 7.00 pm and as we were happy to share we were seated quite quickly with some pleasant table mates. Bread rolls were offered and these were of the soggy dough variety. My husband and I both ordered prawn cocktail for starters and both vowed never to order it again – it was vile. We then both had steak which was passable. My desert was a mango and passion fruit pavlova; its presentation caused much interest around the table and could best be described as a ‘deconstructed pavlova’ – seems someone has been watching too much Master Chef! Next day was sea day. Breakfast in the buffet – what can I say, standard canteen fare and if you chose hot food it was cold by the time you came to eat it. On the plus side though there was no problem finding seating if you headed to the back of the ship. We passed the day exploring the ship and taking part in some trivia and were thrilled that we were able to watch the Grand National live in the Exchange bar. We liked the ambiance of the Exchange bar and took part in several rounds of trivia there and played on a few on the limited slot machines. It was also ‘formal night’ and it appeared that my husband had brought the wrong colour suit. We were firmly told that unless it was a dark coloured suit we wouldn’t be allowed in certain venues so we opted to eat in The Beach House and had a very good meal there – well worth the additional cost. We were somewhat miffed however to see other gentlemen passengers in formal attire that was anything but ‘dark’. We ate at The Beach house again on the next formal night and also tried ‘Sindhu’ which we felt was ‘nice’ but more style than substance. Entertainment was hit and miss. We very much enjoyed the Tina Turner Tribute act. There was a singer scheduled in the Havanna club one evening just after the ‘family disco’ finished. The small kids were so ‘hyped up’ by then that they continued to run around on the dance floor whilst this poor girl was trying to perform and behind us a group of single mums chattered away oblivious to her performance – we felt so embarrassed for her. Later in the cruise we got chatting to a couple who were first time cruisers; the wife was a retired nursery nurse at Butlins and even she was horrified that the children on the cruise were allowed so much freedom; she said even in Butlins they weren’t allowed in the venues after 9.00 pm, and their experience this time made them question whether they would cruise again. The weather was too chilly to use the pool decks much and the entertainment team seemed to struggle to come up with indoor activities to fill the void; who would guess that ‘how to make a bed properly’ had so much potential to be a spectator sport! Our first port was Vigo. We realised that being Sunday there would be very little open so we were not disappointed. So after a pleasant stroll around the town and up to the fort we returned to the ship. Hubby fancied a burger so we headed up to deck 15. I took one look at the offering and headed back into the buffet for a cheese roll! Hubby bravely went for burger, hot dog and chips and even he (who will eat most fast food) had to admit that the pre-cooked items wrapped in paper, was not an experience he wished to repeat. We then hit Lisbon, which for us was the highlight of the trip and we were not at all disappointed. We enjoyed the best weather of the trip which for the most part was very disappointing. The Captain had already announced that we would be missing Porto due to the weather and sea conditions but the bonus was that we were to overnight in Lisbon allowing us a few additional hours ashore next morning. Our final stop was Guernsey, a tender port, and we received a notification in our cabin the day before that ‘demand for tenders was expected to be very busy up until about 11.30 am but after that we would probably be able to breeze on to a tender as we wished’. It appeared that most of the ship had headed this advice and as we headed for the departure lounge at about 11.20 we found a queue which snaked from one side of the atrium through the art gallery and up to other side of the atrium before even reaching the point where the tender tickets were being issued. We had a trip booked for 1.30 pm and had planned to have a few hours exploring St Peter Port and a spot of lunch before the tour. We started to panic at about 12.15 when we were still queuing for tickets and mentioned that we were booked on a tour so were fast tracked through – even then we didn’t make it onto shore until 1.20. Guernsey was delightful – we were on a mini bus tour of the island with a final stop for ‘gin tasting’ – the samples were very generous and having missed lunch we quickly got quite light headed. We were taken back to port for 4.30 pm (last tender was supposed to be 5.00 pm) and found that the queue to get back on the ship was already snaking half way round the port! So another hour or so queuing was awaiting us. We eventually made it back to the ship for 6.00 pm. Nobody could explain exactly what caused the delay, there were suggestions of adverse sea conditions, insufficient numbers of tenders being used and an unexpected arrival of a ferry which stopped the tender process. Someone in the queue worked out that they had queued for 5 hours to get on and off for an 8 hour port stop! The Captain’s evening update included the phrase ‘I understand some of you had a ‘bit of a wait’ for the tender!’ You can’t help but wonder how other lines with the much larger ships manage apparently to operate their tender process much more smoothly and surely P&O have sufficient previous experience to avoid such chaos. We were so hungry when we got back on ship that we hot footed it to the buffet and as they had just opened for evening service we had a surprisingly good turkey carvery. So our last night and the Captain announced that we would be docking back in Southampton during the early hours when most of us would probably still be asleep. Our disembarkation information told us that we had to vacate our cabins by 8.00 am and that we would be due to leave the ship by 10.00 am. Later that evening, the Captain announced that there was a chance of plan and that due to orders from port maritime officers in Southampton, we now couldn’t dock until 7.00 am – no mention that this might cause a knock on effect on the disembarkation process. We took breakfast in the restaurant after clearing our cabin at 8.00 am and enjoyed a leisurely breakfast (don’t order the ‘healthy poached eggs on wholemeal toast’ option – the healthy toast appeared to be very small rounds of something akin to polystyrene). Leisurely chatting with our tablemates we were ‘thrown out’ as they needed to clear the dining room. We then waited at our disembarkation point – The Havanna Club, and being at the back of the ship, we were the last to be called, some 75 mins later than the scheduled time. Never have we been more pleased to get off a ship! Our overall impression of our P&O cruise was mixed, some good, some bad. We enjoyed the port stops and met some nice people, and the crew were lovely. The queuing to get on and off the ship was frustrating and so bad that it was almost entertaining - it certainly sparked the pioneer spirit amongst the passengers. We agreed that it wasn’t one of our best cruising experiences and had it been our first time, I am not sure whether we would be tempted to cruise again. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
Been on Ventura 5 times previously, always felt it was really good value but not this time. It was a 12 night cruise but in actual fact it was more like a 10 night cruise stretched out to 12 nights. The food has gone downhill badly. The ... Read More
Been on Ventura 5 times previously, always felt it was really good value but not this time. It was a 12 night cruise but in actual fact it was more like a 10 night cruise stretched out to 12 nights. The food has gone downhill badly. The first meal we ever had on a cruise was on Ventura 10 years ago, it was so good we still remember it. This time sadly some meals were good but most were of a lesser quality than we have at home. One example was a Vongole that came with over cooked spaghetti - it was totally tasteless, the £3 Iceland version is considerably better, which is ridiculous. Another big disappointment was the timing of the shows - the tribute acts started before the main show in the theatre ended - we have never known this before and it was a real big issue that shouldn't have been. Some people were suggesting they are doing everything they can to keep people in bars spending money, I have to say it did feel a lot more "inwardly looking" than previous cruises. Nice little touches like little bowls of sweets in the cabins have also gone. The entertainment was generally good but the cruise director - Tom was hopeless. Every night he would introduce the acts with the same tired jokes, he didn't even bother waiting for people to laugh - always seemed in a hurry and like he had better things to do. As usual the cabin steward was spot on, sadly the waiters were a bit annoying. Every time a meal was left they were at great pains to explain how it wasn't their fault, on one occasion 4 separate waiters came over, it got rather embarrassing in the end and it wasn't their fault that the so called Chefs weren't on the ball. The final annoyance was upon disembarkation when the sky bridge broke and we were 2 1/2 hours late getting off the ship. In fairness that wasn't P+O's fault but having had a rather non relaxing holiday it was the final straw that broke the camel's back. Oh, another thing that was rather annoying - we were only in Gibraltar for about 5 hours - nowhere near long enough. Also it didn't affect us but the trip to Santiago De Compostela was slated by other passengers. P+O knew the cathedral was being renovated but still took 60 odd quid per person to visit it!! Come on, you just can't do that, it's immoral. Anyway, we won't be going with P+O again, it's just not good value any more, which is a shame. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
This was a 60th Birthday Cruise. I contacted P&O prior to sailing to arrange a few items and sure enough they were in the cabin waiting for us when we arrived. From Curbside to cabin took less than 10 minutes. Excellent Job. ... Read More
This was a 60th Birthday Cruise. I contacted P&O prior to sailing to arrange a few items and sure enough they were in the cabin waiting for us when we arrived. From Curbside to cabin took less than 10 minutes. Excellent Job. Luggage beat us to the cabin. The muster drill was very well organized and the crew did an exceptional job with the Guests. We were able to watch the sail away from our cabin in time. Jason our cabin steward was top notch. The ship was clean and we could see the hard wording staff cleaning and polishing every day and disinfecting all common areas. We ate at all the specialty Restaurants and each and everyone was very nice. The service throughout the ship for the entire journey was perfect. We couldn't fault one member of staff. The entertainment staff and the Cruise Director were visible the entire trip. Disembarking in all ports of call were seamless. With the exception of our return to Southampton. The jetty was not functioning so we waited in the Havana Lounge for 3 hours before disembarking at 11:30 on Friday Morning. The only constructive suggestion would be maybe to designate two or 3 elevators to those with mobility scooters/walkers etc. As this took up most of the elevator space all over the ship. The only other issue we would mention is how miserable the majority of the older guests were especially to the hard working crew. There should be signage saying no abuse will be tolerated at anytime to any member of staff. They work too hard and long hours. We would sail P&O for sure but no longer than 7 days. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
Happy 12-day cruise but just sometimes food quality was surprisingly poor. Potatoes with black rotting areas and occasionally not hot. Staff in smart restaurants and buffet were hard-working, helpful and pleasant. Often a ... Read More
Happy 12-day cruise but just sometimes food quality was surprisingly poor. Potatoes with black rotting areas and occasionally not hot. Staff in smart restaurants and buffet were hard-working, helpful and pleasant. Often a feeding frenzy in buffet servery which is too crowded sometimes and too small. One area is opened while the other closes. Ideally should both be open. All made worse by impatient passengers who don't like queuing. Also, despite polite request notes on each table asking diners to vacate once finished eating, there are some who seem to camp there for an hour or two chatting, dozing or reading books while others search for seats. Some ignore hand sanitisers in restaurants. Thump of engines can be heard in main restaurant. We heard that P&O have made economies on several fronts and sometimes it shows compared with previous cruises by us. Cabin stewards now asked to service more cabins daily. Stage shows were very good/excellent. One comedian fared badly/gross with old folk with mime of him pretending to wipe his bottom, complained about weak P&O 2-ply toilet paper, said some elderly passengers "smelled like the homeless" and were infirm - among other grubby "jokes." Long wait to disembark because of tide change and positioning the bridge to terminal. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
Friend checked for reviews of cabin f334 and it stated do not expect a good night's sleep. Absolutely correct as cabin creaked from set sail and reported many times, promised would be transfered to next available cabin. NOTHING ... Read More
Friend checked for reviews of cabin f334 and it stated do not expect a good night's sleep. Absolutely correct as cabin creaked from set sail and reported many times, promised would be transfered to next available cabin. NOTHING HAPPENED! Could not get cabin cool enough.Reported many times, kept getting cards left stating ventilation engineer had called but no change. Eventually met with engineer and was told that was impossible to reduce temperature as not individually cabin controlled. Why not told in first place? Food of poor standard, especially in Waterside where food frequently not hot. Staff tried their best in restaurant but not good. Lunchtime menu very poor. Duty free shop very expensive for cigarettes price up almost 50% since December on Oriana. Staff responded well to my special requirements and a big thank you to them. Cabin steward was excellent. Overall got impression staff were not well motivated which must reflect on ship's management. Disembarkation was a complete fiasco and whoever was responsible should be called to account. After over 20 years sailing with P & O this experience has confirmed my decision taken following a bad event on previous cruise that they do not not value their clients and they will get no more business from me. Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
We chose this cruise because of the itiniary and to celebrate our 40th wedding anniversary. We could have not got it more wrong. The food was appaling , some of the staff were outright rude. There were big queues in the ports at ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of the itiniary and to celebrate our 40th wedding anniversary. We could have not got it more wrong. The food was appaling , some of the staff were outright rude. There were big queues in the ports at disembarkation and some of the fellow passengers had poor manners. I was pushed out of the way by a woman trying to get to a seat for the next talk in the theater as we were exiting following a previous talk. We felt totally unvalued as a customer and were only there to be exploited as much as possible. We spent over £8000 on this cruise (including onboard spend) and it was a waste of money - not good value at all. After 14 cruises with P&O we will not be cruising with them again.I am dissapointed to say this but standards have fallen to an unacceptable level for us. Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
We try to get away from the UK winter weather and, having sailed twice before on the Oriana on similar itineraries, we like the US ports, and although not great fans of the Caribbean islands, at least they're warm. We find the P&O ... Read More
We try to get away from the UK winter weather and, having sailed twice before on the Oriana on similar itineraries, we like the US ports, and although not great fans of the Caribbean islands, at least they're warm. We find the P&O service, dining and entertainment entirely adequate and sometimes exceptional and had no qualms about booking Ventura as a cruise of this length was likely to be child free and full of retired couples like ourselves. Unfortunately however, there was discordant modern "party" piped music played continually at a significant volume in all bars, lounges and public areas of the ship including around both top pools - the only quiet area was our cabin - it was impossible to relax, read or chat quietly to fellow passengers. Why on earth do P&O think that passengers in their 70s & 80s would want "shouty party" music for teens/ twenties blasted in their ears 24/7? The westbound crossing was a bit "bumpy" with the ship frequently noticeably heeled over due to a cross wind acting on the huge superstructure, not a problem for us, but not ideal. We enjoyed most ports, even in the rain in New Orleans, but found Key West, St Lucia and St Martin very overcrowded - St Martin had 7 huge cruise ships in port - around 25,000 people! In summary, we won't be going on Ventura or to those overcrowded ports again! Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
Embarked without trouble,outside cabin with picture window very satisfactory.As peninsular cruisers discounted price and on board spending money was a nice bonus. All meals were fine with plenty of choice but often a little bland we ... Read More
Embarked without trouble,outside cabin with picture window very satisfactory.As peninsular cruisers discounted price and on board spending money was a nice bonus. All meals were fine with plenty of choice but often a little bland we thought.The first seven days were a bit rough as it was February and the North Atlantic after all. We enjoyed all the ports of call and some were first time visits.I,e Bermuda and the Bahamas,the later was a little bit disappointing as the last hurricane caused damage as yet not rectified. American immigration at New Orleans was extremely slow and took most of the first day to get the 3000 and also the crew members ashore.Weather in New Orleans was dull and foggy but we had a lovely time off the ship and will always make the most of these exciting places.Further American ports included Key West,Miami and port canavaral with a visit to the NASA Space Centre,all having a different appeal with lots to see and do. Then into the warm sunshine and Azure seas of the Caribbean including Grand Turk,St,Maarten.St Lucia And Barbados.All wonderful ports of call if a little overcrowded with so many cruise ships at this time of year.Our final port of call after five days at sea was the delightful island of Pria da Vitoria in the Azores,with perfect weather and a welcoming people we enjoyed probably the best day of the cruise.After this it was home to Southampton and because of threatened storms the captain got us back early and that was much appreciated. The fellow guests we got to know on our freedom dining option were stella and we made several new friends. The evening entertainment was also of high standard with little we did not enjoy.There is so much to do and they cater for all tastes from on board lectures,the latest movies,classical pianists ,we must mention the duo of pianists for Four Hands who are exceptional,comedians,etc etc.Dance classes ,night clubs,several bars with competitive prices compare to some cruise lines. Please could you move the dance instructor from the Atrium area twice a day as her constant instruction over the microphone is really annoying.Nit a place where people meet,have a coffee or go to reception or the shops.This is the on real gripe which I’m sorry to bring up as it bothered lots of us in that area and we would avoid it if she was there. Emarbed in good time and set off home. Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
This was my second cruise.I did a Meditteranean cruise on Venturatoassess whether it was good for my elderly father. It was and so we booked a 28 day Caribbean cruise from Southampton and back. My son dropped us off but no porters ... Read More
This was my second cruise.I did a Meditteranean cruise on Venturatoassess whether it was good for my elderly father. It was and so we booked a 28 day Caribbean cruise from Southampton and back. My son dropped us off but no porters appeared to help with baggage but I quickly got around that. We had ordered special assistance for my dad and it was excellent, we were taken immediately to our cabin and our bags were waiting for us. The holiday began I was familiar with the ship and had asked for a cabin near the lift shaft to cut down on walking for my dad. We had a cabin next to the midship lifts. There was no noise, it was perfect. Our inside cabin was excellent , twin beds, spacious clothes hanging area and a small shower room, which was everything we could have wanted. John, our cabin steward was a delight, professional and conscientious. Dining at the Bay Tree was a real treat, the range and quality of the food was superb.I loved sea days best, changing for dinner, a cocktail, then sitting on deck 7 to watch the sun go down before dinner. That is the kind of 'entertainment ' that appeals to me and so I avoided much of the shows. The head barman in the Tamarind didn't t like me- I could never get served, he would look through me and never 'see' me. A loud 'Oi' one night had passing crew help me and a poor innocent bartender was sent to serve me. When I signed my 'autograph' I added, 'took far too long, I am complaining'. Poor man, he couldn; t serve me quickly enough when he saw me after that but it was never his fault.His boss obviously looked after big tippers and to hell with small potatoes like me ! There was none of this at any other bar, everyone was as special as everyone else/ There was a divide on board, the smokers v the non-smokers. The non-smokers won, easily, meaning the smokers were squeezed into the margins. Invariably, when the sun came out, non-smokers hogged seats in smoking areas or took the chairs away. Alas, it is not widely understood that smoking bans have resulted in a camaraderie that non-smokers and crew do not understand. Smokers are social animals, they form large social groups which P and O failed to benefit from, with often no bars open to quench their thirsts. Deck 14 was like a ghost town with very little custom at the bar now that smokers are banished. Apparently, this issue is at the discretion of the Captain and so the cruise I booked, with a smoking area on 14 was denied me! It is time to decide, if there is to be no smoking, then own it and declare ships as non-smoking vessels. Or treat smokers with a little more consideration. It is true to say that in some ways, smokers were 2nd class citizens. Although I was traveling with an elderly person, I was able to consider traveling alone and I am satisfied that I would easily enjoy this. It was easy to meet people, to chat and be invited into groups and it is a very safe environment. Access to ports was effortless but whilst P and O categorize their excursions, they fail to give information as to how easy it is to get to the starting point. I noticed some had a long walk, then long queues without shade to wait for buses. It was too unknowable to risk taking my dad. Besides, local taxis and buses and excursions did a brisk trade at far lower prices. Captain Andy Willard was very Hands On and I chatted with hm many times. He was frequently seen mingling with guests. He was a mean ballerina in the crews ' talent show too. I would definitely do this again, just to see the saphire blue of the sea and the many vivid rainbows I have never seen on land. My thanks to P and O, Captain, his excellent crew , fellow passengers, and the sun, sea and skies that I saw. Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
We chose this cruise because of the destinations and the time of year. We always go to the Caribbean in January/February for some winter sun, and on the whole the weather didn't disappoint. Check in was a breeze, we arrived ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of the destinations and the time of year. We always go to the Caribbean in January/February for some winter sun, and on the whole the weather didn't disappoint. Check in was a breeze, we arrived slightly later than our embarkation time because of a problem on the A34 but got straight on the ship. Our cabin was the same one we had last year and was clean and spacious as cabins go; the cabin steward Ramesh was friendly and helpful and couldn't do enough for us. The biggest let down was the dining experience, we chose Freedom dining in the Cinnamon restaurant; on the first night the food arrived lukewarm, which was a constant feature throughout the cruise. I got sick and tired of sending food back because it was cold, and to top it all I was served a soufflé for dessert which had not risen and was raw inside - totally unacceptable; I sent it back and the restaurant manager came over, apologised and asked if I wanted something else, I declined as my wife had finished eating and was ready to go. One thing we couldn't fault was the waiters, they were all friendly, polite and really helpful. The entertainment was average at best, some acts were outstanding, The Beatles Experience and Beautiful World (celebrating the music of Take That) were brilliant but some were dreadful. One so-called comedian was constantly looking at his watch and was only on for 30 minutes. We had one of the chasers on board from The Chase, Shaun Wallace, and he was really good, a lovely, humble man who was a pleasure to meet. He gave talks in the arena theatre about his life, and took part in P&O's version of The Chase called The Pursuit, he was a good sport and great fun. Some ports were nice, but some, if we never go there again it will be too soon. St Maarten is always good, as is Barbados; we did a P&O photography tour on Barbados and it was really good. The guide Ronnie Carrington was really good, he took us to some beautiful spots and was a pleasure to be with. St Vincent was a let down, the streets where the shops and markets are were dirty and smelly. A hidden gem was Praia de Vittoria, what a beautiful clean town, with plenty of shops and cafes which had very reasonable prices. Disembarkation was easy for us because we took our own cases off, but we heard later there were major problems with luggage not being in the correct place and arriving late; this doesn't surprise me, because when I took our cases down in the morning there was still cases in the corridors. This is probably the last time we will cruise with P&O, because the cuts they are making really showing. There used to be fresh orange at breakfast, that is now cheap orange squash; the biscuits in the cabin are plain and cheap, and anybody wanting decaffeinated tea bags at mealtimes had to ask for them as they were never put out. The chocolate afternoon has gone, and the prizes for the prize passports are vastly inferior to years gone by. Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
We thought it was very good value for a 28 night cruise. We had an inside cabin, it was perfectly ok. Very powerful shower, plenty of clothes storage and very comfortable queen size bed. Our cabin steward Jofran was a really nice guy, ... Read More
We thought it was very good value for a 28 night cruise. We had an inside cabin, it was perfectly ok. Very powerful shower, plenty of clothes storage and very comfortable queen size bed. Our cabin steward Jofran was a really nice guy, worked hard and made our cabin up at least twice a day. The staff in all the restuarants were excellent very friendly and always smiling ! We enjoyed the entertainment... Terry Brown ex- Detective provided some interesting talks and a murder mystery..... kept our minds active ha ha. The shows were top quality Dean as Freddie Mercury was excellent, as was Astonishing ! Thank you all the ship's company for a super holiday. Captain Andy Willard and his officers, Nathalie and the entertainment team, Dan, Anthony, Grace etc. Dominic from the headliners. Only comment we would have liked to have spent longer in the fantastic destinations. I heard some comments about chaos of disembarkation but to be fair it was snowing in Southampton AND there were about 3,000 passengers and their luggage (28 nights worth) to disembark. Overall great cruise I'd go again, same ship, same places tommorrow ! Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
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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