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101 P&O Cruises Ventura Cruise Reviews

P & O VENTURA –NEVER AGAIN! Caribbean and USA cruise 2018 The Ventura is arguably an overcrowded, currently very dilapidated, nautical selling machine designed to milk every last penny from its on-board, captive, customer group. ... Read More
P & O VENTURA –NEVER AGAIN! Caribbean and USA cruise 2018 The Ventura is arguably an overcrowded, currently very dilapidated, nautical selling machine designed to milk every last penny from its on-board, captive, customer group. At base, the Ventura is a giant floating shopping mall. Ventura’s design, indeed its whole purpose, is to act as a selling and up-selling operation. That’s why this ship has three decks of retail outlets. Of course, P & O’s nonstop selling spreads well beyond the shops. Apart from the toilets, everywhere else, (public or private), that passengers go on the Ventura is exploited as a market place. If you like to queue, then the Ventura is the ship for you. You queue to get on board and you queue to get off. In the buffet you queue to get plates, bowls, and cutlery and then you queue to get to the service stations and the tea and coffee dispensers. The queues for the restaurants begin up to 45 minutes before they open. You queue to book a shore excursion. That queue actually starts weeks before the cruise departs. Some trips are fully booked before any passengers have even boarded. If you do get a place on an excursion then P & O likes to get you into multiple queues well before they let you board the bus. You even have to queue to get the ship’s newspaper and the daily crossword. Although the queuing on Ventura is indeed world class, two spectacular queuing events deserve special mention. Firstly there was P & O’s attempt at queuing-time record breaking in New Orleans where they organised an impressively long 9½ -hour disembarkation queue. By the way guys, your diffident announcement advising passengers that there was only a ‘slight delay’ was far too modest. Be proud of what you achieved! Even more impressive were the efforts of some passengers who camped outside the disembarkation ticket issuing office from 4.30 a.m. onwards to make sure that they were first in-line when it eventually opened. Unquestionably this was British queuing at its best. Such ‘above and beyond the call of duty’ dedication surely deserves a Q.V.C? Experienced cruisers have of course been aware of P & O’s rush downmarket over the last 10 years or so. In recent times, this rush has become a stampede. This shows in the ever declining standards to be encountered throughout P & O’s service delivery. On Ventura, dirty toilets, decrepit furniture, and defective facilities are to be found throughout the ship. The food has lost any hint of a ‘wow’ factor, (unless you like green beans – they were served at lunch and dinner everyday). Inevitably, when they build larger and larger ships, crowd on more and more punters, and worsen the crew/passenger ratio, something has to give. That something is the overall levels of the onboard facilities. The Ventura has no proper ballroom, no quiet spaces, and nothing like enough seating in its theatre, its cafeterias, or its lounges. Clearly, like the airports, P & O prefer to keep its customers on their feet. That way the passengers keep on moving and keep on buying. P & O’s marketing strategy hides the true cost of their cruises. More and more of what used to be included in the fare now has to be paid as extras by the passengers. Buying a P & O cruise is rather like buying a ticket from a budget airline. The headline cost does not tell you what the real cost of your holiday is. That is why, on the Ventura, everything above a core minimum has to be paid for. And pay you do – though the nose! Take for example two people sharing a cabin on a five week, out of season, trip. Buying a full service Wi-Fi package would cost them over £700. Add that to the suggested level of daily gratuities and they could be down over £1500 from Day 1. Assume that they each have a couple of drinks per day, some wine with their meals, a coffee or two, and go on say, four or five organised trips. That could easily set them back something between £1500 and £2000. Seriously exceeding this figure would be equally easy to do. Hairdressing, photos, spa, restaurants, they all cost – and how! What used to be standard is now charged for. Fancy an ice cream by the pool? Brace yourself - one small scoop costs nearly £2. Want some nibbles with your drinks - a few nuts and crisps will cost you £2.50. And so it goes on! These days P & O even charge extra for room service. Because Ventura is a noisy and crowded ship, even peace and quiet has a P & O price tag. Passengers wanting some tranquillity on this floating Benidorm will have to cough up another £20 per day to buy some ‘time out’ in Ventura’s ‘Retreat’. Not spent enough yet? No problem - there is always the casino and don’t forget the ever-open shops. However, let’s finish on a positive note. The Ventura is an exceptionally stable platform in a rough sea – very noisy, very creaky, lots of vibration, but stable. That is a comfort for its less robust passengers. Finally, let’s not forget the front-of-house service staff and the cabin stewards. As always, these unsung heroes are magnificent. Always patient, always helpful, always friendly, and always courteous, these are the people who brighten the passengers’ days on board. They do indeed ‘go the extra mile’. Without them, the institutionalised inadequacies of P & O’s operations would be glaringly exposed for all to see. Perhaps then, even the oh-so-reluctant-to-complain British might feel compelled to protest, (note to self – ‘dream on!’). Read Less
Sail Date February 2018
I have been cruising with P & O since the nineties, initially on the worn out Canberra, on the Oriana before and after they fixed the vibrations caused by the bent propellor shaft, on the 1990s Arcadia and three times now on the ... Read More
I have been cruising with P & O since the nineties, initially on the worn out Canberra, on the Oriana before and after they fixed the vibrations caused by the bent propellor shaft, on the 1990s Arcadia and three times now on the Ventura. This, my latest cruise on Ventura was 28 days to the Caribbean and back in January 2018. Welcome to the shabby, floating care home! The Good: The ‘hotel staff’, waiters, cabin stewards, reception and excursion staff are welcoming, helpful and cheerful. P & O have installed a discretionary service charge system so that gratuities or ‘tips’ are added to one’s on board account thus dispensing with the demeaning practice of tipping in cash. One can change or cancel completely this discretionary service charge. Drinks prices were not excessive, being commensurate with what one would pay in a pub or restaurant, but since they undoubtedly buy the stuff at duty free prices, there is a massive mark up. Best value are the P & O ‘House Wines’, very drinkable and priced at about £16.50 per bottle. The entertainment was generally of high quality (with a couple of exceptions) and nicely varied. The shows performed by the in-house theatre company were stunning, with superb vocals, costumes and well-executed dance routines. Audio and video recording of the shows is prohibited. It would not do to have people being able to prove that the shows were the same as the year before, the year before that..........etc. The Not So Good: Dinners in the included restaurants were uninspiring. Vegetables were bland, desserts were often tasteless and stodgy. Seven years ago, main courses were served individually with diners being able to choose their vegetables to be served by the waiter. These days, meals are served pre-plated. As from 1st February 2018, P & O have decided to limit the amount of take on alcohol to one litre per person. Fortunately, we just missed this change of rules. The policy of recycling clearly applies to the entertainment. The shows were good quality but they were the same shows as three years ago and some of the comedians recycled jokes from thirty years ago. The Bad: In these days of modern communications, the charges for internet connection were excessive and unreasonable. The “Browse” package (normal browsing but no audio or video streaming) cost a prohibitive 65p per minute on a pay as you go basis, £12.50 per 24 hours (one would hopefully be asleep for one third of that time and not able to use it) or £180 for the whole 28 day cruise. I accept the issues with satellite internet access, but useable one or two hour periods at a reasonable cost would be preferable. In the restaurant, the number of waiters has been decreased to the point that service has become very slow, doubtless a cost cutting exercise. It was usual to wait up to 15 minutes to give one’s order, and a further 15 minutes before the first item of food arrives. By contrast, the service from the wine waiters who provide chargeable drinks, and earn commission on those drinks, is much faster (quelle surprise). I hesitate to criticise my fellow passengers, but there was an element that was happy to walk rudely out of a show in the theatre en masse before it had actually completely finished and the house lights had been turned up, no doubt anxious not to miss out on some free food somewhere. The daily programme publication requested passengers to remain seated until the house lights went up, but few took any notice. The Ugly: The ship has become a bit shabby and is in dire need of a refit. The beds have stained headboards from doubtless hundreds of greasy heads resting against them. The menu covers in the restaurants were tatty. The upholstery on the chairs in the restaurants is grubby, some of them with the fabric covering worn through. The carpets in some of the public areas have the joints between two pieces of carpet coming apart, revealing bare, loose threads. I actually tripped when I caught my foot in one such exposed thread. The doors to the lifts all have multiple scuffs. The televisions in the cabins are the outdated 4:3 format as opposed to the modern widescreen 16:9. The treadmills in the gym are in need of replacement. Three were out of order at a peak time. Rumour has it that the ship is being refitted in March this year (2018), and not before time. However, P & O are clearly happy to continue taking the money in the meantime. Carnival plc appears to regard P & O as a cash cow with thousands of passengers coming back several times a year, year after year until they die. To me, P & O has lost its ‘mojo’ and I shall be unlikely to return. Read Less
Sail Date January 2018
Advised by P & O night before Cruise the Ship would be late arriving so if possible delay arriving by3 hours . This was impossible but Food and Drink would be provided , What they didn't say was they would be putting us in a ... Read More
Advised by P & O night before Cruise the Ship would be late arriving so if possible delay arriving by3 hours . This was impossible but Food and Drink would be provided , What they didn't say was they would be putting us in a derelict shed , Dock 101 for 6 hours with no Heating or Food , draughts and doors wide open and small coffees and 1 biscuit provided No information at all until 6 pm when busses were provided to talk us to Embarkation . This took 1 hour due to intermittent electric supply and 30 minutes trying to get authorised Debit Card , due to P & O being off line with electric problems . Eventually 8 hours after arriving , please board to get something to eat. Apologies everyone , Air Bridge has broken so we cannot let anyone on ship until repaired 40 minutes later we board get changed and go for Food , only to be told Muster is in 30 minutes so we had a starter , then they closed restaurant and didn't re open after Muster , P & O disaster Rest or Cruise was OK except we had 20 hours of " Essential Maintenance " on a Lifeboat which consisted of 2 men with Lump Hammers knocking old paint of it for 6 hours a day , I have 4 recordings which I will sent to a VP of Carnival Line to see if he would caa this essential maintenance. Food in Restaurant on Ventura where you pay extra were exceptional Read Less
Sail Date January 2018
Got to Southampton to join ship to discover that there was a delay due to ship late docking due to windy conditions . We also found out later that the last two cruises has suffered from Novovirus outbreak . Most people had had texts , ... Read More
Got to Southampton to join ship to discover that there was a delay due to ship late docking due to windy conditions . We also found out later that the last two cruises has suffered from Novovirus outbreak . Most people had had texts , emails and phone calls advising them to arrive later than their allocated time but we received nothing and no apology. Eventually boarded after 7 when they rushed us for dinner before muster. There were no menus in bars , no cruet sets on tables, nothing I presume that could contribute to the spread o& the virus . These measures were relaxed after a few days . Biscay was a little rougher than normal but not as bad as the previous cruise from reading reviews . The ship is tired and the cabins a bit tatty , having travelled on the same ship the Christmas before last it is in need of a refurbished which is to happen in March I understand . There was a lot of disgruntled passengers on the ship who had had their Oriana cruise cancelled at last minute and came on Ventura instead which was a shorter cruise . This made the ship very full. The weathe4 throughout was not brilliant @nd the seas quite rough at times . The swimming pool seemed quite dangerous mos5 of the time . We had already had change of itinerary with Guadeloupe and Martinique replacing Tortola and St Marten. I personally did not like port of Guadeloupe and went after we called there to book trips to avoid being in the port areas on the other calls . The captain was unable to dock in Grenada due to winds again ( it was very windy at almost every port ) so we headed onto Barbados and arrived there late in the evening the day before scheduled. On this ship we didn’t have the previous experiences of the captain keeping us up to date with information and it was impossible to hear the announcements in the cabins as when we knew it was on it took too long to turn on the tv to hear it .many people were disappointed with the Captain. The staff on p and o are always good and helpful , the cabin steward was excellent and p and o should be proud of their staff and pay them better wages and not rely on customers tips .We did have ripped sheets on our bed and they are only changed weekly although the towels changed twice a day . Entertainment was plentiful and diverse some excellent , some not so good . The food was not consistent it depended where you chose to eat . The freedom dining was good and sitting at different tables with other people each night was entertaining listening to the majority of guests discussing how many days at sea they had each year and how many world cruises they have been on . I hope p and o realise what loyal customers they have . The buffet upstairs was consistently bad and breakfast was awful . Cold and hard fried eggs , nasty bacon with white greasy bits, tasteless mushrooms always over cooked , toast and fried bread which disintegrated when you tried to cut it . After one try on going to buffet for breakfast we had continental delivered to cabin which was satisfactory . The grill on deck was good and the pizzeria also ok . Tried all the speciality restaurants and Sindu excellent but the Epicurian was a real disappointment this time . The rib of beef which was brought to the table on a platter was so tough you couldn’t cut it and the crepes Suzette were awful as the girl couldn’t get them to flambé and after 15 minutes threw some more brandy on and served them . They were like eating cardboard with no sauce and melted ice cream . We sent a comment card to reception and never heard a word from them. Also in the back of the till was the target sheet which showed daily and cruise targets which is why they are always trying to sell you the meals as they charge extra for eating there. For me personally the Caribbean was a disappointment and I wouldn’t go back , I expect the weather didn’t help but that couldn’t be helped . Highlight tour was the dolphin watch in St Lucia and boys on the boats were fantastic and they did find the dolphins which were spectacular. The spa is far too expensive and about three times high street prices so didn’t use it . Explains why girls always on decks offering neck massages for a fee One real annoyance to me was if you were sat by the pool listening to the music playing in the background in the early afternoon the band came on and were so loud there was no pleasure staying by the pool . The sun beds are the most uncomfortable I have ever sat on , guaranteed you a bad back ,Azura has far better sun beds . I just wish they would match the entertainment on deck to the ages of their clientele as this was a 28 night cruise so very few children and no teenagers . The sail always were good as the entertainment staff put their all into making them enjoyable . One of the best things about p and o in comparison the ships that charge in dollars is the price if the drinks which are similar to pub prices . Even champagne is similar prices to supermarkets . And at least they don’t have 15 % surcharge on each drink . I understand that due to the refurbishment of the ship in March the same cruise next year had gone up by a considerable amount . I personally would not go on Ventura again but have booked to go with p and o again . Am very tempted to try celebrity which also has a drinks package available for purchase and sometimes can be included in the cost . One of the things I don’t like is that there is no separate ballroom for dancing and is always in the Atrium which is open , loud when lessons are taking place and I’m sure that people can be put off joining in if you aren’t good at it and there is very little space for popular lessons such as line dancing . Read Less
Sail Date January 2018
First the good - we went for a 'superior deluxe balcony cabin' (D232) which was spacious and comfortable, albeit a little 'tired' (the furniture and carpets had seen better days and the sheets had tears in them). And, ... Read More
First the good - we went for a 'superior deluxe balcony cabin' (D232) which was spacious and comfortable, albeit a little 'tired' (the furniture and carpets had seen better days and the sheets had tears in them). And, my comments about the venue notwithstanding, the ballroom and latin american dancing teachers (Andy and Victoria) were superb. Overall, we had a good holiday, but it could have been so much better... Our first significant disappointment was the venue for dancing. The dance floor on the Ventura is in the Atrium - the middle of a shopping mall, with hard, fluorescent, lighting. It is laughable to describe anything held in such a place as a 'ball' - it is like trying to hold a ball in Sainsbury's! During our final "black tie ball", me in my DJ, my wife in a long dress and bling, sat in Costa Coffee, we couldn't help but reflect on how ridiculous it all felt. Our other major disappointment was to observe just how far and fast standards have dropped and, I suspect, will continue to drop. I almost understand, although I don't sympathise with, the 'evening casual' dress for dinner (which actually means that, in the main, the ladies still dress well but we men slob around in casual clothes), but there is much more it than this: - Dining room staff have been cut by one third, and all food is served 'plated'. - The quality of the food, whilst still pretty good, has deteriorated markedly and some of the dinner options can best be described as 'pub food' (the enormous and tasteless lamb shank, for example). In the main, at dinner the starters, soups and deserts were better than the main courses. - The 'hi-dee-hi' announcements by the entertainments staff were just irritating, particularly as they contained only the same information as was provided in the 'Horizon' mag. - The constant selling is very wearing and pretty naff. Of course a profit has to be made, but the selling never seems to stop. For example, even the gym staff engage in pseudo-scientific 'seminars', peddling seaweed (!) tablets, rather than trying to provide a decent service in the gym. - There were some good elements to the 'entertainments programme' (both sets of classical musicians were excellent and we enjoyed a musician who played, amongst other things, flute, pan's pipes and a crutch!), but most entertainment consisted of singers imitating other singers, stand up comedians and sensationalised talks about aeroplanes falling out of the sky (which, in the main, they don't). 'Cheap and cheerful', describes it best. - To cap it all, 2 of the ports we visited were 'closed' - had we been informed, that, for example, we were to visit Bridgetown on a public holiday, we might have booked an excursion. Apart from causing us and many others irritation, failing to put a note about the public holiday in the Horizon mag meant that P&O missed an opportunity to sell, without all of the usual hard selling they now engage in. - And, surprisingly, both embarkation (due to weather, so understandable) and disembarkation were pretty chaotic. Our overall feeling was that we had a good holiday, despite P&O. Read Less
Sail Date January 2018
Have to praise the steward and butler who were amazing. Ship was really not up to scratch at all looks tired and dirty despite the constant cleaning. Food very mediocre although was able to have a reasonable breakfast in the white room ... Read More
Have to praise the steward and butler who were amazing. Ship was really not up to scratch at all looks tired and dirty despite the constant cleaning. Food very mediocre although was able to have a reasonable breakfast in the white room daily. Speciality restaurants very overrated for the price that is added on. Lots of relaxation of dress code evident and anyone allowed in all areas despite black tie nights which was very disappointing and not seen at all on our previous cruise on Arcadia. Paid for spa pass and wish we hadn’t nothing working and staff not bothered to make amends Entertainment reasonable but again everything seemed to be an real effort and staff looked totally bored at times and not keen to interact. The only place that was full daily was the pub and lots of people appeared to stay in their cabins Sadly will not be returning to this ship Read Less
Sail Date November 2017
I was only aboard the Ventura for a weekend cruise - less than 40 hours. We were celebrating a birthday, and as such for us the trip was really more about making use of the ship's various, delightful-sounding bar and restaurant ... Read More
I was only aboard the Ventura for a weekend cruise - less than 40 hours. We were celebrating a birthday, and as such for us the trip was really more about making use of the ship's various, delightful-sounding bar and restaurant facilities. I would heartily recommend this ship for fans of queuing and waiting. If you're into those, you are in for a treat! Huge lines to get into restaurants - queuing all the way up the stairs to the next deck. Huge queues for the formal photographs. Queues are reception, as one person mans the desk and phones ring off the hook around them. Chaos, basically. A typical interaction with a member of the serving staff on board the Ventura might look something like this: You approach a bar, behind which are two or three people frantically preparing drinks. A waiter dashes up to you, to intercept your attempt to order at the bar. The waiter takes your order. Five minutes later, the waiter returns to take your cruise card. Around 10 minutes later, your drinks arrive. This might sound like an exaggeration, but at one point I waited 25 minutes for a coffee. In a deserted bar. The restaurants were no better - one person assigned to take drinks for a restaurant full with 100+ people. The wine waitress was so stressed and busy that at one point rather than topping up my wine, she just emptied the bottle into it. The fundamental problem seems to me that they were attempting to provide a silver service experience, with greasy-spoon levels of staff training. The food itself was fine, nothing special. The Beach House was absolutely not worth the additional supplements (a cover charge AND supplements on the food), particularly considering its decor and vibe - think school canteen. The ventura has the potential to be a great experience, and perhaps on longer cruises there are more staff laid on. But if this cruise had been any longer than two nights, I'd have found myself wanting to abandon ship halfway through. Read Less
Sail Date September 2017
This was a 2 night mini cruise to Guernsey from Southampton. i have been on other cruises and this 2 night one was billed as a break or a taster and it was a booze cruise and nothing else!!! the staff were rude and surly, I asked for ... Read More
This was a 2 night mini cruise to Guernsey from Southampton. i have been on other cruises and this 2 night one was billed as a break or a taster and it was a booze cruise and nothing else!!! the staff were rude and surly, I asked for help in the cabin and was told the deck manager would come and he never did, the telly didnt work and the food was dreadful. I am gluten free and my option one day was jelly or a minuscule meringue. There were no cups for breakfast Sunday morning so had to have water. I was so hungry Friday night I had to buy some chocolate to tide me to breakfast as nothing gluten free on offer. The muster was hampered by drunks shouting and yelling and blowing whistles. the only saving grace was the theater company who were excellent, great show. so if you want to drink lots then its the cruise for you but beware its poor beyond belief shame on you P and O Read Less
Sail Date September 2017
"We have cruised with P&O over 20 times and have been loyal clients since 2000. We feel that P&O are no longer interested in return clients and just want to attract new ones. The whole experience was very shabby. We have ... Read More
"We have cruised with P&O over 20 times and have been loyal clients since 2000. We feel that P&O are no longer interested in return clients and just want to attract new ones. The whole experience was very shabby. We have already booked, prior to going on this cruise with Azura in the Caribbean in 2018 unfortunately I will not go with P&O again after this next cruise as they are cutting back drastically on quality of food, entertainment and service. The shows were all old hat which we had seen over many years on P&O the select dining which we used a lot as the main restaurant was poor, the menus only changed twice in the whole cruise and were practically identical to the menus that we have had in the Epicurean , Beach House and Glass house over the last 5 years I would also note that these menus are the same on Azure Boring !! The commercial that P&O show on TV is not what you experience. IT is Now very amateur and down market. NEVER AGAIN. shame. Read Less
Sail Date September 2017
Oh dear, It's been some years since my first cruise with P & O and what used to be a real luxury experience is now very disappointing. Ventura is tired and shabby and desperately in need of an up date. For quite a large ship ... Read More
Oh dear, It's been some years since my first cruise with P & O and what used to be a real luxury experience is now very disappointing. Ventura is tired and shabby and desperately in need of an up date. For quite a large ship it feels very claustrophobic, difficult to get a sun bed on sea days as all the decks are so crowded, the Waterfront restaurant feels like a hospital canteen, and the cabins are tiny. The best restaurants all have an additional charge and were excellent. Good food and great service, but avoid the "all inclusive" restaurants at all costs. Entertainment would be great at a holiday camp!! Although the kids club was very popular with my two and the staff there were great. Ports were a real mix of interesting (Madeira) and awful (La Palma). Expect lots of over weight tattooed passengers making the most of the all inclusive food options. Overall this holiday was a real hit and miss experience, some good and some bad . Would never cruise again. Read Less
Sail Date July 2017
My wife chose this cruise and it has been 6 years since we were last on the Ventura. The Waterside buffet area is badly in need of a refit with dirty seats, split seams on some of the upholstery and badly chipped paint work in many areas. ... Read More
My wife chose this cruise and it has been 6 years since we were last on the Ventura. The Waterside buffet area is badly in need of a refit with dirty seats, split seams on some of the upholstery and badly chipped paint work in many areas. The food throughout the ship could only be rated as OK, smaller portions than previously, barely warm, (breakfast in the Beach House was regularly cold), several of my 'always available' favourites taken off the menu. Vegetables were at one time served separately but now just served on the plate. The cabin and waiting staff were as good as ever. Sun beds were abused as is always the case by people leaving towels on them while they went off for two or three hours, despite warnings that reserved beds reserved would be monitored but this was not enforced, leaving passengers always looking for vacant sun beds. Particularly annoying was moving the evening dancing and dance lessons to the postage stamp sized dance floor in the atrium. This floor was not big enough to accommodate all of those who wanted to take part and we spoke to several people who wanted to attend the dances but didn't bother because of lack of dancing space. Also not enough seating in the atrium for those who did attend the dances. Ironically the Costa Coffee next to the dance floor had vacant seats most of the time but there was a notice advising that you were not allowed to occupy these seats unless you purchased a drink. After going on 9 or 10 P&O cruises I believe that they have become a very penny pinching outfit and I will not be travelling with P&O again for some considerable time. For me the best part of this cruise was the coach journey back home Read Less
Sail Date March 2017
On arrival at the terminal you were herded by colour cards to your point of registration,as we were on our honeymoon and booked the cabin we wanted months in advance,we were shocked to be told our cabin had been changed to a cabin on the ... Read More
On arrival at the terminal you were herded by colour cards to your point of registration,as we were on our honeymoon and booked the cabin we wanted months in advance,we were shocked to be told our cabin had been changed to a cabin on the same deck,P&O staff said it was an up grade,not an upgrade to my wife who was upset at this change to a holiday she had been looking forward to.Once onboard we complained but staff did not give a reasonable explanation,later we found out P&O could move you if a person who had cruised with them on a lot of cruises and used that cabin before they could request it so first time cruise person could be moved.I was also informed that as an x serviceman I could claim £250 off the cruise price.The food at allocated dining room on this cruise was poor,potatoes were hard ,veg over and under cooked the toast at breakfast was thin and brittle fried bread was like a frisbee.The wine in the dining room was expensive you could purchase the same wine for a third of the price in a supermarket in the UK.The shops onboard where very good, but could be expensive.Shows onboard are okay if you could get a seat.Loungers around the pools where so close together it was difficult to get off them.,plus people leaving towels on bed then going of for lunch or to the bar for more than one hour so others could not relax around the two pools area.The overall cost of the cruise was not worth it,and we would not recormmend this P&O ship as it would be classed 3 star if it were a hotel.This was my wife first cruise,while I have been on a number of cruises. With my late wife. Read Less
Sail Date January 2017
Where to start?A booking of Four which included two frail passengers needing two nearby cabin,s placed fifty cabins apart? .I know that because I counted them every morning. They said we had got a special price and couldn't choose ... Read More
Where to start?A booking of Four which included two frail passengers needing two nearby cabin,s placed fifty cabins apart? .I know that because I counted them every morning. They said we had got a special price and couldn't choose but with the state of our health a bit of flexibility would not have gone amiss. We have travelled with most cruise lines and never had any trouble. Forty pounds for a shampoo and blow? Did I take it? No.Fifteen pounds for a book of bingo tickets? Did I play? No. Hair dryers with pins that wouldn't fit into the socket? Could we use them? No. Barely a morning in Gibraltar which we had so looked forward to visiting? Didn't even get as far as Marks and Spencers. On the plus side the cabin staff and catering staff were great. Maybe they should let them run the ship. Would I take a cruise with P and O again? No. Read Less
Sail Date October 2016
My husband and I have recently returned from a cruise to the Canary Isles and are bitterly disappointed. We chose a deluxe balcony cabin but the bed was extremely hard which caused me back problems and the pillows were rock hard which ... Read More
My husband and I have recently returned from a cruise to the Canary Isles and are bitterly disappointed. We chose a deluxe balcony cabin but the bed was extremely hard which caused me back problems and the pillows were rock hard which gave my husband a painful neck. The food in the restaurant was very poor with some many people aboard the meals were plated up and by the time they reached the diners the food was luke warm The first evening my husband ordered a skate wing which when it arrived was the size of the palm of my hand, grey in colour and smelt terrible. I feel sorry for the waiters who have to take the backlash for the poor standard of food being served. Out of 12 dinners my husband, myself and two friends only enjoyed four meals. Again, breakfasts in the dining rooms are a waste of time but must admit they are much better in the buffet as was the lunch food. The first black tie evening was the captains night but on a table near to ours two men went back to their room and changed into tee-shirt and tracksuit bottoms. The internet was very expensive and if you wanted to be able to send emails it would costs £12.95 per 24 hours. When the ship docked in most cases it was necessary to get a coach shuttle into the town and there was a charge of £4.00 per person each way. In La Palma there was only one coach, which was free, but only seemed to run every half hour. When the elderly passengers wanted to get back to the ship they were waiting in the hot sunshine for half an hour. We having waited for 25 minutes decided to walk and we stil got back before the coach. When you ordered a drink in the evening it took ages to arrive because the staff waited to fill a tray for other passengers before they brought the drinks to you. The entertainment was good and the service was extremely good from the cabin steward and waiters in the dining room. We and my friends have travelled with P & O on several occasions but none of us will be travelling with them again as it is no better than a holiday camp at sea and making as much money as they can without consideration to the passengers who used to enjoy the elegance, good food and relaxation of a cruise. Read Less
Sail Date September 2016
We choose this cruise because we have been several times with RC NWL and other companies, and thought we would try a British ship, never again! the food was hit and miss, there was curry served every single day, with meat and 1 lot of veg ... Read More
We choose this cruise because we have been several times with RC NWL and other companies, and thought we would try a British ship, never again! the food was hit and miss, there was curry served every single day, with meat and 1 lot of veg for an alternative. The fruit display was not changed for the whole time we were sailing, which resulted in hundreds of fruit flies flying around the sweet selection, I passed this on to 2 staff members, and still nothing was done,The waiters and waitresses whipped your tray away the whole time before you had even finished your'e meal! we had to tell them on several occasions to leave our tray alone! We were supposed to be sailing through the Menai Straites but didnt for some reason? we also landed at Gibralta 6 hours late! The ship was okay inside, but very drab, the entertainment was okay but the shows lasted 30 mins each evening there was little else to do, unless ballroom dancing, whist or bingo is your'e kind of thing? the staff look like they didn't want to be there, and just stood about talking between themselves most of the time. The embarkment process was laughable! it took 25 mins at one port, the hottest part of the day (40 degrees) and they couldn't even be bothered to meet you with a glass of cold water, I could go on and on, but after contacting P&O to complain I can see they are the kind of company that will never take criticism, constructive or otherwise! the lady that rang me was down right rude and very condescending! telling me British people like currys! she had a answer for everything, not a good experience at all! serves us right really? we should of saved the thousands of pounds this cruise cost us and gone with our very favourite, excellently run RC! Read Less
Sail Date July 2016
Embarkation very quick and efficient. Security staff on boarding dour and unwelcoming - not a smile or greeting. Cabin size adequate with tea and coffee facilities (replaced daily). Complimentary shampoo etc. (The White Company). Cabin ... Read More
Embarkation very quick and efficient. Security staff on boarding dour and unwelcoming - not a smile or greeting. Cabin size adequate with tea and coffee facilities (replaced daily). Complimentary shampoo etc. (The White Company). Cabin clean but fittings tired. Carpet badly stained and marked. Loo stained and it continually flooded (fixed fairly quickly). Cabin steward excellent - helpful and cheerful despite a heavy workload. Beds fairly comfortable. TV did not work properly. Food disappointing. The freedom dining is a good idea and it worked for us since we like to dine early (6pm) and thus did not have to wait for a table at any time. The waiters were very good although overworked (especially the wine waiter). The food varied from bad (inedible 'crab souffle', tough meat - steaks awful)) to reasonable (soups were tasty and the majority of the fish dishes were nice). Portions small. The puddings for some reason were dreadful. The Waterside buffet had little choice and was, in the main, bland. The speciality nights (Indian, Chinese etc.) were the best. A serious problem was the overcrowding - it was very difficult to find a table and we usually had to walk around for some time trying to find a place to sit. The drinks available were water, dreadful coffee, and a wide selection of nice teas. Fruit juice was only available at breakfast and was dire (mixed from powder). Entertainment was good but not excellent - some good comedians and singers. The overcrowding was again a problem - unless you went very early it was impossible to get a seat in the theatre or any of the other venues. The activities during the day were inadequate for the numbers of people. Basically, they are trying to cater for a very wide range of age groups and thus end up catering for none. The majority of enrichment activities came with a hard sell. The duty free shop is expensive - buy in Gibraltar it is far cheaper. They promote their duty free heavily before you get to the first port and you see how much cheaper it is on shore. A bit dishonest. The pools are crowded and it is almost impossible to get a sun-lounger on sea days. Over crowding again. The lifts were continually out of order - at one point 3 out of 6. So a lot of waiting. The excursions are expensive and not worth the money (that's why they promote them so much). It is far cheaper and more comfortable to use taxis at each port - especially if there are four of you. The dressing-up nights were fun - it was nice to see people looking so glamorous but it is actually just another excuse for selling - in this instance endless photographs etc. The dancing facilities were totally inadequate and only lasted for a couple of hours - just an excuse to get people in place for yet more expensive photos. It is all very cynical. Overall I did not enjoy the cruise. The overcrowding made it very stressful. The 'fine dining' was nothing of the sort. The entertainment was patchy and actually difficult to get in to see. I was bored on sea days (and I like quizzes!). We enjoyed the port days although I had been to most of the places before i.e Gibraltar, Barcelona, Rome etc. In most instances little time to really explore especially if you haven't been there before. The serving, waiting, cleaning staff all excellent but overworked and underpaid. I dislike the gratuities system. Pay the staff properly, charge more and leave it to customers to tip for excellent service (which we did). Read Less
Sail Date July 2016
This was a relatively inexpensive cruise and it showed. While nothing was particularly bad it was not particularly good either. The food was mediocre both in the Waterside buffet and in the restaurant (Saffron). The entertainment was, in ... Read More
This was a relatively inexpensive cruise and it showed. While nothing was particularly bad it was not particularly good either. The food was mediocre both in the Waterside buffet and in the restaurant (Saffron). The entertainment was, in the main 'cheap and cheerful', certainly nothing special. The enrichment activities during the day were practically non-existent unless designed to part you with as much money as possible. The off-shore excursions were an absolute rip-off - a trip to Rome which involved driving up and down streets hearing about the sites for which Rome is famous without actually seeing them. (A complaint to the Excursions Manager was met by complete indifference and actual rudeness - they obviously have a lot of complaints!). This is not a cruise company I will ever use again. The request for a cabin near our freedom dining restaurant was ignored which meant my elderly parents had a very long walk each day. The staff spent three days cleaning the corridor carpet - both noisy and obstructive. The ship was very crowded. While it was always possible to get a seat in the theatre the other venues were a different matter and the design of the Havana meant that quite a number of seats had a restricted view. Fred Olsen are more expensive but they are much much better. Please be aware Princess Cruises and P & O are the same company and much the same experience. (Tried both) Read Less
Sail Date July 2016
Just back from Iberian cruise on Ventura. Having had a not very pleasant experience a few years ago with P and O we have been trying other cruise lines with very good result, but we decided to venture back to see how things had changed. ... Read More
Just back from Iberian cruise on Ventura. Having had a not very pleasant experience a few years ago with P and O we have been trying other cruise lines with very good result, but we decided to venture back to see how things had changed. Embarkation went much as normal big queue at Southampton, all a bit late following a deep clean due to Noro. As usual everyone seemed to be ticking the no boxes on the health questionnaire, it seems to be a waste of time as no one will admit to feeling ill and missing the cruise; it would be better to strip us all off and send us through a sheep dip. We were on the ship after about an hour so not too bad, the ship itself looked quite drab and "beige" following experiences on other lines. I was expecting better after the refit. We soon realised once on board that the ship was still under red alert and this does disadvantage you in many ways. The question ever one was asking was if they have done a deep clean why are we still under red alert, we can't go near any food, we can't touch anything in the shops and meal times feels like school dinners when you have to ask the teacher for salt and pepper and they come in paper packets. The cabin was a superior deluxe balcony cabin, again it looked a bit drab with various stains on the carpet and walls and a lot of mould round the bath but in general it was clean and dusted. There was plenty of hanging space so we got busy unpacking. The champagne and chocolates were in the room and made for a good start. The cabin has a bath with shower over it though the shower is no more than a dribble, and you had to move about just to get wet. I will elaborate on cabin issues later. We were greeted with the sight of people with masks and gowns going into the suite next to ours, it was later we found out that they were under isolation; why were we not informed then we could take extra precautions. It was l a few days later that we found out one of the children was sea sick and the medical staff had over reacted. The food in the MDR was good, plenty of choice, well presented and well served. Our waiters were very good. I can't understand why some reports say the staff are surly, they are trained to be distant until you break the ice with them because some people don't want to have anything other than being served. Chat and laugh with them and they will respond. The food in the buffet was very much the same every day, it was served to you by staff up until the last 2 days. The food area is very small compared with other lines, just one side open and this is as i said before very compact. A lot of passengers were trying to avoid the hand gel, making waving movements near the machine and walking away rubbing their hands (why), staff did chase them when you brought it to their attention but then they would still insist they had done it. Most people did all in their power to have a table all to their self even though it becomes quite packed, why will the "beige" people not share? Entertainment was very good, from the shows though these are the same ones we saw 4 years ago, to the individual acts. But the main issue was with the dead spots between acts and vast areas of the ship with nothing going on. During the day on sea days there was the usual quizzes and bingo, come on P and O; Pontins closed years ago because people have moved on. Can we at least have a bit of musical entertainment during the day, other lines have strings and piano's playing in the bars and atrium. We are keen dancers, I don't think P and O have ever seen any one dance; it is impossible if more than 3 couples are on the floor in the joke of a dance floor in the atrium. Judging by the amount of people wanting to dance and the amount of people who wanted to watch it should be in one of the larger venues with a larger floor. Ports of call were Vigo, Lisbon, Porto and Cherbourge. The stop at Vigo went off very well the ship docks in the centre of town so going on foot is not a problem, we didn't do a trip here so nothing much more to report on Vigo. We docked near the centre of the city in Lisbon, that was quite a surprise as in the past we have docked near the bridge, well out of town. We did the trip to Obidos, this is a nice little place and I would recommend anyone trying it if you have never been. Try the Ginja in the chocolate cups, try a few they are very cheap around 1 euro and each one is different. Porto was our next stop, the port is very good and well set up for cruises. They put on free shuttles to the city and to the port gates. The one into town takes about 30 minutes and runs about every 15 minutes. The one to the port gates is just as regular, as you walk out of the gate just turn right and you are on a fantastic clean white beach. Then we get to Cherbourge or not as came to pass. We were greeted the day before on the sea day with a letter telling us about the terrorist activity in France and to keep out of crowded places, this goes a long way to putting you in the holiday mood; it's not as if everyone had not heard about the issues in France; basically tell us what we already know. Then during the evening meal the Captain came over the loud speaker with more doom and gloom saying he had reports that the sea was getting a bit choppy, the rumour then started to go round that we would not go to Cherbourge. So come the morning after a quiet run over the B of B and not much movement during the night, the Captain came on the loud speaker with the expected news that due to the very rough weather and the impending storm we would be spending the day at sea again. He said he did not want to put the safety of his crew at risk, but it seems OK to put us all at risk and leave us at sea during a major storm. I did think the procedure during a major storm was to run for home or find a safe port, we were in reach of Southampton and could have stayed overnight there. As it happened the storm was 2 days away, all seems a bit suspect to me. We were then treated to another sea day so decided to go and watch the film in the morning, we went to the first venue advertised and were told after some time that we would have to go to the theatre; after waiting there we were told to go back to the original venue only to find the majority interest film had been replaced by a minority interest hairdressing event, I can do that waiting to pick my wife up from the hairdressers. They re vamped the programme taking off some of the good things and putt on more quizzes, My view is that if it had been a port day they would have had offers for the spar and hairdressers but if we have a captive audience we can charge the full amount. We went to our cabin to watch a film on the TV , it was quite a calm sunny day and we tried to open the balcony for some air but found it to be jammed shut; I reported it to reception they said someone would fix it; but no one ever came. This was the day that our dressing gowns arrived, I had thought they had stopped using them but they appeared in the cupboard. If you are susceptible to static don't use them as they are made of nylon and give you quite a shock when you come to hang them up. We were invited into the large suite next door because she was not happy with the state of the cabin, for a suite I would have expected better it was like going into an old caravan, with even more old stains than our cabin. She said the bedding had not been changed all week and on reflection neither had ours but we had presumed that was because of the red alert. I advised her to ask for the house keeper. I also asked our steward if he would change our bedding, he broke down in tears and said they had given him too much to do; my wife spent the next hour trying to console him. Later that day the housekeeper came to our cabin very apologetically, we did ask him to look after the steward as he was close to breakdown. I explained that the balcony door would not open he showed me that you need to kick it in several places and then pull it very hard, I wish I had known that at the start of the cruise; I could have asked reception for a big hammer to facilitate the process. So in summary no storm and no Cherbourge. Disembarking went well, we chose to take off our own bags so were off before 8 o'clock. I would recommend it if you are able enough as you are requested to put your bags out by 8:30 in the evening. This means you either spend the evening in the clothes you are going home in or go home in your evening clothes. Sorry it's a bit long but I do like to say it as it is, I understand others will have different views on it and die hard P and O groupies will lambast me for writing this. Will I be giving it one more try I don't think so, even though we have amassed a lot of peninsular points from the past when P and O were not "affordable cruising" and I guess it is our own fault for looking for a bargain for a short break. Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
Embarkation and disembarkation can only be described as shambolic. It seemed everyone was at the terminal at the same time and so no seats and long delays to embark. They give people a piece of paper with an allocated colour for ... Read More
Embarkation and disembarkation can only be described as shambolic. It seemed everyone was at the terminal at the same time and so no seats and long delays to embark. They give people a piece of paper with an allocated colour for disembarkation but once the first call was made there was a mass exodus because no checks were made about what colour people were allocated . How hard would it be to give everyone a coloured card like they do on the fly cruise so the staff can easily check your correct time. This caused long delays. There was an outbreak of norovirus for the last week luckily we escaped it. The staff worked hard in the second week sanitising everything and everyone. I know passengers should all be hygienic but unfortunately some aren't. However P&O need to take some responsibility as passengers and crew were not forced to sanitise on embarkation and when returning from ports nor when entering restaurants, the gel stands were there but a lot of passengers and crew just walked past. This was enforced only after the outbreak. Even after the outbreak security took hold of everyone's card to scan them when getting on and off and no gloves were used by some of the security. Surely this is a guaranteed way of spreading the virus!! There hadn't been such a big outbreak in this ship for some time so maybe P&O were becoming complacent. I have pointed out the same lack of sanitisation before to P&O and this has put me right off them. Ports of call were mostly good but Casablanca is not very nice a lot of people not bothering to get off, don't know why they persist on stopping here. Entertainment was a bit mixed Tom O'CONNOR was brilliant headliners WERE OK but seen better Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
1. Embarkation. Excellent. Arrived at 13.10 for 13.00 boarding (yes we were late) but were in our cabin at 13.30. 2. Cabin. Clean, well appointed and our cabin stewardess (Lourdes) was really helpful and attentive. 3. Dining ... Read More
1. Embarkation. Excellent. Arrived at 13.10 for 13.00 boarding (yes we were late) but were in our cabin at 13.30. 2. Cabin. Clean, well appointed and our cabin stewardess (Lourdes) was really helpful and attentive. 3. Dining Second sitting in Bay Tree restaurant. Table for 8 snd our fellow passengers were all lovely people, great conversation and all from very different backgrounds and geographical (UK) areas. Table waiters were very attentive but some times a little slow but the wine waitress was, in my opinion, not quite up to the job. Mixed up who's wine was who's on more than one occasion. Food was excellent and could not be faulted. 4. Entertainment P&O should really vet their guest speakers before putting them up in front of an audience of potentially several hundred people. The policeman who had been awarded the GC clearly had some amazing and fascinating stories to tell but his delivery was so monotone it was monotonous and sending people (including me) to sleep. The Headliners and Bernie Flint were fantastic and the first Karioke night was the best I have ever seen (thank you Derek and Annie). During sea days I thought the the activities (bingo and quizzes) were sparse and more could be done. Sail aways were not up to the standard we have enjoyed on previous P&O cruises. 5. Shore excursions:- Severely overpriced and are not value for money. Maybe they should spend and overnight stop in Madeira and cut out one of the Canaries 6. Weather. Not good except for Madeira (but I can't blame P&O for that). Bay of Biscay did it's usual on the way home. 7. Dis-embarkation. Absolutely excellent. 8. Overall. Too many (overpriced) photographs, no semi formal evenings and on formal evenings how was some one dressed in a track suit allowed to be served cocktails at the Captains reception? Read Less
Sail Date February 2016
This was just a weekend away with friends, we have been on this ship a couple of times before, which hasn't been any where as good as it should have been, but we thought just for a couple of days, it'll be fine, we were very ... Read More
This was just a weekend away with friends, we have been on this ship a couple of times before, which hasn't been any where as good as it should have been, but we thought just for a couple of days, it'll be fine, we were very disappointed. The balcony room was nice, it was clean and nicely decorated, this is where it started to go wrong, the room steward came into the room and announced himself, giving his name and asked if there was anything we wanted just to let him know, so I said, oh yes please, could you please get some decaffeinated tea bags or caffeine free fruit teas for he room as I was allergic to caffeine, he practically jumped down my throat and said " No, you'll have to get them yourself" I replied, "sorry, I've always asked for decaf tea or fruit tea and it has never been a problem before", " No, you have to get them yourself, the chef has told us we not allowed to get them you have to get them yourself" I was shocked, I know that P&O aren't the best cruise liner for service etc but this was crazy, I was obviously not happy but he just carried on with his explanation of the room and muster station, and then just left, I was really cheesed off. If this had been the only problem we'd had it would have been enough to make me a bit fed up, but it didn't stop there, the service in the dining room was terrible, I wasn't allowed to have the drink I wanted because the drinks waiter would have had to go somewhere else to get it, but the party sharing our table all had their drinks fetched, then being vegetarian (which they were pre-warned about) I got my food after everyone else and it was stone cold, it took over 15 minutes to get anyone to actually come over and sort it out as all the waiters could see there was a problem, but just walked off or pretended they hadn't noticed, and other guests had received just as bad service on other tables. The cruise itself was just as bad, the destination was great, if you wanted to pay extra to get anywhere near the centre which was the whole point of the cruise in the first place, we had to get a tram then bus and train to get to where we were supposed to be visiting, on the whole a very disappointing cruise and I would definitely have to think more than twice about booking with P&O again. Read Less
Sail Date February 2016
My brother, sister in law and myself took our mum on this cruise for her 80th birthday. We visited Amsterdam and Zebrugge. The cruise ship has zero wow factor. The buffet dining area is similar to that of a 2/ 3* hotel. The waiter service ... Read More
My brother, sister in law and myself took our mum on this cruise for her 80th birthday. We visited Amsterdam and Zebrugge. The cruise ship has zero wow factor. The buffet dining area is similar to that of a 2/ 3* hotel. The waiter service in the main restaurant is also poor. Staff were miserable and unwelcoming, everything seemed too much effort. After 15 minutes on one morning, we had to get up and ask for some tea and a menu as nobody had been to our table. One evening, we were told that we would have a 30-40 minute wait to be seated and told we could go and wait in a bar with a pager, not easy when mum has mobility problems. The food was, at best, ok. The ship was cold, I mean cold,with everybody walking around inside with either fleece tops or coats. Even in the spa, when I asked if the room could be made warmer, I was told that many people had already complained but nothing could be done as the temperature was controlled by the bridge. Not great when having a full body massage. The staff at the spa however were excellent. The daytime programme was dire, with very little to do. On a plus note, the evening entertainment was very good every evening with an excellent comedian on 2 nights. The cabin, a twin inside, was very comfortable with plenty of room. Read Less
Sail Date February 2016
My husband and I booked this cruise as we have never traveled with P&O before. We have however traveled with Cunard, Princess and MSC and didn't think P&O would be a lower star rating. Prior to the cruise, we found that the ... Read More
My husband and I booked this cruise as we have never traveled with P&O before. We have however traveled with Cunard, Princess and MSC and didn't think P&O would be a lower star rating. Prior to the cruise, we found that the customer services were particularly unhelpful and quite curt unlike the other companies we have traveled with When we arrived at Southampton, we were very surprised at the chaos in the the terminal however after a few hours people started to embark and we were left to find our own way on board and to the cabin. The balcony cabin was standard size and lay out as expected however cleanliness did not seem to be a priority. Furnishings were of poor standard, wall panels loose and lifting from the wall, unclean bedding, dusty and generally of a poor standard. The bathroom was of standard size with usual toiletries however the shower had cracked walls with cracked, smelly and spongy base, mold and mildew visible even on the wall mounted bottle of shower gel. The rest of the ship followed same pattern of general lack of maintenance and cleanliness. Staff appeared to be left to their own devices and as such service was poor. Food in the restaurant was average if not poor, waiters lacked personal hygiene which made it an unpleasant place to eat. We did however have a meal in the Glass house, which was very good and with good service, although this did incur extra cost. My husband has previously worked on board cruise ships and was very disappointed to see dirty public areas, even more concerned when we saw electric sockets hanging off the walls. He actually commented that Steam Packet ferry to the Isle of Man has higher standards of cleanliness and service throughout the public and cabin areas. I did speak to the captain in person and passed this information onto him, and although he did apologize there was no attempt to improve even our cabin cleanliness. All in all thoroughly disappointed and will in future not travel with P&O as it seems to be the very lowest end of the cruise market. Read Less
Sail Date February 2016
P&O Ventura January 2016 Caribbean Cruise. This is our third P&O Cruise in the past three years. We have sailed on the Oriana and Oceana so know roughly what to expect. We normally cruise on Cunard and still prefer them to ... Read More
P&O Ventura January 2016 Caribbean Cruise. This is our third P&O Cruise in the past three years. We have sailed on the Oriana and Oceana so know roughly what to expect. We normally cruise on Cunard and still prefer them to P&O. As this was for 18 nights we decided a Superior cabin would be more appropriate as we anticipated spending a lot of time in the cabin. Our embarkation time was 1.30 pm, and received a letter from P&O asking us to keep to this time to avoid any queues. Our taxi arrived at 1.20 pm and the queue for boarding was outside the terminal for 100 yds or so and growing. Took us 20 mins or so just to get inside the terminal. Once inside it can only be described as a joke. Just how many years have P&O been operating , cant they get this right. Once on board we arrived at our cabin. Have to say first impression was good. Nice decor quite roomy and a full size (if you are small) bath. Luggage arrived quickly and we soon unpacked went to explore the ship. After the safety drill at our muster station we went back to the cabin for a drink before we got ready for dinner. I suppose this is the point we started to notice how tired the cabin was. The carpet was heavily stained by the doors and looked grubby. The toilet seat was stained a dark yellow around the rim (disgusting). The bath looked stained on the bottom, but on closer inspection at had some sort of varnish that was peeling off giving the impression of a stain. Several marks on the walls and furniture. The cabin had definitely seen better days. OK off to sample the freedom dinning. Table for two requested so was given a pager and had to wait 30 mins or so. The table for two was a long padded bench with 8 ish small tables with the bench seat on on side and a chair on the other. Tables about 12 inches or so apart. Food was bland and not a good dining experience. I think we only dined in the main restaurant a handful of times. We mostly dined in the Beach house and other venues where there was a cover charge, much more enjoyable. Did notice these venues got busier towards the end of the cruise. Room service menu very limited. Have noticed on other P&O cruises but most apparent on this one, crowds of people will rush from venue to venue. They seem to queue ages before the shows start and then before the shows have finished start leaving to go to the next one. We found this very off putting on what seemed like a very crowded ship. Ports of call all OK, if you manage it you can miss the queues, although we still got caught up in a couple. Seemed to have an ongoing problem with the toilet not flushing. Thought it was just our cabin but found the people in the next cabin had the same problem. Did seem to have a lot of ongoing maintenance on board. Painting, varnishing , OK but they did seem to shut off decks whilst this was been done, making already crowded ship more crowded. Will we sail P&O again. Unlikely. Will stick to Cunard , although not happy when you book the cruise and then they reduce the prices. Not good. Read Less
Sail Date January 2016
There is a review a little further down (Ferry with a hint of Benidorm) that pretty much summaries our experience, although we were in a balcony cabin rather than a suite. Otherwise, I could have written that. We have always been ... Read More
There is a review a little further down (Ferry with a hint of Benidorm) that pretty much summaries our experience, although we were in a balcony cabin rather than a suite. Otherwise, I could have written that. We have always been doubtful of the larger ships, so have not been on Ventura, Azura or Britannia, but when a cheap 2-day taster came up we thought we would risk it. And the experience has certainly put me off the larger ships, but also makes me reluctant to use the smaller ships again in case the changes are a new policy everywhere rather than just being for those ships. P+O really have moved downmarket with this trip from the many we have taken in the past and if there is one area I would single out it is service. In bars, it took forever to be served, including 15 minutes from ordering a glass of wine to it arriving when there were only around 50 people in the bar. Silver service in the restaurant has disappeared: you get what you are given and that's that. Even simple details like the entertainment staff to greet you as you enter and leave the theatre has gone. And the introduction of self service wines really does not bode well. Surely being served is part of the experience? I also found the ship very noisy, both in ambience (piped music much of the time) and in the passengers, but it was difficult to be certain whether these groups were much noisier than I have experienced before or something about the build of the ship made them seem so. Whatever, listening to one of the musicians was really difficult against the background noise. Read Less
Sail Date January 2016
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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