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864 P&O Cruises Ventura Cruise Reviews

We love cruising, but I wouldn't cruise with Ventura again. We had a lovely holiday, but we had great expectations sine we have been cruising for years. I took my 21 yr old daughter and my 3 yr old granddaughter with me. Flew from ... Read More
We love cruising, but I wouldn't cruise with Ventura again. We had a lovely holiday, but we had great expectations sine we have been cruising for years. I took my 21 yr old daughter and my 3 yr old granddaughter with me. Flew from manchester to Venice was fine, they took cases at airport and they arrived straight into our cabin. check in was easy and fine. Cabin with balcony was fine but the bunk bed for a 3 yr old not suitable as she fell out, it is too open and also rattled all night, so I spend a cramped week with her in my bed. I am used the great service on P&O cruises sadly not on the Ventura. We were given Freedom dining - given a pager and waited ages for table - got too late to eat, waiters looked harrased and hurried us, forgot our bread, service was bad. Childs food was like something from Mcdonalds but not as good, & arrived when We were having our desert. Quality of food and service were not good. TRy the East restaurant ..you have to pay but it was excellent, Beach hut is also very good but you have to pay-if you want the quality and service you have to pay extra. Theatre was good, pools around kids area although very deep and you need to be with them all the time, are nice and warm, but you need to get early for a sun bed, Kids thought kids club too boring..hence no kids in there - which was one reason for taking our little one. Venice was lovely - you need to pay for boat to get there, but was lovely, as were most of the ports. Instead of waiting and trying to find table at the buffet - we just took trays back to cabin it was easier. British sail away was good fun. Beach hut and East for food although it costs. if you have a small child be aware of the bunks. Don't expect 5 star - you won't get it. TRy Oriana instead although adults only. Read Less
Sail Date August 2014
My wife Tracey ,daughter Olivia (11) and I decided to treat ourselves to an Italian cruise aboard the Ventura in August 2014. It was our first cruise so we were a little naive to some things but thoroughly enjoyed the experience. The good ... Read More
My wife Tracey ,daughter Olivia (11) and I decided to treat ourselves to an Italian cruise aboard the Ventura in August 2014. It was our first cruise so we were a little naive to some things but thoroughly enjoyed the experience. The good points; The food was mostly excellent! We dined in the Cinnamon restaurant in the evening as we had excellent service from the friendly and efficient waiters and wine steward. We used the upper deck restaurants for breakfast and lunch, so we could stay dressed casual. The food here was very nice, but not as good as the formal restaurants. We are early risers so we did not find breakfast and lunch much of a busy hassle. The biggest problem at times was finding an empty table, once you had chosen what to eat. Juice is only served at breakfast, chilled water during the rest of the time. Of course there is coffee (very nice) and tea of all flavours served during all hours. I found all savoury dishes tasty, but some of the sweets were a little lack lustre. We are not wealthy, but found the prices of wine, beer etc, reasonable to that what you would pay at home. Pint of beer £3.50 average bottle of wine with evening meal £18 -£20 and cocktails £5.50. We found the entertainment very good, especially the ventriloquist who was brilliant. All of the waiters around the pool and in the restaurants worked very hard and always there to get you a drink or take away dirty plates and glasses. I found all of the guests, from all walks of life to be very friendly and respectable. We try our best not to be judgemental with other people and as such we found everyone friendly and easy to talk to. I just do not understand some people who deem to judge other people because of their appearance and who just seem to nit-pick at every minor point. If you want friendly and respectable company to accompany a family friendly cruise, the Ventura is for you. If you prefer a ship that is more geared to formality and peace and quiet, then maybe choose a smaller and a more expensive ship. We visited Sorrento on the trip to the farm (we were the last to get on the trip). Well worth it and Sorrento is so picturesque. We did not pay for the excursion to Dubrovnik, just paid for the shuttle bus to get us there. It’s a small town you can explore easily yourself. This is well worth visiting and for ‘Game of Thrones ‘fans, there is a guided tour showing you the locations of some scenes. Finally, Venice is a must and I was very pleased to manage to get places for this visit that included a ride on a gondola. However, it would have been much cheaper to just pay for the shuttle boat to get you onto land and make your own way around. As we entered St. Marks square, the bells began to ring and it was just magical. This is a memory that will stay with us forever. Tips for a better cruise; We had to wait a few hours for our luggage to be delivered to our cabin once on board – about 2-3 hours. Our cabin steward helped and brought them to us within half of an hour of asking him to find them. We will remember to pack our bathing costumes in our hand luggage next time, along with a few toiletries. We struggled to get onto some of the excursions as we had not pre-booked on line before the holiday. Florence and Pizza were completely sold out. We could have tried to make our own way, but Florence was over an hour away and we were a little nervous of getting back in time for the ships departure so we stayed on board. However, it was very relaxing during the day and plenty of room to relax and explore the ship. We had an internal cabin, which was adequate with just enough room for the 3 of us. However I think we would get a bigger room for a 2 week cruise. We actually saved approx £500 in one week booking an internal cabin this instead of getting a balcony and a bigger room, which we were pleased with. If you are booking a balcony room, ensure that it is not overlooked and a higher deck would give you better views. We were on the Riviera deck near the top of the ship, which was great as we were near the pool decks. Our cabin steward Angelo was very friendly and nothing was too much trouble. Our extras including drinks, photos and excursions etc. came to approx £650 in one week. We only had 1 bottle of wine with our evening meal so we didn’t bother with the drinks package and we had the benefit of ordering what wine, spirits or beer etc. we wanted without sticking to a pre-ordered package. I think when you buy a package deal with wine, drinks ice cream etc. it just makes to drink more. Finally during days at sea the pool area is naturally very congested. Get up early to get a bed near the pool or you will struggle. Yes the beds are placed close together, but they are comfortable and big enough for you not to be touching your neighbour. We slept in one day and found no beds by the pool, but an older couple near us gave up some of their beds that they were saving for the kids, which I thought was a very kind gesture. People do place towels on the beds, but the ship’s rules state that you can remove them if you wish. I think my wife and I would like to cruise again as it is our silver wedding anniversary next year.   Read Less
Sail Date August 2014
A 14 nights cruise on Ventura from Genoa. We choose a cruise on the itinerary and value, and we have no loyalty to any cruise line. We tend to book late and have a balcony. Cabin 4/5 - D614 Superior Deluxe Balcony port side midships on ... Read More
A 14 nights cruise on Ventura from Genoa. We choose a cruise on the itinerary and value, and we have no loyalty to any cruise line. We tend to book late and have a balcony. Cabin 4/5 - D614 Superior Deluxe Balcony port side midships on Dominica deck 9. Approx 30% larger than a standard balcony cabin. King bed with quality linen and pillows. We slept well - very quiet. Plenty of UK 3 pin sockets and a few US flat 2 pin 110v sockets. Large lounge area with sofa (a double sofa bed). 2 flat screen TVs - one facing the bed and one facing the lounge area. Kettle & large fridge. In the Superior Balcony grade, you get a bottle of Champagne and box of chocolates on arrival, an atlas, binoculars, robes and slippers, plus canapés and fruit once a week. Plenty of storage space and a large digital safe. Plenty of glasses etc. Housekeeping twice a day. A reasonably sized balcony with 2 lounger chairs and a small table. The larger rooms on decks C and D stick out further than those cabins above and are hence overlooked. This is the price you pay for a larger room or bigger balcony. Bathroom 4/5 - normal cabin size with a full size bath and shower above. Lovely White Company toiletries (deluxe balconies only). Shaver point. Food 4/5 - Cinnamon and Saffron for evening Freedom dining. Bay Tree for fixed Dining at 18.30 and 20.30. Saffron for waiter served breakfast, lunch and afternoon tea. We were allocated Freedom Dining in Cinnamon - we ate here most evenings and enjoyed sharing with new people each night, though we do like to break it up by eating elsewhere. The food and service were generally very good. There is no doubt that over time the quality of food on cruises has drifted downwards as prices and profits have been squeezed and it is perhaps no longer "fine dining", but the food is still very good. Entertainment 4/5 - everything was good that we saw. We particularly like the Headliner shows. The main shows are very popular and you need to get to the Arena Theatre 10 min before the show starts. Often, late arrives would be left standing or sitting on the steps. Ship 4/5 - still in good condition. Considering the ship had over 3,000 passengers on board, it never felt too crowded, except on sea days, when we were shocked at how packed the open decks were. Every sun lounger was taken and they were crushed together like sardines, with nowhere near enough deck space for all the passengers on sunny sea days. There were lots of sun loungers stacked up, but no deck space to put them. As often is the case, reserving loungers was endemic, despite warnings in the Horizon daily information sheet. Can't blame the Germans on this ship!! Service 5/5 - we found the staff hard working, efficient, helpful and courteous at all times. Our cabin steward Amelita looked after us very well throughout. Value 5/5 - we booked 10 days before we sailed. We had the choice of a standard balcony at £1,249 per person or £1,349 for a superior balcony - we chose the latter. Great value for a 2 week cruise Med in August including conveniently timed flights and transfers. The daily tip charge of £3.95pp is reasonable, as are the drinks prices and the fact that you can bring some booze on board at ports for consumption in your cabin. Overall 4/5. Hard to fault P&O these days. Sure there were some minor niggles (when isn't there), but overall this was a lovely cruise with a great itinerary and we have no hesitation recommending it. DAILY LOG Day 1 Embarcation in Genoa - a 10.35 departure Titan charter flight from East Midlands to Genoa. We had prebooked our seats. Nice leather seats and reasonable legroom. You can purchase food and drinks on board. The flight took 1hr 45 min and was on time. No collection of bags required at Genoa airport. We were whisked swiftly though to the transfer bus. Lots of P&O staff guiding us. At the port, the cruise check-in was very efficient and we were in our cabin by 14.00. The bags arrived soon afterwards. So from taking off to being on board ship was 2 1/2 hours - remarkable. We did not go into Genoa, but had lunch, unpacked and got to know the ship layout again. All on board by 18.30 and we sailed away at 19.00. Nothing much to see on the sail out except a beautiful private yacht in the harbor with its own helicopter. There was the standard muster drill at 18.30 before we left Genoa. We ate in Cinnamon. Too tired to watch the show. Day 2 Livorno - we docked at 07.30. Not a very pretty sail in. We have been to both Pisa and Florence a number of times before, though not cruising, so we just strolled around Livorno. You cannot walk in the Laverne dock area for safety, so free shuttle buses are provided which takes you into the centre (Piazza Grande). There is a tourist information there. You can get a bus from here to Pisa and Florence for €10 and €15 respectively. The Central Station is a 10 min walk away. We walked along the Via Grande to the central fort, which is surrounded by a wide moat. There are numerous canals in the historical centre called the Venetian Quarter. Plenty of interesting churches to visit - Santa Caterina was lovely. All on board 19.00 - sail away at 19.30. Dinner in Cinnamon. The show was very good - Mark Walker, a multi-talented singer, musician, comedian and impersonator. Day 3 at sea - we walked 4 miles (10 laps) of the promenade deck (0.4 miles per lap), then worked on the tan in the afternoon. First Formal night. Captains cocktail party, then we ate in Cinnamon. The show was The Headliners doing music and dance from well known stage shows - excellent. Day 4 Naples - a pleasant sail into the Bay of Naples. We docked at 08.00. Gangway open 08.30. We walked to The Central Station - a 2 km stroll. and took the Circumversuvian Line to Pompeii. - one level below the main station - €2.90pp single fare. The train takes approx 20 min. The entrance to Pompeii ruins is by the station. €11 entrance including a site map. It's a huge site, so take strong shoes. We arrived there before 10.00. By 12.00 it was getting hot and busy with tours, so we left. We took the same train back to Herculaneum for a quick look at the small ruins (€11 entrance), then back to Naples and we were back on the ship by 15.00. I've been to Pompeii before, but it was my first time to Herculaneum. A nice day. All on board 17.30, with some late tour arrivals at 17.45, which didn't delay us. A nice sail away from Naples at 18.00 past Vesuvius, Sorrento, Capri and the beautiful Amalfi coast. We ate in Cinnamon. The show was an excellent trio of male singers doing classic soul and Motown sounds. Day 5 - at sea - a nice sunny sail down the west coast of Italy, through the narrow Straits of Messina between Italy and Sicily and into the Ionian Sea. I ran 5 miles around the Promenade Deck in the morning, then spent some time in the sun. Freebee canapés delivered to the room. Second formal night. We ate in Cinnamon. A fine show by the Headliners "Reel to Reel" - music from British films. Day 6 - Dubrovnik - a lovely sail in. We docked at 08.00. There was a shuttle bus from the harbor to the Old Town (£4.50pp each way but worth it). We've walked the walls here before, so we spent a few hours wandering around the streets and the marina. It was a very hot day and the city walls looked very busy. We ate in the main buffet, as it was Tandoori night - very good. The show was another excellent set from Mark Warner. A completely different show from the one a few nights ago. Day 7 - Venice - we arrived at 12.15. It takes a while to enter Venice and larger ships have to be assisted by tugs. It is wonderful to sail into Venice Lagoon, then along the Canal San Marco and past the Grande Canal and St Marks Square - magical. Larger ships will not be able to do this next year and will have to dock elsewhere. We got the People Mover from the cruise terminal to Piazza Roma. €1.30pp each way, or you can walk it, as it's not too far. We walked from Piazza Roma to St. Marks Square and got a Vaporetto (water bus) back €7pp, which takes you fully down the Grande Canal. We spent the afternoon wandering the streets of this wonderful city. You can get a P&O water shuttle from the terminal to near St Marks. £15 for a day unlimited use or £25 for 2 days, but the shuttle does not go down the Grande Canal, whereas the Vaporetto does. It is good value though if you just want to get quickly to St Marks square and back. Dinner in Cinnamon. The show was Reflex - the Headliners doing music and dance from the 1980's. A good lively show. Overnight in Venice. Day 8 Venice - we met our friends Peter & Janet who were doing the same 2 week P&O cruise, but from Venice. We used the P&O shuttle boat from near the ship to St Marks. Very efficient. We walked miles around Venice and got lost again. A wonderful sail away sipping cold Prosecco as we drifted slowly along the San Marco canal and past St Marks as the sun set. One of life's great travel experiences. After dinner in Saffron (though we were allocated Cinnamon, you can mix the 2 Freedom dining locations) we had a late night drink in Metropolis. A bit choppy overnight with the win reaching a max of Force 11. Day 9 at sea - we did 10 laps of the promenade deck. Then a few hours in the sun. 3rd formal night. After dinner in Saffron we watched the Headliners show in the Arena theatre - quite a good song and dance show. Day 10 Kotor - we set our alarm for 6.15 to watch the beautiful sail in. Kotor is at the end of a narrow river valley. We docked at about 08.00. We had to tender into town. We went to The Tamarind bar and got a tender ticket. We were called about 15 mins later. It was a lovely 10 min tender ride to the dock. Kotor is a small and pretty fortified city. We walked the 1,352 steps to the top of the fortress. Fab views from the top. We had a beer and wandered around the cobbled streets. All on board 18.30 and a lovely sail away back down the valley. Dinner in Cinnamon. After the steps, we were too tired for the a show. Day 11 Corfu - a nice sail in past the old fort. We docked at 08.00. We took a short shuttle bus to the old town €1.50 each way. We then walked the short distance to the bus station and caught a local bus to Paleokastritsa (€2.60) each way. A cab would be €50 each way. Paleo is a lovely cove and beach with clear water for swimming. We later caught the bus back to Corfu old town and spent a few hours wandering around the cobbled streets. All on board 17.00. A pleasant sail away. We had dinner in Saffron and did not go to the show, but listened to the pianist in the Atrium. Day 12 at sea - a lovely sunny day to top up the tan. We sailed through the Straits of Messina late morning and then sailed past Stromboli at 13.00. Fourth formal night. We watched the Headliners show in the Arena theatre - a fine medley of songs by the Headliners from Rogers & Hammerstein. Day 13 Civitavecchia (for Rome) - we arrived at 07.00. The gangway was open at 07.15. The weather suddenly closed in and we saw a number of tornados out to see. A free shuttle bus is provided by the port into the town. We have been to Rome before a couple of times (not cruising). Rome is 1 1/2 to 2 hours each way by road. I don't think you have enough time there to do it justice - much better to fly in and see it properly. We strolled along the Civitaveccia promenade to the central station and took the train to Santa Marinella (10 mins) - a pleasant seaside town (€1.10 each way). Last port return shuttle bus was 18.00. All on board 19.00. The weather was cloudy for the sail away. We had a nice meal in East (£15pp cover charge) and didn't go to the show. Day 14 Ajaccio - we arrived at 08.00 directly on the dock. It is only a few minutes walk into the town. Ajaccio is a very nice, small town with a marina, fort and some nice beaches. We spent a few hours strolling about the tree lined boulevards. Napoleon was born here and his image abounds in bronze. You can easily see it all in a few hours. All on board 16.00. A pleasant sail away and a lovely sunset. We had the "Food & Wine pairing dinner" at The Glasshouse. A cover charge of £30pp applies which includes a glass of wine with each of the 4 courses. There is a set dining time at 18.30, but even though we had pre-chosen our food, we still had to wait until 19.20 for any food. Excellent quality food and wine - 4 courses and 4 wines, with an explanation of each course. A lovely meal in a nice setting, but I could have done without the theatrics of clapping the chefs and waiters etc. An American chap even stood up and gave a short speech in celebration of the event - not sure what that was about. Suitcases outside the cabin by 23.00 latest. There was good & detailed information regarding our disembarcation procedure. Day 15 - disembarkation - we berthed in Genoa before 6.30. You are supposed to be out of your cabin by 07.00, but our kind steward Amelita let us stay until nearly 08.00, as she had lots of other cabins to clean already. After breakfast, we passed time by reading in the peace and quiet of Metropolis on deck 18. Disembarcation is by a colour coding system, which is announced over the tannoy. We were called at on time at 12.30 and bussed to Genoa airport. We were then led to security and passport control. We didn't even have to think what to do. Titan flight ZT9402 took off on time and we had an easy flight back to the UK.   Read Less
Sail Date August 2014
I really don't know where to start! We had really looked forward to this cruise, it was our 10th Wedding anniversary and was a special cruise to celebrate. We were so happy when we arrived, we'd paid extra to have a deluxe ... Read More
I really don't know where to start! We had really looked forward to this cruise, it was our 10th Wedding anniversary and was a special cruise to celebrate. We were so happy when we arrived, we'd paid extra to have a deluxe balcony cabin as it was a celebration, well we regretted it pretty soon. We had a bath as well as a shower in the cabin, although the first night we used the bath, the water couldn't wash away as the plug was stuck and it wasn't going to budge, well we went for the evening meal and when we came back and the beds had been turned down, the bath was still full of water, the room steward had just left it, we spoke to reception and they said it would be dealt with (this unfortunately happened 4 times during our stay in this room which really was poor). My husband actually put a crumb on the floor to see if the room was hoovered, well a week later it was still there! We had net curtains removed from the balcony doors on day 2 and it took us a week to get them returned and had to shut the main curtains every day to keep the room from frying, no explanation for them being taken away for so long, all we got was they had a tear in them! The room steward thought I was in the room alone and wouldn't go away until he heard my husband shouting from the bathroom, he really didn't get the hint and I was standing in my bathrobe. On the second night, Black Tie Night we paid extra to go in the Marco Pierre White restaurant, it was outside under the stars and was lovely, we sat with all the others who had paid extra for the privilege only to find a couple of teenagers were allowed in with football t-shirt and shorts on, his partner had dressed nicely but we were all disappointed, it was Black Tie night, how did he manage to get in passed the restaurant manager, we all felt very fed up about it, but nothing was done, this wouldn't have happened on a Royal Caribbean ship! The entertainment was varied, the shows were a little tedious and some were really good like the comedians and musicians, the dancers did really well. The dining room was very busy always, we had freedom dining which was great, but whenever we went for dinner we had to wait quite a while to eat, the waiters nearly bash you on the head with trays, rush off to serve other tables whilst you're trying to tell them what you'd like, it wasn't very good at all. The destinations were amazing, we were so happy and tried not to let the poor room get us down. Read Less
Sail Date July 2014
As a “first-time” cruise experience, we feared it may be somewhat of a disaster (with 2,998 too many other passengers on board) and we were proved right. However we took a punt, and a “last minute” whizz-bang deal + a small ... Read More
As a “first-time” cruise experience, we feared it may be somewhat of a disaster (with 2,998 too many other passengers on board) and we were proved right. However we took a punt, and a “last minute” whizz-bang deal + a small surcharge secured us a cabin with a balcony (thank goodness). Catering on board was OK if you are looking for an efficient dining experience without much graciousness, and almost no hint of “local Mediterranean” flavours. Expect to be processed in and out of the restaurant of your choice (at least, within the provisions of ‘Freedom’ dining), in around 40 mins flat. And if you want to catch some rays, get to the sun decks early and beware the unedifying sight of oiled bodies lining-up in parallel, resembling for all the world the tuna at a Japanese fish market struggling for space. On board entertainment included a number of tribute acts who had evidently taken the view that leaving the U.K. was a good career move. On board shopping was expensive, and even at the on-board Costalot there was no “proper” decaff. The shore excursions were also expensive by anyone’s standards, and don’t think you’ll get to tour the entire island/city; expect an abbreviated trip which will include at least one ‘concession’ where you will be relived of your ££/Euros. And will someone PLEASE explain to local tour guides about the 100ml security requirement at Airports – Corfu must be awash with discarded litre bottles of cumquat liqueur (which is about the best thing to do with it anyhow). There’s a curious expectation that everyone deserves a tip – standard practice is for the operator to bill you automatically – I asked for mine to be rescinded in view of some sub-optimal experiences, but that never happened. Think about it: when was the last time you tipped the train driver/pilot/chambermaid in in a UK holiday experience ? The best part was undoubtedly disembarking but the honeypots and tourist tat did little to enhance our appreciation of destinations we had already previously visited at our own pace and on our own terms. And if you want to sample yet another grubby Italian port, do opt against the “Rome in a day” experience, and explore Civitavecchia….. The last two days were a complete waste of time – we even thought of flying home from Ajaccio and I wish we had. Disembarking at Genoa offered no local sightseeing, instead we had a 2hr 20mins coach transfer to Nice (yes, a whole nother country). 'Nice' views out of the windows though. A couple of plus-points: the baggage handling from Gatwick to Venice (the bags made it safely straight to our cabin); seeing Venice and Kotor glide by in the evening light; and the views of the dolphins accompanying us and as viewed from the tranquillity of our balcony. If you like getting to Gatwick for silly-o-clock; and if an enforced sense of bonhomie on board the ship appeals -- then this is for you. But if you want something other than dumbed-down tourism for the masses, then head for the Alps.   Read Less
Sail Date July 2014
Having read many reviews on here I was tempted to cancel!!! However we reluctantly went expecting the worse however we had a fabulous time and could not fault it. Food was excellent waiters were friendly efficient and professional. Cabin ... Read More
Having read many reviews on here I was tempted to cancel!!! However we reluctantly went expecting the worse however we had a fabulous time and could not fault it. Food was excellent waiters were friendly efficient and professional. Cabin was spacious clean and comfy plenty of towels everyday nice white company toiletries Cleanliness was second to non hand gel readily available Entertainment was also excellent Spa tooooooo expensive Drinks reasonably priced Formal nights lovely good to see it is still on cruise ships and not a lots of scruffy baseball hat to dinner type people!!!!! Speciality restaurants no better than the dinning room in my opinion Ports wonderful Organisation brilliant I am well travelled it is not my first cruise either only god knows why some people complain about everything ... All in all would feel very blessed if I could go again a great British ship which I would support very good review !!!!!   Read Less
Sail Date July 2014
Never been on a cruise before (of any sort), so unsure how it would compare to normal holidays(I normally arrange flights, hotels, transport, restaurants, etc, independently to pick the best that suits my needs). Allocated a balcony cabin ... Read More
Never been on a cruise before (of any sort), so unsure how it would compare to normal holidays(I normally arrange flights, hotels, transport, restaurants, etc, independently to pick the best that suits my needs). Allocated a balcony cabin on the Lido deck, which was not bad, apart from the overweight joggers who thought it fun to get red and out of puff using deck 16 above at 6:30am for their morning run. I soon put to a stop to that by getting the Night Manager to rope off that section of deck until 8am. The cabin itself - Travelodge circa 1985, even down to an open hanging rail rather than a wardrobe. Bed comfortable enough. Air-conditioning not up to the task, and room always too warm. Pointless mini-TV and a 'fridge' that was really a chiller that tried but wasn't up to the task. The bathroom had insufficient ventilation, thus nothing dried properly resulting in a mouldy shower curtain.The lack of drying meant that the cabin steward ended up needing to supply clean (dry) towels twice a day, every day. Food onboard was very patchy. - In the self-service cafeterias (Waterside and the Beach House) quantity over quality seemed the aim of the customers, who didn't seem to mind the luke warm food (chef measured the temperature and told me 65c was fine), noise, and the struggle to find a table. - Frankies Grill - Cheap burgers served on plastic plates. I would say more McDonalds than Byron, I that would be disparaging McDonalds. - Cinnamon and Saffron - Staff friendly and willing, and mostly efficient (apart from all the wine waiters), but the food? The problem was that the menu was overambitious, and they just kept failing to deliver. If somebody offers me a good meal, and they occasionally surprise by producing an excellent meal, I am happy. But if somebody promises me an excellent meal, but most often produces just a good meal, with the occasional rubbish, then I am unhappy. Unfortunately P&O fits into the latter category. The issue seemed to mainly occur in the evenings with the hot food. Cold starters were always perfect, but hot... utterly random. I can only assume an insufficient number of staff in the kitchen. I could also see why the older customers were happy with the food, because the menus seemed about 20 or 30 years out of date. It was certainly not the sort of interesting menu that you would have seen in London this millennium, even in an unambitious restaurant. Freedom dining, fine if you want to share. If not, be prepared to be asked to wait every night for up to an hour. Or they tell you a minimum of half an hour, so you get a drink, and then two minutes later call you. Random, and again not anything seen in any normal restaurant. Dress code, hmm. Take what P&O say with a pinch of salt. Casual evenings translated as "wear anything you like", including a few adult men wearing shorts in the main dining rooms in the evening. Formal evenings, the vast majority (95%+) were wearing dinner jackets and bow ties. The 'dark suit' option was chosen by very few, and I thought they stood out more than those who hadn't changed their dress style from the casual evenings, looking like they had just stumbled in from the office. Bars - Something to suit everyone, from the Metropolis cocktail bar down to the Exchange station Pub (I didn't think downmarket station pubs from the 80's still existed until I saw that one), but the prices were not bad. Entertainment - Much better than expected. Shows usually about 45 minutes, and clearly a lot of money and effort thrown at the productions. Also pleasantly surprised to see that there is a rotation of shows, so you won't see the same acts/shows repeated on a 14 night cruise. One poor entertainment point was the quality of the film projection on the films that were shown. P&O have spent a huge amount on the rest of the entertainment and insufficient on the film projection equipment*. If you want to see a film in TV standard definition quality, blown up onto a cinema size screen, so everything is fuzzy (or if they are showing it in one of the bars, on a 4:3 screen not widescreen), then this is for you. *When I asked, I was told that the equipment that they use to show the films was not intended to do so, but was only intended to show backdrops, etc as part of the stage show. It shows. And a final point on entertainment. If you know that a show is going to be full, what sort of idiot leaves a single spare seat between them and the next group, so that you have two or three empty seats on their own in a row. So don't be shocked when someone asks you to move up. Swimming pools and deck chairs. People were out at 6:30am, especially on sea days, putting out towels to reserve chairs. Their tactics were successful as P&O were utterly ineffectual about doing anything about it, other than to print a small bit in occasionally the newspaper. Port stops, mostly good, but excursions were completely extortionate. And I thought that the captain seemed to express just a little to much pleasure in announcing for several days running, that some people who had gone ashore to Rome had been left behind, especially as he then went straight into a sales pitch for the excursions. Venice - You would have thought that for people travelling independently to the ship, P&O would appreciate that they may need some information such as the berth number and automatically provide it. Alas no. You may also think that they would tell you when check in opens, not just a suggested arrival time. Alas no. You may also think that they would tell boarding passengers which restaurants were open at lunch time, so everyone is not queuing at Waterside. Alas no. Kotor - A long 20 minute tender ashore for a pleasant morning stroll, but not much there. I suspect it is lovely about 8pm in the evening with a cold beer, but of course we had left by then. Corfu - A free port shuttle bus ride to the port gate, and then change to a second (possibly chargeable) P&O shuttle bus ride to the town gate, for a pleasant morning stroll. I know from previous visits Corfu town is lovely about 8pm, but of course we had left by then. Rome - From Civitavecchia, a free port shuttle bus ride to the port gate, and then a second chargeable town bus ride to the station, followed by a train to Rome. Absolute chaos at Civitavecchia railway station on the return, as everybody arrived back on the same train, all wanting to catch the single bus that would get them back to the ship before it sailed. Made worse by American's who struggled with the concept of public transport, and had never experienced the joy of the Northern Line on the tube in the morning peak. A nice day seeing the sights, but, and there is theme developing here, I know from previous visits it is lovely about 8pm, but of course we had left by then. Ajaccio - France, very definitely France, even down to the dog on the pavements. But nice all the same. I suspect even nicer about 8pm, but of course we had left by then. Ajaccio to Genoa - Force 8 winds, so the sick bags were out and being filled. However as I don't get sea sick, after an interesting show where the cast were struggling to stay upright, up to Metropolis to watch the front of the ship going up, up, up and then down, down, down crashing through the waves. Lots of carpets being cleaned around the public toilets the next morning. Genoa - A stroll into town down a street that would have made the Kings Cross area in the 90's feel upmarket. At 9am it was interesting. At 9pm I suspect it is very interesting. A pleasant morning spent strolling the more upmarket areas of Genoa and using the funiculars and lifts to see the views, before returning to the ship for lunch. I used the bus to get back to town in the afternoon, as I had seen enough tattoo parlours and shifty people selling other "goods" and "services" for the day. Livorno - Been to both Pisa and Florence before (and been able to stay past 4pm), so opted to stroll around Livorno, which is a surprisingly pleasant port town without the "interesting" characteristics of Genoa. Naples - Easy day trip out to Herculaneum on the tram and train. Enlivened by pickpockets on the tram on the way back, necessitating a trip to the Naples central Police Station (the cruise port police dealing with people off the cruise ships don't speak anything other than Italian, why would they?). The building and police detective who offered to assist were straight out of the casting for Hill Street Blues. Really helpful guy and worth the hassle going there, as the insurance paid up without question. So the pickpockets did me a favour by getting me a shiny new phone. On the way back to the ship from the police station, a bloke sticks his head around a street corner and says "psst, want to buy an iPhone or an iPad". Dubrovnik - A (possibly chargeable) shuttle bus ride to the town gate. At 9am up on the city walls there were half a dozen people, including a guy running laps of the wall. By 11am, Dubrovnik was full. Completely full. I can understand the desire to rebuild after the 1991-92 conflict, but the whole effect now is rather Disney, except I suspect Disney would do it better. The whole city within the walls now only exists for tourists, with every place being a museum, a bar, a restaurant, or a shop selling tourist tat (catering for all ends of the scale from cheap to expensive tat). And what was amusing was that Croatia uses the Kuna not the Euro, so lots of signs saying "No Euros". Or the sneaky bars not saying whether they did or didn't, but you could be sure it wouldn't be to your advantage if you only had Euros to pay. Hot as hades, by early afternoon, so a nice long queue in the sun to get a shuttle back to the ship. Definitely a place that is nicer at 8pm. Venice again - As the ship stays overnight, then we were able to go into the city late afternoon, and be able to stay into the evening after all the day trippers had left. Much, much more pleasant riding a vaporetto back up the Grand Canal as the sun is setting. Read Less
Sail Date July 2014
OMG!! I LOVED THIS CRUISE!!! This is our third cruise line company, having previously experienced Carnival and Royal Caribbean, it was SUCH a delight to board a luxury ship aimed at the British customer. UK airport check in was smooth and ... Read More
OMG!! I LOVED THIS CRUISE!!! This is our third cruise line company, having previously experienced Carnival and Royal Caribbean, it was SUCH a delight to board a luxury ship aimed at the British customer. UK airport check in was smooth and painless with a P&O Rep to quickly guide us through. The plane was sub-contracted specifically for the cruise passengers, so everyone onboard was excited to be experiencing the same holiday, especially as you can see the ship as you come in to land, (if you are lucky enough to be seated on the right hand side of the plane). Transfer from Venice airport to the cruise port was reasonably swift, and a fairly easy check in and embarkation. You are immediately bombarded by the cheery photographers who constantly take your photos throughout the cruise, (bless them they have a job to do). Luggage delivery to the cabin was slow, but gives you plenty of time to explore the unbelievably amazing ship. We had 7 days to explore, and still didnt see everything. To be really honest, I actually cant find anything negative to say about this cruise. The food was completely amazing, truly delicious, varied and plentiful. The chefs and Maitre D are so helpful if you have an allergy and make every effort to provide safely prepared dishes every night. ALL the public areas are immaculate, with staff constantly (but discreetly) tidying, painting, cleaning. The decor is beautiful, the evening entertainment is superb, all British entertainers. The 4Tunes quartet were West End quality, dance shows great, and two fantastic northern comedians, we almost split our sides laughing. Daytime entertainment is really good, you have GOT to participate in the sail away party, that really is a blast. Loads of shore excursions to choose from, (a bit pricy but that's standard on cruises). Staff are so helpful and happy, nothing is too much trouble. Cabin was kept immaculate and was of a high standard. Fortunately we only encountered one rough night where there were a lot of poorly tummies onboard! Provisions were made for these people and any mess swiftly cleared up!! I was SOOOOOO pleased with P&O, compared to the majority of other ships that are much more focused on American passengers, that I booked another P&O cruise whilst onboard for the new Britannia launching next year. All in all, a fabulous holiday, cant wait til next year! Well done P&O. Read Less
Sail Date July 2014
Cruised Genoa-Venice in July for 7 nights.  This was the first cruise for my wife and I, and I must say I was a bit apprehensive with some of the reviews which posted negative comments. After 7 wonderful days, I feel very sad for anybody ... Read More
Cruised Genoa-Venice in July for 7 nights.  This was the first cruise for my wife and I, and I must say I was a bit apprehensive with some of the reviews which posted negative comments. After 7 wonderful days, I feel very sad for anybody who could possibly post negative comments over petty issues- this cruise experience was quite simply outstanding! The ship Ventura is a beautiful piece of engineering, a remarkable quality hotel floating on sea, with barely any reminder that it was carrying thousands of people across the Mediterranean. A wide variety of activities to suit most tastes kept us occupied all the time, with the only difficulty trying to work out how to prioritize. Everything was organised extremely well, with no fuss, ranging from embarkation to port activities and finally disembarkation. The food was plentiful, high quality, beautifully presented, fresh, and served by a team of hard working waiters. Occasionally a waiter may look a bit tired, but all it needed was politeness from the diner and an interest in where they came from etc to bring a smile. Entertainment was varied, very professional, and rounded off wonderful days at sea or on land. I think P and O have obviously been doing cruises for some time now, and they are a quality act. I know that some people write reviews and compare/contrast, sometimes negatively, with other companies. All I can say is that I hope I never get spoiled by cruise experiences as I suspect some reviewers have been, and shall be delighted to pass on my money again for more cruise experiences on the Ventura. Read Less
Sail Date July 2014
Having read several reviews, we were very concerned that we had made a poor choice in booking a P&O cruise. Talk of "chavs" and "Butlins" filled us with dread - whilst reports of poor standards on board had us ... Read More
Having read several reviews, we were very concerned that we had made a poor choice in booking a P&O cruise. Talk of "chavs" and "Butlins" filled us with dread - whilst reports of poor standards on board had us dragging our heels to the departure lounge. Wrong I'm afraid.... As part of our "package"  - we stayed overnight in Mestre before joining the ship in Venice. Arriving at the port just after 11am - the embarkation procedure was completed efficiently and we were taking our first tour of the Ventura by 11:30am. Like the majority of other passengers we were encouraged to head for the buffet restaurants for our first meal on board. The same restaurants remained extremely busy for the remainder of the cruise. Whilst we acknowledge the efforts of the staff to keep an even flow of food and passengers - the general standard was adequate and on par with the budget "eat all you like" establishments back home. Just ok.... For a more refined and quiet dining experience we opted to go to the Bay Tree Restaurant for most of our meals. The food was excellent - as were the waiters. Nothing was too much trouble. We avoided afternoon tea - but enjoyed the poolside grill for a lunch time snack. Unfortunately the pizzeria remained close throughout our stay. Our inside cabin was ready to occupy by 1pm and we were expertly looked after by our cabin steward Darryl (Deck 12-Aft). Slight vibration experienced as described by other passengers in this forum - but not too uncomfortable. The cabin itself was comfortable and reasonably spacious. The Ventura takes a bit of navigating & we were often confused by dead ends! However we soon learned that deck 7 was the centre of the Ventura universe - and you could find most facilities from here. Ok - we have covered dining and cabins..... The ship was full to capacity - and for most of the time we did not feel over powered by the volume of people. We were able to get seats at the entertainment venues etc, but experienced difficulty in getting a sun bed on sea days. Despite appeals from the staff about reserving beds - passengers were hoarding spaces with the flair of our German friends on the Costas...! My husband & son dared to leave their bed for a quick swim and some one complained that they had abandoned their beds. Pot - kettle....! There was a wealth of activities offered throughout the day. Sometimes it was hard to choose. I used the spa once - watch out for the special offers in the Horizon magazine. The men enjoyed sports, used the gym, watched films etc. I was happy to go along to seminars and dance classes. Something for everyone... As the daytime activities wound down - the ship took on a different vibe. Formal nights had an air of sophistication and it was great to see everyone in their finery. We mostly went to the shows in the Arena theatre: a male group called 4-Tunes (very good), cheeky comedian Peter Piper and the P&O theatre company: Headliners (superb). There were also tribute acts and vocal groups at other venues who were also very good. Port days were quieter on board. We enjoyed all ports - and were able to visit most on foot. We booked an excursion to Rome - as this was more difficult to manage ourselves. All in all we were very pleased with our first cruise experience and would not hesitate to travel with P&O again. Read Less
Sail Date July 2014
This was our first time cruising, and we had a wonderful time. Our balcony cabin on A deck was lovely, plenty of room and spotlessly clean (thanks to our friendly cabin steward Remy) so great to be able to open the patio doors each morning ... Read More
This was our first time cruising, and we had a wonderful time. Our balcony cabin on A deck was lovely, plenty of room and spotlessly clean (thanks to our friendly cabin steward Remy) so great to be able to open the patio doors each morning and take in the amazing views, and to sit on the balcony at end of the day and just listen to the sound of the waves as we sailed along. The ship is amazing, so big and so much to do, I don't think we really explored all of it on our weeks holiday! We chose to take breakfast in the buffet Waterside restaurant each morning. Plenty of choice; cooked breakfast, cereals, croissants, ham & cheeses plus fruit & pastries & much more. It was busy but we always found a table, sometimes sharing with fellow passengers and chatting about our plans for the day. In the evening we ate in the Saffron restaurant. We had chosen freedom dining and it suited us perfectly, being able to wander down when we wanted. We were happy to share a table and we met some lovely people, the menu gave a good choice and was always delicious. We could not fault the service and our waiters were always very friendly and efficient, we had some good laughs with them! We enjoyed the formal nights, so lovely to be able to get dressed up & we even got to meet the Captain! We had booked two excursions through P & O, visiting Florence & Pisa, plus Sorrento & the Amalfi coast. The organisation was brilliant as were our tour guides who were all local people with good knowledge of the areas we were visiting. Visiting these amazing places was our main reason for choosing this cruise, the scenery and architecture was stunning. We chose to wander around Dubrovnik on our own; the views along the walled city were fantastic. Sailing into Venice was a real highlight! Fantastic views from the top of the ship as we sailed in, with people in boats waving, it is a sight I will never forget. As we had visited Venice before, we again chose to wander at our leisure, such a beautiful place to visit. Yes, it was busy on sea days but you only had to wander around the ship to find a sunbed. The choice of evening entertainment was great, something for everyone & The Headliners show was brilliant .All too soon our week was at an end, as first timers we were not too sure of what to expect, but we loved every minute! We really wished we could have done the return journey for the second week. We could not fault the cruise. We had an amazing time; fantastic ship, lovely friendly crew, we met some lovely people and we visited some fantastic places. P & O certainly didn't disappoint for us, we are hooked and we can't wait to sail with P & O again. Thank you for a wonderful holiday!   Read Less
Sail Date July 2014
This was our second cruise, the first last year was on the Azura and we did not expect the Ventura to be as good. The cabin steward was excellent and couldn't do enough to make our cruise more enjoyable. We stayed in a 3 berth cabin, ... Read More
This was our second cruise, the first last year was on the Azura and we did not expect the Ventura to be as good. The cabin steward was excellent and couldn't do enough to make our cruise more enjoyable. We stayed in a 3 berth cabin, the last one on the starboard side. The extra berth was dropped down from the ceiling and was put down after we went out for the evening and put back up when we went for breakfast. We suffered a couple of bruises when going past to the loo in the night but nothing too bad. The itinerary was great and we enjoyed every port visited. My favourite excursion was the Herculaneum with a P & O excursion, the guide was extremely knowledgable and made the tour very interesting. Ports visited included Kotor, Corfu, Civitaveccia, Ajjaccio, Lisvorno, Naples. The younger people in our party enjoyed the water park in Corfu very much. Personally I'm not a fan of fly / cruise and prefer going from Southampton, especially when trying to pack enough clothes for 2 weeks, but it did give us 2 more days in the sun so shouldn't complain. I'd recommend this cruise whole heartedly however. There was a group of 13 of us altogether (family and outlaws) and we all enjoyed.   Read Less
Sail Date July 2014
Thoroughly enjoyed our Cruise, the organisation onboard and disembarking for the Shore, was fantastic and the ship appeared spotless in all areas. Our Cabin Steward was exceptional, quiet and unobtrusive, but twice a day our cabin was ... Read More
Thoroughly enjoyed our Cruise, the organisation onboard and disembarking for the Shore, was fantastic and the ship appeared spotless in all areas. Our Cabin Steward was exceptional, quiet and unobtrusive, but twice a day our cabin was serviced with nice little touches like towel animals. We were sorry that he, Altivey, finished his stint, before our trip was over. We found the Buffet food good, a different theme each night and if you didn't like that Genre, there was always a Roast on offer. There have been some niggles by other critics about how quickly/ slowly the food is served in the Saffron or Cinnamon Restaurants, how can the waiters please every one? Some cruisers are in a rush to get to the first Show, others want to linger. We thought the Four Tunes and the Headliners provided excellent shows and we liked the Comedians. We found you couldn't have a leisurely meal and make the first show, the alternative was waiting around till 1030pm for the second show. The Musical Director and his Team were mostly good , but perhaps could have showed their talents more often, besides the Sailaways. Having your photo taken so often was nice and gave you a great variety of shots to choose from, but it was too expensive for you to buy most of them. I found the Guides on some of the Tours quite tedious and often hard to listen to or understand. I felt English people with Local Knowledge would have been more interesting, I didn't want to hear the history of almost every building I passed or the geneology of everyones ancestors. Facts I forgot in most cases as soon as I heard them. A bit of current local knowledge would have been preferable. The Excursions were of course pushed and it would have been good if the Ship gave more information on visiting the ports independently. We would have loved to see behind the Scenes of the Ventura but at 75 Euros per person for the privilege, we, and most others, declined, thank you. In common with most people, we could not get a Sun Lounger because they were claimed by the Towels and Belongings of their, usually absent, owners. P and O saying this is not allowed, is NO deterrent. Despite the few niggles, would I cruise with P and O again, definitely.   Read Less
Sail Date July 2014
I have cruised once before on Ventura and I had just as good a time this year. On my previous cruise I had a deluxe balcony cabin which was great but this time I was in an inside cabin. I was apprehensive but it proved to be no problem. ... Read More
I have cruised once before on Ventura and I had just as good a time this year. On my previous cruise I had a deluxe balcony cabin which was great but this time I was in an inside cabin. I was apprehensive but it proved to be no problem. In fact, I slept better than I usually do because it is so dark and cosy. If you book an inside cabin DO NOT book cabin C621. This was my first cabin and it is next to the main air conditioning unit for the whole ship. The room had a noisy vibration which came through the walls. I was lucky that someone else's misfortune at having to leave the cruise meant that I could change cabins. The staff were great and they moved all our "stuff" whilst we were round the pool. We chose Freedom dining and it worked fine. We were in the Cinnamon Restaurant and went around 7 to eat and never had to wait. If you can get table 33 go for it. The waiter is fantastic. His name is Sunil and he Could not do enough for us. My Granddaughters enrolled in the children's clubs but they loved the pool so much they didn't go to any events. Entertainment is variable. The Arena show was superb but it is only 50 mins. The Tribute acts were good but some of the other acts were mediocre. Drinks are reasonable with no surcharge as the American cruise liners add on. When we docked at Naples we took the Hydrofoil to Capri. Very easy but expensive at 40 €. Dubrovnik was magic and easily reached by bus. Venice was superb. Use the tender from the ship 15€ each as it costs the same at the quay side. We took a Gondola trip. It is 80€ wherever you catch it. It is a set price. The only problem is, is that in July it is mad busy and it is not very romantic to be in a line of tens of other Gondolas. Still a must do! Just remember that with four ports of call in seven days this is not a "restful" holiday but Dubrovnik and Venice are now off my Bucket list.   Read Less
Sail Date July 2014
My wife and I decided to experience a fly/ cruise with P&O and made our way to Venice to join the Ventura cruise ship as she sailed to various destinations over 14 days. Pour only previous experience with P&O had cruises departing ... Read More
My wife and I decided to experience a fly/ cruise with P&O and made our way to Venice to join the Ventura cruise ship as she sailed to various destinations over 14 days. Pour only previous experience with P&O had cruises departing from Southampton and it was a bit of a trek for us as we made our way from our home in Belfast to Venice via London gatwick. This would be our main negative in that it took is almost 12 hours to complete this journey on the outbound leg and 10 hours on our return. More departures from Belfast airports would encourage a lot of new business for P&O. When we eventually made it to Venice to board the ship we were pleasantly surprised at how easy the whole process was, because it was a fly/cruise passengers were arriving at different times of the day and this prevented any large build up and the need to wait in queues. It only took us about 10 minutes from we entered the terminal & completed paperwork until we boarded the ship. Quick and painless. The Ventura is one of the largest ships in P&O,s fleet and at first we were a bit daunted by its size and the numbers on board but to be honest we never experienced any feeling of being crowded of had any delays when visiting any of the shows, shops, theatres, restaurants or bars. We were also told that there were up to 600 children on this cruise but thanks to a great children,s entertainment programme we hardly ever saw any of them and could not say one negative thing about them. Our cabin was spacious and was kept spotless by our cabin steward Sorcorro, it had all the necessary requirements, ample wardrobe space, fridge, free safe, interactive tv & tea & coffee making facilities, there was also the essential daily copy of the Horizon which detailed all the events happening on board on a daily basis. The various restaurants were excellent and the food and service were of the highest quality, we had opted for the newly introduced "Freedom Dining" which allowed us to dine in the formal dining rooms anytime between 6pm and 9.30pm, we could also give our preferred table size each day from dining in a romantic twosome (it was our 40th wedding anniversary) to dining with up to 8 other guests. We varied this over the cruise and met some lovely people from all parts of the UK and also has some time on our own. The entertainment overall was very good with some acts being excellent and some being good, our favourites were the comedians and special mention must go to Carl Scofield in week 1 and to Tucker in week 2, both should be on tv, we were in stitches. We also really enjoyed the Beatles experience, Vocalist Laura Carter and ex-Brooksider Sam Kane. There were also some individual tribute acts and these were good without being great. The highlight of any evening had On to be the main theatre shows and here the Headliners Theatre Group stole the show, all the performances over the cruise were outstanding, singing, dancing, storytelling, fantastic sets & customer changes, superb. Our only complaint was that they were not on every night and only occurred on about 6 occasions furring the cruise. Casino facilities were very good and easy to follow and we had a little flutter or two , almost breaking even at the end of our stay. There were a number of organised tours in each destination and while they looked quite good they seemed to be pretty expensive, being experienced cruisers we tended to do our own thing and on occasions combined with other guests to make up the number and use the taxi buses waiting at most of the ports. Using this transport we managed to visit Rome and see all the sights (St Peters, Trevi fountain, Spanish steps, Colosseum, Roman ruins etc) at our leisure and all for 35 Euros each. In other poets we also used this transport to visit Pisa, Florence, Pompeii & Dubrovnik. We would highly recommend this cruise to anyone interested in seeing a lot of places in a relatively short time.   Read Less
Sail Date July 2014
Great ship and excellent staff. Drinks well priced. It is a bit too big tho! even on the 14th day, many of us were still having to consult our deck maps, heaven help next years "Britannia" guests! Shows a bit variable, but some ... Read More
Great ship and excellent staff. Drinks well priced. It is a bit too big tho! even on the 14th day, many of us were still having to consult our deck maps, heaven help next years "Britannia" guests! Shows a bit variable, but some really excellent. Food really not too bad, only had two "iffies"-(both roast beef and yorkshires, not good). Its true what other reviewers say:- two sizes of trousers !! Kotor and Corfu good, Rome dissapointing, Piza and Florence good--tho' VERY wet, Naples ie Pompei Hmmm, went alone by train, NOT, NOT 15 mins walk to Station, try 50. and eventually there one brick wall looks like the other one. (OK, Phillistine !!) Ajaxio nice, Dubrovnik ankle deep in flood, hey ho, but will return. Venice, well its Venice, so good every time. President hotel in Mestre, DONT. Bar never open and the only food is a cold Brekky. Read Less
Sail Date July 2014
A little late but here we go, disappointed with the Ventura the transfers were good from Manchester to Venice then to ship, when on the ship had to go first to the waterside Buffett talk about manic what a ridiculous set up no room for ... Read More
A little late but here we go, disappointed with the Ventura the transfers were good from Manchester to Venice then to ship, when on the ship had to go first to the waterside Buffett talk about manic what a ridiculous set up no room for movement everyone in each other way and no tables also no squashes only tea coffee or water to drink like a bun fight. Eventually got our cabin on B deck with balcony very spacious and clean changed towels twice a day and sheets once a week, decided to go on water taxi into Venice cost £15 from reception, left ship went outside a bus was there asked rep was told that only people in wheelchairs could use this. I am registered disabled but only use sticks he was quite adamant that I could not get on.Eventually he relented and let me on,he came with me how ridiculous other people were struggling along on foot what a waste of resources. The one saving grace was another gent at the waterside helped me on and off boat and directed me to a shop when back to get bottles of coke much cheaper than on the boat. Afternoon tea that day was a bit of a joke all over the place cakes first etc,also the staff could not get rid of you quick enough very surly.We found the cruise to be anything but relaxing no sun beds all week unless up at crack of dawn, late dinner which we asked to changed to be earlier but catagorically told No so time dinner finished no shows as to tired Been with Royal Carribean and so much more relaxing better food and more room to relax. Read Less
Sail Date June 2014
My girlfriend and I have just returned from a 7 night cruise around Italy on the P&O Ventura and had a FANTASTIC time. From start to finish P&O were faultless and everything was catered for from the moment we arrived at Gatwick ... Read More
My girlfriend and I have just returned from a 7 night cruise around Italy on the P&O Ventura and had a FANTASTIC time. From start to finish P&O were faultless and everything was catered for from the moment we arrived at Gatwick airport until the moment we touched back down. The organisation was absolutely exceptional and the embarkation, disembarkation, booking in and all the organised trips we went on ran incredibly smoothly and like a well-oiled machine. The itinerary was well thought out and had something for everyone with a range of different ‘stop-offs’ including cultural visits such as Venice and Rome and more relaxing beach destinations such as Corfu and Corsica. Initially my girlfriend and I toyed with the idea of booking a balcony cabin before deciding on an external cabin with a partially obstructed view (this option was a few hundred pounds cheaper). On hindsight we are now very pleased that we went with the chosen option as for the minimal amount of time we were in the cabin it would have been a waste of money as there are plenty of quiet places on and around the outside decks to sit and relax/enjoy a drink. The money that we saved by having an external cabin was better off going towards our final bill! The cabin was extremely clean and more than spacious enough for ourselves and although there was a lifeboat outside our window, we still had a nice view of the sea/ports when we looked out. The bathroom was small (as expected) but more than adequate for the both of us and the shower pressure/temperature was better than most hotels we have been to. The bed was unexpectedly huge and very comfortable and relaxing. The interactive TV was excellent and we loved the room service facility/up-to-date bill page and captains log channel. There were fresh towels every day for both the cabin and the pool and fresh bedding at request. The staff were fantastic and could not have done enough for us. The food was equally impressive and the five course menus were varied with more than enough options to suit everyone. We dined at Marco’s restaurant on one of the evenings and couldn’t believe the value for money, it was exceptional. The 24hr buffets were also faultless and there was always a massive selection of both hot and cold food to choose from. On one of the sea days the staff did a BBQ on the top deck with burgers, hot dogs, chicken pieces, massive salads and fresh fruit and once again this was delicious. To summarise P&O excelled themselves and the Ventura was a lovely ship with so much on offer for everyone, whatever their tastes. We will definitely be returning.   Read Less
Sail Date June 2014
My husband and I have just returned from our wonderful cruise on po cruise ship ventura. This was our first time with p o but it will not be our last. Staff throughout the ship were always happy to help from the officers to the bar and ... Read More
My husband and I have just returned from our wonderful cruise on po cruise ship ventura. This was our first time with p o but it will not be our last. Staff throughout the ship were always happy to help from the officers to the bar and cabin staff . Entertainment was brilliant , something for all tastes throughout the whole day and into the night. The shore excursions were a little expensive but were really well organised and the guides were really pleasant and also very happy to answer any questions. Our cabin was perfect and our steward Patrick saw to our every need. We chose the freedom dining option which worked really well and we would recommend the Cinnamon resteraunts for fine dining or the Waterside for delicious buffet food. Thankyou Ventura for our WONDERFUL Cruise. Read Less
Sail Date June 2014
Before I write my review I’d just like to say that we are a married couple in our late 20's doing their second cruise. We cruised last year with Royal Caribbean and said that we would never do a cruise again. We hated it, ... Read More
Before I write my review I’d just like to say that we are a married couple in our late 20's doing their second cruise. We cruised last year with Royal Caribbean and said that we would never do a cruise again. We hated it, "Butlins at Sea" "Hi-De-Hi Campers" and "what have we done?" where all said on our first day. However we saw this cruise come up which gave us a very good deal and allowed us to visit a lot of the places on our "places to see list". We booked the cruise with the approach of let's just put up with the ship, enjoy the abundance of food and enjoy the excursions. The service was fantastic, we checked out bags in at Gatwick next time we saw them they were outside our cabin on the ship. The Thomas Cook charter flight was as you would expect nothing to write home about but good enough for the two hour flight to Venice. On arrival in Venice we went straight though immigration and were guide to the bus waiting for us. After a short wait we were off for the short drive to the port. There was a bit of a queue at the port the check onto the ship but considering we landed less than an hour ago it wasn’t an issue. There are thousands of passengers turning up all wanting to get on board, what else would you expect. I did notice there where a few passengers who were arriving with their own luggage so it may only be people who book to travel on the P&O Charter flight who get the smooth airport service. We were on board by about 11:30 and were told our cabins would be ready by 1. We milled around and explored the ship while we waited for our cabin. It was ready before the time they gave us which was good so we promptly headed to our cabin and got changed. We hadn’t received our main luggage yet but had shorts etc in hand luggage to cover us for the first day. I’m not surprised we had to wait for our luggage we were probably at the ship before it had even left the airport. We heard some people complaining that the didn’t have their luggage but if you think realistically about the logistics of getting several hundred suitcases from the airport to the ship and then delivering them to the cabins it’s going to take time, I personally wasn’t expecting to have mine until 7ish that evening. We got a water bus into Venice for the afternoon and when we returned at about 5:30 our luggage was waiting for us outside our cabin. The process was similar on the return we were given our boarding passes and luggage tags a day or two before departure. We placed our bags outside our cabin the night before we departed and didn’t see them again until we collected them at Gatwick. People where again head complain that you had to be out of you cabin by 7 the morning of departure but if you think about the logistics, all the cabins need to be cleaned at prepared by 1 that afternoon for when the new passengers turn up. Yes it’s an inconvenience to be out of your cabin at 7 and have to wait around until your specified departure time but cruise ships aren’t like ordinary hotels as all of the guest turn up at the same time on a cruise ship. Except the process that the crew have to go through and realise the world doesn’t revolve around yourself and you won’t have to many problems Now to the nitty gritty of the cruise, it was mainly older passengers and there were very few younger people and hardly any children. We did find a lot of the older passengers looked at us with a “what are you doing on here?” and wouldn’t sit next to us in the bars even if the only seats left where next to us. In the second week when more passengers arrived there were more children and families but they didn’t cause any problems and in general everyone on the ship was very friendly, you get the odd rude person but you get them everywhere. The Ports where in general very good, like I said earlier there were lots of places to visit that where on our “list” however some of the transfers from the ports to the cities you where docked to visit where long so you didn’t get a great deal of time to explore i.e. Civitavecchia to Rome is about 1 hour 30 minutes, Livorno to Florence is about 1 hour. The highlight of the trip for me was Kotor, a lovely little medieval walled city with fantastic views of the bay from the top of the mountains. You had to pay for all shuttle buses into the towns which where about £3 per person each way so even if you didn’t do any organised excursions and just wanted to explore on your own it could become very costly. There was nothing to stop you walking or getting a local taxi in most ports though. The entertainment was poor, there where good acts that I could watch over and over but most of them once was more than enough. The tribute acts where pretty good, we saw Gary Barlow, Phil Collins, Whitney Huston and Tom Jones. Gary Barlow was by far the best, he looked and sounded just like the real deal. The comedians where in general poor in the first week Manuel Martinez did two shows which were hilarious the second week we saw two comedians and both where awful. One even managed to empty the room he was performing in. For a company that says it gets some of the best performers out there this should not happen. The Theatre Company put on a very good production but if you are a fan of West End musicals or have done Latin & Ballroom dancing you will be very disappointed with the dancers. However the bars where very nice each has a different feel, so you will be able to find one that suits your taste. Some of the venues which they have evening entertainment on in could do with being better laid out. There are a few places which have restricted views. I would say that the rooms were designed for their feel and their use was an afterthought. The bar staff did a good job of taking your drinks orders. The amount of order they take at a time I’m surprised they manage to get the right drinks to the right people. The venues do fill up so we would always get a seat no later than 30 minutes before the show would start. All that can be said about the food is fantastic, Breakfast, lunch and dinner can either be in a formal sit down served restaurant or from the buffet. We always had breakfast from the buffet as we like to eat and get on the go rather than have a leisurely breakfast. Selection was great cooked breakfast, cereals, pasties, hams & cheese and fruit and quality was fantastic. Lunch again from the buffet was fantastic with a good selection of very tasty food. We sometimes ate at the poolside grill and pizzeria if we didn’t fancy a meal at lunch and again the food was great. The only thing that I would say is seating in the buffet restaurants is a bit of a premium especially if you are there during the peak times we did occasional spend a little while trying to find a table and a couple of times we had people ask to join us. I think the restaurant could be laid out better to utilise the space available. For dinner we were on Freedom Dining. We were assigned a restaurant and could just turn up any time between 6 & 9.30 and be given a table either a table for two or sharing with others. If there isn’t a table available they give you a pager and call you when a table is available. We would go and get a drink whilst waiting and never had to wait more than 30 minutes. The Club dinning has sittings at 6.30 or 8.30, 6.30 I believe is too earlier as we often got back to the ship around 5.30 so unless you can get ready for dinner pretty quick I don’t think it leave enough time to get ready and the 8.30 sitting would only give you one hour to eat you dinner before the evening shows start at 9.30, especially as the whole restaurant has sat down at the same time to have up to 5 courses I don’t think this would be regularly achievable. The food like everywhere else on the ship was fantastic but did get a bit repetitive over the two weeks, each night was a variation of meat and two veg. don’t get me wrong the food was fantastic and wasn’t just pork, chicken and beef. My only gripe would be that there weren’t enough sun loungers around the pools. Around the ship as a whole there were plenty but not around the pools especially on sea days. In summary this cruise was fantastic and if viewed as a floating hotel which takes you to lots of different destinations you will have an amazing holiday which can be as relaxing or tiring as you want. This has changed our opinion of cruising and we are already looking at other cruise that will visit places on our list.   Read Less
Sail Date June 2014
I have cruised twice before with NCL - the Epic (fabulous) and the Jade (very good). However I chose P&O this time as my 80 year old mum was coming with us and I thought the british slant on the ship would be more preferable for her. ... Read More
I have cruised twice before with NCL - the Epic (fabulous) and the Jade (very good). However I chose P&O this time as my 80 year old mum was coming with us and I thought the british slant on the ship would be more preferable for her. My overall comments are that going with P&O was the right choice for this reason. The passengers were mostly british and lovely, the dining room food was good, the boat was beautifully clean, absolutely loved the entertainment on stage and in the show bar (comedians especially - Peter Piper!!) and there was little to moan about. However, in my short holiday career in cruising, i know I am still up for a good time, to live it up a little, and see a bit of glitz and glam on board as well as the stop-off's. So this is where Ventura was lacking for me. It was clearly targetted towards the 'older' cruisers. The other bug-bear was the formal dining. I totally understand two of the nights were for dinner jackets and long dresses, but those who chose not to dress up were forced to eat in the buffet - which was basically a good canteen. The ship should at least put aside one dining room for those not wanting the pomp. Finally - the bar staff. They were miserable. No attempt was made to strike up any guest chit chat / relationship etc with regular customers - they just served the drinks with an 'i'm at work' face. To conclude, for the young and younger at heart, I would stick with NCL and (so I understand) RCL and Carnival. As a couple, we were just 10 - 15 years too early for P&O, but it was great for my mum at 80. However I would consider sailing with them again in the future. Read Less
Sail Date June 2014
My wife and myself are both seasoned travellers, and have cruised many times before. It was our first cruise with P&O, and it will surely be our last !!!! We were allocated freedom dining, and we sampled most of the restaurants on ... Read More
My wife and myself are both seasoned travellers, and have cruised many times before. It was our first cruise with P&O, and it will surely be our last !!!! We were allocated freedom dining, and we sampled most of the restaurants on board, but the one with the highest standard was the Glass House, Very good service, and knowledgeable wine waiters, The amount of smoking areas on the ship is very disconcerting, A lot of the time we had to walk through other peoples smoke to get to where we were heading. Entertainment ranged from good to appalling, the house band, "Electrix" were very good and provided backing to visiting artistes, as well as performing their own sets. Excursions were expensive, and not worth the money, drinks were reasonably priced (perhaps a little on the high side). Staff in the waterside were a miserable bunch, and it was so overcrowded, As it has already been pointed out, the photographers were a rather "pushy" lot, totally intrusive during mealtimes. So overall a poor experience for our time with P&O, they must do better to retain custom. Star of our cruise was our cabin steward ..... Jose. Read Less
Sail Date June 2014
This was our seventh cruise having previously been on 4 Royal Caribbean ships, P & O Aurora and Azamara Journey for a special occasion. The ports of call on this Ventura cruise appealed to us and despite some negative reviews we ... Read More
This was our seventh cruise having previously been on 4 Royal Caribbean ships, P & O Aurora and Azamara Journey for a special occasion. The ports of call on this Ventura cruise appealed to us and despite some negative reviews we thought we would try a larger P & O ship. As summarised above, we thought Ventura was in pretty good condition, our cabin on B deck had an un-overlooked balcony with loungers (we looked on to cabins below so lower deck balconies were not private) and was nicely furnished, bed comfortable and a very nice cabin steward Manoj who attended to everything for us. We ate in the Saffron restaurant on Freedom Dining and it worked well, the food was good. We also tried the White Room but did not think it was worth the extra £50.00. The Glass House wine bar was great, the wine was really good and the food and prices excellent. The problem for us on Ventura was the number of people on board and the lack of space both in places like the Waterside buffet (a real scrum to find a seat and food) and the outside decks especially on sea days. The loungers are packed together like sardines and there is just not enough room. We quite like to sit outside on a chair in the sun with a book in a quietish area but there was no availability of chairs or quiet. We probably should have booked the Retreat area but objected to the cost and on a 7 day cruise we just gave it a miss. Consequently we had a continental breakfast delivered to our room each day which was OK but not spectacular, and used our balcony on sea days when it was in the sun. Previous cruises have also been made up of varying nationalities and we prefer that mix of people on holiday. At times there is a Butlins on Sea feel about Ventura, a comment which has been made before. So its back to Royal Caribbean or possibly P&O Aurora for us - we really enjoyed the latter, more space, smaller boat. I think Ventura appeals to some Brits because it is so British, there was even Lancashire Hot Pot on the menu one lunchtime and a safe food menu generally with bread and butter pudding, roast dinners etc. The beer and wine is also very cheap which again is probably geared to us Brits who like a drink. Its horses for courses and you can't please everyone but regrettably we won't be back on Ventura or Azura again.   Read Less
Sail Date June 2014
My wife and I have done a number of cruises all over the world and congratulate P and O Ventura and the entire staff for getting it right ----- here's why. a) Once we checked in our baggage at Gatwick airport we did not see it again ... Read More
My wife and I have done a number of cruises all over the world and congratulate P and O Ventura and the entire staff for getting it right ----- here's why. a) Once we checked in our baggage at Gatwick airport we did not see it again until it arrived outside our cabin door, and at the end of our cruise the cases where left outside of our cabin to be collected later on the baggage carousel at Gatwick. b) Tea making facilities in the room. c) Complimentary water offered in the restaurant automatically. d) Alcohol can be brought onto the ship. e) We chose freedom dining in the Cinnamon restaurant and the food and service was 5 star. f) The evening shows were excellent and the 'Headliners' equalled the best that Broadway can offer. g) All the ports of call were excellent and not chosen to make up the numbers. h) Hygiene was taken seriously and everytime you visited a restaurant you were requested to apply antiseptic hand gel. i) You could eat outside in the buffet restaurant. j) Good choice of food in the buffet late at night k) The condition of the ship was immaculate and clean. l) The majority of passengers were English so announcements were not made in six languages ---- believe me after a few days that can be really irritating. j) Our cabin was near the back of the ship and there was no vibration. There is always going to be something not right but for that we have to go to heaven but Ventura is not far behind, so stay happy and enjoy yourself, and remember if you want to see Venice from a big ship do it now because by the end of the year they will be banned, and when you are sipping your 6th Gin and tonic you will realise that the logistics of running ships like this is staggering. Best wishes to you all, Chris and Anne Our rating 5 plus. Read Less
Sail Date June 2014
We booked a fly cruise and BA schedule flights were included. Sadly we flew into Nice and had to transfer by coach to Genoa, but it was ferry well handled and check in was good. The ship itself was lovely, clean and attractive with lots ... Read More
We booked a fly cruise and BA schedule flights were included. Sadly we flew into Nice and had to transfer by coach to Genoa, but it was ferry well handled and check in was good. The ship itself was lovely, clean and attractive with lots of attention to detail. The atrium is nice and the pool deck is lovely. I did find it a little difficult to navigate, and other cruisers seemed to be having the same problem, but I think it's probably due to the amount of port time meaning we probably didn't pay enough attention! We were (fortunately) allocated Freedom dining - if we had been given 6.30 dining we would never have eaten in the MDR! We ate in Saffron on 3 occasions and had a table on our own which we didn't have to wait long for. The food was nice, portions a little small (and I am a small person!), but a good selection and tasty. The only negative was that it was badly served - put the spoon down from your starter and your main appears! I know they can't give you lots of time, but 5 minutes wouldn't go amiss! Dining also finishes quite early - go in after 9pm and they want you gone! We really enjoyed The Beach House, but it was very difficult to get a table unless you arrived early. One night we were turned away at 7.30 with the "we are full for the rest of the night"! I think this is a sign of how good the place is, and the service is remarkable (unlike the lack lustre experience in the MDR.) Personally we disliked the buffet greatly. The selection was limited and badly laid out. There were quite a lot of tables and it wasn't too noisy/busy, just a very poor selection in our eyes: and I always thought I was easy to please when it came to food! The Pizza Bar and Grill were good, but the Pizza Bar was closed for 3 days which was very disappointing considering how bad the buffet selections were. In hindsight we should have used the MDR for lunch, but on Port Days we were out and during sea days we were sunning/swimming so not MDR appropriate! There is a very large selection of bars, though due to the World Cup we mostly visited the Exchange which we enjoyed - quite like the quizzes and karaoke too! There are also quite a few deck bars which were lovely on the warm evenings. The Headliners entertainment was brilliant! We are early 30s and are normally more Stone Roses than musical extravaganza, but the quality was really good. We also enjoyed Will Martin (a guest artist) - he was very talented and entertaining. There was a comedian, mind reader, singers, and a Gary Barlow tribute through the week, none of which appealed to us. The balcony room we had was lovely and a decent size and well looked after. There is a steam and sauna in the mens and womens changing rooms near the oasis pool which are free to use. We managed to find sun beds on sea days, though there is a massive problem with people reserving beds - literally all day and not using them! They show a few films (Monuments Men and Grudge Match) in the lovely Arena Theatre, and also in the Havana Bar (Winters Tale and something else that was that bad I have wiped it from my memory!) They did Bingo, but done expect much energy or entertainment from it! We did a P&O Venice trip that included a gondola ride. It was well presented and informative and worth the money. Word of warning though - take a bottle of water with you, don't moan about them not being provided for you! Overall: - We loved the transfers, Entertainment, The Beach House, our room, the Ports, the pools and hot tubs, the kettle! - we didn't like the dining situation, the lack of availability of the beach house, the closure of the pizza bar, the fact there is no ice cream in the buffet, that you only get one "complimentary" snack per Costa coffee. - we hated the buffet, the fact that the casino closed early, and the very rude and ignorant passengers we sadly encountered on several occasions. Sadly, despite all the positives I would only book another P&O cruise if it was an absolute bargain or going somewhere I really wanted to go. I am not a fan of the class-based fare system, the way freedom diners are treated, the inflexibility of P&O to work with their brand to accommodate the next generation of cruiser as well as comfortably fit with their existing "fan base", and the terrible dining offerings. A cruise on the med with late port departures requires later dining and entertainment and isn't suited to the "traditional" style of P&O. The Ventura is a fab ship that is perfect for the med, but it doesn't feel like it's being operated in a way that's conducive with it's location. I would like to point out though that despite our gripes we had a lovely time as we do on every holiday, and we met some wonderful people. I think it was more that we didn't fit with P&O: we were lucky to have a lovely ship with some lovely staff going to some amazing places so in that respect I am glad we went.   Read Less
Sail Date June 2014
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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