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862 P&O Cruises Ventura Cruise Reviews

This was to be our first cruise, so with 2 adults and 2 seventeen year olds, we took advice from friends and family and settled on the fly cruise with Thomas Cook. All booking was done online and we chose some of the tours also. Flight and ... Read More
This was to be our first cruise, so with 2 adults and 2 seventeen year olds, we took advice from friends and family and settled on the fly cruise with Thomas Cook. All booking was done online and we chose some of the tours also. Flight and boarding went very smooth,everything was well organised, no complaints. Once aboard we found our cabins, which were spacious,clean and had all that we required. The ship was lovely it was at full capacity but never seemed crowded at all when you wandered around, unless you wanted a sunlounger then you had to be up at the crack of dawn and claim a spot with a towel!!! s@d that!! we were on holiday to chill out!! Food and drink were good, but if you went to all the sittings, after a couple of days you started to get sick of the sight of food,well we did anyways. The 'kids' took advantage of room service chomping pizza late at night after a show so they were happy. Staff on were very friendly and Elton,one of the bar waiters at the beach comber was brilliant, funny and had a great laugh with kids. Photographers were a bit pushy now and then. The only things that spoiled our cruise were some of the fellow passengers on board, stuck up self important a@@es, who looked down their nose at you when you walked towards them or tried to make conversation, for the first couple of days this really annoyed me, so in the end up i'd make a bee line if i saw a snooty look and engage them or try to in conversation!!! horrible people who,even some seasoned passengers made comment on the amount of snobbery there was onboard. The other thing was probably our fault as there was very little for 2 seventeens to do to keep them occupied on board, compared to other ships/cruise lines. All in all we really enjoyed our cruise and the ports we visited, we would definitely do another cruise but probably with another cruise line and maybe if the kids came one that was more suited for them.   Read Less
Sail Date June 2014
I am very disappointed in this, my first (and last) Cruise. I was mistakenly confident, when booking my cruise with P&O, that I would spend a peaceful and relaxing time on board Ventura. My friend and I booked 2 separate cabins, and ... Read More
I am very disappointed in this, my first (and last) Cruise. I was mistakenly confident, when booking my cruise with P&O, that I would spend a peaceful and relaxing time on board Ventura. My friend and I booked 2 separate cabins, and spent the first 2 days jostling the crowds, unable to obtain a table for breakfast, lunch or afternoon tea. We spent a long time carrying heavy trays, walking through the 24 hour restaurant and surrounding decks, searching for a table. Upon asking for assistance in finding a table, were told by deck staff "It is difficult - you have to share". After this experience, I spent the remainder of the holiday taking breakfast alone in my cabin, which I did not want to do. (Our evening meals were prebooked at Bayside Restaurant, with the same table with no problems, and served by excellent staff, Jose and Arun). During our 2 days spent at sea, we were hoping to relax on sun loungers, but other passengers had placed their blue P&O towels out early on the loungers in order to "book" them, so there were none free until late afternoon. Many of the sun loungers are so tightly crammed together, there is no space to walk around them. After quite some time searching and walking the many decks, we eventually found assistance from the ship staff, who directed us to the only remaining two sun loungers, tightly packed in a mass of bodies (with no view of the sea). To get on them, we had to climb up the loungers from the bottom. My friend has recently had a shoulder operation, so this was not easy. Our days spent on board Ventura were stressful and not relaxing, similar to spending time in a busy Airport Terminal !! If I book a holiday in a hotel, and experience difficulty in finding a table to dine at, or request a sun lounger, a hotel will be quick to provide me with the service I pay for. I am shocked and upset that P&O cannot cater for the 3000 plus passengers they have on board. There is a serious shortage of 2 seat tables, and they do not provide adequate sun loungers. If you are looking for a relaxing peaceful cruise, then think carefully, because this is a glorified "Butlins" - with plenty of entertainment, activities and endless food, but please bear in mind that the Ventura carries over 3000 people all looking for the same things, within a confined space. Therefore, very poor value for money.   Read Less
Sail Date June 2014
After a very early start getting to Manchester airport for 3.30am checking in the car and for the flight went very smoothly, the flight at a ridicules time of 6.20am. The charter flight with Thomson left on time .I did feel that as this ... Read More
After a very early start getting to Manchester airport for 3.30am checking in the car and for the flight went very smoothly, the flight at a ridicules time of 6.20am. The charter flight with Thomson left on time .I did feel that as this was the start of my holiday with P.O they could have laid on at least a cup of tea/ coffee instead of having to pay £2.50. On arrival in Venice P.O were vey organised and soon we were on coaches for the short journey to the Ventura, that is when the chaos started with so many flights arriving together nobody seemed to be charge and it took over an hour to embark. Having been on the Ventura before we thought that the evening entertainment would be good, that first night proved the opposite in most of the venues around the ship tables and chairs had been placed on the dance floors making it difficult to dance and enjoy the bands this was I presume to sell more booze. Ports of call were good again if you had taken the early bird saver you were on your own with regards to any shuttle service except when they docked in a nasty part of the docks otherwise they tried to rip you off. Good points. Sea day dance classes with Penny and Ian teaching basic routines and putting a lot of effort into the evening entertainment in the atrium. A couple of the party nights with resident bands were very good. Bad points. All evening entertainment seemed to stop for breaks at the same time . Dining in the main dining room was a bit rushed and tables not always prepared properly. The buffet was a bit of hit and miss with tables not cleared food was not labelled (for vegetarians ) .No fresh fruit was readily available and begrudged when asked for. I felt that the staff were not trained to the high standard that you expect . So would I cruise again with P.O having cruised with Carnival. R.C.I and Princess there would have to be a marked improvement in quality and less cutting corners. Read Less
Sail Date May 2014
We went on board with mixed views after reading previous poor reviews of a similar cruise in the Western Med. Not being a stranger on the Ventura I took a discerning look on my embarkation. We were told the cabin wouldn't be ready ... Read More
We went on board with mixed views after reading previous poor reviews of a similar cruise in the Western Med. Not being a stranger on the Ventura I took a discerning look on my embarkation. We were told the cabin wouldn't be ready until 1 pm but were beckoned by our steward to come into the cabin as it was ready. He introduced himself and was very informative advising us of our dinner booking and provision of other services he was able to provide. The cabin was spotless. When disembarking to spend time in Venice I noticed that the ship and it's fabric were clean and of a high standard. The meals on board were excellent and our waiter was extremely attentive and informative. We always had a leisurely dinner. We lunched and breakfasted both in Waterside and Baytree finding the food to be of high standard. Some of the courses offered in the Baytree for lunch I would have liked for dinner. The shows were good catering for all tastes, and especially liked the Liverpudlian comedian. Ports of call were good, we prefer to go on our own no disrespect to the tours P&O provided, our fellow diners did a couple of P&O tours and were very impressed. Read Less
Sail Date May 2014
Having just read the last review I am astounded at what was written as we were on the same cruise ship and 3 cabins away on the same deck. We thought the service was brilliant from the crew and our Steward - Decson was adorable. He kept ... Read More
Having just read the last review I am astounded at what was written as we were on the same cruise ship and 3 cabins away on the same deck. We thought the service was brilliant from the crew and our Steward - Decson was adorable. He kept our cabin clean and tidy with clean towels whenever we needed them. He dusted and hoovered each day and one night made put a bath towel in the shape of a swan on our bed! I agree that the Waterside restaurant was the worst out of all the eating places because it was like a 'free for all'. It is open 24 hours and children could eat in here and adults didn't have to dress up. We ate most evenings and lunchtimes in Saffron restaurant which had a super choice of food and the menu differed each day. The waiters were hard working and we're absolutely charming. Atul Kucher's Indian restaurant named East was amazing. You paid £15 pp and had a 3 course Michelin starred meal which was so different to the Indian restaurants we have in UK. We also went to the Glass House for a pre dinner drink most nights and ate in there once. The service was terrific and they were always very pleasant. Entertainment was good, most shows in the main theatre were on twice a night but you had to get there early to get a seat. There were singers and comedians in a few bars and the overall ambience in the evening throughout the ship was relaxing. The sun beds were too close together and people did leave 'towels' on the beds. I think staff should remove the towels as many beds were not in use for many hours. The trips on shore were well organised and the security to get on and off the ship was second to none. All in all a fantastic holiday and an amazing experience. Thank you P &O. Read Less
Sail Date May 2014
I have been on many cruises but this is my first on a P & O ship and it will definitely be my last for a number of reasons. The Waterside restaurant which is the buffet restaurant was far too small for the amount of people on board, ... Read More
I have been on many cruises but this is my first on a P & O ship and it will definitely be my last for a number of reasons. The Waterside restaurant which is the buffet restaurant was far too small for the amount of people on board, everyone was banging into each other when they were attempting to get their food. The staff in this restaurant were as miserable as sin. I am disabled and walk with a stick the staff would see me carrying and just about balancing a tray in one hand & using my stick in the other hand, only one of the staff offered to help until the day before the end of the holiday when they obviously wanted tips then suddenly there were a lot more offers. They were so slow at clearing the tables they would walk past full tables with an empty tray and not clear the table. I piled some dishes onto a tray and politely asked one staff to take the tray and the look I was given, if looks could kill ! My Mum had food poisoning twice after visiting The Saffron restaurant we know it was that one because it was the only thing she had eaten all day, I reported it and Mum was confined to cabin for 4 days the cleaners came and sanitised the cabin every day, it was great because the cabin got cleaned properly. Our balcony was filthy and the balcony windows that we were supposed to look through to see the sea looked like they hadn't been cleaned in months. There was dirt all round the balcony and a leaf was stuck to the shelf the whole time we were there, I left it there just to see if the guy was cleaning properly. The sun beds were so close together you had to slide to the bottom of the bed to get off & even though you weren't supposed reserve beds people were leaving towels on the beds & going off for the day if we were in port & the staff left them there ! The waiters round the pool were coming round every 10 seconds asking if you wanted drinks & they would come up & interrupt a conversation to ask, so rude. There weren't enough direction signs round the ship my Mum was constantly getting lost, and she has cruised a lot as well. The ship charged £4.50 per person each way to get into Dubrovnik from the ship, it was only 10 mins away then they charged £15 per person for a water taxi to get from the ship to Venice. Dubrovnik was beautiful so was Venice so worth going to. Read Less
Sail Date May 2014
Last year we fancied a change and despite reservations enjoyed two cruises with P&O having previously cruised with Princess and Royal Caribbean. We had the time of our lives and decided to book onto a 7 day Med cruise on board Ventura. ... Read More
Last year we fancied a change and despite reservations enjoyed two cruises with P&O having previously cruised with Princess and Royal Caribbean. We had the time of our lives and decided to book onto a 7 day Med cruise on board Ventura. We like the larger ships as they offer more choice so it appeared perfect. The ship herself is fine, we prefer Azura but that's personal preference still plenty of choice of bars and restaurants. The shows were excellent and we cannot fault the range of entertainment. Perhaps things might have improved if the entertainment team had shown their faces with more than two sailaways and the odd occasion when they appeared to turn the increasingly loud music around the pool up yet again. Again no complaints regarding the food which was plentiful and of a good quality. We did three excursions with P&O Florence and Pisa from Livorno was an extremely long day, Sorrento and Pompeii were fantastic and we thoroughly enjoyed Venice. We made our way in Dubrovnik which was the most pleasant surprise we've had in a long time. What a beautiful place with lovely friendly people. The cabin, we had booked an inside as we plan two cruises later this year. The cabin itself was fine, nice layout plenty of room and storage but absolutely filthy. There was dust on every surface and the toilet had a tide mark...urgh. The room steward was surly and unhelpful only wanting to sell us overpriced water. Whilst preparing for a day in Naples the toilet broke and wouldn't stop flushing. As water gushed out onto the bathroom floor my wife ran to get the steward. Who on arrival immediately accused us of stuffing too much paper down the toilet. If the toilet had been flushed once and overflown he may have had a point but it wouldn't stop flushing and couldn't drain. I certainly didn't expect to be accused and spoken to in such a rude manner. Later that evening he spluttered it wasn't our fault. Gee thanks. Hoping it was a case of everybody has a bad day we left it. Now on the final morning we had misread the information telling us to be out of the room at 0700. 07.00!!!!!!! at 07.50 he burst into the room waking us. Now yes we were at fault but instead of listening to any apologies or requests to return in twenty minutes he began a rant, shouting that we had to get out now!!!!! hold on a minute. These things happen you work in a service industry. I do not pay good money to be spoken to like a dog. Next thing his supervisor is on the phone same attitude. We quickly showered, gathered our things and left within 15 minutes. We went to reception where the standard of customer service continued. You should have been out of the room blah, blah, blah. An official complaint I'll pretend I didn't hear that on three occasions. As a result I cancelled all tips. I have called P&O customer services, where surprisingly enough I got a lecture about being out of the room on time. Yes I understand we were in the wrong but that doesn't excuse appalling service and rudeness. P&O's whole attitude comes across as we have had your money now. They are right they have had my money but they won't get anymore. In summary We were really happy when we discovered P&O for ourselves, we didn't want to cruise with anyone else again. We still think the ships, food and entertainment are excellent but all this has been ruined by appalling customer service. The current pricing structure reduces any value for money we may have felt. Having booked ten months in advance we spoke with people who had paid £280 less for two weeks than we had for a week. The whole approach has been short sighted and have turned loyal customers into never again. No doubt Princess and NCL are quite happy with P&O's appalling service. Read Less
Sail Date May 2014
I am sure some of the views on these forums, reflect what some might have thought a cruise today would be the same as in the 1950's!!! Today the ships are on a huge scale, and the clientele far removed from that era. The flights to ... Read More
I am sure some of the views on these forums, reflect what some might have thought a cruise today would be the same as in the 1950's!!! Today the ships are on a huge scale, and the clientele far removed from that era. The flights to Venice and from Genoa were on time, and the P&O team at each end were superb, baggage checked in and then the next one sees it - it is in the cabin. Cabin steward was good, polite, although we kept it tidy so all he had to do was re-arrange / new towels etc. There were two beach towels in the cabin, and more available in the ' spa ' changing room - which would answer a previous complaint in a review- that persom did not look far enough. We dined in the Cinnamon Restaurant, and thought the choice and standard high.We did try the White Room, and yes £25 cover charge, was it worth it, YES for a one off experience, as we were able to dine outside, the ambiece was superb, and a few foodie extras thrown in too, service was brilliant, the food was exceptional, really enyoyed it, we lingered and whay not. The ship is big and it took the week to find one's way around, the ' observation deck ' at the front front on Lido deck was not listed in the leaflet, found it by chance - and a great viewing area. The Theatre is very good, on two deck levels, ( far better than on the Oceana- just a minor point ) we went to the two ' Headliner shows' good singers, and how they change the costumes so many times in seconds is beyond me !!! well done. The '' 4 Tunes '' four guys singing in harmony were outstanding, again we managed their two shows. Ports of call - Kotor by tender- and a trip up the mountain, the 25 bends are NOT for the faint hearted. Rome - we did the Tuscania village trip, beautiful countryside, a very relaxing morning, good wine too at the olive grove farm, and olive oil to purchase too. Corfu & Corsica - suggest just go on foot around the towns, the walk up to the old fort in Corfu, and lunch there was a highlight. P&O do offer very good value for money, the prices on board are in £'s and in my opinion the drinks prices are very reasonable, this is my 2nd P&O cruise. My suggestion - avoid the buffet restaurants, just people not knowing where they are going or what they want- food quality fine though. We did NOT enjoy a might in the Beach House resaurant- menu disappointing. We chose freedon dining- which is ideal, and usually had a table for two, but no problemd sharing as we did from time to time. Afternoon tea in the Saffron was of a high standard. We did use the ' adults ' only oasis pool - although as slightly out of school holidays few children on the ship. The sun loungers are close together and there IS the towel on the sunbed syndrome, which P&O DO need to address. Would I use P&O again - certainly yes, would like to try the Britannia when she comes on stream.   Read Less
Sail Date May 2014
Having read the negative reviews we set off for our cruise with a little trepidation.........from arrival at Manchester airport we found the organisation extremely efficient indeed. Our flight left at 6.15am and by 9.30am we were sitting ... Read More
Having read the negative reviews we set off for our cruise with a little trepidation.........from arrival at Manchester airport we found the organisation extremely efficient indeed. Our flight left at 6.15am and by 9.30am we were sitting on the Lido deck taking in the Italian sunshine having already familiarised ourselves with the main areas of the ship, well done P & O I say!! We had a superior deluxe balcony room which was spacious, very clean and in good condition. The bed was very comfy and our cabin steward kept it spik and span all week, he was very friendly and competent indeed. We were freedom dining and prefer to dine alone out of the 6 nights that we used the Cinnamon dining room we were immediately seated at a table on 3 the other 3 nights the longest wait was 35 minutes giving us time to enjoy a pre dinner drink. We did not find this unacceptable or annoying at all we just utilized the time to enjoy a cocktail before dinner. The food was very nice and well presented, there was usually something to suit our taste and if there wasn't the classic menu was there to order from, a couple of nights we mixed our order from the 2 menus. The waiters were polite and friendly, we never had to ask for our water to be topped up and were asked at every course if our meal was okay. When I struggled to decide between deserts our waiter just bought me both bless him. We found ample choice of food in both bayside and the beach house for breakfast and lunch and the only time we found them to be overly busy was the morning of disembarkation back at Genoa, again to be expected as many people had to vacate their cabins by 7am. The deck grill on lido deck turned out some tasty snacks and the pizzas were prepared as you ordered so queues did build up there at times. The lido and sun decks did get very busy on sea days especially but this is to be expected. On these days the bar staff and waiters on deck worked very hard but they did chat when serving you if you took the time to chat and be polite to them. I didn't find any of the staff impolite, miserable and rude but I did come across some very impolite, miserable and rude passengers that were nothing short of professional moaners. I believe that people should complain when unhappy about something but the aggressive manner in which we witnessed a complaint being made on one occasion was shocking!!!! The shows I believe were very busy and you had to get there early to get a seat but we didn't go to any, the musicians and singers that we did see in the bars were all easy listening and not bad. As smokers I feel that I have to comment on this......actually previous reviews are wrong. Yes smokers are catered for as they should be, there is specific areas of outside decks that are for smokers, namely one side of the promenade deck, the same side on lido deck there are specific table and chairs by one of the pools, one side of breakers bar up on deck 16 and one side of the terrace bar at the aft of the ship. Overall this is a very small percentage of the outdoor space being allocated to the smokers clearly this offends some people but hey the very same peoples rude, offensive behaviour offends me!!!!! To summarise we found the organisation overall very efficient, the food was good in all eateries that we used, the cabin was clean and well kept. We had no issues with any of the P and O staffs behaviour and just wish the same could be said for the behaviour of some of the passengers. My only complaint if I had to have one would be the lack of soda packages etc on offer in comparison to the ones we have been able to purchase on Princess and RCI, however, I certainly wouldn't let this put me off booking with P and O in the future.   Read Less
Sail Date May 2014
We loved the fact we did not see our luggage after booking in at Gatwick until we arrived in our cabin to find our brilliant cabin steward Roosevelt getting them ready for us in our cabin. An early flight from Gatwick and upon arrival in ... Read More
We loved the fact we did not see our luggage after booking in at Gatwick until we arrived in our cabin to find our brilliant cabin steward Roosevelt getting them ready for us in our cabin. An early flight from Gatwick and upon arrival in Venice greeted by P&O staff who guided us to our coaches. On arrival at the port the normal process of being given a number and preparing to board when your number is called. All very efficient. Once on board we were told cabins would be available from 1pm but we were able to get into our cabin by 12.30. A lovely cabin deluxe balcony cabin aft. Greater by Roosevelt with champagne and chocolates. The cabin was always as was the rest of the ship very clean and tidy. The ship was we were sold out but we at no point during the week struggled to find a sunlonger. The food in the buffet and Cinnamon restaurant was always excellent and the waiters always very attentive. The entertainment was brilliant from the shows in the arena theather to the shows in the other bars. The highlight had to be the 4tunes two brilliant shows from them. First full day was at sea with th he first port of call being Kotor. A very beautiful sail into the port it is worth waking up early to see the views on voyage in. We did a P&O tour which was excellent to Kotor and Bush is. The guide was very good and funny. Next day was Corfu which we did on our own followed by another sea day and then to Rome. We stayed on board as we have been to Rome several times before.The ship was half full on this day but the crew were just as attentive. Then to Corsica again we did this on our ownan. The Great British Callaway was brilliant with everybody joining in the flag waving and singing along. The sadly the journey to Genoa. Captain Charlie Carr was brilliant in his announcements to passengers he has a great sense of humour. The entertainments team were really good. The journey home was good after leaving our luggage outside our cabin we did not see it again until Gatwick. We are back on board with our two sons (20&24) and one of their partners for the return leg Genoa to Venice on 23rd July and we cannot wait. I have a few tweets and photos on Rob Gearing@Rob Gearing. Read Less
Sail Date May 2014
We thought that we would try a fortnight in the Eastern Med/Adriatic and see Venice from a reasonably big boat before the rumoured restrictions are put into place. Now this is neither our first cruise with P&O, nor our first fly/cruise ... Read More
We thought that we would try a fortnight in the Eastern Med/Adriatic and see Venice from a reasonably big boat before the rumoured restrictions are put into place. Now this is neither our first cruise with P&O, nor our first fly/cruise on the Ventura, also we understand that change must happen, but there are certain things we look forward to on cruises, certain standards met, etc. We take it as a given that once on-board, all any cruise line is interested in is our money, and this used to to politely done, now it is just blatant. From our point of view, Ventura has very nearly lost all 'Britishness' it once had and its patently obvious that the parent company Carnival Corp. has totally failed to understand P&O's major customer group i.e. the British. First the ship is looking very tired now, the much publicized refit was not very visible except for the normally empty, pretentious and overly expensive 'The Retreat' (same as the Azura), and in my opinion a total waste of space. The refit has not physically changed the old Rambalas/Tapas bar and is thankfully not a copy of that horrible creation on Azura, but is now also called the ‘Glass House’. There was visible damage to many wooden fittings in public areas, missing tiles around the pool(s) area, and peeling surfaces of the pool itself. Deck 15 food the pizza, burger/hotdog, self-service area, and the ‘Beachhouse’ does not appear to have changed. We did not try the ‘White Room’ this time because we thought the cover charge was extortionate, but we heard rumours that is was not that busy. We did try ‘East’ and the ‘Glass House’ once each, both were expensive but the food was well cooked and very tasty. This is the first time that we had been allocated ‘freedom dinning’ and the ability to eat when it is convenient is very attractive (unless you have to wait – of course), however the service we received here was definitely not silver service, mostly it was rushed with side plates and cutlery often missing from the tables, glassware was not properly dried or polished. Most times missing items (including butter) were replaced from nearby tables while the occupants were still eating. The quality and presentation of the food was somewhat less than it had been on other cruises, e.g. the main dish was presented fully plated and therefore you had no opportunity to have fewer or more vegetables as you wished, also the medium-rare beef always seemed to be a bit too rare. Drinks were as previous P&O cruises i.e. of reasonable prices compare to other cruise lines. But it should be noted that on the Genoa-Venice leg of the trip all purchases are subject to Italian VAT @ 22% extra – because the ship does not leave EU waters for those 7 days. As always the entertainment was of mixed quality, from very good to very poor. Now this is a very subjective subject and I will not expand too much further, suffice it to say many did not appreciate comedians who told the audience that "he did not care ... what they thought" and/or using swear words and lewd comments in front children. It was noticeable that day-time talks, recitals, craft classes etc were greatly curtailed. Normally we fly with the P&O charter carrier, but this time we elected to fly with BA the consequence of this entailed a certain amount of claiming baggage and transferring it ourselves to allotted points for onward transport, we were resigned to this hardship. It is our opinion that P&O/carrier interface was poorly managed from P&Os end, as all the problems appeared to be of P&Os making and this made embarkation and dis-embarkation at best chaotic and at worse shambolic. All in all, we found that this cruise the destinations were great, the ship was missing something and definitely lacked the old romance/sparkle of previous and felt slightly niggardly and of reduced quality.   Read Less
Sail Date May 2014
When I booked this cruise I had low expectations and so was not disappointed. The check in was wonderful and not having to claim our luggage on arrival was a real bonus. Transfers and embarkation were smooth and efficient and at this point ... Read More
When I booked this cruise I had low expectations and so was not disappointed. The check in was wonderful and not having to claim our luggage on arrival was a real bonus. Transfers and embarkation were smooth and efficient and at this point i was beginning to think that I was wrong to have low expectations. However, my thoughts were soon shattered. As our cabin was not ready we made our way to the Lido deck 15. Having been travelling for some time I needed a comfort break and this is the point where things started to go downhill. The ladies toilet to say the least were dirty and bearing in mind norovirus they were a health hazard and I chose not to use them, my husband said the gents were also dirty. Our Cabin... on arrival I pleasantly surprised it was roomy with plenty of hanging space, the bathroom was small but this was not an issue and the kettle was a definite bonus. Again I was in for disappointment I opened the cupboard by the dressing table to find hairs in it!!!! not acceptable and when I ran my fingers over the surfaces there was a layer of dust everywhere. Food... this was not outstanding and lacked in choice as for the eating area on the Lido deck this was small and cramped. At no one time were all the machines at any of the coffee stations working, and there was no ice for your water. In the evening we ate in Cinamon but we were never asked if the meal was ok or if they could get us anything else, most nights I had to ask for my water glass to be refilled. Ice cream was charged for I did not like this Shows were on the whole good but the comedian was excellent. Sunbathing again I was glad I had low expectations only 1 towel per person in the cabin and no towels on deck. I am a swimmer and swim at 7am each morning so before the day started my towel was wet!! Our Cabin steward Gnash did get us extra towels because of this but i did not like the fact I had to ask for this. The sunloungers were packed so close together you need to be a contortionist to get on & off them The shops were uninspiring and this is the first cruise I have been on and not bought anything from the shops. Disembarkation this again was a plus as we did not see our cases from when we put them out on the last night until we landed in the UK On the whole PO you could do better especially in the cleanliness but we would consider sailing with you again   Read Less
Sail Date May 2014
Having read the previous review of the same cruise by Rakugoka I find it fascinating to see just how subjective a review can be, as it is clearly based upon one's own experiences, but of a similar event. Anyway, this was our first ... Read More
Having read the previous review of the same cruise by Rakugoka I find it fascinating to see just how subjective a review can be, as it is clearly based upon one's own experiences, but of a similar event. Anyway, this was our first P&O experience, and the beginning could be seen as a good start, or a bad one, depending on how you look at it. To ensure your baggage arrives at your appointed cabin P&O very kindly e-mail you a label to attach to your case(s). As these labels are not of the type you would see attached at the baggage check-in at the Airport, we felt there was a risk of them becoming detached during the handling of our suitcase at either Birmingham or Genoa (or in-between) and so had intended to sellotape them to the bags once we collected them at Genoa. However, we had not been made aware that, once the bags were deposited at Birmingham check-in, we would not be expected to see them again until they were delivered to our cabin and so missed the opportunity to attach our labels indicating our cabin number. Several anxious hours ensued upon arrival at the ship, and many visits to Reception, to seek reassurance that our 'unlabelled' bags would still find their way to our cabin. Fortunately, they did eventually turn up and so, relieved, we then settled in for our departure form Genoa. The other point of annoyance from a P&O novice point of view was that it was nowhere clearly stated that, in fact, the transfer from Genoa Aipoprt to the ship was included. After much searching and deliberation on Cruise Critic we had decided to get a Taxi from the Airport to the ship, only to find in fact, the organisation was so good, they had actually laid on a bus, which was brilliant, but so glad we hadn't booked a private transfer as this would have been a waste of money. I suppose, in a nutshell, it would have helped considerably if the P&O cruise personliser had made these points more clearly. I would concur with the previous reviewers observations regarding the check-in process at Genoa, with a single line having to pass the photographer, and you could clearly see that the 20 or so check-in staff were never fully utilised, meaning the photo process was causing a bottleneck. Many people chose not to have their picture taken but nonetheless still had to run the gauntlet of staff trying to 'persuade' you to have your picture taken (which was later for sale at over £14 but they didn't tell you this at the time!). It would have been much more efficient to separate the queues into 2, for those wanting their photo taken and those that did not but, I suspect, this may have resulted in a significant lost opportunity for P&O to try and tease a bit more cash out of you, as it would be quite likely far less people would have gone down the photo op queue than by their current method. So, having settled in to our cabin, met our brilliant Steward Iris, and eaten all the chocolates which greeted us, we set-sail. There was also a bottle of Champagne in our cabin, which we struggled to decide what to do with, as we're both not particularly fond of the stuff. We had booked a Balcony Cabin which was superb. Very well appointed, nice balcony, very clean, and was made available to us ahead of the scheduled 4pm. Iris (male by the way) was superb, very friendly; helpful and efficient, and never showed any problems with the daily clean, or evening turn-down. On previous cruises we had become used to niceties such as the customary folded towel animals on our bed on one or more evenings but this didn't happen on this cruise. Don't know if this is by design on a P&O cruise, or just that Iris's artistic side wasn't up to it. This isn't a complaint by the way, just an observation. We had also selected the Freedom dining package, meaning we could attend our appointed Restaurant any time during the evening 'window' and, being the anti-social type we are, always requested a table to for 2 as opposed to sharing. One each occasion we were advised we would have to wait, and were handed a pager to notify us when our table was ready. Most times this was a very short wait, and were quickly seated at our table. The food, we found, was excellent, both on the 'Classic' menu (which stayed the same throughout) and the alternative menu which varied from day to day. I would say that, of the thing you would note as standing out, would be that everything was supremely efficient'. 2 of the nights were designated as Black-Tie which, as people that prefer not to partake of these, we were forced into the option of either using one of the themed Restaurants (at an additional cover charge), or to take advantage of the Buffet style restaurants on the Lido Deck. Unfortunately, P&O chose to make all of the Buffet Restaurants themed also, on these nights (one being a Thai night, and the other a Curry night). As we were keen on neither we felt the only option was to attend a Restaurant at additional cost. We chose the Glass House on both occasions, which was excellent, but we once again felt, the 'system' was designed to encourage you to spend your cash as, to us, it would have made more sense to split the themed offerings in the buffet restaurants to a night which was different from the Black-Tie night, or at least still provide a normal buffet service in one or more of the 4 buffet restaurants. At each port, there were a number of excursions on offer. We only took one excursion, to Pisa, to see the Leaning Tower, but we opted to book one on-line from crusingexcursions.com which was around half the price of the P&O one, and still with an excellent guide, and the bus returned us directly to the ship. The cabins (or 'State Rooms' as they like to call them) are provided with a flat screen TV (2 in our cabin) which has channels devoted primarily to P&O sales, news (BBC and Sky) and Sky Sports News. There is a channel where you can purchase movies at around £2 each, or a small selection of TV shows which were free of charge. There is also an interactive service, where you can order room service, view your account etc, and also receive messages. Rather annoyingly, if there are messages waiting, you are forced into reading these before you can progress onto viewing any TV channels. On 2 occasions, were advised 'you have 5 web mail messages waiting for you' which, if you clicked on this, you were then taken to a screen advising you take out a subscription for their internet access (e.g. £35 for 90 mins) before you can view your web-mail. I personally felt this was misleading and, potentially, dishonest, as P&O could not actually KNOW you had e-mail messages waiting, and this was just a ploy to get you to buy their internet services. I also not, regarding their Internet Service, they offer it with a caveat that you shouldn't expect it to be very quick, as it is accessed via satellite. To me, this is akin to offering you meal in a restaurant for £20 but don't expect it to be very good! - If it's not a 'good' service, then it should be offered free-of-charge. Overall, we had a wonderful experience, the ship was very clean, well appointed, and the staff, whilst not always falling over themselves to go the extra mile were however, always pleasant and, once again, I feel compelled to use the word 'efficient'. I would say P&O's emphasis was on efficiency, as opposed to customer service. We were constantly left feeling like they wanted us to buy 'extras' which is understandable, to a limit but, somehow, we just felt as thought they were continually trying to extract just a little bit more, all of the time. Despite the little niggles, as previously described, we would seriously consider going back to P&O, but not to the same ship.   Read Less
Sail Date April 2014
This was our second trip on the Ventura and already had two cruises on the Azura. Ships are the same layout but still managed to take wrong turnings. On the whole though the ships easy to find your way around. Flew from Manchester, flight ... Read More
This was our second trip on the Ventura and already had two cruises on the Azura. Ships are the same layout but still managed to take wrong turnings. On the whole though the ships easy to find your way around. Flew from Manchester, flight P & O Thomson charter which was fine, all run to times. Airport to Cruise Terminal and Embarkation seamless, though had a wait of 20 minutes for Italian Police to show re embarkation. Accessed our cabin relatively quickly, luggage soon after. Greeted by a smiley Vijaya, very pleasant cabin steward who kept the cabin spotless. We were allocated second dining and our waiters were excellent, very friendly and efficient, no problems there, food was good with enough choices for all courses. We never used the alternative dining venues on this cruise, though have in the past and would say they are excellent. Used the dining rooms for all meals and found everything to our liking. Not too many problems finding somewhere to sit in the sun, when it was out, but then the ship was not full. Have been on the ship full and struggled to find sunbeds, so many reserved with towels. We never used the ships shore excursions, find them quite pricey in the Med, did our own thing. Our needs are relatively simple, overall had a really nice cruise, good food, nice bars, excellent entertainment, and really nice fellow cruisers. Shame about most of the weather. This is our second time at the Med round about the same time April/May, been told we were unlucky !! Won't try again at this time. Off to the sunny Caribbean again in February and on this same ship, which for us speaks for itself.   Read Less
Sail Date April 2014
We have just come back off a cruise on the ventura the actual cruise was excellent,the cabin steward kept the cabin spotless,we was lucky enough to be on board when the opera boys sang,they did 4 shows all full houses,what amazing singers ... Read More
We have just come back off a cruise on the ventura the actual cruise was excellent,the cabin steward kept the cabin spotless,we was lucky enough to be on board when the opera boys sang,they did 4 shows all full houses,what amazing singers a fantastic show,overall the entertainment on board was excellent the headliner dancers was west end standard,we was on freedom dining which suited us the only drawback was if we wanted a table for 2 we had to have dinner at 18.00 or wait about 1to 2 hours but had no waiting to sit on larger tables,such a shame the restaurant staff was not keen with the hand sanitizer people was walking in without sanitizing there hands with staff watching not only the saffron but other eating places,come on p and o get this health issue sorted. The disembarkation of the ship we found was stressful not enough time ieaving ship to flight time,not enough time if any delays,the coach had accident on ramp leading to departures,Genoa airport is not the best very busy and small,overall a great holiday and enjoyed very much,we have booked 13 night cruise next year on the ventura transatlantic. Read Less
Sail Date April 2014
This was our first cruise with P&O and it was a bit of a curate's egg, after a series of little disappointments, we came away feeling rather underwhelmed. This is a fly cruise but we got the full budget airline experience, being ... Read More
This was our first cruise with P&O and it was a bit of a curate's egg, after a series of little disappointments, we came away feeling rather underwhelmed. This is a fly cruise but we got the full budget airline experience, being charged extra to sit with the person you are going with is a real bugbear, the charge could just as easily be made upfront. Our plane got changed and although we had booked seats with extra legroom, we did not get them in the change. We had a very easy processing, with pretty much everything to schedule. P&O want you to be at the airport three hours before the flight which for us appears excessive, perhaps they have had enough problems in the past to make this necessary. The luggage found its way to and from our cabin with no problems. Perhaps the only issue was the embarkation procedure. There were around 20 check in desks, and once you got to them it all went very smoothly, however everyone had to queue up to put their bags on a table, decide if they wanted a photograph taken and then collect their bags. Considering there could be three photographers waiting at a gangplank trying to take your photograph when you were going into a port but only one photographer on the way in for processing, this could have been thought out more carefully. The room was very nice, well decorated with a decent sized shower, though see our cabin comments. Our cabin steward did a good job of keeping the room under control when she could. Of the seven nights and six full days we were there, there was no time for the turndown service on three nights, one day the room was not cleaned and on a second we had to vacate the room to get things done. This certainly was not because the stewardess was not working hard, perhaps this was her first week and she had not got the routine down but it seems more likely that the ship is understaffed with too many people being asked to do just a bit too much. You could see the same issues elsewhere. One of the security computers seemed to be off all week. When over three thousand people could be trying to get off the ship you would think that that is would have been a high priority (it is just a couple of extra computers as back up). The reception staff were always on edge, and while the waiting staff did there jobs courteously and efficiently, there was no question of 'going the extra mile'. Smiles not forced but the were few and far between. There is no attempt to hide the fact that we are there to buy things, Almost any event that was unlikely to lead to somebody making a purchase seemed to be 'unhosted', the days events that were strongly advertised (apart from the shows) were basically spa treatments or photography purchases and while the captain's announcements were not broadcast into the rooms, the entertainments director did 'push' his events. To be fair the cinema's options were up to date films which critically acclaimed. But the biggest let down was the food. We were on freedom dining and as long as you were not too concerned about table size this seemed to work okay. The restaurant was surprisingly noisy and on a large table you could only comfortably talk to near neighbours. The food was disappointing. Some of it was the menu, soup with say paprika and croutons came without, cheese and biscuits with... came without. Sometimes it was the waiters, if you did not mention something on the menu you would not be reminded, so salad without salad dressing. But most of the time it seemed to be the ingredients, custard without milk, scones without butter, devilled kidneys without mustard. Sometimes it was just the lack of cooking time (scones again). There was something wrong on almost every plate. There are the upgrade restaurants that Carnival seem to like but we did not try them (and by the number of special offers that were being pushed perhaps no one was). Our solution was the themed buffets. Careful selection of what was on offer did not always work of course but you could avoid the more obvious disasters. Of course, it was possible to find some quite good food, the dal on Tandoor night was very good for example. (Another trick was to go for obviously bought in stuff). We did go on one excursion, this of itself was reasonably executed but one of the sites chosen was in the throes of restoration and the other had us arriving when the area we had come to visit had just about closed down, so another let down on the planning. Despite the size of the ship it did not seem all that difficult to move about and there never seemed to be long queues. No deck plans were provided but you were given a side on plan, most of the time this works okay. Reading back over this review, I appreciate that some people will feel that this is a bit nitpicking. Some people on the cruise seemed to share our views, others were having a good time. I suppose that it all depends upon what you have experienced elsewhere and what you are used to. There is no doubt with more investment in the people, both staff and passengers, the Ventura has the makings of being a very good cruising experience, but it has not made it yet. Whether that is where Carnival want to take the brand or not we will have to wait and see. Perhaps just bobbing along is where they want to be.   Read Less
Sail Date April 2014
Really enjoyed our third Ventura cruise which was excellent for the most part, The ship was spotless, the cabin steward Michael was efficient and kept the cabin like a new pin. The ports of call were lovely especially Kotor and Dubrovnik. ... Read More
Really enjoyed our third Ventura cruise which was excellent for the most part, The ship was spotless, the cabin steward Michael was efficient and kept the cabin like a new pin. The ports of call were lovely especially Kotor and Dubrovnik. The entertainment that we saw was very good. The food was in the main very good, However, meals now come with vegetables already on the plate whether you want them or not. Compared to our other eight P&O cruises we were disappointed with the staff around the ship, with the exception of our cabin steward, very few staff had a smile. The T. V. channels were the fewest we've had on any cruise, There were in total nine of them, four P&O channels, two news channels, two sports channels and just one other lifestyle channel. On other P&O cruises the captain gave regular daily updates on progress, weather and sea conditions for the day and night ahead, on this cruise the updates were few and you never knew when they were coming. At the second muster for those joining the ship in Venice the announcement was made that the Captain would soon be addressing the new passengers about safety on board, shortly after, the voice of the captain came over the intercom welcoming everyone on board which was fine and made you feel that as an individual you were important to the captain and his crew, until about 30 seconds after he had finished, the speech started all over again and we realised it was just a recording! Like many others have said, we feel standards are slipping with P&O. Personally I think that with the gratuities being taken up front there is less of an incentive for the ships crew to be as friendly as they used to be. All this aside we had a lovely cruise. Read Less
Sail Date April 2014
We have just returned from a 7 day cruise on the Ventura with some friends. Both couples have used P & O Cruises in the past and have had excellent experiences, however on this occasion we all agreed that there is something going wrong ... Read More
We have just returned from a 7 day cruise on the Ventura with some friends. Both couples have used P & O Cruises in the past and have had excellent experiences, however on this occasion we all agreed that there is something going wrong with P & O in respect of their staff recruitment, training and entertainment choices. Firstly, I would like to say that our cabin stewards were the highlight of our cruise in respect of staffing, they were excellent and interacted well, needed no prompting and were totally efficient - excellent experiences in cabins. However, the bar staff and catering staff looked dower, miserable and bored most of the time. Interaction was negligible and only if you spoke to them did you get a response that was one word or two. Staff in the entertainment teams were not of the standard we had experienced and we felt that they were better placed in a Butlins holiday camp. The Cruise Director was ineffective and totally lacking in direction towards his team and this gave us the feeling that the entertainment team were there to enjoy themselves rather that entertain us. The shows were mixed ranging from excellent to dire. Bar staff were too quick to try to take away your glass even when it was not empty and they pushed drinks every few minutes even when you had told the same waiter 'no thank you' only 3 minutes before. Only on dress nights did you know there was an officer crew on board as they were not very visual for the rest of the time. Customer services need to learn how to smile and understand that the reason you go to them with a question is that you don't know something and not to give you half an answer and leave you to work the rest out for your self. Photographers need to understand when you say no you mean no and not to be so pushy and disrespectful when engaging with people who know what the want. Our evening meals appeared rushed, there was no time between courses and the waiters kept clearing the table as each person finished an item, hence there was always a waiter hovering at the table. This appeared to be general to the whole of the dining room. The ship itself was clean and the food good, prices were fair and the cruise experiences was generally what you would expect, however on this occasion I would consider choosing another cruise company as it was obvious where P & O are making the cost savings/changes in their service, and they are not doing it very well. It was not only ourselves that noticed the changes as many times this same conversation was heard around the ship. The most uncomfortable aspect for all of us on the cruise was the amount of areas that smokers can go. When exiting the restaurants with your buffet to sit by the pool, it was unpleasant to have to walk through the smokers and when there were no tables available having to sit amongst them when eating your meal. P & O appear to be catering to the smokers far too much. Our last cruise was with Princess Cruises and I am sorry to say that they knocked spots off the Ventura in all aspects of our cruising experience. The staff must be doing what has been instructed as the above was throughout the cruise and no one person can be blamed, this appears to be a culture that is being developed. If this is the standard that is going to be allowed to develop them P & O as a premier line will lose its reputation and customers to other companies.   Read Less
Sail Date April 2014
Just returned from a 14 night cruise around Italy taking in Kotor,Corfu and Dubrovnik This was our first cruise onboard Ventura having previously had two cruises onboard Oceana in the carribean, sadly we found Ventura to be very ... Read More
Just returned from a 14 night cruise around Italy taking in Kotor,Corfu and Dubrovnik This was our first cruise onboard Ventura having previously had two cruises onboard Oceana in the carribean, sadly we found Ventura to be very dissapointing, shambolic embarkation and disembarkation the attitude of the gangway staff was extreamly poor as if given a job the would rather not be doing The ship its self has a problem with vibration through all decks at the rear of the ship as if the prop is out of balance or a bearing issue holding the prop shaft, this was mentioned by many of the passengers in conversation, but came to a head when sailing from Dubrivnik to Venice, the speed was the highest of the cruise and the vibration through our cabin on deck 14 was horrendous, I even tried calling reception at 3am to ask if the bridge was aware of the problem, to be told there was no vibration! and that I was the only person to complain, which when speaking to other passengers in Venice that this was not the case Food in the Bay Tree Restaurant was not what I would expect of a P&O Cruise and more akin to canteen food and as for the Waterfront Restaurant which has 4 counters but not enough seating, the food can only be discribed as basic, I could go on but all I can say is never again Read Less
Sail Date April 2014
I've been a fan of P&O all my life, much of it is nostalgia, my first P&O ship was either the Canton or Carthage when I was a baby en route to Singapore. Many many ships later we went off on the latest trip on board Ventura. ... Read More
I've been a fan of P&O all my life, much of it is nostalgia, my first P&O ship was either the Canton or Carthage when I was a baby en route to Singapore. Many many ships later we went off on the latest trip on board Ventura. Very similar to Azura which we did last year and equally as nice. I did feel there have been a few cut-backs and some corner cutting but as prices are now so low I can understand that. Something has to give.... Embarkation via Gatwick and Genoa was easy though I do prefer Southampton. Disembarkation was equally trouble free. Cabin was adequate with a small balcony, our steward was brilliant but not intrusive. We weren't too keen to be allocated Freedom dining but it worked really well and we were always allocated tables with cruisers who 'matched' us. A special mention here to Head Waiter in Saffron, Colin, who went out of his way to make sure our vegetarianism was catered for. We had a hic-cup on the first night and from then on he was there all the time to make sure all was well! Food was good.... no complaints on menu either in the dining room or in the buffet upstairs. We didn't go to much entertainment, I'm always happy to take to my balcony with a good book and maybe a glass of wine. I love being on a ship and just enjoying the feeling of being at sea. Personal choice but the feedback on the entertainment from dinner companions was usually good. I often read reviews on here and wonder at the expectations of passengers..... so many seem to expect the facilities of a 6* cruise for a 3* price. and complaints about selling? Don't buy! Easy..... I never found them a problem. I did succumb to a cut-price massage in the spa and it was good value for money IMO. Very interesting was the morning in the Atrium when crew from every department were there to demonstrate and explain. very educational.... My biggest complaint would be reserved for the staff on the reception desk who seemed to work on the lines of 'the answer is no, now what's the question....' One particular young lady who shall remain nameless although I did make a note for a formal complaint, was downright rude and patronising. Twice. Oh and it also bugs me that all my previous years of P&O plus multi thousands of miles don't count towards points so we don't get blue slippers! :( But apart from that.... it was a good cruise to fab destinations for a very reasonable cost. Go P&O. We'll be back......   Read Less
Sail Date April 2014
Went on this cruise to celebrate my 60th birthday, and my husband's birthday. The cabin was a Superior Deluxe balcony, which could have done with a carpet shampoo. The bathroom was ideal as my husband can't use a shower, so the ... Read More
Went on this cruise to celebrate my 60th birthday, and my husband's birthday. The cabin was a Superior Deluxe balcony, which could have done with a carpet shampoo. The bathroom was ideal as my husband can't use a shower, so the bath was great. The wardrobe was open..unusual for any I had seen before. The balcony looked as though it never gets cleaned, as we could hardly see through it. My husband started to clean it, and the people up above asked him to do theirs as well!!! Room service proved to be a bit of a problem, as we were not told when they were going to come to the cabin, and we waited in most of the day! The entertainment was 80% good, apart from a stand up comedian who managed to get rid of the audience faster than fill it! The food was not particularly great. If you don't mind what you eat, then you'd be ok with it. One night it was Antipasti, and we got three types of Italian meat just rolled up and put on the plate with a few small bits of bread! Cock-a-leekie soup seemed to contain prunes! Dining room staff and cabin staff were great. If you love to have your photo taken then you'll love this ship. Personally they were a pain in the neck. They jumped in front of my husband, knowing he had a walking stick, and tried to stop him. When he didn't we got a remark from one, which should never have come from anyone in the crew. Some of the trips were expensive for what you actually got. The restaurants were not ideally laid out, as people were putting towels and bags on the seats to book them in order to be able to sit down after getting their meal. The theatre was not easy to get a seat in, as people were again putting bags on the seats next to them, to book them for their friends. On the days where formal dress was required, we went to the restaurant to have our dinner, and afterwards to a show. as it was packed, my husband being disabled took his jacket and bow tie off as he was extremely hot. We went from there to the 'Red Bar' and went and sat down next to another couple, due to lack of seats. We got our drinks, then about 30mins later, the waiter came up to my husband to tell him that someone had complained my husband was not wearing his jacket. He told the waiter that because of having an artificial leg, he gets very warm and had to take his jacket off, although he still had it with him. He told him he would have to put his jacket on, and my husband refused. The bar manager then came over to tell him he needed to put on his jacket, and my husband reitterated what he had tol the waiter, adding that there was a person sitting across from us with a T shirt and jeans. He left it at that saying that they had not served that person. My husband went to the cabin and I went to complain at reception, whereby I met the bar manager, who apologized profusely about the situation. He said that he had a word with his staff and it would not happen again. Friends of ours were on free dining, therefore did not need to wear formal clothes, and went to the 'Red Bar' and were served, then after a short time were told to drink up as they were not suitably dressed. The sign entering the bar was very small, and insignificant. Some of the trips appeared to be overly expensive for what you got. As we got to the end of our trip, we went to the gangway at 7.30am on the morning we were leaving as we had to vacate our cabin at that time, and as independent travellers we had our taxi the same as a number of others, booked for 8am. We were told by Security that we would need to leave after 9-9.30am after all the others waiting on bus transfers had gone. We went to reception, where they said we would need to wait on the announcement. The ship had been docked since the day before, so all quarantine checks etc had been done, so nothing should have stopped us getting off the ship. After quite a number of people were getting quite distraught at possibly missing their taxi transfer to the airport, we were told that we could get off the ship. It was a good cruise, but I would give P&O a miss in the future, as it was not my type of ship. Read Less
Sail Date April 2014
Having previously cruised with P&O (our last occasion August 2013 on the Azura) we booked a 7 night fly/cruise on the Ventura over Easter. The high standards which P&O usually deliver unfortunately was missing on this Ventura ... Read More
Having previously cruised with P&O (our last occasion August 2013 on the Azura) we booked a 7 night fly/cruise on the Ventura over Easter. The high standards which P&O usually deliver unfortunately was missing on this Ventura cruise - the ship lacked atmosphere, the staff seemed bored, the food was bland and the service varied from excellent to poor. The entertainments team was the worse I have ever seen during my 14 years of cruising, from being uninterested, dis-organised, to faces of boredom, a cruise director who I think must be a phantom as apart from the first night was never seen again. We booked a shore excursion to Pompeilli, which wasn't bad value, but the organisation of disembarking the ship was chaos and upon return the same chaos (long queues with an average waiting time of over 50 minutes with some guests becoming very irritablle). Also as the Ventura is in Italian seas for these 7 cruising days there is a 22% tax on all goods/gifts (the ship shops) and services (spa), apparently during the following 7 days the ship docks in Montenogro and the tax then isn't applied. A good point was the transfers to/from the airports this was excellent service although it was an early start on our return having to vacant our cabin by 7am. I hope P&O aren't lowering or letting slip their standards, as the Ventura was DISAPPOINTING!   Read Less
Sail Date April 2014
Just arrived home from our first cruise. 1-14th March. We stayed on the Ventura. Being first timers we really didn't know what to expect. We flew from Gatwick to Barbados on Thomson Dreamliner and were very impressed with the amount ... Read More
Just arrived home from our first cruise. 1-14th March. We stayed on the Ventura. Being first timers we really didn't know what to expect. We flew from Gatwick to Barbados on Thomson Dreamliner and were very impressed with the amount of legroom. I assume long haul flights always have personal tv's for entertainment? On arrival in the port in Barbados we were amazed by the cheerfulness of the security staff and those dealing with our ID cards, I asked the guy dealing with mine if I should smile for my photo and he said "Oh yes SMILE, it's good to smile"!. I fully agree with the continuous use of anti bacterial hand gel used before you step on board and in all the dining rooms, such a pity many people ignore it. I wish airlines would use it too! We found our way (eventually) to our cabin (C422) and were very pleasantly surprised with our large balcony whilst below us had half the size and the ones above were even smaller, their cabins were probably much bigger but we had ample space so were very happy!! The rooms are kept immaculately clean by the stewards, mostly boys who do an amazing job and work extremely hard 7 days a week, rooms are serviced twice a day and it's a lovely gesture to find little squares of chocolate on your bed at night. Towels are changed each day and personal flannels are replaced morning and night. Tea, coffee, biscuits etc replenished twice daily. We had a set table in the Bay Tree Restaurant. The menu wasn't particularly amazing but it was better not to have too much to choose from and the food was beautifully presented and very filling. Wine was very reasonably priced as was most of the drinks on board. The waiters were extremely efficient and very pleasant and I cannot fault the service in any way. Entertainment wasn't really to our taste but this is not a criticism. We read a review about sunbeds but although there wasn't supposed to be a shortage, on days at sea we couldn't find two together and it was very much 'sardines in a can', this part of the cruise we didn't like, also there were no sunshades with the sunbeds. We booked a trip for each island we stopped at as we didn't want to just wander aimlessly, each trip also gave us free time to look around the shops in the ports. It was really good to arrive in a different place (nearly) every day. Regarding tipping, we opted out of the compulsory tip charge because we wanted to know EXACTLY where our money was going. Ask at reception for a form if you wish to opt out. We always tip generously, but like to tip those we choose to tip. Read Less
Sail Date March 2014
We have just returned on the Ventura going round the Caribbean. After reading previous reviews before we went we were a bit apprehensive, but there was no need to worry, we do not understand where these reviews came from. Have been on 4 ... Read More
We have just returned on the Ventura going round the Caribbean. After reading previous reviews before we went we were a bit apprehensive, but there was no need to worry, we do not understand where these reviews came from. Have been on 4 previous cruises with Thomsons which we have thoroughly enjoyed. Didn't fancy paying the gratuities, which we didn't. If you go to reception they will give you a form to fill in and you just say that you do not want to pay the £3.50p each per day and that you would tip yourself where you thought it was necessary which we did. Our cabin steward was excellent, very friendly and approachable, kept the cabin spotlessly clean. We had an outside obstructed view on the 8th floor which was very nice. We found all the staff very pleasant, we spoke to quite a few different people who were different age groups on the cruise and everyone we spoke to were enjoying it, the only thing they did not like was the different prices people had paid. We paid £1,079 each for the 2 weeks where somebody else had paid £1,799 for a inside cabin. Somebody else who was in a balcony had paid £3,000 each and they found out that someone who had the same cabin as them had only paid £1,400 each, such a big difference in price. We found the breakfast excellent, also the afternoon teas were excellent. The evening meal was not as good not as much to choose from. You never got ice cream for any puddings which we found very strange, if you wanted an ice cream you had to pay for them. Some of the entertainment was very good, we saw two very good comedians, and a mind reader. The dances in the Headliners were also very good. Some of the other entertainment was not to our liking it was based more for older people, but I suppose you cannot please everyone's taste. The excursions were very expensive we did our own thing when we got off the ship. There are lots of taxis, and open sided buses to go on which work out a lot cheaper. We did two open sided bus trips which took three and a half hours for 20 dollars each, and one of them gave you complimentary drinks all the time, and even took us to a beach and left us there for one hour, and came back later to pick us up. Do not worry about getting back to the ship on time they will always ask you what time does your ship leave, and they will get you back on time, don't worry. The only other thing I will say that previous people had written about which we found to be true is you have to get up early on the day's that you are at sea to get a sun lounger, and some people put the towels on their beds and don't come back for a long time. Next to where we were laid the towels were on when we got there, so we do not know how long they had been there, and they did not return for three hours later. We would definitely go with P&O again but we are a bit limited because we only like fly cruises we wouldn't want to go from Southampton, and as they only go to the Caribbean and the Mediterranean starting this year so we have not got much choice. Looking forward to seeing you again sometime P&O Read Less
Sail Date March 2014
I am surprised when I read reviews of cruises by certain P&O passengers, some of which seem to be excessively hypercritical, compared to those by people who have cruised with Celebrity, most of which are gushing with praise. I have to ... Read More
I am surprised when I read reviews of cruises by certain P&O passengers, some of which seem to be excessively hypercritical, compared to those by people who have cruised with Celebrity, most of which are gushing with praise. I have to say that in my opinion P&O are far superior in many respects to Celebrity and indeed most other large cruise lines and I will set out my reasons for saying so in this review. My partner Barbara and I have cruised with P&O on twelve occasions, most recently earlier this month in the Caribbean on Ventura. We have also travelled on Celebrity’s Equinox and Eclipse in recent years as well as on Royal Caribbean, Celebrity’s sister company, Princess and Cunard. Whilst I realise that a lot of people will have been on even more cruises than we have, nevertheless I think that my breadth of experience of cruising with several different companies enables me to provide an informed, and I hope reasonably objective, opinion on their relative merits. Most of the modern ships built for the large cruise companies I mentioned are broadly similar in structure and design and are very well fitted out and equipped to cater to the demands of today’s discerning cruise clientele. All of the above companies have launched several brand new ships in recent years and this trend seems set to continue .Where the differences arise is in the details of the overall product and service offered to passengers and this is the area in which I believe P&O have the edge. First, Celebrity’s new Solstice class ships are generally very impressive in their design and decor, but, unlike P&O’s ships, they do not have a proper promenade deck for passengers to walk around and sit on. Promenade decks have always been a traditional and stylish feature of ocean liners and cruise ships and add to the glamour of cruising in my opinion. Instead, Celebrity have a short jogging track on one of the upper decks on their new ships, but this is a poor substitute. Secondly, the entertainment on Celebrity’s ships is nowhere near as good or as extensive as that provided by P&O. On our cruises on the Equinox and Eclipse there were only three full production shows by the ship’s resident theatre company in two weeks as opposed to the seven regularly performed by P&O’s Headliners theatre company during the same length of cruise. Moreover there was only one show per night on Celebrity {obviously repeated for each of the two formal dinner sittings} varying between the production show and other cabaret artists, whereas on P&O there are three or four different shows every evening, again repeated for each of the dinner sittings. The shows performed by the Headliners on P&O are superb and are of real West End quality. In fact, most of the artists in the company have actual experience of appearing in the West End and/or on television. By comparison, Celebrity’s shows and those of the other cruise lines we have seen were of average quality. Even the production and technical aspects of the P&O shows are better. For example, on one occasion on Cunard, one of the few shows scheduled had to be cancelled because one of the lead singers had a sore throat. If this happens on P&O they have back-up recordings of all the singers so that they can mime to these and the show can go on as normal. Admittedly, Celebrity do have various musicians and bands performing live each evening around the ship as well ,but so do P&O. This last comment brings me to another criticism I have of Celebrity. Every evening in the atrium there was very loud blaring music played. The design of the new Solstice class ships is for the whole of the centre of the ship, from the bottom of the atrium up to the top decks even up to the library, to be open, which is visually very impressive ,but this means that it is difficult if not impossible to relax or carry on a conversation in any of the bars and lounges around the various decks in the centre of the ship. Even upon request they will not lower the volume. Apart from the evening entertainment in the theatres and lounges, P&O also have a lot of quizzes every day during the cruise which are very popular and which I personally enjoy very much. They also have guest speakers throughout the cruise, dancing classes , craft classes etc. I know that the other cruise companies have some of these features , but not as many and they are not as well organised. Another issue is the price of drinks on ships .On Celebrity, as is the case with most of the American cruise lines , {including unfortunately these days Cunard as well on whose ships Carnival ,their American owners, have chosen the US dollar as the on board currency}, prices are comparable to what you would pay in expensive hotels, but they also add on an automatic 15% service charge and they then rub salt in the wound by leaving a note and space at the foot of the bill for an additional gratuity. We are not big drinkers, but I know that all of this annoys many passengers. P&O by contrast charge what can be described as reasonable pub prices for drinks and they do not add any service charge.{ P&O’s general service charge for the cruise overall is also set at a much more reasonable level than Celebrity’s}. Furthermore P&O will let passengers bring on to the ship bottles of wine and spirits purchased ashore to drink in their cabins, whereas Celebrity and Royal Caribbean and I believe most of the other cruise lines will confiscate these and do not return them until the end of the cruise, presumably so that passengers will carry on paying their exorbitant prices for drinks on board. One simple area where P&O provide a thoughtful touch is in providing tea and coffee making facilities in your cabin so that you can have a hot drink whenever it suits you. Celebrity will of course like most cruise lines bring you such drinks via room service free of charge, but this can take some time and the drinks when they arrive are never as hot or fresh as if you had made them yourself. P&O also provide room service, but they know that passengers like to have the option to make their own hot drinks when they want them. Celebrity have now introduced kettles and tea and coffee on their cruises from the UK, but not elsewhere in the world. P&O also provide free launderettes with ironing facilities on each deck on board all their ships so that passengers can wash, iron and press clothes if they wish to, which is very helpful on fly cruises where there are flight luggage restrictions so that passengers who have kept their clothes to a minimum can do a wash half way through the cruise. Celebrity do not do this, and so passengers have to pay their laundry or pressing charges. Another area where P&O excel is in their service in getting passengers to the Caribbean in the winter months where their two large ships Azura and Ventura are stationed. They organize dedicated charter flights from several UK airports which fly straight to Barbados. The process of getting from the plane to the ship is seamless. You do not have to go through any formalities at the airport in Barbados. Instead, you are whisked from the plane straight on to a coach to the ship and you are usually on board and in your cabin within an hour. You do not have to collect your luggage from the airport since this is delivered direct to your cabin. Contrast this with all the other cruise lines where you have to fly, often indirectly, to Florida, go through all the hassle of American immigration, retrieve your own luggage, stay in a hotel overnight and then finally transfer to the ship the next day. There is no comparison. The quality and variety of the food provided by all of the major cruise lines are broadly similar, but most of them now have specialist a la carte restaurants in addition to the main dining rooms and buffet restaurants, which offer menus prepared by, or restaurants named after, famous chefs. These specialist restaurants have a separate cover charge, but again we have found that the American cruise lines generally charge more than P&O, who again offer better value. To be fair there are certain features on the other cruise lines which P&O do not have. For example, on Celebrity, the lawn club areas with real grass on the top deck, on Cunard the very traditional afternoon tea dances, on Royal Caribbean the ice dancing rink and ice shows and on Princess the mini golf putting course. However, the preponderance of areas where P&O excel and are superior to the others is telling. These various matters when considered together do in my opinion make a big difference and I think go quite some way in explaining why I think P&O, while far from being without fault, are still nevertheless the best cruise company to travel with. As with a lot of cruise companies, regular passengers have noticed certain areas where they have cut back on some details and services to save costs ,but this is probably as a result of the competitive pricing they have had to adopt to market and sell the cruises given today’s economic climate .However, I think that they still offer the best overall cruise experience. The combination of formal and informal themed evenings on their cruises is just right and their sailaway parties are the best. I know that they are owned by Carnival, like Princess, Cunard and some other brands, but to their credit Carnival seem intent on maintaining P&O’s unique and traditionally British style of cruising. I am looking forward to travelling on P&O’s new superliner Britannia next year which promises to raise the bar for standards still further. To summarise, I do hope that people who have cruised with P&O and who sometimes like to have a little moan, as we all do from time to time, will reflect on the issues I have raised and realise that P&O are not so bad after all. If you are reading this as a regular traveller with Celebrity or another cruise line, then why not give P&O a try.   Read Less
Sail Date February 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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