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3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2015
We sailed with P&O on a Christmas cruise on the Arcadia out of Southampton in 2013. It was heavy weather but we are used to bad weather and the whole cruise was a relaxing, enjoyable experience. We'd booked late for unavoidable ... Read More
We sailed with P&O on a Christmas cruise on the Arcadia out of Southampton in 2013. It was heavy weather but we are used to bad weather and the whole cruise was a relaxing, enjoyable experience. We'd booked late for unavoidable reasons but it was inconsequential. My husband was 80 on Christmas Day 2015 and we booked on Ventura to celebrate. True we had to book late again because a family member was terminally ill and subsequently died. We booked a superior balcony cabin which was not allocated and no explanation was given, P&O couldn't even answer our email. We telephoned customer services to ensure freedom dining and were given that assurance. 1 The weather was not quite as bad as we have experienced previously but the effect on our cabin was appalling. We had fitful sleep for 7 days because of the constant vibration of ill fitting walls and ceiling. There was also a noise which can only be described as like wet washing hitting a wall. We complained continuously. Wedges applied to the ill fitting coving made no difference. 2 On 19th we received a letter informing us that we were allocated a dining time of 20.45 on Christmas Day. No effort had been made to tell us that freedom dining would be suspended. We do not query their right to do this but they should have warned us prior to booking when they were given an opportunity. The restaurant manager told us he had been innundated with complaints about the later sitting and he could do nothing about it and we could eat in the buffet if we didn't like it. He was irritated an dismissive. I have a medical condition and cannot eat late. Christmas Day evening was like a school canteen. Their were long queues and the food was luke warm and really inedible. The restaurant manager acknowledged that the situation was unacceptable but asked what he could do about it? We had already passed a closed dining room where the ship's officers were dining in style. 3 A lot of passengers are not using hand sanitisers before entering restaurants. On the Arcadia a crew member was allocated to each dispenser and courteously but firmly directed diners to use it. This ship is not well managed. The cabin staff and the waiters etc are lovely, kind and considerate. The management is inept and P&O is too focused on marketing to concentrate on providing essential information to passengers. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2015
At times service in the main bar was particularly bad, waiting 45 minutes just to get a drink, refusing to let you get one from the bar. Areas of the ship discusting filthy, especially the toilets, very stained toilet seats. Public seating ... Read More
At times service in the main bar was particularly bad, waiting 45 minutes just to get a drink, refusing to let you get one from the bar. Areas of the ship discusting filthy, especially the toilets, very stained toilet seats. Public seating areas, fithy, even in the buffet resturant. Entertainment not brilliant although some was good but very repetitive and catered for the o.a.p's! Not all holiday makers were over the age of 65 and wanting to sit around knitting all day or doing the tango to a 1940's tune! Nor did we want to jive everry evening. Formal evenings were a joke, put on your best gear to have dinner, sit on dirty seats and maybe have a picture taken, costing around £20 to buy it, no special evening event, well i suppose you could do a ballroom dance in the foyer. Drinks at the bars although not too expensive, slightly more than in my local but there again my local pays the english taxes whereas the ship does not. Everything was about making money on the ship, go to an event, expect them to try and get you to pay for expensive treatments! The best thing about the cruise ship was the food, you could not go hungry, plenty of choice and great food. If the weather is not great, expect to be bored as there is little to do! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2015
I have cruised many times but this was my first with P and O. For various reasons, we had cancelled a trip away the week before and booked a 2-night trip on Ventura to Guernsey as a last-minute getaway. Embarkation was well organised ... Read More
I have cruised many times but this was my first with P and O. For various reasons, we had cancelled a trip away the week before and booked a 2-night trip on Ventura to Guernsey as a last-minute getaway. Embarkation was well organised and smooth. We arrived well ahead of our 'given' time, but only waited for around half an hour before we were boarded. We headed for the buffet for lunch, which soon filled to the point of being overcrowded and unpleasant. It was a beautiful day so many passengers were out on deck. However, there were nowhere near enough chairs or tables set out, leaving many people standing. Not particularly relaxing. We were able to get into the cabin at 14:00. We had booked a superior deluxe balcony, which was a great size, so no complaints there. What was to be complained about was how dirty and dusty it was. There was broken glass in the tea and coffee making area, as well as pills rolling around from the previous guests. One of the glasses had a huge crack all the way round the rim. I fail to understand how the room attendant missed any of these things, all were quite obvious. The room attendant was not up to what I have been used to - our room did not get turned down the first night, which meant our room service plates etc were still in the room. For the first time ever, I did not leave an extra tip. Food - we ate in Sindhu the first night. The food was average, sometimes bland. The service was worse. Our waitress struggled to pay attention to us, as it appeared whatever her colleague was doing was clearly far more interesting. I nearly asked her if she needed to attend to something else and why not come back when she was able to actually turn her head towards us. We didn't eat in the main dining room so cannot comment on this. One highlight was The Glass House - lovely wines and the light bites are definitely worth the little extra on the bill. Very nice food and lovely service. Formal night - I have to admit to being a bit shocked that we were not served in one of the bars because my partner did not have a tie on. I am on holiday, not at school, I do not expect to be told what to wear. I have never been on a cruise where formal dress is compulsory. What irked me more about being refused service is that there were some very drunk people in the bar, all without ties, dancing and being very loud and irritating. But it was ok to serve them. However, I think the barman did us a favour not serving us as the singer was worse than the karaoke in my local working men's. I actually thought it was karaoke, not a 'professional'. Overall, as many others have said, the public areas are too small for the number of passengers, so be prepared to feel crammed and a little claustrophobic. With regard to the comments about waiting for a lift - we used the stairs at all times (deck 5 to 15 when we first got on was a killer!!). No danger of the carpet on the stairs getting worn out too soon, hardly anyone else used the stairs so the lifts are bound to take forever. Not the best cruise experience I have had, but I do think it takes a lot to beat Celebrity. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2015
We have been on at least 6 other cruises with RCI, Celebrity and Seabourn and this was our first with P&O. We were extremely disappointed to say the least, even when compared to Island Cruises: the customer service both pre and during ... Read More
We have been on at least 6 other cruises with RCI, Celebrity and Seabourn and this was our first with P&O. We were extremely disappointed to say the least, even when compared to Island Cruises: the customer service both pre and during the cruise was absolutely disgraceful. Positives: Excellent service re baggage collection and delivery to the cabin and likewise on the return journey Cabin steward very attentive Super deluxe cabin - very comfortable and well appointed Negatives: 1) Customer service pre-cruise: totally conflicting advice During the 1st phone call enquiring about pricing I was told “if the price drops after you book we automatically refund the difference”. Found out later from our travel agent that this policy had been dropped either last or previous year. Pre-cruise travel documentation said to “fill in pre-cruise questionnaire” in the cruise personaliser. Rang P&O to say I couldn’t find it - was told there’s no such thing. Pre-cruise travel documentation said you could bring a small amount of alcohol on board (not to be consumed in public areas). Rang P&O to have this clarified only to be told you couldn’t do this. On board found out that in fact you could do this. E-tickets gave 2 different sizes for hand luggage: 55x40x20cm and 43x28x23cm. Rang P&O to find out which was correct - the person I spoke to didn’t know but would find out and call me back the next day. No phone call the next day so I rang back: on our record it showed that your personnel had called me 3 times on my mobile but that I hadn’t answered. You had the correct mobile number for me on file but my phone didn’t have any missed calls and in any case why didn’t they just leave a message for me? - that’s assuming they really had called. 2) Customer service on board: Maintenance: spoke to reception desk 5 times about the aircon not working. Explained it was on its lowest setting and yet at one point the temperature in the cabin was 25 degrees making it totally unbearable. It wasn’t until the 6th DAY that it was finally repaired. Who was to blame for this? - reception for not passing on the message or maintenance for not responding? I would guess reception going on other dealings with them. Rang reception several times with various enquiries - staff never knew the answer so they had to go and find out, even when it was a basic question such as whether or not there was a shuttle bus. Both on the phone and at the reception desk the staff were most unfriendly and made no effort at all to provide good customer service - everything seemed to be too much of an effort for them. There was one exception and I think his name was Bonnie Dubois - it was his first day back off sick and he did everything he could to help. No matter where you were on board the staff were surly and made no effort to be pleasant and rarely did anyone say hello or even smile. 3) Restaurant staff (Cinnamon restaurant) - not been trained to a sufficiently high standard: Waiter would clear your plate as soon as you’d finished eating rather than waiting until everyone had finished Wine waiters: asked my husband who wanted white wine rather than asking each individual person what they wanted;would have filled the glass to the top if you hadn’t stopped them, rather than part filling it; on one I occasion asked to speak to the head wine waiter about the above: he took the wine waiter to one side and thinking they were out of sight he made a big joke out of it with the waiter. It was quite obvious that the head wine waiter has no respect for the customers nor does he take his job seriously. After complaining to the Restaurant Manager about the above the service did improve. c) As part of the “Select” package one evening we received canapés in the cabin. The presentation and appearance was dreadful - needless to say we didn’t eat them. This further highlights to us the apparent total lack of finesse and quality of service of P&O cruises. 4) Entertainment team Cruise Director, Hughie, was totally ineffectual and showed no enthusiasm whatsoever Kaylee - looked totally disinterested and bored during sail-away parties etc 5) Venice shuttle service: I was totally confused about the options available for people with reduced mobility. It would help if the people we were dealing with could speak good English (here referring to local Italian ground staff). Got to the shuttle bus - my family got on, I got off to double check about the service for the disabled and asked my daughter to make sure it didn’t go without me. Bus started off, she tried to stop it and got her hand trapped in the door. Bus carried on regardless and I had to follow on later. Got to the quay side for the shuttle boat - the queue was enormous. My in-laws are disabled so we were able to move to the front of the queue. Even so it took us 1 and a half hours to get from the bus to being dropped off near St Mark’s Square. Just how long did it take the other passengers who had to wait in line? We sat bobbing about on the shuttle boat for 20 minutes until it was able to land. This service is an absolute disgrace and a rip-off at 15€ each ( total of 90€ for the 6 of us). We feel that some of the issues above could be improved by just 1 simple change to the system; on previous cruises gratuities have always been given directly to individuals i.e. not automatically earned. Our friends always cruise with P&O and having heard our experiences with poor service told us that they have noticed a dramatic fall in standards since automatic tipping was introduced. We know that passengers can opt out of automatic gratuities and in fact we did so but this is not going to improve overall standards - the staff need to earn their tips not just expect to be rewarded for doing nothing. Cruising is becoming a very competitive and expanding market so if P&O want to remain successful they need to look very closely at how they operate in order to retain loyal customers and attract new ones. This is particularly true in an environment where the internet is now so widely used to get insight into people’s experiences with the different cruise lines and ships by reading their reviews. Below I refer to some of the claims made by P&O on its website. My experiences of them are in brackets: 1) Service on board P&O Cruises We will go to any length to ensure you enjoy the holiday of a lifetime (why did it take 5 requests to repair the aircon?) Enjoy the holiday of a lifetime every time you cruise with us.  At P&O Cruises we want to give you a holiday to remember, filled with special occasions and memorable moments. (as a family of 6 we chose a P&O cruise because this year we have had our own “special occasions” to celebrate: a diamond wedding anniversary, a silver wedding anniversary, a 60th birthday and a retirement, what a shame that P&O couldn’t step up to the plate and give us those “memorable moments” to take away). From the friendly greeting you receive as you step on board, (no-one greeted us on board - we were completely ignored)to Black Tie nights where the entire ship dresses to the nines, or from a lazy afternoon of pampering in The Retreat, to a romantic dinner for two at a Marco Pierre White restaurant, everything about your P&O Cruises holiday will make you feel special. (the staff made no attempt to even smile never mind make us feel special) And when your cabin steward knows your name, and your bar steward remembers your favourite drink, that’s simply how a P&O Cruises holiday should be. Throughout the ship, you will find genuine and attentive service from knowledgeable staff happy to help in any way they can (service was not at all attentive and the staff were surly). You’ll soon become friends with the same waiters who will serve your table each and every evening, and will be amazed by the memory of the bar staff who will often remember your drink if you’re a regular in the same bar. 2) We take care of every detail From a nightly turndown service to pool attendants offering fresh towels (not once did I see any pool attendants or towels on offer), we look after every aspect of your holiday. The moment you step on board, we will make sure you have a holiday of a lifetime – whether that means impeccable service, your favourite cocktail made just how you like it or breakfast in bed every morning. 3) We have 175 years of experience to call on Over this time we have perfected cruising to become the cruise experts. (you have not perfected cruising at all: even Island Cruises offer better service and attention to detail than P&O. Then there’s RCI, Celebrity and Seabourn with whom we’ve also cruised - just no comparison!) I can safely say that our experience onboard the Ventura was a total disappointment. My in-laws who were celebrating their diamond wedding and who have never cruised before were so excited about their trip of a lifetime; my husband and I were celebrating our silver wedding, my 60th birthday and his retirement. This was to be one big celebration for all of us but P&O really let us down with its false and misleading claims. To summarise P&O did not fufill its promises to: go to any length to ensure the holiday of a lifetime make us feel special provide genuine and attentive service provide pool attendants offering fresh towels etc., etc., etc.. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2015
This was my first ever cruise and I was looking forward to it so much. My son also married on board. There were some positive points I.e. Loved my cabin and balcony, the housekeeper kept this very well but having said that as a solo ... Read More
This was my first ever cruise and I was looking forward to it so much. My son also married on board. There were some positive points I.e. Loved my cabin and balcony, the housekeeper kept this very well but having said that as a solo occupant I was also v tidy. My five year old grandson loved the kids club but we were a little concerned when told that they were registered for 100 in a relatively small area. Fortunately, on the times he attended this number did not materialise. Sindhu was a lovely restaurant as was the glasshouse - at a supplementary charge .... The main at the Epicurean was delicious but service very poor and seemingly lacking leadership. The weather was poor and as a result the planned stop at Guernsey was cancelled and we set off for Lisbon. crossing the Bay of biscay was rocky but not unexpected as this is a renowned area of inclement weather. Neither can P & O be held accountable for poor weather. However, with three thousand plus passengers crammed on board the whole ship was overcrowded and it did feel like Butlins on a boat. With tots in our party the swimming pools were unsafe due to overcrowding (way over the recommended number and no checks made) and it was impossible to use jacuzzis as these were both monopolised , and overcrowded, with young teens. The retreat for adults is available - at an additional cost ... We waited patiently to use the single netted area on deck 19 to vacate so we could play with a five year old. Unfortunately, within minutes of entering there, a group of young teens also decided they would go in - result was people and balls flying everywhere. No system or checking therefore older children again monopolising the area. With cricket bats and balls it is an accident waiting to happen. A safer, and fairer, syestem would be allocated time slots and supervised by staff to ensure safety. For three thousand plus passengers to have one netted area, one golf area, one set for quoits and one giant set of chess - it's a bit lacking !! The captain was an affable gentleman and the wedding went well, canapés were laid on whilst we awaited the couple having photos taken. The GF canapes were delicious but no drinks had been provided - not even water - these were extra and had to be purchased. One small bowl of crisps for four young children seems a bit stingy and others, were requested and provided at additional cost - (spice flavoured). The wedding meal was held in the Epicurean. Staff here seemed ineffective, over loaded and confused. My son, daughter in law and her parents sat on one table and the rest of us round the corner, up against a wall, on another table. Staff had lists which had been meticulously sorted by my well organised daughter in law but seemed unable to refer to them and mixed up many of the meals - which arrived at various intervals. One child waited A long time for a dessert - by which time we had all finished ours although three of us left them as they were raw pastry. Some three hours later, with tired and bored children we left before coffee was served as everything seemed to take an age. Food in the buffet was a case of attempting to find a table first - quite a feat as everywhere packed. It did not cater at all well for coeliac individuals and staff seemed poorly informed. No labels on any food stating GF or veggie so had to ask which was suitable - much to the annoyance of other passengers waiting behind. Given conflicting information resulting in one very upset stomach and a sleepless night. food was canteen style and quality. Spoke to other people with similar probs and they were terribly disappointed. Almost in tears one day when told the only sauce I could eat on my steak was tomato ketchup. I paid the same price as everyone else but had very, very limited options. I had one of the worst GF pizzas I had ever eaten whilst on board - burnt on the outside and cold in the middle. Apart from restaurants where we paid extra the food was a massive disappointment to me. To summarise, there were some highlights and good points I.e. Embarking and disembarking was very slick, cabin and balcony, the glasshouse, Sindu and the main at the Epicurean but I think P &O should look to either selling purely family cruises or other as they seem to want to capture all groups of clientele and, in my opinion, this is not working. They also seem The experience for me was one of 'pack them in and get them to spend'. Staff work very hard and are mostly polite and helpful but way overloaded in restaurants especially. Maybe another carrier would offer a better experience. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2015
12 nights on the Ventura was a struggle for my husband, 14yr old, 9yr old, 71 yr old mum and myself, unless you like a 'Butlins/Haven holiday camp type holiday at an extortionate price point'! (A fellow passengers words). Not ... Read More
12 nights on the Ventura was a struggle for my husband, 14yr old, 9yr old, 71 yr old mum and myself, unless you like a 'Butlins/Haven holiday camp type holiday at an extortionate price point'! (A fellow passengers words). Not classy and upmarket as they profess to be. Chavvy, raucous and packed like a cattle market, and I'm no snob. The ship was so over packed, that unless you stayed in your cabin, you had no peace, (even in there you could hear kids running up and down). Everywhere was congested, with 3,400 passengers the facilities were packed day and night during sea days. We walked around for over half an hour looking for somewhere to sit for breakfast in the buffet area, walking around looking for sun loungers was another daily challenge. My 2 star rating is for the Headliners performance group (I'm a sucker for musical theatre) and the service we recieved from our cabin steward and freedom dining waiter. Everyone/thing else is not worthy of a peanut. Be Warned they automatically add gratuity charges of £60 per person over 12yrs and unless you fill in a form to remove this they will keep it and expect you to tip! The captain also announced a "free" shuttle bus service on port days but my mum & daughter were still charged. The entertainment team is irritating and false at best and very amature at what they do. The girl doing quiz round the pool was unbearable! Every opportunity is used to sell something, be it a guest speaker, a performer selling CDs, table sales, or a spa promotion, making more money on top of already inflated prices. The excursions are completely overpriced, in their literature they say they offer the cheapest packages - not true! We copied their advertised excursions off our own back on a couple of islands for half the price using a private cab, do not be fooled by p&o. Kids clubs for 9yr old seemed safe enough with a sign in/out policy but my daughter felt it was chaos in there after 3 separate days visits so didn't want to go back. The teenagers 13yrs plus, are free to go and come as they please, although my 14yr old made friends from there she preferred to meet with them outside of that room as it seemed like a pick up joint for the older teenagers, especially at night. We couldn't get near the pools for congestion, the hot tubs full of kids too, the adult only area is at a price and their pool ice cold. I'm struggling to give you positives. Cabin was kept very clean & tidy Freedom dining, you can please yourself time wise & sit with others or alone if you choose Waiters very professional & friendly, as is cabin stewards, (can't say the same for reception staff thou) The White company complimentary products in your cabin are lovely, but you won't get a replacement unless you ask for it Really can't think of anything else good to say, other than Don't waste your money! Top tips...... If you are partial to perfumes or drink in duty free, cheaper to buy outside in ports you visit than on board. We found a difference of £10-£20 less off ship and stock on board not great either. Spoke to some staff who said they were being paid less than minimum wage for very long hours hence several were counting down the days till they left ship. P&O all in all do not seem like a very good company to cruise with or work for. Suffice to say we will not cruise with p&o again even my mum who has cruised before said this was by far the worse. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2015
First time for us, and the last with P and O I think. Not what I expected for the price, I'm not hard to please but this was quite downmarket. I got the impression from others who had cruised before that they felt the same, perhaps P ... Read More
First time for us, and the last with P and O I think. Not what I expected for the price, I'm not hard to please but this was quite downmarket. I got the impression from others who had cruised before that they felt the same, perhaps P and O are trying to appeal to a wider market but they are certainly not appealing to the higher end market. Glad I chose freedom dining as there were certainly people on the ship I had nothing in common with and I would not have wanted to sit with them for 2 weeks. The ports were great but the excursions over priced, having travelled in Italy on numerous occasions we made our own way to Rome, 9 euros each on an air conditioned train, on time and clean, as oppose to the £54 each for the coach trip in. The 'entertainment' was amateurish apart from the comedian, a lot of it was not entertainment through the days but simply ways to get you to buy treatments from the spa, which were also much more expensive than at home. Even the water in your room has to be paid for, I've stayed in some less expensive hotels and that's not the case with them. I ve also stayed in some expensive hotels and this is not a patch on them I'm afraid, but it does still rate as expensive ! We made the best of it, the Epicurian restaurant was superb but addition cost, and the alcohol was fairly priced, we always have a good time but on this occasion that was down to us and not the cruise. The ship is tried and not very clean, that said the cabin steward did a lovely job, returning to a clean and tidy, cool cabin after the excursions was very nice, he was polite and helpful, in fact we removed our tips, which they take automatically, as the service else where was hit and miss, and we tipped the cabin steward only. I'm told some of the staff work on commission only, and whilst I feel sorry for those guys, the automatic tipping simply helps to cover the wage bill for P and O. Pay the staff properly i say, and leave the tipping to the discretion of passengers who feel they have had good service. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2015
My wife and I decided to book at the last minute for a Fjords Cruise on Ventura. We had done a similar thing last year around the baltic on Azura and had a great time so what good go wrong? The check in process was ok even after the ... Read More
My wife and I decided to book at the last minute for a Fjords Cruise on Ventura. We had done a similar thing last year around the baltic on Azura and had a great time so what good go wrong? The check in process was ok even after the hour wait to unload luggage and get the car parked. The cabin we had been allocated was right at the front on deck 11 but was in good condition and clean. The cabin steward was very helpful, friendly and always had a smile. we had no problem for the first couple of days although it was very clear that the waiting staff had a couldn't care less attitude. Particularly in the buffet area where tables were left uncleared for lengthy periods, not good when space is limited. bar staff seemed to be under some sort of pressure to make you buy drinks, being asked if I want a drink 10 times in the space of a few minutes stretches my bounds of continuing to be polite,so it was get up and move on. We did not use the main dining room as we had had problems with food quality on other P&O cruises so decided to eat in the Waterside buffet in the evenings. The food choices were ok but high risk foods like meats were not hot.particularly concerning as they were only luke warm no more than 10 minutes after service started. When I raised the matter with the staff I was told it was because I had put it on a cold plate, this was not the case. Positives from the cruise. The Medical team who looked after my wife when she was exceedingly ill with either food poisoning or Norovirus and had to be taken to the medical centre followed by cabin confinement were excellent as were they poor devils who had to sanitise the cabin and bathroom. The shows we managed to see were really good too so no problem there and as already stated the cabin steward shone out, We will have to give great consideration as to whether we sail with P & O again. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: May 2015
We went with our good friends who we have done several cruises with before with Royal Caribbean & Celebrity, and decided to try P&O as we all liked the itinerary for this cruise on Ventura. Enjoyed all ports of call, although both ... Read More
We went with our good friends who we have done several cruises with before with Royal Caribbean & Celebrity, and decided to try P&O as we all liked the itinerary for this cruise on Ventura. Enjoyed all ports of call, although both ships tours we did were poor value for money. Lucca - lovely place and the 2 hrs we were given to explore was far too short and they could have easily given us at least another hour. The ship's 'Roma train to Rome' was expensive - £46 each, compared to the cost of taking one of the local trains ourselves (approx 12 euros). We did have a guide with us on this 'vintage' train- probably to make it seem good value!. But our massive disappointment was with the food - bland, repetitive and no where near the choice and quality we have enjoyed with other cruise lines. We tried the Beach House self service restaurant once and never again, worse than canteen food! The Waterside buffet service was only slightly better -when you managed to find a table. The custard can only be described as sweet water it was horrible. Dinner was taken in the Bay Tree and the food here was a slightly better quality but limited menu choice. Fish or steak usually overcooked so very dry as were the frozen chips served with the steak. After 2 weeks we never wanted to see a green bean or carrot for a long time as they were served up with many dishes!! Our waiters were polite but seemed miserable, as did lots of staff throughout ship (apart from our wine waiter who was always cheerful and Elizabeth our cabin steward was lovely and did a great job of looking after our cabin). The best aspect of the cruise was the entertainment- better than RC or Celebrity. Strictly dancers brilliant and Craig Revill-Horwood is not the mr. nasty he portrays - he's very friendly! All in all good and bad, but the bad outweighed the good and we will not be taking another P&O cruise again unless they drastically improve. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: May 2015
Arrived at Ocean Terminal, seemed well organised and despite many arriving early things were kept moving. Water dispensers had no cups so I asked staff at kiosk who said I'd have to pay for empty cups - not a good start! Entered ... Read More
Arrived at Ocean Terminal, seemed well organised and despite many arriving early things were kept moving. Water dispensers had no cups so I asked staff at kiosk who said I'd have to pay for empty cups - not a good start! Entered Ventura to be directed to deck 15 buffet, no welcome or welcome drink. Buffet crowded but we found a table eventually, shortage of cups which happened often thru cruise. No free drink for children except water (unless your child liked tea/coffee), this I thought bad as it was school holiday family cruise. Went to cabins at 2pm, very clean and tidy. Introduced to stewards. Ours named Sunil, lovely chap. Cabin kept well stocked, welcome balloon and sweets for daughter (was her birthday on board). Entertainment in theatre very good, especially 'Badness' with music and humour. Even my 13 YO liked them! Other lounge entertainers were average to good if you could get a seat with a view of them. Havana poorly laid out for view of stage from many seating areas and screens too small to appreciate the acts. As we were on second dinner sitting we were often ready around 7pm but little to no entertainment before our dinner at these times. We were offered bingo instead, not for my 13 YO as not her style lol. Were one or two other acts would have liked to see but due to our dinner sitting and theatre time the acts coincided so could not be in 2 places at once. First night in Bay Tree 2nd sitting (8:30pm), huge queue and late going in. No escort to table so grabbed a waiter and asked where table was. No introduction or friendly welcome by our waiter. Children's mains arrived a good 20 minutes before adult mains so they had finished and sat twiddling thumbs while we ate. Poor selection on children's menu and of deserts in general all menus. Our mains, pork and chicken dishes were so bland, weak gravy/sauces. Addressed future meal arrival times with waiter so one plus point! Another night did not get approached by drinks waiter at all, eventually asked waiter as kids had no drinks, he gave a puzzled look but we got drinks eventually. Just no friendly atmosphere at all! Did not feel like attending last night but we did, I'd have preferred the buffet which had a good although small selection of foods and tasty. Buffet as above, sometimes slow table clearing and tables not wiped properly. Often had to clean food off seats myself. Arrival in Zeebrugge and shuttle buses efficient, used train to Bruges very cheap. Bruges is a lovely town, great for chocolate shops and photo opportunities on bridges. Good boat ride along canals although they pack you in, many places to catch a boat so if queue too long at one place check out another. Prices not bad either for approx. 30 minute ride. Ship did not depart till close to midnight and proceeded at only 10 knots to Guernsey, would have been nice to arrive earlier at Guernsey as limited time due to tender use and departing at 5:30pm. Guernsey is a beautiful island, huge queues for the 91/92 round island buses (£1 each). Recommend a family day bus pass £9 if want to hop on/off buses regularly. We visited Underground Hospital, Little Chapel, Candie Gardens then bus to L'Ancresse, nice beach. Only just made it back for last 2 tenders before 5:30pm. Disembarkation by tender went smooth except for poor announcements and info, required a ticket so rather than kids fidgeting in queue I went alone only to be told when I eventually got to desk that unless rest of my party with me 'no ticket'. Had to go get them and 10 mins later we all queued but this time was half way round the ship so took a while. Sea day, always room to move around and find a spot indoors or out but my youngest is not confident in the pool but wanted to swim. However many youngsters were constantly jumping in/bombing which spoilt her experience. Staff just looked on, this was regular occurrence despite signs. Hot tubs usually full of children, no adults. We just squeezed in otherwise wouldn't have got a look in. Kids clubs/staff did a great job, my 9/10 YO loved it but my 13 YO not so keen. Her choice, wished she'd have given it another go but she was happy sticking with us. Was not the experience I was expecting, especially as it was my daughters first cruise. Ship was relatively clean although I noted rubbish in corridor near our cabins that was there 2/3 days before being removed. Did not seem a happy friendly ship and not as we expected following a ships tour on Azura previously but then they were looking for fresh business I suppose. Sailaway party, where? Very poor, just a band playing! Unlikely to cruise P&O again as prefer tasty food, good smiley friendly service in restaurants and other venues. Sorry this may annoy regular P&O cruisers but having cruised other lines I do have experience to compare and it takes a lot before I'm negative or complain. Hope others on same cruise had better experience! Read Less
Sail Date: May 2015
Very second rate Compared to Carnival and Royal Caribbean, the staff could barely speak English and were nowhere near as friendly or professional, the food, entertainment, organisation, embarking and disembarking for trips etc was nowhere ... Read More
Very second rate Compared to Carnival and Royal Caribbean, the staff could barely speak English and were nowhere near as friendly or professional, the food, entertainment, organisation, embarking and disembarking for trips etc was nowhere near as good. Next time I am looking to book a cruise it will not be with P&O. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2015
Boarding at Southampton was chaotic. Advanced requests for assistance due to being sight impaired had gone ignored by P&O. A very helpful ABP employee did offer and provide assistance, however, despite his best efforts this was ... Read More
Boarding at Southampton was chaotic. Advanced requests for assistance due to being sight impaired had gone ignored by P&O. A very helpful ABP employee did offer and provide assistance, however, despite his best efforts this was turned into an embarrassing and troublesome experience by other staff in the check-in process. The ship itself and is looking tired, varnish is peeling off the woodwork in all areas, with no apparent ongoing maintenance, which I have always found evident on other cruise lines. This generally faded glory is reflected throughout the Ventura experience. Little touches such as the breakfast menus being filthy dirty and dog-eared, My cabin was HE grade on deck 11, this was a pleasantly sized cabin with balcony. In cabin Tea and coffee making facilities are provided. An in room safe is available to use free of charge. There is an interactive TV which provides updates on your onboard account, two news channels, updates on the ships progress and weather. Films are available on demand, these are charged at £1.99 each. As with most cruise lines, cabins are serviced twice daily by a cabin Steward. I have seen other reviewers write of small showers on other ships, a sentiment my experience has not reflected. I am a slim 68kg (10stone in old money) and I have to admit that the shower aboard Ventura was a very cramped enclosure. The cabin Steward and evening restaurant staff were friendly and offered a polite personal service, even taking the trouble to address passengers by their name. Apart from this service was impersonal and far from effortless, emphasis was very much about maximizing onboard spend. The availability of food throughout the day is excellent The Waterside buffet was very good and well managed, this was one of the few areas where the service excelled Although the food was generally good at the evening formal dining, it is no longer a silver service experience, and in my opinion falls way short of the standard and quality provided by MSC. It also has the has the dubious honor of being the first time I have ever sent food back in a restaurant as being unacceptable. The breakfast service in the formal dining room is abysmal and the in cabin breakfast is not a good option, one day getting the order wrong, and the next not turning up all. I was not the only passenger to remark that it appears that P&O believe toast to be a cold snack, as it is impossible to get a warm piece of toast anywhere on Ventura. The evening entertainment was beyond bad. The main entertainment being a Beattles tribute act and an awful comedian, both pretty second rate on a 4 night cruise this program was repeated twice. All in all a pleasant holiday which would have been most acceptable for a more reasonable price. At a little under £600 for 4 nights, it did not reflect value for money. The P&O experience does not live up to what I know it once was (or that which it currently advertises itself to be) Read Less
Sail Date: May 2015
My friend had never cruised before I had been on Oceania, MSC and Fred Olsen cruises, so we decided to try P & O. We embarked from Southampton having driven down we were satisfied with the arrangements and did not have that long to ... Read More
My friend had never cruised before I had been on Oceania, MSC and Fred Olsen cruises, so we decided to try P & O. We embarked from Southampton having driven down we were satisfied with the arrangements and did not have that long to wait to board, considering the numbers they are dealing with. However first impressions of the ship itself were not particularly impressive, staff were not particularly welcoming and the décor lacks the WOW factor. We went for an inside cabin both for economy and also because I had always had an outside or balcony previously and wanted to see if my paying the extra was really worth it. The cabin was very comfortable and bigger than expected but we did miss not having daylight, so yes the extra to get this either by means of window or balcony is worth it. Dining on board was the biggest disappointment, the food was canteen standard and the service was poor, no smiling welcoming waiters here. The entertainment by way of the shows was also poor to pathetic. The ship had a few families on board with children who seemed to be completely on their own (I guess parents were there but we didn't see them with the kids) they jumped into the pools and played in and out in the Jacuzzi, which meant that we didn't bother to try to use either. The staff completely ignored this behaviour and made no attempt to point out the notices that said no jumping or diving in the pool - how an accident didn't occur is miraculous. The general cleanliness of the ship was just about acceptable but never did you see any staff member wiping down handrails or insisting that passengers use the anti-bacterial spray at entrances to dining areas. Neither of us will be going with P & O again, which is such a disappointment as I really thought they would be so much better than this being such an iconic name within the industry. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2015
P&O first of all made a mess of our cabin choice, we booked a cabin on the back of the ship on deck C when I tried to open the cabin door it would not open so I called reception and was told that I had been upgraded which at first I ... Read More
P&O first of all made a mess of our cabin choice, we booked a cabin on the back of the ship on deck C when I tried to open the cabin door it would not open so I called reception and was told that I had been upgraded which at first I thought was good until I saw the cabin which was on the lido deck midships it was so much smaller with a much smaller balcony and very high, we were told that because it was midships it was an upgrade and no cabins where available on deck C. after a very stressful encounter with the reception team we where asked to stay in the cabin and they would look into getting us moved, at which point I asked if we could get a flight back to Manchester (which I wished we had) as we could not accept this cabin for to weeks, eventually we where given a more suitable cabin on the back of the ship. The entertainments team on the ship where so unorganised and did not inform passengers of the change of program for the evening entertainment. The waiters in the restaurant we rude and did not appear to be interested maybe because the gratuities had been paid from onboard accounts. Also the food in the restaurants on many occasions was cold having been brought so far from the kitcen. The waiters on the open decks where not interested if you only wanted water and actually turned their backs on us. We paid nearly £600 to upgrade our flights but were told that if we wanted to sit together we would have to pay a further fee to do so.The outward flight was not to bad as we where sat directly behind one another but the inbound flight we were a few rows apart. I contacted P&O on my return and complained about all this however they as usual only offered excuses and no offer of any refund which I would have expected. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2015
It's my first time with P&O with a direct charter flight from Newcastle. However, the flight, operated by Thomsons was a complete rip off. I was handed a letter at check-in advising the entertainment system didn't work. The ... Read More
It's my first time with P&O with a direct charter flight from Newcastle. However, the flight, operated by Thomsons was a complete rip off. I was handed a letter at check-in advising the entertainment system didn't work. The premium economy seat I'd paid £299 return extra for was appaling. The I was elbow to elbow with my fellow passenger and the recline offer any other comfort for such a long flight (8.5 hrs). Main meal choice consisted of Chicken Tikka or Bangers N Mash.. Even with free drinks inluded it didn't warrant the extortianate charge. I was able to change my seat for an economy seat on the return journey and received a part refund. Apart from paying for a soft a coffee, this is included with the economy meal (only 1 choice). The one toilet in the premium section was blocked on the return journey and could not be used and there was doubt as to whether or not there was enough headsets for economy passengers. An hour into the flight I was handed a set of headsets from the premium section. I booked a single inside cabin which are on deck 6. The cabin itself was spacious with a 4ft bed and tea/coffe making facilities. However what it doesn't mention in the brochure or internet is the inside single cabins back onto The Exchange Bar which has nightly entertainment from 10.30 pm until late. This started with Karaoke the second night. You also get the noise from the Atrium which has dancing to music until late. When I complained I was offerd EAR PLUGS. When I spoke to the night manager he asked why I hadn't know the cabins were in such a noisy location. This wasn't mentioned in P&O literature so I assumed that they would be properly sound-proofed. The bathroom mirror hadn't been installed properly hence marks were noticable. As this issue couldn't be resolved I was evenutally moved to another quiter cabin P205, an O/S twin, which I was advised I wouldn't be charged for. As this bathroom had cracks in the bathroom sink I should think not. I have sent a complaint via my travel agent. I was on 2nd sitting in the Baytree restaurant for dining. The table however was right underneath the Havana club and the entertainment came thumping through every night. Therefore not a quiet dining experience I'm used to. On 2nd sitting there wasn't always any seats available in any of the entertainment area. NB: If you cancel an excusion, even in good time there is a 10% charge On a positive note P&O did offer taxi's for disabled passenger's, myself included from the airport - port and return. Once you've checked in at the airport your luggage is delivered directly to your cabin and finally on the outward journey buses / taxis were waiting when on the tarmac   Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: January 2015
first of all I must mention the flights although its a Thomson flight it is chartered by p.o.Flying from Glasgow on 15th of January we were told there was a problem with our plane so had to wait for one to come from Manchester.It was so ... Read More
first of all I must mention the flights although its a Thomson flight it is chartered by p.o.Flying from Glasgow on 15th of January we were told there was a problem with our plane so had to wait for one to come from Manchester.It was so old I think they borrowed it fron the museum of flight at east fortune .There was no entertainment not even music .Coming back we were on the Dreamliner which I was told was luxury but we were crushed in the 4 seatsin the centre no room to move AND three hours late . Having said that the transfer from the plane to the ship was excellent everyone very efficient and so friendly .Our cabin on b deck with a balcony which we had to pay extra for was lovely we had everything we wanted .Plus cleaned and tidied twice a day Thanks to our hard working cabin steward Bruno .We.were shocked at having to pay £35 for 20 glasses of flat pepsi from the dash dispenser no cans .A real rip off.Very little choice of food at buffet went there for breakfast and lunch as waited too long to be served in freedom dining in restaurants plus tea and coffee cold The staff at reception were so helpful and friendly I cannot say the same of most of waiters& bar staff .When I cruise again I will go back to Thomson cruises I will get a lot more for my money.disappointed with p.o 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: 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: 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
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: 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
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: January 2014
After my experience, all show and no substance. The Ship cruised beautifully, but the staff let her down, especially the restaurant staff. They lacked training and even some meals appeared that were not as described. A "Caribbean ... Read More
After my experience, all show and no substance. The Ship cruised beautifully, but the staff let her down, especially the restaurant staff. They lacked training and even some meals appeared that were not as described. A "Caribbean Pork" was actually in Hoi Sin sauce which I suspected was left over from the Duck a couple of nights before. A "fillet steak" was actually Sirloin. When we asked for cream for our coffee, we were presented with milk in a ramekin dish and assured it was cream (whipped cream). The head waiter was called and cream in a jug appeared. A stroppy waiter slammed down a jar of brown sugar after we explained to him "Canderel " was not Demerara sugar and would he please bring us brown sugar? The food was not special (on Princess you feel as though you are eating out in a nice restaurant every night, whereas on Ventura, we felt as though we were just eating food we would cook at home every night. We paid extra to eat in the Marco Pierre "White Room" on 3 occasions (£60 per couple) in order to get the food and service we wanted. The constant hard selling of drinks spoiled what should have been a relaxing holiday and even when my husband still had a drink in front of him it was "Can I get you another drink?" The staff in the restaurant did not smile, and I wondered if someone had died, so different from the wonderfully friendly and happy Princess cruises staff. I felt the staff did not respect the passengers and did not want to be there Generally, it was not a slick operation and I'll be returning to Princess where I hopefully will not be made to feel like one in a herd of cattle. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2014
My wife and I have cruised 30 + times mostly with Celebrity, RCL, Princess and Airtours when they were operating. Having read lots of good reviews we decided to try P and O. but oh dear what a mistake. How Ventura as a ship can rate ... Read More
My wife and I have cruised 30 + times mostly with Celebrity, RCL, Princess and Airtours when they were operating. Having read lots of good reviews we decided to try P and O. but oh dear what a mistake. How Ventura as a ship can rate highly in the Berlitz guide totally baffles me. We did enjoy the ports of call and the itinerary after all what's not to like in the Caribbean in January. Ship. We found the ship very poorly laid out with dead ends causing one to back track, Sun decks are poorly set out over too many levels and not enough sun beds. This is made a lot worse by people reserving them and not using them all day. Theatre. Poor sight lines throughout, difficult to find seats but the headliner shows were good. Cabin. This was well set out and spacious, I do take exception to being sold a restricted view cabin to find that it was an outside cabin with daylight but no view what so ever. My wife does like the walk in wardrobe and storage space. Restaurants. The beach house and waterside eateries are very poorly designed and the choice of food throughout the day was poor especially the breakfast buffet which did not change once . We ate in the Saffron restaurant in the evening and the menus although varied were mostly a total disappointment. E.g. Duck breast was on the menu on night on arrival I received two slices 7cm long which consisted mainly of the outside skin. The service was good but the food was only two star. Shore Excursions. We booked four shore excursions three of which were excellent and the other was a total disaster but the desk was not interested in any complaints although 8 out of 10 people on the bus complained. Bars and service. Why can't you order a drink at the Bar ? Drinks with mixers very expensive 90p for a tiny can of coke or lemonade. With the exception of the cabin stewards who were fantastic I found the crew to be indifferent to the passengers as if it were a chore Read Less
Sail Date: December 2013
My husband and myself have just returned from a very disappointing Christmas & New Year cruise on Ventura. Disappointing to the point that we also will never cruise with P & O again. This is our fourth Caribbean cruise. We ... Read More
My husband and myself have just returned from a very disappointing Christmas & New Year cruise on Ventura. Disappointing to the point that we also will never cruise with P & O again. This is our fourth Caribbean cruise. We stupidly booked through P & O and we were totally ripped off - we booked "the last cabin" (14 months ago) which unfortunately was inside and were assured that because we had booked directly with them we would certainly be upgraded. Of course it didn't happen. We were told that there were no upgrades and yet we met many people who had been upgraded without requesting it on embarkation day. So the choice of having a relaxing time watching the world go by was denied to us. The buffet lunches were very monotonous curry, curry or curry with the odd stew now and then. The self service area itself is very small and cramped. We ate in the cinnamon restaurant every night and the choice of food was ok, steaks were cooked exactly as we requested and the service was excellent. The main thing that ruined our holiday was the gangs of teenagers ( who's parents obviously couldn't care less where they were or what they were up to ) it was like being thrown onto the set of TOWIE or Made in Chelsea. Kids lying around drunk, throwing each other in the pool after one too many cocktails and gypsy wedding type girls crying because NYE was a disaster for them as they hadn't pulled ! We avoided the top decks because of all this but we still had to step over the occasional body on the stairs !! There was never any security present and I am amazed none of these out of control teens didn't end up over board to be honest. We were also disappointed with the service on deck 7 which was non-existent until disembarkation day when half a dozen crew sit in the arena chatting and popped out now and then to make sure they get the last bit of money they can from you. We certainly didn't have to fetch our own drinks that day! There was even a nice cream man - we hadn't seen him at all during the cruise ! Smokers were definitely catered for - we had a job to find anywhere to relax without having smoke blown in our faces - deck 7 at least had one side which was non smoking. We tried to go up to the oasis spa exclusive area for peace without cigarette smoke but although it was empty, we were told it was completely booked out ! We never found out what the extra cost was for peace and quiet ! Also, If you do decide to try Ventura don't expect much from the onboard shops they are truly basic and vastly overpriced. Announcements from the bridge were regular, Captain Carr is a marvelous delegator - I'm not sure he ever docked or sailed away (which always included a reference to 'winding up the big elastic band' and encouraging us all to grab a gin and tonic) but I for one always felt safe. The highlight of the whole on board experience was the Panto which the crew put on for us - absolutely fab! Unfortunately, we will be looking at other cruise companies for our next cruise - we paid for a luxury christmas cruise which fell short of our expectations on many levels. You can't beat cruising the Caribbean - the majority of the Islands are amazingly beautiful but apart from the locations We could have spent the festive season at The Blue Water Centre still surrounded by chavs and chavettes but at least the shopping choice would have been better. Read Less
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 3.4
Service 4.0 4.0
Value For Money 4.0 3.7
Rates 3.0 3.9

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