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1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2015
This was our second cruise with P and O - and not quite as good as the first. The first was on Oceana. Cabin - We opted for a super de lux cabin with balcony. On the the whole it was worth spending the extra money for a larger room ... Read More
This was our second cruise with P and O - and not quite as good as the first. The first was on Oceana. Cabin - We opted for a super de lux cabin with balcony. On the the whole it was worth spending the extra money for a larger room overall with plenty of storage space, a larger bathroom with shower and a larger balcony - we like spending time on the balcony with a drink and just watching the sea go by. However we had a problem with our toilet - it would not flush in the morning. We had to continually ring reception who would send someone to fix it every morning. Despite them telling us it would be "monitored" - it obviously wasn't as it continually malfunctioned. We escalated our complaint and received a bottle of wine and money added to our on board account - after that it worked.....! Food - We had freedom dining in Cinnamon restaurant. The food there was mainly better on formal nights. The service was ok - but could have been better. We ate in all the speciality restaurants. They were all good. Glasshouse - Ate there a few times including the wine pairing night - was always very good. The staff seemed knowledgeable and enthusiastic. Sindhu - Ate there twice - fantastic. Very good quality. Wasn't the usual high street curry house - was high end good quality food. Epicurean - Also very nice food. Beach house - A mainly steak and chicken based restaurant. A lot of the dishes come out "sizzling" hot. We had sizzling chicken and "cook at the table" steak - all very tasty and worth the money. Waterside buffet - Is just that - a buffet. Not the best but is fine for what it is and always seemed to be open if all else fails. Bars - we only ever used one - The Exchange. Service was always good. Prices - fine, no apparent extra loading on the price. Costa coffee - Used it several times. Service was always prompt. No problems. Best to buy a costa card for good value. Ports of call. In our opinion there was too long in Malaga - we thought it was a soulless place, not long enough in Gibraltar - only 4 - 5 hours - needed longer. Only did one excursion - Lisbon. Was fine - No problems. Entertainment. Can't comment on the shows as didn't go to any. We mainly did quizzes and casino. The quizzes were mainly ok. Casino was fine - but needs to be a bit larger. Overall. Although I have only given it a 3 star rating it was basically an ok cruise just not brilliant. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2015
Having cruised with Royal Carribean 7 times we thought we'd give P&O a try due to the itinery we wanted to do on RC being to expensive and this one being half the price-will never quibble on price again. There is a reason why RC ... Read More
Having cruised with Royal Carribean 7 times we thought we'd give P&O a try due to the itinery we wanted to do on RC being to expensive and this one being half the price-will never quibble on price again. There is a reason why RC are more expensive-better overall experience. PORTS OF CALL Happy with the ports we called at. In Malaga we didn't have to be back on board till 11.30pm so we went out after dinner for drinks on the marina which was fab. We did an excursion in Malaga which was good value for money and really enjoyable. EMBARKATION Really easy and quick-couldn't have been better. ENTERTAINMENT Really dissapointed with the entertainment. Most acts were repeated 2 or 3 times throughout the cruise. Freddie Mercury tribute was good but Phil Collins was embarrassing. Arena was to small and cramped. Enjoyed the quizzes and there were 2 horse racing nights in The Exchange which were good fun. BARS A lot of the bars lacked atmosphere. The Glasshouse was nice with friendly staff. The Exchange also was quite lively. One night we were enjoying a drink in The Tamarind Bar and as soon as the clock struck midnight the lights all came on and the music was turned off and all the staff disappeared. This was unusual as on other cruises I have been on the bars and entertainment carries on way past midnight. Drinks were reasonably priced. FOOD We ate in the Bay Tree. Food was good although 1 night the veg was missing off one of our plates. when we made the waiter aware of this he came back 10 minutes later with a bowl of veg. By this point the rest of the dish was cold and the other people on the table had finished their meals. I felt a fresh meal should have been brought out. Felt like the staff were trying to rush you in and out. The best part was our wine waiter Amol who was really friendly. We ate in the Glasshouse 1 night which was brilliant.great food,drink and service. Very reasonably priced. Waterside buffet to cramped. Only ever 1 part of the restaurant open. Poor choice of food that was rarely labelled so didn't know what it was. Had to ask for clean knives every day and also never any clean cups at breakfast. Felt like the school canteen being pushed along the queue with no time to look. CABIN Excellent cabin attendant and was really pleased with the standard of cabin and cleanliness. SERVICE I must say I was really dissapointed with the attitude of the staff. The waiters in the restaurant made no personal conversation with us. Staff on reception were rude. Staff in Costa very unpleasant and made you feel uncomfortable being in there and got our order wrong 3 times. On a number of occasions staff were having personal conversations in public areas that I didn't feel were appropriate for guests to here. Also witnessed staff drinking in the bars on numerous occasions and acting rowdy. The price we paid for the cruise was reflected in the experience-we got what we paid for. I did enjoy the holiday but not a patch on previous cruises with RC. In future I will not think twice about paying more to cruise with RC as the quality and experience is well worth the money. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2015
This was our first cruise with P&O though we have done eight transatlantic crossings, seven on the QM2 and one on the Victoria, so we were somewhat intrigued as to what lay ahead of us. Our embarkation was smooth and without issue, no ... Read More
This was our first cruise with P&O though we have done eight transatlantic crossings, seven on the QM2 and one on the Victoria, so we were somewhat intrigued as to what lay ahead of us. Our embarkation was smooth and without issue, no mean feat considering the numbers of passengers boarding. Unlike Cunard we were left to find our own way to our cabin and found our luggage waiting in the passageway, not on our beds as we have been used to. Our cabin was clean and tidy, we were fortunate to have an extremely attentive cabin steward who, when called upon, carried out our requests promptly and well. The cabin was spacious and well appointed. After the usual emergency drill we made our way up to Deck 15 to the 'comunal' eating area. On getting there we were surprised by both the numbers of people and the volume of noise present - of course Ventura carries some 1200 more passengers that we had previously experienced. Overall we were not too impressed by either the content and choice of the buffets. There was a predominance of curried foods, unimaginative salad choice and feeling that had we pondered more over our choice we would have heard someone call out "Move along please..". On nearly every visit to the buffet we were met with a rather confusing presentation of food. Cold plates for salads were stacked alongside hot plates for hot food, soup was tucked away in a corner and was difficult to get at and the menu notices above the food listed the foods but didn't give a clear indication as to what was what. After we had eaten we took a 'get-your-bearings' trip around the ship. The pool areas on Deck 15 were spacious but, as we found out, became very busy and very noisy. Of course the entertainments put on were designed to be a 'group activity' but on more than one occasion we moved away because of the non-stop musak played at people, just a little above the volume comfort zone. In the main it is these activities (do people really still join in to YMCA?) that make me refer to this cruise as 'Butlin's at Sea'. On returning inside to explore further we had our first onboard 'ambush'. (more of this later). One thing I thought I'd be grateful for was the smoking areas. I make no apology for being a smoker and I am happy to comply with rules and regulations, but to find that, almost without exception, the whole of the starboard side of the ship was a smoking zone left me a little confused. If you follow the sun then at certain times the promenade deck will become a battleground when it comes to finding a seat. Likewise on Deck 15 the 'enclosed' area around the pool was always full of smokers making it nigh impossible for a non-smoker to find a sheltered table and chairs. And, sadly, despite notices I did see passengers firing cigarette butts and empty packets over the side! My wife and I enjoy the formal aspect of cruising, it's a great equaliser onboard a ship. But I was dismayed to see the number of passengers who, in my humble opinion, hadn't read the dress code information provided. Black tie OR dark suit.. OK, that's not rocket science.. why then pack a light gray suit? And it did appear that quite a few passengers were not 'signing up' for the formal at all. Their choice of course. Dinner in the main dining room was I fear an average affair. We were fortunate to be seated with personable fellow passengers and conversation was generally lively. I was not overly impressed with the menus though. The food served was only average. There was a strange bowl used for both starters (Prawn Cocktail) and dessert. It resembled a dish canted at an angle and was difficult to eat from. The wine selection was workmanlike and I think over-priced. Our first port of call was Barcelona and we chose to do our own thing. A walk up the Ramblas a hop-on, hop-off tourist bus got us to the Gaudi cathedral.. then we went back to the ship, eagerly awaiting our next port of call. Monte Carlo. Well Monte Carlo didn't happen. We got there, the weather was dull and the sea had, so we were informed, too much swell to ferry passengers ashore by tender. OK, Health & Safety wins and it was nice to know our captain had the concerns of the passengers at heart. But the hours and hours of delay in recovering a tender due to some hydraulic problem became a bit trying. Italy next with Livorno and Civitavecchia ahead. I'm not going to go into detail as it's suffice to say the two tours we had were good. First to Lucca and secondly to an Italian Agro-turist farm. Food here was excellent and plentiful. Very enjoyable trip. Our penultimate port of call was Alicante. It was hot and dusty but time ashore was good. No tours here, just a wander around and an excellent lunch. Finally, Gibraltar. Bathed in sunshine it soon became jam packed with cruise passengers as there were at least three other ships in port.. Duty free was worthwhile and, due to a very short stop, we headed back to the ship for lunch. Prior to our departing Gibraltar we found ourselves right in the middle of what must be the biggest display of jingoism I have ever been part of. Union flags given out, the entertainment 'crew' singing songs from England, Scotland Ireland and Wales (it appears that Jersey, Guernsey and the Isle of Man are no longer part of Great Britain.. as a Manxman that annoyed me greatly..!!!). We had Rule Britannia, Land of Hope & Glory etc... and it was incredibly LOUD. Overall the seas were good to us for the whole 4000+ trip. The weather was good too. My feelings on the entertainment on the ship are that it was just a little above workingman's club level. All of the 'venues' morphed into varying 'Saturday-night-at-the pub' places. Certainly if you ate at the second sitting you'd be hard pressed to find a table at any of the entertainment spots. We spent time (and money) in the casino and I felt that it was there almost as an afterthought. It was cramped and tacked on to the 'pub'. Cruises are many things to many people and this was no exception but the onboard shopping was, at best, mediocre. In fact some of it was decidedly tacky. I was shocked at the lack of P&O merchandise on sale and what I saw I certainly wouldn't have paid good money for.. Not good P&O, not good at all. And with 'sales' in mind I'll return to our onboard 'ambush'... Of course I except that after-market sales play a big part in the cruise revenue but my wife and I (and many, many others too) were constantly 'ambushed' by the staff from the Spa selling their wares. It became almost impossible to enter or exit a lift without someone trying to sell you some beauty, health or some such preparation. And all at silly prices too. If people want these 'treatments' they will find them, we do not need them forced on us. As I said at the start this was our first P&O cruise. Despite all I have said it wont be the last but we will choose a different type of cruise. We did enjoy ourselves, it was a pleasant holiday. Unfortunately it came to a sad end with the loss of a passenger overboard, it was not an accident nor was it malicious. But the captain dealt with this sad event admirably. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2015
Just got back from a 13 night cruise on P&O Ventura, Not our first cruise with p&o as we have been on oceana and oriarna . The ship was clean and tidy but the prices of the drinks were expensive, The entertainment was so poor ... Read More
Just got back from a 13 night cruise on P&O Ventura, Not our first cruise with p&o as we have been on oceana and oriarna . The ship was clean and tidy but the prices of the drinks were expensive, The entertainment was so poor after the first show we decided not to bother again, cheep tack entertainment all round P&0 need to get their act together or they will be losing customers. The cabin was ample size and kept clean by our fantastic cabin steward Gladson, The trips are getting far to expensive, at £40/50/60 plus per person, We found you can do the trips yourself for less than half the price. The food was very good on board at all of the restaurants and the self service buffet also had a good choice of menu. I think we will cruise again next year but look for other options, overall we enjoyed our time onboard but it needs to liven up a bit. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2015
We started our holiday on Sunday 23/08/2015. The embarkation was a dream, none of your long queues as in the airports. From arriving at the port at 11.am to sitting in a bar on board ship at 11.45am.Luggage taken away by porters straight ... Read More
We started our holiday on Sunday 23/08/2015. The embarkation was a dream, none of your long queues as in the airports. From arriving at the port at 11.am to sitting in a bar on board ship at 11.45am.Luggage taken away by porters straight to our cabin, car valet parked securely. Check in a doddle. That was on the Sunday. Woke up Monday morning everything went pear shaped. We had sailed to Guernsey as planned, the weather had turned nasty and the captain decided in our health and safety that because the only way we go ashore was by tender, it was unsafe for anyone to do so. Sensible. So the Guernsey trip was cancelled. We sailed to our next destination, Lisbon, 7 hours sooner than planned. We still got there at the same time as previously planned Wednesday morning, just went slower. I know the ship is not the easiest thing to park up, but as this happens quite a lot at Guernsey, they should have some back up port. We sailed past France and Spain to get to Portugal. I`m sure there must be a port somewhere along the way that would be only to glad to receive a cruise liner full of passengers. On top of that the duty free shopping which was open on Sunday night was now closed for the duration of the cruise because we had not officially left the E. U. If only we had been warned on the Sunday this might happen. The P & O crew and staff are brilliant they had entertainment back up plans in force in abundance. They now had a captive audience for two days. The weather out in the Atlantic was so blustery for the two days nobody was allowed to go on deck apart from deck 15 which has shelter. When one is a smoker, which I am one, your options are limited. As nobody had gone ashore the breakfast restaurant was so full that even after queuing for an age, when you did get your breakfast you had to walk around for 15 minutes to get a table, by which time your food is cold. We learned that the best time to go for breakfast was after 11am just before dinner time, quieter then. The rush starts all over again at 12. Seasoned cruisers know the score and time everything perfect. This was our first cruise and will probably be our last. They suit a lot of people, if they like to lie on a lounger at 7am before the sun gets up just to commandeer it and run around in herds to get to the dinner table early and make sure they don't miss a show. If you are quick you can watch a show at 8.30pm and rush around to the next bar at 9.30pm to catch another one just before you run to the arena to get a seat for the 10.30pm. Not for me. Nothing wrong with the P+O service, there are more than enough waiters and staff to make sure your glass is full and ready to take your money. We managed to escape and go ashore in Portugal, we even went on P+O trips, after driving us in a coach for an hour to a beach they were good enough to give us a full hour to have a look around before bringing us back to the ship. We booked this holiday as a treat for my 60th birthday, we even treated ourselves to a room service breakfast that day and was charged extra for the privilege. There has been no mention of compensation for missing one of the destinations,must be just one of those things I suppose. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2015
Having previously cruised with RCCL, I booked this 2 night taster cruise to find out how P&O did things. I travelled with my Husband and 15 YO daughter and my Mother and Father in Law. MIL has mobility issues. We arrived at the ... Read More
Having previously cruised with RCCL, I booked this 2 night taster cruise to find out how P&O did things. I travelled with my Husband and 15 YO daughter and my Mother and Father in Law. MIL has mobility issues. We arrived at the Port at around 2pm (traffic terrible on route) The embarkation procedure that P&O have in place can not be faulted, it was far smother than RCCL with cards given out and seating available to wait in until the Letter given was called out (we waited about 10 minutes). We then sailed through security and onto the ship. So our first experience of Venturer was using the buffet. What a nightmare! Food choices were limited, and there is a distinct lack of seating and help finding a seat. The buffet is laid out in claustrophobic little bays where you have to wait whilst the people in front of you choose their food. You can't wander round and have a look to see what you fancy, there isn't room. So basically had to go round twice, to then get a salad which was at the beginning, and I had already walked past. There was no offer of drinks from the waiting staff. We had freedom dining and this was almost up to RCCL standards. The waiting staff were just as friendly. The food choices at dinner were very similar. My only niggle really with the dining were the grubby table cloths, which had the previous occupants butter stains on them. We did experience Afternoon tea in the Saffron Dining room which was really pleasant! We weren't so keen on the layout of the ship in comparison to RCCL. We realized how much we liked the Royal Promanade that RCCL have going on. The shops on Ventura were laid out in one small atrium over 3 floors. This really did prove a nightmare with MIL's mobility issues. We would see something we liked then had trouble remembering which floor it was on. The lifts are laid out in quite a peculiar fashion too. The service lifts are next to the stair wells, with the customer lifts being the other side of the Service lifts. Our cabin was of a similar grade the one we had previously on EOS which was an interior overlooking the promenade. We had booked an obstructed view outside cabin. The room was of a similar size but did not have a sofa to sit on. The wardrobe was much nicer on Venturer and was of the walk in variety with plenty of hanging space. On the first evening we experience an issue with out toilet system flooding the bathroom after it was flushed. We phoned reception and someone was with us to turn the water off within minutes. We understand these things happen and were very impressed with the way it was dealt with. Finally, our only other niggle with this cruise... We booked online directly with P & O. Under a big banner that said that they were offering on board credit. As I went through the booking was told that it applied to this cruise. The final booking paperwork had the statement 'we are giving you on board credit which you can spend onboard' We did not receive any on board credit. The reception staff were told that our booking did not qualify. We were left very disappointed. We were not expecting much, but its the principle of the thing given the amount of times during the booking procedure we informed we were getting on board credit. Anyway to sum up, if P&O had a cruise that was at the right time and location we would go again, but will be sticking to RCCL for the foreseeable future. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2015
This was our first cruise with p&o, we decided on the canaries as tenerife is were we had our honeymoon, and wanted to go back in style. Embarkation was very good we arrived by coach at 1.45pm and were on Ventura by 2.30pm the whole ... Read More
This was our first cruise with p&o, we decided on the canaries as tenerife is were we had our honeymoon, and wanted to go back in style. Embarkation was very good we arrived by coach at 1.45pm and were on Ventura by 2.30pm the whole process of passport control was excellent it was very well organised. After boarding the ship we went to our cabin but had to walk up 7 flights of stairs as the lifts were all full and large queues waiting for them, our cabin was on lido deck 15, and had a balcony (which we requested), the cabin was very tidy and clean although i thought really small there was no sitting area only one chair at the dressing table, the bathroom again is very small. The interactive tv only showed the news channels and sports channel other than that you had to go to the movies which were plentiful and free. our first night on board was very noisey which we expected as excitment in the children and teenagers on board let their hair down, what i didnt expect is that this would happen every night,teenagers waundering the decks at all hours no parents ,running up and down the corridors untill the small hours shouting and sometimes screaming, they were never challenged by any member of the crew at any time. The swimming pools were in use even at midnight even then no one asked were their parents were.As a parent myself i dont have any problems with kids seeing the world as we take ours on cruises but p&o need to address the lack of parental control on their ships, its an accident waiting to happen. we had meals in all the restaurants except the glass house, the meals were plentiful even though all of them except waterside charged a small fee for using them, our one dissapointment with them was that the menu never changed in the 12 days we were cruising as we thought their prices were very high, even on board prices were higher than on land. alchol was very expensive i.e glass of wine and pint of lager just short of £10. The entertainment was below average the two resident bands were ok, their was no entertainment on lido deck and the bars closed at 10.30pm. the afternoon quizzes by the pool were dismall and the music all day was a cd player. disembarkation was a joke as someone who traveled by coach for the first time instead of using the car we had to make our coach at 9am we got there on time unfortunatley we then ended up waiting until 10.30am for the last 2 passengers to board our coach as they could'nt get off the ship.which then ment our 8 hour journey home ended at 7pm that evening exhausted. So all in all the ports were beautiful, but will we sail p&o again not a chance Read Less
Sail Date: July 2015
Firstly this was a relaxing and enjoyable holiday, we enjoyed the itinerary (which was our reason for booking this particular cruise) and the ship was fine however we weren't blown away by P&O. The ship is big but not bold, ... Read More
Firstly this was a relaxing and enjoyable holiday, we enjoyed the itinerary (which was our reason for booking this particular cruise) and the ship was fine however we weren't blown away by P&O. The ship is big but not bold, it's a little beige and lacks character; which is a shame. We mainly ate at the Bay Tree restaurant for dinner and in general the food was good, occasionally hit and miss but good all the same, the portions were a bit mean which meant I ended up going through every course e.g starter, soup, main, dessert and cheese & biscuits!! The waiting staff were fantastic, I can't think of any UK venue where the staff are so attentive, professional and friendly. The Waterside buffet on deck 15 was okay, a bit samey every day, A royal pain to get a table at breakfast if you turned up at the wrong time and people are generally slow to move and like to occupy their space. One big disappointing feature was the attrium, absolutely featureless and not what I expected, all the bars followed suit and were very 'safe', God only knows why they felt the need to have a British pub-themed bar ... awful! All areas were immaculately clean and again the staff work tirelessly to keep the standards high. We've cruised twice before with other cruise companies so I feel well placed to draw comparisons.. Due to P&O's reputation in the industry and the size of the Ventura we expected to be blown away.. Unfortunately we weren't. The daytime entertainment was bland and I think the ships designers need to inject a bit of character into the next refurb. Get some proper themed and defined areas on the boat so guests feel as though they are having unique experiences in each area of the decks... Be a bit braver P&O, if you want to compete in this ever more popular and accessible market then follow NCL's lead. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2015
If you enjoy dancing to live music on a decent floor view the publicity for Ventura with caution. The reality is dirty floors in the two entertainment lounges,largely covered in furniture. The Atrium has become the main venue for ... Read More
If you enjoy dancing to live music on a decent floor view the publicity for Ventura with caution. The reality is dirty floors in the two entertainment lounges,largely covered in furniture. The Atrium has become the main venue for Ballroom, Latin and Sequence dancing. This is linked to the Costa coffee bar and most seating is provided for bar users. Space is limited and the floor is an oval with fairly constant traffic across it. While we were on the cruise no live music was provided despite the fact that space was taken up by an organ and drum kit. The Dance co-ordinators did a brilliant job despite the difficulties but they were not helped by the venues or by the Entertainment team , who were noticeable by their absence from the dancefloor which was very different from our previous experience on Oriana. It is a pity this element of our cruise was poor because our balcony cabin was very comfortable and generally well maintained, with sink drainage issues dealt with promptly. The cabin steward was friendly and efficient as were the waiting staff. We found freedom dining suited our needs well and provided an opportunity to meet a wide range of people . The buffet was often overcrowded but was useful in the early morning when wanting to see the sail into port. We did three organised shore excursions - The Fire Mountain trip on Lanzarote was particularly enjoyable but the visit to the Botanical gardens and market on Madeira was spoilt by a very voluble guide who at one point insisted on telling us we were looking at palm tree. Generally we found it easy to organise our own visits in most ports, although I would recommend plenty of research in advance because the onboard talks are mainly aimed at encouraging you to purchase tours. Generally Ventura is overcrowded, with queues to board and disembark and the need to claim a seat for shows some 40 minutes in advance if you are not to end up standing. Making money seems to be the primary aim. When boarding staff were mainly concerned to sign us up for spa treatents or select dining rather than helping us orient ourselves and together with the photographers they continued to behave more like timeshare sales people. I raised issues with P and O but their response was a standard public relations puff. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2015
We've just got back from our fourteen night cruise onboard Ventura. Having read some of the previous reviews on here and elsewhere we weren't really sure what to expect. What follows is an account of what we experienced. ... Read More
We've just got back from our fourteen night cruise onboard Ventura. Having read some of the previous reviews on here and elsewhere we weren't really sure what to expect. What follows is an account of what we experienced. Hopefully it will be fairly logical and reasonably free from waffle although I make no guarantees! BOOKING We booked through P&O direct, last September. We booked early so that we could choose our cabin and make sure that it was in the right location (midships, low down). However, as the date of our departure came nearer it was clear that P&O were having trouble selling the remaining cabins as they were reducing the cost of our cabin grade, quite substantially. Obviously, P&O can charge what they like for their cruises and I fully accept that if they had suddenly increased the cost of our cabin grade, I'd have been pretty miffed if they came to us asking us to pay more. However, in the spirit of it costing nothing to ask I rang them to see if they'd be willing to offer us some OBC in recognition that we had paid more than someone who was booking that day. They flatly refused and even refused to offer us a free meal in Sindhu or The Epicurean. Like I have already said, I didn't really expect much and accept that they are free to charge what they want. However, it would be hard to deny that this did not leave a nasty taste in my mouth and did not give me, as a first-time P&O customer, the best of first impressions. EMBARKATION We took the coach included in our Early Saver fare and departed Liverpool at 0715 on the 11th. We had a further pick up at a motorway service station about forty minutes away and then had a 45 minute break at Warwick Services. We arrived at Ocean Terminal at around 1315. The embarkation process was very efficient and although the terminal was very busy indeed it was a smooth, easy experience. Upon entering, you are given a coloured card with a letter on it (we were blue M). You then took a seat from one of the many available and waited for your colour and letter to be called. You then booked in and went on to security. From there, it was onto the gangway and then the ship. There were crew members on hand to let you know if your cabin was ready and to point you in vaguely the right direction. It's very much worth noting that P&O are extremely tolerant of you taking alcohol on board, as long as it is consumed in your cabin. We took a litre of Bacardi, a litre of gin and two bottles of red wine on and not even a single eyelid was batted. CABIN We, as we always do, had booked an inside cabin. We feel that, as we spend so little time in the cabin, it's not worth spending the difference. We'd rather spend that money on booze and meals in the speciality restaurants! We had E316 on Deck 8, Ecuador Deck, about halfway between the midship and the forward elevators. A great location as we were only a short way from the night-time action on Decks 6&7 and a quick elevator ride away from the pool and deck bars on Deck 15. We'd noticed from the deckplans that E316 was directly above The Glasshouse but we didn't hear any noise whatsoever. The cabin was perfectly acceptable, with everything you would need. Obviously, an inside cabin is never going to be huge but there was plenty enough space for the both of us. It's worth your while taking coat hangers though, as P&O don't provide many. Our cabin steward, Rocky, was lovely and very accommodating. One request brought us a fresh bucket of ice at around 1pm each day. DINING We had opted for Freedom Dining (ie we could turn up for dinner at anytime between 1830 and 2130) and were allocated Saffron dining room. Our first dinner did not leave a great impression as the waiters, one in particular, were rather surly and grumpy. However, we were seated in their area again a couple of nights later and they were totally different. Everyone's entitled to an off-day, I guess. The food was of a reasonable standard, with plenty of variety. Most dishes were well-cooked and tasty but some were very much of a 'mass-catering' standard. Now, I know that, by definition, a cruise ship is mass-catering, but in my opinion the food on a cruise should be above that standard. The meals come ready-plated, ie with vegetables already on and there was very little variety in what was served. If you like carrots, green beans and peas you'll have a ball. I have copies of all the menus served onboard during our cruise and if anybody would like to see them, please send me a PM and I'll attempt to scan them in and email them to you. We had breakfast in the main dining rooms on all mornings except one when we didn't wake up until 0945. One of the hazards of having an inside cabin - we were very glad that it was just a sea day! The daily specials were nice but the portions were tiny. The P&O Cruises Breakfast is epic, including liver, black pudding and white pudding. You are more than welcome to mix-and-match your own cooked breakfast from what's on offer but you won't always get what you ask for as the waiters don't seem to listen properly. No biggie, as it leant an air of mystery to proceedings! We only used one of the 'Speciality Dining' restaurants - Sindhu. If you like Asian food then this is a must. It was, simply, divine. Easily the best Indian food I have ever eaten, and I've eaten a lot. Well worth the £15 per person cover charge. The Waterside Buffet was only used once, when we missed the MDR breakfast. Oh, and on a couple of occasions when we got an attack of the nibbles on the way to bed! The pizza and burgers available at the Poolside Grill are very tasty indeed and make a lovely lunch if you're on deck sunbathing. ENTERTAINMENT Superb. Just fabulous. The ship's theatre company, Headliners, were amazing. A group of 13 very, very talented individuals. They put on six very good production shows with great sets and costumes. Unfortunately, this particular group came to the end of their contracts on this cruise so there will be an entirely different company on board by now. Perhaps the only criticism would be that all of the soundtracks for the production shows were pre-recorded. I'm at a loss to work out why this would be, when you have a very talented eight-piece orchestra onboard who seemed almost criminally under-used. The visiting artistes were of a uniformly excellent standard, although mostly singers. There were two comedians, Tony Wallace and Dave Kristian who were very funny indeed, there was a comedy magician, Mandy Muden, who was very good and several singers the pick of whom was Steve V King who has spent time touring with The Drifters. He was excellent. I had read a lot of negative comments regarding the Cruise Director (or Entertainment Manager as P&O now refer to the position) before the cruise and, whilst I found Hughie Taylor to be very personable and witty, he was not seen anywhere near enough. The only time I saw him outside of the theatre was when we were dining in Sindhu - he was in there with his family. I also thought that it was very remiss of P&O not to have him say 'goodbye' to the passengers on the last night. There was none of the usual run-down of how much food we'd munched through, no 'thanks for sailing with us' - nothing. Very bad form, in my book. The ship's bands were great, very talented musicians all. The Electrix were a five piece band who played anything and everything and also backed some of the visiting artistes. Serious Sounds were a four-piece band who played soul, motown and disco. They were fronted by one of the quietest, most self-effacing lead singers I have ever seen but my word, what a voice! Megan & Joe were a trio who performed mostly in Metropolis, up on Deck 18. And the ship's Orchestra were also very good indeed who, as I have said before, were utterly under-used although they did put on a very good Glenn Miller show. If you wanted to watch one of the shows, either in the Arena Theatre or in the two show bars (The Tamarind Club or Havana - a Cuban-themed bar, ironic really as Cuba don't allow cruise ships to dock) then you had to be in at least thirty minutes before each performance to be sure of getting a seat. If you like quizzes and trivia then Ventura is the ship for you. However, there were no game shows such as 'Mr & Mrs' or 'Liars Club'. PORTS OF CALL I'll try to deal with these in order. Lisbon We arrived the day after a major carnival and so the area around the dock was filthy. Lots of rubbish in the gutters. It didn't help that it was overcast, raining and gloomy. We really didn't get a good impression of the city. We got utterly lost walking around the hilly, cobbled old quarter and then eventually stumbled across the main squares where we picked up the open-top sightseeing bus (which we'd already booked thinking that it would be good weather). Luckily we got a seat under the front covered area. All in all though, we weren't terribly impressed with the place but that would probably have been totally different had the weather been better. Lanzarote After looking at the ship's excursions we decided that, to see what we wanted to (Timanfaya National Park and the house of Cesar Manrique, one of Spain's foremost 20th century artisits) we would be better of hiring a car. I'd booked a Vauxhall (well, Opel!) Corsa with satnav online before we departed for a bargain £25.67 for the day. It was the first time that I had ever driven abroad so I was a bit nervous to say the least, but it all panned out in the end. We saw some marvellous sights and experienced some of the tiny little villages that we wouldn't have seen had we taken a ship's excursion. Gran Canaria As the 'old town' was a fair old walk away we decided to again use the open-top sightseeing bus. If you've never been somewhere before then they really are a great way to get a feel of a place. Our favourite tactic is to do the full circuit, noting places that we might want to investigate 'next time around'. We had a good rummage around the old quarter and then headed to a restaurant for a beer and a paella in the sunshine. Tenerife We docked in Santa Cruz De Tenerife, in the north of the island and had a good wander around. It's a charming little city, the first of our ports of call that I felt I could spend a week in. We walked up to the Cathedral and then on to the lovely market. After a potter about, trying to guess what the various dead things were we wombled back in search of lunch. I must have been influenced by what I saw in the market as I had some very delicious rabbit and a lovely, ice-cold beer. We then crossed the road to have a couple of wonderful-tasting Mojitos in a bar set around a huge lake right on the front. Very picturesque and civilised, especially as the sun was beating down. I took off my shoes and sat with my feet dangling in the cool water. Lovely. Until later in the day when I discovered that I had burnt the tops of my feet really very badly. Over the next few days, both feet blistered and were very, very painful. So much so that my wife had to borrow a wheelchair from Passenger Services (or the very dull 'Reception' as they now call it) to get me about. This cast a pall over the rest of the holiday so please, please make sure that you use sunscreen. I, foolishly, didn't and I paid for it. La Palma This is a small town, with some charming buildings and streets. In truth, there is not a huge amount to do other than womble so a ship's excursion may be a better idea. Madeira We really liked Funchal. It's a very green, pretty city. We had intended to take the cable car up to the Monte and the Botanical Gardens but my burnt feet, and my wife's cowardice where cable cars are concerned, meant that we reverted to our old faithful, the open-top sightseeing bus. This was a round trip of an hour and a half, taking us to the nearby fishing village of Camara de Lobos (a thoroughly charming place) for a very reasonable 11 Euros each. We then went in search of some Madeira wine to take home and some lunch. Another place where I could spend a week. La Coruna Another small city, and another very quaint and beautiful place but again there is not a huge amount to see. What there was was very interesting though and we were visiting on a festival day so were treated to a couple of marching bands which was nice. MISCELLANEOUS Ventura herself was in very good condition throughout. No worn carpets or upholsteries, no rust to be seen anywhere. On every port day, and most sea days, there were people painting the hull or sanding a varnishing deck rails. There were warnings in the daily Horizon (the ship's newspaper) that the reservation of sunbeds on deck is not allowed. However, this did not seem to be policed and there were plenty of sunbeds to be seen draped with towels for hours on end. Similarly, there were frequent announcements that the reservation of seats in the theatre and other bars was not allowed. However, people still did which did not help other people to find seats. The weather on the cruise was not great with only one of the six days enjoying unbroken blue skies all days. Of course, this is not P&O's fault! But it did expose Ventura's failings in accommodating over 3,000 passengers as everybody wanted to be inside, leading to some very cramped conditions. CONCLUSION We are very lucky to be able to afford to cruise and always go on every cruise in a positive frame of mind. However, we felt that our cruise on Ventura wasn't as good or as enjoyable as our two previous cruises on the Grand Princess. That's not to say that we didn't enjoy ourselves, or that we didn't have a relaxing holiday. However, I don't think that we'd be in a rush to book with P&O again. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2015
Is was the first cruise with P & O and I was very dissapointed with the level of service on the ship. I have cruised before with Ocean Village, Royal Caribbean and Princess. I found the staff on the Ventura miserable and unhelpful. The ... Read More
Is was the first cruise with P & O and I was very dissapointed with the level of service on the ship. I have cruised before with Ocean Village, Royal Caribbean and Princess. I found the staff on the Ventura miserable and unhelpful. The cabin steward was very good and kept the cabin clean and tidy. Generally the ship is lovely but there were just too many people on board. The buffet was a nigtmare every morning with long queues to get your food and running out of basic things like milk and cups. We had to walk round and round the buffet for ages to find a table and sometimes ended up with four us at a table for two and had to take turns to sit down and eat. Very stressful. The restaurent food was just ok - nothing special. The waiters were miserable and unhelpful and were more interested in laying the labels for the next day than serving he customers they had. Could not manage to get a seat in any of he bars that had entertainment so gave up. Long unmanaged queues for tender boats - quite chaotic actually. Long queues for photographers and reception. If you lie queueing you will love this cruise! Passangers getting ratty with people pushing in. There were children in the adult only pool messing about. The ship is basically the same as Emerald Princess which I went on last year but the staff and service on Emerald Princess are far superior and made for a much more relaxing and enjoyable cruise. This has put me off going with P & O again. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2015
Just returned from 4 night mini-cruise, (N514) stopping over at Zeebrugge, Belgium and St. Peter Port, Guernsey. This is the first time we have embarked from the re-vamped Ocean Terminal, all-in-all a vast improvement as the old security ... Read More
Just returned from 4 night mini-cruise, (N514) stopping over at Zeebrugge, Belgium and St. Peter Port, Guernsey. This is the first time we have embarked from the re-vamped Ocean Terminal, all-in-all a vast improvement as the old security system was a real bottle neck. We have sailed on the Ventura several times before, and it hasn’t changed a great deal. The much discussed overhaul has now disappeared into the dim and distant past, the décor is looking a bit tired and only real new change is that the ‘White’ room is now called the ‘Epicurean’ which still has an overpriced cover charge. The stop-overs were ok, Zeebrugge now appears to have its own port transport shuttling between ship and port gate, which I don’t remember from previous visits, and they appear to be revamping Blankenberge railway station – we seemed to get a discount on the train tickets by showing our cruise card! Because one of the days during the cruise was significant to us, I had pre-ordered via the P&O web site/booking office some extras for that day, the flowers and champagne arrived on time, on date. However, it wasn’t made clear to me that the chocolate dipped strawberries were only served on the formal night – that was a bit of a downer. Also, the roses in the bouquet were obviously wilting after 2 days which I did not expect, but the florist did replace these flowers without a quibble. To my wife and I, dinner is the highlight of the day when cruising and I became worried when I heard that P&O in their cost cutting phase had begun to serve guests with pre-loaded plates at dinner, i.e. no longer serving vegetables separately. Having certain dietary requirements, I had thought that the new serving process may present a problem, but it was ok. To my mind serving pre-loaded plate at dinner is hardly silver service, and has definitely dented the overall luxury feel of the cruise. While the food served was good, the service from the waiters was very nearly perfunctory, the normal banter had to be really worked at, the smiles were fewer, I have this feeling that the waiters do not like the auto-tipping policy now employed. Next cruise we will definitely stop the auto-tipping and go back to old way of tipping, let the waiters/room steward know what we are doing and then maybe we will get a more personal and pleasant service. We normally order a light breakfast from room service – i.e. coffee and toast. This time the service was very patchy and not once did we receive what we ordered, no toast or butter and only Jam one day, only hot water but no coffee another, another just one plate and knife for the two of us. A small note of complaint is that I noticed that not all items glassware and crockery seemed as scrupulously clean as I expected, but obviously these items were immediately replaced when the defects were pointed out. Also, in future we will avoid cruising during school holidays; the ship was crawling with children and the absentee parents seemed to relinquish all responsibility for them. As a consequence, all swimming pools and hot tubs were completely monopolised by these children, to the point where it was very uncomfortable to use or approach either type of facility. It did not help that on the last full day one of the swimming pools had to be shut because someone had fouled the water. Overall we feel that P&O are continuing to cost cut by further reduce their service levels, and as a result are at risk of losing their (so far) loyal customers to rival cruise companies. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: May 2015
This was our first time with P&O and it was not what we expected ... we cruised before on Royal Caribbean( Indep.of the Seas ) and Grand PRincess . The Ventura is the same size as the Grand PRincess , the room was very nice we had a ... Read More
This was our first time with P&O and it was not what we expected ... we cruised before on Royal Caribbean( Indep.of the Seas ) and Grand PRincess . The Ventura is the same size as the Grand PRincess , the room was very nice we had a balcony room on Lido deck and was lovely .We dined in the Buffett restaurants and in Saffron which was nothing special . The buffet restaurants are ok : the food choice is limited comparing with other ships we have been on , food not hot and very repetitive which was disappointing .... the Saffron was so desapointing I can't describe .... First the staff are so miserable, long faces, do not enjoy their jobs, not friendly... no smiles , POOR SERVICE ! the food was just warm , the smallest portions I have ever seen ... nothing special !!! The shows we really enjoyed "Junnk" and "Destination Dance"... Comparing with other cruise ships P&O have got a lot of work to do... it left a bitter taste and we will not return on VEntura or any other P&O ships .... Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: May 2015
Having been on a number of P&O cruises we have normally been happy with them. This is our first review so here goes! Embarkation: good. Accommodation: We decided to treat ourselves to a suite this time (without the children!), ... Read More
Having been on a number of P&O cruises we have normally been happy with them. This is our first review so here goes! Embarkation: good. Accommodation: We decided to treat ourselves to a suite this time (without the children!), but this was a mistake, whilst the suite was spacious for the two of us, it's position was terrible! The balcony was very narrow and the Lido deck above overhang by some distance so there was no chance of getting any sun on it! The worst problem though was the noise from the above deck, from people walking, trolleys and even people having conversations (and yes this was inside the cabin, not on the balcony!) P&O's response to our complaint was, 'sorry but we are full so can't move you.'! Restaurants: The lack of wine waiters in the restaurants is a major disappointment, it took us 30 minutes to get a bottle of wine for our meal and because of the lack of knowledge the waiters could not advise on a suitable bottle with the foods we had chosen! Wine list is not as extensive as it used to be, the waiters are under far more stress having to serve more people. Sadly the Food served in the main restaurants is no where near as good as it used to be - I think it is a ploy by P&O to get you to book into the speciality restaurants (which incidentally are excellent - from food to service!) but these get booked up very quickly! Spa facilities: still very expensive for what you get and watch them - my husband booked and paid for a 100 min sea mineral spa, but didn't get it! Fortunately friends who were with us booked the same and when they compared the treatment, we discovered he hadn't got what he booked so we demanded our money back! Gym area: Nice clean with plenty of machines, though can get busy on sea days. If you like exercise classes it can be difficult to hear the instructor with the machines in the background. Shore Excursions: really enjoyable excursion in Amsterdam evening scenic canal boat tour with cheese and wine - excellent tour guide! Excursions still a bit over priced though. Entertainment: the onboard dancers/singers were OK, preferred the visiting band 'walk like a man' - brilliant! Overall Disembarkation: very good, took 30 minutes from leaving our cabin to meeting our minibus! Lets hope our next cruise in August on Azura is better! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2015
We have cruised a few times before mainly RCL and Celebrity but thought we would give P&O a whirl, so we booked two cruise, one 'taster' on Aurora last December and Ventura. Have to say we were not so impressed with Aurora, ... Read More
We have cruised a few times before mainly RCL and Celebrity but thought we would give P&O a whirl, so we booked two cruise, one 'taster' on Aurora last December and Ventura. Have to say we were not so impressed with Aurora, mainly let down by the crew who on the whole were not so interested in doing that extra bit but we thought it is only a short cruise (3 days) hopefully it will be better on Ventura. On Ventura we found the crew were so much better, very helpful and cheery, food in the main dining room was ok, service a bit slow at times, as for the dining room itself it was on all one level with what felt like a very low ceiling which gave the place a rather cramped and gloomy feel, nearly all the other ships we have been on have dining rooms spread over two decks which tends to make them feel light and airy. The Waterside (buffet) restaurant was a bit of a disappointment in the range and quality of the food on offer, which we felt was limited, breakfast was a bit of a bun fight to get a table, many people were forced to grab a table near the pool area. We tried the 'Beach House', section of the Waterside that is sectioned off in the evening and this was really ok, there is a £5 cover charge and some meals you have to pay extra but the food was ok as was the service. Going upmarket we tried 'The White Room' , now that was really nice and should be for £25 service charge each but it was nice to have a relaxing meal, so all in all the food on Ventura was fairly good. Entertainment in the main theatre was good and the waiters were not intrusive as you sometimes find on other ships, entertainment around the rest of the ship was a mixed bag, plenty of quizzes and bingo. Cabin (balcony at the rear of the ship) was OK, nothing fancy, you have like a walk in wardrobe as you enter the cabin, this is opposite the the door to the toilet/shower. All the places to store your clothes were open so everything was on show,prefer the arrangement where there are doors to hide things away and makes the place look tidy. The main let down was the ship itself, it was ok but that is just about it, there is no wow factor about it, the Atrium is fairly small for a ship of that size and it just felt they had crammed as many cabins (and people) into the ship as possible, this is the first ship we have been on where everywhere was always crowded, you could not really relax anywhere, apart from your cabin. We may do P&O again if it is a good itinerary but think we will be going back to Celebrity. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2015
Having cruised for the last twelve years, we have seen the prices become lower, and also the standards in some cases, corners have been cut, slightly at first but now more noticeably. first the dressing gowns and sippers went, then the ... Read More
Having cruised for the last twelve years, we have seen the prices become lower, and also the standards in some cases, corners have been cut, slightly at first but now more noticeably. first the dressing gowns and sippers went, then the welcome bottle of wine, now even the flower in the bud vase, please if a flower is too much of an expense remove the vase. Now to our cruise, embarkation was good, our luggage was just left anywhere on deck seven, we had to search for it, the cabin was a little small, the wardrobe space was excellent, the balcony was in shadow almost permanently, there was a small crack in the hand basin, the bed linen was very thin, the pillows like the rock at Gib. the upholstery and carpet had seen better days. Our cabin steward was a delight, polite helpful and eager to please, the cabin was always kept in excellent order. The carpeting in the halls was really dirty in parts, and there was a slightly unpleasant smell outside our cabin. The cabin door rattled intermittently, and the sliding door to the balcony was difficult to open. The door issues were remedied by our excellent deck housekeeper Dipin, who was very courteous and helpful. Freedom dining suited us and the food was of exceptional quality, we were always able to have a table for two for dinner which was a bonus, the choice of wine was excellent, and the service acceptable. We found the lunchtime choice in the Lido very repetitive. Room service had a limited menu. All aspects of the White Room were fabulous. The pools were excellent, the public rooms were very well furnished. The entertainment was good in the theatre, the television was poor or had to be paid for, the library was small, there was nowhere to go for a quiet drink as all the bars had very loud singers, or music, except the red bar with the most delightful pianist who did not play as often as we would have liked because the loud music coming from the atrium prevented this. The shops were good, and the staff helpful, the young photographers were fun, and took some of the best photographs we have ever had at sea. The ports of call were super, and we enjoyed the late stay in Gib. allowing us an evening on the White Room balcony with delicious food and superb service. Unfortunately the slightly unpleasant smell outside our cabin became worse and worse, the smell of drains eventually became so bad that it started to pervade our cabin, at that point we insisted upon being moved, this was a real pain, and took up valuable time, we were not the only people moving cabins, it did seem a little bit like a game of musical beds with luggage as most days you met a passenger on the move. On balance we would sail on the Ventura again as we felt that the delightful staff and delicious food compensated for most of the drawbacks. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2015
My husband and I travelled 2 weeks ago on the Ventura & had a fab cruise itinery wise but oh dear what a difference from when we previously used this ship some 6yrs ago. The refurbished ship was a pleasant surprise but nearly ... Read More
My husband and I travelled 2 weeks ago on the Ventura & had a fab cruise itinery wise but oh dear what a difference from when we previously used this ship some 6yrs ago. The refurbished ship was a pleasant surprise but nearly everything else apart from our cabin & East restaurant was quite a shock.Allow me to share our somewhat strange experiences. Why but why is it necessary to wipe your seat with a cloth that has just been used to wipe the table? I saw this happen 3 times during the same sitting whilst my husband left his seat to get us both some drinks then a dessert & then a knife for cheese & biscuits.I got so exasperated with this nonsense I asked the member of staff to stop doing this to which he just laughed at me then proceeded to do this at another table. Another unpleasant observation I made was staff transferring different food varieties onto the same platter as a result making the choice look unappealing. I was hoping to have a slice of Pate but not with some remnants of the crust part of some other food item slopped on top of it We cannot change those people who leave the crust on the serving plate but the staff ought not to put the leftovers onto a different platter containing a different food type. One more quibble was the dismissive attitude to requests We asked about the possibility of changing from Freedom dining to Club Dining . We did not receive an answer at any point in the cruise.We found the Freedom Dining so stressful & disorganised we abandoned this & ended up taking our Evening Meals in the Lido Restaurant which had a good spread each night in a much calmer ambience & on 3 occasions at East which was superb.Incidentally we spoke with other people who were on Club Dining who would have preferred to be on Freedom Dining who were told the alternative was to eat at the Lido Restaurant at night Poor hygiene was rife in general despite the availability of Hand Gel.Then of course people complained of illnesses & of course even those with good hygiene standards became unwell at some point We did enjoy our cruise and I could go on complaining more but I.'ve said enough to hopefully give others including the P&O staff an insight into some incidents which spoil some peoples holiday Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2015
This was our first P& O cruise and it was a near hit , but had too many misses! We booked a deluxe superior balcony cabin. We were promised little extras such as a bottle of champagne, dressing gown, canapés, fruit basket and flower ... Read More
This was our first P& O cruise and it was a near hit , but had too many misses! We booked a deluxe superior balcony cabin. We were promised little extras such as a bottle of champagne, dressing gown, canapés, fruit basket and flower display. The flight down was fabulous from Gatwick a Dreamliner ands embarkation onto the ship faultless. We got our luggage in under 1 hour as well. The cabin was fine, E720 on deck 8 aft, not huge and the balcony was in permanent shade as the floor above extends to the balcony rail. The champagne was in the fridge, not on ice. No fruit, a box of chocolates was on the coffe table, no canapés or fruit bowl. It took 3 days to get the fruit bowl. 1 Apple, 1 orange. 1 bannana and 6 individual grapes.  Then saucer of 5 revolting canapés. The flowered didn't ever materialise. The ship is beautiful with lovely facilities, however she is abysmally let down by dreadful customer service at many levels. Freedom dining is a problem. Although it's good to have the freedom it means that Gala nights are a waste of time and absolute let down. As nothing is put on for them. There are not any special presentation . Ice or fruit carvings - no songs or ceremony. You put on your finery, eat as normal and that's it. The waiters on the whole were extremely rude, unpleasant and poorly trained. They lean across you in front of you. The service in Saffron was chaotic and hit and miss. Yes there were a few who were lovely but on the main it wasnt a good experience. It's clear that P& O have taken the majority of their best staff for Brittania and left the dross behind on Ventura The room service menu, is tiny and you have to pay extra for many items. The bar prices are good. The White room is excellent. The entertainment was good, if you could Eve get a seat.  P&O have waiters galore selling booze, but can't invest in stewards to look after passages on the sun decks, theatres or have a customer relation desks, staffed by senior managers, who have first hand In depth knowledge and experience of the standards offered to and expected by British & American passengers at 4&5* resorts and cruises. It would seem unfair to expect us a fare paying passengers to put up with such shoddy and laughable service for a premium fare!   Also this cruise had 8 sea days, with the exception of a quiz, lectures on murders and the occasional free film, nearly every additional leisure activity such as painting had tone paid for! The TV is a disgrace - sky news, bbc news Sky sportthsts it. Previous passengers were saying last year they had 48 free handles. The chi late buffet is no more.  Most of the buffets have curry.  In fact it's hard to get things without curry! I love curry but from time to time. The afternoon tea sandwiches were weird combinatiins as well. All in all we had fantastic weather, a comfortable cabin and a relaxing g time. But if P&O want to retain a decent reputation they need to listen and learn some customer relations lessons from their bosses at Carnival or even better celebrity &princess Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2015
Great ports but found the Caribean all a bit overcrowded with so many cruise ships around ! The ship was very nice but also too crowded for us particularly on the sun deck. On sea days it was extremely difficult to find a sun bed and it if ... Read More
Great ports but found the Caribean all a bit overcrowded with so many cruise ships around ! The ship was very nice but also too crowded for us particularly on the sun deck. On sea days it was extremely difficult to find a sun bed and it if you were able to it was jammed in between others. Not a pleasant experience. We spent a lot of time on our balcony , however this was overlooked by cabins and decks above as it protruded from the ship. Nice balcony but did compromise our privacy. Food all good and anytime dining worked well for us. Did not have to wait too long for a table for 2. Entertainment overall was good. Embarkation was handled very well at the cruise terminal rather than the airport. The overnight stay in Barbados before coming home was brilliant. Overall a good cruise but this ship is not for us. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2014
If this had been our first cruise we would probably never cruised again. The title of this review, P & Queue, is an overall impression of this cruise, it appeared that every couple of days we had to queue. Manchester Airport Arrived ... Read More
If this had been our first cruise we would probably never cruised again. The title of this review, P & Queue, is an overall impression of this cruise, it appeared that every couple of days we had to queue. Manchester Airport Arrived early after stopping over night at an airport hotel, had to queue for 2 and a half hours to check in, only one check in desk manned, the P&O representative said there should have been 7 and blamed Thompsons, but our contract was with P&O and they should have seen that the agreement they had with Thompsons was enforced. Flight OK, old plane very ordinary meals and service. Barbados Check in. We queued for 1 and half hours to register and then 1 hour to get through security. (Only 2 scanners for about 1500 passengers??) Bags did not arrive at our cabin until after 10.30pm, we landed at 5.15pm. Booking Gala Meals Booking for Christmas Day and New Years Eve meals was a farce, we queued for 2 and a half hours for the second sitting, people booking for the first sitting had to wait longer, also people "missed" breakfast due to the time they had to wait. One lady, a solo passenger, told us she had to queue for 4 hours and when she got to the front was told "as a solo she didn't have to queue as they could have slotted her in anywhere". Flight Back to Manchester 2 Thompson fights leaving at the same time from the same gate, very confusing and more queuing. Some of the restaurant staff on board ship were rude and hurried us out of the restaurants after breakfast and lunch as they were in a hurry to prepare tables for the following meal. (Not enough staff??) Our last cruise with P&O was in 2009, every thing went like clockwork, staff were excellent and all the service we received on board was perfect, following this we recommended P&O to our friends, never again, we have now booked another cruise with another Company, we never looked at P&O alternatives. Very disappointed Passenger, now booking with other Company's.   Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2014
Just returned from the Christmas cruise aboard Ventura. I'll will try to summarise my thoughts .... The service from the steward and dining room staff (early sitting) was excellent. The dinning room food in the evening was largely ... Read More
Just returned from the Christmas cruise aboard Ventura. I'll will try to summarise my thoughts .... The service from the steward and dining room staff (early sitting) was excellent. The dinning room food in the evening was largely good with just a few disappointments but in nearly all cases the meat portion was too small. Our D deck cabin was very average with no internet access when the ship was moving, poor maintainance in the bathroom, a faded settee, questionable AC and ridiculous noise from the tender launching process at 7am (!) in Tortola . To add to this the balcony was not at all private with virtually every cabin above it having a birds eye view of us. The balcony was often littered with cigarette butts which I assume came from the rooms above . The guest entertainers were typically good but the production shows were over ambitious given the singers available and their lack of talent . It's takes a brave girl of any description to offer a "tribute" to Karen Carpenter but if they cannot sing well its just not practical and how 3 white guys can try to mimic the Drifters is beyond my comprehension - they must be able to both sing and dance and do both at the same time! The Calypso band that played in various venues was quite good but the rock band much worse. There was a constant problem with the lack of sun beds . This is down to bad deck design or even ship design and poor management - given though P&O can cure this but they have to want to do it. Similarly the show lounge is too small and requires a 3rd nightly show. P&O employ "minders" around the swimming pool whose sole purpose appears to be annoy the kids who are jumping in and out and enjoying themselves. These pool minders even kick out adults in the pool if the appear to jump in, even though they weren't. Making these people redundant would offer a serious cost saving . They could be re employed as traffic wardens where they could irritate a larger number of people and not damage the cruise's reputation. For some reason the hot tubs were often closed for cleaning - even on Christmas Day - is there no planning or consideration given to the days on which this happens? Ship maintenance, such as refreshing of paint, occurred during day hours. Why? Wouldn't it be easier to do this at 5am or when passengers are sleeping rather than make paying passengers move this lounge chair during the day to accommodate ship repairs? The kindergarten now operates a nonsensical process for signing the kids in and out and this needs to be looked at. As it stands a cruise card with a kids club sticker on it is "worth" a child and a signature the same as the one on that card is the only thing required to release the child. If there really is such a problem a picture of the parents maybe more worthwhile. I suspect the process was engineered by someone at a desk with a pen but little or no practical experience. The itinerary worked well except from Christmas Eve in Dominica. As you may know it rains there a lot so to organise Santa's arrival on the open deck as we left was frankly stupid, it was always going to rain and of course the entire event, witnessed by hundreds of families, was a complete wash out. Clearly a different port or venue or time was needed. At Tortola the dock is being rebuilt and is closed for the duration. The itinerary suggested it was a "possible tender" port. It's a definite tender and those on deck 9 should have been warned of the very loud noise and shuddering vibration a 7am when the tenders are launched. To be fair the tender process seemed to worked ok but there is no need to go there at all until the dock is built - there are lots of other islands. There were too many formal nights - 4 in total. This was way too many and should be re thought on family cruises. Given the fact we all had to fly in with the accompanying baggage problems, a clear dress code itinerary would have been useful ahead of the cruise, sadly it's not provided. The passengers were an eclectic mix of pensioners, couples and families with older and or younger children, some of whom were well heeled educated types and many others who could be described as "tattooed wonders", some of the later may perhaps be better served at a guest house in Blackpool or Butlins. I realise P&O is not going to conduct IQ tests on the passengers at the pier prior to boarding but I recommend they think of something before the entire cruise resembles a remand centre. There were too many smokers onboard and now may be the time to ban smoking completely. This would discourage those who need budget fares and relieve non smokers of ash, smell, and dirty ash trays which ruin otherwise useful deck areas. I noticed on a number of occasions that "housekeeping" was not as it could be with abandoned coffee cups left in halls for many hours and festering nappies in lifts. Some of this will be as result of the passenger mix but P&O should know who they sold the cruise to and prepare accordingly. Throughout the cruise the air conditioning did don't seem to work too well. Cruise ships in my experience are typically really quite cool inside but the Ventura was always warm. Even with the AC set to minimum in the cabin it was often too warm to sleep and other passengers who commented on the issue suggested it was a cost cutting measure..... P&O offer what amounts to late check out of the cabin to those who wish to pay for it. The process for this defies belief - as after paying £85 you have to leave the room you've had to the last fortnight together with your hand luggage at 9am and come back an hour later to room a few doors along the hall. If a good hotel offers late check out they let you have the room you are in - it saves preparing it again - and often they do not charge either. On this cruise all the passengers arrive on flights in the later afternoon and those going home need to leave before that. The only explanation for devising such a scheme is to collect cash and generate work for the stewards, it really is that silly. The additional cost restaurants are multiplying - and getting pricey. We went to the "Beach House" where even the burger is £2 extra - over and above the £6 you've just already agreed to. The place is ok but really you should stay with the dining room. Many of the other dining places are much more money and where often empty. Breakfast in the dining room was a slow a prescriptive saga and I see no reason to go there. The buffet arrangement upstairs seems better with plentiful if rather average food but often a shortage of tables unless you go out on the deck and sit in the cigarette smoke and ashtrays. P&O now serve Costa coffee which is big improvement on the liquid served in the buffet. Given their quest to charge for everything they can they should serve it at all the bars and for breakfast at a "nominal charge" of course. The buffet lunches were a bit tedious with the menu only changing a little each day and offering some bizarre choices for a Carribean cruise including faggots and a hotpot! On deck they serve burgers and hotdogs which are quite good but again the lack of tables either with or without smokers is an issue. The reception desk staff were typically polite but often could not answer many questions sensibly and they also had a habit of not answering the phone at all. P&O want you to buy a "wine" package for dinner but while this appears to offer some value the chosen wines are not good and the wine list selection is a better bet albeit at extra cost The beauty parlour prices where laughably high and it's hard to imagine anybody paying them. The return flights on Thomas Cook were only just about acceptable and only because we paid extra for Premium seats. The economy looked too cramped for an 8 hour flight and the food and drink are extra back there too. To add to this if you want to sit together as a family you have to pay another £15 each - each way - £90 for a family of 3!. This is a rip off and those concerned should be ashamed of such fees on families who have, in some cases, already paid £8000+. The gratuity policy appears now to involve charging every adult £55 (for the 2 week cruise) to there account and this covers the gratuities, however what is less clear is who gets the money, how much of it and what happens if you choose to opt out of the £55 deal. I asked for the money to be credited back to the account and it was and I gave cash to the room steward and dining room waiter and his assistant, but if more than those 3 were about to receive from me did they do without and in any event who were they and what is it they did for me? As with so many other silly fees in this world P&O should scrap the gratuity like they have with the one on the bar bill and pay their, largely excellent, service staff a sensible wage. As Ryan Air will tell you making people mad will not generate repeat passengers and P&O should take a good look at what they are doing before the policies get any worse..... I expect I will sail with P&O again - we are booked already but the Ventura will not be on my shortlist and P&O need to sort themselves out if I am to stay a loyal passenger. I am hoping the issues only relate to the Ventura but I am not hopeful.   Read Less
Sail Date: November 2014
We booked this cruise just over a year before departure, choosing P&O as we had not cruised with them before, and the itinerary took us to 7 islands which we had never previously visited. The idea of checking luggage in at the UK ... Read More
We booked this cruise just over a year before departure, choosing P&O as we had not cruised with them before, and the itinerary took us to 7 islands which we had never previously visited. The idea of checking luggage in at the UK airport, and having them delivered direct to your cabin was a great innovation, and no security to go through at Bridgetown airport was another. The only problems with the flight were the fact we were sat on the aircraft for nearly three hours at Manchester airport before we departed! Problems with a piece of “cargo”, that we later discovered was a spare part for a stricken Thomas Cook aircraft at our destination. Then we were sat on the coach on the tarmac at Bridgetown for 45minutes before the final passengers were boarded before our 45 minute journey to Ventura, only to find there was then another 40 minute process to check in and get on-board. We finally got to our cabin at 6:25pm (dinner at 6:30), having been on the 9:00am flight out of Manchester. Thirteen and a half hours from scheduled departure to arrival was not a great start. At least we weren’t on the Saturday flight that didn’t even arrive! One thing we can say on the positive side is, the Cabin and Cabin Steward (Virag), were excellent. The layout and cleanliness were excellent, with the “dressing area” outside the bathroom much better than other layouts. No problem found with the shower size or curtain as read in previous reviews. Meals on board were OK. We had “Traditional” dining at the early seating, and found the menu varied, although the vegetables at times were a little tasteless. We took our breakfasts in the Waterside/Beach House areas, and on certain days (sea days) found these to be very crowded at times. One thing we did discover during our cruise was that the Muster Drill that everyone has to attend (by law), was not attended by some passengers. There was no check on who had attended or not by any of the crew, no “head-count”, no checking that passengers were out of their cabins at Muster. Other cruise companies have a head count as you enter the Muster Station, and crew check that all cabins are vacated of passengers. As this is a lawful requirement to attend, surely P&O are required to ensure that everyone is attending, and in case of an actual emergency, that all are at their dedicated Muster? Getting a sunbed was a nightmare. It was obvious (when at times we found some), that passengers were putting towels on them to “reserve” them and leaving them there for hours. Very annoying, and something that P&O should clamp down on. The best pool area we found was the Spa pool. Although this got more crowded as the cruise progressed. Now the “Down” sides. The atmosphere of the Bar and Deck staff on-board was very staid. There was no liveliness in them, almost like there was some unhappiness amongst them. They did their jobs ok, took drink orders, served them (very slowly at times) but that was all. There was no sense of enjoyment from them, like they were enjoying their work. There was no “fun” atmosphere. And as for the Cruise/Entertainments director, or whatever his title was, he would have been more suited to “Butlins”. Where on earth did they get him from? The layout on the ship seemed awkward. There appeared to be no “flow” through the ship. It was well into the second week before we could figure out what routes, up/down/forward/aft, we had to take to get between locations on-board. Overall we enjoyed the holiday, with some great new places visited. But as for P&O and Ventura, we’ve been spoilt by other companies. It’ll be back to Royal Caribbean for us definitely.   Read Less
Sail Date: October 2014
Our last cruise was on the Azura last January 2014 going round the Caribbean which defiantly had the Wow Factor which we though ally enjoyed enough to book another cruise with P&O & despite the Ventura being the sister ship to the ... Read More
Our last cruise was on the Azura last January 2014 going round the Caribbean which defiantly had the Wow Factor which we though ally enjoyed enough to book another cruise with P&O & despite the Ventura being the sister ship to the Azura it lacked any feel good factor. My wife enjoys sitting on deck during the day reading, whilst I usually go to any lectures, demonstrations & joining in the classes in the Gym. Considering what you pay for what you receive you used to get a massive amount of value for your money. But from talking to many other passengers there is better cruise company's out there for similar money, eg Celebrity. Sadly P&O are cutting back on what used to be all inclusive, now comes at a price attached. There are a small selection of daytime activities that are available all now with a hook!! Disguised as eg" Relieve back pain & walk in comfort" which translates to a foot insole at £119.00 a pair. Or "Back pain solutions" which translates in a Spa employee trying to flog sessions of Acupuncture at £93.00, even a gym class will cost you £5.00. If you might be interested in the Spa products, my advice is DONT, they are hugely overpriced & questionable weather they actually work or work as well as what they claim?. The food in the main buffet for breakfast & lunch is the same everyday & although you might not slag it of, you wouldn't write home about either. Passable. The quality & quantity in the main evening restaurant is ok, no more no less. We thought the Ventura is kept immaculacy clean all the time & is in reasonably good condition. Generally we enjoyed it, it was not as good as it was but nothing is, is it? Lets not forget this is a business like any other & the cost of everything keeps on escalating as it does in your weekly shopping. USEFUL TIPS & SUGGESTIONS FOR 1ST TIMERS & OTHERS. As this was our 5th cruise we are always looking at any savings we can make along the way. Eg. Don't bring your own shampoo & soap, it is supplied to you in your cabin. Although the tea on board is Twinning's which is ok I prefer my own so I bring Yorkshire tea bags. The instant coffee is Dow Egbert's which is ok. Bring 6 x 500lm empty plastic water bottles with you so you can fill them up free on board & take them assure with you. There is a 1litre electric kettle, 2 mugs & tea spoons in all cabins. Bring large food bags to make up sandwiches from the breakfast buffet to take assure, saves you buying lunch. P&O is the only cruise company I know that allows you to bring your own booze on board to drink in your cabin only, we took 6 litres of wine which was enough for a 2 week cruise, saves on the bar bill. Post cards of the ship are free at reception as many as you wont, postage is massive, take your cards assure & buy postage stamps at penny's not pounds. Get cash assure at ATM machines, the exchange rate on-board is not as good. Its a good idea to bring a spare pair of sun glasses in case you loose or break the ones you are using, they charge silly money on-board. Bring a light weight rain mac in case it rains as it sometimes does. Bring a beach bag for carrying your book etc from your cabin to the sun deck. If you have a inside cabin bring a small torch as its pitch black at night for finding your way to the loo. The photographs are £11.20 each on board, bring your own camera. Photocopy your passports & keep them with you at all times when assure in the unlikely event of you missing the ship you will have ID especially if the next stop is a different country. Always get a statement of your account half way though your cruise so you stay on top of what you are spending. Have a good look at your account & make sure all the items tally with your recites. Its a long story but they messed up big time with our statement in compensation they gave us a free meal in White Restaurant. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2014
As first time cruisers, we'd have appreciated more information before leaving the UK regarding known differences between standard package holidays and cruises. The embarkation process was slick and well organised, and we were well ... Read More
As first time cruisers, we'd have appreciated more information before leaving the UK regarding known differences between standard package holidays and cruises. The embarkation process was slick and well organised, and we were well looked after on board - though frequently felt rushed when eating. P&O don't police the sun-beds and don't remove towels left unattended (and reserving beds). Therefore it can be difficult (if not impossible) to find any beds after about 9.30am - and certainly insufficient for a family group together on an "at sea" day. Time in ports was too limited - the majority of the excursions felt rushed. The main issues we encountered were to do with disembarkation. Reception staff were ill-informed (and on one occasion just plain rude). We eventually discovered that there was provision for leaving hand-baggage on our last day prior to a lunchtime disembarkation so we could have time ashore without it. Other passengers who had cruised with P&O before knew this was the case - why didn't their own staff? AND HAVING TO GO TO THE AIRPORT OVER 4 AND A HALF HOURS PRIOR TO THE HOMEWARD FLIGHT (the airport being no more than 20 minutes from the port) WAS TOTALLY RIDICULOUS!! It was clear to us (and other passengers we spoke to) that all P&O wanted to do was get rid of us as soon as possible to be able to concentrate on the inbound passengers.   Read Less
Sail Date: August 2014
We love cruising, but I wouldn't cruise with Ventura again. We had a lovely holiday, but we had great expectations sine we have been cruising for years. I took my 21 yr old daughter and my 3 yr old granddaughter with me. Flew from ... Read More
We love cruising, but I wouldn't cruise with Ventura again. We had a lovely holiday, but we had great expectations sine we have been cruising for years. I took my 21 yr old daughter and my 3 yr old granddaughter with me. Flew from manchester to Venice was fine, they took cases at airport and they arrived straight into our cabin. check in was easy and fine. Cabin with balcony was fine but the bunk bed for a 3 yr old not suitable as she fell out, it is too open and also rattled all night, so I spend a cramped week with her in my bed. I am used the great service on P&O cruises sadly not on the Ventura. We were given Freedom dining - given a pager and waited ages for table - got too late to eat, waiters looked harrased and hurried us, forgot our bread, service was bad. Childs food was like something from Mcdonalds but not as good, & arrived when We were having our desert. Quality of food and service were not good. TRy the East restaurant ..you have to pay but it was excellent, Beach hut is also very good but you have to pay-if you want the quality and service you have to pay extra. Theatre was good, pools around kids area although very deep and you need to be with them all the time, are nice and warm, but you need to get early for a sun bed, Kids thought kids club too boring..hence no kids in there - which was one reason for taking our little one. Venice was lovely - you need to pay for boat to get there, but was lovely, as were most of the ports. Instead of waiting and trying to find table at the buffet - we just took trays back to cabin it was easier. British sail away was good fun. Beach hut and East for food although it costs. if you have a small child be aware of the bunks. Don't expect 5 star - you won't get it. TRy Oriana instead although adults only. Read Less
Ventura Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 0.0
Dining 4.0 0.0
Entertainment 4.0 0.0
Public Rooms 4.0 0.0
Fitness Recreation 4.0 0.0
Family 4.0 0.0
Shore Excursion 4.0 0.0
Enrichment 3.0 0.0
Service 4.0 0.0
Value For Money 4.0 0.0
Rates 3.0 0.0

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