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215 P&O Cruises Ventura Cruise Reviews

We are seasoned cruisers, but this was my first with P&O, but not for my wife. It was a short seven day cruise that went as far as Lisbon. The weather was mixed with some wet days and some better days. I won't comment on the ports ... Read More
We are seasoned cruisers, but this was my first with P&O, but not for my wife. It was a short seven day cruise that went as far as Lisbon. The weather was mixed with some wet days and some better days. I won't comment on the ports but focus on the cruise. The good things. We were given a time to embark. This worked better then I thought. We arrived at 3pm, and were on board well before 3.30pm. The food. Outstanding. Up there with the very best we have had on cruises. The variety of food in the buffet was vey good. We used it most days for breakfast and lunch. The quality was also excellent. We went freedom dining and the choice, quality and service in our restaurant was outstanding. The ship itself was in good shape given it is seven years old. It was very clean both in the public areas and our cabin. Our cabin steward was also excellent. The entertainment was good. We enjoyed the production shows, four in a week. The dancers were excellent, although the singers did not quite have the range we have seen elsewhere, good at rock, not so good for musicals. Our loo was blocked but sorted within thirty minutes. The Not so Good The interactive TV was not. We asked for it to be resolved but it was not. Could take fifteen minutes just to check the inboard account. We gave up checking messages. The bar staff were not always efficient at serving. Once we waited more then twenty minutes. Went to the counter, but was told to wit for a waiter to serve us. Some of the swimming pools were out of action for much of the cruise. Given it was half term, the others were full of children, so never really got a swim. More avoiding kids in the pool. We like quizzes but felt they were held in the wing place. Many were in a small bar area, which was full fifteen minutes before start time. The ones we were able to attend were good. We also saw two recent films. However all in all we had a good time and would be happy to go with P&O again. Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
We travelled on the Ventura during October half term, so there were quite a few kids, which was a nice selection of ages. Embarkation was just about ok, we had cruised earlier on this year with Princess and their embarkation process was ... Read More
We travelled on the Ventura during October half term, so there were quite a few kids, which was a nice selection of ages. Embarkation was just about ok, we had cruised earlier on this year with Princess and their embarkation process was far better. We had no problems with our cabin which was a balcony on deck 12, we had a pull down bunk bed for our daughter which worked out ok but a week is plenty with this set up. I would like to comment on our cabin neighbours who were just awful, loud and had obviously never encountered a sliding door before as this seemed to be a fascination for them, opening it and slamming it every few minutes along with anything else that opened and closed, they were an older couple who had obviously no social manners what so ever. We had freedom dining and were allocated Cinnamon , the food in fact was very good but the service was sooo slow, I would agree with other reviews that the staff although pleasant were not friendly, never experienced this before on any cruise, much the same in the buffet. We never had any problem in getting a table in the buffet and the one evening we did eat our main meal there we were pleasantly surprised it was set up lovely and it was quite quiet so we had no problem getting a table. The poolside burger and pizza places also served nice food. Personally I thought the drinks were expensive at nearly £6.00 for a glass of wine it soon mounts up, although the bottles of wine were reasonably priced. P and O didn't offer any drinks packages, our daughter has always had a soft drinks package where she can go to any bar and get a coke or juice and on our last cruise a Princess one, we purchased the ultimate drinks package which was great and well worth the money but nothing like this available on P and O. I've gave 4 stars because it was a pleasant cruise and considering all the bad reviews it wasn't that bad, the entertainment was good, a couple of good singers and the ship's band Dynamite Groove were very good, we went to the arena theatre one night the see Headliners, not so good, there didn't seem to be any air conditioning on and it was so hot in there, then the sound went astray but it was handled well by the entertainments guy, the show was a bit poor. We went to see a film also in the Arena theatre which was packed, the picture quality was good considering it's not a cinema . We took a shuttle bus to Lisbon , I mis -read the price I thought it was £4 per adult this turned out to be £4 per adult single journey, so for the three of us £24.00, expensive I thought, so when the same was charged at Cherbourg we decided not to take the shuttle bus bus stayed around the port area which we really enjoyed, we paid to go aboard a submarine (which my husband loved), there was lots of Titanic tributes as Cherbourg had been one of it's ports and and aquarium, this was well worth the 48 euro we paid. The Ventura is a nice ship, very modern and bright but absolutely no WOW factor, quite boring in fact. We have questioned whether we would cruise P and O again, we like NCL and really enjoyed Princess , I can't quite put my finger on it but there was something missing from P and O so unless we got a really good deal I don't think we would. Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
This was my first cruise, but my wife had cruised before when she was a young girl. At first site the ship is really impressive. The food was excellent and the quality of service in the restaurants was friendly and professional. The ... Read More
This was my first cruise, but my wife had cruised before when she was a young girl. At first site the ship is really impressive. The food was excellent and the quality of service in the restaurants was friendly and professional. The balcony cabin was very comfortable and extremely well maintained by the cabin steward, Edwin. Our towels were changed twice a day and there was very ample storage space. Our first day was rather spoilt by the staff in the spa area, who were rude when we wanted to view the special relaxation area and then when we were shown round the spa facilities, we were bombarded with a hard sell of the very expensive offerings. You have to pay to attend fitness classes. On the subject of paying, I would expect WiFi to be provided free in these circumstances, but in practice the package offered was extremely poor value. The quality of entertainment was generally very good. The headliners were very professional and some of the other acts were very entertaining. The ballroom dance instructors were excellent, but the area allocated for ballroom dancing is much too small. Surely this is one of the traditions of cruising? On this theme the facilities on the ship seem to be have deigned by an accountant and not an entertainment specialist. There are not enough seats in the theatre and other entertainments areas. (Or there are too many passengers!) There was a constant scrabble for seats. On deck near the Lagoon bar, the entertainment seemed to be designed for young people at Butlins, which did not represent the cross section of people on the cruise. Totally unsuitable music throughout, with very little classical, jazz or even Charleston period. They should pay more attention to their passengers and less to the personal preferences of the entertainment team. Unfortunately the cruise ended on a low note as a passenger was lost overboard and extra time was spent searching for him but to no avail. We will cruise again but not on this ship. They should reintroduce a more formal dress code and try to make things more upmarket. We may try one of the smaller P and O ships or else a different line with a greater focus on traditional values. Read Less
Sail Date September 2015
This was my 10th. cruise and my second on P&O. As with my previous reviews, I will split the review into sections... Embarkation/Disembarkation. Brilliant! Arrived at the docks in Southampton and joined a queue for car parking ... Read More
This was my 10th. cruise and my second on P&O. As with my previous reviews, I will split the review into sections... Embarkation/Disembarkation. Brilliant! Arrived at the docks in Southampton and joined a queue for car parking (free from P&O). The car parking was by CPS and my car was taken to a secure area for the two week cruise. CPS is not a "fly-by-night" company and the secure car park is surrounded by a high wire fence and patrolled by security staff. I went into the P&O area for passport checks (basically a formality) and was given my ship keycard. The whole process took less than 45 minutes with minimal security procedures-although my bags were x-rayed. On board, my bags were outside my cabin within a couple of hours. No mess, no fuss, just fantastic organisation. Disembarkation was a little different due to unforeseen circumstances (see "On a sad note" below) but when we were allowed off, I was in my car within 30 minutes and back on the road home. A genuinely pleasurable experience. All cruise companies need to be as good as this! Demographics. This ship is targeted at British passengers. All of the passengers were from the UK with a contingent of Scots and a handful of Northern Irish. There was an Australian family on board, but they were on the ship with relatives from the UK. The ages of the passengers was quite varied but I estimate the average age was around the late 50's/early 60's range (I am 52 myself) and there were NO kids on board-apart from less than a handful on under 10's, a few toddlers and quite a few under a year old. Why would anybody bring a child that young on a cruise? After my last cruise with dozens of screaming kids running amok around the ship, this was very refreshing. Food. I selected first sitting (6.30) and was on a table for eight but after a couple of evenings, four of the diners (two couples travelling together) decided to go to the "anytime dining" option which left four of us. Myself, Carolyn a retired Army Major, Richard from Liverpool and Maureen who is in her late 70's. Maureen recently lost her husband which meant we were all single travellers. After a few dinners together we got on like a house on fire. The food on offer was top notch with a varied selection each evening. I will say that some of the menus didn't float my boat and I won't eat some of the offerings on principal (game, venison, veal) but the restaurant did have a "standard" menu available each night. Our two waiters were brilliant. I asked for an extra gravy boat and each night they brought me one without being asked. Carolyn and I went to Sinhdu-an Asian style restaurant run by Michelin Starred chef Athul Kotcher. This carries a small charge (£15 a head) but was well worth the money. I went to the buffet (Waterside Cafe) for breakfasts and again as with my last P&O cruise, it was basically "full English" every day. Although there were other options-cereals, porridge, smoked fish, muffins-I was disappointed with the selection, often choosing beans on toast for something different. But the food was of a good quality as was the lunch selection, afternoon tea and night time with a vastly varied selection of foods. Pizza, curry's, roast meats, seasonal veggies etc. All in all, very good. Cabins/Ship interiors. I had a window cabin with a partially obscured view. The cabin felt quite roomy and was kept spotless by my cabin stewardess, who's name I don't remember. The interior decorations were in keeping with previous cruise ships-not my taste-but was also kept completely spotless by the staff. Talking of staff.. The lower order of staff (waiters, cabin crew) were almost all Indian with just a few Filipino. They were very polite and helpful. Nothing was too much trouble. Most of the officers were white European with a few Indian. Again, all very helpful. Our intinerary/excusions. We visited Barcelona, Livorno and Civittavecchia (Italy), Alicante (Spain again) and Gibraltar. We were supposed to visit Monaco (the reason I chose this cruise as I am a huge F1 fan) but due to adverse weather conditions, the Captain abandoned the attempt following advice from the Safety Officer. This was due to very high winds and heavy rain. We couldn't dock in Monaco as it's too shallow and Monaco itself is only one mile long. The ship is over 1,000 feet long so tenders would have to be used. A large percentage of the passengers were very disappointed that we couldn't go to Monaco as most of them were also F1 fans and had trips booked-myself included. But the Captain said no and we left for Livorno. My excursions were "The best of Barcelona" including the Sagrada Familia Bascilica designed by Antonio Gaudi. The streets around the Bascilica were extremely crowded and it wasn't enjoyable. Anyone who want's to visit the Bascilica, I suggest you do so on your own-but be prepared to put up with literally 10's of thousands of people. Wine tasting in Livorno and Civittavecchia and parks/churches/museums in Alicante. I did have a trip booked in Gibraltar but decided not to go as I wanted to do some shopping. I booked these online several weeks before the cruise. Although some were a little pricey, I think that they were just about value for money. AGAIN please note...If you do your own thing in a port of call and you're not back in time for the ship-TOUGH. The captain has a schedule to keep and will not wait for stragglers. Entertainment day/night. I'm not a show person but I did attend one of the shows-a comedian. He was ok but I think he could have got a little closer to the bone as I felt that his act was toned down a bit. There were the usual in-house troop "Headliners" doing Broadway/West End shows. I didn't see one but I was told they were very good. We also had guest singers and tribute acts-Niel Diamond, Tina Turner. Again I didn't attend but reports were all favourable. After one of the guest singers had left the ship, two of the "Headliners" singers took over for one night. These two blokes were terrible. They sung in the Tamarind Bar but after a few songs, people started leaving. I was at the bar talking to fellow passengers and these two guys were useless. Apparently, they had just singed new contracts-I think P&O have made a huge mistake. They were just two gay guys camping it up on stage-rubbish. If the "Headliners" were all like this, I felt sorry for anyone who saw a show. Daytime activities were not my taste-quizzies, fitness courses, outdoor games etc. I avoid quizzes as I used to write them as a hobby and it would be unfair for me to take part. There was Mr. Colin van Giffen-a British bloke who gave lectures on various subjects, including the history of the Sptifire, flying boats, the Schnieder Trophy, T. E. Lawrence (as in Lawrence of Arabia) and various other subjects. These were very enjoyable and very well attended to the point of standing room only! On a personal note... I was disappointed by the attitude of some of the passengers who thought they were above the rest of us. As I have mentioned above, talking to fellow passengers at the Tamarind Bar in particular a rally driver on holiday with his wife a a couple of friends. We recieved a message from the bar staff that we were "talking too loud". I would like to say that the singer on stage-Josh Warne-was very loud and the passengers who complained would have had great difficulty hearing us. I spoke to this guy the next night and told him I went to the reception to make a comment on the record about this-although I didn't make an official complaint-my views were written down. I don't know if anything was said to staff or passengers, but my comments must have been heard by those that needed to know as we were not spoken to again. I was also told that decks 5 and 6 were all one group of people and that these passengers refused to talk to anyone but themselves. A bit too stuck up for me! Why go on a cruise with 3,600 people if you're not going to interact with anybody? On a sad note.. As we were rounding the Isle of Wight on the way to Southapton, the "man overboard" alarm was raised at 0320 hours BST on Saturday October 10th. The ship was searched from top to bottom and no stone was unturned in this search, but the man was not on board. The Captain turned the ship around to search for the passenger at his last known sighting-around 10 miles south of the Isle of Wight. We were joined by several lifeboats from the south coast along with the local Air/Sea Rescue helicopter. The ship searched from around 0500 until around 1000 when we were released from the search by the rescue teams so that we could dock in Southampton. The search carried on until around 1830-but unfortunately the man was not found. The authorites called off the search at 1900 as it was too dark to continue. I'm not going to include the mans name in this review as he still hasn't been found. I expect that his body will be found on the south coast of England or the northern coast of France in the next few days/weeks. This is the first time I have been on a cruise and we have lost a passenger overboard. I have read of people who have vanished from cruise ships around the world and it must be a nightmare for his family. Conclusions.. Food-very good. Staff-excellent. Alcohol-Too dear. Bottled beers almost £4 a bottle with draught beers-John Smiths, Stella, Carling, Guiness also at almost £4 a pint with some premuim beers over £4 a pint. Entertainment-reports from fellow passengers said very good-but my experience of the shows in the open bars wasn't too good at all. Excursions-a little pricey but I think they were worth the money. Expect crowding at the more popular places such as Barcelona, Pisa/Florence from Livorno and Rome from Civittavecchia. One of my fellow diners-Richard (who has severe mobility problems) told me Rome was "a nightmare" especially around the Colloseum. The ship itself-a "medium" sized vessel around 115,000 tons felt a little too big but navigation around the ship was easy. Marks out of ten? I'll give this trip eight out of ten. Much better that my last trip on the "Azura" in 2013. Recommended? Yes-for the first-timers and experienced cruisers...But as I have already mentioned, avoid the excursions at the more popular destinations. Read Less
Sail Date September 2015
Just returned from our canary cruise. Had a wonderful cruise plenty of good food and entertainment. This is our honest review:- Embarkation: Pulled up in car, cases taken away by porter, checked in at 11 35, eating our lunch at 12 ... Read More
Just returned from our canary cruise. Had a wonderful cruise plenty of good food and entertainment. This is our honest review:- Embarkation: Pulled up in car, cases taken away by porter, checked in at 11 35, eating our lunch at 12 30. In cabin at 2pm unpacked and off for a drink on top deck. Cabin: We always have an inside as we don't spend much time in it, therefore, the savings we have allows us to take 3 cruises per yr. Lovely cabin girl Estela, Queen bed, lots of storage, shower not large but adequate. Good info on tv, lots of films. Restaurants: Cinnamon/freedom dining. We sat on different table each night and met lots of lovely people. Food good different menu each night. Buffet: Waterside/Beach house We had our breakfast and lunch in these restaurants, they are the only negatives on the ship, people just walking around with trays looking for seats, no organization. We were always pretty lucky and found a table. Plenty to eat breakfast and lunch. At 3pm its cake and tea until 5pm. There are some very greedy people on board I might add! Epicurean/White room: It will cost you £28pp supplement but it is well worth it, the food is outstanding and the service is excellent. We went there twice, 1st week menu 1 and 2nd week menu 2. Bars: Tamorind/Havana: Good atmosphere in both with comedians, singers, and the ventura orchestra. Our favorite were the 'serious sounds' from Barbados they really rocked the place. They also did a great tropical party on top deck. Metropolis Bar: top deck Nice quiet bar with piano and girl singer. There are coffee bars on deck 5/6. Swimming pools: one with covered roof if raining, never had trouble finding a bed, Atrium: dance teachers: Lovely to sit with your coffee and watch. Had bad crossing on the Bay of Biscay. Heavy rain when we docked in Vigo. Stayed on board. Lisbon: Did the 3 sites trip, excellent, saw the main attractions. Lanzarote: Arrecife not a very good port Tenerife: Had walk around Santa Cruz Gran canaria: Nice little streets Maderia: Fab place, lovely little streets, went up in the cable car. Funchal was definitely one of the best. La Coruna: Did the trip to Santiago Da Compostela, really glad we did it, lots of people doing the pilgrimage. Free shuttle bus at each port: Southampton: Disembarkation: Off ship at 9 35 and on our way home. Do not take any notice of all the moaners it is a lovely ship, friendly staff and well worth the money. ENJOY. Oh and the drinks are not to dear either. Read Less
Sail Date September 2015
Embarkation at Southampton quick and easy, cases outside our cabin upon getting to it. The cabin itself was clean and tidy but a little tired especially the carpets. The public areas again were clean and tidy, but the years of continuous ... Read More
Embarkation at Southampton quick and easy, cases outside our cabin upon getting to it. The cabin itself was clean and tidy but a little tired especially the carpets. The public areas again were clean and tidy, but the years of continuous use were starting to show. However look at your own place before doing a "Grand Designs" on the ship, the upkeep of which must be on a staggering scale . There is an automatic per person daily charge added to you account, this can be removed by filling in a form from reception. The food I found was excellent, available 24/7, with plenty of choice and more than you could eat. I read with amusement the reviews which say the choice of food was not enough or not of a high enough standard, when you would have nothing like that choice or quality at home. I would definitely recommend eating at both Sindhu and Epicurian, the small cover charge is worth every penny. As for Butlins at sea, it could be if you wanted it to be and if you did not there were plenty of quite places you could hide away from it all. Why put yourself in a position or location you do not have to be in then moan about being there...leave! I found the service on board to vary from place to place, from cabin stewards who could not do enough for you, waiters who knew your favorite desert (and always brought me two causing me to put on a few pounds) to one of the most unhelpful and rude shop assistants it has ever been my misfortune to deal with. Overall though the crew were polite helpful and attentive. I cannot really comment on the entertainment as I was not at Butlins and found other things to do. If you cannot find anything to do on a ship of this size in the evenings something is wrong. You could probably do what you do every night at home and sit and watch TV in your cabin instead of your lounge. Now the beware bit. Without being fully aware or having it explained our travel agent (Thomson) booked some of our excursions through a company called "Cruising Excursions" and not through P&O. It would take me another page or so to explain just how bad the service provided by their representatives on one our excursions was. I must say however the second excursion was better but not up to the standard of those booked on ship. I cannot speak for all of their excursions and some people will disagree with me, but I would never use them again. I strongly recommend booking direct with P&O online or on board. Overall the cruise was very good, if I had only one serious point it would be that the time ashore at each port was to short, I think P&O would rather have you spending your cash on board than ashore. The cruise is what you make it, if you get on with a negative attitude it is spoiled before you start. I will book with P&O again Read Less
Sail Date August 2015
This was our fourth cruise on this lovely ship. We did not think standards had fallen despite recent reviews we had seen. The only disappointment was the weather and the entertainment - see below. Good quality and variety of food in the ... Read More
This was our fourth cruise on this lovely ship. We did not think standards had fallen despite recent reviews we had seen. The only disappointment was the weather and the entertainment - see below. Good quality and variety of food in the buffet and main restaurants. We had Freedom dining in the Cinnamon and never had a problem getting a table when we wanted (we were happy to share though). We also paid the supplement for the Beach House one evening but did not think there should have been additional surcharges for a lot of choices on the menu. It would have been better to have a higher charge initially and have everything included. Two of the Headliners shows we had seen on previous cruises several years ago. Surely these should be updated on a yearly basis. Also the other entertainment was tired. P&O need to look to the American cruise lines for ideas on updating the entertainment. Pleasant and efficient service in the buffet and main restaurants and Metropolis bar. Read Less
Sail Date August 2015
Just back from 7 days aboard Ventura. The start wasn't too promising. Ventura docked 3 hours late from it's previous trip due to bad weather we were told. We were sent messages asking us to delay our port arrival ! On arrival we ... Read More
Just back from 7 days aboard Ventura. The start wasn't too promising. Ventura docked 3 hours late from it's previous trip due to bad weather we were told. We were sent messages asking us to delay our port arrival ! On arrival we queued for at least an hour before we were allowed to off load our luggage. In the terminal lounge there was at least 3000 people but the 'booking in was controlled'. We were reasonably lucky once we'd received our ship cards we went through reasonably quickly, however moments after we got through the terminal PC's all crashed which delayed things even more. However, once on board all seemed to go well. The weather on the first couple of days was terrible, it caused us to miss stopping at Guernsey but we can't hold anyone accountable for that. The ship was very clean and tidy and kept that way all throughout our cruise. The food on board in the main restaurant was to a very high standard, as was the service. The cabin (we had an inside cabin) was always serviced exceptionally well (Molivoy was the steward). The bars where serviced well by the waiters HOWEVER.... a big criticism of mine is that there are very few draught beers in each bar, and each bar has a different set. So if you wanted to watch a particular show you had to drink whatever that bar had to offer, which I believe in this day and age is unacceptable. The entertainment I felt was acceptable but not outstanding, which was a little disappointing. This is my 3rd P&O cruise and the previous ones all seemed to have a little better in terms of popularity (On Aurora we were entertained by Tom O'Connor). Another disappointing aspect to Ventura is the deck layouts. The size of the vessel dictates the need for lifts BUT they all seemed to have different amounts of deck coverage i.e. the rear lifts went to deck 18 but not 19, the centre lifts only went to deck 15, the front lifts didn't go all the wall down etc. It was sometimes difficult to plan your day/night out as you have to remember to change lifts if you were changing decks..... in some cases but not all. I thought the staff were very attentive and the service was very good in all areas. The ports of call were reduced as said earlier, but we stopped at Lisbon, Oporto, La Corunda. The first two were 'ok', but La Corunda was very disappointing, a lot of the shops were closed due to the economy being in such a state. In future I would consider staying on the ship if we called there. The disembarkation was also a little disappointing as it took over two hours for us to get off, I'm sure it could of been done quicker. Overall I would recommend a cruise on this ship. In future I would recommend choosing a cruise that stopped at some better ports, but I accept we're all different and our needs vary. I do think P&O are a very good cruise line and they serve the UK really well. Read Less
Sail Date July 2015
Very enjoyable time on a short cruise to celebrate my Mother in law's 80th birthday. Bit of a wait to drop the car off but after that the embarkation process was very smooth and we were on board in time for a cup of tea and a cake ... Read More
Very enjoyable time on a short cruise to celebrate my Mother in law's 80th birthday. Bit of a wait to drop the car off but after that the embarkation process was very smooth and we were on board in time for a cup of tea and a cake before the safety drill. Our cabin was fine, on deck 5 near the art gallery and our steward was very efficient although we only saw him a couple of times. It is three years since we have cruised with P and O and we did think there had been a drop in quality of the food in the main dining room. Having said that, there was plenty to eat, my husband who is coeliac was well catered for with gluten free bread and cakes and choosing his dinner menu the night before. The black tie dinner was very good, delicious smoked salmon and lobster. Entertainment was good, we enjoyed the Headliners show and The Magnets an acapella group were superb. There were a few stag and hen parties on board but although noisy at times we didn't see any problems and there was a good buzzy atmosphere on the ship as everyone was making the most of their time on board. We didn't use the ships excursions as we prefer to do our own thing. Mum in law is not too mobile but we had a nice wander around Guernsey despite the hills and very much enjoyed a visit to Victor Hugo's house. We had a lovely morning in Blankenberge on Saturday. It was sunny,we had a long walk along the prom and a drink in a beach bar before heading back on board to enjoy the afternoon on deck and the swimming pools. I thought a three night cruise would be too short but we really enjoyed our time and managed to pack everything in that we wanted to. Read Less
Sail Date June 2015
This was our first adventure with P &O cruises having previously sailed with Norwegian Cruise Line and Holland America Line. We liked the idea of sailing from Southampton and also not having to convert all our shipboard spend from ... Read More
This was our first adventure with P &O cruises having previously sailed with Norwegian Cruise Line and Holland America Line. We liked the idea of sailing from Southampton and also not having to convert all our shipboard spend from Dollars to GBP so that was a major factor in the initial decision. Embarkation was awful; queues everywhere and it didn't matter what time you were listed to board, you just joined the massive queue and waited. The ship was due to sail at 4.30pm and it took until 4pm before we were all aboard. The two hours we spent waiting could have been improved with the offer of a glass of water as there really wasn't anything worthwhile on offer in the terminal. We later heard that the utter chaos had been caused by a computer failure earlier in the day and and assured by fellow passengers that it isn't normally that bad. The ship herself is absolutely stunning with plenty of indoor chill out space and lots of outdoor small terraces to sit and have a drink or enjoy the view. We chose an indoor cabin on deck 9, towards the aft of the ship on the starboard side. The room we had, D711, was very spacious with lots of lighting and mirrors which made the room feel warm and welcoming. We were pleasantly surprised with the ample wardrobe space with plenty of storage. The shower room was small but had everything you need including complementary toiletries. We especially liked the tea/coffee making facilities and the interactive services on the television where for example, you could choose a free film, find out what food theme was available that night in the Waterside buffet restaurants and most importantly, find out our itemised onboard spend. We had 'freedom dining' so could choose where and when we wanted to eat. The Saffron restaurant we were allocated was lovely, the staff were very helpful and the food was fantastic. I can't comment on those who have said P&O have dumbed down on ditching silver service and on the portion sizes but there was certainly ample choice and we never left the restaurant feeling anything less than happy and pleasantly stuffed. Although the food in the main restaurants was fabulous we wanted to try the various options available to us. There's a superb little bistro called the Beach House on deck 15 aft, it's part of the Waterside buffet during the day but is converted into an intimate venue for food in the evening. There is a small cover charge, £5 per person but this is well worth it. The food is American or Mexican by theme with the menu changing each week. The sort of food you can have here is Nachos or Caesar salad for starter, kebabs (chicken, meat, vegetable your choice) Mac and cheese, steak you cook yourself at your table on sizzling platters, or my favourite, spicey sizzler plates which are a bit like make you own fajitas. As for dessert, it's to die for, they serve the biggest portion size of chocolate fudge cake (2 slices with ice cream) I have ever seen. The banana bread and butter pudding with walnut ice cream is gorgeous. This is so good you'll want to try the following weeks menu too. Our favourite 'select' dining option was Atol Kutchars restaurant Sindhu. This is situated on deck 7 midship. This also had a small cover charge (£15 per person) but again was well worth the money. The food was amazing and was served silver service in beautiful surroundings. Although there were 3 main courses there were lots of little touches that made this an unforgettable experience. Prior to starters being served there were complementary mini popadoms and dips, followed by onion badgjis and following on from the meal we were served petit fours and chocolates with our coffee. In common with the other select dining options the menu here changes each wee of your cruise. The third select dining option we tried was the Glass House by Ollie Smith wine expert. This is the sort of venue where you can just turn up when you like either for lunch or dinner. There is a fairly extensive menu of food on offer priced by each course. The restaurant also does tasting menus where they pair food with several glasses of wine. This is very popular and costs £30. Since we are not great fans of wine we choose to try '3 small plates' each. These were a bit like tapas served in three individual plates that you choose from a list of about 10. We tried watermelon and feta salad, scotch egg with quail egg, chicken tenders, baba ganoush, garlic mushrooms and tempura prawns. The 3 plates cost £5.25 per set and we left feeling very full. The wine waiters were very knowledgeable and helped us choose something suitable from an extensive range. Wine could be bought as either a small or large glass or by the bottle with prices per bottle ranging from about £16.50 upwards. There is a further select dining called the Epicurean which is apparently a bit like the kind of food done by Heston Blumenthal but since we are vegetarian and this was mostly meat based we didn't try this venue. So what did we enjoy apart from the food? The entertainment was without doubt the best we have had at sea. There was a broad range of entertainment available in the main Arena theatre, ranging from musical extravagan Read Less
Sail Date June 2015
We are pensioners and have cruised many times and many lines. We picked this cruise because it looked interesting and was a good price. Having cruised on the AZURA this ship held very few surprises for us as they are sisters. It is one of ... Read More
We are pensioners and have cruised many times and many lines. We picked this cruise because it looked interesting and was a good price. Having cruised on the AZURA this ship held very few surprises for us as they are sisters. It is one of the larger ships there was plenty to do and the entertainment staff were for the most part very friendly and soon made you feel at home. We had one of the cheapest balconies situated at the rear of the ship, the balcony was slightly larger than previous one we’ve had. When at sea there was quite a bit of noise from the wash which mostly disappeared when the door was shut and there was an occasional ‘shimmy’ when the autopilot made a correction both of these didn’t cause us to much of a problem. As is normal the room maid was efficient and very obliging and kept the room spotless. We had most of our dinners in the main dining room and found the service was impeccable, preferring not to dress up on holiday we had formal normal night dinners in the buffet which was also very good. Most nights we went to the theatre to see some excellent shows, although being non dancers and not a follower of ‘Strictly come dancing’ some of the dancing shows left us cold. I hear you say if you not keen on dancing why did you go on a ‘Strictly come dancing cruise’ because the cruise fitted our criteria. We also saw some very good acts in the ‘Havana’ lounge including some very good comedians. Having been on many cruises round the Med we did not both with excursions but rather settled for a stroll around the local town, most of these places had some interesting points in their favour . Although the Ventura and Azura are sisters we both thought that there was a better atmosphere on the Azura. One little niggle for us and several other passengers where the daily Sudoku and Crossword, on most of the previous cruises (and on many lines) the Sudoku and crossword were put out first thing to give you something to do while waiting for the activities to start, but on the Ventura they mad you wait until they had printed a newssheet and so didn’t appear until eleven o’clock and missed altogether when the hard working!!!! Librarian was given another job. We left England in cold weather but I’m glad to say it warmed up by the time we got to Gibraltar and was sunny all the way home, but we did suffer when we hit the Bay of Biscay the sea was very choppy and while some old salts laughed it off we did feed the fish, still it had cleared by the English channel and we arrived back to a warm sunny day. Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
My husband and I have just returned from our first cruise and although we had a fabulous time I would like to let others know some tips if you have never cruised before. We travelled on the P&O Ventura from Southampton and from the ... Read More
My husband and I have just returned from our first cruise and although we had a fabulous time I would like to let others know some tips if you have never cruised before. We travelled on the P&O Ventura from Southampton and from the start it was a very smooth operation and we were very impressed at the organised way it all started compared to the "cattle market" airports we were used to. Only one tip here - when you drive up to the terminal if you have booked car parking they are there waiting for you very efficient but make sure you unload your baggage quickly because as my husband went to look for a trolley to load our luggage onto a chap got into the car to drive it to the car parking - I was still trying to unload the luggage from the boot so be quick! Once inside the terminal all went extremely smoothly and very calming. Once on the boat you have to realise it is enormous and all the time you are bumping into people all looking as lost as you are! Even seasoned cruisers found the Ventura very large and hard to find your way around. The cabin we had was an outside cabin with balcony which was very nice. In fact the whole ship was very tastefully decorated but a bit on the tired side. First of all I will tell you all the positives which far outweigh the negatives and wouldn't want to put anyone off a cruise but just point out the little things we would have found helpful to know in advance. We had set dining - there are 2 times for this 6.30 or 8.30 we chose the latter and had a table for two which turned out to be the best on both counts. If you choose the earlier sitting be prepared to rush some days as the trips can run late but if you have children the earlier sitting is probably the best time. A table to for 2 is best because if you sit with others on a table for 6 or 8 you find you have to wait until the last person has finished their course before you are served the next course. We were told some funny stories from other seasoned cruisers about waiting for elderly passengers to finish chewing their steaks whilst the others on the table waited! the food itself is very, very good - 5 course dinners with very attentive waiters. You can opt for freedom dining but that is in the other restaurants where it is buffet style help yourself - very good food the same as the restaurants. There are other restaurants on board which you have to pay a supplement for - passengers highly recommended the Beach House food if you fancy a change. Be prepared for girls to come round every day all day to try and sell the other restaurants where you pay a supplement. It can become a little irritating. We decided not to go to the restaurant for waiter service for breakfast because again you have to sit anywhere and they will fill the big tables first and we found it easier to go to the buffet Waterside restaurant. Again the choice is massive. Men do need to wear long trousers in the evening in the restaurants. There are plenty of poolside loungers but some do reserve whilst they then go for breakfast but this didn't get too silly but the staff don't prevent it happening. They issue a daily newspaper the Horizon which will be delivered to your cabin during the evening and lets you know the dress code for the following evening and any information regarding the next day's port. It also lists the entertainment for the following day so that you can decide which bar you want to go to. This is a negative for the late 8.30 diners - by the time you have finished your meal and make your way to the various bars they are full and you have to sit where you can. The entertainment was very good and there is something for everyone of all ages. We were told because it was a "Strictly" cruise there were more younger people on board than usual on the cruise and in fact there were 7 weddings on board on our cruise. The service from the waiters at the poolside and restaurants and bars was excellent. Port and shore excursions were very good and the guides were excellent. A few tips here though. The P&O rep was very "school ma'am" with the passengers and there seemed to be a conflict of timings with her and what passengers were told in the Horizon paper and she would tell you off if you were too early! The organisation of the trips left a lot to be desired at some ports like Gibraltar and Monaco passengers were left in the very hot weather queuing up at the port to get back on board the ship. This was due to the fact other ships were in dock at the same time and all passengers from all ships were ferried through the same system so it can take hours. We found the excursions very good but a tip for Rome is men as well as women have to have their knees covered so wear long shorts and women have to have their shoulders covered if you are visiting the Sistine Chapel. It was an excellent excursion but a very long day in the heat and I would advise you to have a day off from any excursions the next day and just do your own thing. If you are a person who likes to go shopping make sure you don't do all the organised excursions because you don't get time to shop. Another tip is some of the ports have sightseeing buses which are a cheap and good way to get about if you don't want the expense of the organised trips. Cadiz is a very good port for shopping and very cheap. Hang on until you have done all the trips with regard to buying from the duty free shops on board - you can find cheaper alternatives particularly perfumes at the ports. You will also find they reduce things towards the end of the cruise so look out for bargains then. With regard to formal dining - 4 on a 2 week cruise are usually held on a sea day so that you have time to prepare. We did find though that on the other nights there were 2 themed nights we did not know about - one was a 60/70's night and the other a "tropical" night. So if you want to be prepared take an Hawaiian shirt with you! Be prepared to be sociable with fellow passengers because they are the best people to advise you on things you don't know. You will not get any advice from P&O. We had free on board spend with our cruise and other passengers said to decline the "tipping" deduction they make from your spends. It is better to tip your own waiter and steward as you see fit. We appreciated that advice because you would tip them on top of what P&O deducted from your account but don't do it just to avoid tipping at all! Other seasoned passengers told us they felt the Ventura was too big with over 3,000 passengers and even they kept getting lost. They preferred other smaller P&O ships. They also said they found the food, entertainment a higher standard than other lines and the drinks were cheaper than the American run cruise liners. The prices on the drinks is on a par with pub prices at home. They add 10% extra when you are in Spanish waters because the Spanish have their own taxing system! We had a couple of ports where a tender was used and this was the ships life boats which wasn't a problem for us but some of the elderly had issues so check if you have any disabilities that you can go ashore. To summarise we had a lovely time and would definitely cruise again. I do think however that P&O could make a bit more effort to help first time cruisers with information. On board they do a daily "solo" travellers tea and I completed a questionnaire on board and after the cruise to suggest they could hold a first/second day coffee morning for first time cruisers to give them advice and answer any questions they may have. It does come across that P&O are only interested in selling another cruise to their "regulars" with the discounts they get. Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
We're just back from a 4 day mini cruise on P&O Ventura from Southampton to Bruges and Guernsey and have sailed with a variety of cruise lines but this was our first with P&O. Embarkation was swift and we were on board and sat ... Read More
We're just back from a 4 day mini cruise on P&O Ventura from Southampton to Bruges and Guernsey and have sailed with a variety of cruise lines but this was our first with P&O. Embarkation was swift and we were on board and sat relaxing in a bar within an hour of arriving at Southampton. I liked our cabin which was a mid ship balcony with great storage space, a good sized balcony and a powerful bathroom shower. It's worth noting that Ventura is a very stable ship and I barely felt any movement or motion at all. We chose freedom dining and ate in the Saffron restaurant on three nights with a birthday celebration in the speciality restaurant East on our first. We ate lunch on a few of the days in the Waterside buffet where a decent selection was let down by the enclosed and claustrophobic serving area. Rather frustratingly if you wanted burgers, pizzas or fries, you needed to head out of the buffet to the one of the pools. Not great when travelling with kids. I did like the a la carte breakfast served daily in Saffron where there was a great choice of food with changing daily specials. But generally I found the food on board a little disappointing. It just wasn't fine dining and the menu choices seemed limited in the evenings. Beyond the food, the entertainment was excellent with a great range of shows and something on in every bar. My particular favourites were the Havana Lounge, a Cuban themed show lounge and the Metropolitan Bar, a crows nest type of thing at the top of the ship. Drinks prices were very reasonable and it's an added bonus that P&O is one of the few cruise lines who don't limit the alcohol you can bring on board. For a mini cruise, the ports of call were well chosen and quaint. Bruges is ten minutes by train from Zebrugge and P&O were more than helpful in providing information of how to do this under your own steam rather than trying to sell you an excursion as many of the American ships will do. Guernsey was a tender port and getting us ashore was swift and efficient with a ticket system to disembark. We spent a few pleasant hours strolling St Peter Port and enjoying the sunshine in a beer garden terrace overlooking the ship. We enjoyed the cruise but four days just isn't long enough to explore a ship the size of Ventura; by the time I'd found my cruise legs we were heading down the gangway. There didn't seem to be the wow of a Royal Caribbean but it was fun to sail British and I've high hopes for our next P&O cruise which is on Britannia for Christmas and New Year in the Caribbean. Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
We are platinum on Carnival. This is our 16th cruise. We took this cruise because we wanted to try a British Line. We had just come off a Transatlantic on the Brilliance of the Seas. We stayed at wonderful small hotel in Southampton. ... Read More
We are platinum on Carnival. This is our 16th cruise. We took this cruise because we wanted to try a British Line. We had just come off a Transatlantic on the Brilliance of the Seas. We stayed at wonderful small hotel in Southampton. The Blue Keys was really great. Our experience on embarkation was swift and courteous. Waited about 40 minutes to board. Took a cab from hotel to Ship probably no mote than 10 minutes. Cabin was ready by 2 pm. The cabin was really large its the biggest balcony we ever had. Took 3 shore excursions, two in Amsterdam one on the channel islands. Since my wife has trouble walking we did bus tours. All were good. Just wish we could have gotten on the tour of Ann Franks House. It was sold out way in advance. The entertainment was really good the 4 seasons Jersey Boys group was really good. Having seen the show in New York twice we can say that those men did a really fine job. We ate most of our meals in the main dining room food was OK not great but OK. Not much selection in the buffet. That's why we like the MDR. Disembarkation was quick and went well off the ship self assist by 7:30 am. We really enjoyed meeting many people all really nice. I believe that we were the only Americans on board. Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
After toying with other ships leaving Southampton which didn't have enough indoor space for cool climates, our last two cruises have been on sensible P&O ships with indoor pools with space for dining around them (our mistake last ... Read More
After toying with other ships leaving Southampton which didn't have enough indoor space for cool climates, our last two cruises have been on sensible P&O ships with indoor pools with space for dining around them (our mistake last year was to choose the massive Indy OTS for a short trip to Norway....this ship depends on Caribbean weather to make use of the splendid outdoor pools area, but it was virtually empty outside for the 8 days, and utterly crowded inside). Ventura is an old favourite of ours, and we came upon an absolute last minute booking, giving us a week to prepare...and an upgrade from inside to an obstructed outside. This cabin, E410, is one of the most obstructed on the ship, having the machinery for the life raft covering most of the window- but there was a view, and above all, there was daylight! The cabin was lovely- we've only found this beautiful welcome of a tea tray, a flower and a silver dish of sweets on P&O, and, yes, it does add to the experience! Sometimes we sail in a more luxurious cabin on other lines, and enjoy perks provided, but really we know we pay for them; the tea tray/sweeties is for all levels of cabins, along with the chocolate at the turn down service! For once, there were no new ports for us on this cruise; in fact, we did an almost similar cruise in November on Aurora, mainly hoping for a little warm weather. In Lisbon we took the tour to Estoril, having known many who holidayed there, and looking out for the railway station to take us there another time; bad weather meant missing Cadiz, which is a favourite with everyone, but we made up for that with a full day in Gibraltar, a most fascinating port....we used the local buses, which took us to the cable car for 75 pence, senior fare. Malaga is glorious, and Cartagena is another favourite; Casablanca less so, but at least you can take the shuttle bus to the big square and wander around - I found "Sorry, no money!" n helpful, and hoped that "Pas d'argent!" was the right French....it seemed to work, and I wasn't hassled. We love Madeira, and this time took a tour because we've not been into the island itself, only along the coast and into Funchal, before. A delightful trip. The ship feeling was, as ever, relaxed and friendly; super staff; excellent speakers; the Headliners tremendously well-rehearsed and polished. A lovely, happy, laid-back and interesting fortnight; next time on her will be the full 28 days to the Caribbean and back, in January. Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
Never used P&O Cruises before apart from their ferries. We like Thomson Cruises and were looking for something that would be along those lines or better than. P & O Ventura did not dissapoint on our first cruise with her . ... Read More
Never used P&O Cruises before apart from their ferries. We like Thomson Cruises and were looking for something that would be along those lines or better than. P & O Ventura did not dissapoint on our first cruise with her . We had booked an inside cabin deck A and was upgraded to a obstructed viewbon E Deck and was impressed by the space,clean,modern room with a vey comfy double bed and very quiet with no motion when at sea . The room fridge came with two bottles of water free and our cabin steward Prakash was great in re-supplying our teas,coffee and biscuits everyday and he always had time to make sure we were ok and ask how our day had been . The bathroom was very modern and everything worked , nothing faulty and came with toiletries that seemed decent. Although the ship was full we never felt over crowded and seemed plenty of staff to go around . We never had to wait long apart from our one night in the Bay tree Restaraunt, which to us was painfully slow service . We were first in the queue and and shown to our table ,despite this we and the table next to us had to wait 25 minutes for a menu our own waiter even managed to serve starters to some of his other tables before he even came back to us and it got no better. We used the Beach House & Waterside self service for the rest of our cruise and the food was hot ,tasty and well presented a lot of dishes served in individual pots and dishes , to be honest we looked forward to eating in these places ,so did not use any of the pay to eat restaraunts. We never had problems finding a table to eat our meals at and the views from up there through the large windows were great. Going for a drink the Ventura gave us eleven bars and a show bar to choose from and the service was fast and friendly and the staff were not stuffy as we had read on other forums. Just our opinion but unlike Thomson who seem to encourage staff to stop and chat , P& O want customers to be served asap ,so they move to the next waiting customer rather than stop and chat. All the bar staff we spoke to were friendly and would spend the odd moment chatting but then would be off serving or off doing other bar duties. We found them to be ok. The Headliners show team put on two very good shows and had the advantage of a high tech theatre and lighting plus sound system compared to Thomson ships we had used . This is one of the places where Thomson win hands down as their show teams put on two shows as well but at least six nights per week , the crew even do a show in the theatre. Having said that we were happy with the shows we saw with P&O . The first day on Ventura , we were no sooner on board and were pounced on with the big sell .. Photo's ,Spa's and drinks packages but to be fair we said no thanks and never was bothered again . Keeping tabs on your spending was easy with the interactive TV giving you an up to date balance and the TV gave a lot more ,ships web cam , captains log and map plus loads of TV programs some pay per view but loads are free. The ship on our week had a good mixture of passenger ages and the ones we met were friendly and considerate to their fellow passengers and used the hand gels at meal times. The ship was very stable even in bad weather ,you had to look out of a window at times to remind you that the ship was moving ,the chances of being sea sick should you suffer from it must be very remote . The ship has a promenade deck with plenty of chairs should you wish a stroll or sit and watch the world go by or go up to the sun deck should you wish to lay on a lounger . Given the chance we will be back on the Ventura it's a good family /couples and singles ship and everyone seems to have a good time with plenty to do on board . I hope we sail on her again and soon . Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
Me and my sister's first time cruising, we were accompanied by my dad and step mum who had cruised before. My dad had chosen to drive down and use CPS parking which went smoothly, picking up the car at the end of the cruise was no ... Read More
Me and my sister's first time cruising, we were accompanied by my dad and step mum who had cruised before. My dad had chosen to drive down and use CPS parking which went smoothly, picking up the car at the end of the cruise was no trouble and it only took him 10 mins. We went to the Mayflower terminal to board Ventura. We arrived at 2pm which I'd say is the worst time to arrive. They had seating but it was all taken up at that time. We waited two hours in total before checking in and boarding which was seamless. First impressions of Ventura were excellent; finding our cabin was no trouble, they have ship plans and deck levels near the lifts to view for quick reference. I loved our cabin (C637) balcony cabin on Deck 10, it had loads of space for me and my sister, and the bathroom was a reasonable size although it rather reminded me of an airplane toilet but slightly larger. Our cabin just had the shower. Service onboard was excellent; in the buffet they always cleared the tables away quickly; in fact they will often take your tray away if you want to just have your plate on the table. In the main dining rooms the waiters were really good and professional despite them being busy sometimes. We always found the service a bit slower in the dining rooms though so if we needed to eat quickly we chose the buffet. We tried the Glass house, East and Beach house restaurants and service was excellent. Also all the staff including the cleaners always seemed to greet you with a smile. Our cabin steward Rajesh was really nice and our cabin always looked spic and span. I like their turn down and make up service too. On the whole, I enjoyed the excursions although we went on one tour which was advertised to give us some free time to wander around but the lady only gave us half an hour free which by that time we needed a drink and a snack which took nearly half an hour so it wasn't 'free time' in my opinion. Loved the entertainment on board, the headliners company really blew me away with their talents on the stage. Getting into the theatre early is a must on those nights they perform! There were quizzes daily, we took part in one or two. We watched a film in the arena but screen quality was bad as they had clearly just had the video image stretched out onto a bigger screen. Watching a film in the Havana club was slightly better as they used a smaller screen. There were some free films to view on the cabin tv which we took advantage of sometimes. If you want to watch your own without paying for the chargeable ones I recommend a portable dvd player or tablet with preloaded films. We didn't go to one port which happened to be the last one; Guernsey as we needed to go via tender and the water was too choppy by the pontoon. We had extra entertainment laid on instead which included an extra film to watch. Food - couldn't fault it and the same standard whether in the buffet or dining rooms. Can't understand why we get free pizzas but not free ice cream though. Disembarkation was smooth - we chose to disembark ourselves as we wanted to leave early with having a 5 hour trip home and apart from waiting for lifts carrying our own luggage we were off the ship in twenty minutes. Read Less
Sail Date April 2015
We really enjoy these short breaks and we look forward to spending a few days on board, as we live not far from Southampton it makes it easy for us to get to and from the port. The embarkation time we were given was 12.30 and we got to the ... Read More
We really enjoy these short breaks and we look forward to spending a few days on board, as we live not far from Southampton it makes it easy for us to get to and from the port. The embarkation time we were given was 12.30 and we got to the port by 11 - we waited for our letter to be called and it was all very easy, we were on board and eating in the self service retaurant by 12.45, the food was very good and we were pleased that there were plenty of wine waiters so we didn't have to wait long to have a glass of wine. As usual it was very busy but we managed to get a table by the window and queued up for our lunch, the food was very good with lots of choice and the view from the top of the ship over Southampton water was great. We we booked this as a guarantee cabin and only found out a few days beforehand that we were going to be on Riveria Deck which was deck 14. We had booked a balcony cabin and were slightly disappointed that we weren't lower down the ship where the balconies are bigger. However the cabin was very comfortable although we did have 6 bottles of water left for us with a note to say we could buy the pack if we wanted to. We put this under the small table but it was in the way. Our cabin steward didn't come and introduce himself and we only saw him once when he let himself into our cabin and then told us we should have put the "do not disturb sign" out. We were supposed to find out our dining arrangements once on board and when this has happened before there is usually a card left on the desk for us. This time there was nothing and we were worried as if we were eating at 6.30 we would need to get ready in a hurry. We phoned down to reception who said we would need to contact the dining manager, we tried ringing but the phone was constantly engaged or just kept ringing. We ended up going down and were told that we were able to eat at any time so we took it we had been allocated Freedom Dining. It took quite a bit of time to get this sorted which is annoying when you are only on a short trip as every hour is precious. Freedom dining suits us best so we were pleased with this, but saying that we did find we had to wait over an hour to get a table as P&O seem to have increased the amount of freedom diners. We had a drink in the Metropolis Bar, the Raspberry Brulee which is my favourite cocktail. We did notice that on this cruise there were a lot of hen parties which were very loud and some of them were very drunk. This was particularly disappointing in the restaurant, the noise levels and general rowdiness spoilt a lovely meal and as it was Gala Night it would have been nice to keep the feeling of elegance going but unfortunately women were being vulgar and some were rude to the staff. The entertainment for the first night was the ships company, Headliners, doing a review of songs from a variety of stage shows. We really enjoyed it and were very impressed with the quality of the singing. The second night was a comedian that we didn't find very funny and particularly didn't like the way he included the audience as it makes us feel uncomfortable, especially when questions that need to be answered in front of the whole audience. When we returned to our cabin on the first night we went to fill out our breakfast card so we could have some tea and some fruit juices in the morning with a fruit and cold meat platter. The cabin steward had removed our folder so we couldn't do this. I did phone room service and they brought some cards up for us but by this time it was 1.00 am and we had to wait for the cards to be delivered. I don't know why our steward removed the folder, it also meant that the postcard of the ship had gone and we like to collect these on the ships we have been on. We were woken the following morning to our tea and fruit and we enjoyed this in bed before getting up and going for a walk around the ship, our balcony had a view over the port of Zebrugge which was very industrial but interesting to watch all the work going on. We then went up to the self service breakfast where we had some coffee and a small bite to eat. P&O provide a free shuttle service to the local town where you can get the train into Bruges but as we had done this before so we opted to have a walk round the town. We went to the Storm Centre on the pier which on the website sounded interesting but in reality was not that good although we did spend a couple of hours walking around, it was a shame that there wasn't much in English so it was difficult to understand all the things they had on display. The weather wasn't that good so we only walked round for a couple of hours before heading back to the ship. The shuttle bus was waiting for us and we were back on board in time for lunch. The two days went very quickly and we did enjoy ourselves, the food is very good and we had a lovely evening in the Glass House where we tried a few of the wines. We also enjoyed pre-dinner cocktails both evenings as well as the chance to look round at the beautiful works of art they had in the gallery. Our cabin was clean and very comfortable, the towels were changed each time we seemed to leave the cabin. We also appreciated having a fridge and a kettle with tea and coffee available in the cabin. The choice of entertainment and different bars in the ship are able to accommodate everyone without making you feel you are in a large ship. We tried all the bars apart from the pub, although we did go to the casino which was busy and seemed a bit too complicated for us, we are not really big gamblers and might have bet a few pounds but the tables had minimum stakes, as did the slot machines. You had to use your cruise card and it was a minimum of £10 which put us off. Disembarkation was the usual hectic struggle to find somewhere to have breakfast, you have to be out of your cabin by 8.00 am and then wait to be called for disembarkation. If you want your luggage taken off by the porters you need to put your cases outside your cabin the night before but we only had small cases so decided to take them off ourselves. We left our cabin and ended up sitting outside by the pool as the restaurants were too busy. We had a relaxing time drinking coffee and doing a bit of people watching - something cruises are really good for. We weren't in a rush as we were getting picked up about 10.30 so didn't mind waiting around and once the restaurant started to thin out we got something to eat. Despite all the hiccups we still enjoyed this cruise, so much so that we are now booked for another short cruise in June on P@O's Aurora which is a new ship for us. Read Less
Sail Date April 2015
After a problem with my parents having to cancel britannia maiden voyage they had a huge deposit outstanding so the 4 of us ended up on Ventura if I am honest not our first choice !!! But do not be put off please ! A relaxed ship with a ... Read More
After a problem with my parents having to cancel britannia maiden voyage they had a huge deposit outstanding so the 4 of us ended up on Ventura if I am honest not our first choice !!! But do not be put off please ! A relaxed ship with a friendly crew and fab entertainment (do not miss the 2 boys from headliners doing solo set amazing ) But the most fantastic revelation was the food WOW WOW as a proper foodie we have eaten in some great restaurant s I cannot believe the quality and presentation of the food in the saffron restaurant !!!! Along with the wine package it was like eating in a 5/star hotel every night ☺ so if you want to be wowed go on ventura ..... The young lady who runs the waiters is fab wonderful unexpected cruise Read Less
Sail Date March 2015
Friday March 13th Left house at 5am and had good ride to airport. Checked in right away in seperate queue and security much quicker than usual. Flight premium economy. Seats roomy but a bit hard after a while. Free drinks and nice food ... Read More
Friday March 13th Left house at 5am and had good ride to airport. Checked in right away in seperate queue and security much quicker than usual. Flight premium economy. Seats roomy but a bit hard after a while. Free drinks and nice food from James Martin. Flight delayed a little due to medical emergency on incoming flight. At Barbados taken straight onto third coach which set off within seconds. At port checkin very quick as there were not many of us. No special checkin for suite passengers. Room had bottle of champagne and chocs but had to ask steward for bottle closer, so that we could drink half the champagne and save the rest.He did not know what I meant but later the butler brought one. They seem to share duties to some extent. Saturday March 14th Barbados Woke up panicking thinking it was 8am but had misread watch and it was only 7am. Breakfast in Whites. Very nice but staff a bit over-attentive. Took taxi to Bridgetown, 2 dollars per person each way. Lunch in dining room, nice but limited. Weather warm and partly overcast. Saw showat night but thought that it was poor. Choreography not very imaginative Cast good singers and dancers though but very repetitive. Theatre half empty. Sunday March 15th St Lucia. We had been here before so did not go on a trip. Breakfast in the White Room and mid-morning went ashore to find cheap wi-fi. Found a bar where if you spent 5dollars you got allday fast internet. Spent $5 on a Guiness which is 7.3% alcohol here and brewed locally. Tonight is black tie and food includes lobster. Monday March 16th St Kitts and Nevis. Boat trip to Nevis. Learnt native of Nevis is a Nevitian. We already knew that a native of St Kitts is a Kittician. Tuesday March 17th Antigua. No trip but went to shops and found internet bar. Wednesday March 18th At sea. Weather excellent and sea smooth with a little swell. Breakfast outside at White Room. Thursday March 19th Breakfast inside as White Room patio was soaking wet. Took back library book. Overheard woman complaining that if you reserve a sun lounger and go to lunch people move your stuff! She seemed quite upset! Cruise critic meeting at 10.30. About fifteen people there and had a good chat. Lunch in room. Talk on unsolved murders. Not bad Talk and forum about iPad use. Learnt how to use iMovie, but the forum was hijacked by people wanted to know how to connect their phones. Had tiramisu at dinner which was much nicer than the one at the White Room. Monday March 23rd Azores. Trip to pineapple factory and crater lakes. Very sunny and warm. Not feeling too good with sore throat and cough. Internet on board. Obviously slow but not too bad. I could download the Times and my mail in about three minutes at 7am, when it seemed to be quicker. We had bought the 100 minutes plan with 20 extra minutes for£35. By today we have 8 minutes left although they do a deal for extra minutes - 60 minutes for £15 or 30 minutes for £10.50. Paid restaurants The White Room. As suite customers we got breakfast here daily and it is well worth it if a little over-attentive. We also ate here one night and was not so impressed. I had a tiramisu which was not as good as the one that I later had in the main restaurant. The Glass Room. Excellent food although we only had the little plates and a shared sundae. East Seems to get heavily booked so had to book a couple of days ahead. The food was nice but by then I had developed a cough and cold so could only manage a tiny amount. My wife enjoyed it though and we could have had an intended bonus as they forgot to charge us for a bottle of champagne, but we pointed it out to them and they added it on with a brief thanks. Other passengers Despite dire warnings on this forum we found everyone we met to be very nice. Obviously there is the sun lounger issue and it would be easy for me to criticise but then we had a huge balcony to ourselves and did not need to compete for space. Entertainment Obviously very subjective. The ship's entertainers seem talented and enthusiastic but I thought that most of the dance routines lacked imagination and need more set chenges. When we left the Azores Tom O'Connor joined the ship and his act had the theatre packed to the gunwales (note the nautical reference!). Was this because his performance was brilliant or were we just desperate for a good act? We saw tthee films on board. The first time that we looked in on a film showing in the Havana Club it was almost finished and what was obviously a widescreen film was showing in 3:4 aspect so the whole picture was squashed. The first film that we actually saw was in the Tamarind Club and we all sat waiting for it to start but a waitress said that nobody knew how to stop the backgound music in the club playing and start the film. After over fifteen minutes they managed to get assistance. We then saw the film "Belle" in the Arena Theatre. As befits a full-time theatre it has by far the biggest screen. I could not make out the model of the projector, other than it was a Sanyo but i would say, and I do the projection for a local video society, that the picture quality was about VHS standard although luckily the sound was good. There was very little fine detail and dark areas exhibited considerably blocking. The last film that we saw was "Interstellar" which I had been looking forward to. Again the picture quality was poor and after about half an hour the picture started moving upwards until it had disppeared off the top of the screen. After what seemed like a long wait a "technical" person could be seen moving around and the picture descended again. I am assuming that they had not been watching the film as they then rewound it fifteen minutes so we had to watch part of the film twice! Crossing the Atlantic We had crossed the Bay of Biscay before in terrible weather so knew what to expect but no, the weather was sunny and the sea was calm. People were swimming in the pool the day before we arrived at Southampton and on arrival day there was hardly a cloud in the sky. Coach transfer. Full marks to P&O for providing these although they are not well publicised. On the coach to Manchester, which took about five and a half hours for the journey, including a 45 minute stop some passengers had been given totally unrealistic timings for onward flights. Motorway journeys always take way longer than you expect. We had parked at Manchester Airport short stay car park and getting from where the bus left us at the drop-off point to the car park took almost an hour. Would I go with P&O again? Probably not. Although the ship was fine and the beer was cheap I found the entertainment boring and the extras for suite passengers very poor. Next January we are booked on the Norwegian Getaway and I hope to find that a bit more exciting. Read Less
Sail Date March 2015
We have travelled several times with P and O and have always enjoyed it . The Ventura is a large ship with lots of separate areas . Our cabin was on C deck which has extra large balconies . This is really useful in the Caribbean heat as ... Read More
We have travelled several times with P and O and have always enjoyed it . The Ventura is a large ship with lots of separate areas . Our cabin was on C deck which has extra large balconies . This is really useful in the Caribbean heat as it gives an area of shade and it's possible to stretch out comfortably . All the staff on P and O work tirelessly and are very polite and welcoming . Each cabin has normal plug settings so there is no need to take any adapters . A good tip however is to take an electrical strip if you have lots of things that need charging . There are white products , shampoo and shower gel available in the cabin in small bottles so these can add to your supplies . We travel in premium seats on long journeys due to medical problems and the extra that this costs is well worth it especially as you get a 28 kg luggage allowance. The extra on board credit covered most of our costs this year and this was excellent as you don't want an extra large bill after a holiday . P and O has always been one of our favourite cruise lines but from a personal opinion we were a bit dissapointed with a few aspects . The time to put suitcases out on the last evening at 11pm is very early especially if you are on the late dinner sitting . This would be much better if it was extended to 1.00am . We were very compliant with trying to keep our hand luggage on the return journey to the recommended 5 kegs but then watched in amazement as other passengers had two to three large bags and even largish suitcases that were way over the allowance . . If you don't need to keep to the limit then this should be very clear or somone should monitor it . Meals in the main dining room were not delivered with silver service but came plated up and the portions . were quite large . This can be too much at times and seems wasteful . P And O also seems to be stuck in using their tried and tested format . This might be fine for first time cruisers or those who don't like change but we were dissapointed that you could predict the day time and evening entertainment . We can't understand why this always has to be the same , the same type of talks, shows , comedians etc . No one offering an entertainment service on shore would get away with reproducing the same material and artists year on year especially when there is such a variety to choose from . P and O need to just make sure that there are a few new aspects to each cruise to keep everyone's interest or like us we will be tempted to look at other cruise lines so that we do get a different experience . This would be shame as everything else is very good Read Less
Sail Date January 2015
We have returned from the Christmas cruise and we both feel rather disappointed with this trip compared to last year's trip. Our plane was delayed at Gatwick due to a problem with the captain's pass and when we arrived at the ... Read More
We have returned from the Christmas cruise and we both feel rather disappointed with this trip compared to last year's trip. Our plane was delayed at Gatwick due to a problem with the captain's pass and when we arrived at the ship it took approximately 2 hours before we got our passes. We then had a further queue for another 30 minutes to get through xray and onto the ship. How much longer will it take to board Britannia next Christmas as its capacity is larger. We felt there had been cut backs especially with the entertainment which was repetitive and the quality of acts were poor. We very much enjoyed the evening pantomime last year as it was the best and funniest show we saw and we were looking forward to this year's performance but it was only performed during an afternoon. The showing was at 3.00 pm on a sea day and most people were up on deck and did not want to get ready to go down to the theatre and miss the afternoon sun. Last year it was at 20.30 and the theatre was packed with many children also attending. Apparently this year we were told that the theatre was not as full and the performance not as good. We watched many shows in Havana and on some occasions people got up and walked out before the act had finished. The Robbie Williams show was the best entertainment of the whole cruise. The worst part of the cruise was the fact that in Havana it was extremely cold and we asked at reception if the temperature could be changed and was told that nothing could be done. The entertainment team last year which was run by Benny was extremely good especially on the sailaways as they performed a dance routine on stage and everyone joined in which made a great atmosphere. This year the entertainment team hardly did any sailaways and for the majority of time there was a group performing which did not give us the same atmosphere. We were very pleased with our cabin and steward and any requests were met immediately. The cabin was kept spotless and our steward was friendly and polite. Again this year the food was of good quality but portions varied in size. Some of the waiters appeared extremely miserable but others were very friendly and helpful. The amount of time wasted queuing for Christmas and New Year dining was horrendous, some people waited up to 4 hours. We queued for 2 hours, surely there is a better system P&O could use. We are booked for this year's Christmas cruise on the Britannia and we are very much looking forward to seeing how this year's cruise compares to the one we have just returned from. We are really hoping that the entertainment is of far better quality and we will write a review accordingly. Yes we did overall enjoy the cruise but not as much as last year. Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
Mixed feelings regarding our Christmas cruise to the Caribbean. The flight form Gatwick, chartered to Thompson was refreshingly pleasant as we booked in premiere and were treated very well indeed with complimentary drinks and very ... Read More
Mixed feelings regarding our Christmas cruise to the Caribbean. The flight form Gatwick, chartered to Thompson was refreshingly pleasant as we booked in premiere and were treated very well indeed with complimentary drinks and very comfortable seating, the interactive entertainment menu again very good. Arriving in Barbados again was a nice surprise not having to go through airport customs but being "ordered" on to a very old and tired small coach. Reaching the dock was not too bad but the check in procedure was awful we were herded like cattle in a pen without facility for refreshment for the best part of 45 minutes in very hot and humid conditions without any explanation as to how long this procedure would take "More information from P&O" would have been nice. The cabin was pleasant and clean and the cabin steward was friendly and informative. We opted for freedom dining which was a good choice as the 'sail away' party was just another excuse to join a long queue for average food. Breakfast is normally overcrowded and our party of 6 struggled to get a table most mornings having to circumnavigate both venues before being able to breakfast as a family. The breakfast & dinner on the whole was excellent especially our visit to the White Room. Having a "Costa" in the atrium was a pleasant surprise and we used this facility most afternoons but the service on 10 times out of 13 was nothing short of disgusting sometimes waiting up to 25 minutes for someone to take our order when at most there were two or three tables awaiting service. We used the Spa facilities once (on a special offer) and were induced to buying overpriced products whilst we were in a totally relaxed and near sleep condition, almost ready to agree to anything. (We were told that the therapists are trained to hard sell to their clients after the massage which I must say was excellent) I got off light after buying some Gell and oil for £70 but my wife ended up being sold creams for £195 this is on top of the treatment price - a bit over the top, a 10% gratuity was also added, this was not too bad as the treatment was on special offer. The entertainment was every enjoyable and refreshing and the appearance of Roy Walker was a nice bonus. These entertainers work very hard and the production team are to be applauded. Trying to get a Sun lounger when we had our "at sea" days proved to be something of a challenge, so we did not bother as the only areas that we could sit were very loud with lots of children running around. Yes we did try the adult area and again the only place to sit was the bench style seating next to the swimming pool. the hot tubs were very good though one always seemed to be cordoned off. Overall the Islands we visited were as expected with gorgeous beaches but St. Vincent was a little bit of a let down. Most items on board if not on special offer were a bit pricy but I suppose P&O have a policy of trying to extract every last pound from their passengers. It would be nice to know how exactly the amount added for gratuities was divided, as the staff manning the Ice cream machine & Pizza ovens on the whole thought they were doing you a great favour by serving you. Attitude of staff on Sun decks really could have been a lot better, as this was not a cheap cruise. I have to say that I had different expectations and the overall experience is not one I would wish to repeat.   Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
We have just returned from our first P & O Ventura cruise after being told by numerous friend that we had to try it! On the whole we enjoyed the experience , from embarkation which is surprisingly run like clockwork to leaving your ... Read More
We have just returned from our first P & O Ventura cruise after being told by numerous friend that we had to try it! On the whole we enjoyed the experience , from embarkation which is surprisingly run like clockwork to leaving your bags at check in at the airport then the next time you see them is in your room - excellent . We had a deluxe cabin with balcony which is a good size , comfy bed , good shower , really nice cabin steward who couldn,t do enough for us . Against this , the TV with constant sky news as the only decent channel will eventually drive you mad , sports channel for premiership football was good , and thats about it for TV. Although the cruise price seemed good value , its only good value if you resist all the other ways P & O have of trying to part you from your money > Wi Fi at £15 - £20 per hour is ridiculous in this day and age , trips , gym sessions , massage , photos of you at every opportunity , getting on , getting off , dining , drinking , you name it , a camera was there . We enjoyed the food tremendously , the service was good , sometimes too good , plate removed as soon as my knife & fork touched the plate ! Buffet food equally as good just a shame you have to try and hunt down a table as it was so busy. Entertainment - first class , some excellent shows ! The main thing that lets this ship down is the fact that P & O are too relaxed about the dress code , the formal nights most people do make an effort, but the rest of the time ,  baseball caps worn in the restaurant, men in sleeveless shirts and singlet type vests in the buffet , women walking through the buffet restaurant in their swimming costumes , not a pretty sight ! I think that due to the cheap starter price of the cruise this holiday is replacing the Benidorm/Torremelinos all inclusive holiday and hence the drop in standards - a real pity . P & O need to get their act together , even if it means raising the price and cutting down on the numbers ! My opinion for what its worth ! Read Less
Sail Date November 2014
We booked for our first Caribbean Cruise over a year before the sail date and we were so looking forward to it. One of the things we liked was that we booked our cases in at the airport and they were delivered to our cabin, one of the ... Read More
We booked for our first Caribbean Cruise over a year before the sail date and we were so looking forward to it. One of the things we liked was that we booked our cases in at the airport and they were delivered to our cabin, one of the things we found out that we didn't like was the length of time it takes to book everyone on board. We were in a hot and sweaty shed on the quayside in a long line and it took a good couple hours. The ship met up with our expectations, great food, lovely staff who were very friendly and tendered to our every need. The entertainment in the evenings was outstanding (Except for the Ventriloquist who was poor) in every venue. There was bars you could just sit and relax and enjoy a drink and there was bars where you could dance the night away something for everyone. But As with every holiday there are parts that doesn't come up to scratch and the Ventura is no exception. Firstly we felt like we were in a 2 Star all inclusive holiday in Spain as the sun beds were reserved very early in the morning with towels left on the beds while the holiday makers were nowhere to be seen, we thought it would be more classy than that. In fact we were told that people were reserving beds as early as 5:30 in the morning in order to get the prime spots. P&O policy states that no sunbed reservations are to be made but we witnessed two incidents of 'Bed Rage' Secondly, we assumed (wrongly) that the evening dress code would be smart casual mixed with a number of Black Tie events. What we found was that quite a number of people did not conform to the dress code and even to the point of wearing football shirts with shorts which tainted the experience. Overall, the cruise was fantastic and what we experienced would not put us off booking another.   Read Less
Sail Date November 2014
Ventura Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.2
Dining 4.0 3.8
Entertainment 4.0 3.7
Public Rooms 4.0 4.0
Fitness Recreation 4.0 3.9
Family 4.0 3.9
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.5
Enrichment 3.0 3.3
Service 4.0 4.0
Value For Money 4.0 3.6
Rates 3.0 3.9

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