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854 P&O Cruises Ventura Cruise Reviews

Last minute bargain and thoroughly enjoyed. Food in buffet was pretty good although sometimes lukewarm but guess this is to be expected when such large quantities are being served. Meals in Baytree restaurant were really nice and ... Read More
Last minute bargain and thoroughly enjoyed. Food in buffet was pretty good although sometimes lukewarm but guess this is to be expected when such large quantities are being served. Meals in Baytree restaurant were really nice and service was prompt and friendly. Entertainment onboard was excellent. Ship was clean and all staff friendly and polite. We had an inside cabin which was fine but quite dated. Don’t think P&O should change for the shuttle service though, this should be included in the price. My only bugbear is people who don’t wash their hands after using the toilet nor using the sanitizer, I can never understand this and the lack of hygiene is pure laziness in my opinion! Surely it’s in everyone’s interest to keep sickness and diarrhoea bugs away so everyone can have a happy and healthy cruise. Embarkation at Southampton was quick, disembarkation a little slower but it was great not having to have the hassle of airports. Overall a great cruise and would definitely go on this ship again. Read Less
Sail Date April 2018
This was a last minute decision,wanted a bit of sun and the Canaries are always a good choice, in fact it is my second favourite destination for cruising.Last minute booking but not a last minute price, paid the full whack for a DD ... Read More
This was a last minute decision,wanted a bit of sun and the Canaries are always a good choice, in fact it is my second favourite destination for cruising.Last minute booking but not a last minute price, paid the full whack for a DD category Superior Deluxe balcony cabin occupied by one, but paying for two.Must have a balcony when cruising, would not set a foot on a ship otherwise.I have stayed on Ventura 3x in as many years and it has never been plain sailing.My gripe? The hygiene.This is the dirtiest four star cruiser I have ever been on. Even now the overwhelming sense of grubbiness prevailed from the moment I opened the door to the cabin.New carpet?Fluff coming off as I walked around.The cabin is dark,this is not a complaint but a statement of fact,it is the second largest I have ever been in and if the sun does not shine without the lights it is dark.But it has a good size balcony without shelter, this means more sun than if there was another cabin above.Two beds pushed together to make a king size bed ,very uncomfortable,there was no covering on the top of the beds to soften the edges where they were pushed together.I loved showering standing in the bath-tub,the water was always hot and powerful,washing my long hair was easy.Toiletries were from the White Company,my favourite brand.There was no vanity package,in a Superior Deluxe cabin,everything should be provided.There were two soft and large dressing gowns, a pair of slippers, an umbrella and binoculars.The food was a hit and miss affair with more hits than misses,breakfast in the self-service always excellent,lunch not so much, but in the dining room it was adequate.Dinners in the Saffron restaurant were enjoyable,steak cooked to perfection,exactly as I like it,rare,chips always hot.,a nice side salad.The choice of food was good, at least two kinds of fish,good quality meat.Ice cream excellent, good cheese, desserts not to my liking.Entertainment was good,especially the comics.In site of my reservations about the hygiene, I had a lovely cruise.I know I will be back. Yes, I am a glutton for punishment. Read Less
Sail Date April 2018
We were aboard 25 minutes after arriving at the terminal, excellent service. Food was very good, except when we ate dinner in the cafeteria twice, which we felt was not quite up to P & O's usual high standard. Black tie nights ... Read More
We were aboard 25 minutes after arriving at the terminal, excellent service. Food was very good, except when we ate dinner in the cafeteria twice, which we felt was not quite up to P & O's usual high standard. Black tie nights were very special, but we wish that the staff could remind some passengers to dress accordingly. If people do not want to join in these events dressed correctly, they should stay in their cabins. The entertainment was as good as usual, although we did see three acts we saw on our 2016 cruise, but they were all worth seeing again. We had not cruised the Canaries before, and felt that several of the ports of call did not offer much of interest in the town.We really enjoyed Madeira and La coruna where there was more to see. Leaving the ship at the end of the cruise was very efficient. A very relaxing holiday. Read Less
Sail Date April 2018
My wife and I booked with Sovereign Cruyise Club at ' Last Call ' price. 2 weeks later it was advertised again as ' Last Call ', almost £400 cheaper. We felt cheated. We had been on this ship the previous year. This ... Read More
My wife and I booked with Sovereign Cruyise Club at ' Last Call ' price. 2 weeks later it was advertised again as ' Last Call ', almost £400 cheaper. We felt cheated. We had been on this ship the previous year. This time, the food was not as good, never really warm and not a lot of acceptable choice. The entertainment was very poor indeed, either highbrow or screaming female singers. Nothing middle of the road, such as music from the great Hollywood musicals, Sinatra, Streisand, Ella, etc. We were given a very high cabin at the very rear of the ship and suffered bandly from motion sicness. Request to move cabin was refused. In all, the cruise was not as good as the last one on this ship. We will have to carefully consider whether or not to cruise with P&O and will certainly not book through the same agent. Read Less
Sail Date April 2018
Having only ever cruised with Disney we weren’t sure what standard to expect but we were pleasantly surprised. The cruise was for my fathers 80th birthday and we had a party of 7 including 2 children aged 15 and 12. The ship has ... Read More
Having only ever cruised with Disney we weren’t sure what standard to expect but we were pleasantly surprised. The cruise was for my fathers 80th birthday and we had a party of 7 including 2 children aged 15 and 12. The ship has recently had a refit of the public areas to include new carpets throughout. Everywhere was immaculately clean. We were particularly impressed with The Arena which is a great venue with comfortable seating. We felt this should be used more preferably for the showing of movies which were shown in the bars which had inadequate screens and seating. The Costa Coffee Lounge was great, always busy but great service and a nice place to relax with a good coffee. We opted for freedom dining which worked perfectly and we did not experience any waiting for tables as suggested by other reviews. Staff were attentive, polite and immaculately presented. We all remarked how clean and smart the staff were throughout the ship. The menus were varied and service was efficient. The food was good overall, well presented and tasty. We had afternoon tea in the Epicurian which was superb and worth the premium. We also had dinner in the Epicurian and Sindhu which both have excellent service and tasteful decor. Excellent staff and a few nice touches made it extra special and worth a visit. We used the gym and spa facilities which were both excellent. Our children loved the ship and both enjoyed the kids clubs. We found the 9 to 12 kids Club sign in/sign out restrictions tricky to manage as the children are unable to contact you if they want to leave the club and consequently we had to take frequent trips up to top deck checking that they wanted to stay or leave. Disney have a gps bracelet where children of that age can sign in and out independently which we thought worked better. Evening entertainment in terms of bars etc was really good with lots of activity and we particularly liked the Glass House and The Exchange with The Casino. We arranged our own on shore excursions - getting on and off the ship was swift and straightforward. Transfer coaches were readily available and ran frequently. Coaches at all ports were of a high standard. Disembarking the ship was easy and straightforward. Our coach transfer to and from Southampton was excellent and the coach was modern and comfortable. The whole party really enjoyed the cruise and would highly recommend it to others. Our Cabin was superb with a lovely balcony and we would highly recommend Deck 9 D316 We will definitely cruise with P and O again Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
We chose this cruise as we were travelling with an extended family group (9 in total including 3 children) and wanted to depart from Southampton and visit somewhere sunny with beaches. I travelled with my husband and our children (age 1 ... Read More
We chose this cruise as we were travelling with an extended family group (9 in total including 3 children) and wanted to depart from Southampton and visit somewhere sunny with beaches. I travelled with my husband and our children (age 1 and 2), my parents-in-law, and my sister-in-law, her partner and son (age 10). We have cruised many times but it was a first cruise for the rest of the group. We booked a Superior Deluxe Balcony cabin (DE) almost a year in advance on a Select fare, and 2 weeks before our departure noticed on the cruise personaliser that our cabin had changed - to a family suite (BE)! With much excitement we frantically researched suite perks and butlers as had never travelled in a suite before. The rest of our group were in standard balcony cabins. Priority embarkation was brilliant, we arrived at the terminal, used CPS for parking, and were directed straight into a VIP area to wait to board (coffee and cake provided), however within seconds of arriving we were immediately directed through security and straight onto the ship. We went to a priority boarders lunch in one of the main dining rooms, received a glass of fizz and chose a light lunch from a small but tasty buffet selection. It was very calm and a pleasant start to our holiday. We then went to find our cabin and were thrilled to find it was double the size of the DE cabin we had booked, and basically had an inside cabin set within its footprint which we used for our two children. The suite gave us 2 bathrooms and double the usual amount of storage in a regular cabin, which was fantastic for all the baby clutter we had with us. There was also a large lounge area with 2 sofas and a double size balcony. We have sailed Ventura twice before (in a balcony and a superior deluxe balcony) but always aft to mid ship. The family suite was however right at the front and we felt far more movement than we were used to, the only disadvantage of our otherwise very lucky upgrade. the balcony furniture banged and rattled against our doors in the bad weather as we sailed down through the Bay of Biscay. We then enrolled our children for kids club, our daughter was old enough to go to Splashers (age 2-4) and we signed both up for night nursery - however never used it in the end. It turned out that our daughter absolutely loved her club and spent a couple of hours there most days, usually whilst our son napped, giving us some free time either to relax in the cabin or on the balcony, or for family to babysit so we could go out and about. We were impressed by how many hours a day the kids club was open, but think this was just due to it being a school holiday cruise. My nephew enjoyed his age group's club too and the evening sessions there let his parents drop him off after dinner and have some grown up time in the bar and at shows etc. The ship had just had a refit when we boarded, with carpets replaced, some soft furnishings changed and a refresh of the shops. This smartened the ship up and it seemed in good shape and looked cleaner and tidier than when we had last sailed on her 4 months earlier. The only negative change was that the interactive TV function to check bills and order room service had gone. We had freedom dining however went for dinner about 6pm every day as a large group. We were very well looked after in the main dining room by very friendly and accommodating waiters, we asked to be seated in the same area every night as these staff looked after us so well. We hardly used the buffet on this cruise as we found it too hectic and tricky to navigate with 2 toddlers and a buggy. As suite guests we were able to have breakfast in the fantastic Epicurean restaurant each morning which was such a treat. Top notch service and cooked to order food in a beautiful and calm setting. The only select dining restaurant we used was Sindhi, once for a romantic dinner for two and on the last day for a special lunch for the 4 of us. Both were excellent and we really enjoyed the food and were well looked after. Our room steward was also excellent and coped with all our mess so well. The butler however did not seem to do much, we just saw him once every evening when he brought us canapes, menus and milk for our children. As we were travelling with our young children we didn't really see any of the entertainment or make use of many facilities on board, other than Splashers, the Nursery where we played with our son each day, and one afternoon we managed a soak in the hot tub by the adult only spa pool whilst we were child free. We played in the casino a couple of times and Metropolis was our favourite spot for a drink day or night due to the great views. We didn't book any excursions and only used the shuttle buses in Madeira and Lisbon, both fast and efficient, with no queues by the time we left the ship after a late breakfast. In each port we just went for a walk, visited a beach, had an ice cream and found a playground. It worked well for us and made it a cheap trip! We would then get back on board for a late lunch. We loved the idea of pizza by the pool but the pizza was very disappointing. To conclude, the suite was an amazing upgrade, although the location not very desirable. The ship suited us well as a family, and we will be sailing Ventura again in November due to a great price on a Spain & Portugal itinerary. Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
Pool was closed for all but one day of the holiday. Understaffed. Ran out of most drinks on board. So much was broken, lifts, toilets, etc. Activities scheduled on deck, knowing there was bad weather - massive cop out. Staff were so ... Read More
Pool was closed for all but one day of the holiday. Understaffed. Ran out of most drinks on board. So much was broken, lifts, toilets, etc. Activities scheduled on deck, knowing there was bad weather - massive cop out. Staff were so unhappy - you could see it throughout the ship. Numerous staff were criticizing P&O, telling us how tight they are and disgusting how they dont even give customers correct reasons for problems. The captain rarely made any announcements on board about the journey, weather etc. Reception queues for over an hour. and wa sonly way to get a bill. (Just what you want to do on your holiday!). Some entertainment was like watching a school play! Having cruised 10+ times, it is back to RC we go! We have never had problems with the American service. Was offered a part-refund for part of our holiday, to be told one day before we left the ship that it would be given as onboard credit, once again lied to and fobbed off by them. Gym equipment was broke. Computer systems were down for last three days, so we couldn't access our bills. High level management are protected by low level staff. PLEASE NOTE: Not one customer (I spoke to close to 100) was happy with this cruise!!! This cruise was a reflection of where P&O is going, ie, eventually nowhere! STEER CLEAR! SPEND YOUR HARD EARNED MONEY SOMEWHERE ELSE!!! Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
Service in restaurant was very hurried manic at times food was hit or miss menus ranged from the sublime to the ridiculous steaks were appalling and most evenings food was cold -lunch however much better than dinner food on buffet ... Read More
Service in restaurant was very hurried manic at times food was hit or miss menus ranged from the sublime to the ridiculous steaks were appalling and most evenings food was cold -lunch however much better than dinner food on buffet terrible and cold every time we tried it.we spent a lot of time up on lido deck and the outside tables were never washed down they were periodically tidied and dirty crockery removed but by the and of the cruise they were sticky ugh! They had new carpets fitted just before we cruised and they didn’t fit very well at all in the deck corridors and the off cuts and trimmings were still on the floor of the lifts up to last day! On the other hand the entertainment was good! But dress code for dinner non existent t shirts with rude slogans allowed come on!Would I cruise with p&o again I don’t think I would we sailed on Ventura on her maiden voyage and can honestly say that things have gone downhill since then the interactive tv screens we enjoyed all those years age eg cabin service /account accessibility no longer available Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
Having booked Oriana early, we then found ourselves rapidly making the best out of a bad job when P&O cancelled 5 weeks before sailing. Ventura had a similar itinerary sailing during the same timeframe. Many other cancelled guests did ... Read More
Having booked Oriana early, we then found ourselves rapidly making the best out of a bad job when P&O cancelled 5 weeks before sailing. Ventura had a similar itinerary sailing during the same timeframe. Many other cancelled guests did the same and we ended up on an overcrowded ship with pressure on every venue. In order to get a decent seat in the theatre people were queuing from 5.20 pm to get into the Freedom dining restaurant each evening. The Waterside buffet was impossible to get around at peak times. The choice of food everywhere was very good and the menus read as you would expect from fine dining but what a shame they couldn’t deliver! Generally, as food is cooked ahead of time except in eating places that charged extra, it was mostly below par. Overcooked fish, green beans every day even if it wasn’t incuded in your choice from the menu .. It amounted to a piece of meat or fish with veg and potatoes on the whole each day and even the mash was grey! One evening there was Coq au Vin actually on the menu which I chose. It was pan fried chicken and the sauce was made from lamb gravy (very easily detected flavour). Of course, lamb was also on the menu. Much has already been remarked on in other reviews about inadequacy of some venues and the shutting of the shops several days prior to the end of the cruise, the overpriced excursions and pressure on activities due to the volume of people etc etc. It would be easy to go on... but one thing that maybe needs saying is that the total debacle of the immigration process in New Orleans, losing us best part of a day, is being blamed on US immigration...according to a member of US staff, knowing how many passengers there were, Immigration were ready and waiting at 6.30am. The ship did not allow passengers off until nearly 2 hours later. By the time the process had gone on for an hour or so, their staff were needing to go off for breaks making the number of officers less. I can’t verify this, I only know what I was told but I have to say that it looked pretty feasible as why else would they be heading off for breaks an hour after starting work and why on earth did it take all day? We have cruised to US before and had a fairly easy and relatively quick process. Then to not be allowed off the ship after going through the process having returned from a tour because some poor folks were still waiting to get off to go through immigration, was disgraceful. Sadly, all in all it felt like there were lots of moaners on the ship but really P&O, you gave us so much ammunition! The hardworking Staff are pleasant and helpful, endeavouring to do their best for the guests.. they are an asset to the Company. After several very enjoyable cruises over the years, 2 previously with P&O albeit quite a few years ago, this was very disappointing, standards are seriously slipping so we will be looking to other Companies from now on. In particular,those with smaller ships. Read Less
Sail Date February 2018
Because we wanted to try cruising, we usually have seven weeks in Key Largo, we decided we needed a change. Because we wanted some sun a Caribbean cruise seemed a good option. Also the ship left and returned to Southampton. The cabin, ... Read More
Because we wanted to try cruising, we usually have seven weeks in Key Largo, we decided we needed a change. Because we wanted some sun a Caribbean cruise seemed a good option. Also the ship left and returned to Southampton. The cabin, food and entertainment suited us fine. I attended art classes every sea day, they were brilliant. As we were first time cruisers I was scared of missing boat and so we booked P and O trips in all the Caribbean Islands, New Orleans and Charleston. Apart from the kayaking and snorkleing in Antigua which was marvellous, the Dunnes Falls etc. In Jamacia and the Tea Plantatin visit (me) and Patriots Point (husband ) in Charleston the trips in Barbados and New Orleans were the biggest waste of time and money I've ever spent. The people who organise these trips for P and O need to get out and do them themselves before they charge the exorbitant prices they do. In New Orleans we booked ourselves onto a Mississippi Riverboat trip for $40 for two, P and O charged over $60 per person for exactly the same trip. This is a rip off and they should be ashamed. P and O also need to get into a discussion with US immigration and refuse to use American ports until they streamline the exit process for 4000 passengers and crew. It took us from docking and collecting our exit ticket at 7:15am until 12:45pm to leave the ship and it took other passengers a great deal longer. Therefore a day wasted. Take away the income these ships bring in and it will soon be sorted. Put a woman in charge!! Read Less
Sail Date February 2018
we picked the ventura because we had been on this ship severals years ago and all was ok, the day we set sail from southampton it soon became clear there was something very wrong the ship was performing like a row boat it was rolling ... Read More
we picked the ventura because we had been on this ship severals years ago and all was ok, the day we set sail from southampton it soon became clear there was something very wrong the ship was performing like a row boat it was rolling side to side very badly and as we were on the top deck it seemed even worse for us . i got talking to a engineer the 2nd night out at 2am because i could not sleep and he told me the stabilizers were not operating properly. hence 35 nights of no sleep being thrown from pillar to post not a good experience at all , one of the nights it was so bad that i got flung in to the corner of the bathroom wall and split the top of my eye open right to the bone. The ship was completely full because two other ships of p&o were completely unfit to sail as i think the ventura was, hench it was chaos on that ship lifts always full people coughing on you,both my wife and i got bad flue,in bed for 3-4 days, in the buffet dinning room it was crowded all the time pushing and shoving, one of the staff told me there were 2 old ladies trying to hit each other, it was total madness. I went on the internet for 2 mins and noticed a £16-25 price tab and rang down to complain,the liberian called gennifer just rang me up and said come down and i will show you that you were on for 25 mins, so i went down and all i got was a load of abuse and the lady behind me said that was her complaint as well, after getting to the customer service manager he checked and said sorry the computer was not logging people out this all tuck 2 days and a lot of phone calls lucky this manager called chai was very good at his job. The toilet in the cabin was out of action 4 times the tv kept going of, the air con gave every one a sore throat 1 man told me he had to put a wet towel around every night we were lucky we had a balcony we just left the door open, to top it all off the ship started listing about 30 degrees to the port and all the staff could that there were to many fat people on the port side , it has taken us both 2 weeks to get over this nightmare . We travel every year from portsmouth to bilbao on a ferry and have had some rough seas but never ever been tossed about as much. THAT SHIP SHOULD HAVE NEVER SET SAIL. P&O SHOULD REFUND EVERY PASSENGER. Read Less
Sail Date February 2018
We were cancelled off the Oriana and decided to go on this one, unfortunately, probably the worst cruise I have ever been on, and we have cruised a lot, the Cabin was a Superior De-Luxe Balcony, the carpets were dirty, the settee was was ... Read More
We were cancelled off the Oriana and decided to go on this one, unfortunately, probably the worst cruise I have ever been on, and we have cruised a lot, the Cabin was a Superior De-Luxe Balcony, the carpets were dirty, the settee was was awful, it was so old you sat on it and slid off, it needed replacing, the TVs were so old, and were secured on a shelf so that I IF you sat on the settee you only saw the top half, the bath had no mat or strips to stop you slipping, as I had just had a new hip I didn’t feel safe, I eventually got one after complaining. Apart from breakfast you now have to pay for Room service, Ice cream in the afternoon used to be free, it’s now £2.50. The food in the restaurant was adequate, if you wanted something better you had to pay £26 a head, There was no ballroom so the dancing took place in the Atrium next to the Costa coffee bar, so sitting there having a coffee meant you had to sit there and listen to ‘Cotton eyed Joe’ blaring out. There was no cinema, so any film shown was in the theatre in the afternoon. The theatre, called The Arena, held approx 850 people,with 3251 people you do the maths, you had to be in a seat at least 45 minutes before the show to get a seat. The shows that were in the Havana lounge were spoilt by firstly a terrible sound system, but also by some horrible big pillars and illuminated walls in front of the seats which meant all the artistes saw was heads, whoever designed this room was a novice, when we docked in New Orleans it was a total farce, no fault of P&O’s it was the immigration that was at fault. The entertainment was first class, as were the ‘Talks’. One other thing I found out from a passenger, if you are an ex serviceman you are given extra on board spending money, I would not have known this if it wasn’t for him, I would have thought that this could be put on the booking form. The staff were very good and our cabin steward, Jude, was excellent. We have been on the Aurora for a World Cruise, 106 nights in 2013 and it was brilliant, since the P & O’s standards have slipped and its all about how much money they can take of you and giving as little as possible in return, This cruise line USED to be one of the best in the world. Not now. One nice touch Dixon’s have a shop on board. Read Less
Sail Date February 2018
There were several negative reviews of Ventura and P&0 in general before we stepped onboard. We booked end of the summer 2017,we wanted a winter cruise visiting some places we had not been before. Picked our cabin, balcony on A deck, ... Read More
There were several negative reviews of Ventura and P&0 in general before we stepped onboard. We booked end of the summer 2017,we wanted a winter cruise visiting some places we had not been before. Picked our cabin, balcony on A deck, received good onboard spend and free coach to and from Southampton. Because of the hurricane a couple of Caribbean islands were changed, but that could not be helped. Coach trip was fine, comfortable Ellison bus. We were quickly onboard, cases arrived and unpacked before muster! Cabin was clean and comfortable, well looked after by our cabin girl. My OH found the bed uncomfortable, happened to mention this to the hotel manager, within half an hour we had new mattress and a follow up phone call asking how the bed was. Then we came back from dinner to find a floral arrangement compliments of the deck manager for our inconvenience. Ate in Cinnamon restaurant on a freedom basis. Shared tables, but found if we went around 7.30pm the guests who queued for the restaurant opening at 6pm, were coming out and we often got a table for 2. Sometimes we had a bleeper,never had to wait long. Food was good, lots of choice, always got offered cheese and biscuits. Plates were hot. Waiters pleasant, remembered you even though you were not at their tables every night. Went 3 times to Beach House, and twice to Sindhu. All fantastic meals. Only went to buffet for occasional breakfasts and lunches, again food good, but could not be doing with the ‘scrum’. You had to pick your time. Used Costa for breakfasts, yogurt and fresh fruit. Entertainment is subjective, for our taste, we found it good. A range of excellent musicians,comedians, Headliner shows,and singers. If you are into quizzes and bingo, plenty to keep you entertained. We enjoyed interesting lectures, some good and nots so good films. We booked most of our shore excursions through P&O before we sailed. Very pleased that we did because a lot of excursions were waiting list only or sold out. Enjoyed them all. Especially Barbados, we had an excellent guide. Emigrated in New Orleans which took quite a while. We were lucky and had picked a morning excursion, we were only an hour and a half late, some passengers did not get off the ship until 4pm! Not so good points. There was a huge storm in the Atlantic which the captain quite rightly decided to avoid, this meant that we had 10 straight sea days back to Southampton. Missing out the Azores. Also a medical emergency. All praise to the crew on both the ship and Spanish helicopter who safely airlifted the passenger. The Havana lounge is a dreadful venue. Christened the ‘meerkat ‘ lounge ! Ventura is at this moment undergoing a refurbishment. It certainly was not as scruffy as portrayed in some reviews. Drinks are still reasonable with no service charge added. All the shops are being changed with Harding Bros. no longer have the franchise. Staff without exception are pleasant and helpful. P&O still have a good product, cruising has changed in the last few years, not for the better if you listen to the long time cruisers. Even though we have cruised with several other companies we still come back to P&O. Thank Read Less
Sail Date February 2018
A cruise chosen because of the itinerary (including New Orleans, Tortola and Amber Cove) but which was a little disappointing when Tortola and Amber Cove were changed to Antigua and Ocho Rios after Hurricane Irma. The ship itself was OK if ... Read More
A cruise chosen because of the itinerary (including New Orleans, Tortola and Amber Cove) but which was a little disappointing when Tortola and Amber Cove were changed to Antigua and Ocho Rios after Hurricane Irma. The ship itself was OK if not a little tired, it has gone in for a refit now. Have never heard so much moaning among fellow passengers about nearly everything. Food in main restaurants was pretty bland and nearly all overcooked. If you liked French beans you'd be OK because they were served with just about every meal!! However, the food in the specialty restaurants being Epicurean, Sindhu and the Glass House was superb and worth the extra money. They should give the waiting staff in the main restaurants lessons in the art of conversation (we are used to having conversations with the staff on Princess and building relationships but this was non existent on Ventura). Entertainment was excellent but I wish Spa staff would stop the hard sell tactics after a massage or gym class. We don't go on holiday to be at the receiving end of this kind of high pressure selling!! Read Less
Sail Date February 2018
Original cruise cancelled by p and o ,this was a similar venue .Vastly overcrowded ,poor food quality ,not even enough sun beds available the company should be ashamed and offer compensation to everyone .A lot of damage to their reputation ... Read More
Original cruise cancelled by p and o ,this was a similar venue .Vastly overcrowded ,poor food quality ,not even enough sun beds available the company should be ashamed and offer compensation to everyone .A lot of damage to their reputation has occurred .We are looking at other companies for future travels. Lack of cleanliness too resulting in cleaning the bathroom / toilet myself ,toiletries and shower caps not provided unless we asked for them Dirty carpet in the cabin and dull lighting , Queuing for meals was tedious and when finally getting served the food was cold , burnt or tasteless !The desserts were the same .Should have complained but I felt sorry for the staff an impossibility catering for so many ,Entertainment was good but had to be in the Arena by 745 to be sure of having a seat Then a scramble to the Havana to get a decent view if not there were televisions dotted around for you to watch the shows ( Joke!)The exchange bar always full never managed to get seating in there .End of rant I was so happy to arrive in Southampton !! Not booking another cruise for this year will wait for much needed improvements Read Less
Sail Date February 2018
We chose this cruise for my wife's 60th having used P&O before on a number of occasions, sadly things are not what they used to be. The dining experience is now average in terms of product and service, green beans with everything, ... Read More
We chose this cruise for my wife's 60th having used P&O before on a number of occasions, sadly things are not what they used to be. The dining experience is now average in terms of product and service, green beans with everything, if they could serve them as a dessert I think they would! Waiters have had cutbacks and are overworked resulting in a poorer service which is not their fault. The dining room ceiling leaked form the air conditioning unit and we had this problem on 3 nights, eventually being moved table. The food was passable and you will not go hungry on the ship as there is always a buffet open somwhere on the ship. The ship is in need of the refurbishment it is currently getting in Brest,France. Our cabin was spacious as it was a deluxe cabin and it was also a bit tired, the grouting around the bath was black and carpets needed replaced. There was a leak in our balcony door which soaked the carpet. However saying all that the bed was very comfortable and cabin steward excellent always ensuring we had everything we need for a comfortable stay. The entertainment was of a good standard, other activities where geared for P&Os elderly clientele and was standard fair, is shuffledeck,table tennis, quizes, bridge clubs and not to mention the ballroom dancing classes in the atrium. The Atrium could be put to better use as it is the hub of the ship and we would have liked to see more live music in this area as it would have helped the atmosphere on the 3 floors which it serves. The Arena theatre is the main area for twice night shows and was very busy on our cruise as the ship was full, (in fact you needed to get to your seat 30 minutes before most shows to ensure a seat). The Havana lounge at the opposite end is a terrible venue and was known as the Meerkat lounge due to the high backed seats (the comedian mentioned he could only see the heads of the audience popping up and down like meerkats). The ports of call were good and excursions offered quite good but certainly not cheap. They do look after your safety though and tend to go a bit overboard sometimes, that was not a pun! Overall we did enjoy our cruise however would avoid going back on the Ventura even after the current refit it is undergoing. The ship is just not to our liking, the Arena's seats are to tight, Havana lounge enough said, no separate Cinema which should be a given on such a large ship. Carnival have striped bare much of the niceties of a P&O cruise and not replaced them with anything. We will try other lines in future to see if there is better value for money to be had. Read Less
Sail Date February 2018
P & O VENTURA –NEVER AGAIN! Caribbean and USA cruise 2018 The Ventura is arguably an overcrowded, currently very dilapidated, nautical selling machine designed to milk every last penny from its on-board, captive, customer group. ... Read More
P & O VENTURA –NEVER AGAIN! Caribbean and USA cruise 2018 The Ventura is arguably an overcrowded, currently very dilapidated, nautical selling machine designed to milk every last penny from its on-board, captive, customer group. At base, the Ventura is a giant floating shopping mall. Ventura’s design, indeed its whole purpose, is to act as a selling and up-selling operation. That’s why this ship has three decks of retail outlets. Of course, P & O’s nonstop selling spreads well beyond the shops. Apart from the toilets, everywhere else, (public or private), that passengers go on the Ventura is exploited as a market place. If you like to queue, then the Ventura is the ship for you. You queue to get on board and you queue to get off. In the buffet you queue to get plates, bowls, and cutlery and then you queue to get to the service stations and the tea and coffee dispensers. The queues for the restaurants begin up to 45 minutes before they open. You queue to book a shore excursion. That queue actually starts weeks before the cruise departs. Some trips are fully booked before any passengers have even boarded. If you do get a place on an excursion then P & O likes to get you into multiple queues well before they let you board the bus. You even have to queue to get the ship’s newspaper and the daily crossword. Although the queuing on Ventura is indeed world class, two spectacular queuing events deserve special mention. Firstly there was P & O’s attempt at queuing-time record breaking in New Orleans where they organised an impressively long 9½ -hour disembarkation queue. By the way guys, your diffident announcement advising passengers that there was only a ‘slight delay’ was far too modest. Be proud of what you achieved! Even more impressive were the efforts of some passengers who camped outside the disembarkation ticket issuing office from 4.30 a.m. onwards to make sure that they were first in-line when it eventually opened. Unquestionably this was British queuing at its best. Such ‘above and beyond the call of duty’ dedication surely deserves a Q.V.C? Experienced cruisers have of course been aware of P & O’s rush downmarket over the last 10 years or so. In recent times, this rush has become a stampede. This shows in the ever declining standards to be encountered throughout P & O’s service delivery. On Ventura, dirty toilets, decrepit furniture, and defective facilities are to be found throughout the ship. The food has lost any hint of a ‘wow’ factor, (unless you like green beans – they were served at lunch and dinner everyday). Inevitably, when they build larger and larger ships, crowd on more and more punters, and worsen the crew/passenger ratio, something has to give. That something is the overall levels of the onboard facilities. The Ventura has no proper ballroom, no quiet spaces, and nothing like enough seating in its theatre, its cafeterias, or its lounges. Clearly, like the airports, P & O prefer to keep its customers on their feet. That way the passengers keep on moving and keep on buying. P & O’s marketing strategy hides the true cost of their cruises. More and more of what used to be included in the fare now has to be paid as extras by the passengers. Buying a P & O cruise is rather like buying a ticket from a budget airline. The headline cost does not tell you what the real cost of your holiday is. That is why, on the Ventura, everything above a core minimum has to be paid for. And pay you do – though the nose! Take for example two people sharing a cabin on a five week, out of season, trip. Buying a full service Wi-Fi package would cost them over £700. Add that to the suggested level of daily gratuities and they could be down over £1500 from Day 1. Assume that they each have a couple of drinks per day, some wine with their meals, a coffee or two, and go on say, four or five organised trips. That could easily set them back something between £1500 and £2000. Seriously exceeding this figure would be equally easy to do. Hairdressing, photos, spa, restaurants, they all cost – and how! What used to be standard is now charged for. Fancy an ice cream by the pool? Brace yourself - one small scoop costs nearly £2. Want some nibbles with your drinks - a few nuts and crisps will cost you £2.50. And so it goes on! These days P & O even charge extra for room service. Because Ventura is a noisy and crowded ship, even peace and quiet has a P & O price tag. Passengers wanting some tranquillity on this floating Benidorm will have to cough up another £20 per day to buy some ‘time out’ in Ventura’s ‘Retreat’. Not spent enough yet? No problem - there is always the casino and don’t forget the ever-open shops. However, let’s finish on a positive note. The Ventura is an exceptionally stable platform in a rough sea – very noisy, very creaky, lots of vibration, but stable. That is a comfort for its less robust passengers. Finally, let’s not forget the front-of-house service staff and the cabin stewards. As always, these unsung heroes are magnificent. Always patient, always helpful, always friendly, and always courteous, these are the people who brighten the passengers’ days on board. They do indeed ‘go the extra mile’. Without them, the institutionalised inadequacies of P & O’s operations would be glaringly exposed for all to see. Perhaps then, even the oh-so-reluctant-to-complain British might feel compelled to protest, (note to self – ‘dream on!’). Read Less
Sail Date February 2018
We love the Caribbean in Jan/ Feb to escape the UK winter. Ventura was late arriving in Southampton due to bad weather, thank goodness we weren’t on that cruise! P&O gave us all £15pp extra onboard spend to cover lunch on the way ... Read More
We love the Caribbean in Jan/ Feb to escape the UK winter. Ventura was late arriving in Southampton due to bad weather, thank goodness we weren’t on that cruise! P&O gave us all £15pp extra onboard spend to cover lunch on the way as we were advised to arrive later in the day to allow disembarkation. There was free tea and coffee at the terminal and we didn’t wait too long to be transferred to the ship. The sea was choppy for the first 2days at sea but soon improved ( or maybe we just found our sea legs quickly). Madeira was nice and sunny. Went to the gym on sea days to offset the extra food and actually rather enjoyed it! There was always something going on on board but same list most days. The talks are usually interesting. Did lots of sunbathing and actually used our sun beds for hours. We saw loads of beds though which were reserved for hours with no one on them. P &O need to take the bull by the horns and sort out this problem which causes so much anger. The entertainment was mostly good and especially ‘The Runaround Kids’ who got a standing ovation both nights. Metropolis was a nice place in the evenings and much quieter than other venues where the microphones were a bit too loud. Havana is the most ridiculous design and needs a complete overhaul. The half walls are too high, there are posts where they obstruct too much of the view and what on earth the two high tables are for at the front I can’t imagine. We didn’t come on holiday to have to watch acts on the tv screen! The staff were great as usual and cabin stewards very friendly. We had a few problems this cruise with excessive noise in cabin late at night (don’t book around inside cabin R717 ) and after being moved we had a water leak. We were unlucky because this was our 18th cruise with P&O and our first problematic one. The islands were great as normal and the people who moaned about the port of Guadeloupe should have done their research and travelled outside the port area. We had a lovely trip there to the beach and the nicest swimming conditions ever. All in all another successful cruise. Read Less
Sail Date January 2018
This was my third cruise, all being with P&O. This on was going to be different because it was the longest (28 days) and first time on Ventura. I feared that I was going to be a bit bored after a while. I was so so wrong !! ... Read More
This was my third cruise, all being with P&O. This on was going to be different because it was the longest (28 days) and first time on Ventura. I feared that I was going to be a bit bored after a while. I was so so wrong !! Firstly we had a delay at Southampton getting on-board, but these things happen, so whats the point of getting so upset. We were given £15 by P&O to cover the cost of refreshments while waiting. We were given free coffee and I spend my £15 on a packet of crisps !! As a solo traveler, I had a window solo cabin on level 6 (F330). I had always had a normal double cabin before but was pleasantly surprised how spacious the single cabin was, with a large comfortable bed. My cabin steward was wonderful. always a friendly greeting from him and the cabin was spotless, even after I had used it !! Freedom dining was excellent, good company (except for the occasional professional moaner which unfortunately can't always be avoided). Quality and quantity of food excellent. One person at dinner one evening did not fancy anything on the menu so jokingly asked for fried eggs and chips which was served to him a few minutes latter. What more can you ask for ? The entertainment on board was very good with the Entertainment Manager doing a wonderful job, and joined in the entertainment, especially when she could show off her legs in stockings and suspenders !! My only adverse comment is that the continuous dancing lessons should be in a room separated from the rest of us. To be on the 5th. floor of the Atrium meant that we all had to listen whether we wanted to or not, as we traveled around the ship. "One two three one two three" gets a bit monotonous while enjoying a coffee and cake while reading a book ! All the staff work so hard and are always smiling. I wish my staff smiled half as much !! The staff cannot be praised enough. The intercom system from the bridge is not very good. I'm sure Marcin Banach is a wonderful captain, but due to his accent he is most difficult to understand at times. A point noticed by a few of the comics who joked about it during their acts. The ship, like most of the passengers on this trip, has seen better times. Fortunately, unlike us, the ship can have a re-fit in March and I look forward to traveling again on Ventura after the re-fit. I am considering a short cruise in the next couple of months aboard Britannia however having read the reviews, I think I will rethink it. However anyone reading my review on Ventura, you can feel confident that you will have a wonderful cruise and don't listen to the nit-pickers who can't enjoy life without a complaint !! Read Less
Sail Date January 2018
I have been cruising with P & O since the nineties, initially on the worn out Canberra, on the Oriana before and after they fixed the vibrations caused by the bent propellor shaft, on the 1990s Arcadia and three times now on the ... Read More
I have been cruising with P & O since the nineties, initially on the worn out Canberra, on the Oriana before and after they fixed the vibrations caused by the bent propellor shaft, on the 1990s Arcadia and three times now on the Ventura. This, my latest cruise on Ventura was 28 days to the Caribbean and back in January 2018. Welcome to the shabby, floating care home! The Good: The ‘hotel staff’, waiters, cabin stewards, reception and excursion staff are welcoming, helpful and cheerful. P & O have installed a discretionary service charge system so that gratuities or ‘tips’ are added to one’s on board account thus dispensing with the demeaning practice of tipping in cash. One can change or cancel completely this discretionary service charge. Drinks prices were not excessive, being commensurate with what one would pay in a pub or restaurant, but since they undoubtedly buy the stuff at duty free prices, there is a massive mark up. Best value are the P & O ‘House Wines’, very drinkable and priced at about £16.50 per bottle. The entertainment was generally of high quality (with a couple of exceptions) and nicely varied. The shows performed by the in-house theatre company were stunning, with superb vocals, costumes and well-executed dance routines. Audio and video recording of the shows is prohibited. It would not do to have people being able to prove that the shows were the same as the year before, the year before that..........etc. The Not So Good: Dinners in the included restaurants were uninspiring. Vegetables were bland, desserts were often tasteless and stodgy. Seven years ago, main courses were served individually with diners being able to choose their vegetables to be served by the waiter. These days, meals are served pre-plated. As from 1st February 2018, P & O have decided to limit the amount of take on alcohol to one litre per person. Fortunately, we just missed this change of rules. The policy of recycling clearly applies to the entertainment. The shows were good quality but they were the same shows as three years ago and some of the comedians recycled jokes from thirty years ago. The Bad: In these days of modern communications, the charges for internet connection were excessive and unreasonable. The “Browse” package (normal browsing but no audio or video streaming) cost a prohibitive 65p per minute on a pay as you go basis, £12.50 per 24 hours (one would hopefully be asleep for one third of that time and not able to use it) or £180 for the whole 28 day cruise. I accept the issues with satellite internet access, but useable one or two hour periods at a reasonable cost would be preferable. In the restaurant, the number of waiters has been decreased to the point that service has become very slow, doubtless a cost cutting exercise. It was usual to wait up to 15 minutes to give one’s order, and a further 15 minutes before the first item of food arrives. By contrast, the service from the wine waiters who provide chargeable drinks, and earn commission on those drinks, is much faster (quelle surprise). I hesitate to criticise my fellow passengers, but there was an element that was happy to walk rudely out of a show in the theatre en masse before it had actually completely finished and the house lights had been turned up, no doubt anxious not to miss out on some free food somewhere. The daily programme publication requested passengers to remain seated until the house lights went up, but few took any notice. The Ugly: The ship has become a bit shabby and is in dire need of a refit. The beds have stained headboards from doubtless hundreds of greasy heads resting against them. The menu covers in the restaurants were tatty. The upholstery on the chairs in the restaurants is grubby, some of them with the fabric covering worn through. The carpets in some of the public areas have the joints between two pieces of carpet coming apart, revealing bare, loose threads. I actually tripped when I caught my foot in one such exposed thread. The doors to the lifts all have multiple scuffs. The televisions in the cabins are the outdated 4:3 format as opposed to the modern widescreen 16:9. The treadmills in the gym are in need of replacement. Three were out of order at a peak time. Rumour has it that the ship is being refitted in March this year (2018), and not before time. However, P & O are clearly happy to continue taking the money in the meantime. Carnival plc appears to regard P & O as a cash cow with thousands of passengers coming back several times a year, year after year until they die. To me, P & O has lost its ‘mojo’ and I shall be unlikely to return. Read Less
Sail Date January 2018
Advised by P & O night before Cruise the Ship would be late arriving so if possible delay arriving by3 hours . This was impossible but Food and Drink would be provided , What they didn't say was they would be putting us in a ... Read More
Advised by P & O night before Cruise the Ship would be late arriving so if possible delay arriving by3 hours . This was impossible but Food and Drink would be provided , What they didn't say was they would be putting us in a derelict shed , Dock 101 for 6 hours with no Heating or Food , draughts and doors wide open and small coffees and 1 biscuit provided No information at all until 6 pm when busses were provided to talk us to Embarkation . This took 1 hour due to intermittent electric supply and 30 minutes trying to get authorised Debit Card , due to P & O being off line with electric problems . Eventually 8 hours after arriving , please board to get something to eat. Apologies everyone , Air Bridge has broken so we cannot let anyone on ship until repaired 40 minutes later we board get changed and go for Food , only to be told Muster is in 30 minutes so we had a starter , then they closed restaurant and didn't re open after Muster , P & O disaster Rest or Cruise was OK except we had 20 hours of " Essential Maintenance " on a Lifeboat which consisted of 2 men with Lump Hammers knocking old paint of it for 6 hours a day , I have 4 recordings which I will sent to a VP of Carnival Line to see if he would caa this essential maintenance. Food in Restaurant on Ventura where you pay extra were exceptional Read Less
Sail Date January 2018
Got to Southampton to join ship to discover that there was a delay due to ship late docking due to windy conditions . We also found out later that the last two cruises has suffered from Novovirus outbreak . Most people had had texts , ... Read More
Got to Southampton to join ship to discover that there was a delay due to ship late docking due to windy conditions . We also found out later that the last two cruises has suffered from Novovirus outbreak . Most people had had texts , emails and phone calls advising them to arrive later than their allocated time but we received nothing and no apology. Eventually boarded after 7 when they rushed us for dinner before muster. There were no menus in bars , no cruet sets on tables, nothing I presume that could contribute to the spread o& the virus . These measures were relaxed after a few days . Biscay was a little rougher than normal but not as bad as the previous cruise from reading reviews . The ship is tired and the cabins a bit tatty , having travelled on the same ship the Christmas before last it is in need of a refurbished which is to happen in March I understand . There was a lot of disgruntled passengers on the ship who had had their Oriana cruise cancelled at last minute and came on Ventura instead which was a shorter cruise . This made the ship very full. The weathe4 throughout was not brilliant @nd the seas quite rough at times . The swimming pool seemed quite dangerous mos5 of the time . We had already had change of itinerary with Guadeloupe and Martinique replacing Tortola and St Marten. I personally did not like port of Guadeloupe and went after we called there to book trips to avoid being in the port areas on the other calls . The captain was unable to dock in Grenada due to winds again ( it was very windy at almost every port ) so we headed onto Barbados and arrived there late in the evening the day before scheduled. On this ship we didn’t have the previous experiences of the captain keeping us up to date with information and it was impossible to hear the announcements in the cabins as when we knew it was on it took too long to turn on the tv to hear it .many people were disappointed with the Captain. The staff on p and o are always good and helpful , the cabin steward was excellent and p and o should be proud of their staff and pay them better wages and not rely on customers tips .We did have ripped sheets on our bed and they are only changed weekly although the towels changed twice a day . Entertainment was plentiful and diverse some excellent , some not so good . The food was not consistent it depended where you chose to eat . The freedom dining was good and sitting at different tables with other people each night was entertaining listening to the majority of guests discussing how many days at sea they had each year and how many world cruises they have been on . I hope p and o realise what loyal customers they have . The buffet upstairs was consistently bad and breakfast was awful . Cold and hard fried eggs , nasty bacon with white greasy bits, tasteless mushrooms always over cooked , toast and fried bread which disintegrated when you tried to cut it . After one try on going to buffet for breakfast we had continental delivered to cabin which was satisfactory . The grill on deck was good and the pizzeria also ok . Tried all the speciality restaurants and Sindu excellent but the Epicurian was a real disappointment this time . The rib of beef which was brought to the table on a platter was so tough you couldn’t cut it and the crepes Suzette were awful as the girl couldn’t get them to flambé and after 15 minutes threw some more brandy on and served them . They were like eating cardboard with no sauce and melted ice cream . We sent a comment card to reception and never heard a word from them. Also in the back of the till was the target sheet which showed daily and cruise targets which is why they are always trying to sell you the meals as they charge extra for eating there. For me personally the Caribbean was a disappointment and I wouldn’t go back , I expect the weather didn’t help but that couldn’t be helped . Highlight tour was the dolphin watch in St Lucia and boys on the boats were fantastic and they did find the dolphins which were spectacular. The spa is far too expensive and about three times high street prices so didn’t use it . Explains why girls always on decks offering neck massages for a fee One real annoyance to me was if you were sat by the pool listening to the music playing in the background in the early afternoon the band came on and were so loud there was no pleasure staying by the pool . The sun beds are the most uncomfortable I have ever sat on , guaranteed you a bad back ,Azura has far better sun beds . I just wish they would match the entertainment on deck to the ages of their clientele as this was a 28 night cruise so very few children and no teenagers . The sail always were good as the entertainment staff put their all into making them enjoyable . One of the best things about p and o in comparison the ships that charge in dollars is the price if the drinks which are similar to pub prices . Even champagne is similar prices to supermarkets . And at least they don’t have 15 % surcharge on each drink . I understand that due to the refurbishment of the ship in March the same cruise next year had gone up by a considerable amount . I personally would not go on Ventura again but have booked to go with p and o again . Am very tempted to try celebrity which also has a drinks package available for purchase and sometimes can be included in the cost . One of the things I don’t like is that there is no separate ballroom for dancing and is always in the Atrium which is open , loud when lessons are taking place and I’m sure that people can be put off joining in if you aren’t good at it and there is very little space for popular lessons such as line dancing . Read Less
Sail Date January 2018
We take a 4 week cruise every January, this year we choose Ventura, a very big mistake. We had cabin D225, a Deluxe Bacony and booking over a year in advanced paid the full price. ( over 4 times the price P&O offered to last minute ... Read More
We take a 4 week cruise every January, this year we choose Ventura, a very big mistake. We had cabin D225, a Deluxe Bacony and booking over a year in advanced paid the full price. ( over 4 times the price P&O offered to last minute paseners for an inside cabin.) The cabin was a disgrace, a sette only fit for burning, dirty bed cover ( changed after complaining) discussing bath and overall a complete insult to the word ‘delux’ The Epicurian restaurant we chose to celebrate my Wife’s Birthday had a dirty table cloth and the food far from the standard you would expect to receive from a premium charging restaurant. Not a patch on the similar restaurant on Brittania. Our main restaurant for My Time Dinning, The Sinnerman, was again very disappointing, serving Green Beans with your main course nearly every night. This was our 37th Cruise and by far our worst. We were told by passengers in our adjoining cabin that they had been told that the same cruise next year had gone up 50%. Sorry P&O this will be our last cruise with you. We are away again in April on the Queen Mary and cannot wait. Read Less
Sail Date January 2018
First the good - we went for a 'superior deluxe balcony cabin' (D232) which was spacious and comfortable, albeit a little 'tired' (the furniture and carpets had seen better days and the sheets had tears in them). And, ... Read More
First the good - we went for a 'superior deluxe balcony cabin' (D232) which was spacious and comfortable, albeit a little 'tired' (the furniture and carpets had seen better days and the sheets had tears in them). And, my comments about the venue notwithstanding, the ballroom and latin american dancing teachers (Andy and Victoria) were superb. Overall, we had a good holiday, but it could have been so much better... Our first significant disappointment was the venue for dancing. The dance floor on the Ventura is in the Atrium - the middle of a shopping mall, with hard, fluorescent, lighting. It is laughable to describe anything held in such a place as a 'ball' - it is like trying to hold a ball in Sainsbury's! During our final "black tie ball", me in my DJ, my wife in a long dress and bling, sat in Costa Coffee, we couldn't help but reflect on how ridiculous it all felt. Our other major disappointment was to observe just how far and fast standards have dropped and, I suspect, will continue to drop. I almost understand, although I don't sympathise with, the 'evening casual' dress for dinner (which actually means that, in the main, the ladies still dress well but we men slob around in casual clothes), but there is much more it than this: - Dining room staff have been cut by one third, and all food is served 'plated'. - The quality of the food, whilst still pretty good, has deteriorated markedly and some of the dinner options can best be described as 'pub food' (the enormous and tasteless lamb shank, for example). In the main, at dinner the starters, soups and deserts were better than the main courses. - The 'hi-dee-hi' announcements by the entertainments staff were just irritating, particularly as they contained only the same information as was provided in the 'Horizon' mag. - The constant selling is very wearing and pretty naff. Of course a profit has to be made, but the selling never seems to stop. For example, even the gym staff engage in pseudo-scientific 'seminars', peddling seaweed (!) tablets, rather than trying to provide a decent service in the gym. - There were some good elements to the 'entertainments programme' (both sets of classical musicians were excellent and we enjoyed a musician who played, amongst other things, flute, pan's pipes and a crutch!), but most entertainment consisted of singers imitating other singers, stand up comedians and sensationalised talks about aeroplanes falling out of the sky (which, in the main, they don't). 'Cheap and cheerful', describes it best. - To cap it all, 2 of the ports we visited were 'closed' - had we been informed, that, for example, we were to visit Bridgetown on a public holiday, we might have booked an excursion. Apart from causing us and many others irritation, failing to put a note about the public holiday in the Horizon mag meant that P&O missed an opportunity to sell, without all of the usual hard selling they now engage in. - And, surprisingly, both embarkation (due to weather, so understandable) and disembarkation were pretty chaotic. Our overall feeling was that we had a good holiday, despite P&O. Read Less
Sail Date January 2018
This was our third year running on this cruise to the Caribbean from Southampton and return, on Ventura. This time, departure was two weeks earlier than the two previous years and this seemed to have a considerable effect on the weather, ... Read More
This was our third year running on this cruise to the Caribbean from Southampton and return, on Ventura. This time, departure was two weeks earlier than the two previous years and this seemed to have a considerable effect on the weather, which was windier and wetter, even in the Caribbean, than previous voyages. Generally, the ship was in good condition, given the imminent refit (March) which is desperately needed. The crew work tirelessly to do what they can with failing technical issues, and maintain very good standards of attentiveness and service to their customers. Failing technical issues included automatic doors which no loner work, power failures, problems with rudder response and what seemed to us to be some very peculiar motion - an odd 'shimmy' which was especially noticeable on higher decks aft. This seemed to improve after an extended stay in Antigua to effect rudder repairs. On the way home, however, there was a period of some six or seven minutes during which the ship had a quite alarming six degree list to port. There was a strong wind onto the starboard side at the time, but it seemed that the usual automated stabiliser and/or ballast transfer corrective actions did not kick in. There was also an engine problem during the voyage home, though we did arrive in time. There were two late itinerary changes - an earlier than expected arrival in Antigua in the evening rather than morning, and an overnight to follow, due to the need to repair the rudders, and an inability to call in at Grenada due to strong winds, resulting in an evening arrival in Barbados rather than the following morning. Having said that staff were excellent, there were two major niggles, both with reception. First when the terrace bar closed at ten thirty instead of the advertised time of eleven thirty, and crew started hosing the aft terrace deck down at that time, we complained and were given a total cock and bull story that 'there hadn't been a quiz in the waterside buffet that was why the bar closed'. There had never on any occasion been a late evening quiz in the waterside but this disinformation came from the bar manager, who had clearly confused the terrace bar with the beachcomber bar. No explanation at all was offered as to who had ordered the deck crew to start hosing down the deck so early when customers were still using the space. The second niggle was that when my wife asked reception to find out what the odd six degree list had been, reception assured her they would ask the bridge and leave a message on our phone with the response. No message was ever left. One final niggle concerned the quality of berths in port. At two locations, the ship berthed with the stern immediately adjacent to unloading container vessels, with resulting noise, smell of diesel exhaust smoke, disturbance and unpleasant aspect. This seemed almost as though P&O were unwilling to pay for the better and more convenient berths that other lines used, but even if not the case, given that in each case the ship had to turn when leaving, it would have been far preferable to turn first and berth bow to container vessel rather than stern since there are no balconies, suites and open decks immediately adjacent to the bow and noise etc would therefore have been minimised. Generally, however, an excellent cruise with some very good friendships renewed, or made, including Amanda, Paul and Louisa and Jan and Dave. Food was, we felt, back to the standards of two years ago after a noticeable drop in quality in 2017. Read Less
Sail Date January 2018
Ventura Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.2
Dining 4.0 3.9
Entertainment 4.0 3.7
Public Rooms 4.0 4.0
Fitness Recreation 4.0 3.9
Family 4.0 3.9
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.5
Enrichment 3.0 3.3
Service 4.0 4.0
Value For Money 4.0 3.6
Rates 3.0 3.9

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