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195 P&O Cruises Ventura Cruise Reviews

This cruise was booked as a joint stag/hen party. My son proposed to his girlfriend on this 2 day cruise to Bruge last year and she accepted. The wedding is in 3 weeks. They decided they'd like a joint cruise again with all their ... Read More
This cruise was booked as a joint stag/hen party. My son proposed to his girlfriend on this 2 day cruise to Bruge last year and she accepted. The wedding is in 3 weeks. They decided they'd like a joint cruise again with all their mates and some of the family to celebrate. The ages ranged from about 20 to 60, and a great time was had by all!!! Me and my husband have cruised a few times before with Celebrity to the Caribbean, but we did realise that the cruise we were on was not comparable due to the large amount of hen and stag parties aboard, all looking for a good time with lots to drink!!! And boy did they drink, they danced, they joked, were loud and had so much fun!!! In fact my sons mate, became quite a Celebrity doing his own version of Peter Andree's mysterious girl and a Mick Hucknall song while in the hot tub, everyone on deck joined in, it was great. From then on, he became known by us and loads of passengers as 'Hot tub guy'...LOL We have to say the general service was pretty poor, they have waiters everywhere asking to take your drink orders, then you have to wait 20 minutes for it to arrive, because they only seemed to have a couple of bartenders behind the bar, even in the crowded venues. Also trying to purchase photo's was a complete shambles with 2 girls trying to serve people, which resulted in huge queues, which completely blocked the entire area. We gave up in the end, and didn't bother to purchase any for this reason. (About an hours wait) We found the casino quite small after the Celebrity ships, but as we were only on board for a couple of days this didn't bother us (we normally like a flutter). The food in the main dining rooms was very average and I have to say wasn't a patch on Celebritys. Hurried, disorganised service, food luke warm at best, the accompanying veggies tended to arrive about 10 minutes after my rack of lamb was served, then to add insult, what could only have been a bright orange/yellow potato croquet was served to me, looking like it had just come off of the shelf at Iceland....not sure what that was all about, but hardly fine dining!!! We ordered drinks well before our starters and these arrived when we were just finishing our desserts. The main dining room wasn't anywhere near as glam as the Celebrity ships. But having said this P&O do a really good English brekky, but with the usual - people milling about with trays of food, unable to find a table to sit at. We had room R254 on the Riviera deck, we were not overlooked from above. All ok, except the fridge didn't work, we did report it but nothing happened, and the TV remote had a mind of its own, not really a problem on a 2 dayer, but I would have wanted these little niggles sorted on a longer trip. Getting off was a complete disorganised shambles, we queued for 3/4's of an hour, through winding corridors, with our luggage. We spoke to a member of the crew, and asked if it was always this bad, she replied only on the booze cruises, as the company cut back on the amount of staff, which explained the slow drinks service................. You really have to take this 2 day cruise for what it is, everyone on board was calling it the booze cruise, which to be honest it was. If you accept it as that you'll have a great laugh and a really good time!!!! We felt it was like an old fashioned beano....LOL..... In fact we're all planning to do it all again next year......... Read Less
Sail Date May 2013
The one and only reason we went on a cruise is that I have a phobia of flying. As hubby & I both very much want to see the world, cruising seemed a good alternative. We were sceptical - especially hubby: it was a very expensive ... Read More
The one and only reason we went on a cruise is that I have a phobia of flying. As hubby & I both very much want to see the world, cruising seemed a good alternative. We were sceptical - especially hubby: it was a very expensive 'gamble', we were concerned whether cruising life would suit us being only in our late 20's, and whether Norway was the ideal destination for a lively 4 year old. Embarkation took a little while, especially with a little one to entertain but was simple enough. Our hearts did sink a little when it seemed that our child was one of only maybe three children amongst thousands waiting to embark. We also felt we'd brought the passenger age down by about 30 years :) in reality, however, once on the boat there were other younger passengers - mainly holidaying with family or a few young couples. For the most part, it really wasn't an issue - our fellow passengers were mainly very friendly and welcoming to our little one. There were the exceptions: those who rolled their eyes as soon as they saw a child (even though ours is very well behaved) or, more frequently, those who felt the need to talk incessantly in very loud voices - on lifts, dining rooms, everywhere! - about how many hundred cruises they had been on and how many cars they had at home. But these were the minority, not the majority and it was lovely getting to know familiar faces around the ship. My personal first impression was that the Ventura is not as grand inside as I'd possibly expected. Hubby and I said its like a 4* hotel when perhaps we'd expected a 5*. It was a lot more modern than I'd anticipated too but I loved the horse decorations throughout and 4 year old fell in love with the bubble columns in the lifts - a fun touch. It was all very clean and shiny. One and only service error, really - our child's luggage went 'missing' for a worrying hour or two. This was annoying as we knew the luggage label was coming off as the steward took it off us to board - she wouldn't let me refasten it and then the bag goes AWOL! The staff member left to deal with irate passengers whose luggage hadn't turned up was less than courteous - but I suppose it wasn't his fault & he'd drawn the short straw. All was well in the end, bag turned up and our hol began properly. We chose Ventura specifically because it seemed to have the most child friendly facilities. It didn't disappoint in that the Reef children's club was fantastic. I had absolutely no intention of leaving 4 year old with some random childcarers and felt we should have him with us whilst on holiday. However it quickly became obvious that these 'random childcarers' were brilliant with children and probably more qualified than our regular nursery staff. More importantly, little one loved it up there - there is a built in 'play zone' with ball pall, lots of great toys and craft activities. He quickly made it clear that he'd really rather be there than with us most of the time!! They let the 2-8 year olds fall asleep on sleeping bags watching a film if parents are at the evening show, but do remember to send them in their pyjamas or they'll be wide awake again by the time they've been carried to bed through the bright lights and noise of the ship. Activities on board weren't generally to our taste - a few slightly younger talks etc would have been good (they were on topics like reducing arthritis!!!) but, that said, we could have got involved with things like jewellery making, quizzes or dance lessons. The Headliners theatre company were very talented and I particularly enjoyed their west end musicals show though hubby did feel that, again, most of the show content was geared towards an older audience. The earliest shows started at 8.30 - it would have been nice if one night there was a 'matinee' for the children. The covered swimming pool was a big hit, and one of the main reasons we chose this ship. The entertainment team were also fantastic and very friendly - one night they valiantly kept up a dance routine despite downpour and they created a fantastic Great British Sail Away experience. Shore excursions were very expensive but we felt necessary for Norway. There really was very little to do oneself in port, except for Stavanger where there are plenty of museums and shops within easy walking distance. We went to the Petrol Museum which was an unexpected hit, especially for little boys as there are lots of gadgets, a 3d cinema, great play area and submarines they can go in. Our favourite port was probably Olden - the Briksdal Glacier excursion is a must and the place is just beautiful, with mountains surrounding the port. Worst port was Molde - an utterly pointless little shopping town like any in England. If you can pick a Norway version with a port other than Molde, we'd suggest it. Final things of note: service of the staff was excellent, our waiters in particular were brilliant in the Saffron restaraunt. We were very impressed with the food (and hubby is tough to please!) though would have liked to see some traditional Norwegian dishes on the menu. Down point for me was one rough night with gale force winds - stabilisers or not, we certainly felt it and spent an anxious night. A reassurance announcement from the captain would have been nice. Overall though, a surprisingly enjoyable holiday - we'll definitely be back Read Less
Sail Date May 2013
We went with 3 generations as I suspect did many families on this cruise - ages from 65 to 8. We left our car at the port as usual and although we arrived 5 minutes before our boarding time were faced with huge queues to board, in the end ... Read More
We went with 3 generations as I suspect did many families on this cruise - ages from 65 to 8. We left our car at the port as usual and although we arrived 5 minutes before our boarding time were faced with huge queues to board, in the end we got our paper work done and just sat and waited for the lines of standing passengers to clear and then when there were only 8 or 10 left joined in - we were last on the boat but at least we didn't stand for 50 minutes in line The cabins (Deluxe Balcony) were the best part of the entire cruise, I highly recommend them, large with big sitting area and nice balcony, steward wonderful. We set sail and were standing by the swimming pool near the pizza parlour as we progressed up the Solent when the ship lurched to the left and a huge amount of water slopped out of the side of the pool and ran down the deck, we later discovered in ran into the buffet area and as the carpet was so wet that part of the buffet had to be closed off - which resulted in more queues as people had nowhere to sit - we were told later it was a problem with the ballast tanks. The weather was appalling - force 10 winds, very high seas - we were OK but the younger generations were not, so their first day at sea was spent lying down. We wandered about the ship, we last sailed on the Ventura in 2010 and I really think standards have slipped in that time - cost cutting I presume, if you wanted a coffee or whatever you sat down and eventually a steward would take your order and card and then disappear or just prop themselves up against the nearest bar and chat, one coffee order took nearly 45 minutes to arrive, completely unacceptable. They had your card so you were stuck. The first port was Vigo, we had a good walk round and found the people to be really charming and friendly. Lisbon is very rundown we hopped on the tourist bus and had a good city tour, there are some beautiful places there but it does need a coat of paint, the recession has hit Iberia very hard We never made Oporto as the weather was too poor to get into the harbour, so a rather boring sea day, looking round there were a lot of long faces. My daughter in Law checked out the craft session where the "very reasonably priced" supplies to make the bracelet cost an astonishing 25, for a thin strip of leather and a couple of beads, she teaches craft in the UK and was appalled saying it was such a rip off. La Corunna was very nice, probably the best port of all. We took Freedom Dining which was not a success, we queued for every meal we had from breakfast to Dinner, although for dinner you are given a bleeper which tells you when your table is ready - normally 30 to 40 minutes. The food was good but not exceptionable - we ate one evening in the restaurant that was formerly called East in 2010 the meal we had there was superb none of the best fusion meals I have ever eaten how it is called Atol Kochar I think and was disappointing alas, The afternoon tea queues were huge enough to put you off waiting. The Buffet areas were clean and the food looked fairly appetizing but as half of the place was out of action it was very slow there and often not possible to find a seat, if only people who have finished moved on it would help but many don't and seem to sit there for hours so they can get a free cup of tea when they want. Anyways we go on cruises to be pampered not to do self service and get shoved about in a queue As to entertainment they had a very good Johnny Cash Tribute who was excellent at one end and that ran through to the other to a supposed comedian - who was truly awful and embarrassing to watch struggle. The grandchildren didn't use the clubs much, they preferred to swim and play games with their parents. They did enjoy themselves though and can't wait to go on another cruise - they are besotted by Room Service!! Service in the public rooms was slow and at times reluctant, the meal service was at times so fast that the waiter would try to whip your plate away before you had finished. Room service was a bit hit and miss, timings are not now what they were. Only the cabin steward was marvellous nothing was too much trouble, he soothed sea sick children with a practiced hand, well done him All in all if you don't mind the rather holiday camp atmosphere, the queuing and waiting for things then go P&O but I will not cruise with them again, I found it to have been a very disappointing week of my life, we usually cruise with Cunard and the gap between them & P&O is widening. We have had a week on a Cunard ship since April and it was just superb, very, very few queues everything just as it ought to be - if only P&O could do the same Read Less
Sail Date April 2013
Quick observations of our recent three nighter on Ventura out of Southampton to Zebrugge and St Peter Port Food : disappointing compared to my experiences of RCI and Norwegian. There wasn't a big choice of restaurants and the ... Read More
Quick observations of our recent three nighter on Ventura out of Southampton to Zebrugge and St Peter Port Food : disappointing compared to my experiences of RCI and Norwegian. There wasn't a big choice of restaurants and the waiting times for the Cinnamon restaurant for a group of four was forty minutes the first night and over an hour the third night. Early morning continental breakfast to the cabin (croissants and coffee) was good, and arrived on time. Bar Service : bar service around the sun beds was good and I especially enjoyed my Pina Coladas Bar on the 18th floor aft, (can't remember the name) bad experience. On second day at about 17:45 we wandered in after a hard day sunbathing and ordered drinks. No problem there . The drinks duly arrived and we were informed by the waiter that since it was Black tie dress code that night and the bar was a 'high revenue earner' (his words) , we would have to leave as soon as we had finished our drinks. Another waiter appeared a few minutes later to 'remind' us. We felt very rushed and didn't enjoy the drinks. Another couple were placed in the same uncomfortable position as us and weren't happy either. Why didn't they warn us before we ordered the drinks ? Cabin: we booked an inside cabin and found it clean and suited our requirements. The shower was good and strong, and the toiletries were good quality Spa : I had a couple of treatments in the spa which were good, especially the facial and massage on the last day. I would never say good value as spa prices on all cruise lines are outrageous, but I guess they have to make their money somewhere. Relaxation room/thermal suite was very small and internal (no windows) compared to the one on the NCL Jade which is fabulous. Gym: Hubby used the gym once and enjoyed using the virtual reality bikes (not sure if that's what they are called. Embarkation/Disembarkation : At Southampton I was very impressed with the organisation if the parking. Check in was easy. Disembarkation was quick and easy also with luggage easy to find and direction to car park were good Other : Considering this was a British cruise line, with probably 99% Brits on board my husband was very disappointed to find that there was no coverage of the British Open Golf on the cabin TVs or any of the bars. Cabin TV choice was poor with, I think, three nondescript American TV stations included on a British sailing. Why ? Would I sail with them again? : No I don't think so. Much preferred the NCL Jade on which we will be sailing again at Xmas Read Less
Sail Date July 2012
I can quite understand the rave reviews and five star ratings for Ventura as these are mostly from First Time Cruisers "upgrading" from their "all inclusive fortnights in Turkey". It is not quite the Butlins Boat yet ... Read More
I can quite understand the rave reviews and five star ratings for Ventura as these are mostly from First Time Cruisers "upgrading" from their "all inclusive fortnights in Turkey". It is not quite the Butlins Boat yet but has certainly set a course in that direction. I actually overheard one passenger declare to the " future cruise specialist" that she might have to downgrade from a balcony next year as her benefits are being cut! For a relatively modern vessel, the decor and furnishing is already looking dated. Cleanliness on decks is variable and residual buffet dishes are of ten left under sunbeds. Food is, at best, average and it is obvious that the executive chefs have been given stretching targets to reduce the average cost per head. The breakfasts were functional but boring with ecactly the same selections every morning. Similarly the lunchtime buffets were equally unimaginative and uninspiring. I suspect that chefs were under instruction to cater for the lowest common denominator in a largely working class British consumer. Restaurant Dinners were marginally better but over two hours for a four course meal is enough to test the appetite and patience of even the most dedicated foody. Daytime entertainment, on deck, was dire. Why do Cruise Directors labour under the obvious misapprehension that the majority of passengers crave for the strains of Agadoo and similar drivel for two hours every day. Is it simply a ploy to drive customers off the decks and into the dining rooms to ease congestion later in the afternoon? Evening entertainment was better. The Headliners Theatre company were lively and enthusiastic though I was surprised to see Arlene Phillips leading the line. If the singers could learn to sing, the dancers learn to dance and the actors learn to act there could be potential in this team. I can also understand why the Smokey Joe's Cafe show is on the last night of the cruise............after the Customer Satisfaction Surveys have been completed. This was about as entertaining as a wake in a Mormon Temple. Guest entertainers from the UK seemed to suffer from second show syndrome. They either had insufficient material to sustain two shows or the food and drink between first and second performances had taken their toll. Whilst the Cruise Director DID try to redefine the rating of EXCELLENT by stating that if we had enjoyed MOST of the performances this did stretch generosity a little too far. On the plus side, drinks prices were sensible. Not cheap, but sensible although the draught beer offerings of Stella Artois and Boddingtons suggest that P&O understand the consumers they are now attracting. The Winelist was extensive and reasonable but this did not prevent table being adorned with a greater number of cans than goblets. Service at the Breakers Bar was woeful. Up to five roaming waiters were being serviced by one barman and it was difficult to assess who was the most stressed.....the barman or the customer. Certainly not the waiters whose Indian heritage had perhaps set them in a permanent state of transcindental meditation. A smile from a waiter was almost as rare as a full spirit measure in a cocktail! The tipping regime was modest at £3.10 per passenger per day but it is obvious that these surcharges are not actually gratuities but form the bulk of the remuneration for these modern day galley slaves. I really wish one of the Cruise Lines would break ranks and pay their staff a sustainable living wage. Another plus, versus Royal Caribbean and Princess were the Port embarkation and disembarkation procedures. They were generally smooth and efficient. The captain, personally kept us advised of the progress of the cruise with daily deck bulletins. There was a pretty good selection of shops but P&O should seriously consider opening a Tattoo Parlour for the minority of us who are feeing increasingly isloated as our bodies are not festooned in garish images or crossed out declarations of love for ex spouses. Surprisingly, overall, the cruise was quite enjoyable but P&O really do need to understand the distinction between informal accessibility and the danger of creating Wetherspoons on Water. Read Less
Sail Date July 2012
We had previously cruised with NCL, Princess and Celebrity and were really looking forward to sampling P & O but unfortunately we were rather disappointed with some aspects of this cruise. Our flight was a Thomas Cook charter to ... Read More
We had previously cruised with NCL, Princess and Celebrity and were really looking forward to sampling P & O but unfortunately we were rather disappointed with some aspects of this cruise. Our flight was a Thomas Cook charter to Barbados, and it was as good, if not better than many schedule flights, with plenty of legroom and attentive cabin crew. Ventura is a large ship, chosen by us as I do not have the best sea legs and we thought it would be good to choose a large ship as we were crossing the Atlantic. Our cabin was very nice, well equipped with a very helpful cabin steward. However, the public rooms were not as grand as we had previously encountered, no impressive atrium or quiet reading rooms. The dining room (Bay Tree) was well appointed and we were pleased to have a table for two, our two waiters were very attentive and pleasant but the food was not up to the usual cruise ship standard and the menu was not very varied. The drinks however were very reasonably prices, both the wine and the bar drinks, in some instances half the price of other cruises which was naturally a real plus. We went on three shore excursions which we thoroughly enjoyed, our first was a tour of St Kitts where our guide was very knowledgeable and made the trip a joy. We then did a snorkeling trip on Tortola with two snorkeling sites, again our guides were very professional with the snorkeling being best off 'Treasure' Norman Island. Finally, we did a tour on the Azores, which again was very good with a lovely local guide. The Azores was an unscheduled stop but a real gem and far preferable to Tenerife. Unfortunately there were two aspects of this cruise which really spoilt our holiday; the first was the attitude of the Shore Excursions and shop staff on board ship, we found they lacked any social skills and had total apathy when you expressed any interest in any port of call or any shop items. The second was the number of places on the ship where smoking was permitted. As people who like to take a stroll along the Promenade Deck you had to walk through the 'fog' every time on the Starboard side. Additionally, smoking was also permitted in one of the outside bars, near one of the pools and on the balconies, one of our neighbours was a smoker which spoilt our use of our balcony. Indeed, the smoking issue was a real down side for us, we will seriously have to consider whether we would cruise with P & O again if they continue to give preference to smokers over non smokers. Read Less
Sail Date March 2012
We have just returned from the Ventura one week 'Atlantic Coast' cruise. We have cruised before a couple of times (Ocean Village and RCL Voyager of the Seas) and wanted to try out a no-fly cruise and also see what P&O was ... Read More
We have just returned from the Ventura one week 'Atlantic Coast' cruise. We have cruised before a couple of times (Ocean Village and RCL Voyager of the Seas) and wanted to try out a no-fly cruise and also see what P&O was like. It started off very well, getting to Southampton from Norfolk was about the same as getting to Gatwick and the embarkation was very well handled plus the cabin was ready early! The cabin, a balcony on B deck was fine, a little tired perhaps, but the Tea-making facilities made up for that, and the cabin steward was very welcoming. We had a quick explore of the ship (not as impressively glitzy as Voyager but fine for us), and as we were tired a relaxing meal in the Waterside. We'd had lunch there (limited selection) but assumed that the evening meal would be more impressive. Wrong! The was very limited choice of mains, they were presented in school-meals style and tasted as if they had been prepared days ago. Also, it may be a small thing but the hand-sanitizers were on the wall and there was no attempt to get you to use them. It was down-right depressing all the staff seems dour-faced and there under sufferance. In fact we seemed to be in the way as staff pushed past to slop more food into the waiting troughs. Where were the friendly welcoming faces of the other boats who seemed pleased to see us? When we tried the main dining room (Freedom dining) we had a half-hour wait (shorter than we expected and we had the buzzer to tell us when a table was ready), but the service was impersonal and rushed -- we were asked for drink preferences only when we were waiting for our sweets and then hassled out at the earliest convenience (for the staff that is). And we were expected to wear a Tuxido/Suite on formal nights for this? We were lucky to discover the Beach House (evenings only -- free but some items had a supplement attached) and East (charged £20pp) both of which had friendly, attentive staff who seemed interested in ensuring that you had an enjoyable meal. The main dining room (served) and Waterside (buffet) which were the only two options for breakfast, saw equally poor quality food. Almost certainly kept hot for ages, rubbery rolls and toast, with second rate coffee. Although, to be fair, dining room coffee had been only slightly better on the other boats -- I wonder what it is, this was sub-instant by a long chalk. And on that subject (coffee) we did try Tazzine but the 'Costa' coffee there, despite the long wait (waiter had loooong chat with mate at bar) just tasted of diluted milk. Other passengers seemed to find the food OK or even enjoying it with plates piled high with salads, curries, roasts (yes all on the same plate) which they attacked with gusto. Also there seemed a good take-up of the Tuxedo standard on formal nights (Lobster Tails (1st) and Sirloin Steak(2nd)) but in general I felt that this was people on a very ordinary cruise trying to pretend that they were on a 'Posh' boat. Both of us got 'tummy trouble' which we put down perhaps unfairly (?) to poor food standards when lunching in Waterside, so we changed to Pizza on deck (although the burgers did look OK too) not bad but I should mention that the Diavola was one day so chilli-hot as to be almost inedible and the next not a trace of heat to be found-strange. The shows appeared to be of a high standard (selections from West End x 3, Beatles Tribute) and the films were all recent and popular (P&O get good marks in this area). The ports of calls were fine and probably good choices for the Atlantic Coast (Corunna, Bilbao, St Rochelle & Le Havre), shuttles were free even when the town centre was distant (Bilbao), we didn't do any of the P&O trips preferring a leisurely walk round the towns and a much needed (decent) local coffee. What we found was that whole ship's staff was generally unfriendly/disinterested with some oasis's of good service (Cabin Steward, East, Beach House, Metropolis). Would we sail again with P&O? Probably not Ventura, due to the two main issues food and staff, but maybe one of the other smaller ships. We would be very careful to read the reviews first, we had though that P&O was a premium band (which it isn't!) and be tempted by an exciting itinerary. Having said that, as there are a lot of cruise lines offering similar trips on genuinely 4* ships and with service/food to match and I think that we would want to try these before giving P&O a another chance. Read Less
Sail Date March 2012
Flights were excellent and on time Cabin was excellent and our luggage arrived in good time We were looked after very well by Simon and Avelino The Ports visited were very good although we were disappointed there had been no changes ... Read More
Flights were excellent and on time Cabin was excellent and our luggage arrived in good time We were looked after very well by Simon and Avelino The Ports visited were very good although we were disappointed there had been no changes since last year for the Newcastle flight. But we knew this before we booked so no complaints. Overall we felt the staff were not as good as previous cruises and that is despite the fact we were extremely well looked after by Karen at breakfast in the White Room. She always made us feel so very welcome and gave us the lift to enjoy the rest of the day! There were 4 in our party as our two adult daughters were with us. The breakfast was not up to the expected standard. Apart from the Beach House the food elsewhere was certainly not up to the standard we expected and had 'gone back' considerably from the same time last year! A couple of the waiters were 'unreal'- I was a bit slow with eating my Prawn Cocktail and the waiter tried to take my dish away despite the fact that I still had my spoon in my hand. When I told him to wait, he countered that my main course had arrived. Indeed it had, but the sole was inedible! We were Saturday to Saturday bookings and on the Friday night there was no entertainment. The films on our TV's had been removed. No 'paper' on the Saturday - No puzzles (needed the answers for the Fridays crossword!). We definitely were 'not wanted"!' It was the Friday night that the waiter virtually told me to hurry up eating my prawn cocktail. I have to add that the rest of our table were amused at this. It last happened to me over 70 years ago when I was in the infants classes at School In my experience the Azura beats the Ventura by a considerable margin Read Less
Sail Date February 2012
This was probably at least the 20th cruise we have taken, many with P&O. We sailed with Ventura last in February 2011. Some unpleasant surprises for us this year. On the ship itself more sunbeds have been crammed into every available ... Read More
This was probably at least the 20th cruise we have taken, many with P&O. We sailed with Ventura last in February 2011. Some unpleasant surprises for us this year. On the ship itself more sunbeds have been crammed into every available space. Our favoured very small area had 7 beds last year and 10 this time..far too many for the space. Changing sterling into dollars is now a nono. Historically P&O always set a fair price. This year it was a fixed 1.42$ to £1 when the tourist rate was $1.50. The buy/sell margin was also excessive. Perhaps the most annoying introduction came in a leaflet delivered to our cabin during the first week advising us to purchase a seat for the return flight so that we could "guarantee sitting together". Over the years we have observed the simple principle of booking in early for a decent choice of seats, and since the same passengers are returning as flying out to join the ship there is no logical reason not to mostly keep the same seating. The implied threat that unless you buy you may not get the seating together is the latest example of adding value and I find it a shabby exercise well beneath the standards I expect from what used to be our Flagship fleet. Ventura seems crowded perhaps overcrowded during days at sea. Food standards are lower in all casual venues, and of course excursion prices continue to increase to a level well past good value. The sightseeing message must be do your own thing ashore, use local buses, or get a taxi for 4. Next years brochure shows an even more restricted choice of ports with no Ocho Rios or Grand Turk. Its almost like being on the Ocean Village again!! Why on earth doesn't P&O go the whole hog. Use Ventura as an Ocean Village style casual family cruise option, and use Azura as the casual/formal/traditional option. It must make more sense from a marketing perspective especially as it would seem that the Azura world cruise is cancelled for next year. One last point. In common with many other customers I am very unimpressed with the plan to introduce pre-paid gratuitities. I tip for a service received not anticipated. I have written to P&O about this receiving a less than satisfactory "explanation" from Customer Services. The new brochure does suggest that you can "vary the amount", but the response to my letter failed to clarify this or even mention it. Will we sail on Ventura again? Not anticipated. Some things need to change for the better, and we have little confidence that they will. Read Less
Sail Date January 2012
This cruise has so many good things but they are ruined by P&O attitude. The ship is stuffed with passengers such that the theatre cannot seat them all. You have to rush your dinner in order to hope to get a seat for the show. Then if ... Read More
This cruise has so many good things but they are ruined by P&O attitude. The ship is stuffed with passengers such that the theatre cannot seat them all. You have to rush your dinner in order to hope to get a seat for the show. Then if you were successful you then have to search for a bar where you can sit and drink afterwards - it is not a relaxing evening. Days at sea are just as bad as there are not enough sunbeds for everyone. This despite rows & rows of sunbeds being jammed close up together like battery hens. The plus points of the cruise are excellent cabins & beds which are well serviced by the steward. The shows are first class & are the best quality we have seen on any cruise ship. The singers & dancers are top notch. Food is very good in the main restaurant - plenty of choice though very British. Waiters are excellent and the wine is very good without being overpriced. Breakfast in the main restaurant is very good. Also good is the fact you check in your bags at the airport & don't see them again until they arrive in your cabin. Likewise on the return, they are collected from outside you cabin on the final night & you next see them at Gatwick. The inclusive flight with Thomas Cook airlines is OK but the plane is past its best & lights, videos, trays, etc may not work very well, if at all. Service & food on the plane is very good - it is worth opting to upgrade for more comfortable seating. However the airline does not appear to own a clock. Every flight out to Barbados was late by between 2 & 4 hours. It was similar on the return & previous cruisers said it always happens. The down side is a chaotic ship design which means you have to continually walk up & down stairs - nowhere can you walk around the ship on one level. A few of the bar staff are very good but too many seem bored & uninterested. Beware of drinks being watered down with loads of ice & beer being served in glasses too small to hold the full bottles contents. Some bars can be a bit soulless due to the bored staff. Obtaining cruise information from P&O prior to departure proved to be very difficult. They seem to provide stock answers which do not address you specific point raised. This happened on 4 separate occasions. Breakfast in the buffet restaurants is not very good. Limited choice that goes cold before you get to eat. If you only want a cold buffet lunch you will not have much choice & you may find great difficulty in getting a cold plate to put the food on. Again the buffet restaurants get extremely overcrowded. It could have been so good with a bit more effort on P&Os part but "adequate" seems to be their goal. Read Less
Sail Date January 2012
This holiday was like a Curate's Egg - good in parts. The good bits: the staff, the Baytree Restaurant, the cabin, some of the bars, and, of course, the islands, which were the stars of the holiday. The most disappointing element of ... Read More
This holiday was like a Curate's Egg - good in parts. The good bits: the staff, the Baytree Restaurant, the cabin, some of the bars, and, of course, the islands, which were the stars of the holiday. The most disappointing element of this holiday was that we had booked an outside cabin with a balcony so that we could sit outside and enjoy a drink or read in peace and quiet. We were both non-smokers. The cabin was great - our neighbours were not. They smoked like it was going out of fashion and inevitably, the smoke drifted our way, totally spoiling our enjoyment. In the end, we barely used the balcony, which made having it a complete waste of money. I can understand that our neighbours booked a cabin with a balcony so that they could smoke, but the blame lies with P&O, not with them. Instead of having the cabin areas the same as the public areas - i.e. one side of the ship for smokers and the other for non-smokers, they take a laissez-faire approach, so in effect, some-one's enjoyment can be ruined simply by P&O not applying the same rules to cabins as to public areas. Many people we met were of the same opinion. This needs to be made clear to people at the time of booking to avoid disappointment. The entertainment was very populist and well received by the majority, but more cultural entertainment would have been appreciated e.g. talks about the islands we were to visit; something about the flora and fauna; more about the history of the islands - the slavery aspect seemed to have been airbrushed out completely, which was unfortunate. The one sop to a slightly different type of entertainment was the classical pianist, Tia Eagle, but that was all. We were surprised to see so many children on board given that it was term time and parents are strongly recommended not to take children out of school. The children actually behaved very well for the most part, which is more than could be said for some of the passengers. At times, I felt embarrassed to be British with the way some of them behaved both on shore and on the ship. It reminded me of behaviour more reminiscent of Benidorm, and isn't really what I'd expected from a P&O cruise and certainly not what I'd experienced on a previous cruise. One of our dining companions actually witnessed a very unpleasant argument, with very strong language between two women in the presence of children besides one of the pools, which came very close to blows. This is not what you would expect from a cruise holiday with a reputable company. Despite excellent food, courteous and helpful cabin and restaurant staff and, luckliy, delightful dinner table companions, I would never travel on the Ventura again - it is too big, it panders to people's more unfortunate natures whilst under the influence of drink and it doesn't provide enough range in forms of entertainment. Read Less
Sail Date January 2012
Have just returned from our fist ever cruise over the xmas period on the Ventura. only booked it 2 weeks before sailing, so got a very good deal. Overall the ship is fine,but there are a few things that I think PO could look into. We ... Read More
Have just returned from our fist ever cruise over the xmas period on the Ventura. only booked it 2 weeks before sailing, so got a very good deal. Overall the ship is fine,but there are a few things that I think PO could look into. We arrived in Barbados somewhat late due to the flight being delayed for over 2 hours (thomas cook). Bye the time we got to the port, it was already dark, and the checkin queue was quite long, not what you need after a 9 hour flight. The cabin was fine, but had to go and eat wearing the same clothes as we had travelled in as cases did not turn up till a few hours later.The Waterside is ok, but I think the trays are a waste of time, because if you get salad, soup and dinner all in one go, the already luke warm dinner is going to be cold time you eat it! And why do they put the soup at the end of the buffet selection? We was told on our paperwork we had freedom dining, but card in the cabin said we were on 1st sitting on a table of 8. We prefer smaller tables so after querying this at the restaurant was told freedom was full, but was given a table for 2.So that was ok. We did not find out till 2 days before the end of the cruise that the Beechhouse did waiter service evening meal, but its the same menu every night, and they only serve about 50 at a time, so you have to queue well before 6 for the 6.30 opening time to make sure of getting a seat. Only used it once, but it was good, all freshly cooked , so no complaints On the first day at sea, I did not go on deck till quite late, and could not find a sunbed in the sun anywhere, ,ended up in the shade at the back of the ship. Think you needed to put your stuff on a bed about 6am, if you wanted to be near a pool, even though they say no reserving of sunbeds, nobody takes any notice, and I never saw any staff removing items, as stated they would. The entertainment was a bit hit and miss, to much singing and dancing, and you needed to get in the Havana early to get a decent seat, or you ended up behind the walls! not being able to see much at all. Why have they got stupid partitions, or why are they not lower? Yes I do agree the staff are not as friendly as other ships ive been on, and I dont think one of our dinner waiters smiled once the whole time he served us. Also on the first 2 occasions I ordered steak, was not given a steak knive, and when I mentioned it on the 3rd occasion, Mr Grumpy said I should have asked for one! We had a day at Catalina Island, which is just a beach with a few tacky shops, but has a huge BBQ cooking area, which the ships crew are supposed to use for the lunch. But by 1pm, there was no sign of any BBQ being prepared, so if you wanted anything to eat , it was back to the ship (a tender job). We found out later that the hygeine officer had visited the cooking area before we all went ashore, and was not satisfied with it, so no BBQ! So they knew before we all went over, but there were no announcements made on the ship telling us. Would I go on the Ventura again, only if it was a bargain price, but prefer other cruise companies Read Less
Sail Date December 2011
We flew from Gatwick to Barbados with Thomas Cook whcih was ok - flight passed quite quickly and got straight off plane at Barbados, onto coach and taken straight to ship avoiding the airport formalities entirely. Wished I had put ... Read More
We flew from Gatwick to Barbados with Thomas Cook whcih was ok - flight passed quite quickly and got straight off plane at Barbados, onto coach and taken straight to ship avoiding the airport formalities entirely. Wished I had put shorts,t shirt and flip flops into flight bag as had to stay in winter clothing for three hours until luggage delivered to cabin but should have known having cruised previously. We had an outside obstructed view cabin which looked between two lifeboats so still had a bit of a sea view. Cabin was spacious and kept clean by Bruno our cabin steward throughout the cruise. Not sure how often bed linen changed but suspect weekly at the most unlike other cruise lines which do change daily - however must think of the environment and not wash needlessly. We had second sitting dining at the Saffron on (as requested) a table for two. However the table was so close to the tables next door either side that we felt obliged to chat to neighbouring tables - might as well as had a table for six in this respect. Food I would describe as more like "pub grub" - certainly no memorable or outstanding meals in the restaurant. A couple of dishes were plain awful Didn't try the speciality restaurants whcih other cruisers described as excellent (probably more on a par with likes of Celebrity in their main restaurants. Our waiters were ok but my husband had to ask for a steak knife every time - this should be provided when steak ordered. Also tables crumbs not cleared - its these small details that put P and O down the scale of other cruise lines! We did find the lunches in the Saffron had nicer choices of food than the evenings. We ate breakfast at the saffron or outside the Beach House in the open air area and once had room sevice whcih is only continental unless you pay extra. The pizzas and burgers/hot dogs at frankies grill on deck 15 were very nice indeed. Entertainment was quite good. Headliners shows especially Reflex about the 1980's music were very good, there was a comedian called Fogwell Flax who was quite funny and also did a fantastic Sting tribute, also a "Cuban comedy/magician Manuel Martinez who was funny but I think did offend some people by his comments. Also Mercury Rising a tribute to Freddie Mercury was excellent. We enjoyed doing the quizzes but P and O a bit mean by not giving away even a keyring to the winning team (we won three and got nothing! - except the glory!) Ports of call all very nice - hot weather as to be expected and we luckily missed out on rain showers by being in the right place at the right time! We did two excursions one St Maarten by rib (inflatable speedboat) which visited Marigot, stopped for snorkelling and a beach and included rum puch/soft drinks/beer. The other was whale watching in Dominica whcih we were lucky to see both whales and dolphins. The price for these two excursions for my husband and I was £204.00. On the other islands we negotiated deals with local taxi drivers for tours and the best deal was Antigua where we got the local bus to Nelsons Dockyard return fo $3 each. A bargain and very efficient. Our main concern with the ship was the cleanliness. Ash trays were not emptied, glasses/rubbish etc not cleared away from one day to the next, grubby fingermarks on glass in lifts (and bearing in mind very few children on board to make a mess) To sum up the cruise was adequate but not special and I probably won't rush back to P and O again anytime soon. Read Less
Sail Date December 2011
This was our second cruise to the Canaries on The Ventura. The first was also with P&O on the Azura to the Caribbean. We enjoyed the cruise, but we did prefer the Azura, and while this may have been partly because the destination was ... Read More
This was our second cruise to the Canaries on The Ventura. The first was also with P&O on the Azura to the Caribbean. We enjoyed the cruise, but we did prefer the Azura, and while this may have been partly because the destination was more exciting the first time, there were several other reasons. The ships are broadly similar, but for us the Azura was better. The Ventura had no darts or pool table and the table tennis tables are located under the sliding roof on the top deck, where the floor was slippery and it was very hot and humid there. As a vegetarian, I found the Italian restaurant on the Azura excellent with a variety of vegetarian options. Unfortunately, the alternatives to the main restaurant on The Ventura are extremely poor. We went to the non-buffet one, which did pizza, but were told they could only do Margherita and when it arrived, it compared unfavourably to a cheap supermarket pizza. Alternative options there were not much better. After that experience we stayed in the main restaurant throughout, which was ok, but not much fun if you are vegetarian as you only ever have one option. By the end of the cruise, I was getting pretty fed up with mushrooms! On one occasion, one of the "special" main courses turned out to be vegetarian, but our table staff were unable to tell us this when we asked at the time we ordered. Breakfast, buffet lunch and the poolside pizza were all very good. There was no organised bridge, but there was an organised whist drive. This made no sense as more people wanted to play bridge than whist. We were given some spiel about it being because some ships were trying to be modern and others trying to be traditional that made very little sense. Why not provide both, and why deliberately not provide something there is demand for? Eventually, we persuaded the entertainment officer to allow us to play bridge alongside the whist drive, which we organised ourselves, and eventually they also added it to the daily bulletin. It was a shame they did not advertise it in the first place, as it was no effort on their part to allow us to organise it ourselves. Unfortunately, there was no bridge equipment and initially we were told we couldn't even use the cards because they were needed for the whist drive! Probably it is just luck, but on The Azura we had a very diligent steward, and every time we left our room, when we returned it had been cleaned. This was probably beyond the call of duty, but in contrast on The Ventura, our cabin steward did the minimum possible, and if we had not left the room in the morning when she deemed it was time to clean it, we could return late in the afternoon to find it still had not been cleaned. The staff in the restaurants were all very pleasant, but I would have to say that overall we found the staff on the Azura much better. We wouldn't recommend wandering around Las Palmas on Gran Canaria. There seemed there of much interest. After walking for a couple of hours, we got to the old town, but there really wasn't anything much to see. Not a great destination. Maybe one of the tours would have been more interesting, though they didn't look that appealing. Lisbon and Cadiz were both very nice places to visit, and we also enjoyed Funchal. We just wandered around all of these doing our own thing. A trip around Mount Teide on Tenerife was good, though it was a shame there wasn't time to climb Mount Teide. We were impressed with the efficiency and speed of embarkation and Southampton. We were considerably less impressed with the disembarkation. First, queuing for ages because an escalator to get off the ship had broken. Then the label had come off one of our suitcases, although it had been securely fastened and rather than being placed in an area of unidentified suitcases, it was placed randomly with the suitcases of some other deck we weren't on, so it took over an hour to find. The headliner theatre company we had already seen on the Azura, but still enjoyed. Most of the tribute music groups were not that great. There was a comedian Fogwell Flax we saw twice, who was outstanding. Read Less
Sail Date September 2011
We booked rather late for this cruise through Gills Cruises about 10 days before they went bust. Fortunately the money we paid was already in the hands of P&O. At the time of booking it was on a guaranteed cabin basis. The cruise ... Read More
We booked rather late for this cruise through Gills Cruises about 10 days before they went bust. Fortunately the money we paid was already in the hands of P&O. At the time of booking it was on a guaranteed cabin basis. The cruise start end and dates were 3rd September and 15th September 2011. Checking In The allocated boarding time was 1530 with check-in closing time of 1545. If I had planned my departure from home using these times , a traffic disruption on the M25 , which could last a few hours, would have resulted in missing the boat. We left home early and our car was collected from us by 11.50 am. The check in process was straight forward and by 12.20 pm we were on board. Nobody asks you for the allocated check in time. We have noticed this on our other cruises from Southampton and Dover. Cabin We paid for out tickets on a guaranteed basis and was told by Gill Cruises that a cabin number would be allocated on check-in. In fact we had a letter from P&O with our cabin number -- deck 5 starboard side, within 20 steps of the atrium. It would have been an excellent cabin, except that we suffered from terribly loud noises and vibration for many hours on the 1st, 2nd and 5th nights, and the 1st day at sea. I was tempted to sleep on the sofas in the atrium. After 2 sleepless nights I assumed we were over the worst. I only complained when the loud noises reappeared on the 5th night. Without any hesitation, the person I complained to, told us that the noise was due to the stabilisers being in operation. The sea was choppy , hence the need for stabilisers. She obviously has had the same complaint before. She apologised that she could not move us, because there were no empty cabins available in our price category. We were in Cabin P321 on deck 5, and I have come across (on cruise reviews) that cabin P323 has also been a problem cabin for the same reason. ( See links below). You could be lucky and not have any noise problem if sea had been calm and stabilisers are not deployed. Cabin P321 is in the vicinity of where the pilot gets on board to take the ship into port. You can expect to be woken up with a loud whining noise and banging while preparations are being made for the pilot to come on board. The noise only lasts a couple of minutes , very early in the morning, and we had no problem with it. It was barely a whisper compared to the noise generated by the stabilisers. Entertainment The several performances by the Headliners group of singers/dancers were excellent. So was the comedian Martin Gold. Another comedian Ray Turner was mediocre. He relied on picking on the passengers and was not funny. However, he was a better singer than a comedian. He was due to appear again on another night and I am sure many of the passengers would have chosen to go to another venue than put up with him. On the morning of the night he was due to perform again , there was an announcement that he would not be able to do so because he was unwell. We were told that he was taken to hospital when we docked at Gibraltar. Sue Holderness (Marlene in Fools and Horses) gave us an entertaining talk about her experiences on that show. The ship does not have a dedicated cinema and so films were shown in the theatre on sea days. Two of the films shown had been released in the UK after the cruise in September. Food We ate at the Waterside buffet restaurant for breakfast and lunch. Although we had opted for Freedom dining, half our dinners were at the buffet restaurants. The variety and quality of food was very good. Excursions We never bothered with any excursions but we always went ashore and walked around the town. Barcelona and Civitavecchia (Rome) are the only ports where P&O provided a free shuttle. In Gibraltar you could take the local shuttle for which you have to pay, or it would take about 15-20 minutes to walk to the main street.. I wonder if any one noticed that almost all shops in the main street of Gibraltar and owned and operated by Indians. They also own and operate shops outside the main street.. The ship docks in the town at Ajaccio, and in the case of Villefranche the ship's tender drops you in the town. At Barcelona we took the free shuttle bus into town. In Civitavecchia the shuttle bus drops you at the port gate Disembarkation It was well organised and we got off the ship at 10.30 am, slightly earlier than the allotted time of 10.45 am. It was a short walk to where our car was parked. Parking We had booked our parking with CPS (Cruise & Passenger Services) and it was an efficient operation. The cost for the 12 days was £130. Correspondence with P&O I have written to P&O about the noise problem which others have mentioned on cruise reviews. Complainants have been told by the staff on board that the noise was due to the stabilisers. P&O head office will not mention the word "stabilisers" no matter how many times you mention the word in your letters. They dismiss the noise problem by saying that what is scarcely noticed by one is a problem to another. Initially I was offered £200 discount on a future cruise to be taken within 12 months. After my second letter asking them to investigate the problem for the benefit of future occupants of "problem cabins, they sent me a cheque for £200. I still think there is a noise problem in some cabins on deck 5, when stabilisers are deployed, but P&O does not want to know. It is unbelievable that a 21st century liner is being operated with horrendous noise within some cabins. I have had experience in noise surveys in a petrochemical plant an a boiler house , and the noise level in the cabin would be considered unacceptable in the work environment, let alone sleeping accommodation. Unfortunately people do not complain or their complaints are dismissed and are offered ear plugs. I too did not complain after putting up with the first 2 sleepless nights , and only did so after the 5th night when the noise started. Other relevant Ventura reviews http://www.cruise.co.uk/cruise-reviews/pando-cruises/ventura/read_review_6030/ http://www.cruise.co.uk/cruise-reviews/pando-cruises/ventura/read_review_8008/ http://www.wecruise.co.uk/cruise-reviews/po-cruises/ventura/947-brilliant-cruise-ship This extract is from the above link : "Cabin was excellent, and our cabin steward was very efficient. However, would suggest cabin on a higher deck (we were on deck 5), as when weather is rough, the extra stabilisers they use to steady the ship make a horrendous noise all through the night which dramatically disrupts sleep." Guaranteed Cabins Beware of guaranteed cabins. Ours was a guaranteed cabin and we were told that cabin number would be allocated when we checked in at the dock. We received our cabin number a few days after the book and not at the time of booking. After our experience, I have become cynical about guaranteed cabins. I suspect that "problem cabins" are allocated closer to the cruise date when most of the other cabins are sold out. If there are any cancellations closer to the sailing date, the people allocated the less desirable guaranteed cabins are then offered other cabins that become available in the same price category. Read Less
Sail Date September 2011
This was our first cruise with P & O. I wasn't impressed. Firstly, We booked the cruise to visit the port of Flam which was cancelled only 3 weeks pre cruise so I wasn't at all happy. That was the whole reason why we booked ... Read More
This was our first cruise with P & O. I wasn't impressed. Firstly, We booked the cruise to visit the port of Flam which was cancelled only 3 weeks pre cruise so I wasn't at all happy. That was the whole reason why we booked so we could go on the railway. P&O informed me that there were too many ships in that port that day so they had to arrange an alternative. On walking on board we barely had one foot in the atrium and we were bombarded with staff trying to sell the spa and various other goods. i thought give us a chance to get settled. I was expecting the ship to have more of a wow factor - after cruising with RCI this was a disappointment. RCI Navigator was so much more opulent and being that was our first cruise we were amazed at the decor and the layout of the ship, not only that, the staff were HAPPY and friendly and we felt they made the effort to make our holiday enjoyable. I suppose different cruise companies do different things but I missed the Mahdi Grat and food festival themes nights that navigator put on - there was nothing like that on Ventura - nothing on our last night. We did get a souvenir from the waiters - a folder of the weeks menus and we also received a cruise log which I thought was lovely, but it would have been nice to have something of a farewell show - navigators was brilliant. I personally thought that Ventura was like an enormous ferry, it was lack lustre,sedate and had no atmosphere. I didn't like the layout of the ship either but that maybe just a personal view. Although the staff were pleasant, they wasn't very happy and warming, I found this quite off putting as they were so happy on the Navigator. The entertainment wasn't that great except for Clem Curtis from the Foundations, he was excellent and really got the passengers up on their feet and enjoying themselves, as for the the tribute Elton john and lulu I can only hope that the real stars don't ever get to see them!!! I was looking forward to the 60/70's disco until We were ordered by the host to jump up and down in the air when we heard a particular record and the do kangaroo impressions on the dance floor when we heard Ralph Harris record!!! I'm game for a laugh but really-I was expecting a disco where the norm is to dance on the dance floor to music being played, not to jump around like a kangaroo! I was grateful I was sitting at the back at the bar. We wasn't the only passengers complaining. I also think the sail away days are a bit naff. On the plus side the food was good and the drink prices were reasonable, I liked the tea making facilities and fridge in the cabin. I was also amazed that the majority of staff were male Indian hardly any ladies - don't know if there's a reason or not for that i was just curious. The shuttle bus into Bergen was free, on RCI they charged for this service. Although, I enjoyed the cruise and the ports of call, I wouldn't cruise on Ventura again, it just wasn't what I was expecting, it didn't live up to all the hype of P&O cruises. I wonder if the other P&O ships in the fleet are any better??? my next cruise will be with RCI Read Less
Sail Date July 2011
Stayed at Novotel prior to the cruise - highly recommended. Car parking was efficient and effortless, very well organised. Baggage sorted quickly. Check-in less than perfect, we went to the priority desk only to be told to join the main ... Read More
Stayed at Novotel prior to the cruise - highly recommended. Car parking was efficient and effortless, very well organised. Baggage sorted quickly. Check-in less than perfect, we went to the priority desk only to be told to join the main line - they obviously thought that we were not suite customers. Some embarrassment later, we were checked in quickly and taken to the front of the next queue. Chastised for not having signed my cruise card, and the people we queue jumped in front of were apologised to for us 'having to be let in'. Clearly paying through the nose for a suite means nothing with P+O. Suite was excellent. Butler (Andrew) very good; one minor problem resolved. Suite was worth every penny. Drinks etc quite inexpensive. Food was good (variety etc), but the noise in the formal restaurants unacceptable, there are service points all over and they have cupboards that slam loudly - I kid you not, it will drive you bonkers. The White Room was good but nothing special (note that suite guests can have breakfast there) Children clubs were excellent - no fault at all. Kids absolutely loved them. Entertainment was good. Trips good, not cheap, but they never are. BUT, and this is the surprising thing, with the exception of 1 or 2 members of staff, they were utterly miserable. No smiles, no hello, no conversation. I concluded that it was the lack of tipping culture responsible. This level of poor service must be sanctioned by P+O as it is widespread. It really did let down the entire experience, and if P+O execs read reviews like this it should be addressed urgently. Having said that we had a good holiday. But I would not really recommend it having had such positive experiences with Royal Caribbean, and would not do it again - the only reason being poor service. Read Less
Sail Date July 2011
P&O Ventura 13th May 2011 - 7 nights Embarkation Was very well organised. We arrived about 10.30 am as we stayed overnight nearby so not many people around at all. The car park people were just there and took our luggage and ... Read More
P&O Ventura 13th May 2011 - 7 nights Embarkation Was very well organised. We arrived about 10.30 am as we stayed overnight nearby so not many people around at all. The car park people were just there and took our luggage and car. (Take off your house key as they only want the car key and they also park it for you). We got given a card with a number on inside the terminal and sat inside a giant hall waiting area. Refreshments available but looked like they were charging. It was about 11.45 or just after when check-in opened and we were called according to number. We were still the 2nd to be called even though we arrived very early. Even so, we were on the ship by 12.00 and went up to the Waterside - the self service restaurant for lunch. General The ship was very nice overall. The only thing that spoilt walking around too much was the spa staff pouncing at every opportunity to sell the treatments. When one asked for about the 10th time why don't you get your hair done, I couldn't resist asking what was wrong with my hair now. Well, that stopped that particular lady from approaching me in future! Most other guests were also fed up of the overkill on the selling. Same sort of shops and sales as RC have. Be careful to avoid lots of overpriced 'tat'. Entertainment was ok but nothing special. Food and drinks There were 2 small complimentary bottles of mineral water in the fridge inside the cabin. We ordered the P&O water package from the cabin steward. 6 x 1.5litre bottles of their own brand mineral water for £9.00. Not the best taste but we had no other option. The free water in the restaurants was ok but not great. They do not have free lemonade like Royal Caribbean so I took some orange squash on in my hand luggage to make it taste better. At least they allow you to take drinks on board unlike RC. Could not find any free ice cream other than in the main dining room so not happy. The Waterside and the Beach House were all being used as 1 really. However, at night one side of The Beach House at the back was turned into a very nice totally free waiter service restaurant The chocolate cake is absolutely huge and very nice indeed you must try it! The food in general in the Waterside was ok, not great and they did not have a carvery at lunchtime much which was disappointing. The cakes were not brilliant either, except on the chocolate themed afternoon tea. Each night in the self service restaurant was a different theme but you could always find something to eat whatever your tastes. We tried the late night snacks one evening about 9pm, ok but noticed lots of little flies on some of the food so avoided. You can sanitize your hands as many times as you like, but is it any good when flies are eating the food first? The staff were not very friendly and tended to 'lurk' up the corner and not clear any plates until people left. They very rarely spoke either. The cabin steward spoke a little. We didn't eat in the main dining room as I found it too crowded. I also prefer the self service as I can see the food first! We tried the room service one lunch time. We just had baguettes which were lovely with proper crisps which we couldn't find anywhere else on board. Cabin We got in our cabins at about 1.40pm. We had an inside cabin and also a bacony on the opposite side so not far to walk to each other. We went looking for our cabin slightly earlier and 1 steward asked which cabin number we were. I think he thought he was our steward. When he realised it was not his cabin, he was quite rude and said they are not open yet. He continued to be rather annoying the rest of the cruise and seemed to deliberately block the corridor if he saw us. Deck 10 was ok. The balcony was larger than the rest but it was partially overlooked by above if you stand right on the end. However, deck 9 and below are badly overlooked! Balconies have full screens. We were lucky that nobody was smoking anywhere near us on their balcony. (General point - port side of the ship is no smoking, starboard side is smoking so be aware if it is warm enough for you to sit on deck). Lots of nice toiletries supplied. The shampoo and conditioner are ok, unlike some other ships. Also had shower gel and body lotion. The toilet rolls were ok. They had tiny bars of soap and were very reluctant to let me have another one. In fact when mine had fallen into several pieces the steward just squashed it all back together into one big lump and placed it back on the sink! When I went after him he said he had to ask his supervisor first if I could have another bar. I used my own soap for the shower so I don't think 2 tiny bars of their soap is excessive in a week! There were tea and coffee making facilities inside the cabin unlike many other cruise liners, along with 2 packs of biscuits which were replenished twice daily. About 3 different ones, all very nice. Nice big open wardrobe with plenty of space. The only thing that irritated me about the cabin was the lights on things at night. The tv omitted a red light, the light under the door I blocked out with a pillow and there was also some strange light near the middle of the bed - never did work out what it was for but found rather annoying. Lifeboat drill was interesting. You have to take the lifejacket which is in the cabin and watch the staff demonstrate how to put it on and then try it yourself. People ignored the crew when leaving and the tags were trailing on the floor for everyone to trip over. RC used to be the same but now you do not take the lifejacket, just yourself! Bergen Docks are on the left side of boat as it looks forward (sorry I get confused with Aft and Starboard). We took the free shuttle coach which takes 5-10 minutes to the town and drops you at the lake - very pretty. We then walked (follow those who know where they are going) to the Funicular Railway which took about 10 minutes and was 70 krona (approx £8 return). In hindsight we would have only paid one way and walked down as it looked a fabulous walk and lots of locals were walking up as well as down. Free loos at the top but only use if desparate - they had not been cleaned from the day before when we went - not pleasant! On route to the Railway are the fish market and general souvenir market. Lots of oldy worldy shop fronts along the harbour. There was also a Hop on, hop off bus by the lake for £30 or 225 krona. Everything is expensive in Norway. Molde This was the port we were not supposed to go to but P&O cancelled the original destination. Not quite sure how they knew a good 6 weeks in advance the snow would not have melted at the other place! Seems from reading the reviews, they are too fond of changing the itinerary. Again, boat docks on the left hand side. Beautiful snow capped mountains as you approach port. Easy to walk from the ship to the town as just around the corner. However the walk to the 'Varden' viewpoint was very steep (1,335 feet above sea level)! I would suggest as the tourist office did, to take a taxi to the viewpoint and walk back down. The Tourist info office was hard to find, it's hidden away a little bit in the town. If you walk up slightly and to the right from the ship and past the row of shops, follow it round to the right, right again and right to the end then cross to the other side! We managed to find some free loos in the town hall which were not signed. At the top of the road before you turn right to the tourist office, walk into the building on the left which looks like an office block, set back from the road (think it was some very dark building with lots of glass) they were doing some renovating work at the time but was still open. You can also walk to the Romsdal museum but it was closed until June I believe. Olden: Docks to the left side again. Olden tourist office is literally as you get off the boat. Postcards only 5 krona but over road they are nearly double the price. The tourist office also sells tickets for a small shuttle bus to the glacier for only £30 or 250 krona I think. (still £20 cheaper than P&O's excursion) at £50. There is also a Trolley train that picks up at the boat/tourist office for 150krona - not sure where exactly that went. We were going to take P&O's excursion to the Briksdal Glacier at £50 each but decided to take their Oldevatnet Lake Cruise excursion instead as it mentioned 3 glaciers (albeit the arms and tongues of the Glaciers) and was just a little bit more at £65. However, it was rubbish. We didn't see any glaciers or arms of glaciers, just waterfalls. There were not enough seats on the boat so we had to stand up for the hour trip. We were not impressed and thought it was all very unprofessional. Having written 3 letters I eventually got a refund in the form of an onboard credit on my December cruise I booked months ago so cannot cancel now. They are also reviewing the number of people permitted on the tour as a result. Tip - if you take the shuttle to the Glacier from the tourist info office instead of booking in advance with P&O you can see what the weather is doing first. It was raining all day when we went so the lake cruise was not really a good idea! Stavanger You get off the ship on the left but good views both sides of harbour. Easy to walk around. There is a walking tour excursion you can pay a lot of money for but not good if pouring with rain as it was! Also it is very easy to walk around on your own. If you walk about 10 minutes from the ship to the market square you get to the tourist office to the left hand side - there is a sign but not the easiest place to find, but look for the big green 'I' letter in the window. They have free maps and tell you what to go and see like the old town etc. The market was very quiet, probably due to the weather and only a few stalls turned up. They were selling knitted stuff and reindeer skins for around 9650 krona. The hats with the bits that cover your ears were about 120kr or £10. I got mine for £3 on a UK market! No decent fridge magnets or thimbles which I collect. We walked 5 minutes around the corner to the Petroleum Museum as it was not the weather to explore outside. 100 krona or 50 for seniors. Cafe and souvenir shop inside. Quite an interesting place - much better than I thought it would be. I think I heard someone say there is a tower you can go up in the town for some good views. I managed to get a nice picture of the cruise ship boat from other side of the harbour. Disembarkation Everyone is asked to vacate their room by 8am and sit in the restaurants or public lounges. I much prefer RC where you can now wait in your cabin. We found a nice area on deck by the pool but waited nearly 3 hours to be called to leave. We used the time to eat more breakfast cakes (not good I know) and to compare notes with other cruisers and the general feeling was very nice cruise but not as good as Alaska cruise, staff not as helpful or friendly as R C either. Overall nice cruise and beautiful scenery. However, I would recommend you do this cruise first and then the Alaska one as I couldn't help but compare this to the fabulous RC Alaska cruise which I have to say had a better wow factor. Although I am British and would love to be patriotic and say P&O are better, but I have to say the American RC ships are much better and crew are miles more friendly and helpful. I only booked this one as I used my Tesco Clubcard vouchers as part payment. Read Less
Sail Date May 2011
Note:- Embarkation was at Southampton, which is not London!!! The cruise was to northern Spain and Western France (La Coruña, Bilbao, La Rochelle, and Brest). This was our 9th cruise but only the second time on P&O and the first ... Read More
Note:- Embarkation was at Southampton, which is not London!!! The cruise was to northern Spain and Western France (La Coruña, Bilbao, La Rochelle, and Brest). This was our 9th cruise but only the second time on P&O and the first time on Ventura.We arrived at Southampton at our allotted time of 2pm, and waited 55 minutes to drop off the car. A further queue of 30 minutes to check in and 15 minutes to get through security meant we didn't get to our cabin until 3:45. This was almost as bad as flying! However, our luggage arrived at the cabin before we did, and things started to look up.Although it doesn't have a cinema or a forward observation lounge, Ventura is a lovely ship. It has a narrow promenade deck (so narrow in places that two people cannot pass in comfort), and in calm weather the promenade continues up a flight of stairs to a wide sheltered deck that goes all the way to the bow. It has very good children's facilities, and absorbs the little darlings well. I preferred Ventura to Queen Victoria! I loved the atrium and the way each bar and public room has its own distinctive style. In fact the whole ship is stylish and elegant. It's a pity the same cannot be said of some of the passengers! The dress code (in the public rooms) was not enforced and was ignored by a sizeable minority. On the first formal night, I saw men wearing football shirts and jeans, one man was wearing a baseball cap, and some young women in ankle boots and skirts that barely covered their backsides looked as if they were dressed for walking round Kings Cross rather than a 4 star cruise ship. This apparel wouldn't even make the grade for smart casual, never mind formal. There were also a large minority of traditionalists who wore jacket and tie on the smart casual nights. I think P&O's experiment of trying to cater for the Ocean Village crowd on Ventura and Oceana is a failure, is devaluing the brand, and damaging the reputation that they have built up over 175 years. They really should reinstate the Ocean Village brand, transfer these ships to it, and maintain the published standards on the true P&O ships. There is clearly a market for informal cruising, that at the moment is only met to a limited extent by NCL.The ship has an irritating vibration which shakes you from side to side about twice a second when you are lying in bed. It didn't stop me falling asleep, but it did wake me up in the wee small hours every day. I can only assume it is the natural resonance of the ship itself rather than an engine vibration, as we were midships on deck 10.The drinks were very reasonably priced, and it was nice to be able to get a good choice of wines by the glass. We enjoyed the wide choice of restaurants, and the food and service in East was superb. I loved the cabin and the large balcony. I like the ability to review our account on the TV. The 5% discount on the final bill (as Portunus club members) was appreciated, as were the free shuttle buses.I started by writing about the long wait to check-in. Getting off at the end was a doddle. We opted for "self help" disembarkation. After a good breakfast in the Waterside buffet, we walked off the ship with our luggage just before 08:30, and were in the car and on the way home 10 minutes later.Some of the staff on Ventura are very good, a handful are excellent, a lot are poor. If I saw a bargain basement price and a good itinerary I might cruise on Ventura again, but it's not what I had hoped for from P&O. The standards are not consistent, and you could have a good or bad cruise on this ship - it's all a matter of luck and which staff you interact with. P&O has slipped well down the list of lines we are likely to use again, which is a pity as I enjoyed my earlier cruise on Aurora very much, and she remains my favourite cruise ship. DININGThe quality of the food and its service varied from poor to excellent depending on the venue.We had asked for either a table for two or freedom dining, but were allocated a table for 10. We had planned to eat several times in the "select dining" venues, so we never actually went to our allocated table.We ate twice in the White Room (on the two formal nights). The food was good basic Italian, but not fine dining and with a £25 cover charge (they increase the charge from £20 to £25 on short cruises) it was not good value for money. The crab linguine starter was nice, but uses quite cheap ingredients. The prawn starter was excellent. The rack of lamb was superb. The lobster spaghetti was OK - the small half lobster that topped the spaghetti was good, but the lobster meat in the spaghetti was tough and the spaghetti was slightly overcooked. The tiramisu, in my opinion, was not as good as Marks & Spencer - very creamy but without much flavour. The service was poor. I kept having to ask for more water, and our wine glasses were not topped up often enough (mine ran dry at one point). The second night we ate there, the aperitif glasses were not cleared until the end of the meal.We ate three times in East. The food and service were both superb. The waiting staff in East are all female and Filipino. Our waitress made a point of addressing us both by name (this was the only place on the ship that this happened). The fillet steak was amazing, and of a different quality to the ones they serve in the Beach House for their Surf & Turf. It was a world apart from anywhere else on the ship. The £20 cover charge was worth it, and the £15 cover charge on the longer cruises would be good value for money.We had planned to eat in Ramblas one evening (or "Ramblers" as the CD insisted on calling it!), but we were told we would have to wait half an hour for a table. We went to wait in the bar area, and were then asked if we would eat there instead. We didn't want to do that, so went up to the Beach House, where again we were told there would be a wait of at least half an hour. By this time it was 8:45, so we went down to Cinnamon, the freedom dining restaurant, and threw ourselves on the mercy of the Maitre d', who allowed us to eat there for one night only. The food and service in Cinnamon were both good, and there were plenty of spare seats. Given that many people don't want to dress for dinner (even to a "smart casual" standard) and that the Beach House, Waterside buffet, and Ramblas were all full, I think Ventura has the capacity to make freedom dining in the main restaurants more accessible . There was a big waiting list for Freedom Dining and with three restaurants I think P&O should work harder to balance supply and demand, and keep their customers happy.We had breakfast three times in our cabin. Although the room service menu is limited, and some quite basic items have to be paid for, the continental breakfast was substantial, and when ordered the day before through the TV turned up on time. However, on our second sea day we intended going to the MDR but overslept and woke up at 9:30. We turned the TV on, and there was still an option to order continental breakfast for 09:30 to 10:00 (and later times), which we did. At 10:15, I called room service to make sure they had the order. They looked for it, found it, and said they would send it. Breakfast came at around 10:55, and the steward who delivered it said we should have ordered it the day before (so why still have it as an option on the morning? Bad organisation, bad service!) We also used room service once for a late lunch on a port day. We had pizza which was free, very good, and piping hot, but it took more than half an hour to arrive.We went to the buffet a couple of times at tea time. The choice was very limited (compared to Celebrity and Princess), and the service area was extremely small and cramped. The buffet closed between 5pm and 6pm. We were not impressed by this. We have dinner late, and if we have missed lunch we often like a light snack at this time.We had lunch in the main dining room three times, but on the first two occasions had trouble getting a table for two. We were told to come back after 10 minutes, and then come back again after half an hour. We did eventually get a table for two, but only after a long wait. We have never had this problem on any of our previous cruises. Normally, if a table for two is not immediately available, the staff will give you exclusive use of a table for four. I think the problem on Ventura is that it is a big ship with three dining rooms, but they only open one of them for lunch. Service at lunch-time in the MDR was usually (2 out of 3 visits) poor, although on one occasion it was very good. We had breakfast three times in the "Bay Tree". This is at the back of the ship, only accessible via the aft staircase and lifts, and was quiet at breakfast-time. The ship serves a good English breakfast, but the coffee and orange juice were both dreadful (the apple juice is drinkable). They don't do special requests. For example, we asked if we could have French Toast, but were told "no". A couple at the next table asked if they could have a pot of tea (instead of having to wait for the waiter to come round and pour), again, they were told "we don't do that".We like good strong coffee, so went to the Costa coffee shop for take away coffees a few times. You have to pay for the coffees, but they serve nice cakes if you buy coffee. The first time we ordered coffee to go, we also asked for some donuts and biscuits and got them without a problem. The second time we asked for this, we were told it's not possible to take food away from the coffee shop. "It's not company policy". "It's against health and safety!" It was hard to get good coffee, even from Costa. I asked the waitress for strong black coffee, and told her how I wanted it made - double espresso, and let the water run through until the cup is half full. The first time I did this, when I got up to the room I found they had filled the cups and the coffee was weak and tasteless. After this, I made a point of checking the coffee before I would sign for it. On the third day of the cruise, we stopped by for coffee "to go" on the way back on board, specified how we wanted it, and the barista filled the cup about two thirds full. I said to him, "I asked for it half full", and his response was to pour some of the coffee away so the cup was half full! I explained that I had asked for strong black coffee, and throwing some away did not give me that. The waitress intervened and told the barista to put an extra shot in each cup. This would have solved the problem, but the barista added the extra shots and practically threw the cups at us, saying something in his own language while he did so. We went to reception to ask to see the Bars Manager, but were told he was not available. Reception noted our complaint, and said they would pass it on. They also said food could not be taken away from the coffee shop for health and safety reasons. They said if we wanted strong coffee and cake in our cabin, we would have to order the cake from room service, and then buy the coffee from Costa. They also said it is not permitted to take food from the buffet to the cabin! That's a first, and I can't find that written down anywhere! This happened at about 16:00, and the Bars Manager did leave a message on our phone early afternoon the next day, but we did not follow it up with him.ENTERTAINMENTClassical Pianist Simon Callaghan gave an excellent concert on the first sea day. Unfortunately, the Tamarind Club is not a suitable venue. It has a Steinway piano, but it's amplified over a poor sound system. If you sit more than a third of the way back, you hear the terrible amplified sound which is a distortion of the beautiful Steinway. If you sit close to the front, it sounds good. Simon did three concerts, but the second two clashed with sailaways, so I only went to the first one.Comedian Dave Kristian was not funny.Tenor Victor Michael has a good voice, but sadly plays to the chavs - encouraging the audience to join in with "just one cornetto" while he sang O Sole MioSTATEROOMI was very impressed with our balcony cabin on C deck (deck 10). I loved the cabin design. The walk-in wardrobe was large and practical, our clothes were easily accessible and it was nice to have space to store the cases without having to put them under the bed. There was plenty of storage space, and the bathroom was adequate. The balcony was very large - about twice as deep as those on the decks above, half in the shade and half open and overlooked. The semi reclining chairs and footstool were good. I would choose a deck 10 cabin if I ever go on one of the "grand" class of ships again. The cabin was nicely decorated. There was no sofa, but two chairs and a small table gave us enough space to have breakfast. A P&O bonus is the kettle and mugs with tea and coffee, and biscuits replenished daily. The TV was well positioned and could be viewed well from the bed. The interactive channels allowed you to order room service and check your bill. Sky news was available most of the time. A selection of films and classic TV programmes were available. The cabin appeared superficially clean, although there was a sequin on the floor, so the carpet had not been vacuumed thoroughly. The superficial cleaning continued during the cruise. Towels were replaced twice daily and the beds were made, but the cabin steward did not wipe down the bathroom properly. Nothing was moved, and where I had left my wet wooden shaving bowl next to the sink, it left a stain the next day as it was still wet. We didn't use the kettle, but it contained water when we arrived and was never emptied. The ice bucket was never filled. There were some sweets on a small tray, the tray was removed two days before the end of the cruise (presumably, people steal them). The White Company toiletries were nice. SERVICEOn TV one day, there was a video of Carol Marlow talking about the "CRUISE" - customer care - programme, and the "key values" instilled in the staff, which included "Go the extra mile" and "Make it happen". Unfortunately, in our experience, "Make it happen" should be replaced with "we don't do that".Myra, a waitress in East, was excellent and friendly. All the staff in East gave a level of service that was unequalled anywhere else on the ship. In fact, leaving East at the end of the meal and returning to Ventura was a bit of a culture shock!! At the other end of the scale, the barista in the Costa coffee shop was rude. The security staff were unsmiling and unwelcoming, and some never spoke, despite my best efforts to get some sort of reaction by saying "good morning", "thank you", and smiling at them. Some of them didn't even look at the passengers. I'm sure I could have walked off using someone else's cruise card and they would not have noticed. Overall, you don't get the friendly excellent service on Ventura that you take for granted on other cruise lines. Read Less
Sail Date April 2011
Having read some of the negative reviews that i saw once i had booked to go on this ship i was a little worried but came with an open mind. The flight with Thomas Cook out from Gatwick was well organised but the check in was very ... Read More
Having read some of the negative reviews that i saw once i had booked to go on this ship i was a little worried but came with an open mind. The flight with Thomas Cook out from Gatwick was well organised but the check in was very hard on anyone who seemed to have an ounce over in thier luggage. However leaving the airport at the other end was super; bypassing border control and straight to the ship. Priority embarkation to the ship for the suite passengers was a joke ie you just got your cruise card a bit quicker and then just joined the queue with everyone else. Once on the ship friendly staff greeted us and basically just told us the way to the stateroom. Perhaps my expectation of priority boarding for the large sum of money i had paid for this cruise was wrong. On getting to my stateroom i was quite pleased with the size of it and the layout but the much mooted butler service just did not happen -no champagne on ice waiting -no unpacking of the luggage for you as promised, no pamper pack, just stuff left in the fridge and a guy who introduced himself as the butler once he was well sure we had unpacked ourselves and told us "the room stuard does the toilet, i do the cups" the room steward was much better and more hardworking however. The light of day came the next day and all was revealed: dirty walls ,the remnants of the last couples sporting activities on the bed valance,the shabby balcony with the old weather worn furniture the stink of smoke in the room. After having the customer service manager in for a conference and laying down what i expected of service from the staff things got better but the impression was already there. The staff generally on this ship were very friendly and polite and i would have to say had more class that the ramshackle bunch that made up most of the passengers -all over tattoos-compare the beer belly competitions in the sun very bad fake designer bags - get the drift this was the real letdown of this cruise- if your idea of a good time is a working men's club or the British Legion on a Saturday night - then this is the place for you. Food on board was surprisingly good with the bay tree,white room ,east and ramblas putting on some really good food the exception however was waterside where i would eat with great caution esp poultry. Bar prices were very fair with most things at pub levels and i found my on board credit went a long way. would i cruise p and o again -yes- would i go on ventura again-not if you paid me. As a foot note my partner came down with a really bad case of food poisoning at the end of this cruise and the only time we ate off this ship was on an organised tour as i said caution is the word. Read Less
Sail Date March 2011
I'm afraid P&O was not the ideal cruise firm we expected. The Saffron dining room staff were really good and very pleasant, as was the wine waiter, although the menu wasn't vast they did generally have something that ... Read More
I'm afraid P&O was not the ideal cruise firm we expected. The Saffron dining room staff were really good and very pleasant, as was the wine waiter, although the menu wasn't vast they did generally have something that appealed. The cabin was fine, as was the cabin steward who went the extra mile to be friendly and provide a good service. The buffet on the other hand was not good at all. There was not a good choice of food and even though you were handed a really hot plate, the food in general was tepid at best and in some cases cold. If salad was the preferred choice then this had to be put onto the very hot plates. There were 'cold plates' for salad but these were also hot when available which spoiled the whole idea of a salad. The tables were not emptied readily and the tea and coffee stations left a lot to be desired. Getting tea, coffee, milk, cups, tea spoons and hot water in the same place seemed too much to ask and staff were rude when asked for cups etc. The day we left there were no cups at any drink station and people were forced to drink tea and coffee from plastic glasses. The staff did try to keep sunbeds free on sea days and removed towels from beds that had been 'saved' and where no-one appeared for a length of time but in general you had to be up really early to get a sunbed by a pool. The chairs and tables around the pool had wooden slats and were really hard and uncomfortable. Smoking was allowed on the starboard side of decks 15 and 16 as well as the starboard side of promenade deck 7 but it was impossible to sit and have a drink and a smoke as the seating facilities were too hard to sit and relax on and generally full of grease and unclean from Frankies burger bar. The staff on these decks were not very friendly and some were rude. This was our first experience of P&O and we had been led to believe it was the best but the next cruise will definitely be back at Royal Caribbean who do their utmost to take care of their passengers. Read Less
Sail Date January 2011
We have just returned from 2 weeks on the Ventura a beautiful ship and this being our first cruise we were very pleased with the cabin and most of our fellow passengers. I do realise that with over 3000 people on board p and O have to ... Read More
We have just returned from 2 weeks on the Ventura a beautiful ship and this being our first cruise we were very pleased with the cabin and most of our fellow passengers. I do realise that with over 3000 people on board p and O have to cater for a great number of tastes but some of the so called entertainment certainly did not appeal to us. We were quite looking forward to having a little flutter in the casino but why oh why have they put it next to the PUB, needless to say we did not bother and for most of the cruise staff in the casino looked very bored as no one was using it. We felt the shore excursions we booked were very good and well organised. Our dining arrangements were wrong as we had booked freedom dining but after a day or so this was sorted out. Would we cruise again, probably but with a lot more research as this one really was not what we were looking for and from conversations with fellow passengers this was a very common view. Read Less
Sail Date January 2011
CONS On first sight - what a monster. First time we'd cruised on a 3,000 passenger ship, and by day 14 we were still getting lost! On arrival NO champagne reception, which we'd been used to with other cruise lines, NO-ONE ... Read More
CONS On first sight - what a monster. First time we'd cruised on a 3,000 passenger ship, and by day 14 we were still getting lost! On arrival NO champagne reception, which we'd been used to with other cruise lines, NO-ONE to show us to our cabin, heaven help anyone who's never cruised before. There was something the matter with the staff, especially the waiting on staff, they were quite sullen and obviously not happy with something, although during the cruise some of them perked up and we managed to have a laugh with them. Our balcony cabin was sufficient - except for the shower - which was triangular in shape and quite small which meant that when you bent over to do you legs you had to stick your head out of the curtain - not very nice. Signage on the ship, totally inadequate. All the signs were very dark and difficult to spot and read, needs brightening up a bit so they are easier to spot. No hot water in any of the toilets used by passengers when moving around the ship, NOT ideal for killing bacteria! Experienced a very rough passage on our last nights journey, even experienced cruisers said they had never experienced such a rough journey, hung onto bed and hoped for best. Think that LIBRARY should be in an enclosed room with comfortable seats to relax and read at leisure. Think that CASINO is one of the smallest that I have ever seen and should be totally separate from the adjoining EXCHANGE lounge and music venue. Nail polish used in spa treatments is rubbish, cheap stuff. Chips after a few days. PROS Fellow passengers very pleasant and chatty. Cabin boy very good and helpful, works extremely hard. Food available 24 hours a day, but sometimes a little 'hit & miss' in one or two venues, but you'll never go hungry. Entertainment, First Class, the Venturer Theatre Company were very professional putting on some very good shows, visiting artistes included a singer, Victor Michael, and a comedian Adrian Walsh, who both did two separate shows, Excellent! During our days at sea, attended the Oasis Spa for treatments, overall very good, but nail polish is rubbish, cheap stuff. Guest speakers very interesting, went to a few different talks, learnt a lot. Read Less
Sail Date January 2011
Having just returned today 12/02/2011 I thought I would give my views on the trip. Bad start Thomsons flight out of Manchester should have left 9-30am was delayed until 18-15hrs we were notified the day before some passengers of course ... Read More
Having just returned today 12/02/2011 I thought I would give my views on the trip. Bad start Thomsons flight out of Manchester should have left 9-30am was delayed until 18-15hrs we were notified the day before some passengers of course travelled the day before so were not contactable. Arrived at Ship 23-00 hours Barbados time 3am GMT. No water in our cabin, safe not working not much of an complimentary upgrade. Riviera Deck 14 is far removed from its name we were kept awake in the small hors by scraping of chairs and vacume cleaning dont they make a noise thse days when they are above your beds. BEWARE Waterside and Beach House above R deck. Never again. More waiting to get a table in Baytree for Breakfast after waiting u are admitted to finf only a small section in use. Think they have cut staff? Entertainment not that good with a few minor exceptions. Food in Dining Rooms OK not as good as previous year. Met some great people but there were quite a few that you would wish to avoid. We are forever learning and enjoyed the weather which is the main reason for going for us. Staff attitude leaves a lot to desire with a few exceptions. Read Less
Sail Date January 2011
Staff - Cabin Steward and dining waiters in the Bay Tree were excellent but cannot say the same for all staff throughout the buffet restaurants and bars. There were some cheerful, pleasant staff however there were others who definitely did ... Read More
Staff - Cabin Steward and dining waiters in the Bay Tree were excellent but cannot say the same for all staff throughout the buffet restaurants and bars. There were some cheerful, pleasant staff however there were others who definitely did not look as if they were enjoying their job and made you feel a nuisance if you asked for anything. Food,and Service - Food was ok and staff in the Bay Tree ensured that you were enjoying your meal or were quick to offer a replacement. However the Buffet Restaurants were way below expectations. We only used for breakfast three times - it was a shambles! No cups, glasses, tea spoons - the serving area was very cramped with passengers milling about with laden trays. Settled for a continental breakfast served on our balcony! Lunch time food was boring and if you asked for a cold plate for a salad you were either ignored or made to wait. Suitable plates etc should be available without having to ask? Bars/Drinks - Cocktails varied from good to undrinkable - too much lime juice and when I complained was told "used only a dash of lime" and no offer to replace!!! The Exchange Bar reminded me of a tired Wetherspoons and the very small Casino was tagged on to the side of it?? Entertainment - Mediocre acts were in half empty theatre and decent acts were in bars that could not accommodate the numbers attending. I do not want to stand for 45 minutes with a drink in hand no matter how good the entertainer. Amenities - There appeared to be a shortage of sunbeds. Sail Aways - I found these embarrassing. Why hand out Union Jack flags and sing "Rule Britannia" and "Jerusalem" particularly when there were ships of other nationalities in port?????? And not all passengers were English! Read Less
Sail Date January 2011
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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