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215 P&O Cruises Ventura Cruise Reviews

We have just returned from a 2 night cruise to Zeebrugge, we had a wonderful time but there were some disappointing bits The good bits Entertainment was fantastic, especially Josh Adams and a group with a fantastic girl singer Lovely ... Read More
We have just returned from a 2 night cruise to Zeebrugge, we had a wonderful time but there were some disappointing bits The good bits Entertainment was fantastic, especially Josh Adams and a group with a fantastic girl singer Lovely large evening venues where you sit at a table and watch or dance to the live acts Cabins very nice with comfortable beds Drinks and cocktails very reasonable £5.25 for most cocktails and they were fab Lovely outdoor areas to enjoy drinks Getting on the ship was very quick and easy The bad bits The buffet restaurant food was a very poor quality not much choice and if I was on here for longer than 2 nights, I would have to start paying in the select venues, we have cruised before on Royal Caribbean and there is no comparison, they have so much choice and it is much better quality Main dining room food was hit and miss, main courses on the whole were very good but the starters and deserts were very poor. Lots of waiters had an attitude, our waiter at dinner was very surly, on the first night he never offered us the cheese and biscuits and no chocolate with our coffee and when asked for something it was almost an inconvenience One of the bar waiters overcharged us and when I questioned the bill he argued and said he would get into trouble so we felt we had to leave it even though it was nearly £10 wrong A waiter at the afternoon tea gave my husband one small sandwich when he asked for another he rolled his eyes and they could not wait to get you out of the restaurant Our main dinner sitting at 6.30 was badly organised as everyone queued to get in, on Royal Caribbean you were allowed to go to your table as the doors were open well in advance, but they would not let you in before 6.30 so all the stairs and gangways were blocked Also thought there was a lot of movement and the sea was not rough so would be worried on this ship if the sea was rough Getting off the ship was chaos there was no plan just a free for all for 3000 people!! We had a great time but it has put me off going on a longer cruise with p&o, the food and service is just not good enough, I have booked Celebrity next later in the year Read Less
Sail Date May 2013
Having previously cruised with Celebrity and RCL, we were keen to see how P&O compared, this was also our first cruise from a UK port. The only thing we would suggest as an area for really improvement is the website, RCL/Celebrity is ... Read More
Having previously cruised with Celebrity and RCL, we were keen to see how P&O compared, this was also our first cruise from a UK port. The only thing we would suggest as an area for really improvement is the website, RCL/Celebrity is far better to use, but after that P&O really impressed. In simple summary P&O is not necessarily better than the other two in an one area but it is consistently good at everything where as Celebrity and RCL both have areas in which they excel but some real short-comings in others. Compared to Cape Liberty in New Jersey Southampton is a joy. Clean, slick and very very well organised. Ventura is a modern and pleasant ship, our stateroom R705 was well appointed, simple things like a kettle and laundrette were nice touches compared to the American operators. In-room entertainment was a little bit limited but the pay to view movies were good value. We joined P&O excursions at Olden & Molde, both were well organised and enjoyable although all cruise ship excursions seem overpriced to me. Disembarkation/Embarkation was easy at every port. We tried all the restaurants on board, The White Room was OK but East was the one that impressed the most. Our first in the main dining room we were allocated the second sitting the service was incredibly rushed and then at the end the waiter introduced himself and the team, from then on the service in the main dining room was fine. A real strength was the evening entertainment, really good quality performances with good variety. Timings worked well to get everything fitted in each night. Overall a really enjoyable week, -must have been good we have just booked Azura to the Caribbean   Read Less
Sail Date May 2013
We're a young(ish) active couple in our early 40s who booked a week on Ventura cruising the Norwegian Fjords as our first cruise. We didn't want to spend a fortune or go for more than a week in case cruising wasn't for us. ... Read More
We're a young(ish) active couple in our early 40s who booked a week on Ventura cruising the Norwegian Fjords as our first cruise. We didn't want to spend a fortune or go for more than a week in case cruising wasn't for us. My husband hates flying so a cruise from Southampton seemed ideal. We normally holiday in the UK and enjoy walks, photography, good food and in my husband's case, a pint of two of real ale. This cruise appealed because is was sure to be scenic and seemed like a good introduction to holidaying at sea. We travelled by train from Nottingham to Southampton to avoid the stress of driving and the expense of parking. It was easier than getting to the pick up point for the coach. As soon as we got out of the taxi at the Mayflower Pier our cases were immediately whisked away and we joined the line for check in. The queue moved fairly swiftly and within about 30 mins we were on board. We felt a bit lost and not sure what to do but were handed a map of the ship and wandered off to find our cabin. On our way we came across our cases which were waiting on the corridor and wheeled them the rest of the way down to our cabin towards the aft end of the C deck. We'd decided on aft to save £100 each and had read that C deck cabins have the best balconies. This is true. Our cabin had everything we needed, was well tastefully decorated, comfortable and a reasonable size. Our cabin steward, Grazie, introduced herself almost as soon as we'd moved in. She told us where to find our muster station and made sure we were happy with our cabin. She did a great job keeping our home for the week clean and tidy and was always smiling and chirpy. After unpacking (and yes there was plenty of room for our stuff, our cases and enough hangers) we went for a wander and afternoon tea. Then it was time for the safety talk at the muster station (Havana). This didn't take long and was straight forward. We spent the first afternoon exploring although we still managed to get lost a few times, even towards the end of the week! The floors are a bit confusing as some areas don't seem to link up from all 3 staircases but we had some extra exercise finding our way round. We'd opted for freedom dining and ate in the Cinnamon restaurant each evening, We didn't see the point of paying extra to eat in the "select" restaurants as the food and service were very good in our allocated restaurant. We elected not to share tables and never had to wait long for a table for 2. We ate close to 6pm most evenings and were shown a window seat several times. We have no complaints about the food. There was plenty of choice and it was possible to request items that weren't on the menu if you're especially fussy. The service from the waiters was prompt and efficient. Some were more smiley and friendly than others but they were all good at their jobs. We sampled most of the bars on board and preferred the Metropolis bar over all due to the relaxed atmosphere and great views. We also liked the Red Bar as it was comfortable. The drink prices were reasonable and the service was attentive without being pushy. Even in busy venues, such as the theatre and Havana bar the staff did a great job in getting to you when you needed a refill and remembering who ordered what. I don't know how they do it! Hubby was happy with the range of real ales and I enjoyed working my way through the cocktail list and sampling the occasional liquor. We went to some of the shows in the theatre. The Headliners singers and dancers were very good and their shows were professional and entertaining. The comedians were ok but we didn't see any of them for a second time. The Neil Diamond and Tom Jones tribute acts were very good. The older ladies in the audience especially enjoyed the banter from the Tom Jones act! We didn't partake in the entertainment every evening. We were happy just to sit in the Metropolis bar with a drink, enjoying the sunsets and chilled out music. There was a fairly comprehensive programme of daytime activities but most of it wasn't really our cup of tea. We did use the gym which was very well equipped. The classes were a bit expensive but the free "fab abs" class was good. The treadmills and cardio equipment are arranged to give a great view out to sea at the front of the ship. Who needs MTV! There are plenty of swimming pools on Ventura but only a few brave souls made use of them. It was rather nippy in April! If you want to do "proper" swimming you'll find them a bit small. The endless pool wasn't working most of the time but it was too cold to use it anyway. The temperature around the only covered pool was reasonable and if that had been bigger or "endless" we might have used it. Ventura is a family ship so this area was a bit noisy for us although most of the time we didn't really notice many children elsewhere on board as it was term time. You can always get something to eat on the ship without having to pay extra for it. The 24hr buffet had a good choice of food. Breakfast, lunch and afternoon tea were fairly varied and of good quality. Seating was rather limited and at times we walked circuits around both sides of Waterfront and Beach house to find a table. It probably would be less congested in warmer climates when you could make use of the exterior seating. On our cruise we had 2 sea days and visited ports on 4 days. The excursions were very expensive. We only booked one - the Flam railway trip. This was also pricey but we don't regret booking it. There wasn't a lot to do in the ports other than enjoy the scenery. This was enough for us. Flam and Bergen are covered below. We also visited Stavanger and Olden. Both were interesting and pleasant to wander around. We liked the old town in Stavanger but it felt as though Ventura and its passengers took over the town in a rather imposing and intrusive way. It seemed as though it wasn't quite ready for the tourist season as not everywhere was open and quite a lot of work was being done in the port. Olden has some shops geared towards tourists. We didn't buy anything but lots of people did - they were packed! We found the old wooden church which was worth the short walk to find. Again, some of the shops were closed - they missed a trick there! The prettiest area can be found by turning left and walking down the road back along the Fjord. There's a wooden pier by some conifer trees where we took some lovely photos which look like paintings. There is something surreal about the colours of the landscape and the snow-capped mountains reflected in the water. Yes, Norway is expensive but cruising is a cheaper way to visit as there is no need to pay for food and drinks - you can get them on the ship! We only wandered around in the ports for a few hours between breakfast and lunch so didn't need to get on and off too many times. This was a good thing as queuing to get through security was a bit of a chore, albeit necessary and understandable. We had been a bit nervous before our holiday about rough seas. One night was quite bad although the staff were reassuring, especially the captain who had warned us that there would be a big swell and some noise from the bow slapping down on the sea (gulp!) We wore our anti sea sickness bands and didn't feel ill, just a little anxious. We propped ourselves up in bed and watched the TV most of the night to distract us from the noise and motion. There was some vibration from the stabilisers which i understand was worse on the lower decks. The rest of the time we were lucky to have fairly smooth seas and good weather. We knew it would be cold and packed accordingly. Disembarkation was swift and well organised but no drinks were offered wile we waited to be led off the ship. We would have happily paid for a cuppa in the bar as we'd had to vacate our room by 8am and were not due to leave until after 10am. We could have left earlier, taking our bags off ourselves but we'd have had a long wait at Southampton station. We were expecting the buffet breakfast to be rammed on disembarkation but we beat the crowds by eating before 7am. It was the quietest we'd seen it all week! We would definitely recommend P&O and Ventura and the Norwegian Fjords. In fact I've been missing the ship since we came home! It would be interesting to see how different the experience would be in warm weather when you could sit on deck and enjoy the pools. Maybe next time... Read Less
Sail Date April 2013
A packed Ventura set sail on 7 April 2013 for an Easter holiday cruise down to Vigo, Lisbon, Oporto and La Coruna. Myself and two teenagers were in inside cabin C248- a perfectly acceptable cabin with no noise issues. The first night and ... Read More
A packed Ventura set sail on 7 April 2013 for an Easter holiday cruise down to Vigo, Lisbon, Oporto and La Coruna. Myself and two teenagers were in inside cabin C248- a perfectly acceptable cabin with no noise issues. The first night and day was marred by a force ten down the English channel and Bay of Biscay. Daughter was ill and loads of people wandering around clutching Ventura medical Centre invoices. Vigo- well a forgettable port. Just glad to get off. Go up the road by the tourist information Office and turn right for literally two minutes to find (left)the most packed mini market shop selling all goods in the suface area of a shoe box. Stocked up on Don Simon wine cartons at 1.45 euros each to put in the cabin fridge! Also cake thingys which would come in useful throughout. Next stop, Lisbon. Lisbon is hideous. Clearly the only industry thriving is that manufacturing paint spray cans. Crumbling and graffitied it is a sorry sight.Stayed 20 minutes. Into yet another area of low pressure heading north, the Captain had to throw away Oporto and we had to endure another rather boring day onboard, tempered only when the sun came out late afternoon. La Corunna was a nice surprise. Clean, well maintained and upmarket. Great British Sailaway- hmmm, I'm patriotic but is this bordering on the jingoistic? We were on freedom dining in Cinnamon- nice crew and reasonable food- I cannot say the food blew me away to be honest. This ship cannot cope on sea days with the breakfast bun fight. Two room service orders to overcome this were "lost" with no apology offered. Kids club good- although a few individuals a bit snooty. Casino was fun. Didn't sample any of the shows. Weather ruined the whole thing- not P and O's fault. Would not sail from Southampton again. Three out of three cruises in the past 12 months were ruined/altered due to the weather conditions. Hey ho. Read Less
Sail Date April 2013
We thought the price, including flight to Barbados too good to miss and booked, "on a whim." We were not to be disappointed as our travel arrangements(even allowing for the fact that we had to start from Toulouse)were completely ... Read More
We thought the price, including flight to Barbados too good to miss and booked, "on a whim." We were not to be disappointed as our travel arrangements(even allowing for the fact that we had to start from Toulouse)were completely hassle-free. The Thomson Charter Flight was far better than expected as the highly professional cabin staff looked after our comfort very well. What a treat it was to be met at the aircraft steps and be driven directly to the Cruise Terminal and our luggage being delivered to our cabin. There we met our smiling Goan steward, Leslie Fernandez and spent some time reminiscing about Goa, where we have spent many happy holidays. We found the Ventura very traditional in design and layout, very much always a SHIP, compared to NCL Epic which is a floating hotel. We chose Freedom dining and ate in the Cinnamon Restaurant most nights where we found the food to be brilliant with plenty of choice for the pickiest of diners. The rest of the time we ate in the Buffet Restaurants which served appetising breakfasts until noon and had themed Dinner Buffets eg.Tandoori, Thai, Mexican, etc. We didn't try the White Restaurant as we felt that £50 p.p.was going a tad too far and hardly a cover charge. We did eat in Ramblas one evening and although the food was OK and served hot I found it to be very characterless, with no attempt at a Spanish atmosphere. Where were the Spanish guitars? How difficult would it be to find a CD? Anyway, Ramblas is being removed during the re-fit. Sunloungers? It's all been said! No change, I'm afraid. The Islands lived up to all expectations, the British heritage very much in evidence and English spoken everywhere. We tried the well-equipped gym this year and had a foot and ankle massage(bliss). Our only complaints are about the timing of the shows. You can't go directly from one show to another, like on the Epic and often we couldn't be bothered waiting till 10.30pm for the 2nd show. Also, husband grumbled about the cost of Internet as the signal was often very weak. To answer my question at the beginning: Yes, 21 days is too long at this time of year and coming from W.I. to UK as for the last week or so it started to get cold and sun-seeking lost it's charm. Unfortunately we found not very much to do apart from one excellent lady explorer who gave an inspiring talk in the theatre one day. All the films I'd seen already. All the staff work extremely hard and are polite and charming. Would we do it again? We are still undecided as we think we prefer the more cosmopolitan atmosphere of some other cruise lines. Living in France we are used to being in the minority and found the Britishness a bit over-powering. Read Less
Sail Date March 2013
This was our second cruise for my wife and I, our first was Western Med on Azura in 2012. We're in our early 50's. We flew from Gatwick, on BA scheduled service. This was decided by P&O (we'd booked a Getaway deal in ... Read More
This was our second cruise for my wife and I, our first was Western Med on Azura in 2012. We're in our early 50's. We flew from Gatwick, on BA scheduled service. This was decided by P&O (we'd booked a Getaway deal in August 2012 so had no say, but we did save a lot of money!) Flight was fine on our Boeing 777, landing on time at Barbados 5.30pm. Unimpressed by BA's food though, pretty poor for an 8 hour scheduled flight - a bland pasta meal about an hour into the flight, and one (yes, one) sandwich prior to landing, and that was it. On the plus side was the free bar and good entertainment system - note, take your own headphones, BA's don't work. We had to queue for an hour to clear Barbados customs and then retrieve our suitcases. We subsequently discovered that charter flight passengers didn't have to do this, they went straight from the 'plane to the ship. So, on the bus to Ventura, and a speedy boarding once we'd been allocated our cruise cards. We were in a balcony cabin on B deck, which P&O allocated, and we were happy with the location. Didn't see much of our steward, but cabin was always clean and well stocked (we didn't get any towel art though!). A minor point, the biscuits that P&O put in the cabin were always broken and not as good as we had last year. Ventura is almost identical to Azura in layout etc, so we soon found our way around. The Captain was very jovial and all the crew we came across seemed happy and were very polite and helpful. Our cruise included 4 sea days, and we spent them just lazing around in the sunshine or going to some of the talks. We felt there wasn't much to interest us, which was a contrast to last year's cruise. Sunbeds soon got taken with people leaving towels and then not coming back for ages. We (my wife) ended up getting up early to bag a sunbed but it was that or go without. The food was much as we expected having cruised with P&O before, but it was here that we felt standards were starting to slip. We ate in Cinnamon (Freedom dining) in the evenings, and usually in the self service restaurants for other meals, and we didn't have one hot meal. Although the plates were hot, the food was only ever 'warm'. The only hot meal we had was in Ramblas, were we paid extra for 'authentic' Spanish cuisine - very nice, pity it's being replaced with a Glasshouse. They ran out of mugs and plastic glasses in the self catering restaurants every mealtime, which became tiresome. There wasn't anything wrong with the food quality, just that it wasn't hot. Bar drinks had gone up in price considerably since last year, and P&O still insist on waiter service - even when there's hardly anyone in the bar, it still takes a long time to get a drink (so we just buy less P&O!). We waited 25 minutes for a drink when we were in the main theatre, the show was almost over by the time we got the drinks. Entertainment - we enjoyed the shows we saw - Freddie Mercury Tribute, Robbie Williams tribute and the ship's Headliners. Clem Curtis (ex-Foundations) was good, even better on the Karaoke at St Lucia! Also enjoyed comedians Tucker and Fogwell Flax Our ports of call were: Antigua - on a Sunday, so Antigua was shut! We took a local taxi tour around the island for about $25US each St Maarten - another local taxi, we teamed up with 4 other passengers and paid $25US each for 3 hours. Our driver (Tony Friday) was so laid back he was almost horizontal and was happy to take us wherever we wanted to go. Cheap T shirts here - 3 for $12US St Vincent - a local minibus this time, again teaming up with others off Ventura and paying about $25US for 3 hours In all these ports P&O's tours were a lot more than the price of the local taxis! Grenada - we'd booked a P&O tour to the beach before leaving UK so paid more than we should have! The beach was lovely though, blue sea and golden sand. Barbados - took a 45 minute walk to the beach, seeing a turtle in the harbour on the way. For the price of 2 sunbeds and an umbrella we also had a drink each and 'free' minibus back to the port. St Kitts - P&O tour to the St Kitts railway, which we think is the only way that you can go on the railway. Really enjoyed this even if a bit pricey (£65 each) St Lucia - another P&O tour booked in the UK to Reduit beach. Lovely beach. Lots of fun back at the port tourist village with Karaoke and Piton local beer at the free wi-fi bar. A note here about wi-fi - we found free wi-fi at every port tourist village, so no need to pay for on-board internet access. Just follow the crew ashore, they know where to go. Dominica - went up to the rainforest, spectacular - banana and coconut trees, humming birds etc. A real bonus, there was a carnival in town which was great. P&O announced this the previous evening with dire warnings that everything would be shut and there would be no taxis, but, funnily enough, there were lots of places open and taxis too! Tortola - our final port, local open sided mini-bus/taxi up and down the steepest roads I've ever seen to Cane Garden beach, which was great. $8US each, each way, again a lot less than P&O. It can seem like you're going to same island after a few, they all have steep roads and started to look the same after a while! We didn't have any language problems, English widely spoken. We then returned to Barbados for our return flight. All customs etc completed on Ventura, cases weighed on the quayside (we were overweight on one case, but BA didn't seem to mind!) and then back on Ventura to wait for bus to airport (free wi-fi here). Our return flight was on time, albeit a little bumpy, but the food was even more disappointing - yet another bland pasta with cheese meal after about an hour, then nothing until breakfast 6 hours later. I was hungry by then, imagine my delight when breakfast turned out to be a blueberry muffin with a miniscule orange juice and coffee! So, would we do it again? Yes, I think it's fair to say we would. The Caribbean was lovely and warm without being oppressive, the people very welcoming, the beer cold and the beaches and scenery just great. Ventura looking tired, but she is due a refit. As to P&O - well, it felt at times like 'Butlins at Sea' but the ship's big enough to avoid that if you want to. Very hygiene conscious with anti-bac spray at every restaurant entrance and when returning to the ship from shore, but some of the public toilets do need attention. I just wish they would serve HOT meals, it surely can't be that difficult. Also, why no bananas in the restaurants? They grow them in the Caribbean!!! Hope this review is helpful - we're glad we went, and really enjoyed ourselves. Read Less
Sail Date February 2013
My wife and I were on cruise N303A, we flew out on a Thompson flight to Barbados, the flight and the embarkation experience was very good, we did not have to go through any of the air port controls, just a quick photo' and check then ... Read More
My wife and I were on cruise N303A, we flew out on a Thompson flight to Barbados, the flight and the embarkation experience was very good, we did not have to go through any of the air port controls, just a quick photo' and check then we were in our cabin. It would have been better if our personal P&O cruise specialist had told us to pre-book our flight seats, we would then have been able to sit together in the same row. Our cabin was adequate, clean, tidy and our steward's service was faultless for the whole cruise. Some areas of the ship left a bit to be desired, a bit of paint here and there, also the smell of urine in ( and outside ) the public area toilets was not very pleasant and some of them could have done with a proper deep clean ( I did complain, but to no avail, I also sent a picture of one toilet to P&O MD, I would post it but it is too awful ). Unfortunately our P&O cruise specialist told us that the dress code for all dinners would be smart, or black tie--not the case though --most were casual dress and we did not pack casual clothes, just took smart and tropical wear, annoying. The food on board was fine but the lunch time buffet's cold food was almost the same every day, the poor wine waiter at our dinner table was set an impossible task, it looked to be that he had a dozen or more tables to look after, with the obvious result, since every one arrives to be served at the same time.. A few days before we sailed we telephone booked another advantage P&O cruise with our specialist, however when on board Ventura we discovered that we could have saved ourselves money by booking while we were on board. We sailed on Adonia a while back, they too offered savings if you booked while on board, I should have remembered, I am told by head office that personal P&O specialists are not allowed knowledge of this sort, so buyer beware, "personal cruise specialist 's" only specialise in sales. I did write to customer services, they wrote to tell me they are sorry that I was disappointed with the service I received, but that it was in fact the best available. Read Less
Sail Date February 2013
Ventura is a vast ship that takes a little while to orientate to. After two weeks I was only just getting my bearings. It is only possible to easily move around the ship on deck 7. Some decks are not available from some lifts. The ... Read More
Ventura is a vast ship that takes a little while to orientate to. After two weeks I was only just getting my bearings. It is only possible to easily move around the ship on deck 7. Some decks are not available from some lifts. The disorientation was you were unsure whether you were heading in the right direction forward or aft. The theatre entertainment was good though some of the women singers were challenging to listen to with more volume than melody. I avoided the comedians but the cruise company shows were very popular. I didn't attend any of the sailaway parties as the sound system was too loud and distorted and the sight of people waving Union Jack flags had me groaning with embarrassment. Hi- di hi! Having been on a longer cruise on a more basic vessel I have to make the comment that Ventura seemed to lack genuine fun. It appeared rather staged with staff going through the act of being fun. Food was fresh, plentiful and perfectly fine. When hygiene levels were raised due to a Noro virus infection brought on board by a single family it temporarily stopped the colossally obese passengers from substantially overloading the already enormous platters provided. Some rolled back to the self service area 3 or more times each meal. You never saw these people in the serviced restaurants, presumably because the normal sized portions served there were too small. The people in the serviced restaurants were a very different size. However some of the women turned up at formal nights in clothes more befitting a strip club than a restaurant! Some of the bouffant hairstyles were an architectural spectacle, in particular when worn by ladies well past their prime - with their mothers dressed very much the same! There was no lamb here only mutton! We found the staff well organized and pleasant though on occasion certain waiters looked rather sulky and did not appear to be enjoying their work at all. Leaving and returning to the ship was remarkably efficient when you consider the number of passengers. Full marks for that. Read Less
Sail Date November 2012
Just returned from a 2 night Mini Cruise from Southampton to Zeebrugee. We booked the mini cruise as a surprise for our friends 40th Birthday. 6 of us travelling all on C Deck (floor 10) in a Balcony room. Check in was swift and ... Read More
Just returned from a 2 night Mini Cruise from Southampton to Zeebrugee. We booked the mini cruise as a surprise for our friends 40th Birthday. 6 of us travelling all on C Deck (floor 10) in a Balcony room. Check in was swift and effortless -- we were only waiting half an hour and were called in groups to check in. Within 15 mins we were on board and heading to the buffet. Food: Lovely -- Buffet's were hot and plentiful with loads of options. However in the buffet rooms the ceilings felt quite low and therefore due to the layout did feel small. There were 4 sections -- 2 on each side of the ship. Main restaurants always seemed busy, we ate in Cinnamon on both nights on the Freeway dining option. On both nights we had to wait to be seated but were offered a buzzer so we could drink in the Antrium whilst waiting. The food in here was again very nice with 5 courses served. The portion sizes were spot on albeit the service was a tad slow (due to how busy it was). Other place to eat was by the pool bar which served burgers and hot dogs. Very nice again. All in all couldn't fault the food at all. Drinks: Cheap -- in fact cheaper then UK Pub prices, Cocktail of the day was £3.95 (normal price £4.75). Pint of Stella at £3.65 and wine @ £4.25. Excellent again. No service charge on drinks and no VAT added. Service: Every time you sat down a waiter asked what drink you wanted. They were quick and pleasant. Well Done. Service in Restaurant was equally pleasant. Everyone, down to the cleaners were friendly and smiling. Room: Having sailed on NCL Epic and RC Independence we weren't expecting to be blown away by the rooms, but, they were adequate and mighty comfortable. Loads of storage space and loads of coat hangers to use. Beds were twin beds and so so soft. Individual Air Con in room. Fridge and coffee/Tea making also. Large free electronic safe. Fresh towels changed twice a day along with turn down service at night. Bliss. Entertainment: Hit and miss to be honest. Just your normal cruise type of entertainment. Live show twice a night in the Theatre and various live singers in different bars. All very professional though. Casino was awful though -- right next to the very loud Karaoke bar. Full of drunk guests and deafening..... They need to sort this part out. To summarise: A lovely 2 night cruise on o lovely large ship. But, doing 2 nights really does tire you out. Not a negative but P&O should change it to a 3 night Cruise with 1 night in Port to allow its guests to do and see everything. The 4 other people in our party had never been on a Cruise. Now they have, they are ready to book their next one. No negatives about the whole cruise, Well Done P&O. Spot on!! Read Less
Sail Date October 2012
We have just got back from our first Fjords cruise and had a great time. Having sailed on Oceana from Southampton before and finding that cruise too quiet for our liking we were concerned about booking another P&O cruise but we ... Read More
We have just got back from our first Fjords cruise and had a great time. Having sailed on Oceana from Southampton before and finding that cruise too quiet for our liking we were concerned about booking another P&O cruise but we needn't have worried. Ventura has far more going on with a large theatre and other bars with stages so there was plenty of good quality evening entertainment. The productions were of high quality and the Annie Lennox and Freddie Mercury tribute acts were amongst the best acts I've seen at sea. We had a standard balcony cabin on A deck which was of a good size with plenty of storage and it was well maintained by our steward Uday. However on the last day he did take all our own coat hangers before we had packed them and they were never seen again. I know it may not be a big deal to most (and it isn't for me really but it just seemed a bit strange) why does a British ship sailing from Britain show the American "E"and MSNBC TV channels amongst the choice of 4? Fortunately there was a range of on demand movies (a few free) if you fancied watching something in your room. We ate in the main restaurant every night and were never disappointed. The food was of very high quality and the service was very efficient if a little hurried on some occasions. We chose freedom dining which meant that we sat at a different table every night with different waiters so we did not get the opportunity to get to know them but it suited us as we could plan our nights depending on what entertainment was on around the ship. The buffet for breakfast and lunch was another matter. The quality of food was ok but the whole layout was very poorly designed. The buffet areas were too small for the number of people trying to use them with little room between stations to move around and once you got your food there was inadequate seating capacity. We invariable ending up sitting outside which was fine but if the weather had been worse this area would probably have not been usable. Due to the weather (high winds and 8 - 10m swells) the Captain made the decision not to go to Gerainger but to stop in Flam instead. Whilst this was disappointing I think it was good of him to arrange this in a limited time frame rather than take the easy option to have stayed berthed in Skjolden overnight. We thoroughly enjoyed our cruise on the Ventura and would quite happily sail on her again. Read Less
Sail Date September 2012
Well having travelled on RCI and Celebrity before we thought we'd try P&O. Despite booking a year ago we were given very little choice of availability and selected two staterooms for our party of 4 on deck C. We said no to the ... Read More
Well having travelled on RCI and Celebrity before we thought we'd try P&O. Despite booking a year ago we were given very little choice of availability and selected two staterooms for our party of 4 on deck C. We said no to the auto upgrade as P&O would not guarantee that a linked booking would be treated as a priority and would be kept together (this really isn't fair if you are a family or party that wants to be near by) As the time for our cruise approached, we noticed P&O started to heavily discount the sailing on 21 August 2012 with a number of "getaway deals". We therefore contacted Customer Service and after a bit of a faff we were upgraded the week before we sailed. Although both staterooms were on the same deck, the staterooms were spread - one mid and one forward. It was frustrating to see getaway fares offered that would have saved us almost £1000! Whether the new P&O Price Pledge will finally see early bookers treated fairly we will wait and see. You are advised to contact Customer Service and too be persistent with your query! My advice is to take time to plan / pick your stateroom - we should have stayed put really. Travelling through the Bay of Biscay on our way home made for a very rocky ride for us near the front! Lucky we are seasoned cruisers and didn't get sick but travelling at 30 knots with a wind at same speed, many were feeling a bit off it the day after. Well let's now focus on the cruise, Ventura has had mixed reviews and some criticism. It launched the same year as RCI's Independence - which we have travelled on. It's not as glitzy or sparkles but really comfortable. It certainly isn't Celebrity... but it seem to suit loads of people who return year on year. Though some felt standards were lower than previous years. On the day of embarkation it was well organised, we'd booked the car parking service - we went one way, luggage another and car taken away - great - worth every penny provided car was returned back!. We booked 5 days too late for free car parking - book early to get this (we did though book in time to get a good on board credit). We were on the Ventura early, had a pleasant lunch and a tour round. Our Staterooms were ready early and both were very well presented. Very clean and had all that we needed. We had a great sized bathroom and good amount of hanging space. The bathroom was better that both RCI and Celebrity in terms of size. Luggage delivery was a bit haphazard but our stateroom attendant sorted it all. Our champagne and chocolates were there, fluffy bathrobes and slippers. No complaints. Our children were in a very pleasant stateroom and the youngest had special pink bedding. Both attendants were excellent. Dinner was in Saffron - we were on late sitting. We had no complaints and our food and service across the cruise was good. An attentive waiter and wine waiter. The dress code was observed well and again this was something other reviewers had highlighted as a negative. We struggled to find any unfriendly staff ....though there was one exception on arrival in Breakers Bar (yes it was sunny and we went on deck for sail away)there was one miserable waiter who didn't give a very good welcome at all (name withheld he's about 48ish with glasses on!) I think overall the staff were really nice and when you chatted they responded. The officers and senior staff seem to treat the staff well and there was banter / humour between staff which was nice to see (unlike RCI or Celebrity where they were strict). In terms of amenities - we tend to do our own thing and get into the port rather than go on excursions. We don't do the talks or films but when others said they had gone they enjoyed them. If you go on this cruise or any other miss La Palma - dreadful place! Although it was a Sunday - Im sure not much else happens on a Monday or Tuesday or Wednesday etc as one of the comedians said a one horse town. The highlight for us was Madeira - so cheap...Oporto was good but we do like Portugal. Our children used the kids club - no complaints and they made nice friends - the holiday makers are virtually all from the UK. So if you don't like the culture even Bingo - go with another line for the variety. Night time brought the Theatre Shows and other acts(again not every-one's cup of tea) but the entertainment we saw was good - Fogwell Flax has had mixed reviews but we enjoyed both shows, the two other Comedians were good (sorry I just can't remember the names but I laughed despite my other half saying I have no sense of humour) and the singer in the Tamarind mostly was 5th Element and were possibly the best they had on board other that Des Walker. There was a duo that sang in the Met Bar called Into the Drift but for us they needed to drift off...(sorry but the woman twittered and never seem to have her sheet music ready...)The ballroom dancers made our toes curl but it was a must for others. P&O do a sail away party out of each Port,avoid these if you don't fancy a load of music, cheering and daftness. They made a special effort for the last one to celebrate 175 years of P&O. There are two other pools away from the crowd - a tiny one at the back and an adults only at the front. Someone did say on another review that there was little control exercised over the kids in the laguna pool but we noticed that the kids were quite good - Ventura is a family ship - so don't book in school holidays if you don't like kids. The indoor / covered pool tended to be the base for most kids. Great to have a retractable roof in cold weather. P&O do try to make an effort with a 60 and 70s night on day 4 - about 20% dressed up and a tropical night mid cruise - about 70% dressed up. The formal nights were well supported with adults and children looking really smart! There was a lovely chocoholics afternoon tea that was possibly attended by all 3000 passengers - Im sure that we dipped in the middle as everyone made there way to mid ship. A nice touch and appreciated by all. We understand that the shows by the Headliners Team were good and other shows well supported like Clem Curtis and a Freddy Mercury Tribute - it's all very British. We don't do every show as we did on our first cruise - we get about more. The Cruise Director isn't OTT - I recall one cruise where the CD was the centre of his universe and totally full of himself. The staff just get on with what they do. The White Room was a lovely experience though our waiter was a little cool and very very hard to understand but the dinner was excellent. We sat outside and watched the sunset go down. Marco's Tiramisu was the best. I know some do not want to pay the £25 cover charge but we really enjoy things like this! East got good reviews but there were two curry nights in the Waterside Buffet and we went there (no cover charge and good selection). Unlike Celebrity and RCI there is limited choice - so if you don't do the main dining room be aware that they have a theme each night - Italian, curry, cowboys - there is limited choice ... If you are used to the different buffet stations on other lines you may be a bit disappointed. There was the Beach House which was good for steaks etc and it was hard to get in. One lady I spoke to was very vocal about the lack of choice. We used the buffet for breakfast as the main dining room was just a bit OTT in the morning with a limited choice - you could only have certain things on set days ie scrambled eggs and smoked salmon on a sunday...not really the sort of limitations I'd expect so this is my little moan. Las Ramblas was lovely - we enjoyed our Tapas and Sangria and we didn't mind the small charge! I know others begrudge it and it is a personal choice. Coffee Shop and retail outlets were very good - better stock that Celebrity and more affordable. Excellent outfits for men and women if you need another special outfit even a tux or bow tie. Spa was great and on a port day my other half treated me to the unwind package - worth the £69 for 90 minutes of pure pampering. There are plenty of places to go on board and all venues such as the casino, exchange bar, coffee shop (selling COSTA), Met Bar, Red Bar, Tamarind and Havana etc all seemed well supported. It has a busy vibe and doesn't have the dip in the atmosphere that some lines have between dinner sittings - the two main dining rooms were well attended and the Bay Tree for Freedom Dining was popular but at peak I understand some people had to wait. Room service was efficient with a reasonable selection. P&O put tea and coffee making facilities in the room which were popular with older holiday makers. A little old lady told me that she loved her tea tray (bless her!) Frankie's Grill and Pizzeria was popular for burgers, pizza and other things (no charge).Half way through there was a lunchtime barbi which was appreciated. A feature was a guy doing an ice carving in just 7 minutes. Internet service was best we had, no cold water in staterooms it's always warm(previous reviewers have noted this), decent hairdryer in staterooms, ironing room and washers / dryers how great. Some passengers did all their washing before coming home! Value for money.. yes - our cheapest cruise so far.... There is no hard sell (unlike RCI) on P&O though the female waitresses in the bars do mither and mither you even when you have a full glass of wine. Bar prices not too bad. The shuttle buses are free and on other lines they do rip you off. This is a real saving for a family of 4. The gifts for the children were good in the Reef Club and they were treated to pizza and other things which was nice. Some people felt a bit let down ( some P&O advocates) and I suppose you get what you pay for. Ventura was for the four of us overall good value for money. I can see why one reviewer said it was Butlins on Sea - though I feel it is perhaps a bit hard - sure it's not got the finesse of other lines but what it does... it does well. Everyone seemed really nice on Board and most were really happy with their holiday. My only disappointment was the getting off, we went to the buffet for breakfast as we had an early slot. I fell badly on my side due to a very slippy floor in the swimming pool area and hit the floor hard. There was no care or attention from any P&O staff but a number of other passengers were lovely (I felt that they had taken my money and I was now off!) I was very shaken, an Officer offered no assistance at all. We then had possibly the worst disembarkation ever... but in the round it didn't spoil things. Would we go with P&O again - possibly but we plan to try Princess or return to RCI. Ohh and my car was there and the car parking service was great. Hope this was review useful and may I wish future passengers a lovely holiday. PS Skip La Palma! Read Less
Sail Date August 2012
Initially for the first couple of days on board Ventura the service was dreadful - very very slow but this did improve as time progressed. Most waiters were extremely pleasant helpful whilst a few were surly and off-hand. Excellent meal ... Read More
Initially for the first couple of days on board Ventura the service was dreadful - very very slow but this did improve as time progressed. Most waiters were extremely pleasant helpful whilst a few were surly and off-hand. Excellent meal in The White Room and East. Facilities for children very good. However, I think management need to focus on service and importantly health and safety in the swimming pools. There are notices stating 'no diving' and 'no jumping' but these were ignored by most of the teenagers using the pools. Despite pointing out our concerns at reception and after hearing similar views from other passengers, no notice was taken of our comments. What is the point in having notices if activities in the pool are not monitored at any time by staff? There were no easy access shepherd's hooks provided at the swimming pools and whirlpool spas as far as I could see and when younger children are in the water it is extremely dangerous when older ones jump and dive in - it is an accident waiting to happen. One final point at no time did the tap water run cold - it was always warm. Apparently as the hot and cold water tanks are near to each other the water in the cold tank is dependent upon outside weather conditions. This was the explanation although I have definitely not experienced this on other cruise liners. The cruise was enjoyable but improvements need to be facilitated. Read Less
Sail Date August 2012
Arrived at Ocean Terminal just after 11.30 and was given a lettered ticket for check-in (previously been used to been given a card after checkin but I'm sure the numbers we are talking about for Ventura explains the difference. Most ... Read More
Arrived at Ocean Terminal just after 11.30 and was given a lettered ticket for check-in (previously been used to been given a card after checkin but I'm sure the numbers we are talking about for Ventura explains the difference. Most people looked like me in the terminal i.e. excited and with a daft "expectant holiday" grin but there is always a percentage of people with the expression like the Queen watching the Olympics. Why is that? You're going on a cruise!!Anyway, check-in was a breeze and we were through that and security within 20 minutes. We were directed straight to Waterside Buffet ( I was going there anyway!)Greeting staff were all very smiley. I was very impressed the quality and variety of the buffet throughout the cruise much better than on Oriana and Oceana in my (more recent) other experience of P&O in my opinion. I can see what people mean about the congestion for the various stations at the buffet which is partly due to the "angled" nature of the different parts but also down to people "zig-zagging" backwards and forwards when they either have forgotten things or have spotted something appetising on someone else's plate(the gastronomic equivalent of the grass being greener).When particular a logjam was being created by a zig-zagger who was elbowing a member of staff out of the way I commented to the crew member you have to be slim to work here he returned a knowing look... Anyway, for the record, I had stir fried chilli prawns which were excellent a small piece of salmon (bit dry and overcooked) lamb dopiaza which was very tasty and succulent, followed by a cream horn which was also very good. Securing a seat was always a challenge and we usually carried our food into the Beachouse part. Both the log jam stations and seating are something P&O should consider addressing at the impending refit in my view. We then had a bit of a potter around the open decks and went for a swim in the Beachcomber Pool with my daughter whilst my wife enjoyed a spot on a sun lounger. The roof was open for the entire cruise apart from the last night and disembarkation morning a testimony to the beautiful weather we were fortunate to have. Felt sorry for the children whose parents either didn't know or had forgotten to pack swimwear in carry on luggage.However, I can't be too smug as I'd forgotten to pack towels as of course the blue pool towels now reside in your cabin. So I snuck down to the cabin feeling a bit like a naughty schoolboy as the all clear was yet to be sounded and grabbed a couple of towels and had a sneak preview of the JF grade balcony cabin on B deck aft, first impressions were good and i was able to put our 2 cases in the cabin as they were already there. Had lovely swim followed by a dry off on the loungers and a first drink. By then, there were plenty of loungers as most people stampeded when the announcement of your cabins are ready but we took our time .Met our cabin steward Santance who was very quiet but polite and smiley and very efficient and made a point of remembering our names every time he greeted us which I always think is nice. Had longer inspection of the cabin (I can never call it a stateroom although the word cabin does still remind me most of an incredibly pokey 4 berth cabin on Canberra). My wife was particularly impressed with the walk-in wardrobe which was a useful feature but I didn't get quite so excited..Liked the (pretty compact) balcony although was quite surprised that much of the varnish of the balcony rail was on the missing list. Bathroom I would describe as compact in fact exactly the same size as an inside cabin on Oceana which was a bit of a surprise. My daughter's bunk hadn't been pulled down but as in the other days it appeared at night time turn down .It did have a special duvet but despite being assured by P&O beforehand that all children received a welcome balloon and jelly sweets neither appeared although we did notice numerous children on the last day with balloons. Then off to lifeboat drill which didn't seem as crowded as Oriana last year and it appeared to be taken more seriously (people were more attentive) perhaps a symptom of recent events. After sail away ( a lovely member of staff took a photo of the 3 of us ) we decided to give the Beachouse a try. We really enjoyed the experience had a lovely table with a sea view. I had French Onion Soup with cheese crouton, The sizzler combo and apple crumble. The first 2 courses were excellent the third just ok. We formed the impression that waiters here were being tried out to see if they were up to main dining room standard and service here was patchy, but the food I thought was very good. We then fancied both the Soul tribute in the Arena and Fogwell Flax but plumped for Fogwell. We found him very funny his impressions were good and gags appropriate for a mixed audience.Liked his Ventura walk gag which whilst mainly visual gave the impression most have which is you are never quite sure which way you are going not helped by the numerous dead ends. We had 2 lovely cocktails raspberry crème brulee and gin and sherry cobbler served with a smile which always helps. Liked Havana as a venue- nice decor. So to bed -tired but happy. Slept ok but beds quite small(I'm tall but not all that wide but wider than I was!) and not all that comfy in my view compared to Oriana last year. Day 2-Zeebrugge.Went to Bruges last year from Oriana so had already decided to just go into Blankenberge so had leisurely breakfast at buffet. I was impressed with range of choice hot & cold options. Always found the fresh fruit to be delicious and at right stage of ripeness in particular the melon and pineapple. There was then an announcement about 10.30 I think saying that there was a long wait for shuttle buses so perhaps people might consider delaying their departure. We had a quick look over the side and it didn't seem too bad so we went off anyway. We waited less than 10 minutes. Weather was scorchio! We went into Blankenberge which is a popular seaside resort with Belgians, it was packed! We had a look around the shops, some fascinating cake and chocolate shops and followed the throng to the seafront. The beach is ok nothing spectacular but we went into the Serpetarium (snakes spiders etc) which was reasonably priced and well set out. We had a nice picnic on the seafront and then a stroll on the Pier and had a Belgian Beer (it would be rude not to) at the cafe at the end of the pier. Then we went back on the shuttle to return to Ventura. Our daughter now being 10 had said she wasn't going to the kids club, but a note had been left offering the chance to pick up a free gift between 6 and 7 in the Peninsula room. She was seduced by this and received a nice "Reef" holdall. The staff then "sold" the club in a gentle way pointing out the benefits and doing the "I know you're 10 but going round with Mum and Dad all day must get boring give us a chance" .It worked as she asked to go back to have a look after dinner and went every night after that. Some people have mentioned that there are no cocktail parties for cruises of less than 7 nights but whilst that is true of 2 nighters, I am happy to confirm we did have a "reception" party in the Atrium with free drinkies. We timed our escape just before everyone else to sample Cinnamon freedom dining. The Food was excellent and the service was good too. I had Mushroom and white wine soup(one of the nicest soups I've ever had),Glazed Duck which was nice(portion a bit small but then I'm greedy) and Fresh Strawberries with Whipped Cream, Toasted Flaked Almonds and a Warm Chocolate Biscuit which was lovely, followed by good cheese board. The wine waiter appeared promptly and we had a nice bottle of Montepulciano D'Abruzzo. My daughter then went off to the kids club and was introduced to the other kids, we kept coming back to check on her and were told to go away (you are cramping my style). We had a drink in Metropolis and enjoyed the views (and the cocktails). As a change of scene we also tried Ramblas, we loved the decor and atmosphere in there and had a glass of red propping up the bar .I do hope the rumours of Ramblas possibly being replaced during the refit are unfounded as we loved it. Day3-Le Havre Had a huge buffet breakfast(as usual) today the Beachouse server part was open previously only used for seating at breakfast ,expect that was because the venue just got busier and busier. Had a quick look at Terrace Pool my daughter keen to try this later as Laguna and Beachcomber were very packed the previous day. Took shuttle into centre and had a mooch around the Hotel De Ville nice gardens and fountains. Planned to get shuttle back to 2nd stopoff-Docks Verdon (big out of town shopping centre)but jumped a taxi instead very pleasant taxi driver who seemed pleased to have English passengers, his English was excellent(far better than my French).My Daughter headed for what appeared to be the French rival to Toys r Us La Grande Recre which stocked some Monster High items(her latest great interest) that are not available in the Uk and therefore will afford her some bragging rights back home.The centre was like many out of town centres although built in an old dock area the exterior of the building had more charm than usual and it was nice and cool on a very hot day. We had a lovely sandwich and cake from a Boulangerie although my daughter insisted on having hers from Subway(sigh) We then returned onboard for a swim in the Terrace Pool and a pleasant dry off in the sun on the wooden stepped area, whilst having afternoon tea from the buffet(jam and cream scones-my idea of heaven, cheese & pineapple toastie-yum and duck and hoi sin wrap-also yum) and drinking "mocktails"-Bananberry Crush ( Strawberry, fresh banana and pineapple juice) which excellent bit like a smoothie and Longboat Fizz( Ginger beer and lime juice) which sounds wrong somehow but was very refreshing actually and worked. We then went to the Beach House for a 2nd time but more people had cottoned on to this option so we were sent away with a buzzer but it did buzz bang on the time we were given. This time I had Buffalo wings which were ok nothing special and the Steak which was excellent. However, the service was much less attentive second time around and we were basically forgotten and people after us "overtook" us and had their sweets before we had even got to plate clearing of our main. In fact our waiter was physically absent for ages. We gave up in the end and went to the buffet for cheese and biscuits and a coffee. We struggled to find entertainment we were interested in tonight and apart from the clash on the first night, this was a theme and normally I've felt it to be a strong point of P&O. My daughter went to Kids Club again and enjoyed putting her own mocktails together. Day 4-Guernsey A further buffet breakfast (again excellent fruits) and then off by tender (took a while with ticketing system but seemed much better organised than when we were here on Oceana). We had arranged to meet my Mum's lifelong friend here she's from Guernsey and was an evacuee who lived with My Mum and they have stayed firm friends ever since and her daughter which was bittersweet as my Mum has dementia which has now progressed to the stage we felt we couldn't bring her with us, we have taken her with us on 4 previous cruises since My Dad passed away. I did feel guilty (especially today)but Mum did love hearing about the lovely time we had. We had a whole tour of the Island which has some truly beautiful coves and beaches. We went to Port Soif beach which is beautiful and had a picnic made by our hosts including egg sandwiches with eggs from her own hens and Gache for pudding (a type of Guernsey fruit loaf-very Moorish with real butter).We also swam in the sea which was bracing but lovely.We then went to Bordeaux -not France but Guernsey style a lovely cove with a view and had a drink outdoors.There were some people painting the bay which was a lovely tranquil scene but all I could think of was the fast show character Johnny who paints everything black! We then headed back to St Peter Port having a lovely view on the way of Ventura and stopped off to buy some Gache back home.Our hosts were wonderful and very proud of the Island and they have every right to be. It being our last night I had fully planned a formal restaurant meal but encouraged by others i went to see what the buffet had to offer and succumbed. Had Tomato and Basil soup(nice butt Basil a bit overpowering followed by Roast Beef and all the trimmings which was very nice although they were a bit skinny with the meat and I had to do an Oliver and ask for more.I also snuck a steak and mushroom pudding on my plate and this was sublime. Had 2 Banoffee pies (they were very small your honour) and cheese and biscuits for "afters".My daughter asked to go to kids club so we went to see Martin Gold who we thought had a big build up but Fogwell Flax was funnier he wasn't bad but not that good either.Nice to be able to sit and relax though and have drink in your seat. We were ready for bed before our daughter!She came back with a goody bag which nice a few games in it-Pairs-Uno etc. Read Less
Sail Date July 2012
I'm an avid Ventura fan but I have tried to give an unbiased and honest account of my most recent time onboard. I can talk the hind legs off a donkey given the chance, so I've tried to mention the important bits rather than a ... Read More
I'm an avid Ventura fan but I have tried to give an unbiased and honest account of my most recent time onboard. I can talk the hind legs off a donkey given the chance, so I've tried to mention the important bits rather than a day-by-day account. Embarkation/Disembarkation: Generally this was ok. We only live around 45 minutes from Southampton so we arrived in plenty of time to check-in, but were then met with various queues of cars all waiting to use the CPS parking. We probably sat for a good hour waiting for them to call our row of cars, but when they eventually did the porters were very efficient in taking our luggage and they also park the car for you, which I hadn't realised when I'd booked the parking. Check-in was very quick and we probably went from car to our cabin in around 10-15 minutes. Disembarkation was busy, as you would expect with some 3000 people all wanting to get off. They ended up calling our colour card in the middle of breakfast as everything was ready ahead of schedule, so by the time we had finished and got out of the restaurant, a huge queue had formed which looped around the Atrium and through the Exchange bar. It moved fairly quickly though and we were off within around 15-20 minutes. Cabin: I managed to upgrade our Inside cabin to a Balcony last minute but hadn't told Mum. Her 'Oh wow, a balcony!' reaction made it worth the extra money, and we definitely made use of the extra space (though I think I've now spoilt her so nothing but a Balcony will do!). Our cabin, B743, was a JF grade standard Balcony on B Deck. It was the last one on the starboard side at the rear of the ship and had a fantastic view down the length of the ship. We overlooked the balconies on decks C and D below, although this wasn't a problem for us and the people below didn't seem to mind us being able to see their balcony either. Our cabin was clean and tidy with plenty of storage space. The bathroom was small but perfectly comfortable for a few nights - my only gripe is it had a shower curtain which I hate (I prefer the sliding doors I've experienced on RCI and Celebrity). Our cabin steward, Sadashiv, came and introduced himself shortly after we arrived, and he kept our cabin spotless and was always very chatty and polite the few times that we passed him in the corridor. I've never had a cabin at the rear of a ship before and I'm not sure I'd choose to do it again. The first night was pretty bumpy and there was a fairly constant roll even on the calm days, and when the ship was manoeuvring backwards the whole cabin shook. Dining: We'd been booked on to the 2nd sitting at 8.45pm with a table for 8 in the Saffron Restaurant. Our table companions consisted of another mother/daughter combo, grandparents with their granddaughter and a single traveller on her first cruise. We all found plenty to talk about and I really enjoy this type of dining as you get to know people, swapping stories and tips along the way. Our waiters were fantastic, although I didn't think to make a note of their names. The food itself I thought was excellent and each night there was something completely different so it never got boring. We had breakfast here twice too, which was also very good and I was surprised at how much choice there was. The only other place we ate was in The Waterside and The Beach House, which are the buffet restaurants. We ate here for supper on embarkation day as we'd skipped lunch and dinner was several hours away. The Waterside was heaving but that's to be expected, and as the Beach House was effectively closed we brought our food through to eat there where it was quieter. The choice of food wasn't great and it all tasted pretty bland. There was also only water or tea/coffee available which I wasn't best pleased about - surely they could have had juice or squash too? Other cruise lines do. We ate here once more for breakfast the next day and then decided that it wasn't for us. The choice of breakfast food was good, with hot, cold, cereal and pastries but again it was all very bland and didn't compare to the breakfast we had the following day in the Saffron Restaurant. Frankie's Grill and Frankie's Pizzeria seemed very popular so we will probably try that out when we go again in September. We also saved trying the speciality restaurants East and The White Room, as it's difficult to get a reservation on a short cruise. Ramblas seemed like a nice area and I heard other people saying the food was nice too, but to me it seems a bit forgotten and was usually empty whenever we walked through it. Entertainment: The Sail-away Party was brilliant despite the overcast weather. The live band played a real mixture of classic and modern songs that seemed to appeal to everyone. We saw 2 of the 3 shows in the Arena theatre, with the first being Destination Dance which was like a mini-musical showcasing lots of different styles of dancing as well as live singing. The best part for me was the end where the whole of the Headliners dance troupe performed a Riverdance-style Irish jig, which was just fantastic! The second show we saw was on the last night and was a Boogie nights-style show, with disco music throughout the decades, and some acrobatics thrown in for good measure. Considering there are probably only about 14 or 15 members of Headliners they do an amazing job, with constant costume changes and not a single note out of key. They are probably one of the best shows I've seen so far. We went to Havana's once but it was rammed full (they had the Robbie Williams tribute act that night) and also only went to Metropolis once as we found the music a little depressing (a quietly spoken woman and a keyboard does not qualify as entertainment in my book!) We didn't bother with The Exchange as karaoke isn't for either of us, but it was always packed when were walked to and from the theatre. The Red Bar was nice for a spot of people watching as its right by the Atrium and one night the pianist got some of the waiters singing which was great. Can't really comment on the daytime entertainment as we were off the ship, and obviously not travelling with kids I've no idea what the kids' clubs were like either. Gym/Spa: I only encountered these areas on my tour of the ship, but I will be making use of them on my cruise in September. I love the spa, and use of the thermal suite seemed very reasonable to me, working out around £10 per day. The people in the gym were perhaps a little over-enthusiastic but I imagine that's the only way to encourage people to use it! Overall, I still really love the Ventura but she is definitely starting to show her age and I think the refurbishment next Spring is well-timed and well-needed. I still maintain that she's a great ship for young and old and I didn't see any of the so-called 'Butlins' or 'chavvy' people that I've seen mentioned on so many reviews. All the staff I encountered were superb, the food for the most part was excellent and the entertainment was top notch - I can't wait until September when Mum and I go back for more! Read Less
Sail Date July 2012
The Trips Dublin As we have been to Dublin many a time and the weather was bad we didn't go off the ship. There was a curtsey bus that took you into Dublin town for free, not having used any of the trips I can't comment on ... Read More
The Trips Dublin As we have been to Dublin many a time and the weather was bad we didn't go off the ship. There was a curtsey bus that took you into Dublin town for free, not having used any of the trips I can't comment on what they were like. Reykjavic Here we did take a trip, organised by the ship's explorer desk, the "The Golden Circle" cost was £85 per person. We visited the geothermal plant which was very interesting, from there we went to see a massive waterfall and then on to the Geysir, which was something else. It erupted every 7 minutes or so and was some sight. Lunch was included, which I personally didn't think much off, there again, it takes some doing catering for a load of tour busses arriving all at the same time, still it was edible. From there we went to see where the earth's crust had started to separate, I can't exactly remember by how much every year. The tour guide was very informative, all in all a good trip which I can recommend. Some people from the ship had organised their own trips and I believe it was cheaper that what we had paid for. The bathing in the blue lagoon £53 pp apparently was very good I was told by another cruiser. A complimentary shuttle bus was available for those who just wanted to go into town. Akureyri We just went and had a walk into the pretty town, I can't comment on any of the trips. Alesund All the trips were fully booked so we finished up walking into town, if you find yourself doing the same go and visit the Aalesunds Museum it is very much worth the visit, we had a lovely time there, it is situated on different floors so you must be able to do steps. The curator was very informative. There are guide books in different languages which you can borrow and then replace, on every floor. It cost 5 Euro's entry. There is a little sightseeing train, that goes around the town, it takes 1 Hour and the cost is 150 Kr pp. Olden I fell in love with Olden, the prettiest town you can imagine, we were too late to book a trip everything was sold out. When we disembarked we found a hut on the quay,where you could book trips. There are a few choices. A little train that takes you around the lake. We chose to go and see the Briksdal Glacier the cost on the ship for just to get there was £56pp if you choose to go to the top with the trolly car it was £74pp. We did it on our own and paid 35 euro's to get to the site of the Glacier, and then 20 euro's, return, for the trolly car. You can pay for only to go up, and walk down; it would be half the price. The walk to the Glacier is very long and steep, and you must be pretty fit to get to the top, we didn't manage it for health reasons and had to return from half way to take the trolly car to go back to the top, once you're there, there is a platform where the cars stay and you have a short walk to the Glacier, which is a sight to behold, it is so worth it. There is a small lake and some inflatable boats that can take you nearer to the bottom of the Glacier at a cost. Talking to other people I found out that there is a local bus at about 9.45 am that can take you to Briksdal at a cost of 5 Euro's and it picks you at 1.30pm. Trolly Car times starts from 08.15 from April till November. Roundtrip takes 1.30 hours. Phone number..4757876805/90051244 Fax..4757876808. e-mail..www.oldedalen-skysslag.com It is worth taking the trolly especially when you're not steady on your feet. Some e-mail addresses if you want to do trips on your own. I believe prices are negotiable if there are many of you or if they can fill-up the little mini bus. www.glacierexpress.no www.oldencruise.no phone number +4791781449 post @ oldencruise.no Bergen A shuttle bus drops you off by a little lake and you can walk from there all through the town, past the fish market where you can have a bite to eat. Walking further onto the funicular, which takes you to the top, overlooking Bergen. A word of advice is, be early, the queue are very very long to get up, hundreds of people waiting .And you have to pay by credit card or krona's they don't take anything else, it is about 70kr pp. A hop on, and off, bus tickets are, adult 150kr or 20 euro or £20. www.citysightseeing-bergen.net Phone +4797781888 if you pick up a brochure first they give you 10% off an open tour bus. Stavanger We just walked through the town, looked at the old town, which was interesting. You can do your own trip to Pulpit Rock, which is a cruise and will cost you NOK 280 if you are a pensioner or NOK 360 if you're not. Child NOK250. Family ticket NOK 900. It is a mini cruise stopping at lysfjordenteret at Oanes. It leaves more or less where the ship is docked, you can get the tickets on the quay. You can also do a harbour tour for 1 Hour at a cost of NOK 190 or £20. Zeebrugge You have to take the provided shuttle bus to get of the quay, this one will take you into Blankenberge where you can take the train to Brugge if you want to, or just visit Blankenberge which is a nice seaside town, there isn't very much in Zeebrugge so it is better to go on a trip or do it yourself. If you visit Brugge go on the canal's you can see all the Flemish architecture, there is also a brewery you can visit, and then there are the Belgium Choc's go for Leonidas they are the best once at a reasonable price, and a vast choice. Ventura Having travels on the Celebrity Eclipse and the Independence of the Sea we weren't sure if we were going to like this ship. But it surprised us. Food Self-service restaurant, the layout was terrible and not easy with the amount of people eating there, we went in the mornings and sometimes at lunch. Seating wasn't always easy to get. The choice wasn't really that good and the quality, well it's just food, the drink station was crammed and not always could you find glasses and had to wait for them to bring some. Restaurants. The food was ok in the dining room, plenty of choice for everyone, veggie's included , the service at our table was excellent couldn't complain, although it was said to us that the service and the food had gone down on this particular ship, and that was said by a man who'd cruised 56 times. Speciality restaurant. We went to the Marco Pierre White Room, and where disappointed we had more or less the same food at evening time, nothing very special and definitely not worth the £25pp. Due to that we gave the east Restaurant a miss, the East displayed food outside the restaurant every evening and to be honest it didn't look that nice, but still that was OUR opinion, others might disagree. The Ramblas served ( Starters) any 3 tapas for £2.50 or 3 courses for only £5. They were very good and I can recommend them. Bingo Value pack at £15..6 cards for each of the 5 games Bonus pack £10 3 cards for each of the 5 games Basic pack £5 for each of the 5 games. Entertainment Theatre. The Headliners where very good and worth seeing. Although sometimes you had to get there early to get a seat. The Ventura staff were helpful and moved people to occupy every seat. The once that stood out for me in entertainment where the following. Steve Tandy brilliant comedy went to see him twice and when he did the tribute to Jonny Cash. John Ellis as Elton John was very good Timothy Abel & Matthew Glossop where excellent with their classical music and received a standing ovation on the last night. Sid Bowfin, was an alternative comedian with a different approach but he was very good. Ian Kirton, now there is a voice, this man should be on the London Stage, we thoroughly loved his show. Drinks prices were very reasonable, they changed the liquor allowance when buying on board, now when you buy your bottle of scotch or other, they won't give it to you for your cabin consumption until a week later. So be aware of this. Will I go again on the Ventura...Yes..Although my opinion to start with wasn't that good but the ship grew on me, I must admit the entertainment did it for me, so much choice and different places to see them in, was something that we hadn't experienced on the previous cruises that we have been on. Also make sure you book your trips beforehand, as we found out everything worthwhile was fully booked. Comparison, if I could have the food from the Celebrity Eclipse and the entertainment of the Ventura and the prices of the drinks of the Ventura, the ship would be perfect, that is in my opinion. If any of you have anything to ask please do I'll be happy to help if I can. Read Less
Sail Date June 2012
Just returned from a Norwegian Fjords cruise for our anniversary. We have been told on numerous occasions to try P & O cruises, so that it what we decided to do on Ventura for 7 days, with an excellent offer of £499 for a weeks ... Read More
Just returned from a Norwegian Fjords cruise for our anniversary. We have been told on numerous occasions to try P & O cruises, so that it what we decided to do on Ventura for 7 days, with an excellent offer of £499 for a weeks cruise. We had never been in and inside cabin before and although apprehensive it was fine. Very small when you are used to Balconies but still livable. We noticed that we could not have bath robes because of the grade of cabin we were in and we didn't get any animal sculptures ( but that was okay by us). We did however have an excellent cabin steward Dipu who went out of his way to do anything for us and kept the cabin immaculate. Embarkation was good and we used P & O valet parking which although we had to wait for 20 mins was efficient. We didn't use shore excursions and were able to get off freely and explore ourselves. We did have very heavy rain in Stravanger and because of this people returned to the ship sooner, getting back on board was a joke and we got soaked in a 40 minute queue not impressed. The Headliner shows were very good but we found that there was just not enough time to see a lot of what was offered in the evening and it all seemed to be very good. We opted for fixed dining on a table of 8 on 8.30pm dining. This was our first experience of this and we were lucky and had a full table, some were only half full. We have eaten better food but it was okay, I think we expected better. The lack of Steak, Fish or a Pasta meal as an alternative to the daily recommendations was not to our liking but we didn't go hungry. Cheese boards are a joke so poor!!!!!!!!!!!! We had booked a celebration pack costing £60 this was well worth doing, apart from Champagne and chocolates on arrival we had the most incredible Champagne Breakfast delivered to our cabin and were able to have a photograph taken on our anniversary included in the package. We chose to self disembark and this was brilliant, easy and we were off the ship by 7.40am. Read Less
Sail Date May 2012
after stopping in the premier inn overnight we transfered to ventura where on arrival our luggage was taken off us ,we were then given a coloured ticket to check in which took no time at all.after boarding we were told to go to the ... Read More
after stopping in the premier inn overnight we transfered to ventura where on arrival our luggage was taken off us ,we were then given a coloured ticket to check in which took no time at all.after boarding we were told to go to the waterside restaraunt for lunch till our cabin was ready. when we got to our cabin it was of a very good size with a large picture window comfortably furnished with tv and chairs,the bathroom was fairly small but ok for what we needed.the safe was free aswell which when we have been on other ships you have had to pay,when we set sail the captain announced we would not be calling at cadiz which didnt go down too well with a lot of passengers myself included but the other ports of call were excellent . vigo: what a nice little place this was but very hilly lisbon:they put courtesy busses on to take you to the main square but the queue for the busses back was horrendous so we got a taxi,do check the fare before you get in 1 as we were charged 20 euros and another family were charged 10 euros so we were ripped off. chivitevichia:we went on the 1/2 day panoramic tour well worth it. livorno:missed due to high winds monte carlo:i wasnt impressed with this place to many posers in there ferraris showing off. barcelona:great place to visit with plenty to do gibraltar:been here several times so stayed on board. the staff on board were a vast improvement from when we 1st went on ventura,this time they could not do enough for you. the showteam put on some excellent shows in the arena theatre and the guest acts ,mick miller from the comedians fame was very good,the freddy mercury tribute was fantastic and the other guest comedians were very good both in the arena and havana,the only guest speaker john kettley(weatherman)why they had this man giving a after dinner speech was beyond me. the days at sea were ok with having no problem finding sunbeds when the sun was out which was different to the last on board where they were all reserved before breakfast. the exchange bar was a decent night out with andy the entertainments officer. all in all it was a excellent cruise meeting lots of nice people each night cannot wait to go back on board. Read Less
Sail Date April 2012
Ventura, 1st April Med cruise All started well with a B&B with parking and transfer at Chilworth Hilton, Transfer got us on the way before 12 and with an excellent check in we were having lunch on board soon after 1pm. We went to ... Read More
Ventura, 1st April Med cruise All started well with a B&B with parking and transfer at Chilworth Hilton, Transfer got us on the way before 12 and with an excellent check in we were having lunch on board soon after 1pm. We went to check out the cabin and we were told not to go in because it was being used as a show cabin (very abrupt). When we were let in our Superior Deluxe Balcony Stateroom, we were overcome with the smell of urine in the bathroom, the flowers in the cabin were dead, the white room pamper pack was missing, the carpet was stained, the settee was threadbare, the window was covered with children's hand prints and every flat surface was covered in thick dust. I ran my finger over one area and could have knitted a jumper with the fluff. On investigation of the bathroom we found the bath had black mould all round it as did the shower curtain, the toilet seat was badly chipped and ingrained with yellow stains, no guessing what that was. We reported the issues to reception who said it may not have been cleaned yet, so we left it for another hour and reported it again. The housekeeper came round had a look in the bathroom and said it was the ventilation. I explained to him it was due to the mould on the shower curtain and the state of the toilet. We left the matter with them and they changed the shower curtain. This did seem to reduce the smell, so my wife cleaned the room for them with ant-bacterial wipes and this got rid of most of the smell. The following day a man came to strip out the bath seal and replace it, at least this looked more inviting to have a shower or bath. The toilet seat was never changed and is still there for the next people, I just hope they notice and put paper on it. The cabin was never dusted in all the time we were there so I wrote DUST on every surface this was still ignored and will be there today. So that was the cabin but in general the ship is not very clean, the only parts are the bits you can see; but if you look if it does not move then no one will notice its not been done. The public don't help with leaving plates etc. anywhere on the floor, stair wells, lifts, but then there does not seem to be any member of staff willing to move them. If you want a real shock that should but does not shame P&O, then check out the floor in "Havana". Without exaggeration I have seen cleaner underpasses in city centres. It is the type of tiled floor you get in a shop and should be stripped and polished every week and buffed daily. It has less foot fall than a shopping centre and they seem to be able to keep them clean. This should be a dance floor but it is covered with chairs and never used for its original purpose. As expected for an Easter cruise there were a lot of children on board, in the main they seem to be catered for very well apart from the pool areas. Be aware if you have children this is a danger area in every sense of the word, it is unsupervised and they are allowed to "bomb" into the pool and even go in on very rough days when waves in the pool could have smashed a child's head on the side of the pool. They were allowed into the Jacuzzis unsupervised with adults, and it only needs the wrong sort of adult to be in with them and who knows what could happen. I did report this as a child protection issue as many adults had also expressed concern and no action had been taken. The entertainment in the theatre was first class and they worked very hard throughout the cruise, there were some low points with the one off acts but the show team, band and production staff put on some class shows. The food in the main dining room was very good and varied; we never felt the need to try the specialist venues due to the quality of fare. The staff who attended us were first class, and though the tips were now put on the bill it did not seem to affect the attitude and service we received. Yes we did have a lot of gripes but feel they were justified and put a damper on the cruise, we visited some very nice places and on the whole had good weather, apart from missing Laverno due to strong winds; but this was compensated for by moving quickly to our next port of Monte Carlo for an afternoon docking and an overnight and next day stay. The original port of Cadiz was also changed to Gibraltar, this did not bother us but had upset others who were meeting people in Cadiz. The disembarkation went quite smooth and again we were well looked after with the Hilton having the transfer waiting for a quick return to pick up the car. In summary far from being a superior deluxe cabin though it was a good size it was more "inferior". The ship looks impressive from the outside, but very dull on the inside, not very clean, a lot of "dead spots" during the evening away from the theatre, the entertainment just does not seem to flow. The tribute acts left a lot to be desired, Freddy Mercury looked like a cross between Bugs Bunny and Billy Bunter and Phil Collins tried to sing with a fake cockney accent and sounded more like Dick Van Dyke in Mary Poppins. Our standard of cleanliness is as a minimum what we have at home, but if paying a lot of money expect this with extra touches. You get the latter but this does not cover up the dirt. Do not be fooled with the brochure or internet as it must have been done when the ship was new. Read Less
Sail Date April 2012
This is our 5th cruise and third with P&0. The others were on Oceana (which we loved ) and Azura (which was good, but not quite up to Oceana standards). Although we enjoyed ourselves overall, on this cruise we found that a) food in ... Read More
This is our 5th cruise and third with P&0. The others were on Oceana (which we loved ) and Azura (which was good, but not quite up to Oceana standards). Although we enjoyed ourselves overall, on this cruise we found that a) food in the buffet restaurants was not as good b)dress codes were not adhered to (bare backs in the Atrium, polo shirts and jeans in the restaurants on formal nights, even when officers were present) c) harassment from the waiters in some of the bars (one after another, they would be on you to buy another drink almost before you had taken a sip from the first drink) d)poor service at breakfast in the main restaurant (25 minutes from order to service and then the eggs were cold !) P&O used to have a good reputation, but we wonder if their chase for profit means that they are willing to let standards slip. Probably, we will try Oceana again, but we'll be switching to Celebrity X or Caribbean if things don't improve. Read Less
Sail Date March 2012
My wife and I have cruised 6 times in all with RCI, Celebrity, Holland America and P&O - must say that the last offers best value for money, plus good food, service and staterooms Of course, since prices have dropped the Ventura ... Read More
My wife and I have cruised 6 times in all with RCI, Celebrity, Holland America and P&O - must say that the last offers best value for money, plus good food, service and staterooms Of course, since prices have dropped the Ventura attracts a small number of "Jeremy Kyle" style guests, but they tend to stick to the Waterside buffet and Exchange Bar - so if you eat all meals in one of the waiter service restaurants and pick your bars carefully, you will avoid them almost all of the time. Must recommend The White Room - excellent value for an additional '£25, so much so that we went twice! Duty Free prices excellent - where else can you buy two litre bottles of Navy Dark Rum for '£12 to drink in your stateroom? Freedom Dining in the Cinnamon Restaurant is a must - four of us did not wait once for a table in 2 weeks The 8 sea days were very relaxing and I highly recommend this cruise to anyone who wants good food, service and realises that times have changed and that a wider range of the public will now be around - get used to it and chill out! Read Less
Sail Date March 2012
The flight to Barbados was comfortable and passed by so quickly, the service on board was excellent. On arrival to the Ventura check in was friendly and fast, the ship looked magnificent in the sunshine. We had an inside stateroom and it ... Read More
The flight to Barbados was comfortable and passed by so quickly, the service on board was excellent. On arrival to the Ventura check in was friendly and fast, the ship looked magnificent in the sunshine. We had an inside stateroom and it was spacious and spotlessly clean, our steward introduced himself straight away and asked if he could do anything to help us settle in. Our cases arrived outside the room within the hour. We had our meals in the Baytree our waiters Mangesh and Daniel were great and met our every need. We had a meal in the White Room to celebrate a birthday I can not praise them enough, the food was amazing and the service second to none. The entertainment was good, the headliners theatre company were amazing the shows they delivered were professional high quality. The only grump I have was the Havana club shows were so well attended that it was impossible to get a seat after second sitting. The end of the cruise there were three performances in the theatre to ensure all the passengers could see the shows, I feel that it should have happened sooner so that everyone had the same opportunity to see the performances by The singers and comedians. On reflection I would opt for freedom dining on a future cruise to allow more time for planning my entertainment on board. Many thanks to Captain Charlie Carr and his Staff for a wonderful cruise Read Less
Sail Date March 2012
My husband and I decided to have a last minute break in the Caribbean in an inside cabin. We had been on P & O Ventura in 2009. P & O are by far the best at transporting British passengers to the Caribbean. Using a bonded flight ... Read More
My husband and I decided to have a last minute break in the Caribbean in an inside cabin. We had been on P & O Ventura in 2009. P & O are by far the best at transporting British passengers to the Caribbean. Using a bonded flight from Manchester we got off the plane in Barbados and straight on to a coach and off to the ship. Our luggage arrived soon after. We found the food to be excellent with plenty of choice. The service was also good. The main improvement this time was the entertainment. The shows were fabulous and there were some comedians on who were good on the whole. Last time we were on the ship there were several tribute acts. P & O must have listened to their passengers because there was only one this time. Mary Peters, gold medalist from the 70's was on the cruise and did a great talk. The Captain Paul Brown was very good. We heard he had ejected some passengers for bad behaviour and we are all in favour of this to keep standards up. Our only complaint was the Cruise Director Huey Taylor. We nicknamed him The Invisible Man!!! I have never had a Cruise Director like him. He never introduced a single show or did any of the quizzes we went to. Someone told me he had been an excellent cruise director in the 80's. Obviously he is past his best and should consider another job. I would certainly use P & O again for a Caribbean cruise. Read Less
Sail Date February 2012
My wife and i booked our cruise to celebrate our anniversary and my birthday on board,everything was well organized and smooth as soon as we checked in at Gatwick and was greeted by a friendly P&O lady representative who assisted our ... Read More
My wife and i booked our cruise to celebrate our anniversary and my birthday on board,everything was well organized and smooth as soon as we checked in at Gatwick and was greeted by a friendly P&O lady representative who assisted our very speedy check in.Our flight took off on time at 9.30am and had a hassle free flight,nice lunch,choice of menu even! and as much to drink as you wanted included in the price,we actually enjoyed the flight,a first! Arrival in Barbados was ok and straight onto the bus and to the ship,my wife took a change of clothes onto the plane,very wise as it was very hot in Barbados. Through the Friday school run traffic,you can see the ship,but it takes ages along the congested roads to get to the port .Check-in at the shed was as quick as it can be and not too stressful at all,your first of many photo shoots(more about that later)how many people actually buy this photo after 12 hours traveling,not many! Then you see the Ventura in all her glory that really is a moment,smiling staff ready to guide you to your cabin,we were able to choose our cabin online off the ships plan whilst talking to our booking agent over the phone (cruise 118)who was very helpful and gave us lots of advice,which we took,thank you to Gavin, To get to our cabin,each time,we just had to walk through a million pounds worth of art,tough eh! Our cabin was outside with window lovely double bed and very comfortable and most importantly QUIET!!!!!!!!!!!Luggage was delivered a couple of hours later by our lovely cabin steward who kept our cabin spotless and we had a different towel sculpture every evening when he turned our bed down with chocolates on the pillows. We chose club dining(as advised again)at the bay tree restaurant at 6.30 -7 this was perfect for us as we could fit in the shows and the cabaret most evenings.We loved the Theatre venue but hated the Havana venue as it was very anti social with the ridiculous booth type layout .bad for the artists. as they can only see the tops of peoples heads as they strain to see over the barriers,for goodness sake P&o sort this out,Couldn,t fault the food but were grateful for the small but adequate portions.as we both put on too much weight!The wine packages don,t add up,they were all over £76 FOR 6 Bottles it was much cheaper choosing our wine with dinner on a nightly basis, we would suggest the package be 6+1free. Now returning to P&0 photo package,we were offered an album of five photos during the cruise for £125 we considered this excessive and would ask P&O what happens to all the remaining non purchased personal photos unwanted or unaffordable by the 3.000 passengers on board.Surely your personal album should include all your photos as they are of no value to anybody else,and as P£O is a environmentally friendly company? what do they do with the pile of unclaimed photos.Shame on you! So to end our review,to all the silver seventies crashing bores we encountered on board,you know who you are,you did not spoil our holiday and why do you think that P%O translates into :personally ours or: preferred oldies!! what is it with these people, P&O no longer can survive without opening up cruising to a wider and a more tolerant passenger.We will cruise again ,we will be selective as we discovered ,other passengers paid twice the price for the same package,you don,t get twice the holiday!CAVEAT EMPORIUM !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Read Less
Sail Date January 2012
Just returned from a 2 week western carribean cruise on Ventura and although overall enjoyed the trip a few aspects were not up to a 4 star standard. Flights - Thomas Cook Premium Cabin, Gatwick to Barbados. Speedy check in and ... Read More
Just returned from a 2 week western carribean cruise on Ventura and although overall enjoyed the trip a few aspects were not up to a 4 star standard. Flights - Thomas Cook Premium Cabin, Gatwick to Barbados. Speedy check in and excellent flight with good service. Well organised transfer from airport to ship and in cabin within short period of time. Cabin - Clean and well presented and excellent Cabin Steward, Melicio, who could not do enough for us. Entertainment - Theatre shows excellent but found remainder of entertainment quite average with the outdoor entertainment team being dire to say the least. Food- Found this to the biggest disappointment. Breakfast Buffet average. Lunch buffet - below average standard, very repetitive with lack of imagination. We opted for freedom dining in the Cinnamon restuarant which again was below standard. Beachhouse restuarant was excellent but unless you were willing to queue for at least half an hour before opening you stood of obtaining a table. Marco Pierre White and East Restuarants were also excellent but unfair that to get the expected 4 star food you had to pay a subsidy. Pools and Sunbeds - After reading previous reviews of lack of sunbeds reckon more had been provided but were jammed so close together it was a joke,with towels reserving sunbeds from early morning. The main pool area being a cross between Butlins and one of the cheaper Costa Hotels. Port of Calls - Excellent choice of ports, all good in their own right. Through chatting with fellow passengers got the impression that there were a few grips as some people had paid less for a 4 week cruise than others had done for a 2 week trip. Read Less
Sail Date December 2011
Bonded luggage: check your cases in at Manchester and the next time you see them is in your cabin! Coach straight from plane to ship, short queue (water available) to get key card and map of ship. Then go out: couldn't believe the ... Read More
Bonded luggage: check your cases in at Manchester and the next time you see them is in your cabin! Coach straight from plane to ship, short queue (water available) to get key card and map of ship. Then go out: couldn't believe the size of Ventura when we first saw her.., wow! - In all the ports I had a great proud 'my ship's bigger than your ship' feeling! Get on board, hunt out your cabin, where there'll be instructions where to eat on the first night -no dress restrictions as they understand you may not get your cases in time. To avoid getting lost in the early days we used the two same decks 7 & 15 to get around and kept to the starboard side, where our cabin was. This helped a lot! TIP: all the lifts face forward. Plus the carpet is a different colour in each section (Forward, Mid and Aft). We found the booze in the bars and restaurants quite reasonable. Booze for your cabin and cigs (inc B&H) very reasonable; purchased at the shop on board. Smoking permitted on Deck 7 starboard side (where the Arena, Ramblas bar, Tamarind Bar and Havana nightclub is); only a few steps away, loads of chairs and you can take your drink, so very easy. Also smoking is starboard side on the open deck 15. I found it hard going with all the stuff to do -- when do you fit in time to sleep?! For all those with anti-social husbands, mine surprisingly loved every minute of it! No-one bothers with the taking time to get to know you thing; everyone just wades straight in, so you instantly have lots of new friends, though, we found it strange that no-one introduced themselves - we asked names when we met again! I did a few laps of deck 7 (outside) at about 7am, as the gym annoyingly didn't open until 8am. Deck 7 makes a nice walk too. Loungers at busy areas do get taken early, but we were happier out of the way on the high decks -do go looking round from one end of the ship to the other to choose your preferred location. We liked the area round the spa pool with Jacuzzi's as it was quieter. Pool towels provided in cabin. One day I got a workout moving my sunbed round as the ship appeared to keep changing direction interfering with my sun! The next day we discovered the cheeky captain, Charlie Carr from Wigan, had gone in the shape of a Xmas tree! You could see this on the map on the telly! I'm very pleased that on the last day we got a 'Cruise Log', summary of the entire trip as I was dying to know how many miles we'd done. Rather than Freedom dining (if you go at a busy time they give you a pager for when a spot becomes available) we decided on the more formal dining and chose 1st sitting 18:30 at the time of booking. NB. 2nd sitting was 20:30 I'd have still been too full for breakfast the next day, plus, we like a drink in the evening! We were in the Bay Tree, which had a slightly more formal feel than the Saffron (though it's the same two sitting affair). You sit with the same folk each night, so it's good to request a large table so that you'll hopefully have some good couples to chat with. We had plenty of time to have the four courses and a bottle of wine.., though if you don't finish the wine they keep it for you for the next day - fat chance of that happening with us! We'd then dash to the opposite end of the ship (5 mins max) to catch the first show 20:30 at the Arena (which is reminiscent of a picture house). This show repeated at 22:30. We ate at East and The White Room on a few occasions (cover charge applies), both were excellent. I used the 'Cruise Overview' in the cabin to plan which nights and rang the restaurants on the first night to make our reservations. We managed to get into The White Room again near the end of the cruise, so it's always worth a call to see what availability they have left. You can take breakfast where you like; we found a lot of folk went to the Bay Tree (waiter service) even though they weren't eating there at night. You're put on a large table, first come basis, so you get to mix with a variety of different couples. We went early. There's quite a selection for breakfast. If you don't get enough - ask for more! TIP: Use room service (mostly free): we used if we were going onshore early for a trip. Order via your telly, food delivered promptly. We took some plastic bags to take leftovers with us/keep in the fridge for when we returned. Or, go for Afternoon tea on deck 15 for sarnies etc from 3pm (very tasty!). Hygiene I noted is paramount and quite sensible when you think about it. Use the hand wash dispensers. There was a good looking young opera type singer Victor Michael in the Arena who was funny and got everyone involved. So I was looking forward to even better acts as we approached Xmas, but unfortunately, for my taste anyway, this didn't happen. I think I was expecting more quality acts, or perhaps they were aimed at the older generation. The acts etc in the Tamarind were the same, so it was then that we began to appreciate the Metropolis Lounge on deck 18; good to sit chatting with a bottle of Veuve Clicquot (very reasonably priced at £37). It was nice to see that the majority of people dressed up for the black tie nights. Show off your outfits at the Captains Welcome evening, where there's complimentary drinks for an hour. Now that was the start of a good night! P&O onshore trips were very expensive, but we did the few you shouldn't miss, which were very good. On some islands, there are dedicated taxi's to take you to the usual spots. They've been doing this for years man, so there's no need to worry. For example, a couple who shared a cab to a beach with us in St. Vincent left his wallet in the taxi with £400 in. We thought we'd never see the driver again! No problem, he was even early! I was desperate to wave a tacky plastic Union Jack flag. These were finally given out at the Sail Away party from St Lucia. After their morning trips, most passengers spent the afternoon on the grass near the ship in the Rum Bar, so we were pretty popped up! I had a fabulous time! We received a couple of upgrades and ended up in an outside cabin P245 on deck 5 forward. These have a large window and although I didn't know it beforehand (first cruise), really appreciated the outside cabin as we could see the waves and I like to wake up early in the morning, so enjoyed the natural light. We didn't close the curtains! It was great to kneel on the bed and look out as we pulled into a new port. Cabin P245 was perfect for us; near to the forward lifts in a large hallway (rather than down a corridor) and next to the gallery. Very quiet. In the first hour aboard, my equilibrium was a little off, but as I didn't have my seasickness pills (we didn't have our cases at that time, so consider keeping them in your hand luggage), I had a couple of Mojito's as I heard mint (and also ginger) are natural seasickness remedies. Didn't suffer again and infact loved the way the gentle movement of the ship the ship lulls you to sleep, very comforting! There's loads of hanging space for all of your posh dresses! Service in all the restaurants and the bars (on deck 7) was excellent. We didn't really frequent deck 6 (where the pub and casino is). We heard a few people moaning about service, but found that as we were polite, we received excellent service. A smile goes a long way! I didn't think we'd use the cabin steward much but on the few occasions we asked for ice or a shoeshine kit etc, Umesh went out of his way to assist, and with the biggest of smiles. Being from Yorkshire, we aren't the most generous natured, but I parted with my tips quite happily! (P&O recommend that for 2 passengers on a 2week cruise its: £42 for the Cabin Steward, and £44 for two waiters). Read Less
Sail Date December 2011
Ventura Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.2
Dining 4.0 3.8
Entertainment 4.0 3.7
Public Rooms 4.0 4.0
Fitness Recreation 4.0 3.9
Family 4.0 3.9
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.5
Enrichment 3.0 3.3
Service 4.0 4.0
Value For Money 4.0 3.6
Rates 3.0 3.9

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