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871 P&O Cruises Ventura Cruise Reviews

The cruise was okay overall for December. Weather fair and better than UK so all good. First the gripes. Nobody's fault that the storm hit (second night during dinner) while we were heading south in the Bay of Biscay. It would ... Read More
The cruise was okay overall for December. Weather fair and better than UK so all good. First the gripes. Nobody's fault that the storm hit (second night during dinner) while we were heading south in the Bay of Biscay. It would have been helpful to have had the bridge advise us 10 minutes earlier why the ship was listing so heavily (as our cheese and wine hit the floor together with anything else not being held down). There was a lot of very serious concern and speculation about the extreme experience which none of the seasoned passengers or crew had ever experienced before. I have no doubt that the Captain and his team were facing something they had never experienced before but 3000 passengers were literally in the same boat and a few words of explanation would have helped a lot. Missing the port of Ibiza due to strong winds is no real issue until you try to get a letter from reception to confirm this actually happened (stating why). Initially they promised to generate the letter needed as other P&O ships have done. This is of course needed by our holiday insurers to allow us to claim the £100 each for missing a port. The promised letter did not get delivered to the cabin as advised. When after two days it had not arrived we went back to reception and were advised that "Southampton have decided that you need to contact them on return to the UK to get the letter issued". Heaven knows why this is considered helpful to either party but I digress. - After calling P&O and speaking to a lovely lady, we were advised that it would take up to 28 days to get a reply and "have the matter fully researched". I pointed out that no research was needed by the reception team on Ventura as they knew the problem, the reason and had the means to deal with it without taking undue time to repeat the learning exercise. I got no argument. Bottom line is that P&O are causing unnecessary delay, cost and annoyance to passengers by not doing what should be done at a time that would make sense. Food average for P&O, still unable to get fish from kitchen to plate without it being dried out except when its covered in batter which seems to afford it excellent protection but isn't how I would prefer it.. Notably there was a much better range and quality of cheese than either Brittania or Azura offered this year which was much appreciated. Accommodation good. Embarkation excellent, great team, always good. Entertainment - a fair balance to suit most tastes and we enjoyed several of them. Wonderful to bump into Ben Makisi (Tenor) again, great voice and seems such a lovely chap. Didn't use the gym but looked good. The stairs were our work out as we always avoided the lifts (purely for exercise reasons). Service was good with the usual spectrum of okay to exceptional. Value for money continues to be exceptional. However you rate any part of this experience you simply have to look at it in the round. If you cost this on a daily basis and then compare with any other combined hotel, food, entertainment and foreign travel experience this is simply unbeatable value for money. Read Less
Sail Date December 2017
Great value cruise chosen to get away in December. Embarkation slow and there was very little time to get ready for muster stations. Seas were very rough for the first 2 days and on the second evening we were hit by a 100 mph plus ... Read More
Great value cruise chosen to get away in December. Embarkation slow and there was very little time to get ready for muster stations. Seas were very rough for the first 2 days and on the second evening we were hit by a 100 mph plus side wind. The ship listed badly with lots of beakages and injuries. The crew coped well and had to turn the ship back for around 20 minutes until it was safe to resume course. A number of us spent the night on deck 7 as cabins on decks 10 to 14 were swaying so badly. It was a relief to dock in Lisbon! Lisbon, Cadiz and Valencia are great places to visit but we could not dock in Ibiza due to the high winds. Gibraltar was excellent. I cannot fault the staff who were great in all the bars and especially in the restaurants. Entertainment was fair but not as good as on some of the Royal Caribbean ships. All in all a great value cruise but it causes me to question the use of Southampton for a winter departure. Read Less
Sail Date December 2017
embarkation was very quick and cases were at the cabin soon after we were given a letter saying noro virus was on board last trip and the ship had been cleaned sunday night going through the bay of biscay we hit a squall of 100 knt winds ... Read More
embarkation was very quick and cases were at the cabin soon after we were given a letter saying noro virus was on board last trip and the ship had been cleaned sunday night going through the bay of biscay we hit a squall of 100 knt winds beam on everything ended up on the floor scared my wife half to death .we had freedom dining which suited us because we like to eat early we found the food not as good as last year but the staff were brilliant.the entertainment was also good exspecialy the barbados group seriouse sounds who we watched 3 times. we missed one island ibiza due to strong winds but managed to do all the rest then we had another letter saying noro virus was back on board fon the monday before coming home i became unwell and stayed in the cabin for the rest of the trip had to have a wheel chair to disenbark from there went straight to hospital and was put on a drip and was diagnosed with gastroenteritis ?norovirus and still not right 12 days later m bennett unhappy cruiser Read Less
Sail Date December 2017
How on earth did P&O get to this? It seems the desire to pack the big ships at all costs is precipitating a race to the bottom, particularly the type of people that now appear on this once great cruise line. We went on the ... Read More
How on earth did P&O get to this? It seems the desire to pack the big ships at all costs is precipitating a race to the bottom, particularly the type of people that now appear on this once great cruise line. We went on the Ventura when she was brand new nearly 10 years ago, and my how things have changed. The overall condition of the ship was OK, the food was satisfactory but could be quite repetitive, the entertainment was actually very good. P&O have generally always had an elderly demographic, but this cruise was like Gods waiting room. We are in our early 40's and felt like children on this cruise. The main issue, more than anything, is how standards have slipped. I am presuming to keep headline costs down to attract the masses, is why they are now charging for absolutely everything. Tea and coffee used to be available all day every day. No bathrobes and slippers anymore. But the real kicker, and this will upset people, is the standard of the clientele that are now on board. Areas of the ship now resemble a Butlins camp, with the type of clientele you'd expect to be there. The point of cruising with P&O, was that it was an experience that was special, exciting, something to really look forward to, out of the ordinary. However, now this is no longer the case. Dress codes have been even more relaxed to now include 'smart jeans'! Never have I seen this before. P&O what are you doing? Half the ship dressed smartly, half off to a football match, totally unacceptable. We spoke to a lot of seasoned cruisers who totally agreed with us.How did P&O go from Canberra to this? We all agreed on one thing, if you want class where everyone makes the effort, go to Cunard. That's certainly what we shall be doing from now on. A once great Cruise line now recuced to this. What a shame. Read Less
Sail Date November 2017
Needed a no fly cruise from Southampton and it was this or the Queen Elizabeth and the latter had no balcony cabins left. Disappointing weather but this obviously not P&O's fault. However, bad weather means passengers spend ... Read More
Needed a no fly cruise from Southampton and it was this or the Queen Elizabeth and the latter had no balcony cabins left. Disappointing weather but this obviously not P&O's fault. However, bad weather means passengers spend much more time indoors and with each other and in their cabins. Air conditioning always dries my sinuses so access to the steam room is always essential but on Day I I was told the free steam room was broken and would not be repaired for the duration of the cruise. However, for £20 a day extra I could use the steam room in the spa. I did a Ladies Pamper session and tried out the steam room which is tiny and decided it was definitely not worth spending any extra money to use it. We asked if I might just use the steam room - for ten minutes a day max and was told absolutely not, only if I paid. The spa feels dingy and although the hot beds are nice, I prefer them on ships where you can look out to sea. I asked about a haircut and how much they would charge. a girl disappeared to find out, then I spotted it on their price list...£51 it says. "From £51" she corrected me. Thats for short hair, yours is long so it would be more. Mine is shoulder length. I queried why it would be more, surely it was easier to cut longer hair? She shrugged. I didn't book. Clearly she could have charged me any sum she fancied. I briefly contemplated chopping my hair off in the cabin first so it qualified as a short hair cut but decided to just wash it instead. Half way through the cruise I picked up the inevitable cold as so many fellow passengers seem to think it is OK to sneeze as they walk around and even in the lifts without covering their noses. After that I spent most of the time in the cabin as I was feeling so rotten. This was where I began to notice all the things that need doing to make the cabin worthy of the description "Luxurious" - see below. A nice bath would have been great but was really difficult to achieve. Also the toilet stopped working on two separate days and each time we were told it was because of the weather and because we were right at the back of the ship!!! So, a temperamental bath and loo and I was feeling rotten anyway. But perhaps it was just as well we were cabin bound as on the penultimate day the Captain announced there had been an outbreak of Norovirus and that we should all take extra care. We took cover. frankly, it was a relief to get home. We have been on around 90 cruises on many different lines and have cruised on Ventura already earlier this year and have been on her before as well as most of the other P&O ships. I would say standards have gone down. Yes it is a friendly ship but management seems somewhat loose. For example, the jacuzzis were being regularly used by small children. So that meant adults like us couldn't use them because we all know that children are not as fastidious as they might be. In fact, maybe that's possibly where the Norovirus outbreak started? No decent films to watch on TV either so mostly watched the (Brexit) news from back home. Not a great holiday. Would not go on Ventura again. Have booked Azura with family in the Spring and just hope it's better - it was last year. However, will be cancelling the fortnight we had tacked on afterwards as I know a week will be quite enough. The only really good thing I can say about the food is that the puddings are pretty poor and as I usually have a sweet tooth, I have come home no heavier than I went away... which is unusual for me. Food quality is inevitably better in the restaurant than in the Wayside Buffet but the service can be very slow, especially as most parents seem to think it is Ok to bring their very small children into dinner and big family tables can be very demanding.The coffee is awful everywhere so you have to go to Costa....or make your own in the cabin which is much better. Shopping holds no temptations either....not good value and very limited range. Headliners were Ok, but not as good as they were last year when they first came onboard. But we were clearly in a minority as the theatre was packed out for every show. Read Less
Sail Date November 2017
Have to praise the steward and butler who were amazing. Ship was really not up to scratch at all looks tired and dirty despite the constant cleaning. Food very mediocre although was able to have a reasonable breakfast in the white room ... Read More
Have to praise the steward and butler who were amazing. Ship was really not up to scratch at all looks tired and dirty despite the constant cleaning. Food very mediocre although was able to have a reasonable breakfast in the white room daily. Speciality restaurants very overrated for the price that is added on. Lots of relaxation of dress code evident and anyone allowed in all areas despite black tie nights which was very disappointing and not seen at all on our previous cruise on Arcadia. Paid for spa pass and wish we hadn’t nothing working and staff not bothered to make amends Entertainment reasonable but again everything seemed to be an real effort and staff looked totally bored at times and not keen to interact. The only place that was full daily was the pub and lots of people appeared to stay in their cabins Sadly will not be returning to this ship Read Less
Sail Date November 2017
This was our second trip to Bruges on a cruise ship but this time was disappointing. This ship carries too many passengers to make the trip to shore a pleasant, stress free experience within the time allocated. We did the organised tour ... Read More
This was our second trip to Bruges on a cruise ship but this time was disappointing. This ship carries too many passengers to make the trip to shore a pleasant, stress free experience within the time allocated. We did the organised tour last time so decided to go it alone and take in the local atmosphere at our own pace this time. There was limited information from P&O on how this would work. The cabin newsletter told us about the free shuttle bus to the nearest rail station where we could catch a train to Bruges, but failed to point out there was a limited rail service due to it being a Sunday - just 1 train per hour. This would have been fine if we knew the times of the trains - our shuttle bus driver announced (as we crossed the railway) that the train we could see below was leaving and the next one was in an hour! There was literally nothing to do in the town where we were dropped as it was shut for winter so we wasted an hour of our shore time waiting for the next train in the cold after a fruitless search for life in the surrounding streets. When we finally found Bruges it was a good 30 minutes from the rail station to the centre which was fine but it made us very aware of time and getting back to the rail station again so we didn't miss the ship! We didn't want to risk catching the last possible train in case of delays or overcrowding so we opted to head back on the 2 pm train. Bruges was heaving because of the Christmas Market so it was difficult to find a place to stop, relax and take in the atmosphere. We finally found a restaurant in a side street that allowed us a beer (although they really wanted us to eat but there was no time) and then the mad dash back to the rail station where everyone else had the same idea. The whole process of train, shuttle bus, gaining access back into the port took the best part of an hour and then the eternal wait while each bus queued outside the ship before being allowed to drop us off. We we outside the ship for another 30 minutes or so - it was really unacceptable. We felt like we were being punished for not taking the organised tour option and regretted going to shore after all, it couldn't be classed as a day in Bruges - more a fleeting half day at best. Very disappointing. The ship itself was tired (so were we in the end) but the cabins were lovely and well equipped, with good sized balconies. Service generally was slow but friendly and the restaurant food was good. We opted for the supplement Indian Restaurant one night and found that superb. However, the cattle market canteens on deck 15 were shocking. Over crowded, impossible to find a table, dried up food - just horrid. The whole experience was topped by a shambles of departure from the ship back at Southampton after a rough weather crossing (not the ship's fault). It was too dangerous to come into port at the scheduled time, so we were sent back to The English Channel until conditions improved. This meant the orderly system for leaving the ship deck by deck went completely out of the window with a 3,000 person queue making its weary exit 4-5 hours after anticipated. There was little food left for breakfast (what was there was dry and shrivelled) - every seat was taken - no cups for drinks while we waiting to dock - it was the party that no one wanted to be part of and we couldn't go back to our rooms as they were being cleaned. As I've mentioned before - it's just too many people in 1 place trying to do the same thing. Never again!! Read Less
Sail Date November 2017
3 Nt cruise from Southampton to Zebrugger November 24th to 27th 2017. My partner and I have returned from a short cruise. I enjoy cruising and this was about my 20th cruise in 10 years. I felt the need to write this review as we felt ... Read More
3 Nt cruise from Southampton to Zebrugger November 24th to 27th 2017. My partner and I have returned from a short cruise. I enjoy cruising and this was about my 20th cruise in 10 years. I felt the need to write this review as we felt the service on board was sub standard. The ship itself is very tired looking but what really let us down was the service. I appreciate P & O do not offer a drinks package and advise drinks are of "pub" prices. If these are Pub prices than there that of London prices! We were charged £9.95 for a bloody Mary cocktail. The queues to be served in most of the bars were long. At lunchtime in the Buffet we had to search out and ask for a waiter to be served or offerred drinks. The tables around the swimming area on Deck 15 were often full of empty plates/cups, I seldom saw any member of staff cleaning as I have on other ships. The crew staff were not friendly, it was a rare occasion when any of them would say good morning/evening exc..... Disembarkment was a nightmare, we were advised to wait on deck 6 when we got there they said to go to deck 5 and then when we went down to deck 5 they said to go back up to Deck 6...this happened again and then finally we were told to go to the Cinimon restuarant to wait further instructions. When we did finally swipe our card leaving the ship we were asked by security to return to Reception. We had no idea why we were being recalled and unable to leave. We returned to the reception area to find out there was a computer glitch with there payment systems and although I had cleared our account with cash the night before, the system had deleted our payment card details which they required us to complete again. I questioned why this was being asked as we had paid our bill off night before but was advised the system lost a few members accounts...a computer glitch and they required this information before we could leave????. The ship was due to dock Southampton at 6am we did not dock due to ill weather until 10am. My partner suffered sea sickness in the night due to bad weather, this was mentioned to one of the staff members when we were asked to move downstairs to deck 5 from Deck 6 a second time. As soon as this was mentioned we were advised we HAD to go back to our rooms and contact the Nurse/Doctor because it could be the Nero virus. We did as instructed and waited for half hour for a nurse to contact the room when she decided to give us the all clear and allow us to leave the ship. In the end we were very thankful the cruise was only 3 nights and glad leave. Usually when I finish a cruise I look forward to planning the next one.......not this time. We will never sail with P & O again. Unhappy P & O customer From Swansea Wales Read Less
Sail Date November 2017
As this was our first cruise we did not have anything to judge it by. Nevertheless, we enjoyed the cruise very, very much and absolutely have not one thing to complain about. We spoke to a lady and she complained that of all things she did ... Read More
As this was our first cruise we did not have anything to judge it by. Nevertheless, we enjoyed the cruise very, very much and absolutely have not one thing to complain about. We spoke to a lady and she complained that of all things she did not like the toast as the bread was to thin. To be honest if that is the only thing wrong then this is definitely looking for trouble. There was so much to do on board on sea days that we did not know what to try or go to first. The food was excellent in the Bay tree restaurant also we had breakfast there every morning except for two when we went into the buffet. Lunch time the buffet was again excellent with so much to choice from. The shows in the evenings were wonderful and also dancing which was also great. We are looking forward to our second cruise. Read Less
Sail Date November 2017
This was my first cruise. My first impression was, this needs a uplifte looks tired. Few staff were sarcastic and belittling. I was not impressed like me don’t eat meat, choice offered was not interesting, found mashed potatoes we beaten ... Read More
This was my first cruise. My first impression was, this needs a uplifte looks tired. Few staff were sarcastic and belittling. I was not impressed like me don’t eat meat, choice offered was not interesting, found mashed potatoes we beaten so bad they all became like liquid, and so called wedges were always hard, they do t know how to make custard was always lumpy. Sweets or pudding, were not worth having.As for self service, was like a free for all and food kept running out and had to ask to be re filled, staff had lay back attitude in this restaurant, and too many people were picking food up and putting them down.. Lifts could do with more labelling, along with direction where to go... would be nice to have a little direction of where shops are . You had to pay £4 ew per person ew on shuttle bus. I felt cold in bars, the shows were quite good. bedrooms were very clean, and most places were clean. I did get annoyed the way staff just constantly kept coming up asking you to fill your glass, just as you get to bottom, and when you said no I’m fine, then next one comes and ask same question. I thought they put a mat down to show you did not want a drink. Must say get in on and off was very efficient. I’m only say saying what I feel for my first experience. I felt if we had had third person in cabin we would on top of each other . Read Less
Sail Date November 2017
We picked the cruise because we had only been to 1 of the ports of call. Although we had visited Lisbon numerous times before it is a city that we like a lot so that was ok. We also visited Valencia, Alicante, Gibraltar and Cadiz - ... Read More
We picked the cruise because we had only been to 1 of the ports of call. Although we had visited Lisbon numerous times before it is a city that we like a lot so that was ok. We also visited Valencia, Alicante, Gibraltar and Cadiz - Alicante was supposed to be Cartegena but P&O seemed somewhat surprised that a marathon was being run there and so most of the town was closed down! We were livid about this, we really wanted to visit Cartegena and they must surely have known up front, if not somebody needs a demotion. We had heard that Ventura is getting abit tired - sure there are signs that she has been at sea for nearly 10 years now but it's nothing to be put off by. They were replacing carpets with nice new fluffy ones on some of the stair ways, it was done with the minimum of disruption. The wetaher was most excellent apart from a nasty storm we hit just south of Bilbao, that made me sea sick and I missed the only night they served lobster on board - most annoying but nobody's fault. Now we come to the food - it is in this area that you can see cutbacks particularly if you don't like fish. The choice is much less than it used to be, the servings of vegetables are tiny, the always available options of steak and chicken never change - they could offer different sauces but all you get is bearnaise with the steak, the chicken is always cooked exactly the same way and with no choice. There were too many fish dishes and not enough imagination. The dishes sounded good on the menu but were often a bit bland and missing the wow factor they used to have. The food in Waterside was ok but it's such a bun fight that we did not enjoy eating up there. The food in the main dining rooms was variable in quality, one night they served lamb leg steaks, I have brought it home to repair my work boots with, I expect it to last a few years as it is tough stuff :-) We went for freedom dining, which threw up a strange dislike - every night the conversation was the same and very boring. There seem to be so many people that just can't wait to tell you how many cruises they have been on and how big their houses are. It seemed to happen most nights and every attempt to talk about something else was just brought back to the same old topics by somebody on the table. Surely there are other things to talk about? I think it is some sort of snobbery, I have experienced it before but never to this extent. It's not P&O's fault in any way, just thought I would mention it. We would probably have swapped to fixed dining if we could as tables for 2 are rather scarce and even if you do get a table for 2 there will be someone on the next table that can't wait to tell you that their next cruise is already booked despite Bert's lumbago and the fact it's going to take 12 people 10 days to paint the back wall in their massive kitchen. Overall the cruise was very good, the entertainment was excellent apart from a couple of people that had been described as comedians being about as funny as a ruptured spleen. The cabin was always clean and tidy thanks to Sheldon , who was simply brilliant. Overall it was excellent value for money - the trip to the top of the rock of Gibralter was the highlight of the holiday. We will go again but next time I will take ear plugs. And sea sickness pills. Read Less
Sail Date November 2017
Hello All, Well I must admit that was one of the quickest embarkations I’ve ever had. Arrived at the Ocean terminal at 12noon and in the arrivals lounge on the ship by 12:15pm sipping on a lovely glass of wine (even better when it’s ... Read More
Hello All, Well I must admit that was one of the quickest embarkations I’ve ever had. Arrived at the Ocean terminal at 12noon and in the arrivals lounge on the ship by 12:15pm sipping on a lovely glass of wine (even better when it’s free haha) and munching on the wonderful buffet. We were staying in cabin L106 (Valetta Suite) right at the front of the ship next to the bridge. We'd only been in the cabin 15 minutes and it was superb, couldn’t fault it (especially for the price we paid - nothing like a good bargain) awesome wrap around balcony, I prefer the aft suites myself but this is certainly much better than I expected as I was told the balcony was rather exposed but the views and size is brilliant. The food, service, entertainment and staff were absolutely outstanding as always. I can honestly say the food in the main dining room in which we dined every night on second sitting 8:30 - ‘Bay tree’ was some of the best I’ve ever tasted. The shows we saw from the headliners theatre company, The Brit Tones, and The Freddie Mercury tribute act were again some of the best I’ve ever seen at sea. We Met some fantastic people throughout the cruise as always, in our section of the restaurant there was 6 tables of two - by the third night of the cruise they had turned into 2 x 6 seated tables - it just goes to show how great friendships are formed on cruises combined with the outstanding service and food provided by the amazing staff on-board. We even had our own little cabin party with our new friends, fantastic. The weather we had (as most of you saw from my previous posts) was unbelievable for the middle/end of November.... an average of 20 degrees throughout!! Very lucky indeed, combine this with the fantastic prices of cruises in Oct/Nov/Dec you really can't fault it. We visited ; Lisbon, Valencia, Alicante, Gibraltar and Cadiz. I must recommend one thing that you must do - we paid £25 for the galley tour! WOW WOW WOW! Unbelievable, the attention to detail, the team work and HARD WORK, that all the staff give every day was shown first hand in this tour. A glass of champagne and a glass of wine, plus a 3 course buffet (all you can eat) of some of the finest food I’ve ever tasted was included. Watching the chefs cooking, the waiters doing the food and taking the orders and how it’s all processed and even down to the cleaning and food wastage was simply outstanding. I have never seen such a clean kitchen in all my life. A must do tour , worth every penny and more! We also participated in wine tasting with Olly Smith which was also fantastic- too much wine of course!! A brilliant chap who really does know a thing or two about wine and makes everyone feel welcome. There has been little changes made to glass house menu, the epicurean and the beach house which is being introduced across all the ships soon. For the first time we are doing a back to back cruise (11 nights followed by 3 nights) only because our cruise on Oceana has been cancelled in December as some of you may have seen my previous post about them offering an extra night for free if we could sail on these specific dates, we were Lucky enough to say yes so in other words we’ve had a 14 night cruise instead of an 11 night one and a free night from turning our cancelled 2 night cruise into a 3 night cruise. Can’t complain about that right?! Turnover Day (passengers in transit as the ships company call it) Well, I literally can’t commend them enough.... that’s all we had to do was pack our valuable personal belongings, leave all the cases and all the clothes (which were on hangers) and in the morning it would all be transferred to our new cabin.... that’s all we had to do was get up, leave the cabin by 8am, lounge around the ship or go off if we wanted to and our new cruise cards were waiting at reception at 8am. Now, how can you fault that hey? I certainly would recommend a back-to-back cruise with P&O for anyone who might be thinking about it, it really couldn't have been any easier.... although if you are lucky enough to be able to stay in the same cabin then it would be even easier.... you wouldn't have to do anything haha. It’s very weird being one of the only few people on this ship currently on turn around day haha. Onto the next cruise and the Christmas markets in Bruges - I think it’s going to be a bit colder than the last two weeks !! Thank you. Read Less
Sail Date November 2017
Cruise review - P&O Ventura 10th - 13th November 2017 Part One The Ventura if you haven’t been on it, is a ‘Grand Class’ ship and as such is pretty much identical in layout as The Azura and many of the Princess ships such ... Read More
Cruise review - P&O Ventura 10th - 13th November 2017 Part One The Ventura if you haven’t been on it, is a ‘Grand Class’ ship and as such is pretty much identical in layout as The Azura and many of the Princess ships such as The Grand, Emerald, Crown and Caribbean. Right, that’s the educational part of this review over...let’s get cracking with the nonsense. We were asked to go on this cruise to act as carers for our good friends, from Colchester...can’t say the names because one of them was supposed to be at work. For this reason, they shall be known as Betty and Barney. So, a relaxing three day cruise to look forward and we decided to make it a bit longer by going down to Southampton the night earlier and stayed at the Ageus Hilton, which is at Hampshire County Cricket Clubs ground. Very nice it is too. Being only three years old, the hotel is in excellent condition and certainly didn’t fall short of the standards that you would expect at a ‘proper’ Hilton Hotel. Dinner in ‘Beefy’s’ which is a very nice restaurant inspired ex England and Somerset cricketer, Ian Botham...some say ex Northants player Peter Willy would have been a better choice but that’s for you to decide. After a good nights sleep and we headed into Southampton the next morning and having some time to kill, we headed to the West Quay shopping centre (which is a bit like Bluewater on valium) Plenty of shops though, just like we have back in the civilised part of the country but ‘Next’, which is a clothes shop in Lakeside, is actually a funeral parlour in Southampton...who knew?!? A cheeky Costa then it’s time to head towards the port to get the ship. We knew a few P&O Cruise Fans would be on board, including the Litherlands from beyond the wall (Wildlings to you and me) Zoe and Carl who said they were going to be on the ship but I think they literally got on just to get their P&O Cruise Fans hoodies then jumped off again...can’t think of any other reason people would avoid me for three days! (it’s not like they’re family!) After 17 cruises we finally got our first upgrade!...we had booked an inside cabin on deck 15 but ended up with an outside stateroom somewhere in the basement but it was nice to have a window (especially with the waves lapping at it on the way back!) We met up with the Rubbles and the inevitable drinks started to flow, we commandeered the chaises long outside the Glass House and settled in for a session, Betty and Barney hit it hard and for octogenarians it was a pretty impressive sight! Leslieann, fresh from her memories of the first day on the Crown Princess in August with Betty and Barney restrained herself which meant she was awake for dinner a few hours later.... To be continued, I’m a bit tired and want some dinner... Cruise review - P&O Ventura 10th - 13th November 2017 Part Two Did I mention we got an upgrade?... Anyway, it's as if P&O had been monitoring my Facebook posts because our new cabin, was literally yards from the Costa coffee shop on deck 5! That was very handy and having never had a cabin that low on a ship before, I think I liked it, useful for the atrium, reception and prom decks etc - also far enough away from the buffet to make it good news for the FitBit steps quota! Dinner the first night was in the MDR, service was good, food was good and it was a pleasant experience. From there we sampled the casino which is much smaller on the Ventura than we are used to. After a quick dabble on the roulette table, Betty and Barney said they are too tired off to bed (10.30pm) Where these kids get their stamina from is anyone's guess! Day two was a sea day, which is completely unnecessary on a short trip to Zeebruge, we ended up going back and forth along the channel trying to kill time, in fact 24 hours after leaving Southampton, we were off the coast of Eastbourne! I'm trying to remember what we did on day two!...nothing memorable apparently...oh that's right, we went to the cinema, in the theatre which was showing a badly out of focus version of the new Planet of the Apes film, set somewhere in America where it is always snowing...fair play to P&O for making it a realistic experience by turning the aircon down to minus 30 degrees...then moaning when I start a small BBQ to try to defrost my decaf medium latte. The whole idea of going on this cruise was to celebrate Barney's 40th Birthday so we booked a table in Sindu (East) for some of Atul's finest food. We weren't disappointed, the food was excellent, as was the service, I went for a chicken curry thing as a starter then the chicken curry thing as a main, both tasted a bit chickeny to me, I'm wondering if they are starting to cut kormas in the kitchen? So we've just had our main courses and ordered desserts when the waiter appears out of nowhere with a massive cake and puts it down in front of me...without really looking, I point to Barney and say 'I think that's meant for birthday boy' It's then pointed out that the cake is actually for me and is a direct response from P&O Cruises for a post I had put on their Facebook wall regarding the new rules coming out in January! - I had asked if my dragon would still be allowed on the ship and was told that he would, as long as he only brings one bottle of booze with him. What great customer service from P&O!...this wasn't the first time they had responded onboard to comments made on Facebook!...I felt a bit bad about upstaging Barney who also had a small cake presented to him but it had been broken when he unknowingly dropped it on the floor in a carrier bag in the Red Bar beforehand! Dinner over, we talk about going to see a show but the old folks say they are too stuffed and tired and they are going to bed...9.45pm! To be continued...I have work to do! Cruise review - P&O Ventura 10th - 13th November 2017 Part Three Third and final part of the trilogy... After 38 hours at sea, we finally made our destination...in roughly the same time that The Pride of France ferry had made the journey 18 times from Dover! Anyway, a day in Bruge was our much awaited destination so Leslieann, me and the narcoleptics got a taxi into the heart of medieval cit. This cost about 50 euros each way and is a stress free way of doing it. The rain was falling as we got there so a quick stop in one of the many restaurants/cafes in the square for a coffee and a bite to eat (don't forget, it had been over 30 minutes since breakfast on the ship) I live about 20 minutes from Maidstone but worked out that I have actually been shopping in Bruge more times than I had there! Being a Sunday, not a lot was open, we were two weeks too early for the Christmas Market so it was a disappointment to miss out on that disgusting German creation, Gluvine. We wandered around in the rain perhaps regretting not asking the taxi driver to come back earlier than the 3.00pm time slot we had scheduled. So to kill time we popped into another eatery for a snack 9 euros for a plate of chips was the reward. We still had 45 minutes to kill when we left there so another wander down a closed high street and we spotted the taxi we had booked parked up, a full 20 minutes before time! - Never been happier to see a Belgian! Back to the port gates then, and onto a shuttle bus for the 200 yard journey to the ship! seriously! Heavy winds meant the sailing was delayed by about 45 minutes with the captain then announcing that with the forecast 70 knot winds, he couldn't guarantee to keep the ship upright! - maybe he could have worded that better?!? We met up with the Lagerlouts, sorry, Litherlands in the Glass House (or was that the day before?) (No it was Sunday, I remember now) It's interesting when you meet foreigners and listen to their funny accents. It turns out Sue Lagerlout is a bouncer at Mothercare in Warrington, Mike Lagerlout trains undercover goldfish for the Manchester Police and Rubella Lagerlout runs a protection racket in Oldham...who knew? Anyway...dinner was good, Barney didn't fall asleep in the sweetcorn this time but he was close to nodding off in the prawn cocktail. Dinner done, we thought we'd catch a show or go to the casino but the pint of lager had really done Barney in so he and Betty headed for bed, understandable really, given the hour we were getting back, in real time it was almost a quarter to nine... Leslieann Osborn and I did manage to catch a show at last!...we went to see Showmaddymaddy in the Cuban themed lounge at the back end of the ship...I'm not sure if these were the same guys who did the Badness show earlier in the cruise? My thoughts on the Ventura?...I like it, it's the same layout as the Azura but is looking a bit tired now, everything was good though, staff were friendly, service was pretty good and overall it was a good cruise. Tune in next month when I try 4 nights on the CMV Columbus from Tilbury! Read Less
Sail Date November 2017
Booked as a party of 13 older women and were allocated different sides and deck levels of the ship, not the greatest of starts. Five of the six cabins booked were for 2 persons and the remaining one for 3 people. Embarkation seemed ... Read More
Booked as a party of 13 older women and were allocated different sides and deck levels of the ship, not the greatest of starts. Five of the six cabins booked were for 2 persons and the remaining one for 3 people. Embarkation seemed chaotic, and my, are the staff miserable and downright rude! They are discourteous, lack any customer service and basically couldn't care less. The ship in the main is very clean and looks very smart in most areas. Every bar has different drinks with different prices and you wait and wait and wait for a drink. Our very first order, two glasses of wine, took over 30 minutes, in a bar with 15 people in it, and we only got that because we insisted on going to the bar ourselves. This is the standard in all of the bars. Dining in the main restaurants is hit and miss. Firstly, it's a chore to get in the restaurant at your allocated time. Secondly, the waiting staff offer no eye contact or service Thirdly, again it's a major event to get your drinks. Fourth, Staff need training not to touch the customer! I did not appreciate having my arm moved from the edge of the table. When I challenged the waiter with 'excuse me' he just walked away!!! Five, food is generally very good and well presented albeit luke warm and a little lacking in choice. The Black and White night was a great night with everyone dressing for the occasion. The buffet Restaurant offers a better choice and the staff are a little more responsive. Daily entertainment is seriously in trouble, as in, there isn't any!!! For some bizarre reason they use the Atrium to do the dancing lessons!!! It makes the whole area chaotic and frankly quite dangerous as the surrounding area serves hot drinks??? Due to bad weather both shuffleboard and Quoits, usually held on the outside deck, were cancelled but nothing was offered in it's place. Bingo did take place one afternoon but was quite a disappointment as only half games were played. Evening show entertainment was standard cruise, but in the main, more than acceptable. Only one Port of call which was very smooth both ways with the shuttle bus and tour buses ready and waiting and all in a very timely manner. Plenty of excursions were available and depended on individual choice. Disembarkation was easy and very well orchestrated. Personally we would not travel on this ship again and I would be reticent in recommending it as I feel other ships and or Cruise operators offer better choices and service. Read Less
Sail Date November 2017
We have cruised before with Royal Caribbean, Carnival and Cunard. We wanted a Southampton sailing, to a warm location, to coincide with our November wedding anniversary so this cruise fitted the bill. We were travelling without our ... Read More
We have cruised before with Royal Caribbean, Carnival and Cunard. We wanted a Southampton sailing, to a warm location, to coincide with our November wedding anniversary so this cruise fitted the bill. We were travelling without our children and are pre-disposed to be optimistic and generally expect to enjoy our holidays. We’d done a lot of research and thoroughly enjoyed this cruise. We used Parking4Cruises which were great value and very efficient. Embarkation at Mayflower was smooth although facilities are pretty basic we felt. We had a 3pm embarkation time and we were called at exactly 3pm. We went straight to our cabin, where we unpacked as cases had arrived. We opted for Freedom dining and were assigned Saffron. People we met said we could use Cinnamon as well. If so, this wasn’t made clear to us officially and we aren’t sure why you would want to anyway, as the menu is identical. We shared a table of 6 or 8 each night and met interesting people. Food was of a good, if not great, quality with about 6 choices of starter, main and dessert. There was an option for salad or soup too and we usually had coffee and cheese/biscuits too. Service was never rushed, one night it took over 2.5hrs but generally the meal was served at a sensible pace and we never had to wait for our wine for long. On the formal nights, the menu included a set menu option – although we later found out you could actually swap dishes around which would have been good to know before! We only used Waterside for the odd midnight snack – usually the cheese board had been decimated by then but there were hot options – pizza, sausage roll etc. Breakfast via Room Service was included in price (all other room service items carry a charge). It was always on time, sometimes 10 mins early in fact! Food was good quality although options are more limited than in the main dining rooms and did become a little restrictive – not enough to make us get up and go out for breakfast though :-) The tables for 2 in the main dining rooms were very close together so rather than dine alone when you aren’t really alone, we chose to dine in Epicurian, Glasshouse and Beach House. The food in these was of a better quality, more tasty with friendlier, more engaged service as clearly they have more time to spare. We also did the Paired menu in Glasshouse which we enjoyed. Be sure to book early in your cruise as places are limited to about 24 people and it only seems to happen about once a week. Our other Glasshouse dinner was tapas style and we enjoyed that greatly, though tempura batter was rather soggy. The wine flights served in the Glasshouse were fun to try too. The food in Saffron would have been fine for the whole 12 nights but we enjoyed all the other venues we tried. Prices for the Select Dining we felt to be towards the top of acceptable range except for the Pairing menu which was better value, at £30 each, as it included 5 small glasses of wine. One meal that exceeded our expectations bizarrely was afternoon tea in Saffron – which we think was available most, if not all, days. Proper clotted cream, mini scones, absolutely delicious tea cakes, fresh sandwiches and lots of hot tea made this a real highlight on the days we could manage it! It did not have the queue we remember from afternoon tea on Cunard (albeit there are no white gloves on P&O) and was nicer than Carnival or Royal Caribbean. On a negative note, we were not aware free icecream/cone was available – this is something we have enjoyed on previous cruises but P&O seem of offer a premium product at an additional charge only, or keep the free icecream hidden from our, admittedly not very diligent, search! We don’t think the ship was full, and it was not overly sunny on this cruise either, although it was warm, but we did not have issue finding a sun bed mid afternoon. Another thing we really liked was the dancing lessons. It might be that we had more opportunity to attend, as we were not travelling with our children this time, but it certainly felt like there were more classes offered. Seas days had line-dancing, two sessions with the dance instructors on a new dance each day and a daily session, with two of the Headliner dancers, on Salsa. We thoroughly enjoyed every session although the Headliners seemed much happier with everyone’s progress than the dance instructors! Only issue is that the Atrium floor is rather small for the number of people who wanted to join in the lessons. Many evenings, the dance instructors also offered dancing in the Atrium where they would tell you the dance for a piece of music and sometimes accompany someone without a partner. It was fun to watch and a good opportunity, for the brave, to practice the dances you’d been taught. In general, there were more activities offered than we could attend – partially because we were at the dancing lessons, but also because there seemed to be lots on offer that we were interested in – films, talks, quizzes, art, exercise classes, deck games and on top of all that, obviously the gym, eating, shopping, watching the shows/entertainers, drinking, reading, walking all the way round the ship on Deck 7 (Fabulous!), watching the ocean and afternoon napping! The evening entertainment and shows offered were so plentiful, that we often had to make a choice and usually it was a hard decision, as everything appealed. P&O’s own theatre company, the Headliners, were all talented dancers or singers who worked hard every show to give a West End worth performance. The guest entertainers were singers, impersonators, comedians and we enjoyed them all, along with the ship’s band – Serious Sounds – and the Ventura’s Orchestra too! However, we met people who did not like the entertainment. We think this must just be personal preference, or perhaps they have cruised a lot more than we have, as we often had an early dinner in order to make two of the shows each night (8.30 and 10.30) – they were that good! As previously said, we don’t think the ship was full and we could get seats in practically all the shows if we arrived 10 mins in advance – arriving 20 mins beforehand allowed us a choice of seats. We did not use the library but it was pleasant room with a good selection of books, certainly better than some of our previous cruises. The ship provided a brief, daily news update along with a crossword/Suduko. These can be collect from Deck 6 near the shops and a silent quiz (where the answers are on the back of the sheet, so you are only competing against yourself) could be found each day on the piano in the Red Bar. Generally, we found the service to be efficient but not overly friendly. Staff seemed content and helpful but did not naturally smile as we moved around the ship. There were exceptions – the Headliners /dance instructors always smiled at us, staff in the shops were friendly and we found the staff in Tazzine quite unhelpful – possibly as they were having to work with a silly system requiring us to order coffee from a waiter/waitress but queue up to order cake! This cruise occurred outside school holidays but there were some children on board – both pre-school and those we estimated to be of school age. They caused no issues to our cruise – indeed we were rarely even aware they were on board, except in the Beach House, which is directly under the children’s club and we could hear the stamping and running of small feet above us as we dined. The Captain (Simon Terry) seemed very personable and I enjoyed his occasional tannoy briefings. The ship suffered two power failures during our cruise – once late afternoon for about 30 mins and then on another morning so only continental breakfast was available for a couple of hours. I appreciated that the Captain gave the tannoy updates – we felt it showed he took responsibility and he was clear they were trying to find the source of the problem, as they did not know what the issue was, though my husband thought he apologised too heartily – though we thought that may well be because he knows how quickly some of his passengers will complain! We had been aware the Bay of Biscay (BOB) can be very unpleasant – all our previous cruises have been blessed with calm seas (and avoided BOB) but fortunately, the Bay was calm for both our crossings this time. There was some rolling along the west coast of Spain and Portugal both ways. The Captain did indicate that the seas were expected to be a little rougher, so that if you were prone to sickness you had fair warning to take a tablet. I took Sturgeon, and my husband decided to take nothing, and we were both fine. Disembarkation was fairly smooth though there were no seats left in our designated lounge when we arrived 30 mins before the stated time. We got up at 7, finished packing, breakfasted with our hand luggage at 8 in Bay Tree (where a full breakfast service was offered), went to our designated lounge at 8.50 and started disembarkation at 9.10 finally getting off ship at 9.30. Parking4cruises had automatically been aware we were returning to a different terminal from embarkation, so once our cases had been swiftly retrieved from Ocean terminal (there were plenty of free trolleys), we walked the short distance to pick up our car from the short-term carpark. Despite lots of research we list below the things it would have been good to know: • Set menus in the main dining rooms – are not fixed. You can swap dishes for other menu options if you want. • Carpet on the stairs is brown at the front of ship, red in middle and grey at back – that really helped! • Winning a quiz or activity earns you a stamp which can then be exchanged for a gift at the end of the cruise. Our one win earned a nice pen and key ring so, in our estimation, the prizes on P&O are better than other lines have offered us. • Shampoo, conditioner and body lotions (all 100ml) weren’t replaced. Bring extra unless the higher prices, and very limited selection, in the on board shops are acceptable. • Photos taken by the ship’s photographers can be viewed on the terminals under “Portraits”. However, you do need to know where your photo taken and it might not be obvious – for example Gold 5. So be sure to ask your photographer the name of your location each time you have a photo taken. Alternatively, there is a option once you locate one picture for the system to retrieve related images – using, no doubt, some very clever facial recognition software. However, if you take this option, we found any side on photos were missed – presumably because the half faces did not bear enough resemblance to the original photo!! We also heard, but have no personal experience that: 1. The Waterside buffet restaurant got very busy, with jostling and some difficulty in finding seats. 2. The spa passes on this ship gave you access to very limited facilities, i.e. no pool and the steam room/sauna that were available to spa pass holders only, were out of service for a number of days. Certainly the lady we spoke to felt it was not worth buying spa passes on Ventura (although if the ship was full, and getting sunbeds was an issue, then the pass might be more worthwhile but certainly not for the facilities offered otherwise.) Ports: Lisbon – berthed at Santa Apolonia which was a very short walk into the main area. We took a “free” walking tour with Lisbon Chill Out Tours. It was a good, and fun, introduction to this pretty, hilly city. Tenerife – berthed in Santa Cruz port – it’s quite a walk to get out of the port (10-15 mins) but you are then in town. A shuttle was provided. We wandered taking in this pretty city, visiting Jardin Garcia Sanabria, along the lovely tree lined streets (for example Las Ramblas) finishing up with a very enjoyable visit to the Palmetum and a walk back along the seafront to the ship. We did not depart until 10pm and it was lovely to watch the lights twinkle and disappear as we sailed away. Gran Canaria – berthed right in Santa Cruz again with an easy walk to the new part of town. Did not make it far as the old town, which was perhaps a shame as the new town has little to recommend it beyond bars and shops, though it does have a nice beach if that is your thing. La Palma – took a ship excursion to drive buggies in the centre of this steep, green island. We thoroughly enjoyed it - if I found it a little nerve-wracking, my husband loved it. There was plenty of time on our return to walk into the main town which was the prettiest of all 3 Canary Islands we visited. Much was closed as it was Sunday but we still spent a very pleasant hour wandering. Madeira – possibly our favourite port as we visited 20 years ago, and it was nice to reminisce. There are lots of things to do very close to the port. We visited Blandy’s for Madeira wine tasting, followed by a visit to the Story Centre and then a walk literally down memory lane. In summary - Our research indicated the some people felt Ventura was tired and food/entertainment was poor. Clearly if you have been cruising for a long time, things may well be getting worse but from our fairly new point of view, this was a wonderful, memorable holiday. We would certainly sail with P&O again.....though I suspect we will try another new line next time – it seems to be our theme! Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
This 12 night cruise is our longest to date. We normally head to Lanzarote for a week in December for a land based holiday but decided to take a cruise to see some of the other islands this time and also to enjoy the 6 sea days. ... Read More
This 12 night cruise is our longest to date. We normally head to Lanzarote for a week in December for a land based holiday but decided to take a cruise to see some of the other islands this time and also to enjoy the 6 sea days. Embarkation at Southampton Excellent service and within 45 minutes we were in our cabin and the luggage was already there. Cabin B749 is an aft balcony cabin on the end of the row so it has the wrap around balcony which is approx 10' square with ample room for chairs and tables. I loved having the wake to listen to. There is more noise when arriving and departing with the thrusters going, but this was not really of detriment to us. If you have one of the other aft cabins on B deck, other the far end opposite to us, you pretty much can only look straight out to sea without sticking your head right out over the rail. Our steward was Grace who is a lovely girl and looked after us well. Food We prefer to eat in the MDR for most of our meals and we found it to be to the previously good standards we've had on board. We also ate in Sindu, Epicurean, Glass House and Beach House and equally enjoyed those an the more attentive service and excellent choices. Service in MDR overall was also very good. Entertainment We really enjoyed all of the Headliners Shows and appreciate the dedication and hard work thy put in to the shows. Destination Dance was particularly good. We enjoyed Jenny Wiliams, crossover vocalist (classical / musical / pop) and also Paul Hughes (Buble / Sinatra / Darren). Roy Walker, comedian, was on board and gave two good entertainig and humorous shows. Tom Binns (hospital radio show) also gave two good shows, although the humour may offend some, but there was a warning in Horizon to be fair. We laughed along though. Ports of Call / Excursions Favourite was Madeira - I did my own thing and hubby went on the 4x4 tour which he thought was great. We then met up at the cable car and ascended to enjoy the great views. Definitely one place to head back to for a longer stay Tenerife - we did the flavours and history tour which was OK, but a bit disappointed as it was only about 9km from the port to the town of La Laguna and whilst we had a guide, you could get there yourself by taxi quite easily. We ended up at the opera house and some appetisers and drink which were very good and the hosts very welcoming. We did not get to go inside the venue, but had access to the external balcony Gran Canaria - we stayed in the port town of and ventured over for a walk along the beach which was very good - flat, promenade, plenty of bars etc. Buildings are all along it and not the most attractive though being 60s style. La Palma - lovely island and really interesting to visit the national park and head up to the caldera which was incredible - this was on the heart of la palma excursion Lisbon - been before so enjoyed a casual stroll around the narrow streets and enjoyed coffee an custard tart Ship Facilities / Activitis The ship is showing signs of wear and tear in places with worn carpet edges in places and chairs looking a bit grubby, so the refit in March will give it a needed lift, but overall the appearance is still very good, clean and attractive. I participated in the Ventura Vocalists having 6 sea day rehearsals and a performance to conclude with in the atrium which was well supported by the other passengers. This was great fun to be part of and was run by Jayson and Eiophe from the Headliners. The music director on board played piano, although to me he seemed very disengaged from the group and seemed to be just going through the motions both at rehearsals and performance, never once giving us a word of encouragement. Spa We had treatments as part of the 180 package we'd previously purchased and these were very good. Lily, assistant spa manager runs a very efficient spa and was very good with clients and showing us around the facilities. Captain Simon Terry was a very pleasant man and kept us updated regularly as to weather and anything of note as we went from port to port. There is plenty to do for most people on board if you choose to do them. Some people do complain but I think it is a case of what you make of it and we certainly enjoyed and appreciated what was on offer. It was lovely to have the chance to relax on board, although the weather on the sea days could have been better. There were children around, but they were all lovely and it was great to see them dressed up on the formal nights. Lots of people with mobility issues using wheelchairs and scooters and I have to say how much I admire their courage and determination to get on with things as at times access in the ports must be difficult. Also to the carer who assisted them - a great thing you are doing. We actually stayed on board for the next cruise N730 which was a 3 nighter to Bruges - a different experience entirely for which I shall write separate review! Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
Where to start! I was the lead passenger for a group of 10 travellers. All had sailed with P&O before, however, it was the general consensus of opinion from the group that on this trip standards have dropped. Although the general ... Read More
Where to start! I was the lead passenger for a group of 10 travellers. All had sailed with P&O before, however, it was the general consensus of opinion from the group that on this trip standards have dropped. Although the general condition of the ship was acceptable, it was evident that the ship had seen better days. Some of the carpeting in the public areas shows signs of wear and tear, being thread bear on a number of stairs. The wall covering in some of the corridors was heavily damaged with luggage scuff marks. Most days we had breakfast and lunch in the Waterside Buffet Restaurant, where we found the food choice to be of good quality and plentiful. Because this is a popular restaurant, on occasions there was a short wait for stocks to be replenished. Many of the chairs in this restaurant could have benefited from a good clean, as there was ingrained staining on the plastic covering. Guests are asked to self sanitise their hands to prevent the spread of germs and bugs, however, if the chairs aren't kept clean surely more germs and bugs are encountered. We opted for freedom dining in the Saffron Restaurant. The menu selection in this restaurant, although good, appeared to be less than we had seen on previous P&O menus, even the bread roll selection was limited. One of our party has a gluten free diet requirement which P&O were made aware of and frequently waited more than 30 minutes for their roll to be brought to the table. Being a large party we thought 2 hours would be sufficient time for the meal. On more than one occasion it was an hour to get to the main course. It seems the larger the party the longer it takes to be served. It was noticed that smaller groups of fellow travelers arriving in the restaurant after us, completed their meal and left before we got to the desert course. One evening we found it necessary to leave the restaurant before coffee to enable us to watch a show. P&O please serve people in a timely manner. Its nice to have a drink, that is if you can get one. Something appears to be clearly going wrong with the system for obtaining an a drink, both in the bars and the restaurants. Our group met each evening in a bar for a pre dinner drink, several waiters in the bar and no other customers. Okay so far. You are then subjected to the same service as a previous cruiser reviewed. I should add, we only ever ordered 2 drinks at a time. You cannot order your drink at the bar. A waiter takes your order, after you attract their attention. The waiter then returns to the bar to have the drink(s) made. 10 to 15 minutes later, your drinks arrive. A few minutes later the waiter returns for you to sign for the drinks and return your cruise card. On one occasion we waited 25 minutes just for the drinks to be made. On one occasion we found several waiters standing chatting for several minutes while we waited to order drinks. The cabin stewardess provided a superb service, keeping the cabin clean and tidy and replenishing supplies. The entertainment in the Arena show room was first class. A special mention needs to go to the Headliners, whose shows were to West End standard. Cruising with friends on P&O ships is great fun, but these minor irritations took the edge off it this time. Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
Very good experience.We have travelled on 8 cruises previously,mostly with P&O.On this occasion we booked on an early bird deal which was slightly cheaper which warned us that we could not be certain og getting the table number we ... Read More
Very good experience.We have travelled on 8 cruises previously,mostly with P&O.On this occasion we booked on an early bird deal which was slightly cheaper which warned us that we could not be certain og getting the table number we preferred which in this case was 8.What we were allocated a table for 2 but we had been warned so this was ok.However what we did not bargain for was that any shuttle requirements which are usually free charged early birders £10 per journey which in total was substantially more than the early bird saving.The cruise was from genoa to venice to genoa on the dates provided on this site Needless to say we have never travelled onP&O again.So be warned about such devious tricks.I have subsequently travelled on Cunard which is now more expensive due to working in dollars rather than .However the ports of call were very good but trips were little expensive. Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
I travelled with my Daughter , her husband and two Grand Daughters aged 4yrs and 6 months We had read some damning reviews and were honestly quite worried Boarding was quick and we entered the ship to a friendly greeting, and ... Read More
I travelled with my Daughter , her husband and two Grand Daughters aged 4yrs and 6 months We had read some damning reviews and were honestly quite worried Boarding was quick and we entered the ship to a friendly greeting, and glancing around first base my daughter and i looked at each other and both remarked that it was So Far So Good as everything appeared clean Our cabins were ready and we Loved them I was in P225 and my family were in a Family cabin a few doors down At this point i would happily stay in that cabin again , it was spacious and very clean ( the antic bac spray i bought with me was not needed, Jinty my cabin steward was brilliant , efficient and friendly We went to eat in the Self Service on arrival , there was so much choice there , my daughter and i are vegetarians and it wasn't a problem I could talk so much about this Beautiful ship , but seriously where do the bad reviews come from ? Ventura is so clean , we were up early with the baby and saw Staff hoovering and washing carpets , polishing lifts at all times of the day , antibacing the padded tables and chairs and so on The 4 yr old went to kids club , its so amazing there and she loved it , again everything was wiped clean for the afternoon session and the youth staff were Fantastic We ate in Saffron , loved the food and again our waiters were Brilliant , cannot fault the food or choice I had early morning breakfast delivered by a friendly young man , faultless, and then ate later breakfast with my Daughter and the children in Saffron , all beautifully served and lovely food ( My son in law ate a lot in self service as he could pile his plate up , at this point i will remark that he put on 20lbs , say no more ) The staff were nothing short of Amazing , they spoke to the children , made the baby smile all the time and cheered her up when she was having a moan Yes Amazing is a word i am using a lot , but it sums up everything about this Wonderful ship and her crew We have never sailed with P&O before and we are now Fans . I would love to sail on Ventura again . Yes she is having a refit soon but to my mind you cannot improve on perfection !!!!!!! A special thank you to the Captain who helped us when we needed it x Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
Having previously cruised with P&O were expecting more of the same , unfortunately it was not to be . The ship is looking tired in places ,mainly carpeting in the public areas,also some fixtures ie damage in the lifts. Our balcony ... Read More
Having previously cruised with P&O were expecting more of the same , unfortunately it was not to be . The ship is looking tired in places ,mainly carpeting in the public areas,also some fixtures ie damage in the lifts. Our balcony cabin was large and comfortable Food in the main dining room was not as good with less variety and smaller portions ,as a result of which we took most of our meals in the Waterside and Beach house self service cafe . The entertainment was very good both in the Arena and the various bars . Service is as always very good . Excursions were well organised and informative . Would not cruise with P&O again until their dress code is smart casual on non black tie nights and it is adhered to and enforced . Jeans,trainers,walking shoes and crocs. have no place in the dining room ,but apparently this is "smart casual" Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
We chose this review as the ship was visiting Ports we hadn't had a chance to visit. Embarkation was extremely good. I am a part time wheelchair user and help was on hand to help us onto the ship. Our cabin was spacious and the ... Read More
We chose this review as the ship was visiting Ports we hadn't had a chance to visit. Embarkation was extremely good. I am a part time wheelchair user and help was on hand to help us onto the ship. Our cabin was spacious and the wheelchair slotted under the wardrobe very neatly. The cabin was clean and the bed comfortable, we had a good deal of wardrobe space, but could have done with a few more hangers so we didn't have to double or triple up. The bathroom was adequate although the shower curtain was too short and too narrow to contain the water inside the shower, hence a few puddles. I had requested a disabled toilet and was pleased to see a higher than normal loo. The ship was very pleasant, the halls, public areas, bars and restaurants immaculate. However the basket weave furniture on the pool deck was awful with ingrained food making it too unpleasant to sit at. The furniture either needs a good scrub or replacing. Perhaps basket weave isn't such a good idea with so many people using it? We had chosen second sitting dinner and the food was delicious with at least 4 choices for each course. Our waiters were lovely, friendly and chatted, we liked that rather than just serving us food and not talking. Breakfast again had a good choice if rather small portions. I had cheese omelette which was obviously made with one egg and my husband had a kipper, well half of one side of a kipper actually. There weren't any pastries or croissants offered they had to be requested which hasn't been my experience before. The fruit juice was WATERED down!!!! P&O surely a Cruise costing well over two and a half thousand pounds deserves proper fruit juice please, it was horrible to drink. Also the milk jugs were a nuisance as the lip isn't long enough and the milk pours into the saucer and over the table!!!! The entertainment was good however the price of a soft drink was so over priced it was offputting. A Mocktail well over £5?? Come on P&O play fair. I had promised myself a massage in the Oasis Spa, one look at the exorbitant prices put me right off. I can and do get a facial, eyebrow wax etc much cheaper at my home salon than on the ship. What a shame. We have booked two more cruises in March and October 2018 so I do hope the things I have pointed out will be rectified as although they may sound insignificant to us they were important and we would be prepared to look at other cruise lines. We chose 3 tours with little walking as the wheelchair is a nuisance. Our first was to Cadiz to see Flamenco dancing, it was extremely good and we loved it. The courier was very knowledgable and after the dancing we did a tour of Cadiz. Our second tour was to Barcelona and included the Sagrada Familia which I had longed to see. I wasn't disappointed and although we didn't have time to go in I was elated to sit in the park and just drink in the beauty of the Cathedral. Our third tour was in Gibralter to see the dolphins. A very good tour and we did see dolphins, so were happy. All tours were easy walking and the couriers took great care to ensure we were all together. Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
This was our first ever cruise and we really had no idea what to expect. Reading some of the reviews; I was fairly concerned, particularly about the food. Our embarkation couldn't have been easier. We queued for ages in traffic ... Read More
This was our first ever cruise and we really had no idea what to expect. Reading some of the reviews; I was fairly concerned, particularly about the food. Our embarkation couldn't have been easier. We queued for ages in traffic coming through Southampton assuming it was because Ventura was in dock; the queues ended up being for IKEA, so we will circumnavigate this on our next drive in. We turned into the dock and instantly saw a member of the car parking valet team; it really couldn't have been easier. We unloaded our 65kgs of luggage out onto the pavement, handed ver the keys and unbelievably... we were on board inside 20 minutes. We arrived inside the Terminal at our Embarkation time and were fast-tracked all the way through. Once on board it took us maybe 10 minutes to get our bearings; but a member of the team told us our cabin was available so we went there straight away - our luggage was already waiting outside. We were stunned by how easy and smooth it was. Ventura is a large ship, particularly for first timers. We did spend most of the first week getting lost; but we loved every minute on board. It wasn't as glitzy or as glamourous as I expected; but our cabin was well appointed with tons of storage space, very clean, the bed was extremely comfortable, and there was no scuffed areas of carpet and knocks and bashes like I'd read about on reviews. The bathroom and shower is small; but it didn't cause us any problems. We only booked an inside cabin for our first cruise and we slept so well in it that we will probably always book inside cabin going forwards! Food-wise; we ate on the late sitting every night in the main dining room, apart from one night when we ate in the Epicurean. We had asked for a table of 10 booking; deciding to throw ourselves right in at the deep end with the whole cruising experience and be sociable... yet we spent the first 4 nights with that big empty table all to ourselves. After 4 nights of this; other tables had taken to feeling sorry for us and asked them to join us which we did and we enjoyed our dinners with another couple. We looked forward to our evening meals immensley and on the whole found the food to be very good. Desserts were a bit hit and miss, rather lacking in wow factor, particularly for the lady on our table who wanted a simple fruit salad and simply couldnt get one with anything other than oranges and apples in it! Breakfast and lunch we ate in the buffet; I will admit I came to hate trying to get through the narrow buffet aisles which just seemed badly designed; and particularly hated that I even had to fetch my own tea and coffee in what seemed the tiniest mugs on earth - but it didn't spoil our holiday. We also had pizza from the Pizzeria on deck 17/18? - which was alright. I did order room service on a couple of afternoons and was astonished how good it was. Far better than the buffet; although I can't fault the buffet on choice, it was always good. Entertainment; pretty good all round; we never made it into the Arena for an evening show prefering the bars and clubs on board; but everything we saw was pretty good. We did particularly enjoy late evenings upstairs in the Metropolis bar; absolutely beautiful being right at the top of the ship. The service we had throughout the whole cruise was wonderful. Nobody could do enough for us; we couldn't fault it, from the stewards to the waiters to the bar staff. Halfway through the cruise we found out that we could turn off the automatic staff gratuity; and we did this on the Reception desk, preferring to tip those that had given us good service. I will say the gentleman on the Reception desk that did this for us was fairly unsmiling and taciturn about doing so but this was the only time we encountered anything like this on board. We tended to do our on thing at each Port; apart from when we docked a journeys distance from the likes of Rome etc. Rome was one of the trips we did by coach; and the transfers worked well and it was comforting to know P&O had us booked onto the excursion and were looking after us. Each port is what you make it; oddly enough places we were immensely looking forward to visiting (Barcelona and Rome) we found to be loud, noisy, dirty - we will definitely be doing excursions to these locations next time and concentrating on one highlight such as Sagrada Familia or the Vatican rather than wandering round the streets by ourselves. Villefrance was a beautiful little place, we walked the length of the front and sat and had drinks with friends and just enjoyed the place. Cartegena and Cadiz were lovely, but in all spanish ports we found there to be alot of beggars. The formal nights were an unexpected highlight for us - i could barely persuade my husband into a black suit before we went but in the end he was not only wearing his dickie bow but really enjoying the formal nights. I would never have thought he'd have enjoyed it so much; but he was a real convert to it and even wants us to colour-coordinate on the next cruise. On our last day; we booked a cruise for 2018 on Britiannia, and shortly afterwards booked for 2019 on Azura. This is pretty much the best compliment I can give P&O. I would advise you to go with an open mind if you're a first timer; the things you don't like won't spoil your holiday, and the things you do will make it a worthwhile experience and you'll have lots of lovely memories. Tip: if you're sailing from Southampton, do not worry about your baggage. I panicked and split everything into smalller suitcases so that no bag was over the limit stated in the brochure. Apparently this is a non-issue as the baggage handlers simply stick a "heavy" baggage label on. Tip: When you're booking, pay attention to the location of the laundrettes. The machines are so easy to use and wash and dry in record time. We washed all our clothes the last day when the weather was miserable and brought home everything clean. We also did 2 washes of underwear etc during the holiday and it was super easy. Tip: If you have an inside cabin; put your tv on at night with the ships camera showing. At night when you go to bed you will have a dark screen; but when you wake in the absolute blackout; the screen gives you an idea of time - and also its' lovely to lie in bed and watch the ports get closer and closer on port days! Tip: Larger ladies need to be aware that all the dining rooms (with the exception of the epicurean) have narrow chairs with wooden sides and handles. I am a size 24/26 and i found sitting in the chairs absolute agony. I was fortunate in the main dining room that we were on a large table (these tables do not have chairs with arms) but in the buffet i could only sit on one of the bench seats. The chairs are ridiculously narrow. I hope that this is something that P&O will improve when refurbishing - it looks like Britannia is better. This is reflected in my 3/5 star marking for the dining experience. It didnt spoil my cruise but it would have done had i been seated at a smaller table. Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
The itinerary was the main reason for choosing this cruise particularly for excursions to Florence and Rome. Embarkation was swift and well organised as was disembarkation and our excursion to Rome was enjoyable and hassle free if a little ... Read More
The itinerary was the main reason for choosing this cruise particularly for excursions to Florence and Rome. Embarkation was swift and well organised as was disembarkation and our excursion to Rome was enjoyable and hassle free if a little rushed. So to the ship itself, we were expecting it to be a little shabby in places as she is due to have a major refit but we were pleasantly surprised by the cabin which although an inside was relatively spacious and spotlessly clean . Our cabin steward did an excellent job and was able to source a mattress topper and comfortable pillows for my partner who suffered a back problem two days into the cruise. The overall service by the hard working staff was very good, both in the restaurant and the bars but unable to comment on the service in the speciality dining areas as we did not use them. We found the food was generally good in the main dining Room ( we were on freedom dining in Saffron ) but a little hit and miss in the buffet though we could always find something to eat, all be it was not always hot. Occasionally it felt like a bun fight when passengers were entering the food area from both directions and some people were acting as if it was going to be their last meal... enough said. Entertainment was varied and the Headliners were as good as always however we found the music generally not to our taste and would have appreciated more live bands and perhaps some classical musicians playing in the main Arena theatre. The Ventura orchestra should be applauded though as they helped to show off the speciality acts to their best advantage. One of the main criticisms we had was even though Ventura is a large ship, there seemed to be a lot of wasted space. Not many passengers used the Sindhu , Glass house or the Epicurean and these are large areas which we feel could be put to better use . The Atrium dance floor was used only for dance lessons and Ballroom and there was just a complete lack of atmosphere generally in the evenings around the Ship. I personally would not choose Ventura again but I can see that She has appeal for the more senior travellers. All that said, we still enjoyed the cruise and would go with P & O again in the future but perhaps on one of the smaller ships. Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
We have cruised with P&O many times; this would be our second two night cruise break, it came up to expectations! Embarkation/Disembarkation The ship was using the Ocean Terminal in Southampton. The terminal works very well at ... Read More
We have cruised with P&O many times; this would be our second two night cruise break, it came up to expectations! Embarkation/Disembarkation The ship was using the Ocean Terminal in Southampton. The terminal works very well at getting people through as quickly as possible. Most people were carrying on the luggage which simplified things. The terminal was particularly noisy, and had a party atmosphere, we even saw a chap dressed as a bride with boots on! The only slight hold up is having to complete the health questionnaire on arrival, why not offer it for download from the Cruise Personaliser. P&O complicate this by giving you a boarding time, ours is 15:30, it is always a late time whatever P&O cruise we take! We decided to aim for 13:30, and only had to wait around until 14:00 before being called to check-in. We arrived at our cabin by 14:15. Disembarkation is equally efficient. Instructions are dropped off at your cabin on Saturday. We went to the open seating breakfast (served between 07:00 and 09:00), getting in there before the eight o’clock rush. After breakfast, back to the cabin to pick up the bags, then join the queue to get off This moved fairly quickly and we were off 08:20, and joined the queue for a local taxi to the train station. Dining On the first night we ate in Sindhu, had a really good meal in there, soft shell crab to start and then a selection of curies to follow. The service in there is particularly good. We had opted for Freedom Dining which gives great flexibility, but it can get busy at peak times, the best strategy is to be prepared to share a table (requesting a table for two will probably result in being given a pager). We ate in the Saffron Restaurant; we also used it for breakfast. On the second night we met up with friends and shared a table for four. The Saffron Restaurant is very big, but the service is good. The breakfast choices in the MDR are comprehensive, but I don’t think the choice has changed in the 10 years we have been sailing with P&O. Bars Lots of bars as you would expect, some with an emphasis on gin. There is a wide selection of craft gins available in the Red Bar. Most drinks at pub prices, but if you want more than two glasses of wine a bottle of the house (white in our case) is an economical option at £16. Breakers Bar on the Sun Deck was always busy, and on this cruise some of the passengers were shouting at the staff for service. The Glasshouse offers a quieter venue. Cabin Our cabin was port rear on deck 10 (C510), it was a good size; it is described as a superior balcony. The décor and fittings were in reasonable shape. Between the bathroom and main room is a spacious hanging area that really works well. The beds are high enough to take some pretty big suitcases underneath. The balcony is a good size and does have an overhang. Our steward was very cheerful, but we did not have time to get to know her. This cabin was very quiet, nothing rattled. If we had been on a longer cruise we would have asked for the pillows to be changed, they were like paving slabs. Entertainment There was plenty going on, but we stuck to the bars! Photography We went to a reception in Tamarind and the photographers went to great trouble to get a good group photograph which we purchased fro £12. Ports of Call Zeebrugge – Belgium Nothing in particular planned for this day. We caught the shuttle bus into Blankenberge, walked to the marina, then out along the pier and back along the sea front to the top of the main shopping street. Lunch was moules and bread; there was a problem with the fries! Next we bought some chocolate and went back to the ship. Anything Else? Much as expected these cruises breaks are intense and lively, it helped that we had been on the ship before and knew where everything was. There were lots of groups on board, not just stag and hen parties, but birthdays and anniversaries as well. We even got to meet Poppy from Bolsover Cruise Club (our TA) at a get together! We had expected the formal night to be the second night, but it was the first (apparently so the photographers could take and sell more formal prints). It is nice to be able to carry on and off your bags; it makes embarkation and disembarkation much quicker. Read Less
Sail Date September 2017
This was my third cruise with P and O but first time on Ventura,I have to say that I am finished with P and O .The Ventura is so dated very tired looking furnishings the superior balcony was terrible 2 small televisions that you had to ... Read More
This was my third cruise with P and O but first time on Ventura,I have to say that I am finished with P and O .The Ventura is so dated very tired looking furnishings the superior balcony was terrible 2 small televisions that you had to strain your neck to seethe very poor quality films that were on offer,the deck-chairs on the so called superior balcony were a disgrace old and filthy.The cushions on the settee were flat dead, shower was good. Food in restaurant was ok nothing special Ollys Glass House was fantastic as was Sindhu.Staff were so glum especially at Pizza outlet no smiles no hellos or welcomes.Marks out of 5 Food 3 Entertainment 2 Superior cabin 1 Overall Ventura experience 1. The captain was not evident on ship ,movies on ship shown in a make shift theatre so if someone sat in front of you then its quite literally curtains. Read Less
Sail Date September 2017
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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