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279 P&O Cruises Ventura Cruise Reviews

We were first time cruisers and due to a medical my mobility is a little slow (use a walkng aid) and rules out any flying This cruise was advised by travel agency. We live very close to Southampton and our son drove us to check in. ... Read More
We were first time cruisers and due to a medical my mobility is a little slow (use a walkng aid) and rules out any flying This cruise was advised by travel agency. We live very close to Southampton and our son drove us to check in. Within minutes our bags were taken from us and due to mobility was amazed, taken straight to checkin desk and within 15 minutes we were standing in our cabin C431 a twin with shower and balcony. We decided to leave the unpacking till after we had a walk around the ship. What a lady, Ventura had just come back from having her refit. Atrium was bright and airy. Onboard shops were easy to find, walk around and noone jumped on you as soon as you entered the shop ( one of my pet hates. We found most of the places for Dining, the Orangery was already very busy. We had booked with the knowledge we would be given a dining time and table on reaching our cabin. We were on MDR 2nd sitting in Saffron. And so we set sail. We missed the sail away party as we were unpacking. Our cabin was spacious and we had everything we needed. Our cabin steward Winston, was fantastic once we had told him we were first time cruisers. Our nights on board were 2 Black tie. 2 smart casual and 3 casual. We loved the thought of getting dressed for dinner. The meals were very good, waiters very experienced and helpful. We had no issues with the food and rarely ate lunch as we either on an excursion or had a light snack in the Orangery. Eating in the orangery was a little ruff as the few times we ate there reminded us of school caffateria. We ate in the White room one evening, and both the food and the staff were lovely. We had pre-booked 3 excursions as the last one was full, but we were told via the excursion team, we had seats for the Flam railway. Our ports of call in the Norwegian Fjords were Stavanger. Flam, Olden and Bergen. What wonderful sights, to stand on the pier without a coat on to looking up to snow capped Mountains. Excursion were very good. One or two "Eek" moments on the coach going up the mountain on very narrow roads, I swear at one point some of the coach was hanging over a 70mtre drop. On the whole we really enjoyed our excursions. The entertainment was fair as I had been expecting full scenery, lighting and Broadway show so I was a little disappointed with the shows, however we saw the Chapman Brothers twice, only one we liked. There were children on the cruise and most were very polite and courteous, mind u is till cannot understand young, fit children who take the lift to go up or down one floor!!! Overall we were very impressed with the service. Staff very very friendly and helpful. We enjoyed it so much we have recently returned from a 14 night Baltic cruise on the Aurora, but that's another tale. Well done all the staff on Ventura for its them that make or break a cruise Read Less
Sail Date April 2013
Well I have just returned from my first ever cruise, and I have to say in the main I loved it. Even with a very rough crossing across BOB Car Parking Smooth and quick. We joined a queue, waited around 10 minutes before being directed ... Read More
Well I have just returned from my first ever cruise, and I have to say in the main I loved it. Even with a very rough crossing across BOB Car Parking Smooth and quick. We joined a queue, waited around 10 minutes before being directed to front of terminal where our cases were loaded onto a trolley and whisked away, the car was then whisked away in the opposite direction Embarkation Very smooth and quick. Arrived at the Terminal at 12.10pm and we were in our cabin by 1.00pm. Airports could learn a thing or two. We went for a wander around the ship for about an hour and on returning to the cabin our cases had been delivered. We found our way around the ship pretty easily within first couple of days. If you get lost go to Deck 7 - as you can get anywhere from there. Cabin - we had a Superior Deluxe Balcony on Desk 9 Aft. Have to say I chose this location even though Mid cabins were available, as we were close to most things (All the restaurants are Aft, as is The White Room, Metropolis Bar and Havana. The cabin was a good size, perfectly fine for 2 Adults and a Tall Teenager, we could have had one more in fairly easily. Balcony on D desk is overlooked from above but tbh this did not bother us Good wardrobe space. Comfy beds Our Steward Diogo looked after us beautifully Food/Drinks I have to say it was excellent. I have a few negatives to comment on but they are because Daughter is a insulin dependant diabetic and a Coeliac so we are have additional needs to most. And P&O were streets ahead of most places on offering GF so I do not in anyway want to put people off, just to be aware there were a few areas which could still be improved on for those with special requirements Dinner was superb for her. We did Club Dining as I knew have the same waiters each night would be helpful for our daughter. Every night Sangay the head waiter would present our daughter with the menu for the following day, she was able to choose ANYTHING* from the menu and it was adapted to be suitable for her to eat. And they bought her freshly baked GF rolls every night * - they could not however offer GF pasta which I thought was very strange as this is one of the easiest alternatives to offer Breakfast plenty of fruit, eggs, bacon, has browns and Gluten Free Bread. Small negative here were no Gluten Free Cereal on offer at all, it would also have been nice to see some GF sausages. You could however arrange GF pancakes with your waiter the night before. And for those Gluten eaters there were waffles etc on offer too We ate in the Bay Tree most mornings - as was nice to be relaxed with Table service, we generally got a table for 3, but on one occasion we were asked to join another party of 3 on a larger table, we had no issue with this but the woman at the table was so do rude about having to share a table that we asked to be moved. We also did the buffet a few mornings and that was fine Lunch A little more problematic, although the chef would always take us through what she could or could not have from the Buffet but it was limited, and they did make sure there was a GF dessert should she want one. Afternoon Tea - pretty much a No No, do not get me wrong it was lovely. Lots of little cakes, fresh scones etc. But almost nothing she could have at all. They have an on board bakery so a selection of GF cakes/scones would have been nice It could also be a little difficult getting a table for Lunch/Afternoon Tea, the use both Waterside and The Beach restaurants but it got confusing as they seem to close one half of the each restaurant at different points so you'd switch back and forth. Pizza/Burger/Hotdog Bar at the Laguna Pool - nothing suitable in GF The White Room - had a beautiful meal here. We only heard good things from everyone else who ate there as well. for the GF they just asked us to go up the following day and pick her meal, which was excellent. But be warned it gets booked v v quickly. None of the above was a huge issue, she always found something. But still some improvements could be made Drinks packages are a good idea for the kids. We paid £42.50 upfront for a drinks/ice cream card which entitled us to 20 (Large) soft drinks and 20 ice creams. We should also have got a free drinks bottle - but not one of the bars seem to have them, small issue but would have be nice for them to actually stock the bottles Alcohol - found this to be on par with most pubs here at home. Small Tip, buy a separate coke/lemonade for your mixer and just order your spirit, worked out better value as the soft drinks are in large glasses, where the mixer is a small can.We are not big drinkers but P&O do allow you to take some alcohol on board. We took a bottle of Malt and a few beers to enjoy on the balcony. Ports of call As mentioned our crossings was quite rough, with a few people suffering seaksickness - we took tablets each day and seemed to be OK though We did not do any excursions as we'd already researched and knew we could easily get into the towns from Port. However, we did not stop at Oporto because of bad weather - again did not spoil cruise as we spent day at Sea where the weather was lovely Entertainment In the main very good. One comedian who was not to my taste. But very good singers - Jayne Curry particularly excellent. Phil Collins Tribute, Rob Lewis also excellent. And a young man singing Big band hits/swing who again was excellent. Headliners, the on board company, did an excellent show Bars - you have a choice of everything from a "pub" - The Exchange. To the Bar Metropolis on Deck 19 (our personal favorite) Kids - very very well catered for. Over 700 on board and it never seemed like it. Did not see my Teen much at all, she went to Teen club on first night. made friends and was off. Great for me with my daughters medical needs, was they gave us a pager so that if she needed attention, they were able to contact us easily. Yes there were some kids being "badly behaved" But you get this everywhere and remember this is a family ship - noone should be complaining about children being on board. If you do not want kids around then go out of School Holidays, or to one of the Adult only ships Dress Codes - in the main this was adhered to. Was lovely to see the vast majority of people in their formal wear for the 2 nights - even most of the children. There were a few who chose not to follow the dress code, which was fine, but they stuck out more and were unable to use some of the bars that night. Staff for me these were the Highlight of the cruise. Kat, Rob and Jamie from the entertainment team were excellent Diogo our Steward was also excellent Prodip and Sangay our head waiters - simply superb Sohail and Arun our dinner waiters, were simply outstanding And Godip our wine waiter was just the best. A lot of the staff are employed out of Mumbai or Goa and they could totally teach staff in the UK a think or two about service with a smile. They work incredibly long hours, and yet still always found the time to be pleasant. The other Negative was I booked this cruise as Marco Pierre White was supposed to be on board to do some talks. Well he never turned up, and despite repeatedly asking, no-one could explain why. In fact most staff seemed to be oblivious to the fact he was supposed to be on board - so for me this was very very disappointing. We were however lucky enough to have Rachel Allen the well known Irish cook/baker on board. She gave a lovely talk, and also signed copies of her book for us all So I really enjoyed by first cruise, would any of the negatives stop me returning... No.......... I just would not booked a cruise to see M.P.W. again !! Read Less
Sail Date April 2013
Arrived in Southampton for my 1st Cruise and was just a little apprehensive. We were dealt with quickly and efficiently on check in and within an hour of our arrival we were onboard. The first impression of this huge ship was WOW! The ... Read More
Arrived in Southampton for my 1st Cruise and was just a little apprehensive. We were dealt with quickly and efficiently on check in and within an hour of our arrival we were onboard. The first impression of this huge ship was WOW! The staff onboard were attentive and welcoming and we made our way to the cabin we were allocated (last minute booking at an excellent price) B504 which was situated on deck 11 and was abalcony cabin on port side. This cabin was nicely furnished and presented and was very clean. It had a large hanging space with plenty of shelf storage and a small dressing area outside the shower room. All cabins have a safe which is free to use and once you have set your code you can store all valuables inside safely. Our Cabin steward, Cristo was excellent, very helpful and attentive making us animals from towels each evening when we returned to our cabin. The choice of places to eat are many and all food and choices are excellent to say the least. There are theme nights if you dont want to eat in your designated restaurant and everywhere we ate was faultless, In particular we ate in the Beach House restaurant (Back of ship) were admittance is limited so arrive there at 6.30pm to secure a place as the food is 1st class, some is with a small supplement but many items are at no additional cost.We ate there 3/4 times and our waiter Hamil was 1st class too even remembering on our return our likes and dislikes. I was very impressed as they were fully booked each night. The choice of entertainment is huge and there is something for everyone no matter what age you are. We had Rachel Allen onboard this trip and she held a question and answer session with signings of her new book. We never used the Spa which looked lovely but I personally felt it was a little expensive and they bombarded you with flyers as if desperate for you to go there. There was a well equipped Gym at the back of the spa, although I never used it many did. There are a few shops onboard, however, Duty free shop closed all trip and you had to make purchases ashore when you stopped. Costa Coffee shop service was appalling and the staffs attitude could be greatly improved no way anywhere near the level of service in the rest of the ship! Coffee with attitude served here, eventually!! We ordered on 1 occasion and were told *Too busy madam, come back a bit later*!!! Not impressed. Plenty of excursions in the ports but these too were expensive, however free shuttle buses to the shops much appreciated. All in all a fabulous 1st Cruise and would definitely do it again as soon as possible. Disembarkation...totally confusing with long delays. You book your choice of time at reception on ship a couple of nights before home and they notify you of where and when to go and be ready. We were packed into a bar for 45 minutes and kept being told we were delayed due to a bottle neck at the exit. Some people had flights to Scotland to get and were very distressed, nobody cared we were just told to wait. Eventually we all headed to the exit where there were no queues, no bottle necks and disembarked quickly without difficulty only to find in the luggage hall most of the luggage had been collected by passengers already left. So P and O you need to organise this better and it would be perfect! I would go again tomorrow and highly recommend it. Read Less
Sail Date April 2013
We booked the cruise through P&O and their after sales service was very good, the few questions we had were answered promptly, booking the shore excursions on line was easy and we did this in early December to make sure we got the ones ... Read More
We booked the cruise through P&O and their after sales service was very good, the few questions we had were answered promptly, booking the shore excursions on line was easy and we did this in early December to make sure we got the ones we wanted. For car parking we used CPS at Southampton and then got the train to Gatwick to fly out, this was easier for us on returning to the UK and the service we got from CPS was very good and we would recommend them. For money changing we used Travelex on line a few weeks before going, the rates onboard are not that good. There seemed some confusion onboard as to what currency was used where. The port guidance P&O issued for some ports said that it was the US Dollar whereas it was the Eastern Caribbean Dollar, though to be fair USD are accepted in most places but this confusion didn’t help as we had lots of ECD. The flight out was a Thompsons charter flight and we couldn’t fault the service, the crew were helpful, the food not bad for in flight catering and the drinks and snacks not too badly priced. Steer clear of the movies unless you take your own headphones, we couldn’t hear a thing. Also we book seats towards the back of the plane and the overhead lockers here are used by the crew. Embarkation was not good. We landed at about quarter to three in Barbados and didn’t get onboard until after 6. Perhaps the prior experience with NCL had soiled us but the process was very very slow with P&O seeming unable to cope with the number of passengers that were embarking, they must have know how many were coming? We were also only given one map of the ship between two with ‘not enough’ for one each, I presume we were supposed to get lost together or only the person with the map could get lost. We knew what to expect onboard as we had visited the ship on one of the open days that P&O hold. The bags made it from the Gatwick to the cabin without us seeing them, full marks to P&O for this service, the bags probably got onboard quicker than we did. After the two weeks onboard we still couldn’t fault how clean and well kept the ship was, the public areas are very busy on sea days but were spotless the next morning. For excursions we went to Grand Anse Beach which was a fantastic way to spend the first morning, the rainforest tour in St Lucia, this was interesting but you wont see much wildlife, swimming with Stingrays in Antigua which was very good, and a boat and coach tour in Tortola, well worth doing. Shopping was ok, duty free alcohol prices are good and if you want a drink in your cabin do not buy at Gatwick, wait until you get too the Caribbean, its much cheaper! Would we go back, well we’ve already booked for next year on the Azura as the Ventura isn’t coming back to Southampton and we liked the fact that we didn’t have to worry about shopping and weight restrictions when we were on holiday! Overall it was a great experience, a few gripes about the entertainment as are set out below but P&O work very hard to make your holiday complete. The entertainment was mixed. The bad points first; you have to get to a venue early for a show or act, nearly an hour early in some cases, and then the set is no longer than 40 minutes which leaves you then going to the next venue and waiting for an hour. This was even worse on formal nights as there seemed to be no purpose to dressing up, other than to dress up! We watched Headlines once and they were dire, the show was called ‘Relax’ and was set to 80’s music. Given the 80’s was one of the most diverse time musically and for dance a handful of songs with the same dance moves to them was little better than a school play. Of better quality was Steve Larkins as Mercury Rising, one of the best tribute acts we had seen. The Tom Jones impersonator was ok, though he seem more nervous than anything, Jimmy Love as Elton John was worth the wait. On the more variety/comedy side Matt Edwards did some good magic, Steve Tandy was pretty funny while Peter Piper was fantastic. Dynamite Grove did several turns and for a young group had a huge range of music, full credit to them, while Into the Drift were very slick and worth the listen. Overall the entertainment was well below what we had experienced on NCL but the waiting times and the short sets was the most frustrating and P&O should note not all of their passengers are over 70. For general entertainment on the sea days it was, again frustratingly, the same formula each day, we wanted to learn bridge but this started at 10 every morning, which meant we would have to get up at 8. Come one P&O, people are on holiday and how much effort would it take to move the times around a little! Bar prices onboard were good a round costing only 5p more than at home! The variety of drinks was more than wide enough and while we did some damage to the list of cocktails I’m not sure we finished them all. Shopping was ok though some prices were mind bogglingly high. They do special promotion days at sea and these are worth looking out for. We read mixed reviews about the dining before we left and we spoke to a few people who complained about the food while we were onboard, I can only presume they were eating somewhere we never found. The food was great, we ate in the Cinnamon Restaurant 3 times, and had one bad meal which was when my partner asked for the light choice to be served chicken and chips! Otherwise the food was excellent, East just about worth the cover charge, Las Ramblas (now gone) well worth the charge and the buffet restaurant we couldn’t fault. Chips and tomato sauce are just what you need at 1.30am, and we were the only ones to think that! I was amused to see some people fair sprint for the buffet when it opened, perhaps they were burning calories, but there is no need to hurry, we always got a seat and we ate well every meal, with the one exception, not bad for four meals a day for two weeks. As for the moaners, do you really eat better than that at home? The cabin was well laid out with ample storage. The pictures on the wall were of St Ives and we wondered if P&O put pictures on the wall where all the guests are from to make them feel at home. Our cabin steward, Cristos, was attentive but not in your face and he must have got fed up waiting for us to surface on sea days. The tea and coffee making facilities are good and well stocked, nice to have a brew when you want one. We had limited towel animals, 2 in two weeks, perhaps because we go up late we were being punished, but the cabin was always clean. The service was the best we have ever received any where we have been. We could not fault it. All of the crew were helpful, smiling and attentive, the Captain, a G&T man, was amusing, and clearly proud of his crew. We heard one passenger call them all useless as there were no spoons in the buffet one morning, we’d been at sea for 5 days at this point and I’m sure Columbus had these problems, and one chap at supper moaned about the service but we just couldn’t see it. Top marks here P&O.   Read Less
Sail Date March 2013
We were delighted with the way that our cases were taken from us in Manchester and didn't see them again until they arrived in our cabin, which was a Superior Deluxe outside on Deck D.The cabin steward was superb in looking after us ... Read More
We were delighted with the way that our cases were taken from us in Manchester and didn't see them again until they arrived in our cabin, which was a Superior Deluxe outside on Deck D.The cabin steward was superb in looking after us and ensuring we had everything we needed. He worked very hard and came into the cabin 2-3 times per day. However I got the impression that some of his customers didn't treat him as well as they could have done (more later about these types. We generally ate in the Saffron and Bay Tree and the service was both unhurried and very professional with our usual 2 waiters being absolutely brilliant. We thought the standard of food was very good indeed on every visit with plenty of choices available.We also used the self service a couple of lunchtimes and found the standard of food good, the only problem was in finding a table that was being reserved by people who wanted to eat by themselves. So selfish. The entertainment in all theatres and bars was very professional. We were particularly impressed with the resident Headliners Theatre Group who worked very hard to present 6 different shows during the 14 days. We also enjoyed the soul singer Clem Curtis, Tucker a great comedian, Gareth Oliver a superb comedian and ventriloquist,speaker John Lyons (from a Taste of Frost).We also enjoyed the daily quiz in the Exchange Pub after the main shows. We booked 8 trips with P & O to different islands and enjoyed them all. Yes you do pay a few pounds each for the trips but we felt they were well organised trips with a guide who explained all about their island. It was difficult to get a sunbed on the days the ship was at sea, because everyone was on board, but on days in port there was plenty available. The trips generally lasted up to 4 hours so you could lay in the sun in the afternoons. Our main complaint is against some of the cruisers on the ship.I have to stress that the majority of people were very nice and would talk or pass the day with you but there was a small minority who thought they were above most people and would insist on trying to outdo anyone with stories of how many times they have cruised or their villas in the south of France.They looked at people as if they had stepped on something in the road and they couldn't even speak to each other in a civil way.Then they would turn up on formal nights in their fifteen year old dresses and Tuxedos thinking they were the bees knees. They definitely introduced us to a new level of pompousness and snobbery that we have never witnessed before. They talked about P & O standards dropping, I presume they mean with these lower classes being allowed on board, but lets face it without these customers booking with P & O the ship wouldn't sail at all. Overall a very good holiday, a lovely ship, great entertainment and some lovely people. Just a shame about the snobs on board. Read Less
Sail Date February 2013
For a long time I tried to persuade my partner to go on a cruise to which got the same reply of that she didn't fancy it, well after to talking to lost of people in the restaurant that we run together we found that more and more ... Read More
For a long time I tried to persuade my partner to go on a cruise to which got the same reply of that she didn't fancy it, well after to talking to lost of people in the restaurant that we run together we found that more and more people were doing them, so eventually she said yes but only if she could have a balcony cabin, well the next day I was on the phone to a friend who I found out through facebook was working for a cruise company booking cruises, so I booked a 2 week cruise round the caribbean, we upgraded on the flight, and decided to set a date for our wedding so that the holiday would be our honeymoon, well the holiday was soon here, and after having trouble with the online booking service to reserve our seats on the plane, we found ourselves setting out to the airport in the early hours of the morning to be at the airport 4hours before the flight, didn't mind leaving early as was too excited to sleep, but the wait at the airport was boring, we were soon on the plane and enjoying the comforts of upgrading and the service was excellent, good food, lots to drink and ice cream, the only bad thing that whilst making my way to toilet i caught a ladies arm and she split hot tea on her at first everyone was a bit upset, but the stewardess made sure we was all OK and made us all fell better, felt really bad about what had happened, well we were landing in Barbados and we were ushered on to coaches and whisked out of the airport and on our way to the ship, no going through customs and not waiting around for suitcases, on arrival at dockside we were very efficiently checked in and given our cruise cards and were soon on board, we was amazed at the size of the ship, and how nice and clean it was on board, we soon found our room and was very happy with what we had been given, as my friend had been on the ship the previous year and had had a similar cabin, we deiced to investigate the ship and had a quick look round before heading back to our room to see if the cases had arrived so that we could get ready for dinner to which they arrived just in time, one thing we have learnt is that we will take a smaller case next time with a change of clothes and swim wear in as it would of been nice to freshen up and have a dip and get out of the tradition winter clothes, we ate most nights in the cinnamon restaurant and I`m amazed to read reviews that said the food was cold and not that appealing, I as a chef found the food to be hot and very appetizing, we were very fortunate to met a lovely couple and had dinner most nights with them, we sat at the same table and had the same set of waiters, who were very entertaining and was always happy to make our dinning experience good as my wife and Steve who we ate with both were fussy eaters, the buffet breakfast was very good and there was always a great selection of food, i did find it amazing that some people were moaning that tea and coffee was not served to you, you had to get it yourself, its a buffet restaurant that's the whole idea getting it yourself. waiter service round by the pools was very good and as was it in the shows am surprised to see that people had trouble in getting drinksThe shows were amazing we really enjoyed everyone of them. we could not fault anything with the cruise, the food the service everything was better than we expected, we can not wait to return next January. the only thing that was wrong was that we was expected during our stay to choose our seats on the plane going home and to pay another 30 per person to fly home considering that we had payed £500 to upgrade this was something i wasn't going to pay put for, so ended up sitting behind my wife coming home, but we didn't mind this. all in all was a fantastic time and would recommend cruising to anyone, my wife decide after only 1 day on board that she wants to do this again, and since returning we have now book another 2 cruises, we have also said that cruising is the only way to travel, no more hotel holidays for us and staying on one island for the duration of the holiday, There is nothing better than going to bed after a good day, good food and good entertainment, than waking up at a different island, the sea days were good and finding a sun bed isn't as bad as people say you might not get the ideal spot that you want but there will be a bed somewhere. and sea days are good chance to go to talks and to see more of the ship, or do some washing if you need to, on sea days on ventura the evening is a formal night, these were good really enjoyed dressing up, it just made it that bit more special. the photography teams on board were good too tho the price of the photos could be a bit cheaper as we found not a lot got bought and the photos that got displayed got thrown away, what a waste of paper. we did buy the encore book which was a great keep safe. hope that this is off some help. Happy cruising. Colin Read Less
Sail Date January 2013
Eastern Caribbean December 14- 28th 2013 This was our first cruise (we travelled with our daughters aged 21 & 16) Airport check in at Manchester, breezed through check in as we had opted for the Premium upgrade, bigger seats, good ... Read More
Eastern Caribbean December 14- 28th 2013 This was our first cruise (we travelled with our daughters aged 21 & 16) Airport check in at Manchester, breezed through check in as we had opted for the Premium upgrade, bigger seats, good food, free drinks, headphones & a goody bag...great start. We got off the plane and straight onto a waiting bus, no baggage to collect or immigration queues, just straight to the ship! Enjoyed the commentary from the bus driver too. Easy check in on the ship, quick photo and swipe of the credit card and on board. Cabins: We had outside balcony & inside cabins on C Deck. Both lovely and clean and we were well looked after by cabin stewards Lilybeth & Domnic. Nothing was too much trouble; both were really friendly and genuinely concerned that we had everything we needed. Baggage arrived at our cabin just before we had to go for our meal (informal on first night) we had toiletries in the cabin so managed showers before dinner. All areas of the ship looked clean. One or two looking a little bit tired in places, but on the whole nothing to complain about. We opted for the 8.30 sitting at dinner and were in the Bay Tree restaurant. Waiters were very efficient (almost too efficient sometimes, when dinner felt a bit rushed) It did slow down the second week to a more leisurely pace. I wonder if this is because the waiters here also have to work in the other bar areas during the evening. Food in the evening was to a good standard, portions sizes just right if you want 3 courses. Never managed to complete all 5! The menus were varied and wine prices were reasonable. We had opted to pre buy the Commodores package, it does work out a bit cheaper. Christmas day there was the full turkey dinner option or many other choices, hats & crackers etc on the tables made it more traditional. We mostly ate lunch and breakfast in Waterside which offered a very good choice of dishes, good quality, we tried afternoon tea once or twice too. Tables were cleaned and cleared quickly so no problem finding a table. They enforced the use of hand sanitizer, which given the recent norovirus outbreaks in the UK I was pleased that they did this. We dined in the White Room and East also. Both very good quality, worth the extra cost as the service is a bit more personal. Outside spaces & pools -- Only went in the adult pool near the spa, which was good it has the resistance option so you feel like your swimming against the tide, so can't comment on the other pools. They never really looked overly busy. Kids seem to enjoy them! I did have a bit of a fear of not getting a sunbed after reading reviews that people leaving towels on them all day but not turning up. It's obviously busier on the at sea days, but to be honest we never found it difficult to get 4 sunbeds together, and we didn't get up at the crack of dawn and put our towels on, we just went when we were ready and there were always beds available. That might be why you can barely get your foot in between them in some places. Guess that they do this so there are enough, but in some areas it did feel a bit close! Gym: Went 3 times during the two weeks, had intended to do more honest! Gym was well equipped, didn't really get too full, and was nice being on the treadmill looking out at the passing Caribbean islands! Bars/Entertainment -- We liked Red bar for pre dinner cocktails and champagne. Piano player was good in there too. Entertainment was ok..Nothing that outstanding, but it is a cruise ship. Freddie Mercury tribute act was good, even though I wasn't a fan of the real Freddie, this guy was quite entertaining. Also saw Headliners which were good. I admit to cringing when I've seen some of the sail away parties on DVDs but well you just have to join in when you are there. Neil Oliver the cruise director and his team did a really good job of making the sailaways fun. Shops: The essentials shop did sell just that...the things you may have forgotten, prices were more expensive than at home but not overly so. Jewellers did seem to have some good prices on things you can compare eg Watches. We had recently bought our daughter a watch for her 21st Birthday and could have got it on board around 20% cheaper...will know for next time. Perfume & Cosmetics shop didn't have a huge range but adequate. When it was time to leave, we packed our bags the night before left them outside the cabin and they were taken away and put on board, so again no luggage to check in, in fact no check in at the airport either, as you get your seat allocation and boarding cards for the plane while on board. It was a very efficient service, couldn't fault it at all. Would certainly cruise P&O again, in fact already booked for Dec 20th 2013 before we left the ship. Read Less
Sail Date December 2012
My husband, son (13 years) and I have just recently returned from a fantastic holiday aboard the Ventura sailing around the many beautiful islands of the Eastern Caribbean! Feel I need to write a review as we had such a wonderful time ... Read More
My husband, son (13 years) and I have just recently returned from a fantastic holiday aboard the Ventura sailing around the many beautiful islands of the Eastern Caribbean! Feel I need to write a review as we had such a wonderful time aboard this ship. Firstly, we flew with Thomson Airlines direct from Newcastle which was a treat being a direct flight of only 8.5 hours. The embarkation was very smooth and efficient and we weren't long exploring our home (ship) for the next two weeks. We found the Ventura to be very organised, clean with lots of helpful staff. Unfortunately there was a bout of Norovirus onboard as we embarked, but this situation was handled very well by P&O. Extra staff were in the buffet areas, where you were not allowed to handle any of the utensils. The staff served you. Antibacterial hand gel was strictly enforced, not only in the buffet, but in the main restaurants also. Within a couple of days, P&O advised there were no more reported cases of Norovirus and all usual facilities had resumed. Excellent points.... -Saffron Restaurant -- absolutely wonderful food (5 courses) each evening. My husband is a fussy eater. Here he always found such wonderful dishes on the menu. -Breakfast in the buffet. Always fully stocked even until late breakfast (around 11.30am) -East (Asian restaurant) -- we sat for lunch one day which we found to be very pleasant and enjoyable. -Ramblas (Tapas restaurant) -- again a pleasant treat with just a very small cover charge. -Drinks -- very reasonably priced including bottles of wine, which were enjoyed each evening at dinner. -The entertainment was fabulous in the Arena Theatre. We watched excellent comedians to a vocalist from the 'Foundations' in the 60's to the brilliant 'Headliners' Entertainment team. -We required a replacement bulb in our room. I called through to reception and within 5 minutes the maintenance team had it replaced. Overall, I would rate P&O 10/10. Mostly enjoyed and I will definitely book with this company again. We have sailed with Princess Cruises previously and find P&O to be just as good. Read Less
Sail Date December 2012
We left from Southampton had 3 days at sea then arrived in Madeira.This was followed by another 5 days at sea to then arrive in the BVI Tortola .Each day then in another island, Antigua, St Lucia, Grenada and finally ending in Barbados.We ... Read More
We left from Southampton had 3 days at sea then arrived in Madeira.This was followed by another 5 days at sea to then arrive in the BVI Tortola .Each day then in another island, Antigua, St Lucia, Grenada and finally ending in Barbados.We had at cabin B 755 overlooking the stern which was fabulous watching the wake of the ship and star gazing at night. The ship was very busy , 3000+ clients, so sometimes there were not enough seats to watch the show in the Arena theatre so some people had to finish 2nd sitting dinner early in order to get a seat. The sunbeds were incerdibly close together in som eplaces but there were probably enough, not all in the shade though. The Captains cocktail party was a farce as it was held in the Atrium so ther were 1500 peole attending .I did not speak to anyone as it was so squished , you could hardly hold your drink, so I didn't think that was very well planned. The trips we went on in Tortola and Antigua and Grenada were all very goo and value for money and in St Lucia, we found a tour on this website who were excellent. Weather was hot ,showers at times but soon disappeared.Fodd was very good and waiters were excellent and we had a great time. Read Less
Sail Date November 2012
We booked this cruise 10 months in advance because of cost and destinations. The size of the ship was at first daunting but we quickly aclimatised. All staff were very efficient from the time of checking in to disembarkation and flight ... Read More
We booked this cruise 10 months in advance because of cost and destinations. The size of the ship was at first daunting but we quickly aclimatised. All staff were very efficient from the time of checking in to disembarkation and flight home from Barbados. it was the first time we had a cabin with a balcony and we just loved it. We spent many an hour, particularly when we wanted to escape the crowds on deck, on our balcony. Having the balcony gave us more choices of what to do with our day whether on deck, on shore or lazing with a glass of wine in the privacy of our balcony. The only negative comment is that the bathroom smelt of damp cloth all the time. We reported it but nothing was ever done about it. Live shows were fantastic and of the highest quality. The meals served in all the restuarants, we attended, were supurb. The crowds, particularly at lunchtime, that gathered in the buffet restuarants were not too bad provided you had the patience to wait for a table. We never had to wait long for food or a table. The only negative comment in this regard would be towards those selfish passengers who after completing their meal would continue to sit and chat or read their books. We chose 2nd sitting for supper at a table for 6 and what a pleasure this was. Meeting and comparing notes every evening with well travelled and fun people. Overall I am ready for my next cruise. Well done P&O! Read Less
Sail Date November 2012
My wife and I booked a mini-suite balcony cabin for a 21 night 'positioning cruise' aboard the P&O's MS Ventura from Southampton to the East Caribbean, calling at Funchal, Tortola, Antigua, St Lucia, Grenada, Dominica, ... Read More
My wife and I booked a mini-suite balcony cabin for a 21 night 'positioning cruise' aboard the P&O's MS Ventura from Southampton to the East Caribbean, calling at Funchal, Tortola, Antigua, St Lucia, Grenada, Dominica, St Kitts and Barbados, from where we flew home. This was our first ever cruise and the experience exceeded our expectations in every way. As well as visits to the ports of call these are 10 things that we liked about the being on board: (1) The construction quality of the ship, built by Fincantieri at Malfalcone in Italy at shipyards that began by producing ships for the Austrian Empire before WWI. We liked the non-slip hardwood decks and the sturdy doors and fittings. (2) The interior decor. A lot of thought has gone in to the choice of carpeting and artwork in communal areas. In the cabin there are large fluffy white bath towels, large blue beach towels, smart tea cups and elegant glasses that don't crack when you pour boiling water into them (to de-chlorinate the tap water). (3) Buffet breakfast. There is a fabulous choice! In addition to traditional bacon & eggs, you can choose from healthy options such as muesli, yoghurt and ripe ready-to-eat fruit. Haddock poached in milk is available on request. To wash it all down there is proper Twinings breakfast tea, a preferable choice to the barely drinkable coffee. We enjoyed sitting at a table outside at the stern of the ship. (4) Lunch in the Saffron restaurant was our favourite meal. I enjoyed changing in to long trousers and a shirt and sitting at a table for two near a window. Chef TREVOR GLASS, his name understated in small typeface on the menu, is the unsung hero of the ship. What tremendous choices, and all prepared from scratch by a kitchen crew working 3 shifts a day. No deep-freeze to microwave food here! I loved the traditional British dishes like proper steak and kidney pudding, and sponge puddings with custard. The chef has a mercifully light touch with salt and sugar, and presentation was appetisingly beautiful. I enjoyed rediscovering English cheeses, and trying out English wines. We also enjoyed the first dinner sitting at a table for 8 in the Saffron, and enjoyed wines such as Pocket Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough from New Zealand (£17.50), an unexpected Alios Tempranillo/Touriga Campanila from Brazil (£14.25) and from Spain, a red Co Vines Tempranillo Uriel Requ'na (£12). (5) The romantic atmosphere of the Pierre White restaurant: outdoor seating overlooking the wake of the ship, soft Frank Sinatra music, the gentle hum of the ship's engine and unobtrusive service. The pleasure came from the unique atmosphere rather than from the meal itself. (6) Our Indian waiters Gulam & Kunal and cabin steward Manuel. There is a long, historical mutual respect and affection between Indian service staff and customers. Ours were kind, attentive and friendly. (7) Formal nights. They were good fun! When I promenaded around the ship I felt as if I was an extra in a James Bond movie! It's pure fantasy! My wife enjoyed buying some new outfits for the cruise, while I went to a larger branch of Marks & Spencer and spent £59 on a dinner suit, £27 for a pack of 3 white shirts and £10 for a bow tie. The Caribbean-themed evening was also tremendous fun, with our friendly Indian waiters similarly dressed in garishly colourful Hawaiian shirts (8) On-board Entertainment. The seats in the 784 seat Arena theatre are admirably comfortable for films and shows. The Headliners Dance Company put on more than half a dozen excellent performances and sang along live rather than lip-sync. They are accompanied by live music from the multi-talented Ventura Orchestra. These were full-scale productions, complete with dry ice, laser beams & pyrotechnics. The legendary 72 year old Jamaican-born Jimmy James also entertained us with his hit songs like 'Now is the Time' and 'I'll go where the music takes me'. I enjoyed 2 of the 3 comedians, especially Essex-born Tucker. Tribute singers entertained with Elton John, Sting & George Michael hits in the Havana bar, and a classical pianist did some classy afternoon recitals in the Tamarind Bar (9) The Gym, sauna, steam room and jacuzzis. We were delighted to make daily use of state of the art Technogym exercise equipment at no extra cost. There are excellent saunas and steam rooms in the changing rooms, kept at optimum temperature from 8.00am to 8.00pm. We enjoyed the open air jacuzzis by the Oasis pool as well as the ones where the sail-away parties took place. (10) Our fellow Passengers. Everybody was on their best behaviour. We enjoyed the convivial company and delightful regional accents of ordinary working people drawn from all over the England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland. There were some great tattoos on men and women alike! Read Less
Sail Date November 2012
Firstly, the myths others have written : 1. You can take alcohol onboard as long as it is not excessive. We had no problem and appreciated this mature approach - but the bar prices for beer are the same as UK bar prices anyway. 2. ... Read More
Firstly, the myths others have written : 1. You can take alcohol onboard as long as it is not excessive. We had no problem and appreciated this mature approach - but the bar prices for beer are the same as UK bar prices anyway. 2. There are men's and women's steam rooms and sauna in the changing areas. There is also a posh steam room at a cost - we never found it nor needed it. 3. There is a Sky News channel and a BBC World News channel on your cabin tv- both worked fine all the way from the UK and around the Caribbean. Secondly, the holiday: This was our first time on the Ventura, and after a bit of hanging around at Southampton terminal, once on board the immediate impression was of slick service; our cases arrived very quickly as did some drinks we ordered for delivery to the cabin. Cabins are comfortable and well designed. We had a basic outside cabin and it had more storage space than most ships we have travelled in. The beds are fine although the pillows are not brilliant (but we are quite fussy about pillows!) The in-room fridge is really useful and there are tea/coffee making facilities with supplies topped up every day. There is an interactive tv system which has a few free and some pay-for films to suit most tastes. Food is a big part of cruising and there is plenty of choice on the Ventura. On most ships our preference would always be to use the main dining room and be waiter served, but here we found this experience a bit disappointing. This was not so much the food as the service - it was efficient enough, but (with a few exceptions) waiters were not friendly or willing to engage with diners. Breakfast was served at a very leisurely pace in these main dining rooms making it almost impossible to use on port days if you wanted to get off the ship at an early hour for trips, etc. Overall the main restaurants were perfectly adequate and efficient with good (and some very good) food, however there was no real flair here, compared with ships that cater for non-British customers. The 'Waterside' buffet restaurant was very popular at all mealtimes - it has an excellent choice of food and is expertly managed, tables are cleared constantly so that there's always somewhere to sit. There is also the 'Beach House' open at all mealtimes which was more 'American diner' in its style of food, but you have to queue from 6.30 each evening to reserve a table here. You can get decent pizzas, hot dogs and burgers around the pool deck throughout the day. We didn't try the speciality Asian or Marco Pierre White restaurants as they had a cover charge for menus which didn't look like good value to us, but fellow passengers seemed to like the Asian one. Entertainment on board is as per the standard fare for most cruise ships. The onboard entertainment team does well at sailaways and for themed parties etc and the 'Headliners' song/dance troupe put on some good shows in the theatre and the Ventura band were the best we have seen on a ship. The staging is worthy of mention too; very West End in some cases! We had a few different comedians and some tribute acts who were all pretty poor in comparison. In the daytime, we did get showings of Premiership football games and the Grand Prix live in the pub-style Exchange bar, which were very popular. The gym facilities are excellent - plenty of modern equipment and regular fitness classes (although many have a supplement to pay). On sunny sea days there is a bit of a scrabble for sun loungers, but no worse than in many hotels around the world. The pools are lovely and the Oasis pool has a small wave machine for a bit of extra exercise! Most of the staff are very friendly and appreciate a thank you and/or a little chat. There a few exceptions to this, and sadly I'd include the Cruise Director who certainly doesn't seem to have any passenger liaison aspects to his particular job description. His job seems to consist of reading out a few daily activities over the tannoy, hanging around the bars in the evening talking to his own staff and popping up at the end of theatre shows to take some credit. Read the other Cruise Critic reviews Huey - they're true. If you're not planning to book any P+O organised trips then don't waste your time talking to the Shore Excursions team. We tried a few times to get a bit of information from them about good beaches to visit, but were met with surly and rude responses each time. Useless. Likewise, if you see anyone from the Spa team around the ship make sure you smile and speak to them, but don't expect any response. At the other end of the spectrum, not one of the full-time staff, but definitely an asset to the ship was Byron, who was there to help passengers get the most from their shopping in ports of call. Very friendly and approachable on and off the ship, Byron went out of his way to get information, source items and help to get the best price possible on expensive jewellery items. There are a few design features that felt odd about this ship - for example, the lack of a proper walking/running deck. The Promenade deck is a halfway house - going up and down steps to get right around it, which constantly interrupt your flow. There are also very few public areas on board that have any natural light, where you can sit and read for example, when the weather is not so good. And having the main 'picture window' bar at the back of the ship instead of the crows nest style at the front meant we never used it. It's a reflection of the family friendly holiday that it aims to provide I guess, but Ventura feels more like an hotel than a ship - with most things running around mealtimes, including port arrival times (8am earliest). We missed things like captain's information about the sailing (there is a noon announcement but it's a bit 'thin' - on a 'sea day' would it really kill the Captain to make ad hoc announcements of interest like "we are passing St Vincent and later today we will pass X and Y"). While the TV maps are all very modern, perhaps add a real map in the library like you get on the Oriana for example, that plot your route in detail. When it's time to leave, disembarkation is very smooth - with around 6 flights all leaving on the same day and immigration procedures to complete on board ship, this was very well managed. Overall, we had an excellent holiday - expect the equivalent of a nice 4 star hotel experience and you'll find there's not too much wrong with the Ventura! Read Less
Sail Date November 2012
Sailed from Southampton to The Caribbean on a 19 day cruise, and have I to say was very impressed with this ship, there was something is always going on! With twelve places to eat, including three main restaurants, as well as a wine bar, a ... Read More
Sailed from Southampton to The Caribbean on a 19 day cruise, and have I to say was very impressed with this ship, there was something is always going on! With twelve places to eat, including three main restaurants, as well as a wine bar, a fine dining restaurant by Marco Pierre White, and a dedicated family restaurant where you can dine whenever you choose, day or night. You'll also find twelve places to drink, fantastic children's clubs, a lavish two-deck theatre and a tranquil spa, not to mention many quieter places to simply relax. It makes the 5 day sail across the Atlantic to the Caribbean very enjoyable, the ship was very clean and the crew was very friendly, the food was some of the best we have had on all of our cruises, cabin was very nice, a nice size, and balcony was also a good size, the cabin girl was really friendly, keeping our ice bucket filled constantly, turning down our bed every night and leaving cute towel animals on our bed, chocolates on the pillows every night, and nothing was too much for her, The shows were very good, compared to what I have seen on other ships. and the pool parties were great, was onboard over Halloween, so enjoyed the halloween pool party, drinks and cocktails were a good price, on par with what you would pay in the pubs back home, and the staff were very relaxed about taking your own drink on board, the Caribbean was lovely as always, been a few times now, particularly liked Barbados, and their lovely rum cake, I would definitely go on this ship again Read Less
Sail Date October 2012
After an excellent Weekend visiting Longleat House and Safari Park we traveled to Holiday Inn Express which in our opinion is betterthan Premier In Although further from the Port. We arrived at the port at 10-30 there was a delay and we ... Read More
After an excellent Weekend visiting Longleat House and Safari Park we traveled to Holiday Inn Express which in our opinion is betterthan Premier In Although further from the Port. We arrived at the port at 10-30 there was a delay and we were lined up in car park for 30 minutes. After this we had an excellent embarkation. Stateroom was available as soon as we had lunch We were in P340 which is accessable with a wet room, Inside but next toCosta Coffee, very central. Dinner companions were a delight!!! They put up with Ann being fed her Dinner (this has put some people off in the past and they never returned to the table) Food was very good throughout the cruise both in dining room and waterside. The ENTERTAINMENT WAS A GOOD MIX OF musicals type shows by the HEADLINERS and cabaret singers and classical music. There were many children on board, many more than you would expect in Term time. Read Less
Sail Date September 2012
We were all looking forward to our cruise, and it certainly did not disappoint! The ship was fantastic in the main, and the facilities excellent. We normally holiday in the UK in Bournemouth or Centre Parcs and was worried about some of ... Read More
We were all looking forward to our cruise, and it certainly did not disappoint! The ship was fantastic in the main, and the facilities excellent. We normally holiday in the UK in Bournemouth or Centre Parcs and was worried about some of the negative reviews about CHAVS and Butlins at sea. However I found the fellow cruisers to be not at all like that. I would book the cruise again today if they were to repeat it, however I have checked and they are not, not even in 2013! We chose Freedom Dining and were allocated Cinnamon. The food was excellent in the main dining room, and the service was very good. I chose Gluten Free meals and in Cinnamon the request was well taken care of, the head waiter taking my order each night for the following day to allow the chef to prepare it in advance. I researched on here before we went and was glad to have discovered afternoon tea, really enjoyed it on the ship, again gluten free sandwiches, and some cakes too! Although the buffets served a purpose when returning from shore I would always have eaten in Cinnamon given a choice as I found it much nicer food, just wish we had been around to try lunch in Cinnamon too. The cocktails we had were nice, however I found if you went to the bar directly the strength of the cocktail increased remarkably compared to ordering it from your sun lounger! We travelled independently to Bruges using Ronys Taxi, it cost only 95 euros for 7 of us return and was amazing value compared to the tours, and dropped us straight to the market place. They were reasonably prompt however the driver on the return drove far too fast, if anyone uses Ronys Taxi and the driver number is 00066 be afraid, very afraid! We all felt relieved to be back at the ship. Le Havre was much better than we expected, the weather made it being around 30 degrees. We got the shuttle to town which was quick and easy, and spent some hours around the beach which was really nice. Great choice of beach bars where we enjoyed several drinks. Guernsey was great for a few hours too we walked to Castle Cornet, and around St Peters Port again the weather made it, not a cloud in sight and around 30 degrees again. Our cabin was spotlessly clean, James the steward kept nipping in, changing towels, making the beds up, it seemed like he checked it nearly every time we left it. I was concerned about our cabin allocation, we got allocated D123 first, and I got it changed due to the many bad reviews of that cabin for noise, however we were certainly no better in E116 and we got woken numerous times the last two nights with staff bounding up the staff metal stairway that was next to our cabin. I reported it in the morning the first time, but they were a bit dismissive as I had not rang them as the noise was occurring. I did not want to wake my daughter up however the first night. The night manager came down the second night as I called reception, and explained the problem, its a main route to the bridge apparently for crew. It was really noisy shoes clanking up and down metal steps. He offered to move us but since it was 11.30pm final night thought it would be less disruptive to stay put as was not looking forward to a 6 hour drive after a changing cabin. That was the only real negative to a wonderful holiday however. I will follow it up with P and O. Read Less
Sail Date July 2012
My mother-in-law is a keen cruiser and decided to introduce her grand-children to cruise-culture by booking a 16 night Eastern Med cruise for three generations of her family. As any sort of 'package' holiday or Center-Parcs-style ... Read More
My mother-in-law is a keen cruiser and decided to introduce her grand-children to cruise-culture by booking a 16 night Eastern Med cruise for three generations of her family. As any sort of 'package' holiday or Center-Parcs-style experience is anathema to me, I really did not expect to enjoy it. This was reinforced by many of the reviews of the 'Butlin's-at-sea' type on this and other sites. I am pleased to say that my prejudices were largely unfounded and I find myself back on dry-land, sadly missing the whole experience! Embarkation was very easy, although it should be noted that suits in bags are must be taken on board yourself, as they are not taken by the porters. We turned up a little early and were on the boat within an hour or our arrival by car at the docks. The kids immediately dug into the buffet although I was, for the only time on the cruise, not feeling hungry due to slight sea-sickness (while still in port - oh dear!). Cabins were available after a further hour and luggage turned up well before we left the dock. As soon as the ship started to move, all untoward motion seemed to stop and I was completely unaffected after that. The cabin (deck 12, outside) was fine, with a dinky shower/toilet room and twin beds which we had pushed together to form a double that evening. There had been slight confusion over the booking but this was easily smoothed over. The balcony was just big enough for two to stretch out but we managed to fit in 5 for late-night drinks. The carpets are probably ripe for replacement (some stains visible) but had obviously been cleaned as well as possible and the decor was in reasonable order. I understand the ship is being re-fitted in March 2013 so this will probably be sorted out then. We fell into a routine of pre-dinner drinks, usually in Metropolis, Deck 18, at the rear, where views over the ocean (with occasional whales) were lovely. The Atrium and Red Bar were also used but were smaller and sometimes too full for our party. Cocktails seemed to be of a slightly higher standard in Metropolis and came a little more quickly here too, although staff were efficient in all bars. The duo that played most nights, Into the Drift, were a friendly pair of accomplished musicians who knew their audiences well and were happy to play arrangements of modern stuff for the kids. I saw little of the rest of the entertainers but my mother-in-law lapped it all up! Food was the main pleasure on the boat. I expected to have to eat in White's to get decent quality (paying extra for the privilege) but in the end did not bother. In the evening, freedom dining in Cinnamon was of a very good hotel standard, with many more 'hits' than 'misses'. Poached eggs always had runny yolks; steaks were always cooked as requested (even blue) and squid was lovely and soft. After one try in the buffets, I avoided them, as being too crowded and noisy, with distinctly worse food. The wine-service was a little erratic, with orders being taken before choosing food and then not arriving until after the starters. However, the choice, quality and pricing was pretty good, especially with the packages on offer. Make sure you ask for the Stilton after the meal, as this was not always advertised although many of the other British cheeses were very good and nearly always served warm. For mornings, I nearly always went to Saffron, where cooked breakfasts were excellent. The choice of fruit and pastries was, however, better, in the buffets. Chefs specials were nice but could range in size from tiny (corn beef hash) to huge (kedgeree). Lunch was also nice in this restaurant, with a curry of the day option popular with the kids. I was disappointed to find that, with so many Indian staff on board, curries were under-spiced and unadventurous, with few chutneys, no raita etc. Afternoon tea was the universal favourite meal, taken at 4pm with a choice of teas, scones with clotted cream, crumpets, teacakes and several delicious freshly baked varieties of freshly-baked cakes. This was always good-humoured, with tables of older children coming to enjoy the ceremony, as well many of the more elderly passengers and families. We did try Ramblas Tapas one lunchtime and it was excellent, for a few pounds more. I did not try any of the organised activities, mainly because I needed to visit the gym everyday to lose weight! This facility was heavily used for the first two days of the voyage and then nearly empty after that and it had everything I needed. TV coverage of the Olympics was sporadic and usually focused on obscure events with no GB interest. The 'Butlin's' style elements of the cruise intruded from time-to-time (discos until 12 on the upper decks, crowds of kids in the pools, vastly obese people cramming food in the buffets, teen-scene at night) but it was entirely possible to get away from this in the restaurants, internal bars and other quiet public spaces. It really felt like two cultures being entertained separately with little friction; our teenage children probably enjoyed the livelier side of things while the adults relaxed, ate and chatted in peace. The 'British' atmosphere on the boat was actually pleasant, and contrasted nicely with the ports we visited. The staff were always efficient and polite and sometimes genuinely friendly, despite long hours and low pay. We were happy to pay the automatic tips and a little extra for especially good service. So, overall, an unexpectedly good experience, which I might repeat in a few years. If doing it again, I would avoid July/August if possible, mainly because of the heat whilst onland but would be happy to cruise P&O and Ventura again. Read Less
Sail Date July 2012
We stayed overnight the Premier Inn at Southampton. On Sunday morning we went down to the docks and had the first site of the Ventura which seemed absolutely enormous. We were immediately directed to an area where our car was booked in and ... Read More
We stayed overnight the Premier Inn at Southampton. On Sunday morning we went down to the docks and had the first site of the Ventura which seemed absolutely enormous. We were immediately directed to an area where our car was booked in and the luggage taken by a porter, after the car keys were handed over the car was taken by CPS to a secure car park. We entered the embarkation lounge and we were given a card with a letter K and sat down to wait our turn which soon came then after booking in and having our photo taken we joined the queue to board the ship and were soon eating a lovely buffet lunch on board while waiting for our cabins to be ready. The call soon came to say they were ready and we went off to find it and were pleasantly surprised to see our luggage already inside and waiting for us. We had cabin C609 which was midships and had a balcony. The cabin was very clean but a little smaller than we imagined. The balconies on C deck are larger than the others and there was plenty of room to stretch on the two reclining chairs with footstools. The ship is enormous and we did get lost several times whilst on board but handily we had been given a map of the ship along with our cruise card which is used to pay for all goods and services on board along with being our cabin key. We mainly dined in the freedom restaurant on board which was Cinnamon and found the food to be excellent every time. We aren't used to dining in posh restaurants and didn't know if we would like it but we were soon put at ease. We asked the maitre d' for a table for two and he gave us a lovely table which we asked for every night and after a couple of days he remembered us and happily waved us straight to our preferred table. We did notice that some tables for two were on bench seats which were a little low so we were glad we hadn't been shown to one of them. Freedom dining is just that, you can choose the time you want to eat but we went more or less the same time every night. The waiters were very friendly and eager to please and make sure we had everything we wanted. A particular mention goes to our wine waiter Neil and food waiters Dominic and Sachin they were absolutely marvellous we can't praise them enough. Even though we had £40 each deducted for tips we gladly gave them an envelope each with a little extra to show our gratitude. The service in the restaurant was like a well oiled machine plenty of staff on duty all had their particular jobs and knew exactly what to do and the service was very quick. We went to the Ramblas Spanish restaurant one night and paid a supplement but were a little disappointed by the meal so didn't go back, we also went to the Beach House restaurant which is waiter service at night with a more traditional menu and although it was ok we missed the fine food in the main dining room. There were 4 formal nights which most people observed the rest were smart casual with a couple of themed nights. i.e. Black and white and Tropical. For breakfast and lunch we mainly used the buffet restaurant which was fine and we always managed to find a table. On a few occasions we ordered continental breakfast for our cabin to have on the balcony which was nice, we also had snacks a couple of times from room service and it was always good. We noticed in the buffet that there were always plenty of staff on duty and they were very busy clearing tables immediately they became vacant and keeping things generally clean and tidy. Our cabin steward was friendly and when asked if we could have ice and lemon she brought us some every day. The cabin was kept really nice and tidy as she came in twice a day to make beds and clean etc. We spent a lot of time sunbathing on deck and could generally find a sunbed although not always right beside the pool but that wasn't a problem. There are four pools on board with bars and the waiters will bring drinks to you at your sunbed while you relax. The bars on board are all waiter service but there are plenty of waiters around and we never had long to wait for a drink. We went to a few shows in the various venues, all of which were very good especially the musicals. The shore excursions were again very well organised and very enjoyable with local guides who always managed to make it enjoyable. The end of the holiday came all too soon and the disembarkation was as smooth as the embarkation, we had a card with a time when we could embark this was done with the minimum of effort and we wondered how on earth we would find our luggage amongst that of 3,000 other passengers but again P&O had obviously done it all before and the luggage was put in deck order so we just had to find the luggage from deck C and there it was waiting for us. Overall the cruise was marvellous, we would love to go again and wouldn't hesitate to use P&O and recommend it to others. Read Less
Sail Date June 2012
We drove down the day before and stayed overnight on a cruise package at the De Vere Grand Harbour, which included bed & breakfast and 15 nights parking with port transfers by taxi, and it provided very acceptable 4 star accommodation ... Read More
We drove down the day before and stayed overnight on a cruise package at the De Vere Grand Harbour, which included bed & breakfast and 15 nights parking with port transfers by taxi, and it provided very acceptable 4 star accommodation in an accessible room. This was our first cruise on Ventura but we have sailed on a couple of similar sisters, Azura as well as Emerald Princess, so we knew our way round quite well. The main difference between Ventura and Azura is that the former has one of its main pools covered, whilst the latter has the sea screen above one of its pools. As this was an Iceland & Fjords cruise the covered pool was especially beneficial as it allowed us to feel that we were on deck when it was too cold to be out on an open deck. Other than that Ventura has the same public rooms as Azura but they are named differently and the decor has also been changed. As regards decor our favourite area was Ramblas, this is a Spanish themed speciality bar and restaurant serving Tapas as well as 3 course Spanish meals for a very reasonable surcharge, and the food is quite good as well. Havana is the nightclub style venue, here we thought the solid dividers between the tiers restricted the view of the stage area from the upper tiered seats, from memory I think that on Azura these have been changed to a see through glass type. However there are plenty of wide screen TVs set into the ceiling which give you a fairly good view of the stage area. We ate mainly in the MDR and never had a poor meal, some menus are more tempting than others, but you can always find something to enjoy. We ate once in the White Room and thoroughly enjoyed the food and the experience, despite the fairly rough seas,. I think the charge is a bit excessive,if it had been more reasonable we would probably have gone back again, particularly as the menu changes for the second week of the cruise. The buffet was generally crowded but we were normally always able to find a table even it meant sharing. We also ate one evening in the waiter service American diner, which by day is part of the Beach House buffet. This was the evening we sailed back down the fjord from Olden, you will have to queue to get a window seat when it opens at 6:30, but for any scenic daylight cruising the views are worthwhile. The MDR waiters and wine waiters were attentive but unobtrusive. The only minor criticism we had in the buffet section was that the slatted wooden tables in the covered pool area often had food debris between the slats, but I suspect this is because they are more difficult to wipe clean than the solid topped ones. Other than that the service was the usual high standard. The entertainment was typical P&O fare, the headliners were excellent as usual, and we also enjoyed the Elton John tribute and Chilli Gold, but we skipped the comedians. We also went to a couple of interesting talks on cruising and cruise ships from Anthony Cooke who has a very pleasant presentation technique, I was pleasantly surprised to enjoy these talks and I will try sampling other ones in future. We had an accessible balcony cabin on Riviera deck identical in all respects to the one we had on Azura last August. The facilities and layout of these cabins are excellent, the only additional item we had requested was a shower chair, which my wife uses at the washbasin, otherwise everything was provided, plenty of grab handles in the bathroom and a drop down shower stool. The extra space these cabins provide make it easy to manoeuvre a wheelchair, this is very useful especially in rough seas when my wife finds it impossible to walk around the cabin. Our cabin steward was as usual very efficient and provided any little extras that we requested. These cabins are adjacent to the forward lifts but there was absolutely no noise from the lifts, and to be honest very little noise from passing passengers either. Perhaps one area that P&O might look to improve is in the cost of their accessible tours, I appreciate that small mini buses with only about 6 or 8 passengers will be more expensive to hire than the normal coaches, but we have a Celebrity cruise booked for September and they appear to include wheelchair passengers in their normal shore excursions and at reasonable costs, albeit only for a small number of tours, so it will be interesting to make a comparison. However P&O do provide free shuttles in ports that need them, on this trip Dublin, Reykjavik, Bergen and Zeebrugge, they also try to offer an accessible shuttle but they never give a guarantee, but on this cruise there were accessible vehicles at the 4 shuttle ports; however for wheelchair users if you are able to board a normal coach on foot, and put your chair in the luggage bay, this will be much more convenient, they normally only have one accessible vehicle, and you can wait quite some time between its trips. The other ports, Akureyri in Iceland, Alesund, Olden and Stavanger, the ship berthed almost in the town centre. These four ports were relatively easy for wheelchair users, but there were cobbled sections and some steep inclines, and not everywhere had good quality dropped pavements, but we managed with our manual wheelchair. For early June we had reasonable weather on this cruise, Iceland was very sunny and it was quite warm in Akureyri, in Norway Olden had the best weather, very sunny and almost hot by afternoon. There was also some sunshine in Stavanger and Zeebrugge, and even in Alesund and Bergen where it was cooler there was very little wind and it was dry; only in Dublin did it rain, but Ireland is not called the emerald for nothing. So take clothing to allow you to dress in layers and just hope you can remove some. Read Less
Sail Date June 2012
We usually cruise with Thomson but being a little fed up with hanging around in airports we decided to take a cruise from Southampton. We arranged parking in the port car-park, first mistake as we were in a queue for sometime waiting our ... Read More
We usually cruise with Thomson but being a little fed up with hanging around in airports we decided to take a cruise from Southampton. We arranged parking in the port car-park, first mistake as we were in a queue for sometime waiting our turn to unload our suitcases. The departure lounge was absolutely full standing room only and as i had failed to book as a disabled passenger (second mistake) it seemed we were in for a very uncomfortable time. Luckily i was identified as a person needing assistance and was whisked through onto the ship. The cabin C308 deck 10 was not the largest we have had but was entirely suitable for our needs plenty of hanging space more than adequate drawers. The safe was free to use (charge on Thomson) and the balcony was wider than the balconies on any of the other decks with a shaded area or a full sun area. I didn't think we would have much use for the balcony as we were going to Iceland and Norway. How wrong I was the weather was mainly hot and the balcony was well used. The shower was OK pretty much standard for a ship. What we did like was the in cabin tea and coffee making facilities that are not present on Thomson's ships, also we could have breakfast in our cabin at no extra cost. The one drawback was our cabin was opposite a service doorway which could be noisy early in the morning. Luckily we had booked freedom dining and i would not have been happy with having a set dining time i had to keep to as this could seriously affect our ability to watch the evening entertainment. We barely used the buffets because they were very busy and seating was limited. Sometimes we had to wait for a table in the restaurant used for Freedom Dining but the quality of the food compensated for a little inconvenience. Not being ones to dress up a lot we were thinking that maybe there would be to much formality, how wrong we were some people made an effort to dress smart casual but others looked like they'd had nothing but Shorts and Tee Shirts in their wardrobe. The entertainment was not always to our liking and some of the comedians were not very funny in fact were diabolical but generally we enjoyed most of what was on offer and there was always something else to do if a particular show was not your cup of tea. There was a good variety of afternoon films on show in the theatre on the sea days. The excursions were as overpriced as usual and not having found them always good value for money in the past we are now very selective on the ones we take preferring to make our own way around the at our own pace, using the shuttle buses or taxis where needed. All in all we enjoyed the cruise immensely and will definitely cruise again on the Ventura Read Less
Sail Date June 2012
just got back from the Norwegian Fjiord cruise. This was my second cruise in the company of my two sisters one of whom is severely disabled and confined to a wheelchair. The cabin was a balcony suite with disabled facilities which were ... Read More
just got back from the Norwegian Fjiord cruise. This was my second cruise in the company of my two sisters one of whom is severely disabled and confined to a wheelchair. The cabin was a balcony suite with disabled facilities which were ideal for our needs. The Butler Dheeraj and our cabin steward Surrendra were fantastic and could not do enough to meet our needs. Surrendra especially went over and above his duties to ensure our comfort. All the waiting staff whether in the waterside,other restaurants, bars etc were friendly and helpful, I cannot understand those who complain that they are surly and unfriendly, perhaps they respond to being treated as equals and not as servants, as we found them all to be friendly if addressed in the proper manner. The food was as usual superb, in all the dining experiences. The fjiords were picturesque but mostly the waterfalls were still frozen so we did not quite see the at their best.Also it was very cold when off the ship. I have always wanted to see the fjiords from my schooldays, now i have but i must say i prefer the sun. The entertainment was very good. The Headliners put on a great show.The comediens were good, The Freddie Mercury tribute was good as well as hilarious and guest speaker Sue Holderness from "Only Fools and Horses" was excellent Only one complaint,our luggage should have been in the priority disembarkation area, it was'nt and it took 30 minutes to find it in a vast hall full of suitcases, not easy. Read Less
Sail Date May 2012
AS SOON AS WE ARRIVED AT SOUTHAMPTON DOCKS OUR FAMILY HOLIDAY BEGAN. AS SOON AS I PULLED INTO THE DOCKS AT SOUTHAMPTON, A VERY FRIENDLY GENTLEMAN GREETED US, HE REQUESTED WE OFF LOAD ALL OUT BAGGAGE. ALL OUR CASES WERE TAKEN FROM US ... Read More
AS SOON AS WE ARRIVED AT SOUTHAMPTON DOCKS OUR FAMILY HOLIDAY BEGAN. AS SOON AS I PULLED INTO THE DOCKS AT SOUTHAMPTON, A VERY FRIENDLY GENTLEMAN GREETED US, HE REQUESTED WE OFF LOAD ALL OUT BAGGAGE. ALL OUR CASES WERE TAKEN FROM US STRAIGHT AWAY, HE THEN ASKED FOR MY CAR KEYS AND HE DROVE MY CAR TO THE OVERSTAY CAR PARK. We walked into the arrival lounge, sat there for 30 minutes then we were being called to go on the ship! So much better than an airport when you have two children aged 4 and 11. This cruise ship is amazing for families with young children. My husband and I have two daughters aged 4 and 11. The childrens clubs are amazing. Both our children couldn't wait to go every day. Young children up to the age of 8 have their own indoor soft play area in the theme of Noddy, Noddy is on the ship aswell and they had a noddy welcome party and he joined the children to watch Noddy movies and eat ice cream. Our older daughter enjoyed pool parties everyday with her club and enjoyed lots of games and competitions whilst on board Both our children made lots of friends whilst on holiday, the staff were amazing with both our daughters. In the afternoon there was noddy tea time during 5-6.30pm in the waterside restaurant and all the food was children food. Both our girls looked forward to going to dinner every evening. My husband and I both relaxed on this holiday, seeing our children having so much fun made us both very happy. You can stay with the younger children in the clubs but by the end of the holiday our 4 year old didn't worry if we were there or not because she was having so much fun and made lots of friends! All the bars on the ship would give me milk in the evening for our youngest daughter without any charge. This ship made us feel so welcome with our young children. The interior of this ship is beautiful, there are lots of bars, restaurant and entertainment to keep you busy. We visited the Norweigan Fjords during our cruise and even thought the weather was a little cold the places that we visited were so beautiful. Would definately recommend this ship to families. Thank you P&O Cruises for making our holiday so amazing, your staff were excellent and the ship is brilliant. Can't wait to cruise on this ship again! Read Less
Sail Date May 2012
Before I do a general overview of the cruise here is some useful information. The Inside cabin: The room was big enough to have two single beds pushed together to make a large kingsize bed yet there was still 18 inches either side to ... Read More
Before I do a general overview of the cruise here is some useful information. The Inside cabin: The room was big enough to have two single beds pushed together to make a large kingsize bed yet there was still 18 inches either side to get around the bed. There is small amount of light entering the room through the door air vent so it is not pitch black. The room has a hairdryer and tea and coffee making facilities which are refilled a couple of times a day and there are also biscuits. The water from the tap in the bathroom is drinkable and we saved our 2 small bottles to refill with tap water to take to the sunbeds with us. You can buy small bottle of water for 80p or large bottles of spring water from Costa Coffee on deck 5. The bathroom is not huge but is functional and has enough room to move around. You also get towels for sunbeds so you don't need to take them with you. You store your cases under the beds and there is plenty of room Laundry and ironing: Not sure if this applies to all decks but there was washing and drying facilities on deck 11 which also has 2 ironing boards and steam irons. Shops: There are several shops on deck 6 and 7 midships near the atrium which sell clothes including Tuxedo jackets and dickie bows. You can buy paracetemol and tummy tablets etc and toiletries. There are jewellers on board with various kinds of jewelry and watches. Costa coffee is on deck 5 and has similar prices to home and don't forget to get your free piece of cake. Dining: When we booked 10 weeks before departure we opted for freedom dining but when we arrived we were allocated places on a table for 8 on second sitting. Apparently freedom dining was over subscribed so we could not have this option they did however put us on a table of 8 on first sitting in the Bay Tree when we requested a change and we had lovely company. What we did not realise is that if you opt for freedom dining you can only use this option in the cinnamon restaurant. Our cruise experience. We used the CPS parking at the dockside at Southampton and the service was quick and efficient and cost £148 for 2 weeks. Having only been on one previous cruise on Island Star a few years ago we did not know what to expect. This cruise experience it has to be said was a cut above. The room was bigger and more comfortable the food in the restaurants was excellent although I have to admit that I felt the beach house and waterfront restaurants were a bun fight so we tried to avoid these after the first couple of days and had breakfast and lunch in the Saffron which was far more pleasant. The five course menu in the evening offered 3 choices of starter, 2 choices of soup, 5 choices of main course and 3 choices of sweet plus cheese and biscuits and coffee. After finishing dinner at 8pm we went to watch several of the shows in the Arena theatre . The Headliner theatre group put on some lovely shows of west end quality which lasted 45 mins. A couple of comedy shows including Mark Walker were excellent and his impressions of Liam Gallager and Billy Connelly were very funny. To ensure you get a seat make sure that you get to the theatre at least 20 mins before the show starts because they fill up quickly and the ship was under capacity by 400 passengers. First port of call was Cadiz on Day 4 which was a lovely town but to be honest we did not need to use the open top bus to get around it. As you come out of the gate there was an information desk with a useful map and it is easy to walk around. The second stop was Barcelona and again we did the Green route open top bus tour which takes around 70 mins but this is mainly due to stop start heavy traffic. Parc Guell was a nice place to see but be warned that where you get off the open top bus it is approximately 400 yds to walk up a fairly steep incline and free entry. Saw La Sagrada Familiar from the bus and it was very busy around the area. We then went onto the cathedral and Las Ramblas which was nice to walk around. Third Stop was Ville Franche which we had to land by Tender. This was quite efficient and we only had to wait 20 mins. Once there we picked up a map from the information desk and asked the ladies for directions to the bus for Nice. This is a 10 minute walk up hill to the bus stop. The number 100 runs apx every 15 mins and costs one euro. There are information screens on the bus showing where you are, we did not get off at the first bus stop but at the terminus which was one stop later and in the centre of Niece. Journey time is about 20 mins and you get the same bus back. A taxi will cost you 35 Euro each way. Nice is nice but not cheap. A 500ml bottle of coke from a news stand was 2.8 euro, a coffee and a beer on the promenade was 8.8 Euro. I liked Ville Franche it's a very pretty town. Stop 4 Civitavecchia Having done Rome before we stayed on the boat here. Stop 5 Livorno We did not do Pisa or Florence as again we had done this before but we did visit the town and it was pleasant to walk around the indoor market and have a coffee in one of the squares. From the shuttle bus drop off point it was about a 10-15 minute walk to the centre. Stop 6 Alicante This was a pleasant place to visit with a nice beach area and centre. Had a look around the modern art gallery which was free to enter and was quite interesting. Some nice buildings to see and the town is easy to walk around. Stop 7 Gibralter. Had a walk into Gibralter for some Duty Free alcohol and it is much cheaper than on the ship. The main street seemed to go on forever with Perfume, jewelry and duty free shops all over the place. To summarise we really enjoyed our cruise on Ventura and would certainly consider this trip in the future. Our cabin Steward Mack on deck 11 was wonderful and really took care of us. The drinks are reasonably priced and the entertainment and nightly quizzes were great fun. The holiday was made more special by the lovely people we met, including Ian ,Ann, Roz , Lisa, Vic and Val. Must not forget Jo from the entertainment team nice girl with a BIG personality. Some Technical Info The ship uses 96 gallons of fuel per mile at 17.8 Knots and can carry 3200 tonnes of fuel on board which is enough to travel 8400 miles. Our cruise was apx 4500 miles which mean we must have used over 400000 gallons of fuel so if you are bothered about your carbon footprint ????????. Ventura makes its own water from Seawater and can store 3 million litres in its 12 tanks. Read Less
Sail Date May 2012
We took the family (children and grandchildren) on to Ventura to celebrate our Ruby Wedding and we can't speak highly enough of the ship, facilities and friendliness of the crew. Our cabin was bright, spacious and well tended for ... Read More
We took the family (children and grandchildren) on to Ventura to celebrate our Ruby Wedding and we can't speak highly enough of the ship, facilities and friendliness of the crew. Our cabin was bright, spacious and well tended for the entire voyage, and in the restaurant our waiter Costa, couldn't have been more helpful and attentive. The food was excellent, and the only problem was that we had to make a choice!! The children's facilities were also excellent and the team of leaders are to be congratulated - especially in the 5 - 8 group, where they managed to keep two very active boys happily occupied all day. The night nursery was a real bonus, which meant that the six adults in our party could have dinner and a show each evening knowing the (4) children were asleep and cared for. This was our third time on board Ventura, and she lived up to expectations yet again. Thanks to lovely Captain Charlie Smith and his crew for another superb holiday. Read Less
Sail Date May 2012
From the minute we stepped on the Eavesway coach from Preston we experienced first class service! The staff on Ventura were absolutely fantastic ALWAYS happy, polite, efficient and eager to be of service, such a refreshing change from the ... Read More
From the minute we stepped on the Eavesway coach from Preston we experienced first class service! The staff on Ventura were absolutely fantastic ALWAYS happy, polite, efficient and eager to be of service, such a refreshing change from the usual British service! Our cabin was spotless, and perfectly adequate, our cabin steward John made sure it remained so throughout our cruise. We opted for Freedom dining which meant that we sat with different people each meal, this was perfect for us and we had the pleasure of meeting lots of very nice and interesting people. The food was always beautifully presented, there was always a good choice of menu and it was always delicious! The only real criticism was the price of ordinary lager. The only draught lager was Stella Artois which my husband dislikes and so he had to settle for cans of lager which proved very expensive.....a 330ml can of carlsberg cost £3.50...that meant a pint cost £7.00 which was really quite outrageous when compared to Stella which cost half of that! The wines were nice, I drank Bili Bili Shiraz which was lovely and cost £17.95 per bottle, which is probably comparable to British restaurant prices. The entertainment on offer was very good, and the cinema offered some excellent films on the days we were at sea. We didn't use the pools because the weather wasn't brilliant but there was always plenty to do so that was no great hardship. Apparently there were about 700 children on board but the kids clubs must have been excellent because it never felt as if there were many children on board.....and those that we saw were very well behaved! Of the places we visited, our favourites were Monte Carlo and Barcelona. I had looked forward to our tour of the Vatican on Easter Saturday but unfortunately it was so busy and overcrowded we were just pushed along with the crowds and not allowed to stop and browse the beautiful art work.....there was actually no enjoyment, it was all just too uncomfortable! I think most passengers were surprised and disappointed that our stopover in Cadiz was suddenly changed to Gibralter.....we're still not sure about why the decision was made...apparently it had something to do with paying VAT if we did not visit a non EU country ???? All in all we had a fantastic time on the beautiful Ventura, and despite the few negative comments, we really loved our time on the cruise and will certainly be cruising with P&O again....in fact we have already paid our deposit! Read Less
Sail Date April 2012
I was looking forward to the cruise, but was feeling very apprehensive given some of the reviews criticising the ship for various failings. I needn't have worried! Cleanliness - our cabin and the public areas of the ship...spotless. ... Read More
I was looking forward to the cruise, but was feeling very apprehensive given some of the reviews criticising the ship for various failings. I needn't have worried! Cleanliness - our cabin and the public areas of the ship...spotless. Our cabin was roomy and well equipped, the steward, Savio was a dream, very efficient and helpful. Food -EXCELLENT! plenty of choice, well presented and full of flavour! If you didn't like what was offered there were the buffet and select dining options. Our waiters little Eric and Jessaly were attentive, pleasant, full of smiles and enjoyed showing us their magic tricks at the end of the meal. Entertainment was BRILLIANT just like the west end! The Headliners - P & O's own theatre troop were out of this world, full of energy and talent. They proved so popolar that they eventually had to perform 3 shows in an evening, no mean feat! A special mention must go to Clem Curtis, one of the Foundations, that performed as a guest artiste. All the entertainment team were there watching him, a standing ovation all round! Organised trips were good and overall were good value for money. One change to the Itinary was that we stopped at Ponta Delgada not Tenerife, a move welcomed by most of the passengers. Drinks in the bar were very reasonable, cocktails were delicious and generous. One thing that we were anxious about before the cruise was the issue of shhhh children. No problems here at all. There were plenty of activities for them and their was an adults only pool too! My advice would be to have second sitting as I didn't see any children in our restaurant...The Saffron. Some people moaned about the ship but IMHO would have moaned about anything. So to sum up Ventura is a big ship , but had peronal small ship attention to detail. Interesting point Captain Charlie Carr was very people orientated and made time to walk around the ship every day talking to the passengers. Good ship with a good captain. We will cruise with P & O again, my only concern... can it be as good? Read Less
Sail Date March 2012
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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