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1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2011
Extremely busy at embarkation terminal, arrived at around 2.30pm and expected to be in there for ages, but P and O seem to have mastered this to near perfection, we were checked in and on board at 3.15pm. Cabin as usual was clean ... Read More
Extremely busy at embarkation terminal, arrived at around 2.30pm and expected to be in there for ages, but P and O seem to have mastered this to near perfection, we were checked in and on board at 3.15pm. Cabin as usual was clean and well presented. Disappointed to find a note from the restaurant manager, advising we could not have freedom dining as we originally requested due to overbooking, and we were put on second sitting at 8.45pm which for us is too late. However there are many other dining options available of which we used. Food everywhere is of good quality Ship was full to capacity but did not at anytime feel overcrowded, no long queues for anything. Bar staff all polite and serving drinks at your table. In fact all of the staff were courteous and very helpful as appears to be the norm for P and O in our experience, Victor, our cabin steward was extremely good, probably the best one so far. Ships facilities are very good, shows and entertainment day and night, with plenty of bars and lounges. ports of call were Le Havre which was OK, quiet but it was Sunday. La Rochelle in France is simply stunning, a beautiful harbour town with cafes and bars spilling out onto the streets. Bilbao, hmmm not for us but we are not the City types. La Coruna, again a very nice place with lots of shops within easy walking distance of the ship Weather was a bit disappointing with only 2 days out of the 7 having sunshine, but overall a great break and looking forward to the next one!! Read Less
Sail Date: May 2011
After unpacking we requested iced water, only to be told it was no longer served in the cabin. How strange and penny pinching.The bad points first. In the Bay Tree restaurant, portions definitely cut down in size. Cheese board pathetic. ... Read More
After unpacking we requested iced water, only to be told it was no longer served in the cabin. How strange and penny pinching.The bad points first. In the Bay Tree restaurant, portions definitely cut down in size. Cheese board pathetic. virtually no selection, no celery or grapes and given bits not pieces, most embarrassing.We later found out that Stilton was available but it was kept a secret If you didn't fancy the main course, you could not have an alternative. no steaks any more. Ice cream, three tiny little scoops served in a very small dish.Breakfast at Waterside, food generally fine, but annoyingly on numerous occasions there would be no cups, no glasses, no spoons, when complaining no one seemed particularly interested.Came on this boat last year, and entertainment, whilst still decent, not as good.We only booked a week before and found it exceptional value, but would not have been happy had we paid the regular price.Obviously P&O are trying to keep costs down whilst struggling with inflation, unfortunately it is noticeable how standards have fallen.WE still had a thoroughly enjoyable cruise, and would sail on Ventura again providing the price was attractive. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2011
This was our third trip with P&O, our second on Ventura, previously Xmas 2010 which followed Azura in May 2010. I posted a full review of both trips on here for those interested. Ventura met our expectations again, based on our ... Read More
This was our third trip with P&O, our second on Ventura, previously Xmas 2010 which followed Azura in May 2010. I posted a full review of both trips on here for those interested. Ventura met our expectations again, based on our previous trip 4 months previous. We travelled as a party of 4 in 2 cabins: - 3 adults in the 40-50 age group and our Mum in her late 70s who is a part time wheelchair user. Embarkation: We arrived at 11.45, car swiftly taken off our hands by CPS and we were on board within 30 minutes having lunch in the buffet. Cabin: A standard balcony cabin on C deck. These have the larger balconies which are twice the depth of those featured by standard balcony cabins on other decks. We didn't mind the fact that half the balcony is visible to those above as you still have the overhang of the deck above which shades the rear half from view if some privacy is required. We would definitely choose a C deck cabin again if available. The interior of the cabin was identical to that on Azura the previous year (we had a superior deluxe cabin on D deck on our Xmas Ventura trip but didn't feel the price difference on this trip justified it). The inside of our cabin was kept very clean by our invisible cabin steward who we saw only once when she introduced herself. Not an issue for us but I know some prefer a more personable cabin steward. We did note the balcony wasn't clean on boarding and wasn't cleaned at all during the trip, either the interior part or the outside glass and could have done with a good deep clean. On our Xmas cruise they advised on some mornings which sections of the balconies would be cleaned each day but there didn't seem to be any balcony cleaning at all on this cruise. However we were so pleased with the size of the balcony that we forgave this. Food: We ate in the buffet for breakfast each day. Again a good choice which suited all our preferences including Quorn bacon and Quorn sausages to order for our Veggie member. Can't really fault the breakfasts at all apart from saying that some things could have been warmer on occasion. Lunch was also mainly in the buffet with most of us choosing from the large salad range. A couple of us had burgers or pizzas from the places by the pool which were always reliable and freshly cooked. Most cruises, and Ventura too, receive criticism for having too little space to sit in the buffet. We always found a space but maybe not in the section we would prefer. I've said it before that the people who complain about not being able to find a seat seem to be the same ones who hug their third cup of tea after finishing their meal for an eternity instead of making way for others or they are the couples who sit at a table for 8 instead of walking a few yards further and sitting at a smaller table. We chose Freedom Dining in the Cinnamon Restaurant again and ate there on 12 of the 14 nights. We thought the MDR food on Ventura at Xmas was very good and better than on Azura and we thought that on this trip it had notched up even further. A really good choice of selections on the menu and a good separate Vegetarian menu to pre-select for the following night. Out of the 12 nights we were seated immediately on a table for four on 10 of them with a buzzer being given on the other 2 nights with waits of 5 mins and 15 mins which was pretty good. This allowed us to plan to dine around our choice of entertainment. Having now experienced freedom dining 3 times on P&O I have to say the flexibility means we would always choose this option. However, I do believe there is a trade off in terms of the service. This can be very variable with some waiters looking quite fed up and quite a difference some nights in terms of the speed of the meal being delivered: anything from 1 hour to 2 ½ hours dependant on the waiter so it was hard to predict. On one night we sat with our empty soup bowls on the table for 25 minutes before I had to find the head waiter to get things moving again as our waiters seemed to have vanished. I would describe the service as functional rather than great. I do think that in Club Dining the waiter is encouraged to go the extra mile in order to secure their tips and maybe achieve more than the recommended tip from a passenger with whom they have built up a relationship. We hear about the little personal touches Club Dining waiters offer and how they get to know your preferences. On freedom dining a set tip is assured (unless you go to Reception to adjust it) so they simply don't have the same incentive to offer more than a functional level of service. After all why should one waiter offer a higher level of service when his less enthusiastic colleague will receive the same share of the tips? I'm not sure what the answer is here apart from better management of the waiters. On RCI's equivalent of freedom dining the waiters were superb in every respect, always smiling and incredibly helpful and personable. As I said we would still choose freedom dining over Club dining to allow us more flexibility but I do feel that the service could be better overall. We dined in the Beachcomber Diner one night which was a nice change and offered a good choice of freshly cooked food and was very busy. We also ate in the White Room to celebrate a birthday. Overall we were a bit disappointed with MPWs eatery. The service was ok but not as good as on our previous visit or as good as in Seventeen on Azura and it was a shame the menu was the same as it was 4 months previous. My Mother was not too pleased upon ordering a dessert to be told by the waiter 'are you sure as there are a lot of calories in that'! Maybe something got lost in translation but it's not what a woman wants to hear. Also Veggies note that small appetisers are served but they don't have any for veggies and the desserts are not marked as vegetarian and this took quite a bit of persistence to get accurate answers about whether they were vegetarian or not. I think as we all thought the food in the MDR was so good when we compared it with our evening in the White Room this led us to decide we would not visit it again. Nice to try but we were not overwhelmed. We didnt eat in the East restaurant as the Veggie options were not great. Entertainment: This cruise had the best entertainment of our 3 P&O cruises. Daytime activities were again varied and offered a packed programme however the main difference was the Headliners Shows. Previously we had become tired of the 'West End Show' description given to the Headliners on Azura and our previous Ventura cruise as we felt they never quite hit the spot and could be a bit cringeworthy. Many disagreed but mainly those of a certain age. However we were told that we were the first to experience 3 of the new shows on this cruise and that the headliners were a new group of professionals that had been put together. We were handed a program detailing the experience of the performers and it was clear this was no amateur group. The result was amazing: Superb voices, great dancing, professional sets and costumes and excellent productions. Their shows became increasingly more popular and the 8.30 performance required people to start queuing up to an hour or so early to ensure a seat. We only went to the 7pm shows and always found a seat with ease. If P&O are going to roll this new style out across the fleet then they are going to start gaining a very good reputation for quality shows. They put on a total of 6 shows. We had seen one before, Destination Dance, on Azura last year and all four of us didn't like it at all. It felt a bit like seeing an Amateur Dramatic production, however the same show performed by these guys was amazing. Such good dancers and singers and the sound was superb. We did find it strange that Hughie Taylor the Cruise Director was quite invisible. He only appeared for some Arena shows and didn't introduce the Captains Welcome Speech at the time we attended. At the Great British Sailaway his job entailed handing flags out rather than being part of the main entertainment team which was a little strange. I think he is possibly suited more to a smaller ship without the cross section of ages on Ventura. Most of the other acts we had experienced previously. I'm not sure how often they rotate their acts but I would be pretty miffed if we booked another cruise with P&O in the next year or so and came across the same group of singers and comedians yet again. However I would have to say we could watch Jimmy Love as Elton John any day. We have to mention Laura from the Entertainment team who had us in stiches on numerous occasions with her accent (when calling number 66 during bingo it became 'sexty sex' for example). Her quizzes were equally funny. Bars: We really like the choice of bars on Ventura each one offering a different ambience and you could always find somewhere to sit somewhere onboard. Drinks prices remain very reasonable although we did note draught lager and some cocktails have increased in prices since Dec 2010. Not by a lot but an increase nonetheless. Bar service is generally superb. Ports of Call: I'm not going to go into a description of each port as this can be quite subjective and is covered in the ports of call section on this site. However I want to mention a new one to us: Valencia. Even the Captain had not been here before. We decided that we had seen enough history on our cruise and planned a trip to the Oceanographic Aquarium. This is part of a recent development of the old riverbed (La Ciudad de las Artes y de las Ciencias ) and the modern architecture is amazing. We took a taxi from the ship to the Aquarium and as it didn't open for an hour we walked around the area and were stunned by the buildings. It looks like something from a Sci-Fi film. The Aquarium was great too (the biggest in Europe) and we spent 3 hours in total exploring including watching the Dolphin Shop in the Amphitheatre before taking a taxi back. We worked out that in the end we only saved about £8 each off the cost of the ships' trip to the Aquarium so some may prefer to plump for this especially if you are only splitting the taxi fare a couple of ways. The Aquarium is amazingly disabled friendly with lifts everywhere down to the underwater tanks and tunnels. There are a few niggles in this review however this is really us being nit-picky. We still really like Ventura and still prefer it over Azura. We prefer the mix of passengers. Ventura is constantly being knocked as 'Butlins at Sea' which is very unfair and I feel this comes from passengers who don't really want to mix with children or younger people and perhaps are of a certain age and more suited to one of P&Os more traditional or adult only ships. On both Ventura cruises we have been on the age range has been wide although as this was a term time holiday it still must have averaged in the mid-50s. Because of this wider mix of ages we feel Ventura has a more relaxed feel whereas we found Azura to be a little snobby at times. We like dressing up for dinner with the best of them however we also want to be able to relax and enjoy our holiday as well and there were a nice bunch of people on this cruise with fewer of the 'old moaners' we encountered on Azura (sorry about the choice of description but you may know what I mean). We were told by the Captain that this cruise had over 1200 people new to cruising onboard which seemed a very high figure so P&O must be doing well attracting this number of new cruisers. Ventura does most things very well. It doesn't excel at many but neither does it disappoint much too and for us she continues to be our choice for a reliable mass market cruise. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2011
Our itinerary was Southampton to Zeebrugge (For Bruges) and return to Southampton. 25th to 27th March 2011.Booked through a cruise agent we had used before and no problems on this. However on all the documentation I received there was no ... Read More
Our itinerary was Southampton to Zeebrugge (For Bruges) and return to Southampton. 25th to 27th March 2011.Booked through a cruise agent we had used before and no problems on this. However on all the documentation I received there was no indication which berth, at Southampton, the Ventura sailed from. A few years ago when sailing from Southampton with P&O we always left from the Mayflower Terminal (Dock Gate 10), good job I phoned to check beforehand as the Ventura sailed from Ocean Terminal Dock Gate 4 !! Other passengers I spoke to had to enquire also.Embarkation: No problem with porters taking luggage from car as soon as I arrived and parking car in short term car park adjacent to the terminal was hassle free. On entering the embarkation hall just after 2pm (the advertised opening time) we were greeted by a mass of passengers all waiting to be checked in. We were given a coloured card with a letter denomination and had to wait for our card identification to be called before we could advance to check in. Green E was being called on arrival and we were Red B. (green & red cards only issued so you can do the maths to work out the anticipated waiting time). We waited approx. 1hr.Checking in: Very easy, except we were informed we had a cabin upgrade from C deck to B deck, but it was just the same outside with balcony status. Seeing that our suitcase had been taken from us on arrival and was tagged with our original cabin number on C deck, I asked whether there would be a problem in delivering the luggage to our new allocated cabin. We were informed it should be OK as they have a system of cross referencing things.On Board: Great looking ship, no complaints with accommodation, food and waiting staff. On board entertainment in the evening was very good. However, getting back to the suitcase: our cabin steward asked if we had received our luggage and on seeing we had not and eventually grasping the circumstances (Language difficulty) he said he would chase. 1hr later still no luggage, so phoned reception to query as we ideally wanted a fresh change of clothes for dinner at 6.30pm. They would check. After a further hour, visited reception to query again, as we only had 30 mins to go before dinner. They said they would check and do a 'deck sweep.Needless to say we had to go to dinner in the clothes we travelled in.I checked outside the cabin we had originally bee allocated on C deck but could not find case, even checked the stray case area, allocated to missing cases, but still no joy. Eventually at 8.45pm our case arrived. 5 and three quarter hours after arriving on board. My assumption is they do NOT have a good system for cross checking of information on luggage appertaining to late cabin changes such as ours!!!Arrival at Zeebrugge: We wanted to do our own thing, getting to Bruges, a Taxi would cost EUR 45 to 50 each way, which is a bit steep. We opted to use the free shuttle into Blankenberge (20 mins) and just behind the drop off point in the town is the Railway station. Trains to Bruges once per hour, takes 15 mins. and only cost EUR 3.60 return per person. From the station at Bruges it is a 15 min leisurely walk into the centre of the city.On return train journey you have to be careful as the incoming train is quite a long one and they split the train, the front half goes elsewhere and 3 mins later the back half takes you back to Blankenberge. So watch out for this!!!As mentioned previously no problems encountered with anything else on board we had a really nice time.Disembarkation: In a nutshell a complete shambles. In my years of cruising I have not encountered anything so bad.Options were- you could leave with your luggage after breakfast from 8.30am > 10.30am as you wished, alternatively you could leave your luggage outside the cabin late in the evening before disembarkation, which would be collected and placed shore side and you would be called off the ship in 30 min slots depending on which colour disembarkation cards you were allocated. (THEY LIKE TO USE COLOURED CARDS).Cabin had to be vacated at 8am re new cruise preparation, we had breakfast, and by 9am waited in one of the lounges to be called off at 9.30am as indicated in the information leaflets we had been given. We were aware there may have been a slight delay as we were 20 mins late berthing at Southampton.However apart from an announcement saying were were coming alongside and being 20mins late there was no other announcements about disembarkation at all and all the 'card' holders in waiting were getting very frustrated when they saw there allocated time slot passing by.What the staff did not realise was the huge influx of passengers wanting to leave the ship with their own luggage and instead of an assumed even spread, they all wanted to get off at the same time completely overwhelming the system and jamming up the corridors and stairwells (passengers and bulky luggage). After waiting 40 mins past our allocated slot we joined the queue with the baggage lot and after a further 20 mins got off the ship. Low and behold our case was waiting in the baggage area for us to pick up.I just wonder how long the other passengers on board had to wait for their turn to be announced. As I said from berthing to us getting off not one announcement was made re disembarkation.To summarise : Cruise Excellent, Embarkation; Fair, Disembarkation; Disastrous Read Less
Sail Date: December 2010
After 25 years of me choosing the holidays, I thought it fair that my husband could choose this time. He suggested a Caribbean cruise and whilst I wasn't actually overjoyed at the suggestion' I agreed. After various ... Read More
After 25 years of me choosing the holidays, I thought it fair that my husband could choose this time. He suggested a Caribbean cruise and whilst I wasn't actually overjoyed at the suggestion' I agreed. After various weather-related traumas in the journey to get to Manchester airport and having to be 'de-iced' before we could fly to Barbados, our flight was very smooth and uneventful. The fact that we got straight onto a coach from the plane and then the smooth operation of going through customs etc at the ships side was excellent. We located our cabin quite easily. It was smaller than it appears on the website but was plenty big enough for what we needed it for. It was clean, comfortable and our Cabin Steward Edwin was very polite and helpful. The ship is lovely, quite easy to navigate around and I never at any point felt that there were 3000 passengers on with us. We chose selective dining which I was a bit unsure about(I was worried that we would be dining with people we just didn't connect with) nothing could be further from the truth as the 3 other couples we shared our table with (table 124 Bay Tree Restaurant you know who you are) were some of the loveliest people we have ever met and for me they made the time on the ship so pleasurable as we giggled our way through every evening meal. The service in this restaurant was excellent and the food on the whole was also first class. We tended to have our breakfast in The Waterside (self service buffet)good quality and plenty of options. On 3 occasions we had a room service breakfast which made a lovely change sitting on our balcony. We spent a romantic dinner for 2 in The White Room, which was very special (at a cost of £20 a head plus drinks). But the best meal by far was when we went as a table to the fusion restaurant of East, absolutely delicious and excellent service. (This costs £15 a head). Our favourite bar was The Tamarind Club which had different vocalists and we often went to watch different shows in the theatre. A highlight of the entertainment was Clem Curtis of the Foundations (Build me up buttercup) who at aged 70 can still get an audience on their feet dancing. Unfortunately our days at sea weather was quite iffy so we spent very little time sunbathing on deck, however on the couple of times we did sunbathe, while there isn't an abundance of sun-loungers we didn't have a lot of trouble finding some. OK my husband was right I did love cruising, although I wouldn't want to cruise every year. The highlights of the ship were definitely our fellow diners and I also enjoyed the sail aways from each port. We never actually went to the sail away parties up on deck but sat with a glass of wine on our balcony as the lovely Ventura quietly sailed from yet another beautiful island leaving us with even more lovely memories and watching the sun set on yet another perfect day. Our final port was St Lucia. Very picturesque but I don't think there was much to keep you in the port. So we hired a mini bus with 3 other couples and after a couple of viewpoint stops that had craft stalls at them we made our way for a wonderful viewing station overlooking the mighty Pitons (a volcano that over time has formed two peaks). We also witnessed the devastation that was caused by the hurricane they suffered in November where landslides took away huge parts of mountain sides and washed away a family of 6 and their house. Nothing has ever been found. We also visited Marigot Bay which is a beautiful beach, that is quintessentially Caribbean. WEATHER - Mainly sunny with clouds. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2010
Our flight to Barbados was with Thomsons & we had booked premier class we were very happy with the flight & service. Had read that premier class was not worth the extra money but we felt the £99.00 each way represented good value ... Read More
Our flight to Barbados was with Thomsons & we had booked premier class we were very happy with the flight & service. Had read that premier class was not worth the extra money but we felt the £99.00 each way represented good value for money, with only 35 seats in premier it was much quieter and felt less cramped the service was very good, good choice of entertainment blankets & pillows provided along with a small amenity pack.Despite the snow our flight left slightly early. Really nice to leave your luggage at Manchester and not have to collect it in Barbados.check in staff at Manchester very strict on weight allowance, we saw people having to repack and throw things away just for being 1kg over weight. Couldn't believe how big Ventura was when we first saw her. We were on one of the last coaches from the airport so had to wait for a while in the immigration sheds at Barbados. Found our cabin easily and surprisingly we found our way around the ship without too many problems. I found it helpful to remember that if I was on brown coloured carpet I was at the front of the ship, red mid ship & grey rear of the ship. Very happy with our cabin mid ship on deck ten C deck, no noise or vibration and C deck have double size balconies half of which is shaded and private and half that you can enjoy some sunbathing on although this part is overlooked. Decent size cabin clean & comfortable with tea & coffee making facilities replenished daily.We had requested a double bed & found this a bit uncomfortable as it was two singles joined together. Powerful shower complimentary shower gel, shampoo conditioner & body lotion provided. We had chosen freedom dining & found this worked well for us we prefer to eat early & were allocated a table for two whenever requested. Had breakfast & lunch in the Saffron food & service very good. Tried the buffet at breakfast & lunch on a couple of occasions & while the food was good sometimes the tables, trays & cutlery were not as clean as they could have been. In the evening we went to either the Cinnamon or the Beach House the service in the Beach House was very good. The entertainment was mixed some good some not so good but there is so much choice I think most people would find something that they would enjoy. Captain Hamish Reid was was, friendly & entertained people on a daily basis with his dry sense of humour. All the public areas were clean, bright & modern & ventura is a lovely ship. The majority of the crew were kind & helpful. We met people from all walks of life & found everyone to be friendly & there just to enjoy their own holiday. The sail away parties were fun especially when other ships were leaving port around the same time.With the exception of the weather which was poor at times we could not fault all that Ventura offered.Would I cruise again no but that had nothing to do with Ventura cruising was simply not for me although we had calm seas I did not enjoy the movement of the ship & will probably not cruise again. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2010
We cruised on Ventura 3-17 December 2010; our second time on P&O and our first Caribbean cruise although we have been to this part of the world many times for hotel-based holidays. We flew from Glasgow on a chartered First ... Read More
We cruised on Ventura 3-17 December 2010; our second time on P&O and our first Caribbean cruise although we have been to this part of the world many times for hotel-based holidays. We flew from Glasgow on a chartered First Choice plane with exclusively Ventura passengers on board. We paid the extra £99 each way for the premium seats, which was worth it for the extra leg room. You also get free drinks which you don't get in economy but of this flight everyone got free drinks courtesy of P&O. It was a real bonus to check-in our cases at Glasgow and then not have to handle them again until they were delivered to our cabin and no delay at the airport in Bridgetown as we were taken by coach to the check-in at the port. Our previous P&O cruise was on Azura which is almost exactly the same lay out as Ventura. We were in a balcony cabin at the stern of the ship on Deck C - we had a large balcony. The cabin was excellent with loads of room for our clothes. As we had experienced on Azura, the food was very good in the main restaurant. We were 'freedom dining' and ate in the Cinnamon Restaurant most nights. We rarely had to wait for a table for two, even at busy times. The restaurant manager was excellent; he was always attentive and made you feel very valued. We tried 'The White Room' which was well-worth the extra £20 per head. However, we found the food very rich. 'East' was also excellent, £15 extra for this one. We ate here twice and the staff were very friendly and helpful. We tried 'Ramblas' the tapas bar once and it was of a very high standard and inexpensive. We tried to have lunch there on our last day but it was closed. The disappointing dining experience was breakfast at the Waterside or Beach House buffets. We have been in better works canteens; the serving area is too narrow and it was very claustrophobic, especially during the peak serving times. The buffet areas need to be redesigned to make them more open; P&O could do worse that look at how Royal Caribbean manages to solve this problem. The choice at breakfast was also poor; only white toast and no bagels. We were concerned about stories of badly behaved passengers on Ventura on previous cruises. Although some of the people on the ship didn't exactly look like respectable 'cruisers' we didn't experience any problems; most people we met were very friendly. Not too many children around either. Not too many problems getting sun beds, even on sea days, although the beds around the main pool were very close together. We usually got beds on Deck 19, sports deck, and was generally quiet; we don't think some people even knew there were beds up there. One issue that was debated throughout the cruise was whether or not there should be Christmas decorations up or not. The captain decided that there would be none until the 17 December for the next cruise and there was hardly any Christmas music played either. No jogging track which is unfortunate. You can jog right around the ship on Deck 7 but there are usually lots of smokers there to get in your way. The deck is under cover as well so you can't enjoy the sunshine. The entertainment was hit-and-miss.; lots of 'dancing' related shows in the main theatre - not our cup of tea. Some of the tribute acts were good, especially Laura Butler who did two separate shows, first as Amy Winehouse and then Cher. The Freddie Mercury tribute was rubbish. There was a Scottish comedian, Anthony Scott, who we were warned could be offensive - he certainly was and he alienated most of his English audience within 2 minutes. It would have helped if he had been funny but he wasn't. We booked several excursions with P&O and without fail they were very well organised and we thought excellent value for money. One highlight was a snorkelling trip to 'Champagne Reef' in Dominica, snorkelling over the site of an active volcano; fantastic array of colourful fish. We weren't sure about P&O after our Azura cruise but we really enjoyed this one, we have already booked the same cruise for next December. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2010
Overall we enjoyed our Ventura experience finding the captain's humour very contagious. For the main the staff in the dining rooms were helpful and courteous although (as with life generally) a few bad attitudes let down the ... Read More
Overall we enjoyed our Ventura experience finding the captain's humour very contagious. For the main the staff in the dining rooms were helpful and courteous although (as with life generally) a few bad attitudes let down the good guys. The bad and ugly has to be the self service restaurant on the top deck. No smiles or offers of help here, tables taking an age to clear and getting a drink to accompany your meal a real achievement. Lack of adhering to dress codes was a disappointment as was the calibre of younger passengers sporting tattoos and less than desirable language. The entertainment was a mixed bag of very good and not so good. Tom O'Connor was excellent and for the main the vocalists were too. Having said that we did make an early departure from some of the shows and 'passed their best'vocalists. The Beach Hut could have had a better booking system giving all passengers a chance to experience food of a more interesting, imaginative nature than the main dining halls. We found The White Room food enjoyable but not comparable to the fine dining we expected. The East Asian restaurant wasn't worth a £15 supplement albeit enjoyable. The curry lunches would have been improved with a varied menu. Full marks for the delivery of our luggage from Gatwick to our cabin, like wise from the Ventura to Gatwick. Small points that would have been appreciated, a replacement flower in cabins, an arrival welcome drink. Having said that the Christmas gifts of a pashmina and silver guff links were much appreciated by my husband and self. I can fully appreciate cost effectiveness is all important in making P/O cruises being competitive on their cruise prices especially in these hard times. BUT..., when paying approximately £280 a day (minus spending money) standards could have been better in the main dining halls and the entertainment. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2010
We chose this Christmas cruise on Ventura simply because the itinerary and dates suited our schedule. We were on Azura 6 months before so knew what to expect. In fact we were surprised that the ships were so similar. Ventura is a couple of ... Read More
We chose this Christmas cruise on Ventura simply because the itinerary and dates suited our schedule. We were on Azura 6 months before so knew what to expect. In fact we were surprised that the ships were so similar. Ventura is a couple of years older but doesn't really show it. In fact, given a straight choice we would pick Ventura over Azura. Reason: the front Oasis Pool and surrounding deck is open to all, not just those paying for the retreat and the Casino/Pub area is much bigger as part of this deck area is used for the new single cabins on Azura. Being a Christmas cruise and this being Ventura we expected loads of kids. We were told there were 400 on board but we didn't really notice them as the kids clubs kept them occupied all day and to be honest we enjoyed the wide age range of people on this cruise, a much younger average than our previous med cruises. We met nice people of all age groups. The flights both ways were with Thomsons from Manchester: two hours delay outbound and 6 hours inbound. Very disappointed re these avoidable delays. We booked a month ahead and got a Superior Deluxe Cabin on D deck at a good price. This was lovely, spacious, nice sized bathroom and kept very clean. We were on Freedom dining in Cinnamon Restaurant and enjoyed it. We thought the choice was better than on Azura and the service, though still variable, was better than Azura where they were still finding their feet when we were on her. The Restaurant Manager was superb in ensuring we had the Vegetarian Menu presented nightly to choose the next evenings' meal. I think every ship has issues re buffet dining. It's impossible to provide the space necessary to feed the numbers that want to eat at peak times so finding space can be difficult but surely its either this or less deck space? I have to say that the people complaining about a lack of tables were the same ones who would drink cup of tea after cup of tea and hog a table for ages. We thought the breakfast choice to be good, well cooked and hot. Whilst the choice was the same each day, you could concoct your own breakfasts and differ it each day plus you could order eggs as you wanted them and they had good veggie bacon and sausage available to order as well as perfectly cooked poached eggs. We found the entertainment the same as Azura. The headliners shows were poor yet again, verging on embarrassing. The acrobats during the main headliners show were amazing though it's just the rest of the headliners remind me of a 1970s variety show. As on Azura, we like the choice of places to drink in the evening and especially Ramblas which was quiet and you could order a large glass of wine for £3.25 - a bargain. This was our first Caribbean cruise and to be honest the stops disappointed. Little to see without going on tours or taxis and apart from Aruba the beaches didn't impress. However we were happy with a few hours on shore and then returning to ship to relax on deck. Much will be said of the New Orleans fiasco. 3000 passengers and 1200 crew all requiring immigration clearance. The Captain did warn everyone before arriving that there would be delays but the understatement was that 'all available immigration desks would be open'. There were only 8 desks! Some passengers were not cleared until it was too dark to see New Orleans. Ultimately this is a reflection of the US over the top attitude to immigration. On the scale of things a cruise ship docking for the day should be low risk but the US Border Agency don't asses risk. Any risk has to be controlled irrespective of the damage caused to tourism. I'm not sure P&O could have done more. Yes Azura had the same issue when it docked in New Orleans the week before but knowing this what should have been done? Withdraw this port of call from our trip at short notice? This wasn't possible as many people were disembarking in New Orleans for their flight home. There were people flying home the next day from New Orleans and perhaps P&O could have ensured that they were able to get through the immigration mob relatively early to be given a chance to see the town on the only day possible (people staying on for a month had two days to see the town). I feel a little sorry for P&O who are being made the scapegoat for this issue when the blame mostly lies with the US authorities. However, given the issues I don't believe P&O should be using New Orleans on future itineraries as the first port of call in the US. Finally, this was our first time away at Christmas and we enjoyed it. P&O added some nice touches, Christmas cards from the Captain (Hamish Reid who was superb), presents on Christmas Eve, a nice Christmas Day meal, a pantomime and carols. We would chose them again for a similar trip and for those trying to decide between Azura and Ventura, there is a lot of hype re Azura so if it's a straight choice between the two then let the itinerary, dates and price make your choice as there is little to choose between them. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2010
2nd time on the Ventura 1st time was on the Med, this time transatlantic to the Caribbean. Over all it was an enjoyable cruise just a couple of grumbles. But first the good points. Our cabin was an outside and was very comfortable, ... Read More
2nd time on the Ventura 1st time was on the Med, this time transatlantic to the Caribbean. Over all it was an enjoyable cruise just a couple of grumbles. But first the good points. Our cabin was an outside and was very comfortable, and the cabin layout was great, we particularly liked the open plan wardrobe, it gives you lots of space for cases etc, The in cabin entertainment was wonderful, with a great choice of free tv and free movies. The food was wonderful, the entertainment was amazing in quantity and quality, the cruise director Leon de Ste Croix was excellent. As were the guest speakers among which was Duncan Mckenzie who did a few wonderful talks and a very entertaining Q&A session in the theatre. We had about 5 comedians on the cruise 3 singers 2 groups and a classical pianist, so as I said amazing entertainment. Bar prices were excellent, UK pub prices in fact Also the ship its self is beautiful and well maintained. The minus points were, some of the passengers :-( P&O had drastically reduced the cruise prices just before the sailing date, so much that some of the passengers were from the lower end of the passenger scale and would have been better suited to "Butlins or Pontins". That may sound snobbish but i'm far from a snob (from a Liverpool council estate originally) but I have done 20+ cruises and I do know how to behave with people and how to consider other people. Anyway on with this review, most of the time it was not possible to get a sunbed with people reserving them from early morning 6 - 6.30am in some cases. One last thing was some of the staff in the waterside in particular the lads who were clearing tables, they were not as friendly or efficient as they usually are and were very very slow to replace cups and glasses in the drinks areas, quite often none of the drinks areas had any cups or glasses and you had to ask for them and then eventually got them. All that said it was still a good cruise and we did enjoy it. One last thing I must commend P&O for their transfer organisation it was brilliant both getting to the ship by coach from Manchester and getting to the airport in Barbados, one great thing was putting your bags outside the cabin on last night and not seeing them till Manchester airport, OTHER CRUISE LINES TAKE NOTE !! :-) Read Less
Sail Date: October 2010
We were taking our first cruise and initial impressions were very good. Smooth transfer to Southampton from Birmingham Airport and not too long waiting to get on the ship. Luggage arrived in our cabin and as first time cruisers, all ... Read More
We were taking our first cruise and initial impressions were very good. Smooth transfer to Southampton from Birmingham Airport and not too long waiting to get on the ship. Luggage arrived in our cabin and as first time cruisers, all instructions/directions on what to do and where to go were displayed. We were on 1st sitting in Saffron and throughout the cruise, the food was exceptional as was the entertainment. The only major flaw was that on the first day, we went onto the deck for a sunlounger and found that people had been up since 5.30am putting towels on the sunbeds and reserving them!!We spent most of the morning searching the decks for a sunbed to no avail and gave it up as a bad job!!! Second day, exactly the same!! Third day, found 2 beds and put them on the quoit deck as only space available.During the day, Capt Alistair Clarke came round the decks asking if everything was alright and we expressed our disappointment at the lack of loungers to be greeted with the response that there was nothing wrong with his ship and we must not be looking in the right places.Trust me, there was nowhere else to look!! I had scoured the ship. He then said "Are you first time cruisers?" to which I enquired if it was our 20th cruise does this give you the right to a sun longer? which he then chose to ignore and walked off rather arrogantly. Apart from the Captain's arrogance, the rest of the staff were brilliant and we had a thoroughly enjoyable time meeting some lovely people. We will certainly cruise again, but not on the Ventura as 8 dyas scrambling for a sunbed in what seemed to be like being at Butlin's was not what we expected!!!!!!! Read Less
Sail Date: September 2010
Just back from a two week cruise on Ventura with our two children (age 2 & 4. As usual with P&O, embarkation was very quick and easy. We had some reservations about the size of the ship, but can honestly say we never felt we were ... Read More
Just back from a two week cruise on Ventura with our two children (age 2 & 4. As usual with P&O, embarkation was very quick and easy. We had some reservations about the size of the ship, but can honestly say we never felt we were on board with 3000 other pasengers. Around 100 children were on board, most of which we never saw, but were informed during August School Holidays there were 800! That would have been very noticiable. Our biggest mistake was booking the fixed time eating at 6:30. Having always eaten at 8:30pm on previous cruises we booked the earlier sitting to "fit in" with our childrens routine at home, however the rush to get us all ready in time for dinner was not worth it, missing some of the best parts of the day on deck to get ready. Often the childrens meal would not turn up until we started our main course which led to a fed up children and a complaint to the head waiter. By the second week we gave up and started eating in the Waterside or Beach Hut when we wanted which was so much more relaxed. Our cabin was very roomy having booked the superior deluxe cabin with a sofa bed instead of bunks. Small details like a blue duvet and pink duvet for our son and daughter was a nice touch, (as was the complimentary champagne, chocolates, robes and slippers for my Husband and I). However on the downside we felt that the staff were more impersonal and looked under more pressure than on previous cruise ships (Adonia, Oriana, Arcadia), the cabin was not that clean, we found a dirty pair of girls pants and a used knife under the sofa-bed, my mum found a pair of men's pants in her cabin also! The kids club in general was clean, very well organised with large areas for the children to play including an indoor soft play area and secure outdoor play area, computers and a well stocked toilet/nappy changing facility. The kids programme was vast and ran until 10:30pm where upon which our children were usually asleep and could be transferred if you wish to the night nursery, although we did not use this service. Overall, Ventura is an excellent ship for Children, my Husband and I have learnt to select freedom dining from now on and our impressions of Ventura were good but the food and entertainment was not as high standard as previously experienced on P&O's smaller ships. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2010
THE VERY GOOD Buffet breakfasts and lunches were excellent with good choices and fresh food, ample seating even with a full ships complement. Inside cabins were spacious for two people and well equipped. Transfers to and from the ship at ... Read More
THE VERY GOOD Buffet breakfasts and lunches were excellent with good choices and fresh food, ample seating even with a full ships complement. Inside cabins were spacious for two people and well equipped. Transfers to and from the ship at ports of call were well organised. Drink prices onboard weren't too exorbitant. The speciality dining room EAST carrying a supplement of £15 per head for early dining is an excellent dining experience and good value for money. THE GOOD There is a good selection of bar and entertainment venues and the main theatre provides plenty of good seating. Entertainment was varied and catered for most tastes. The Bay Tree main dining room was a pleasant dining area and had an adequate if not spectacular selection of meals. The shore excursion out of Olden to Stryn valley was interesting and informative even on a drizzly, cloudy day. THE NOT VERY GOOD We had a late allocation inside cabin (D524) which was listed as an upgrade from OE to OC. Avoid this at all costs. For 2 nights we suffered noise from the location close to the ships funnel.On the next day this turned into a mechanical vibration from somewhere close by. After complaints about the noise and vibration and several visits from various P&O personnel we were moved to a Deck C forward cabin for the rest of the week, and apart from some noise from the theatre was a great improvement. The attitude of the predominantly Indian bar and lounge attendants was less than enthusiastic. The standard of food presentation and main course vegetable choices in the main dining room were poor compared to other cruises we have taken. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2010
We've recently returned from our first cruise and enjoyed it so much that we're now cruise converts! We'd been interested in booking a cruise for sometime but weren't sure if it was our sort of holiday. We did lots of ... Read More
We've recently returned from our first cruise and enjoyed it so much that we're now cruise converts! We'd been interested in booking a cruise for sometime but weren't sure if it was our sort of holiday. We did lots of research as to which would be a suitable ship and eventually picked P & O's Ventura, we thought we'd go for 7 days only, just in case we didn't like it. We used the P & O website to book the holiday, getting a 10% discount and double on-board spend. We had staterooms A501 with a balcony and A517 inside and also chose the freedom-dining option. Living only three-quarters of an hour from Southampton, we had a short drive to the Ocean Terminal and were impressed with the CPS parking arrangements. Wasn't really sure what to expect with the check-in procedure but were pleasantly surprised with how smooth, efficient and stress-less it was. We arrived about 1.00pm and it was busy - it was announced later in the day that there had been 2,500 people in the terminal at that time - but considering the amount of people checking in we couldn't believe that it only took 45 mins between arriving and boarding. We went up to the Waterside Restaurant, had something to eat and it was announced that the cabins were ready at about 2.00pm. Following a quick walk around Deck 15 we went to our cabins. Some of the luggage was already outside the door; some didn't turn up until a few hours later. We had a balcony cabin and an inside one. Both were very comfortable. The beds were really comfy, plenty of storage space, etc. The hairdryer was powerful enough to dry my thick, shoulder, length hair; it was an ordinary plug in one (not one of those powerless wall mounted ones you sometimes find in hotel), so don't worry about packing a hairdryer. My GHD's also worked perfectly. Two small bottles of water were supplied, along with tea, coffee, milk, biscuits and sweets. Complimentary toiletries were by the White Company. Beach towels were also supplied. The balcony was great, enough room for three of us to sit out on and wasn't overlooked, although we could look down onto Decks C and D. We used either the Beach House or the Waterside for breakfast. Lots of choice from traditional cooked breakfast, through to cereals, pastries, fruits, etc. Although the ship was full we never had a problem finding a table. You could also have breakfast delivered to your room. Lunchtimes (when onboard) we used the Waterside Restaurant (wide choice of food) or Frankies, where they did lovely pizzas to order and a good burger (perfect for when you're relaxing on deck or using the pool). Occasionally we would pop into Waterside for a bit of afternoon tea, where there was a selection of sandwiches, cakes, etc. There was a silver-service tea in Saffron each afternoon but we never got as far as getting there; next time maybe..... In the evenings we used either Cinnamon (we went at about 7.00pm and never had a problem getting a table), Beach Bistro or Waterside. Again, a wide range of food, always well cooked and presented. I'm veggie and had no problems finding something to eat. We had a quick peek into Marco Pierre White's restaurant and it looked very inviting, they also did a good veggie option. However, we were so busy trying the other restaurants that we ran out of time to go there. Apparently, MPW was on Ventura the week before, so we just missed him. Entertainment was very good. My favourites were the Four Tops and Drifters Tribute Groups. We also saw Saturday Night Fever and a Freddie Mercury Tribute. There were also plenty of different quizzes including a Dr Who one, talks, classes, etc. Cheryl Baker was guest speaker, not my cup of tea but others who saw her found her enjoyable. The facilities for children looked fantastic and my nephews would of loved them. All the children seemed happy and were well behaved. I had a quick look round but didn't use the gym. Plenty of equipment and great views. At the Oasis Spa is a sauna and steam room for general use. Also for £10 a day you had unlimited use of the Thermaspa. This I did use and it had a couple of steam rooms and a lanconium, complete with warm tiled beds for relaxing on. I felt great after using this. Outside is the adult pool, which although slightly chilly is meant for swimming in, rather than playing in. It was also a lap pool but unfortunately the machinery was out of order last week, due to some rough weather on the previous cruise! There were also two lovely Jacuzzi's too. We used the indoor Beachcoomber Pool on the wet days and the Laguna Pool on the sunny days both were lovely and warm. Didn't get to try the Terrace Pool as we tended to always be down the other end of the boat. Weather wise we had a real mixed bag, so you'd be wise to take summer and winter clothes on a trip to the Fjords. Our first full day at sea was gloriously hot, with lots of sunbathing, swimming and general relaxation. The North Sea was also very calm - not what we were expecting at all, even the Captain commented on how kind the North Sea had been to us. The four stops were as follows:- Bergen - when we arrived at Bergen it was drizzly/low cloud/foggy. We used the shuttle bus and had a good walk around Bergan. We were also going to use the funicular railway, which can easily be done independently, but as we couldn't see the top of the mountain because of the poor weather we decided to abandon this and went back to the boat after a couple of hours. As soon as we got back to the boat the weather improved and the sun came out! Bergen is a pretty little town and well worth a look around. Flam - it rained all day One of the Costa boats was already moored up at the quay, so Ventura used its tenders instead. We'd already booked via P & O to do the Flam railway trip but I expect it would be cheaper to do this independently. The line is 12.4miles and at its steepest gradient it's 1 in 18. There were lots of stunning views and waterfalls, especially the Kjosfossen. At the top of the line we visited the hotel where we had coffee and waffles with raspberry jam and sour cream, yum, yum. Ventura and the Costa ship had a bit of a competition with their horns, which was great fun. Olden - raining. We visited the Briksdal Glacier, again pre-booked with P & O. I expect it would be difficult to get here independently. There are two options with this tour, either walking the whole way or getting the troll bus halfway and walking the rest. We walked the whole way and it can be a steep walk in places (especially in the pouring rain). The troll bus takes you up the steep bit and then drops you off to walk the rest of the way to the glacier. There is a steep bit after the troll bus drops you off and I saw one old lady struggling to make it up this bit, however after this it's a much flatter walk and well worth the effort to see the retreating the glacier. Again, there's a thunderous waterfall half-way up the steep bit, so you might get wet there, even on a dry day. We also had a nice selection of coffee and cakes at the Briksdal hotel on our return. Stavanger - in the morning the weather was overcast, however in the afternoon there was wonderful blue sky. Ventura moored up in the city centre and this was perfect for a gentle wander around. On our last day at sea, again the weather was warm, with blue skies, perfect for a last bit of relaxation before our return to Southampton. Disembarkation was equally smooth. We were given an allocated time of 8.15am to leave the boat and our luggage was waiting for us in the terminal. There was a short walk over to the CPS Car Park and we were on our way back to Bournemouth by 8.45am. We thoroughly enjoyed our first cruise and loved the Ventura. We're now looking at the Caribbean Cruises for next year. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2010
Agreed at the last minute to join friends who were sailing out on Ventura on 12th June with much apprehension as possibly I read too many reviews on the internet. Well we were most pleasantly surprised with the whole experience. I might ... Read More
Agreed at the last minute to join friends who were sailing out on Ventura on 12th June with much apprehension as possibly I read too many reviews on the internet. Well we were most pleasantly surprised with the whole experience. I might add that we are seasoned cruisers having sailed on almost all the P & O ships and 3 times with Royal Carribean. Our cabin was excellent, spacious and we really appreciated the balcony, it was out first time to have one. The weather was very hot and it was bliss to escape back to the ship and our very own 'space'. The food was very good and lots of options, although we mostly dined in Medina with our pals, 1st sitting. We usually had to rush to get to the shows in the theatre as mostly they were very well attended. By and large we enjoyed the programmes put on there but later it was impossible to get into the tribute shows in the smaller theatre. Went several times but had to leave as it was 'standing room' only. At no time did we see any unruly children or teenagers, and there were some on board. Our fellow cruisers were well-mannered and friendly, mostly British. When we had to tender it was a bit of a drag getting 3,000 people ashore but P & O did organise it as best they could and one just had yto show some patience. Embarkation na dis-embarkation was dealt with in a very efficient manner. Summing it all up - a very enjoyable experience. Forgot to add that the highlight of the cruise for me was a ship's trip up into the mountains of Corsica from Ajaccio. What spendour, now I know why its called the 'scented isle'. If you go to Corsica make sure you take a tour to those majestic mountains. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2010
Having spent 15 days on Ventura in the Caribbean some 18 months previously,we had am element of reassurance that we at least knew our ship, if not our destinations. Southampton proved to be an easy port to use apart from P+O's ... Read More
Having spent 15 days on Ventura in the Caribbean some 18 months previously,we had am element of reassurance that we at least knew our ship, if not our destinations. Southampton proved to be an easy port to use apart from P+O's ridiculous alphabet boarding which meant if you arrived on time there was a full ships worth of passengers in the embarkation hall! No matter we let that one pass and were duly embarked without fuss. When we on Ventura the first time we noted that it rolled around a bit and we were still in Barbados harbour, which we thought strange; and it continued to do this throughout that cruise. Many thought it had a stabiliser fault, but it did not worry us too much and we enjoyed the great itinerary. This cruise was different, in that the ship still rolled around like a pig in a bath, but the weather was foul which was disappointing in the first instance, and bad luck in the second. The first port of call was La Coruna on the North Western peninsular of Spain, a pleasant enough town to wander around for an hour, but not much more. Excursion options on this day and for most of the cruise were limited so we were soon back on the ship minus a few shekels which madam deems customary practice to spend in a shop or three! The third day was Bilbao a short distance along the coast and the main city in the Basque region. A few more places to visit such as the Guggenheim museum, and a big city to explore. Transfer time from the ship to the city was slow and of course it rained.I think I would sum up the city as ok, probably better in the sunshine, but I would not rush back too quickly. On day four we arrived at La Rochelle somewhere we were looking forward to visiting. This French town is on the same level as Cognac, and has a lovely old part to it as well as a nice harbour. P+O decided to berth the ship 25 minutes away and bus everyone in on complementary coaches, not perfect but hey ho? The town was a dream, old narrow streets full of quaint unusual buildings, and to our delight a beautiful food market. The fresh fruit and veg was displayed quite rightly with pride in the outdoor stall area, with every imaginary species available. We then entered the indoor food hall, housing fish, meats poultry, bread, cheese and cakes, all a joy to behold. We had big grins on our faces the whole two hours we spent there. We bought a giant piece of french crusty bread and a slice of ripe Brie to eat on the balcony.A bowl of Moules et Frites in a small cobbled street finished the visit of perfectly, until the heavens opened!!We quickly headed back toward the pick up area. We then noticed a bunch of fellow passengers on a street corner doing nothing which seemed strange? On rounding the corner, to our dismay we saw the rest of the ships quota queued as far as you could see toward the coach collection point. We heard some had been there for 1.5 hours already.Being an impatient so in so, I decided we would go and remonstrate with the people responsible at the stop. It turned out that the French drivers decided they were going for lunch regardless of the contract...C'est la vie! Embarrassingly, as I walked along past the front of the queue and the only coach to arrive for an hour, the lady organiser waived down a different coach type, gave a few terse orders in French to the driver and said to me, Ventura? Oui, I said as quick as a flash, and we were on. I was so ashamed, sitting there on the front seat when those poor folks had queued all that time. Ok, I'm sorry if it was you but we were owed a slice of luck and I guess that was it? Two minutes into the journey I heard complaints about bad feet..oops, brie me thinks? We got back to the ship, ordered red wine and sat on the balcony spooning the ripe brie on to the crusty bread...Fantastic. The next day was Brest, on the North West part of France. Now I guess Brest looks grim when the sun shines, but when it rains.....yuk. All passengers made a hasty retreat back to the ship. The last port was Guernsey, when it again rained in the morning!!!The town of St Peter Port was really nice and as you may have guessed by now we had lunch. Fresh seafood on the harbour front, lovely. Lets deal with the ships amenities. We ate in the White room on day one and the food and service were immaculate, and Marco himself was on board as he was the last time we were on the ship. Whatever you have heard he is a very gracious man, who listens intently to all you say. If you get a chance eat there do so, you will not be disappointed. The main restaurant was ok but not special. The food was average and the waiters seemed to be practicing for a cutlery juggling contest. They need more practice! We also ate in the Tapas bar, fantastic, and on the final night, East, which seemed grossly under used which was a shame as the food and service were brilliant.P+O's drinks prices are really good, half the price of the American alternatives. We were drinking beautiful wine with our meal for under £10; not bad eh? The evening shows were quite good, particularly Mike Doyle the Welsh comedian/singer who did two nights. Nothing was sacred in his mickey taking of the passengers and crew, and everyone raved about the performances. Elsewhere there was a good mixture of music to suit all tastes, and most seemed content. So, it may seem to readers that there were a few negatives, and yes there were, but we had a good time and would not want to put others off. Add some sunshine and it could be a delightful cruise. Disembarkation was the quickest and most painless ever. Well done P+O. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2010
We sailed on Ventura for 14 nights from Soutampton - Springbank Holidays. Embarkation was good. We needed assistance with a wheelchair. Our balcony cabin was good, with lots of clothes storage. Shower was rather small. The balcony had 2 ... Read More
We sailed on Ventura for 14 nights from Soutampton - Springbank Holidays. Embarkation was good. We needed assistance with a wheelchair. Our balcony cabin was good, with lots of clothes storage. Shower was rather small. The balcony had 2 lay back chairs,a stool & a table, it was not possible to lay out flat on the balcony. We were on A deck and thought C deck balcony was larger, but overlooked from above, they also had sun when ours had gone. No towel sculptures on an evening. The cabin had tea making facilities & tea/coffee etc was provided. We had 2nd sitting for evening meal [8.30pm] Was a little late as we did not get out until around 11.00 on some nights. Food quality was excellent. We dined in the white House restaurant one night [£20 extra] not worth it as the meal was not any better. We used the set restaurant for most of our meals, as it was almost impossible to get a table in the buffet restaurant. We tried different times, but always the same. Almost all waiters, cabin staff etc were from India. Some were pleasant, but many were sullen. All staff referred to the ladies as MADAME, which did not sound very friendly. We are usually addressed by our names. The entertainment was good and there were 3 shows, so we could catch the early one before dinner. Bars were always full, little dancing though. Main criticism we had was with the sun loungers. Impossible to get one on sea days.Towels were being put our early morning & left all day, even when not in use. These on most ships would have been removed if not in use, but this did not happen. There was no adult pool, so all pools were full of children, shouting & splashing around. We were assisted with the wheelchair when we got off at ports. As the ship is large we docked often in an industrial port with working ships & containers for the view. Some of the posts we were provided with a shuttle, but 2 ports we had to pay and there was no way that we could have walked. Disembarkation was quite the opposite to embarkation. Masses of people trying to get off all at the same time. We were not let off until 9.15 although we had a card for 8.45. We had booked a taxi and they were there waiting to take us to the Holiday Inn, where we had left our car. There were porters at the dock to help if needed. If you can, do the self/express disembarking, they were off at 7.00 with no problems. The ship did not seem to have decided whether it was a traditional/formal cruise ship or a casual/we do not do cruises ship. We would not sail on this ship again. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2010
Summary. My wife and I took a seven day cruise from Southampton to Vigo, Lisbon, Bilbao and Brest. We have cruised about ten times but this was our first cruise with P&O. We liked the ports of call, thought there was a good selection ... Read More
Summary. My wife and I took a seven day cruise from Southampton to Vigo, Lisbon, Bilbao and Brest. We have cruised about ten times but this was our first cruise with P&O. We liked the ports of call, thought there was a good selection of evening entertainment and found the drinks prices very reasonable. We were less impressed with the food, which although well cooked was uninspiring and too British, and at times we found the atmosphere rather too much like a holiday camp. Overall we enjoyed the cruise and thought it was pretty good value for money. Arrival/Departure. We drive to Southampton and parked using CPS. There was about a 15 minute wait to check our car in on arrival and then about a half hour wait to check-in for the cruise, but it was all quite orderly. Departure was excellent. Passengers are allocated coloured tags indicating a time to get off the ship. We swapped ours without difficulty to get earlier ones and it took only fifteen minutes to get off the ship, collect our bags, and get our car back. Food & Drink. We had wanted Freedom Dining but that was unavailable (we booked quite late) and we were allocated to a table for eight in 2nd sitting (usually 8.30pm). Although the ship was full only one other person turned up for dinner at our table each evening. Presumably the other five preferred to eat in the buffet or perhaps one of the extra cost dining venues. We sometimes ate breakfast and lunch in the dining room and sometimes in the buffet restaurants on the pool deck. The quality of the food was consistent and reasonable but we were disappointed with the lack of variety. In the dining room all choices were meat, potato and vegetables. By the end of the week we were longing for pasta or rice dishes. On the rare occasions where a main course was more interesting (e.g. calves liver with pea risotto or barramundi with Japanese noodles) they came with tiny amounts of rice/noodles and then the waiters brought mashed potato and boiled cabbage to heap on the plate! I don't see why it should be necessary to pay extra for the premium restaurants to get a good meal. Entertainment. Everyone's tastes are different but we thought the quality of the evening entertainment was pretty good and varied. The only disappointment was the guest speaker, Sir Henry Cooper, who was embarrassingly awful. We found less to interest us among the organised daytime activities on sea days, but lots of the events seemed well attended. Ports of Call. We had read that Vigo had little of interest so had booked an excursion to Santiago de Compostella. Then at the start of the cruise we got a note from the shore excursions team that Santiago was likely to be extremely busy and we might be unable to get inside the cathedral. This was because 2010 is a Holy Year and the day we were in Vigo was a local public holiday. We opted to cancel the excursion and just wandered around Vigo. Perhaps because we had low expectations we actually quite liked Vigo. There's a lovely garden area within castle walls above the town, with great views. Although all the shops were initially closed with it being a holiday, by lunchtime quite a few had opened. We did our own thing in Lisbon, having bought a guide book and got various tips from CruiseCritic and TripAdvisor forums. We took the first shuttle bus into the centre (they drop off and pick up in the Placa dos Restauradores) and went into the adjacent Metro to buy day travel cards. For 4.20 Euros each you get unlimited use of trams, funiculars and buses for the day. We spent the morning walking around the city centre, including a trip up the Elevator de Santa Justa and taking tram 28 over to the cathedral and up to the Castle. In the afternoon we took tram 15 to Belem. As Ventura had moored just upstream from the big suspension bridge we were able to get off the tram on the way back at the fist stop after passing under the bridge approach from where it was an easy walk back to the ship. In Bilbao we also did our own thing. We got the first shuttle bus, walked along the river, took the Artxanda funicular up for great views over the city, then back down and continued around the river to the Guggenheim. The building is great. We were less impressed with the art (?) inside. We then walked back to and around the old town, then took the metro to Areeta to see the Vizcaya transporter bridge. From there it was a 45 minute walk back to the ship. You could shorten the walk by taking the metro out a couple more stops but the walk is very scenic - well worth doing if you aren't exhausted. In our final port of call, Brest, we had booked an excursion to Quimper. We booked one with a guided walking tour of Quimper but quickly abandoned the guide and walked around on our own. With a large group the guided tour was taking forever and we would have seen far less (but perhaps learned more about the few things we did see). Quimper is lovely. Service. Staff were efficient and generally very pleasant. Compared to other (mostly American) ships we found the waiters less sociable. They did their job but had no conversation, even though their English was at least as good as it has been on other ships. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2010
Ventura Cruise N009 - April 2010 We dealt with a travel agent rather than P@O directly. Price paid was less than P@O's internet pricing. However when we tried to upgrade, we were advised that we could only take that route at the ... Read More
Ventura Cruise N009 - April 2010 We dealt with a travel agent rather than P@O directly. Price paid was less than P@O's internet pricing. However when we tried to upgrade, we were advised that we could only take that route at the price difference prevailing when we booked - not the current (lower) price. Be warned. We decided to take our car to Southampton and arranged for the valet parking (included in price) to be carried out by CPS. What an excellent job they did. As we arrived early, we had to queue for sometime until P&O allowed passengers to begin boarding (12.30pm.). Cabins were ready at 2.00pm. Our balcony cabin was considered by us to be small - less than 200 square feet with a fair amount of hanging space. There was also a safe. The shower room was quite compact - but it did the job well save for the fixed head shower unit itself which was a slight problem. We prefer flexible units. Their was a small but quite adequate fridge stocking iced water and ice. Plenty of room to keep mixers etc. Fair sized television with SKY news, a choice of old TV programmes and the ships log. You can also keep a running tab regarding your account on screen. There is a dressing table with two 13amp sockets plus a hair dryer. The saving grace for the cabin (stateroom) was the very large size of the veranda balcony. This was nearly half the size of the cabin. Plenty of room for a small table, footrest and two reclining chairs. Smoking is allowed on the balcony. However, the walls in the cabin are very thin and I was woken by a passenger in the next cabin snoring. The following point is quite important if you are booking a superior balcony or a balcony cabin: A and B deck balconies overlook C and D deck balconies. C deck balconies also overlook D balconies. This might at first seem a bit intrusive - but when the sun is high, you still get the sun on C and D balconies - not A and B. We regularly sunbathed on our C deck balcony well into the afternoon. So we had the sun from early morning for most of the day (starboard side). Lastly you could order breakfast in your stateroom - but not bacon and eggs. Passenger disembarkation on the days in port was very smooth in all cases including those ports that were tendered. Whilst on the subject of port visits, P&O do not seem to have a policy in place for confiscating your duty free alcohol or cigarettes when you return from your trip as some other lines do. That could be a big plus. But watch out! Customs in the U.K. are red hot. We were stopped even though we weren't carrying any duty free goods other than a half bottle of Blue Gin. Now for the amenities on the ship. There are a considerable number of bars (both drinking and snack). You could get a snack any time of the day or night with The Waterside restaurant open 23 hours per day with a good quality of food (self service). The main problem with the Waterside is that it cannot accommodate the people who whish to use it. Only on one occasion did we manage to gain a table in the restaurant - other times we had to use the open area by the pool either to have our breakfast or a snack. P&O need to address this problem - but it will be a difficult one to solve. There are other restaurants on board which have waiter service. As we chose Freedom Dining we were allocated to the Cinnamon Restaurant where you could turn up at any time (until 9.30pm.) and be allocated a table, you would be very lucky to get a table for two without having to wait. For instant entrance you would normally be sitting on a table for eight. This could be good or bad depending whether you wanted to talk to anyone or not. Speciality dining is a big feature on most cruise lines. I guess that it is a high profit centre. The White Room which we tried on my birthday charges £20 per head as a cover charge. A lot extra to pay out for mediocre food - although the service was first class. East's cover charge is £10 per head and specialises in oriental cuisine. Our very personal view is that this restaurant was awful. The fusion dish that we were served was chicken, fish and beef all at the same time. This did not work for us and the restaurant was empty most nights. The other cover charge restaurant is Rambles which is a pseudo Tapas restaurant with a cover charge of £5 per head. Food was O.K. but waiter service was indifferent and somebody should tell P&O that serving up a small dish of peas and carrots does not constitute a Tapas dish. Keeping on the theme of service, our main restaurant (Cinnamon) had a first rate service culture and was well staffed. There is a charge already added to your bill for restaurant staff tips at about £1.50 per day per passenger. The cost of laundry might be worthwhile mentioning: Shirt: £3.50; T Shirt: £2.50p.; Trousers: £4.00p.; Tie: £4.00p. We couldn't fault the entertainment with something going on every evening from classical through to Bee Gees. Three variety stage shows in the two week cruise. With a quality that can't be beaten. There were many courses on offer during the day and I took advantage of the photo processing course. It was very good value. Other classes available included dancing, bridge, 5 a side football, family trees, line dancing etc. Always something to do. There is a small library and book shop (selling books at full price) which operates during the day. There are a few chairs but it is very difficult to find somewhere (other than your own stateroom) where you can get some peace and quiet on this 116,000 ton ship. And whilst I think of it there is no deck to run round due to the poor design of the vessel. In fact to get to the rear bar (Metropolis) from forward, you had to walk to the aft of the ship and then get a lift to the top floor. There are overwhelming opportunities to buy clothing, handbags, jewellery, gifts, and watches on board. Not satisfied with selling within the shops, as the days wore on, trestle tables were brought out so that a pinch point was created and you had to slow down to look at the merchandise on offer. Even during a wait in the restaurant bar for our table at dinner we couldn't hear ourselves. Sales people were literally shouting out loud - just like a market stall, selling, selling selling. I did on one occasion make a complaint to a senior officer who told me he could do nothing about the noise. In fact that last sentence could sum up the attitude to the staff on board. It was very poor. If there was no tip in the offing - then they weren't interested. If it was outside their remit then again they were not interested. This included officers. Our cabin steward was very good, and deserved his tip at the end. Thought we might mention alcohol. Alcohol is available to drink in your cabin from your steward. The corkage charge is £1.50 per bottle which is quite cheap. For example, Baileys litre bottle cost was £10 from the shop (who would let you have it at the end of the cruise) plus £1.50 corkage to drink in your room if purchased from the steward.. Well worth it when you consider that the bar price for Baileys is £4.70 for a 50ml measure. My local pub charges £2.85 for the same measure, tax and duty paid. The profit on that makes your eyes water. We have noted below some prices: Pint of lager: £2.90. Pint of bitter: £2.65. Bottle of Stella 330ml: £2.75p. Cola 150ml can: £0.75p.Gin: £2.15 for a 25ml. measure. Glenfiddich whisky: £2.60 for 25ml. Benson & Hedges cigs: £2.55p. for 20. Golden Virginia per 50 gram - £4.95p.Crisps: 80p. Had a couple of massages whilst on board priced between £60 & £88. Very expensive but oooh so worth it! Incidentally we had booked our massages direct with P&O some weeks before leaving. No details of the booking existed in the spa. I'm told that that was not the first time that had happened. Disembarkation was very smooth at Southampton. Had to wait about an hour and a half to get off, but were so relaxed by this time that it didn't matter. All in all a very enjoyable cruise. We always say that we will try and watch the pennies next time, but P&O have money extraction down to a fine art. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2010
Living just 20 minutes drive from the port this is what appeals about cruising though it is probably not our favourite type of holiday. Embarkation was swift and 30 mins after dropping off our luggage we were in our cabin. This was our ... Read More
Living just 20 minutes drive from the port this is what appeals about cruising though it is probably not our favourite type of holiday. Embarkation was swift and 30 mins after dropping off our luggage we were in our cabin. This was our 6th P & O cruise, our first onboard Ventura. Had always shied away from Ventura thinking the ship is too big. However, very pleasantly surprised. Yes she is bigger than the other P & O ships but didn't feel so large that we would get lost or miss things, in fact navigating the ship was easy. Booked a basic inside cabin but got upgraded to outside part restricted view so that was a bonus. The cabin is well laid out with plenty of space to move around. Loads of storage space and liked the open plan wardrobe. Bathroom was smaller than other ships but perfectly adequate. Opted for 2nd sitting fised dining, table size 6, which we got. Enjoyed the company of our table guests. The waiters, including wine steward, were friendly and enjoyed it when we involved them in conversation, they work hard and the service couldn't be faulted. Always something on the menu to suit everyone though wish the main meals weren't accompanied by various potatoes or veg and that these were brought out separately with the potatoes & veg of the day. Enjoyed a beer or two in most of the bars and again the service was efficient, the staff like it if you engage in conversation with them. The entertainment was varied with something to suit everyone from traditional pianist, singers and groups to comedians and tribute acts as well as the ship's headliners company. Having cruised the Med before did not join in any excursions as we did our own thing. Disembarkation was as swift as embarkation which surprised me since there were more passengers and luggage to unload than previoulsy experienced. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2010
We had an excellent first time cruise. The ship, food and staff were faultless throughout. However after reading on Cruise Critic that the Marco Pierre White restaurant is often fully booked prior to embarkation we followed advice that ... Read More
We had an excellent first time cruise. The ship, food and staff were faultless throughout. However after reading on Cruise Critic that the Marco Pierre White restaurant is often fully booked prior to embarkation we followed advice that you can book in advance. The P&O office pointed out that we had to buy a £20 p.p. supplement voucher. I was then asked whether I wanted white or red wine at a cost of £16 per bottle. I queried this as it was nonsensical that I would know which wine I would choose before knowing what I was going to eat. However I was told that was the system, so I opted for white wine at a total cost of £56. Once on the ship I discovered there was plenty of availability and we chose to eat in the restaurant on the first formal evening. We chose our food and I explained that actually although I had opted for white wine I would now prefer a more appropriate red wine. It was explained by the waiter and then the restaurant manager that my original chosen wine was brought on board at Southampton and whilst I could have something else at an additional cost I had to take ownership of the one I had originally chosen. I asked to see the wine and it was brought to the table - once opened we found it was a bottle of very cheap and nasty Chardonnay. The staff in the restaurant said this procedure had caused problems several times before and they recommended I speak to P&O shoreside as they felt it was a ridiculous system. Returning home I wrote to P&O to complain and ask why they didn't just ask for a £16 payment up front to contribute to the wine, but in their response they completely missed the point and said 'for any passenger who is uncertain of what wine they would like we can only advise that they wait until they are on the ship before booking into the restaurant'. Two lessons - there was plenty of availability for the restaurant, and if you do buy a voucher for yourselves or friends tell P&O they/you do not drink alcohol and choose once on board. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2010
The combination of fabulous service, really good food, a comfortable cabin, interesting ports, and fabulous weather mean that any whinges are indeed minor. It did surprise me however the number of people my wife and I chatted to on the ... Read More
The combination of fabulous service, really good food, a comfortable cabin, interesting ports, and fabulous weather mean that any whinges are indeed minor. It did surprise me however the number of people my wife and I chatted to on the ship who did just that, whinge about every minor issue. Do regular cruisers often say "the toast is better on Celebrity" and similar? If so, how sad is that, as it must spoil their enjoyment. I have listed many good points in my opening sentence, but would also add that the price of alcohol on board was very competitive. I also enjoyed the art gallery, the ambiance of the Metropolis bar (and the fabulous performances of the duo Sophistication), the exemplary organisation of embarquation and disembarquation, the friendliness of the staff and other passengers. My minor whines are as follows: The pool areas are a bit like Butlins on a bad day, very crowded and noisy. The excursions are expensive. Charging £20 a person for a photo with the captain as the only way to see the bridge. Too many "tribute acts" in the entertainment. Very few quiet areas, as musak is everywhere (I ended up sitting out on the promenade deck) All in all we had a fabulous time, the most relaxing holiday ever. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2010
I booked this cruise after being made redundant and wanting to do something nice with the money. When I printed the e-ticket 48 hours before we left, I found we had been upgraded to cabin D307, from L311. We arrived at Manchester ... Read More
I booked this cruise after being made redundant and wanting to do something nice with the money. When I printed the e-ticket 48 hours before we left, I found we had been upgraded to cabin D307, from L311. We arrived at Manchester airport early to find that the check in had also opened early. We were through check in within 15 minutes and checked into the airport lounge. On arrival at Barbados we were straight off the plane and onto a bus which took us straight to the ship's embarkation sheds (like a large hangar). Although the queues were long, this took about 20 minutes and we were on board. We found we had been upgraded to a mini suite with a king size bed, a bath and shower, a pamper pack and waiting for us was a bottle of champagne on ice, chocolates and a flower arrangement. The only slight downside was that we had to wait 3.5 hours for our luggage to be delivered to the cabin, something we had not anticipated. But, wearing bathrobes and sipping champagne while we waited was not hard! At St Lucia, Marco Pierre White joined the cruise, much to hubby's surprise as he thought that although there was fine dining, Marco would never actually be on the ship. We were booked on Freedom Dining and so ate when we felt like it. The pager system used by the Cinnamon restaurant if they were full was a bonus as we could go for a drink or relax in our room until a table was ready. We also liked the Waterside buffet, although finding a seat was not always easy. The bar and restaurant staff were fabulous, attentive and friendly. Nothing was too much trouble for our room steward and he was so quick at sorting out our room that we joked he must hide under the bed and clean up as soon as we went out! The ship is beautifully decorated throughout and although we got lost a few times, there were plenty of signs to redirect us. Hubby especially liked the well equipped gym. Ventura is so large that although they were nearly at capacity, we could always find a quiet spot to sunbathe and read if we wanted to. Some of the shows we found a little disappointing. One comedian was quite unfunny and some of the productions were slightly amateur (especially the background displays) but then again, we were not in the West end of London. The entertainment staff were brilliant, especially Greer and Jenny who smiled all day and really engaged the passengers without being pushy. I was really sad to leave Ventura and the Caribbean and would love to go back but we have decided to try out other P&O ships and different destinations first to see if they are as good as our first cruise. We weren't sure if cruising was for us but now that we have tried it, I can honestly say that it's the way forward if you want better than 5 star pampering with top notch food and brilliant destinations. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2010
We booked the Caribbean cruise on the Ventura a little sceptically as the last cruise we did on Costa was awful and the one before that on Ocean Village was not as good as the first one with them. Ventura - well run, friendly, and ... Read More
We booked the Caribbean cruise on the Ventura a little sceptically as the last cruise we did on Costa was awful and the one before that on Ocean Village was not as good as the first one with them. Ventura - well run, friendly, and excellent food, the restaurant staff were also excellent nothing was too much trouble. We had 2nd sitting in the dining room this worked for us as it gave us time to shower and chill for an hour or so after getting back from our trips out. After dinner we went to see the shows, such as they were, we had no trouble finding a seat but go 15 mins before start of performance as they always start on time.The entertainment in the Arena Theatre was ok, not great but ok, the same few performers in every show just in a different order. You need to check the daily activity paper to find out where the entertainment is in the various bars we missed a lot because we thought the theatre was the best place to go. We had a balcony cabin (would not cruise without one) the only problem with it was it was the first on at the bow end a long way to walk to reach the restaurants etc but that was really a minor issue and after all my choice when booking. I found the ship very easy to find my way round and if you remember every time you get out of a lift you are facing the front of the ship you can't go wrong. The prices for drinks on board was very reasonable we were pleasantly surprised no more expensive than in a pub at home. We did find the prices in general in the Caribbean a lot more expensive than the last time we went a couple of years ago but that is not P & 0's fault. To vacate your cabin by 9am on the day of departure is too early considering you don't get the cabin till late afternoon when you embark. The organized trips were expensive, use local taxis the taxi drivers are very switched on and will give you all the info you want and the best places to visit. We would definitely Venture on th Ventura again. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2010
This was our first 'proper' cruise with P&O, we have previously cruised with Royal Caribbean (to the Caribbean and Alaska) and have done weekenders on the Oceana and NCL. Ventura is a beautiful ship. The staff are immaculate ... Read More
This was our first 'proper' cruise with P&O, we have previously cruised with Royal Caribbean (to the Caribbean and Alaska) and have done weekenders on the Oceana and NCL. Ventura is a beautiful ship. The staff are immaculate and very helpful and courteous. I felt she lacked the initial wow factor when we boarded, however she is modern, elegantly furnished and there are some lovely areas that have been very well designed. the Atrium was smaller than I expected having seen photo's but was a lovely place to wander and people watch! Ventura seems to do a good job at catering for most people most of the time. There is the Exchange 'pub' for quizzes, karaoke , bands etc for those who want a lively entertained holiday but also bars like Metropolis which is calm and sophisticated with a pianist at certain times. One of the weakest areas of the ship is the outside space (or lack of it). There are just too many passengers for the space available. There are just hundreds and hundreds of sun beds filling every single corner of available space, and as soon as the sun came out they were all full - or reserved!! There were no clear walkways so it was virtually impossible to get from one end to the other. You could usually find a sun bed, it was just a case of picking your way through the crowds. We headed right to the front and sat in the semi shade of the old sports court which was very pleasant. Another weak point in my opinion was the casino. It was just small and drab. There were a couple of gaming tables and a very small area with lots of fruit machines and stools all crammed in which was also a walkway through. It is also adjacent to the pub and when something was going on in there the noise completely dominated the casino. Not good. We spent very little time and consequently very little money in there because of this. Our room was lovely, clean and tidy, well fitted out and kept spotless morning and evening - thank you Pascoal. I was surprised on the rest of the ship about the lack of enforcement of the use of hand gels. There were a couple (some not working) in the self serve area and that was it. You were not required to do it entering the dining rooms, re-boarding the ship etc, no wonder we all had colds and coughs by the second week. The food was superb all over the ship. The self service was excellent, always something different to try, we tended to go outside peak times to avoid the queues. The Saffron main dining room was also excellent, Bonny and Peter looked after us very well. Lunch and afternoon tea were also very good, possibly a little rushed but very nice. East - the Asian fusion restaurant was absolutely outstanding. The whole thing was superb from start to finish. We went twice in the evening and once for a curry lunch. Well worth every penny of the small supplement. The White Room - the food was very nice, the service was good but it all just seemed to lack something. We ordered 'Medallions of beef with rocket' which in fact translated to steak with lettuce on top. It was a nice evening but I didn't really think it warranted the much larger supplement. I felt that the entertainment was a little regimented, it was always the same band in the same bar at the same time every night. They never rotated. the Entertainment Team for me were not very entertaining or visible. If you like doing quizzes with your morning pint you were fine! There was only two hosted sail away parties the whole two weeks - we were all up on deck - where were they??? Overall we had a good cruise on a nice ship. It was all a bit 'British' for my taste. I quite like the mixture of Americans and Europeans you get on other lines, it makes it feel more like a holiday. I would cruise with P&O again and possibly on Ventura but only to the Baltic's or Fjords where sun beds would not be an issue. Read Less
Ventura Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.2
Dining 4.0 3.9
Entertainment 4.0 3.7
Public Rooms 4.0 4.0
Fitness Recreation 4.0 3.9
Family 4.0 3.9
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.5
Enrichment 3.0 3.4
Service 4.0 4.0
Value For Money 4.0 3.7
Rates 3.0 3.9

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