Arrived at Ocean Terminal, seemed well organised and despite many arriving early things were kept moving. Water dispensers had no cups so I asked staff at kiosk who said I'd have to pay for empty cups - not a good start! Entered Ventura to be directed to deck 15 buffet, no welcome or welcome drink. Buffet crowded but we found a table eventually, shortage of cups which happened often thru cruise. No free drink for children except water (unless your child liked tea/coffee), this I thought bad as it was school holiday family cruise. Went to cabins at 2pm, very clean and tidy. Introduced to stewards. Ours named Sunil, lovely chap. Cabin kept well stocked, welcome balloon and sweets for daughter (was her birthday on board). Entertainment in theatre very good, especially 'Badness' with music and humour. Even my 13 YO liked them! Other lounge entertainers were average to good if you could get a seat with a view of them. Havana poorly laid out for view of stage from many seating areas and screens too small to appreciate the acts. As we were on second dinner sitting we were often ready around 7pm but little to no entertainment before our dinner at these times. We were offered bingo instead, not for my 13 YO as not her style lol. Were one or two other acts would have liked to see but due to our dinner sitting and theatre time the acts coincided so could not be in 2 places at once. First night in Bay Tree 2nd sitting (8:30pm), huge queue and late going in. No escort to table so grabbed a waiter and asked where table was. No introduction or friendly welcome by our waiter. Children's mains arrived a good 20 minutes before adult mains so they had finished and sat twiddling thumbs while we ate. Poor selection on children's menu and of deserts in general all menus. Our mains, pork and chicken dishes were so bland, weak gravy/sauces. Addressed future meal arrival times with waiter so one plus point! Another night did not get approached by drinks waiter at all, eventually asked waiter as kids had no drinks, he gave a puzzled look but we got drinks eventually. Just no friendly atmosphere at all! Did not feel like attending last night but we did, I'd have preferred the buffet which had a good although small selection of foods and tasty. Buffet as above, sometimes slow table clearing and tables not wiped properly. Often had to clean food off seats myself. Arrival in Zeebrugge and shuttle buses efficient, used train to Bruges very cheap. Bruges is a lovely town, great for chocolate shops and photo opportunities on bridges. Good boat ride along canals although they pack you in, many places to catch a boat so if queue too long at one place check out another. Prices not bad either for approx. 30 minute ride. Ship did not depart till close to midnight and proceeded at only 10 knots to Guernsey, would have been nice to arrive earlier at Guernsey as limited time due to tender use and departing at 5:30pm. Guernsey is a beautiful island, huge queues for the 91/92 round island buses (£1 each). Recommend a family day bus pass £9 if want to hop on/off buses regularly. We visited Underground Hospital, Little Chapel, Candie Gardens then bus to L'Ancresse, nice beach. Only just made it back for last 2 tenders before 5:30pm. Disembarkation by tender went smooth except for poor announcements and info, required a ticket so rather than kids fidgeting in queue I went alone only to be told when I eventually got to desk that unless rest of my party with me 'no ticket'. Had to go get them and 10 mins later we all queued but this time was half way round the ship so took a while. Sea day, always room to move around and find a spot indoors or out but my youngest is not confident in the pool but wanted to swim. However many youngsters were constantly jumping in/bombing which spoilt her experience. Staff just looked on, this was regular occurrence despite signs. Hot tubs usually full of children, no adults. We just squeezed in otherwise wouldn't have got a look in. Kids clubs/staff did a great job, my 9/10 YO loved it but my 13 YO not so keen. Her choice, wished she'd have given it another go but she was happy sticking with us. Was not the experience I was expecting, especially as it was my daughters first cruise. Ship was relatively clean although I noted rubbish in corridor near our cabins that was there 2/3 days before being removed. Did not seem a happy friendly ship and not as we expected following a ships tour on Azura previously but then they were looking for fresh business I suppose. Sailaway party, where? Very poor, just a band playing! Unlikely to cruise P&O again as prefer tasty food, good smiley friendly service in restaurants and other venues. Sorry this may annoy regular P&O cruisers but having cruised other lines I do have experience to compare and it takes a lot before I'm negative or complain. Hope others on same cruise had better experience!

First P&O cruise - unimpressed!

Ventura Cruise Review by Apeeler

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Trip Details
  • Sail Date: May 2015
  • Destination: Europe
Arrived at Ocean Terminal, seemed well organised and despite many arriving early things were kept moving. Water dispensers had no cups so I asked staff at kiosk who said I'd have to pay for empty cups - not a good start! Entered Ventura to be directed to deck 15 buffet, no welcome or welcome drink. Buffet crowded but we found a table eventually, shortage of cups which happened often thru cruise. No free drink for children except water (unless your child liked tea/coffee), this I thought bad as it was school holiday family cruise.

Went to cabins at 2pm, very clean and tidy. Introduced to stewards. Ours named Sunil, lovely chap. Cabin kept well stocked, welcome balloon and sweets for daughter (was her birthday on board).

Entertainment in theatre very good, especially 'Badness' with music and humour. Even my 13 YO liked them! Other lounge entertainers were average to good if you could get a seat with a view of them. Havana poorly laid out for view of stage from many seating areas and screens too small to appreciate the acts. As we were on second dinner sitting we were often ready around 7pm but little to no entertainment before our dinner at these times. We were offered bingo instead, not for my 13 YO as not her style lol. Were one or two other acts would have liked to see but due to our dinner sitting and theatre time the acts coincided so could not be in 2 places at once.

First night in Bay Tree 2nd sitting (8:30pm), huge queue and late going in. No escort to table so grabbed a waiter and asked where table was. No introduction or friendly welcome by our waiter. Children's mains arrived a good 20 minutes before adult mains so they had finished and sat twiddling thumbs while we ate. Poor selection on children's menu and of deserts in general all menus. Our mains, pork and chicken dishes were so bland, weak gravy/sauces. Addressed future meal arrival times with waiter so one plus point! Another night did not get approached by drinks waiter at all, eventually asked waiter as kids had no drinks, he gave a puzzled look but we got drinks eventually. Just no friendly atmosphere at all! Did not feel like attending last night but we did, I'd have preferred the buffet which had a good although small selection of foods and tasty.

Buffet as above, sometimes slow table clearing and tables not wiped properly. Often had to clean food off seats myself.

Arrival in Zeebrugge and shuttle buses efficient, used train to Bruges very cheap. Bruges is a lovely town, great for chocolate shops and photo opportunities on bridges. Good boat ride along canals although they pack you in, many places to catch a boat so if queue too long at one place check out another. Prices not bad either for approx. 30 minute ride. Ship did not depart till close to midnight and proceeded at only 10 knots to Guernsey, would have been nice to arrive earlier at Guernsey as limited time due to tender use and departing at 5:30pm. Guernsey is a beautiful island, huge queues for the 91/92 round island buses (£1 each). Recommend a family day bus pass £9 if want to hop on/off buses regularly. We visited Underground Hospital, Little Chapel, Candie Gardens then bus to L'Ancresse, nice beach. Only just made it back for last 2 tenders before 5:30pm. Disembarkation by tender went smooth except for poor announcements and info, required a ticket so rather than kids fidgeting in queue I went alone only to be told when I eventually got to desk that unless rest of my party with me 'no ticket'. Had to go get them and 10 mins later we all queued but this time was half way round the ship so took a while.

Sea day, always room to move around and find a spot indoors or out but my youngest is not confident in the pool but wanted to swim. However many youngsters were constantly jumping in/bombing which spoilt her experience. Staff just looked on, this was regular occurrence despite signs. Hot tubs usually full of children, no adults. We just squeezed in otherwise wouldn't have got a look in.

Kids clubs/staff did a great job, my 9/10 YO loved it but my 13 YO not so keen. Her choice, wished she'd have given it another go but she was happy sticking with us.

Was not the experience I was expecting, especially as it was my daughters first cruise. Ship was relatively clean although I noted rubbish in corridor near our cabins that was there 2/3 days before being removed. Did not seem a happy friendly ship and not as we expected following a ships tour on Azura previously but then they were looking for fresh business I suppose. Sailaway party, where? Very poor, just a band playing! Unlikely to cruise P&O again as prefer tasty food, good smiley friendly service in restaurants and other venues.

Sorry this may annoy regular P&O cruisers but having cruised other lines I do have experience to compare and it takes a lot before I'm negative or complain. Hope others on same cruise had better experience!
Apeeler’s Full Rating Summary
Value For Money
Embarkation
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Entertainment
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Ages 10 to 12
Ages 13 to 15
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Cabin Review

Cabin R224/R241
Good sized cabin, great steward, always kept tidy and well stocked. Interactive tv was good, very limited channels however there were many free films etc. to view. Announcements could not be heard in cabin so unless dressed and able to dash to corridor it was difficult to hear!
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