I am writing this review because I wish that I had read something like this before I booked my trip. I literally read 100’s of reviews and gave negative reviews the benefit of the doubt… thinking they were just written by picky people. A little bit about me and my travel experience: I grew up in the United States but currently live in central London. I am a woman in my mid 30’s who travelled with my husband, 2 year old daughter, and parents. I was drawn to this cruise because it sailed out of Southampton (convenient), had a night nursery for my daughter, and went to ports that sounded interesting. I have been on 10 cruises over the past 10 years with Royal Caribbean, Princess, Carnival, and Celebrity Cruise lines. I have also stayed at various all-inclusive resorts such as Sandals, Secrets, and other smaller companies in Europe. I travel 5-6 times per year and have experienced many hotels ranging between 2-5+ stars. Overall impression: I was very disappointed and will not be sailing with P&O ever again. Considering that the company is owned by Carnival Co., I assumed that the experience would be a British version of Carnival and Princess cruise lines… which would have been great! However, it was not a “British” version, it was a simply a BAD version. I live in London and LOVE British culture and British people. I think Great Britain is beautiful with fabulous restaurants. This cruise line is NOT a representation of British culture. What really shocks me is that the cruise line is expensive! It doesn't make any sense. PORTS: The bad: -Didn’t get to go to Guernsey because of “bad weather.” -When visiting ports, on other cruise lines, as we exit the ship, we always receive a port map with clear documentation of where our ship is docked. When I didn’t see any on the way out, I went to reception to ask for one, and was informed that they did not exit. This is a major problem that can make finding the ship (in cities with multiple docks) at the end of the day challenging. Maybe this is done on purpose, to make exploring on your own (versus buying a ship excursion) more difficult? The Good: -Porto: The ship provided a very convenient shuttle to Porto. We did a tour and port tasting at Graham’s lodge- amazing experience…. also enjoyed a GREAT lunch at Dourum Restaurante, overlooking the river and town. -La Coruna: We took a taxi to the train station and then train to Santiago de Compostela- it was such a beautiful place and we had a fabulous lunch at Petiscos do Cardeal. -Lisbon: We took a taxi (metered) to Belem tower, tried a famous pastry at Pasteis de Belem, walked to the Discoveries Monument and Jerónimos Monastery. We took a taxi to Castelo St jorge (amazing views!!) and then walked around the Alfama. We finished our day by taking another taxi to Praca do commerce and walked around that area and then back to the ship. We tried the great local drink- ginjinha at a street cart, overlooking the bridge. It was an amazing day. FOOD: The bad: -The selection was awful. Mostly everything was over salted and bland. -Breakfast: No french toast, no smoked salmon, no eggs Benedict… I could go on and on… -Lunch: No sandwich/panini stations, terrible salad options (no spinach or any leafy greens.. just iceberg/romaine), no iced tea or lemonade like other cruise lines… again, could go on and on -Dinner: No french onion soup, no filet mignon (even formal night), the “shrimp cocktail appetizer” was a joke… the shrimp were the smallest that I’ve ever seen… about 1 cm each. -They don’t advertise or tell you everything… 2 examples: At breakfast, pancakes are available but no one knows about it because you have to request them at the hidden omelet making station. Similarly, at the main restaurants, you can request complimentary cappuccino and espresso but it’s not on the menu and the waiter will not offer it. When you ask for it, they seem annoyed. -Juice and milk came from a dispenser, not cartons… you don’t know what you’re getting… nothing seemed natural or fresh. Certainly not 100% juice. The good: -About one out of every five dishes was good…. good, not great. -Great tea selection. -We really enjoyed the wine tasting at the Glass House, 15 pound surcharge, came with food pairing (small bites), educational and tasty. -High chairs available everywhere. SHIP: The bad: -As others have commented, the public areas are not big enough to fit all of the passengers. We arrived to the Arena theater for the “special” nightly performance, as soon as we got out of dinner, 5 minutes prior to the performance start time and all of the AISLES were full of standing people because all of the seats were taken. This is unacceptable. Same with breakfast at the buffet, no where to sit. -In general, the decor is hideous. There is no excuse for this. The ship was built in 2008, not 1997. -The layout seems like it was all a big mistake… it makes no sense! Multiple times throughout one day, you will have to take lifts or stairs up/down, then walk across the ship to other lifts or stairs, and have to go up/down again to get where you need to be. There are road blocks everywhere. -The interactive TV system in the cabins is SO slow! It will take 10 minutes to check the balance on 3 cruise cards for 3 passengers. The good: -The beds are comfortable and our grade HD balcony cabin was a good size with nice balcony furniture. -The kids program is GREAT! The Reef staff are very sweet. CONCLUSION: Perhaps if I hadn’t sailed with other companies, I wouldn’t be as disappointed. This ship/cruise was FINE, but it just wasn’t nearly as good as other options that are priced the same! I just want to urge those that haven’t tried other cruise lines, to please do so. I think you just don’t know what you’re missing.

Experienced Traveler Shocked and Disappointed

Ventura Cruise Review by victoriaandblake

2 people found this helpful
Trip Details
I am writing this review because I wish that I had read something like this before I booked my trip.

I literally read 100’s of reviews and gave negative reviews the benefit of the doubt… thinking they were just written by picky people.

A little bit about me and my travel experience: I grew up in the United States but currently live in central London. I am a woman in my mid 30’s who travelled with my husband, 2 year old daughter, and parents. I was drawn to this cruise because it sailed out of Southampton (convenient), had a night nursery for my daughter, and went to ports that sounded interesting.

I have been on 10 cruises over the past 10 years with Royal Caribbean, Princess, Carnival, and Celebrity Cruise lines. I have also stayed at various all-inclusive resorts such as Sandals, Secrets, and other smaller companies in Europe. I travel 5-6 times per year and have experienced many hotels ranging between 2-5+ stars.

Overall impression:

I was very disappointed and will not be sailing with P&O ever again.

Considering that the company is owned by Carnival Co., I assumed that the experience would be a British version of Carnival and Princess cruise lines… which would have been great! However, it was not a “British” version, it was a simply a BAD version. I live in London and LOVE British culture and British people. I think Great Britain is beautiful with fabulous restaurants. This cruise line is NOT a representation of British culture.

What really shocks me is that the cruise line is expensive!

It doesn't make any sense.

PORTS:

The bad:

-Didn’t get to go to Guernsey because of “bad weather.”

-When visiting ports, on other cruise lines, as we exit the ship, we always receive a port map with clear documentation of where our ship is docked. When I didn’t see any on the way out, I went to reception to ask for one, and was informed that they did not exit.

This is a major problem that can make finding the ship (in cities with multiple docks) at the end of the day challenging. Maybe this is done on purpose, to make exploring on your own (versus buying a ship excursion) more difficult?

The Good:

-Porto: The ship provided a very convenient shuttle to Porto. We did a tour and port tasting at Graham’s lodge- amazing experience…. also enjoyed a GREAT lunch at Dourum Restaurante, overlooking the river and town.

-La Coruna: We took a taxi to the train station and then train to Santiago de Compostela- it was such a beautiful place and we had a fabulous lunch at Petiscos do Cardeal.

-Lisbon: We took a taxi (metered) to Belem tower, tried a famous pastry at Pasteis de Belem, walked to the Discoveries Monument and Jerónimos Monastery. We took a taxi to Castelo St jorge (amazing views!!) and then walked around the Alfama. We finished our day by taking another taxi to Praca do commerce and walked around that area and then back to the ship.

We tried the great local drink- ginjinha at a street cart, overlooking the bridge. It was an amazing day.

FOOD:

The bad:

-The selection was awful. Mostly everything was over salted and bland.

-Breakfast: No french toast, no smoked salmon, no eggs Benedict… I could go on and on…

-Lunch: No sandwich/panini stations, terrible salad options (no spinach or any leafy greens.. just iceberg/romaine), no iced tea or lemonade like other cruise lines… again, could go on and on

-Dinner: No french onion soup, no filet mignon (even formal night), the “shrimp cocktail appetizer” was a joke… the shrimp were the smallest that I’ve ever seen… about 1 cm each.

-They don’t advertise or tell you everything…

2 examples:

At breakfast, pancakes are available but no one knows about it because you have to request them at the hidden omelet making station.

Similarly, at the main restaurants, you can request complimentary cappuccino and espresso but it’s not on the menu and the waiter will not offer it. When you ask for it, they seem annoyed.

-Juice and milk came from a dispenser, not cartons… you don’t know what you’re getting… nothing seemed natural or fresh. Certainly not 100% juice.

The good:

-About one out of every five dishes was good…. good, not great.

-Great tea selection.

-We really enjoyed the wine tasting at the Glass House, 15 pound surcharge, came with food pairing (small bites), educational and tasty.

-High chairs available everywhere.

SHIP:

The bad:

-As others have commented, the public areas are not big enough to fit all of the passengers. We arrived to the Arena theater for the “special” nightly performance, as soon as we got out of dinner, 5 minutes prior to the performance start time and all of the AISLES were full of standing people because all of the seats were taken.

This is unacceptable.

Same with breakfast at the buffet, no where to sit.

-In general, the decor is hideous. There is no excuse for this. The ship was built in 2008, not 1997.

-The layout seems like it was all a big mistake… it makes no sense! Multiple times throughout one day, you will have to take lifts or stairs up/down, then walk across the ship to other lifts or stairs, and have to go up/down again to get where you need to be.

There are road blocks everywhere.

-The interactive TV system in the cabins is SO slow! It will take 10 minutes to check the balance on 3 cruise cards for 3 passengers.

The good:

-The beds are comfortable and our grade HD balcony cabin was a good size with nice balcony furniture.

-The kids program is GREAT! The Reef staff are very sweet.

CONCLUSION:

Perhaps if I hadn’t sailed with other companies, I wouldn’t be as disappointed.

This ship/cruise was FINE, but it just wasn’t nearly as good as other options that are priced the same!

I just want to urge those that haven’t tried other cruise lines, to please do so. I think you just don’t know what you’re missing.
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