We have been on at least 6 other cruises with RCI, Celebrity and Seabourn and this was our first with P&O. We were extremely disappointed to say the least, even when compared to Island Cruises: the customer service both pre and during the cruise was absolutely disgraceful. Positives: Excellent service re baggage collection and delivery to the cabin and likewise on the return journey Cabin steward very attentive Super deluxe cabin - very comfortable and well appointed Negatives: 1) Customer service pre-cruise: totally conflicting advice During the 1st phone call enquiring about pricing I was told “if the price drops after you book we automatically refund the difference”. Found out later from our travel agent that this policy had been dropped either last or previous year. Pre-cruise travel documentation said to “fill in pre-cruise questionnaire” in the cruise personaliser. Rang P&O to say I couldn’t find it - was told there’s no such thing. Pre-cruise travel documentation said you could bring a small amount of alcohol on board (not to be consumed in public areas). Rang P&O to have this clarified only to be told you couldn’t do this. On board found out that in fact you could do this. E-tickets gave 2 different sizes for hand luggage: 55x40x20cm and 43x28x23cm. Rang P&O to find out which was correct - the person I spoke to didn’t know but would find out and call me back the next day. No phone call the next day so I rang back: on our record it showed that your personnel had called me 3 times on my mobile but that I hadn’t answered. You had the correct mobile number for me on file but my phone didn’t have any missed calls and in any case why didn’t they just leave a message for me? - that’s assuming they really had called. 2) Customer service on board: Maintenance: spoke to reception desk 5 times about the aircon not working. Explained it was on its lowest setting and yet at one point the temperature in the cabin was 25 degrees making it totally unbearable. It wasn’t until the 6th DAY that it was finally repaired. Who was to blame for this? - reception for not passing on the message or maintenance for not responding? I would guess reception going on other dealings with them. Rang reception several times with various enquiries - staff never knew the answer so they had to go and find out, even when it was a basic question such as whether or not there was a shuttle bus. Both on the phone and at the reception desk the staff were most unfriendly and made no effort at all to provide good customer service - everything seemed to be too much of an effort for them. There was one exception and I think his name was Bonnie Dubois - it was his first day back off sick and he did everything he could to help. No matter where you were on board the staff were surly and made no effort to be pleasant and rarely did anyone say hello or even smile. 3) Restaurant staff (Cinnamon restaurant) - not been trained to a sufficiently high standard: Waiter would clear your plate as soon as you’d finished eating rather than waiting until everyone had finished Wine waiters: asked my husband who wanted white wine rather than asking each individual person what they wanted;would have filled the glass to the top if you hadn’t stopped them, rather than part filling it; on one I occasion asked to speak to the head wine waiter about the above: he took the wine waiter to one side and thinking they were out of sight he made a big joke out of it with the waiter. It was quite obvious that the head wine waiter has no respect for the customers nor does he take his job seriously. After complaining to the Restaurant Manager about the above the service did improve. c) As part of the “Select” package one evening we received canapés in the cabin. The presentation and appearance was dreadful - needless to say we didn’t eat them. This further highlights to us the apparent total lack of finesse and quality of service of P&O cruises. 4) Entertainment team Cruise Director, Hughie, was totally ineffectual and showed no enthusiasm whatsoever Kaylee - looked totally disinterested and bored during sail-away parties etc 5) Venice shuttle service: I was totally confused about the options available for people with reduced mobility. It would help if the people we were dealing with could speak good English (here referring to local Italian ground staff). Got to the shuttle bus - my family got on, I got off to double check about the service for the disabled and asked my daughter to make sure it didn’t go without me. Bus started off, she tried to stop it and got her hand trapped in the door. Bus carried on regardless and I had to follow on later. Got to the quay side for the shuttle boat - the queue was enormous. My in-laws are disabled so we were able to move to the front of the queue. Even so it took us 1 and a half hours to get from the bus to being dropped off near St Mark’s Square. Just how long did it take the other passengers who had to wait in line? We sat bobbing about on the shuttle boat for 20 minutes until it was able to land. This service is an absolute disgrace and a rip-off at 15€ each ( total of 90€ for the 6 of us). We feel that some of the issues above could be improved by just 1 simple change to the system; on previous cruises gratuities have always been given directly to individuals i.e. not automatically earned. Our friends always cruise with P&O and having heard our experiences with poor service told us that they have noticed a dramatic fall in standards since automatic tipping was introduced. We know that passengers can opt out of automatic gratuities and in fact we did so but this is not going to improve overall standards - the staff need to earn their tips not just expect to be rewarded for doing nothing. Cruising is becoming a very competitive and expanding market so if P&O want to remain successful they need to look very closely at how they operate in order to retain loyal customers and attract new ones. This is particularly true in an environment where the internet is now so widely used to get insight into people’s experiences with the different cruise lines and ships by reading their reviews. Below I refer to some of the claims made by P&O on its website. My experiences of them are in brackets: 1) Service on board P&O Cruises We will go to any length to ensure you enjoy the holiday of a lifetime (why did it take 5 requests to repair the aircon?) Enjoy the holiday of a lifetime every time you cruise with us.  At P&O Cruises we want to give you a holiday to remember, filled with special occasions and memorable moments. (as a family of 6 we chose a P&O cruise because this year we have had our own “special occasions” to celebrate: a diamond wedding anniversary, a silver wedding anniversary, a 60th birthday and a retirement, what a shame that P&O couldn’t step up to the plate and give us those “memorable moments” to take away). From the friendly greeting you receive as you step on board, (no-one greeted us on board - we were completely ignored)to Black Tie nights where the entire ship dresses to the nines, or from a lazy afternoon of pampering in The Retreat, to a romantic dinner for two at a Marco Pierre White restaurant, everything about your P&O Cruises holiday will make you feel special. (the staff made no attempt to even smile never mind make us feel special) And when your cabin steward knows your name, and your bar steward remembers your favourite drink, that’s simply how a P&O Cruises holiday should be. Throughout the ship, you will find genuine and attentive service from knowledgeable staff happy to help in any way they can (service was not at all attentive and the staff were surly). You’ll soon become friends with the same waiters who will serve your table each and every evening, and will be amazed by the memory of the bar staff who will often remember your drink if you’re a regular in the same bar. 2) We take care of every detail From a nightly turndown service to pool attendants offering fresh towels (not once did I see any pool attendants or towels on offer), we look after every aspect of your holiday. The moment you step on board, we will make sure you have a holiday of a lifetime – whether that means impeccable service, your favourite cocktail made just how you like it or breakfast in bed every morning. 3) We have 175 years of experience to call on Over this time we have perfected cruising to become the cruise experts. (you have not perfected cruising at all: even Island Cruises offer better service and attention to detail than P&O. Then there’s RCI, Celebrity and Seabourn with whom we’ve also cruised - just no comparison!) I can safely say that our experience onboard the Ventura was a total disappointment. My in-laws who were celebrating their diamond wedding and who have never cruised before were so excited about their trip of a lifetime; my husband and I were celebrating our silver wedding, my 60th birthday and his retirement. This was to be one big celebration for all of us but P&O really let us down with its false and misleading claims. To summarise P&O did not fufill its promises to: go to any length to ensure the holiday of a lifetime make us feel special provide genuine and attentive service provide pool attendants offering fresh towels etc., etc., etc..

First & last cruise with P&O

Ventura Cruise Review by rouelle6

2 people found this helpful
Trip Details
We have been on at least 6 other cruises with RCI, Celebrity and Seabourn and this was our first with P&O. We were extremely disappointed to say the least, even when compared to Island Cruises: the customer service both pre and during the cruise was absolutely disgraceful.

Positives:

Excellent service re baggage collection and delivery to the cabin and likewise on the return journey

Cabin steward very attentive

Super deluxe cabin - very comfortable and well appointed

Negatives:

1) Customer service pre-cruise: totally conflicting advice

During the 1st phone call enquiring about pricing I was told “if the price drops after you book we automatically refund the difference”. Found out later from our travel agent that this policy had been dropped either last or previous year.

Pre-cruise travel documentation said to “fill in pre-cruise questionnaire” in the cruise personaliser. Rang P&O to say I couldn’t find it - was told there’s no such thing.

Pre-cruise travel documentation said you could bring a small amount of alcohol on board (not to be consumed in public areas). Rang P&O to have this clarified only to be told you couldn’t do this. On board found out that in fact you could do this.

E-tickets gave 2 different sizes for hand luggage: 55x40x20cm and 43x28x23cm. Rang P&O to find out which was correct - the person I spoke to didn’t know but would find out and call me back the next day. No phone call the next day so I rang back: on our record it showed that your personnel had called me 3 times on my mobile but that I hadn’t answered. You had the correct mobile number for me on file but my phone didn’t have any missed calls and in any case why didn’t they just leave a message for me? - that’s assuming they really had called.

2) Customer service on board:

Maintenance: spoke to reception desk 5 times about the aircon not working. Explained it was on its lowest setting and yet at one point the temperature in the cabin was 25 degrees making it totally unbearable. It wasn’t until the 6th DAY that it was finally repaired. Who was to blame for this? - reception for not passing on the message or maintenance for not responding? I would guess reception going on other dealings with them.

Rang reception several times with various enquiries - staff never knew the answer so they had to go and find out, even when it was a basic question such as whether or not there was a shuttle bus.

Both on the phone and at the reception desk the staff were most unfriendly and made no effort at all to provide good customer service - everything seemed to be too much of an effort for them. There was one exception and I think his name was Bonnie Dubois - it was his first day back off sick and he did everything he could to help.

No matter where you were on board the staff were surly and made no effort to be pleasant and rarely did anyone say hello or even smile.

3) Restaurant staff (Cinnamon restaurant) - not been trained to a sufficiently high standard:

Waiter would clear your plate as soon as you’d finished eating rather than waiting until everyone had finished

Wine waiters: asked my husband who wanted white wine rather than asking each individual person what they wanted;would have filled the glass to the top if you hadn’t stopped them, rather than part filling it; on one I occasion asked to speak to the head wine waiter about the above: he took the wine waiter to one side and thinking they were out of sight he made a big joke out of it with the waiter. It was quite obvious that the head wine waiter has no respect for the customers nor does he take his job seriously.

After complaining to the Restaurant Manager about the above the service did improve.

c) As part of the “Select” package one evening we received canapés in the cabin. The presentation and appearance was dreadful - needless to say we didn’t eat them. This further highlights to us the apparent total lack of finesse and quality of service of P&O cruises.

4) Entertainment team

Cruise Director, Hughie, was totally ineffectual and showed no enthusiasm whatsoever

Kaylee - looked totally disinterested and bored during sail-away parties etc

5) Venice shuttle service:

I was totally confused about the options available for people with reduced mobility. It would help if the people we were dealing with could speak good English (here referring to local Italian ground staff).

Got to the shuttle bus - my family got on, I got off to double check about the service for the disabled and asked my daughter to make sure it didn’t go without me. Bus started off, she tried to stop it and got her hand trapped in the door. Bus carried on regardless and I had to follow on later.

Got to the quay side for the shuttle boat - the queue was enormous. My in-laws are disabled so we were able to move to the front of the queue. Even so it took us 1 and a half hours to get from the bus to being dropped off near St Mark’s Square. Just how long did it take the other passengers who had to wait in line? We sat bobbing about on the shuttle boat for 20 minutes until it was able to land. This service is an absolute disgrace and a rip-off at 15€ each ( total of 90€ for the 6 of us).

We feel that some of the issues above could be improved by just 1 simple change to the system; on previous cruises gratuities have always been given directly to individuals i.e. not automatically earned. Our friends always cruise with P&O and having heard our experiences with poor service told us that they have noticed a dramatic fall in standards since automatic tipping was introduced. We know that passengers can opt out of automatic gratuities and in fact we did so but this is not going to improve overall standards - the staff need to earn their tips not just expect to be rewarded for doing nothing.

Cruising is becoming a very competitive and expanding market so if P&O want to remain successful they need to look very closely at how they operate in order to retain loyal customers and attract new ones. This is particularly true in an environment where the internet is now so widely used to get insight into people’s experiences with the different cruise lines and ships by reading their reviews.

Below I refer to some of the claims made by P&O on its website. My experiences of them are in brackets:

1) Service on board P&O Cruises

We will go to any length to ensure you enjoy the holiday of a lifetime (why did it take 5 requests to repair the aircon?)

Enjoy the holiday of a lifetime every time you cruise with us.  At P&O Cruises we want to give you a holiday to remember, filled with special occasions and memorable moments. (as a family of 6 we chose a P&O cruise because this year we have had our own “special occasions” to celebrate: a diamond wedding anniversary, a silver wedding anniversary, a 60th birthday and a retirement, what a shame that P&O couldn’t step up to the plate and give us those “memorable moments” to take away). From the friendly greeting you receive as you step on board,

(no-one greeted us on board - we were completely ignored)to Black Tie nights where the entire ship dresses to the nines, or from a lazy afternoon of pampering in The Retreat, to a romantic dinner for two at a Marco Pierre White restaurant, everything about your P&O Cruises holiday will make you feel special.

(the staff made no attempt to even smile never mind make us feel special) And when your cabin steward knows your name, and your bar steward remembers your favourite drink, that’s simply how a P&O Cruises holiday should be.

Throughout the ship, you will find genuine and attentive service from knowledgeable staff happy to help in any way they can (service was not at all attentive and the staff were surly). You’ll soon become friends with the same waiters who will serve your table each and every evening, and will be amazed by the memory of the bar staff who will often remember your drink if you’re a regular in the same bar.

2) We take care of every detail

From a nightly turndown service to pool attendants offering fresh towels (not once did I see any pool attendants or towels on offer), we look after every aspect of your holiday. The moment you step on board, we will make sure you have a holiday of a lifetime – whether that means impeccable service, your favourite cocktail made just how you like it or breakfast in bed every morning.

3) We have 175 years of experience to call on

Over this time we have perfected cruising to become the cruise experts. (you have not perfected cruising at all: even Island Cruises offer better service and attention to detail than P&O. Then there’s RCI, Celebrity and Seabourn with whom we’ve also cruised - just no comparison!)

I can safely say that our experience onboard the Ventura was a total disappointment. My in-laws who were celebrating their diamond wedding and who have never cruised before were so excited about their trip of a lifetime; my husband and I were celebrating our silver wedding, my 60th birthday and his retirement. This was to be one big celebration for all of us but P&O really let us down with its false and misleading claims.

To summarise P&O did not fufill its promises to:

go to any length to ensure the holiday of a lifetime

make us feel special

provide genuine and attentive service

provide pool attendants offering fresh towels

etc., etc., etc..
rouelle6’s Full Rating Summary
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Cabin Review

Cabin D729
Very nice cabin with 2 TVs and lounge area.
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