Just back from Iberian cruise on Ventura. Having had a not very pleasant experience a few years ago with P and O we have been trying other cruise lines with very good result, but we decided to venture back to see how things had changed. Embarkation went much as normal big queue at Southampton, all a bit late following a deep clean due to Noro. As usual everyone seemed to be ticking the no boxes on the health questionnaire, it seems to be a waste of time as no one will admit to feeling ill and missing the cruise; it would be better to strip us all off and send us through a sheep dip. We were on the ship after about an hour so not too bad, the ship itself looked quite drab and "beige" following experiences on other lines. I was expecting better after the refit. We soon realised once on board that the ship was still under red alert and this does disadvantage you in many ways. The question ever one was asking was if they have done a deep clean why are we still under red alert, we can't go near any food, we can't touch anything in the shops and meal times feels like school dinners when you have to ask the teacher for salt and pepper and they come in paper packets. The cabin was a superior deluxe balcony cabin, again it looked a bit drab with various stains on the carpet and walls and a lot of mould round the bath but in general it was clean and dusted. There was plenty of hanging space so we got busy unpacking. The champagne and chocolates were in the room and made for a good start. The cabin has a bath with shower over it though the shower is no more than a dribble, and you had to move about just to get wet. I will elaborate on cabin issues later. We were greeted with the sight of people with masks and gowns going into the suite next to ours, it was later we found out that they were under isolation; why were we not informed then we could take extra precautions. It was l a few days later that we found out one of the children was sea sick and the medical staff had over reacted. The food in the MDR was good, plenty of choice, well presented and well served. Our waiters were very good. I can't understand why some reports say the staff are surly, they are trained to be distant until you break the ice with them because some people don't want to have anything other than being served. Chat and laugh with them and they will respond. The food in the buffet was very much the same every day, it was served to you by staff up until the last 2 days. The food area is very small compared with other lines, just one side open and this is as i said before very compact. A lot of passengers were trying to avoid the hand gel, making waving movements near the machine and walking away rubbing their hands (why), staff did chase them when you brought it to their attention but then they would still insist they had done it. Most people did all in their power to have a table all to their self even though it becomes quite packed, why will the "beige" people not share? Entertainment was very good, from the shows though these are the same ones we saw 4 years ago, to the individual acts. But the main issue was with the dead spots between acts and vast areas of the ship with nothing going on. During the day on sea days there was the usual quizzes and bingo, come on P and O; Pontins closed years ago because people have moved on. Can we at least have a bit of musical entertainment during the day, other lines have strings and piano's playing in the bars and atrium. We are keen dancers, I don't think P and O have ever seen any one dance; it is impossible if more than 3 couples are on the floor in the joke of a dance floor in the atrium. Judging by the amount of people wanting to dance and the amount of people who wanted to watch it should be in one of the larger venues with a larger floor. Ports of call were Vigo, Lisbon, Porto and Cherbourge. The stop at Vigo went off very well the ship docks in the centre of town so going on foot is not a problem, we didn't do a trip here so nothing much more to report on Vigo. We docked near the centre of the city in Lisbon, that was quite a surprise as in the past we have docked near the bridge, well out of town. We did the trip to Obidos, this is a nice little place and I would recommend anyone trying it if you have never been. Try the Ginja in the chocolate cups, try a few they are very cheap around 1 euro and each one is different. Porto was our next stop, the port is very good and well set up for cruises. They put on free shuttles to the city and to the port gates. The one into town takes about 30 minutes and runs about every 15 minutes. The one to the port gates is just as regular, as you walk out of the gate just turn right and you are on a fantastic clean white beach. Then we get to Cherbourge or not as came to pass. We were greeted the day before on the sea day with a letter telling us about the terrorist activity in France and to keep out of crowded places, this goes a long way to putting you in the holiday mood; it's not as if everyone had not heard about the issues in France; basically tell us what we already know. Then during the evening meal the Captain came over the loud speaker with more doom and gloom saying he had reports that the sea was getting a bit choppy, the rumour then started to go round that we would not go to Cherbourge. So come the morning after a quiet run over the B of B and not much movement during the night, the Captain came on the loud speaker with the expected news that due to the very rough weather and the impending storm we would be spending the day at sea again. He said he did not want to put the safety of his crew at risk, but it seems OK to put us all at risk and leave us at sea during a major storm. I did think the procedure during a major storm was to run for home or find a safe port, we were in reach of Southampton and could have stayed overnight there. As it happened the storm was 2 days away, all seems a bit suspect to me. We were then treated to another sea day so decided to go and watch the film in the morning, we went to the first venue advertised and were told after some time that we would have to go to the theatre; after waiting there we were told to go back to the original venue only to find the majority interest film had been replaced by a minority interest hairdressing event, I can do that waiting to pick my wife up from the hairdressers. They re vamped the programme taking off some of the good things and putt on more quizzes, My view is that if it had been a port day they would have had offers for the spar and hairdressers but if we have a captive audience we can charge the full amount. We went to our cabin to watch a film on the TV , it was quite a calm sunny day and we tried to open the balcony for some air but found it to be jammed shut; I reported it to reception they said someone would fix it; but no one ever came. This was the day that our dressing gowns arrived, I had thought they had stopped using them but they appeared in the cupboard. If you are susceptible to static don't use them as they are made of nylon and give you quite a shock when you come to hang them up. We were invited into the large suite next door because she was not happy with the state of the cabin, for a suite I would have expected better it was like going into an old caravan, with even more old stains than our cabin. She said the bedding had not been changed all week and on reflection neither had ours but we had presumed that was because of the red alert. I advised her to ask for the house keeper. I also asked our steward if he would change our bedding, he broke down in tears and said they had given him too much to do; my wife spent the next hour trying to console him. Later that day the housekeeper came to our cabin very apologetically, we did ask him to look after the steward as he was close to breakdown. I explained that the balcony door would not open he showed me that you need to kick it in several places and then pull it very hard, I wish I had known that at the start of the cruise; I could have asked reception for a big hammer to facilitate the process. So in summary no storm and no Cherbourge. Disembarking went well, we chose to take off our own bags so were off before 8 o'clock. I would recommend it if you are able enough as you are requested to put your bags out by 8:30 in the evening. This means you either spend the evening in the clothes you are going home in or go home in your evening clothes. Sorry it's a bit long but I do like to say it as it is, I understand others will have different views on it and die hard P and O groupies will lambast me for writing this. Will I be giving it one more try I don't think so, even though we have amassed a lot of peninsular points from the past when P and O were not "affordable cruising" and I guess it is our own fault for looking for a bargain for a short break.

Panic cruise

Ventura Cruise Review by Two 2 Tango

18 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: March 2016
  • Destination: Europe
  • Cabin Type: Junior Mini Suite with Balcony and Bath/Shower
Just back from Iberian cruise on Ventura. Having had a not very pleasant experience a few years ago with P and O we have been trying other cruise lines with very good result, but we decided to venture back to see how things had changed.

Embarkation went much as normal big queue at Southampton, all a bit late following a deep clean due to Noro. As usual everyone seemed to be ticking the no boxes on the health questionnaire, it seems to be a waste of time as no one will admit to feeling ill and missing the cruise; it would be better to strip us all off and send us through a sheep dip. We were on the ship after about an hour so not too bad, the ship itself looked quite drab and "beige" following experiences on other lines. I was expecting better after the refit. We soon realised once on board that the ship was still under red alert and this does disadvantage you in many ways. The question ever one was asking was if they have done a deep clean why are we still under red alert, we can't go near any food, we can't touch anything in the shops and meal times feels like school dinners when you have to ask the teacher for salt and pepper and they come in paper packets.

The cabin was a superior deluxe balcony cabin, again it looked a bit drab with various stains on the carpet and walls and a lot of mould round the bath but in general it was clean and dusted. There was plenty of hanging space so we got busy unpacking. The champagne and chocolates were in the room and made for a good start. The cabin has a bath with shower over it though the shower is no more than a dribble, and you had to move about just to get wet. I will elaborate on cabin issues later. We were greeted with the sight of people with masks and gowns going into the suite next to ours, it was later we found out that they were under isolation; why were we not informed then we could take extra precautions. It was l a few days later that we found out one of the children was sea sick and the medical staff had over reacted.

The food in the MDR was good, plenty of choice, well presented and well served. Our waiters were very good. I can't understand why some reports say the staff are surly, they are trained to be distant until you break the ice with them because some people don't want to have anything other than being served. Chat and laugh with them and they will respond. The food in the buffet was very much the same every day, it was served to you by staff up until the last 2 days. The food area is very small compared with other lines, just one side open and this is as i said before very compact. A lot of passengers were trying to avoid the hand gel, making waving movements near the machine and walking away rubbing their hands (why), staff did chase them when you brought it to their attention but then they would still insist they had done it. Most people did all in their power to have a table all to their self even though it becomes quite packed, why will the "beige" people not share?

Entertainment was very good, from the shows though these are the same ones we saw 4 years ago, to the individual acts. But the main issue was with the dead spots between acts and vast areas of the ship with nothing going on. During the day on sea days there was the usual quizzes and bingo, come on P and O; Pontins closed years ago because people have moved on. Can we at least have a bit of musical entertainment during the day, other lines have strings and piano's playing in the bars and atrium. We are keen dancers, I don't think P and O have ever seen any one dance; it is impossible if more than 3 couples are on the floor in the joke of a dance floor in the atrium. Judging by the amount of people wanting to dance and the amount of people who wanted to watch it should be in one of the larger venues with a larger floor.

Ports of call were Vigo, Lisbon, Porto and Cherbourge. The stop at Vigo went off very well the ship docks in the centre of town so going on foot is not a problem, we didn't do a trip here so nothing much more to report on Vigo. We docked near the centre of the city in Lisbon, that was quite a surprise as in the past we have docked near the bridge, well out of town. We did the trip to Obidos, this is a nice little place and I would recommend anyone trying it if you have never been. Try the Ginja in the chocolate cups, try a few they are very cheap around 1 euro and each one is different.

Porto was our next stop, the port is very good and well set up for cruises. They put on free shuttles to the city and to the port gates. The one into town takes about 30 minutes and runs about every 15 minutes. The one to the port gates is just as regular, as you walk out of the gate just turn right and you are on a fantastic clean white beach.

Then we get to Cherbourge or not as came to pass. We were greeted the day before on the sea day with a letter telling us about the terrorist activity in France and to keep out of crowded places, this goes a long way to putting you in the holiday mood; it's not as if everyone had not heard about the issues in France; basically tell us what we already know. Then during the evening meal the Captain came over the loud speaker with more doom and gloom saying he had reports that the sea was getting a bit choppy, the rumour then started to go round that we would not go to Cherbourge. So come the morning after a quiet run over the B of B and not much movement during the night, the Captain came on the loud speaker with the expected news that due to the very rough weather and the impending storm we would be spending the day at sea again. He said he did not want to put the safety of his crew at risk, but it seems OK to put us all at risk and leave us at sea during a major storm. I did think the procedure during a major storm was to run for home or find a safe port, we were in reach of Southampton and could have stayed overnight there. As it happened the storm was 2 days away, all seems a bit suspect to me. We were then treated to another sea day so decided to go and watch the film in the morning, we went to the first venue advertised and were told after some time that we would have to go to the theatre; after waiting there we were told to go back to the original venue only to find the majority interest film had been replaced by a minority interest hairdressing event, I can do that waiting to pick my wife up from the hairdressers. They re vamped the programme taking off some of the good things and putt on more quizzes, My view is that if it had been a port day they would have had offers for the spar and hairdressers but if we have a captive audience we can charge the full amount. We went to our cabin to watch a film on the TV , it was quite a calm sunny day and we tried to open the balcony for some air but found it to be jammed shut; I reported it to reception they said someone would fix it; but no one ever came. This was the day that our dressing gowns arrived, I had thought they had stopped using them but they appeared in the cupboard. If you are susceptible to static don't use them as they are made of nylon and give you quite a shock when you come to hang them up. We were invited into the large suite next door because she was not happy with the state of the cabin, for a suite I would have expected better it was like going into an old caravan, with even more old stains than our cabin. She said the bedding had not been changed all week and on reflection neither had ours but we had presumed that was because of the red alert. I advised her to ask for the house keeper. I also asked our steward if he would change our bedding, he broke down in tears and said they had given him too much to do; my wife spent the next hour trying to console him. Later that day the housekeeper came to our cabin very apologetically, we did ask him to look after the steward as he was close to breakdown. I explained that the balcony door would not open he showed me that you need to kick it in several places and then pull it very hard, I wish I had known that at the start of the cruise; I could have asked reception for a big hammer to facilitate the process. So in summary no storm and no Cherbourge.

Disembarking went well, we chose to take off our own bags so were off before 8 o'clock. I would recommend it if you are able enough as you are requested to put your bags out by 8:30 in the evening. This means you either spend the evening in the clothes you are going home in or go home in your evening clothes.

Sorry it's a bit long but I do like to say it as it is, I understand others will have different views on it and die hard P and O groupies will lambast me for writing this. Will I be giving it one more try I don't think so, even though we have amassed a lot of peninsular points from the past when P and O were not "affordable cruising" and I guess it is our own fault for looking for a bargain for a short break.
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Cabin Review

Junior Mini Suite with Balcony and Bath/Shower
Cabin CA D110
The cabin has not changed over the years, there are stains on the carpet that could have been there since its first cruise, there is mould in the bathroom, the shower is a dribble and the balcony door jams shut. other than those issues it was clean.
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