Ventura Cruise Review by j74656
- Sail Date: September 2016
- Destination: British Isles & Western Europe
First impressions - The ship was your typical P&O cruise vessel dominated by brass, wood, beige coloured staterooms. P&O obviously likes to stick to the classics! Our stateroom was clean and functional yet it had the smallest TV we have had on a cruise ship but it did offer a good selection of free films via a basic but very slow and tedious aged interactive system. The air conditioning did not function correctly and despite being turned down to the lowest setting it still made for quite an uncomfortable nights sleep despite keeping the patio door ajar to allow some air to circulate around the cabin. Other passengers also stated air con problems. The fridge equally had cooling problems. Other aspects of the stateroom were o.k. and I was expecting the bathroom to be on the petite size - unlike our grand suite we had a few months back on Harmony of the Seas. There were no surprises here coming back to P&O and nothing changes! Still only water offered throughout the day with no squash drinks for example.
The ship in general was o.k. but we noticed parts of the ship looked scuffed and the paneling along the corridors were marked through age and usage and what was clearly a lack of care and maintenance. e.g. one lift door was badly scratched and had some dents along the leading trim. The ship itself is typical P&O which exhibits a much cheaper look to its finish than its competitors particularly the classic gaudy brass, plastic looking metal and fablon sticky backed plastic wood looking interior. We did like the the enclosed glass roof in the solarium and this was a nice touch and like Arcadia it was good to see that P&O had decided to make use of this feature unlike Britannia last year where we found this missing and the whole area exposed to the elements - both harsh sun and then on other days to be completely unusable due to bad weather.
Our first gripe was to do with a lack of parent supervision and kids using the hot tubs where it clearly stated no young kids however this rule was not enforced by any of the P&O staff on board. Kids were also allowed to run around unchallenged by P&O staff. Quite a few of the fellow passengers on board just treated the cruise as a booze weekend! Lots of swearing and shouting in the public areas. Again these were not challenged by P&O staff.
Our second and most annoying gripe of the trip involved the second evening where despite this only being a two day cruise, P&O had decided to include a formal Black Tie night. This was the last night prior to disembarkation the following day and we had never experienced this before. When we booked the cruise there was no mention of this and checking the documentation we couldn't find evidence of this either. We therefore packed lightly and I decided to take along a smart jacket, shirt, trousers and shoes in the event that a semi-formal night was possible - assuming this was more than acceptable. I am not a novice cruiser and this formal style of dress was easily accepted by Royal and Celebrity on their formal nights. Of course with P&O, Black Tie meant Black Tie. As a result we were unable to dine in the main dining room and we had to resort to using the buffet restaurant on Deck 15. On previous cruises I found this to be o.k. considering the formal nature of that evening and with Royal and Celebrity this was never a problem as the food on offer was in abundance both in quantity and variety. We were very dissapointed and surprised to discover that the theme for the buffet was Indian and that was mostly it aside from a few slices of Lamb that was remaining along with over cooked carrots, rock hard broccoli and potatoes. Due to dietary requirements this caused problems. We decided to take a visit to reception to make a complaint on the food that was available for those passengers like ourselves who were unable to make use of the main dining room. The response we had was quite dismissive! Instead of asking 'How can we help to accommodate you?' It was more the response 'oh British people like to dress up!' In other words.. You haven't so tough! It was later suggested to us that we could have had the option of in room dining. We checked and found nothing suitable except for a nice selection of sandwiches! Wow! This is really a cruising experience setting a very high standard. Perhaps this is what P&O refers to in their TV ads as "This is the life.."??
We later spoke to several other passengers who were equally as annoyed as we were and P&O never fails to amaze me in their sheer disregard for accommodating any problems on board and how inflexible they are when it comes to formal evenings unlike their competitors. Never have we experienced this with Royal or Celebrity. Whilst I appreciate that formal night involves Black Tie and a certain level of formality I wasn't exactly dressed in a t-shirt and jeans either! and if my dress code is acceptable for a 4 and 5 star cruise company such as Royal and Celebrity then surely its good enough for a formal night on 3 star P&O!
I was surprised that the buffet was soo restricted on the formal night and surely for such an evening why didn't the buffet have more of a traditional varied menu? Alternatively offer the Indian theme on the port side and then offer a more general buffet on the starboard side. Not exactly rocket science! Clearly P&O couldn't be bothered and was more interested in its cost saving exercise! Why can't they provide some of the same food in the buffet as in the dining room. Royal and Celebrity does! They have cooked the food so why not make use of it?
This will be the last voyage with P&O and we will be concentrating our future cruises with Royal Caribbean and Celebrity Cruises where we have found them to offer exceptional facilities, hugely innovative, providing excellent choice in eating options and a professional service without the drawbacks as we have constantly experienced with P&O over the years.
We did contact customer services in regards to the above issue over formal night and again they were quite dismissive.
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