This was my 12th cruise and the first with P&O. We were looking for a short break and have friends in La Rochelle, so this one looked perfect to us. Plus it was a good price so booked it just a few weeks before the sailing. Also liked the idea of being able to drive to the embarkation port. Embarkation was fine and we were allowed on earlier than the 3.30 time slot. Just as well really, as the luggage tags that P&O sent us had the wrong cabin numbers on them (they were the right numbers in the wrong order. We failed to notice this (our bad) and so our luggage didn't get delivered to our cabin but we found it in reception but by that time it was very late and so we couldn't be bothered to change for dinner. We had an inside cabin, which was clean and comfortable but the aircon was ridiculous. Even at the lowest setting, it was boiling hot and so made for uncomfortable nights. We had a problem with the water in the bathroom - only hot, no cold! We told the steward and the problem was fixed. Shower was good though and steward was great. The ship itself was quite nice and seemed in good condition. Good selection of shops but didn't use the other facilities such as gym or spa so can't comment. The food was quite disappointing. We did freestyle dining and always managed to get a shared table straight away. The food in the dining room was good, but unlike other ships we've been on, they didn't offer the 'regular favourites' which you could order if nothing on the day's menu was fancied. Service was good and the chef's specials were quite nice. The buffet (Waterside) was horrible. Breakfast was appalling with toast (in the words of the comedian who performed) was like shrapnel. Everything was just lukewarm and not very tasty. Lunch/dinner not really any better. I found brown bits of lettuce in the salad and watery dressings. Apart from 'theme' nights (Italian, Indian), there was very little choice of interesting foods. The smaller, Beachcomber, buffet was slightly better. Only water and coffee/tea available during the day (no decaff, asked in the restaurant and got instant!) I guess to encourage you to purchase drinks from the bar or Costa. Never experienced that on any other cruise lines. We did have a very good meal at the fine dining Indian restaurant - well worth the £20 surcharge. Evening entertainment was ok - the ukelle band was fantastic - but didn't start until 8.30 pm so nothing much happening in the ship except loads of quizzes, until then. Would have been nice to have some music entertainment from about 6ish just to enjoy pre dinner drinks or whatever. During the day I found it quite boring on board. Just more quizzes, some dance lessons or table tennis tournaments. On both sea days there was a very good speaker on ship history - would have been good to have more things like this, as well as demonstrations like food carving etc. Although you could get free films in the cabin (on a very slow TV) they only showed one (family) film on one sea day, so would have been nice to have more choice. The 'backstage' tour was £75!! so didn't bother with that. Enjoyed all the ports and shuttle buses were free and frequent. We didn't have any problems with getting to ports, although we did meet some people who had to wait 90 minutes to get onto a tender at Guernsey. This was a very traditional sort of cruise, with 2 formal nights out of six. I noticed that a lot of people didn't bother with the second one, could have been because we all got soaking wet in Bilbao and didn't fancy dressing up when we got back. I know a lot of people love the formal nights but it is strictly adhered to in all the restaurants except the buffet. This seems a bit unfair to those who don't want to dress up and they should have allowed people to go smart casual in the fine dining restaurants. Overall, it was a good value trip but I don't think I could do a longer cruise if this is what it's like.

Pretty Average

Ventura Cruise Review by PhilbeachTraveller

1 person found this helpful
Trip Details
This was my 12th cruise and the first with P&O. We were looking for a short break and have friends in La Rochelle, so this one looked perfect to us. Plus it was a good price so booked it just a few weeks before the sailing. Also liked the idea of being able to drive to the embarkation port.

Embarkation was fine and we were allowed on earlier than the 3.30 time slot. Just as well really, as the luggage tags that P&O sent us had the wrong cabin numbers on them (they were the right numbers in the wrong order. We failed to notice this (our bad) and so our luggage didn't get delivered to our cabin but we found it in reception but by that time it was very late and so we couldn't be bothered to change for dinner.

We had an inside cabin, which was clean and comfortable but the aircon was ridiculous. Even at the lowest setting, it was boiling hot and so made for uncomfortable nights. We had a problem with the water in the bathroom - only hot, no cold! We told the steward and the problem was fixed. Shower was good though and steward was great.

The ship itself was quite nice and seemed in good condition. Good selection of shops but didn't use the other facilities such as gym or spa so can't comment.

The food was quite disappointing. We did freestyle dining and always managed to get a shared table straight away. The food in the dining room was good, but unlike other ships we've been on, they didn't offer the 'regular favourites' which you could order if nothing on the day's menu was fancied. Service was good and the chef's specials were quite nice. The buffet (Waterside) was horrible. Breakfast was appalling with toast (in the words of the comedian who performed) was like shrapnel. Everything was just lukewarm and not very tasty. Lunch/dinner not really any better. I found brown bits of lettuce in the salad and watery dressings. Apart from 'theme' nights (Italian, Indian), there was very little choice of interesting foods. The smaller, Beachcomber, buffet was slightly better. Only water and coffee/tea available during the day (no decaff, asked in the restaurant and got instant!) I guess to encourage you to purchase drinks from the bar or Costa. Never experienced that on any other cruise lines.

We did have a very good meal at the fine dining Indian restaurant - well worth the £20 surcharge.

Evening entertainment was ok - the ukelle band was fantastic - but didn't start until 8.30 pm so nothing much happening in the ship except loads of quizzes, until then. Would have been nice to have some music entertainment from about 6ish just to enjoy pre dinner drinks or whatever.

During the day I found it quite boring on board. Just more quizzes, some dance lessons or table tennis tournaments. On both sea days there was a very good speaker on ship history - would have been good to have more things like this, as well as demonstrations like food carving etc. Although you could get free films in the cabin (on a very slow TV) they only showed one (family) film on one sea day, so would have been nice to have more choice. The 'backstage' tour was £75!! so didn't bother with that.

Enjoyed all the ports and shuttle buses were free and frequent. We didn't have any problems with getting to ports, although we did meet some people who had to wait 90 minutes to get onto a tender at Guernsey.

This was a very traditional sort of cruise, with 2 formal nights out of six. I noticed that a lot of people didn't bother with the second one, could have been because we all got soaking wet in Bilbao and didn't fancy dressing up when we got back. I know a lot of people love the formal nights but it is strictly adhered to in all the restaurants except the buffet. This seems a bit unfair to those who don't want to dress up and they should have allowed people to go smart casual in the fine dining restaurants.

Overall, it was a good value trip but I don't think I could do a longer cruise if this is what it's like.
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