This was a last minute decision. We always wanted to try P&O have heard some wonderful reviews from others we had met aboard other lines. We got to the port in plenty of time but were unfortunately turned away at the gate as we were told that there was an IT issue and that boarding was to be delayed by at least an hour. Could not park up just had to venture in to Southampton on football match day. Not raining so we parked up and waited. When the time came we went in as usual and parked up and had the luggage taken away. This was a new ship for us so we took our time getting to know where everything was. Sailed on time but we could sense that all was not well. No condiments on the table and had to ask for these which were then promptly taken away. So what really had happened was that there was a very large outbreak of Norovirus at the end of the last cruise and the crew were playing catch up to get everything clean. OK these things happen but it was surprising to be given misinformation by the gate security and also when I phoned up the day before asking what time to arrive - some passengers had been sent texts but for whatever reason we were not. This is the start of a series of lack luster efforts to contain what must have been a serious situation. Consistency is the clue here and unfortunately the crew and their managers did not have a single one between them. Condiments off the table but sugar bowl on the table. Sometimes you had to cleanse your hands others times not. Anyway it settled down later in the cruise and normal service was restored - eventually. Only 4 ports and the weather was great so we enjoyed them all especially Oporto. Looking forward to going to Cherbourg where we had booked a trip. Unfortunately the Captain had a bit of the jitters and we could not dock as there was a light shower mid Atlantic - refund given no problem. OK better safe than sorry but I have certainly seen and docked in worse weather. That said we were looking forward to the promenade deck. Unfortunately this was only open at the bow when we left Vigo - every other time it was closed due to high winds - never heard such rubbish but there again this kind of summed up the Captains attitude - lax on some things like hygiene but over cautious on others. Dined in the Bay-tree restaurant which like the other restaurants is a single deck affair. Got the impression I was going to the back of a shelf and found it quite claustrophobic. Food was OK nothing spectacular and generally 3 star service. We had ordered a wine pack. Very difficult to get the sommelier to understand this and service was on the poor side. Table for 10 and we enjoyed the company of everyone good blend of people pretty much on the same wave length. Tried Whites and the Asian fusion restaurant which were well worth it as was the premium afternoon teas which really was sumptuous. Cost more but we wanted to test the water so to speak. Self service was a disappointment and more of a motorway cafe than a 4 star cruise ship but there was plenty of it and you were not going to starve. The coffee shop on the lower deck was also a bit of a shambles and again resembled a cheap motorway cafe. Always packed and keeping it clean was an impossible task. I searched the ship but could not find a single comfortable seat that I could relax in - all seemed to be small club chairs designed for size 10 models! Entertainment was first class and the shows put on by the ships own singers and dancers was one of the best we had seen at sea. Overall we had a good time but would not go again unless it was a give away price. Met a lot of people who were really good company but there were some who were overly defensive about P&O and really could not see the issues. Not up to the standards we had been lead to expect and fell well below Celebrity - which is our usual line.

Good price but lots of areas to improve in

Ventura Cruise Review by SDP79

4 people found this helpful
Trip Details
This was a last minute decision. We always wanted to try P&O have heard some wonderful reviews from others we had met aboard other lines. We got to the port in plenty of time but were unfortunately turned away at the gate as we were told that there was an IT issue and that boarding was to be delayed by at least an hour. Could not park up just had to venture in to Southampton on football match day. Not raining so we parked up and waited. When the time came we went in as usual and parked up and had the luggage taken away. This was a new ship for us so we took our time getting to know where everything was. Sailed on time but we could sense that all was not well. No condiments on the table and had to ask for these which were then promptly taken away. So what really had happened was that there was a very large outbreak of Norovirus at the end of the last cruise and the crew were playing catch up to get everything clean. OK these things happen but it was surprising to be given misinformation by the gate security and also when I phoned up the day before asking what time to arrive - some passengers had been sent texts but for whatever reason we were not. This is the start of a series of lack luster efforts to contain what must have been a serious situation. Consistency is the clue here and unfortunately the crew and their managers did not have a single one between them. Condiments off the table but sugar bowl on the table. Sometimes you had to cleanse your hands others times not. Anyway it settled down later in the cruise and normal service was restored - eventually.

Only 4 ports and the weather was great so we enjoyed them all especially Oporto. Looking forward to going to Cherbourg where we had booked a trip. Unfortunately the Captain had a bit of the jitters and we could not dock as there was a light shower mid Atlantic - refund given no problem. OK better safe than sorry but I have certainly seen and docked in worse weather. That said we were looking forward to the promenade deck. Unfortunately this was only open at the bow when we left Vigo - every other time it was closed due to high winds - never heard such rubbish but there again this kind of summed up the Captains attitude - lax on some things like hygiene but over cautious on others.

Dined in the Bay-tree restaurant which like the other restaurants is a single deck affair. Got the impression I was going to the back of a shelf and found it quite claustrophobic.

Food was OK nothing spectacular and generally 3 star service. We had ordered a wine pack. Very difficult to get the sommelier to understand this and service was on the poor side. Table for 10 and we enjoyed the company of everyone good blend of people pretty much on the same wave length.

Tried Whites and the Asian fusion restaurant which were well worth it as was the premium afternoon teas which really was sumptuous. Cost more but we wanted to test the water so to speak. Self service was a disappointment and more of a motorway cafe than a 4 star cruise ship but there was plenty of it and you were not going to starve. The coffee shop on the lower deck was also a bit of a shambles and again resembled a cheap motorway cafe. Always packed and keeping it clean was an impossible task. I searched the ship but could not find a single comfortable seat that I could relax in - all seemed to be small club chairs designed for size 10 models!

Entertainment was first class and the shows put on by the ships own singers and dancers was one of the best we had seen at sea. Overall we had a good time but would not go again unless it was a give away price. Met a lot of people who were really good company but there were some who were overly defensive about P&O and really could not see the issues. Not up to the standards we had been lead to expect and fell well below Celebrity - which is our usual line.
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Cabin Review

Inside Twin with Shower
Cabin OG B312
We were in the cheapest cabin possible. Inside near the front. No problems here we knew what to expect. Were pleasantly surprised to get an upgrade which was the same grade of cabin but just a bit further back. Asked for Queen bed but two singles. Steward changed this over.We were in an inside low deck cabin which is not a problem apart from the fact that this one was next to the stewards stairway so at 5.30am every morning we were woken up by the bumping and banging as they stated their day. Has to be done but do not expect a lie in with one of these cabins. Cabin small and clean, made use of the smallest TV screen ever seen on a ship - don't expect 20in screens in these rooms - plenty of free films.
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