We are reasonably well travelled ‘cruisers’ having done 120+ days on Cunard, 7 on MSC and 14 on P&O Britannia last year. The Britannia cruise, repositioning from the Caribbean to the UK in March 2017 was 100% fine and indeed we have booked the same cruise for 2019. Anyway, this current P&O 7-day cruise was not quite what we and everyone else expected. Itinerary to be: Southampton (Friday), Sea Day (Saturday), Vigo, Lisbon, Oporto, Sea Day (Wednesday), Guernsey (Thursday), Southampton (Friday). The good points: Embarkation on the 4th was speedy at 12.30 and bags outside cabin by 1.30pm. Obstructed Outside View Cabin E502 (on deck 8) was 100% okay for this short cruise and kept very clean and neat by our unobtrusive cabin steward, Angelo. Food in Saffron Restaurant (Freedom Dining in the evening) was fine and as good as, and perhaps better, than that in Cunard’s Britannia restaurants. Alcohol is much cheaper than Cunard, as are speciality coffees etc., and all WITHOUT the disgraceful 15% auto service charge added. For example, a bottle of Californian Rose wine is £17.95 net on P&O, whereas it is 36$US + 15% on Cunard – exactly the same wine! Service was quick enough in the restaurant. Alternative dining? Sindu is first class for £20 per head and Glass House likewise, but cheaper. Did not try the Epicurean or Beach House on this voyage. Self-Service Buffet had a decent selection throughout the day – cheeses were better than on Cunard(!) according to Mrs F. and no problem with finding a seat, if one was prepared to walk a bit. Entertainment – standard cruise line stuff – guests including Berni Flint, Tony Wallace etc. Disembarkation on Friday 11th – rapid – we were in the car at 8.46am and on our way. The bad points! On Saturday 5th at around 9am the captain announced that the ship had ‘technical’ issues. As a result, Ventura would arrive in Vigo at noon rather than 9am on Sunday 6th, but leave later in the evening to compensate. All rather useless as it was a Sunday and Vigo is hardly the shopping and food capital of Europe. It then got rather more interesting as we would arrive in Lisbon on Monday 7th at noon, but now leave at 3am on Tuesday 8th as this would help compensate for missing Oporto completely on the Tuesday 8th. Now, apart from a very brief slow period on Saturday morning, Ventura managed to get up to 20 knots quite happily as Saturday went on! The 3am departure from Lisbon did not result in the majority of passengers tasting the dubious night delights of Lisbon, as you would expect, and was therefore a total waste of time, although the crew liked it as they disappeared off the ship at 10pm all heading for God knows where. Now for the exciting bit: Costa Mediterranea docked next to Ventura in Lisbon on the Monday shortly after our arrival at noon. It left early that evening after a half-day stop (probably more than enough for most passengers) and then proceeded to Guernsey arriving shortly after us on Thursday morning at 8am, having done another port call in between – could that have been Oporto we all wondered? Ventura then managed to arrive at Southampton, after leaving Guernsey on the Thursday afternoon), bright and early at 6am on Friday 11th ready for the turnaround and yes, closely followed by Costa Mediterranea again. So, in summary most of us poor souls reckoned Ventura never had any intention of going to Oporto and if they had announced that fact before departure, many passengers would have demanded their money back and cancelled. As to what the problem really was? A deadly silence, and rather noticeably the officers were conspicuous by their absence from the public rooms over the 7 days. In summary – a poor effort by P&O, poor communication & no recompense in any form offered such as a free drinks session or whatever. On the plus side, at under £100 per day each, it was a bargain, but no excuse for not going where P&O advertised.

Alleged technical problems on Ventura 4th to 11th May 2018

Ventura Cruise Review by Essex Man

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Trip Details
  • Sail Date: May 2018
  • Destination: Europe
  • Cabin Type: Outside Twin with Shower (Part-obstructed View)
We are reasonably well travelled ‘cruisers’ having done 120+ days on Cunard, 7 on MSC and 14 on P&O Britannia last year.

The Britannia cruise, repositioning from the Caribbean to the UK in March 2017 was 100% fine and indeed we have booked the same cruise for 2019.

Anyway, this current P&O 7-day cruise was not quite what we and everyone else expected. Itinerary to be: Southampton (Friday), Sea Day (Saturday), Vigo, Lisbon, Oporto, Sea Day (Wednesday), Guernsey (Thursday), Southampton (Friday).

The good points:

Embarkation on the 4th was speedy at 12.30 and bags outside cabin by 1.30pm.

Obstructed Outside View Cabin E502 (on deck 8) was 100% okay for this short cruise and kept very clean and neat by our unobtrusive cabin steward, Angelo.

Food in Saffron Restaurant (Freedom Dining in the evening) was fine and as good as, and perhaps better, than that in Cunard’s Britannia restaurants.

Alcohol is much cheaper than Cunard, as are speciality coffees etc., and all WITHOUT the disgraceful 15% auto service charge added. For example, a bottle of Californian Rose wine is £17.95 net on P&O, whereas it is 36$US + 15% on Cunard – exactly the same wine!

Service was quick enough in the restaurant.

Alternative dining? Sindu is first class for £20 per head and Glass House likewise, but cheaper. Did not try the Epicurean or Beach House on this voyage.

Self-Service Buffet had a decent selection throughout the day – cheeses were better than on Cunard(!) according to Mrs F. and no problem with finding a seat, if one was prepared to walk a bit.

Entertainment – standard cruise line stuff – guests including Berni Flint, Tony Wallace etc.

Disembarkation on Friday 11th – rapid – we were in the car at 8.46am and on our way.

The bad points!

On Saturday 5th at around 9am the captain announced that the ship had ‘technical’ issues.

As a result, Ventura would arrive in Vigo at noon rather than 9am on Sunday 6th, but leave later in the evening to compensate. All rather useless as it was a Sunday and Vigo is hardly the shopping and food capital of Europe. It then got rather more interesting as we would arrive in Lisbon on Monday 7th at noon, but now leave at 3am on Tuesday 8th as this would help compensate for missing Oporto completely on the Tuesday 8th.

Now, apart from a very brief slow period on Saturday morning, Ventura managed to get up to 20 knots quite happily as Saturday went on! The 3am departure from Lisbon did not result in the majority of passengers tasting the dubious night delights of Lisbon, as you would expect, and was therefore a total waste of time, although the crew liked it as they disappeared off the ship at 10pm all heading for God knows where.

Now for the exciting bit:

Costa Mediterranea docked next to Ventura in Lisbon on the Monday shortly after our arrival at noon. It left early that evening after a half-day stop (probably more than enough for most passengers) and then proceeded to Guernsey arriving shortly after us on Thursday morning at 8am, having done another port call in between – could that have been Oporto we all wondered?

Ventura then managed to arrive at Southampton, after leaving Guernsey on the Thursday afternoon), bright and early at 6am on Friday 11th ready for the turnaround and yes, closely followed by Costa Mediterranea again.

So, in summary most of us poor souls reckoned Ventura never had any intention of going to Oporto and if they had announced that fact before departure, many passengers would have demanded their money back and cancelled.

As to what the problem really was? A deadly silence, and rather noticeably the officers were conspicuous by their absence from the public rooms over the 7 days.

In summary – a poor effort by P&O, poor communication & no recompense in any form offered such as a free drinks session or whatever. On the plus side, at under £100 per day each, it was a bargain, but no excuse for not going where P&O advertised.
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Cabin Review

Outside Twin with Shower (Part-obstructed View)
Cabin MA E502
This is an obstructed Ocean View cabin without a balcony. Perfectly adequate fro 7 to 14 day voyages. Tea making facilities are included. Shower room is average size for modern cruise ships.
  Ventura Deck Plans

The Lido Deck, which is Deck 15, had work going on every day as a team worked around the main pool areas replacing the canvas screens that hang between the steelwork of the ceilings. This meant that part of each pool area was, at some point or other, taped off with workmates, ladders and the sound of electric drills on a regular basis. Why this work could not have been done earlier during the refit we doing not know, and worse, the new canvas screens look no different from those they replaced! P&O might have done better to spend money making sure Ventura got to where it was meant to go. Lido Terrace Grill - this does burgers, hot dogs etc from midday to late afternoon. For some reason, there were no paper cups or bags for the chips. in fact, all you got was a red plastic reusable square plate, on to which you were meant to shovel the chips and your wrapped burger - not very hygienic. in addition If you want a burger, then wait until there is queue, in which case you should get a fresh hot one! The Pizza bar was a much better bet, if you wanted something hot whilst enjoying the delights of the pool with the workman working in the background....
On another matter, we used the Costa cafe quite a lot - decent enough value at c£2.50 per standard cup, but we had some personal merriment, because one of the regular waiters had clearly been issued with shoes 4 or 5 sizes too large and you could hear him clumping around whenever he was on duty! Not his fault, but surely correct size shoes are essential for the safe carrying of trays?
Captain's Cocktail Party - we could not hear a word when he made his speech from a balcony of the atrium, but P&O did not stint on drink, which included gin and tonic as well as wine,a 'bubbly stuff' and soft drinks. We managed 4 alcoholic drinks each in the allotted time. If you are clever, you could go to both parties (early and late) on the same day, since there is no check as to whether you should be there or not in the Atrium area.