Joined the Ventura on the 21st December 2018 in Southampton and I must say the embarkation process could not have been any quicker, from arrival to emabarkation 15 minutes.
Our cabins became available at 2-00pm and our luggage had already been delivered. So far so good. Overal condition of the cabin was good BUT on entering the bathroom it stank strongly of urine. Immediatly bought it to the attention of the cabin steward who also immediatly steam cleaned the complete cubicle and all was well again.
A general tour around the ship indicated it was still looking good after the recent refit with the exception that 6 lifts were PERMANENTLY out of order for the complete cruise. I would expect it on the first day when they are delivering luggage but not for the whole cruise. At times this meant that there were long delays in getting lifts.
The Freedom dining experience was good on the first evening but after this the quality of food seemed less appealing and the table stewards we had were not very talkable and we never saw a smile from them. The deck 15 buffet was of it's usual standard but I did not expect to see Thai green curry and paella on a "Best of British" theme night.
The Captain appeared to carry out the role of both the master of the vessel as well as the Entertainments manager when ever he made announcements. He also counted down the 12 days of Christmas with all types of animal sounds. Quite amusing and as the cruise progressed the laughter got louder from the guests.
The most popular area of the ship appeared to be the Exchange bar and Tamarrin bar. The shows were of an average standard wuth the exception of 2 young classical singers who were "Stars" and received a standing ovation at each show.
Christmas Day came & went with no extra items laid on and as Father Christmas had visited the ship on Christmas Eve it appeared weird.
The usual ports of call were ok although the weather was not the best it has been at this time of year.
New Years Eve was spent in Funchal, Madeira and the Firework display was "FANTASTIC" We had the best berth available to view it and even the Queen Victoria had to anchor out. HOWEVER, immediatly the display was over everybody returned in to the inner areas of the ship only to find things closed. The atrium area was like the Maria Celeste. The only people there were crew members picking up the balloons that were dropped at 1145pm. The Tammarin bar was empty and the coffee bar area was closed. It was a big dissapointment for those of us who wanted to be inside the vessel and continue the evening.
I must say that the Beach House restaurant was worth the extra charge but we were not overjoyed by the Epicurean. We were informed that the Flambee would be cooked in the galley and then they used a cigarette lighter with alcohol to light it at the table. Not like the last time when it was prepared at the tables.
The cruise was nice but not memorable for the right things. The standards appear to have dropped slightly in my opinion and the friendlyness of the crew does not appear to have the zing it used to have. (Maybe its the long hours they are required to work?).
I will travel with P&O again and have done many times but only if I am unable to obtain the same with its sister companies where in my opinion the standard is higher and morale is better.
All in all the cabin was good but the television channels available were the worst we have ever experienced on a cruise ship. Channels are:
1. Welcome onboard
4. BBC World News
5. BBC HD
6. Sky News International
7. Sport 24
21 Ships map and location charts