This was a last minute cruise booking because we had to cancel our earlier booking on Azura due to having to care for my mum. We have been cruising now for 4 years, my wife loves it. This is the third cruise with P 0 Cruises and second on Ventura. I have to say despite this bad review the staff and crew were always courteous and polite - could not fault that.
Our issue started when we arrived at the docks - P O decided without forewarning any of its customers that no porters were available and you had to find trolleys and move the cases a couple of hundred yards and queue to drop off your cases. There were two places we finally got in the queue near the front, when we told them our cabin they told us we were in the wrong queue and ended up at the back of the midships queue no board or information stating which queue to be in.
Our view, several customers who were older age struggled to load and push the trolleys, this was not the only time and many people were affected. Not a good experience when you have just driven for 4 hours to have to lug two trolleys as my wife couldn’t manage it.
We get up to terminal and are given a card with a letter to wait (not like Royal Caribbean we got straight on board and far more efficient) we waited for over 2 hours, finally got on board.
My wife wanted to go to Barcelona, the sail date was 6 October later than usual but that was my wife’s interest to see the famous church Sagrada Familia as we missed it last time. To be honest we did not look too much at the rest of the itinerary until we were on board but noticed that PO cruises had cut out a stop - instead of 7 ports we only had 6 - this was later confirmed on their 2020 bookings where cost cutting reducing a port seemed to be prevalent across even 19 day sailings.
On our last cruise with Royal Caribbean we got a drinks package, we are not big drinkers but enjoy the occasional spirit or wine so we enquired about the drinks package we were shocked at the exorbitant prices £39.95 per day and my wife would have to have one too as we could not share it. So just under £80 per day for 14 days - you do the maths and is you do not use it up each day you loose the balance. So going offshore for the day could cost you £79.90 if you do not have a drink on board. Absolutely ridiculous and a ludicrous package.
Next in the cabin we see cards about the footprint for the environment - yet PO decided to cancel the cabin tv log of your onboard spend and had to request a print out instead to see a statement - so much for being environmentally concerned.
Over the course of the 14 days we became bored with the old fashioned, staid entertainment and activities and all the health and well-being talks ended up with a sell on expensive so called remedies. We got caught with this on our first cruise not again. The headliners singers were awful screechy female lead and the male lead was just as bad. The only decent act was comedian John Evans. There was nothing innovative nothing new - same old boring stuff. It is disappointing that no real effort had been made to change anything. How many people buy paintings on board none from any of the passengers we spoke to - why not put that enormous space to better use.
Disembarkation - the biggest gripe by many, we wanted to get off early due to our long drive home, so we asked for 8-8.30, we were given 8-30.8.45 am. We arrived early around 7.30 as we had to vacate the cabin before 8 am. If we wanted to go earlier we had to carry all our cases down ourselves and we were booked with CPS which was some considerable distance from our car. We sat down on the Starboard side with many other early passengers. At around 8 am the so called manger responsible for our disembarkation arrived and started herding passengers to the port side, unbeknown to all the early birds, disembarkation was to be in sections port side first so all those who arrived after 8:30 am got off first. Not only that young and older passengers with prawns and wheelchairs had were given no consideration at all. It is not rocket science to organise the disembarkation more efficiently and give some credit to this passengers who ensured they were there on times during people with prams and disabled go off first. Get you act together PO.
We planned to book the Greek islands next year with PO as that was the one we cancelled but PO are not running it next year in September and the one one in October only has 7 stops in the 19 day cruise.
Overall there were many other niggles PO had cut over 500 crew on the cruise, and many times we had to wait for stragglers arriving back late after a day in port, there is no excuse for this yet PO do nothing to penalise these people.
Overall we enjoyed the break but this cruise was lacklustre from all sides and we were very disappointed in this old fashioned boring cruise. We have decided to try other cruise lines who have been recommended as we were not the only ones who felt the same as us and we are pretty laid back but this time we had had enough.
If you want to chill out and not drink, not participate in any of the activities then this is the cruise for you otherwise go elsewhere - we will not go again with PO until they improve.
Our cabin was a bit tired dirty sheets, some with holes, poor TV quality. Power shower excellent. Bed was awful, the mattress sunk in the middle and gave my wife and I backache. We are not overweight but the quality of the pillows and mattress was lousy.
The cabin steward was exemplary and did a fantastic job.