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1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: January 2018
This was my third cruise, all being with P&O. This on was going to be different because it was the longest (28 days) and first time on Ventura. I feared that I was going to be a bit bored after a while. I was so so wrong !! ... Read More
This was my third cruise, all being with P&O. This on was going to be different because it was the longest (28 days) and first time on Ventura. I feared that I was going to be a bit bored after a while. I was so so wrong !! Firstly we had a delay at Southampton getting on-board, but these things happen, so whats the point of getting so upset. We were given £15 by P&O to cover the cost of refreshments while waiting. We were given free coffee and I spend my £15 on a packet of crisps !! As a solo traveler, I had a window solo cabin on level 6 (F330). I had always had a normal double cabin before but was pleasantly surprised how spacious the single cabin was, with a large comfortable bed. My cabin steward was wonderful. always a friendly greeting from him and the cabin was spotless, even after I had used it !! Freedom dining was excellent, good company (except for the occasional professional moaner which unfortunately can't always be avoided). Quality and quantity of food excellent. One person at dinner one evening did not fancy anything on the menu so jokingly asked for fried eggs and chips which was served to him a few minutes latter. What more can you ask for ? The entertainment on board was very good with the Entertainment Manager doing a wonderful job, and joined in the entertainment, especially when she could show off her legs in stockings and suspenders !! My only adverse comment is that the continuous dancing lessons should be in a room separated from the rest of us. To be on the 5th. floor of the Atrium meant that we all had to listen whether we wanted to or not, as we traveled around the ship. "One two three one two three" gets a bit monotonous while enjoying a coffee and cake while reading a book ! All the staff work so hard and are always smiling. I wish my staff smiled half as much !! The staff cannot be praised enough. The intercom system from the bridge is not very good. I'm sure Marcin Banach is a wonderful captain, but due to his accent he is most difficult to understand at times. A point noticed by a few of the comics who joked about it during their acts. The ship, like most of the passengers on this trip, has seen better times. Fortunately, unlike us, the ship can have a re-fit in March and I look forward to traveling again on Ventura after the re-fit. I am considering a short cruise in the next couple of months aboard Britannia however having read the reviews, I think I will rethink it. However anyone reading my review on Ventura, you can feel confident that you will have a wonderful cruise and don't listen to the nit-pickers who can't enjoy life without a complaint !! Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2018
I have been cruising with P & O since the nineties, initially on the worn out Canberra, on the Oriana before and after they fixed the vibrations caused by the bent propellor shaft, on the 1990s Arcadia and three times now on the ... Read More
I have been cruising with P & O since the nineties, initially on the worn out Canberra, on the Oriana before and after they fixed the vibrations caused by the bent propellor shaft, on the 1990s Arcadia and three times now on the Ventura. This, my latest cruise on Ventura was 28 days to the Caribbean and back in January 2018. Welcome to the shabby, floating care home! The Good: The ‘hotel staff’, waiters, cabin stewards, reception and excursion staff are welcoming, helpful and cheerful. P & O have installed a discretionary service charge system so that gratuities or ‘tips’ are added to one’s on board account thus dispensing with the demeaning practice of tipping in cash. One can change or cancel completely this discretionary service charge. Drinks prices were not excessive, being commensurate with what one would pay in a pub or restaurant, but since they undoubtedly buy the stuff at duty free prices, there is a massive mark up. Best value are the P & O ‘House Wines’, very drinkable and priced at about £16.50 per bottle. The entertainment was generally of high quality (with a couple of exceptions) and nicely varied. The shows performed by the in-house theatre company were stunning, with superb vocals, costumes and well-executed dance routines. Audio and video recording of the shows is prohibited. It would not do to have people being able to prove that the shows were the same as the year before, the year before that..........etc. The Not So Good: Dinners in the included restaurants were uninspiring. Vegetables were bland, desserts were often tasteless and stodgy. Seven years ago, main courses were served individually with diners being able to choose their vegetables to be served by the waiter. These days, meals are served pre-plated. As from 1st February 2018, P & O have decided to limit the amount of take on alcohol to one litre per person. Fortunately, we just missed this change of rules. The policy of recycling clearly applies to the entertainment. The shows were good quality but they were the same shows as three years ago and some of the comedians recycled jokes from thirty years ago. The Bad: In these days of modern communications, the charges for internet connection were excessive and unreasonable. The “Browse” package (normal browsing but no audio or video streaming) cost a prohibitive 65p per minute on a pay as you go basis, £12.50 per 24 hours (one would hopefully be asleep for one third of that time and not able to use it) or £180 for the whole 28 day cruise. I accept the issues with satellite internet access, but useable one or two hour periods at a reasonable cost would be preferable. In the restaurant, the number of waiters has been decreased to the point that service has become very slow, doubtless a cost cutting exercise. It was usual to wait up to 15 minutes to give one’s order, and a further 15 minutes before the first item of food arrives. By contrast, the service from the wine waiters who provide chargeable drinks, and earn commission on those drinks, is much faster (quelle surprise). I hesitate to criticise my fellow passengers, but there was an element that was happy to walk rudely out of a show in the theatre en masse before it had actually completely finished and the house lights had been turned up, no doubt anxious not to miss out on some free food somewhere. The daily programme publication requested passengers to remain seated until the house lights went up, but few took any notice. The Ugly: The ship has become a bit shabby and is in dire need of a refit. The beds have stained headboards from doubtless hundreds of greasy heads resting against them. The menu covers in the restaurants were tatty. The upholstery on the chairs in the restaurants is grubby, some of them with the fabric covering worn through. The carpets in some of the public areas have the joints between two pieces of carpet coming apart, revealing bare, loose threads. I actually tripped when I caught my foot in one such exposed thread. The doors to the lifts all have multiple scuffs. The televisions in the cabins are the outdated 4:3 format as opposed to the modern widescreen 16:9. The treadmills in the gym are in need of replacement. Three were out of order at a peak time. Rumour has it that the ship is being refitted in March this year (2018), and not before time. However, P & O are clearly happy to continue taking the money in the meantime. Carnival plc appears to regard P & O as a cash cow with thousands of passengers coming back several times a year, year after year until they die. To me, P & O has lost its ‘mojo’ and I shall be unlikely to return. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2018
Advised by P & O night before Cruise the Ship would be late arriving so if possible delay arriving by3 hours . This was impossible but Food and Drink would be provided , What they didn't say was they would be putting us in a ... Read More
Advised by P & O night before Cruise the Ship would be late arriving so if possible delay arriving by3 hours . This was impossible but Food and Drink would be provided , What they didn't say was they would be putting us in a derelict shed , Dock 101 for 6 hours with no Heating or Food , draughts and doors wide open and small coffees and 1 biscuit provided No information at all until 6 pm when busses were provided to talk us to Embarkation . This took 1 hour due to intermittent electric supply and 30 minutes trying to get authorised Debit Card , due to P & O being off line with electric problems . Eventually 8 hours after arriving , please board to get something to eat. Apologies everyone , Air Bridge has broken so we cannot let anyone on ship until repaired 40 minutes later we board get changed and go for Food , only to be told Muster is in 30 minutes so we had a starter , then they closed restaurant and didn't re open after Muster , P & O disaster Rest or Cruise was OK except we had 20 hours of " Essential Maintenance " on a Lifeboat which consisted of 2 men with Lump Hammers knocking old paint of it for 6 hours a day , I have 4 recordings which I will sent to a VP of Carnival Line to see if he would caa this essential maintenance. Food in Restaurant on Ventura where you pay extra were exceptional Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2018
Got to Southampton to join ship to discover that there was a delay due to ship late docking due to windy conditions . We also found out later that the last two cruises has suffered from Novovirus outbreak . Most people had had texts , ... Read More
Got to Southampton to join ship to discover that there was a delay due to ship late docking due to windy conditions . We also found out later that the last two cruises has suffered from Novovirus outbreak . Most people had had texts , emails and phone calls advising them to arrive later than their allocated time but we received nothing and no apology. Eventually boarded after 7 when they rushed us for dinner before muster. There were no menus in bars , no cruet sets on tables, nothing I presume that could contribute to the spread o& the virus . These measures were relaxed after a few days . Biscay was a little rougher than normal but not as bad as the previous cruise from reading reviews . The ship is tired and the cabins a bit tatty , having travelled on the same ship the Christmas before last it is in need of a refurbished which is to happen in March I understand . There was a lot of disgruntled passengers on the ship who had had their Oriana cruise cancelled at last minute and came on Ventura instead which was a shorter cruise . This made the ship very full. The weathe4 throughout was not brilliant @nd the seas quite rough at times . The swimming pool seemed quite dangerous mos5 of the time . We had already had change of itinerary with Guadeloupe and Martinique replacing Tortola and St Marten. I personally did not like port of Guadeloupe and went after we called there to book trips to avoid being in the port areas on the other calls . The captain was unable to dock in Grenada due to winds again ( it was very windy at almost every port ) so we headed onto Barbados and arrived there late in the evening the day before scheduled. On this ship we didn’t have the previous experiences of the captain keeping us up to date with information and it was impossible to hear the announcements in the cabins as when we knew it was on it took too long to turn on the tv to hear it .many people were disappointed with the Captain. The staff on p and o are always good and helpful , the cabin steward was excellent and p and o should be proud of their staff and pay them better wages and not rely on customers tips .We did have ripped sheets on our bed and they are only changed weekly although the towels changed twice a day . Entertainment was plentiful and diverse some excellent , some not so good . The food was not consistent it depended where you chose to eat . The freedom dining was good and sitting at different tables with other people each night was entertaining listening to the majority of guests discussing how many days at sea they had each year and how many world cruises they have been on . I hope p and o realise what loyal customers they have . The buffet upstairs was consistently bad and breakfast was awful . Cold and hard fried eggs , nasty bacon with white greasy bits, tasteless mushrooms always over cooked , toast and fried bread which disintegrated when you tried to cut it . After one try on going to buffet for breakfast we had continental delivered to cabin which was satisfactory . The grill on deck was good and the pizzeria also ok . Tried all the speciality restaurants and Sindu excellent but the Epicurian was a real disappointment this time . The rib of beef which was brought to the table on a platter was so tough you couldn’t cut it and the crepes Suzette were awful as the girl couldn’t get them to flambé and after 15 minutes threw some more brandy on and served them . They were like eating cardboard with no sauce and melted ice cream . We sent a comment card to reception and never heard a word from them. Also in the back of the till was the target sheet which showed daily and cruise targets which is why they are always trying to sell you the meals as they charge extra for eating there. For me personally the Caribbean was a disappointment and I wouldn’t go back , I expect the weather didn’t help but that couldn’t be helped . Highlight tour was the dolphin watch in St Lucia and boys on the boats were fantastic and they did find the dolphins which were spectacular. The spa is far too expensive and about three times high street prices so didn’t use it . Explains why girls always on decks offering neck massages for a fee One real annoyance to me was if you were sat by the pool listening to the music playing in the background in the early afternoon the band came on and were so loud there was no pleasure staying by the pool . The sun beds are the most uncomfortable I have ever sat on , guaranteed you a bad back ,Azura has far better sun beds . I just wish they would match the entertainment on deck to the ages of their clientele as this was a 28 night cruise so very few children and no teenagers . The sail always were good as the entertainment staff put their all into making them enjoyable . One of the best things about p and o in comparison the ships that charge in dollars is the price if the drinks which are similar to pub prices . Even champagne is similar prices to supermarkets . And at least they don’t have 15 % surcharge on each drink . I understand that due to the refurbishment of the ship in March the same cruise next year had gone up by a considerable amount . I personally would not go on Ventura again but have booked to go with p and o again . Am very tempted to try celebrity which also has a drinks package available for purchase and sometimes can be included in the cost . One of the things I don’t like is that there is no separate ballroom for dancing and is always in the Atrium which is open , loud when lessons are taking place and I’m sure that people can be put off joining in if you aren’t good at it and there is very little space for popular lessons such as line dancing . Read Less
Sail Date: January 2018
First the good - we went for a 'superior deluxe balcony cabin' (D232) which was spacious and comfortable, albeit a little 'tired' (the furniture and carpets had seen better days and the sheets had tears in them). And, my comments about ... Read More
First the good - we went for a 'superior deluxe balcony cabin' (D232) which was spacious and comfortable, albeit a little 'tired' (the furniture and carpets had seen better days and the sheets had tears in them). And, my comments about the venue notwithstanding, the ballroom and latin american dancing teachers (Andy and Victoria) were superb. Overall, we had a good holiday, but it could have been so much better... Our first significant disappointment was the venue for dancing. The dance floor on the Ventura is in the Atrium - the middle of a shopping mall, with hard, fluorescent, lighting. It is laughable to describe anything held in such a place as a 'ball' - it is like trying to hold a ball in Sainsbury's! During our final "black tie ball", me in my DJ, my wife in a long dress and bling, sat in Costa Coffee, we couldn't help but reflect on how ridiculous it all felt. Our other major disappointment was to observe just how far and fast standards have dropped and, I suspect, will continue to drop. I almost understand, although I don't sympathise with, the 'evening casual' dress for dinner (which actually means that, in the main, the ladies still dress well but we men slob around in casual clothes), but there is much more it than this: - Dining room staff have been cut by one third, and all food is served 'plated'. - The quality of the food, whilst still pretty good, has deteriorated markedly and some of the dinner options can best be described as 'pub food' (the enormous and tasteless lamb shank, for example). In the main, at dinner the starters, soups and deserts were better than the main courses. - The 'hi-dee-hi' announcements by the entertainments staff were just irritating, particularly as they contained only the same information as was provided in the 'Horizon' mag. - The constant selling is very wearing and pretty naff. Of course a profit has to be made, but the selling never seems to stop. For example, even the gym staff engage in pseudo-scientific 'seminars', peddling seaweed (!) tablets, rather than trying to provide a decent service in the gym. - There were some good elements to the 'entertainments programme' (both sets of classical musicians were excellent and we enjoyed a musician who played, amongst other things, flute, pan's pipes and a crutch!), but most entertainment consisted of singers imitating other singers, stand up comedians and sensationalised talks about aeroplanes falling out of the sky (which, in the main, they don't). 'Cheap and cheerful', describes it best. - To cap it all, 2 of the ports we visited were 'closed' - had we been informed, that, for example, we were to visit Bridgetown on a public holiday, we might have booked an excursion. Apart from causing us and many others irritation, failing to put a note about the public holiday in the Horizon mag meant that P&O missed an opportunity to sell, without all of the usual hard selling they now engage in. - And, surprisingly, both embarkation (due to weather, so understandable) and disembarkation were pretty chaotic. Our overall feeling was that we had a good holiday, despite P&O. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2018
This was our third year running on this cruise to the Caribbean from Southampton and return, on Ventura. This time, departure was two weeks earlier than the two previous years and this seemed to have a considerable effect on the weather, ... Read More
This was our third year running on this cruise to the Caribbean from Southampton and return, on Ventura. This time, departure was two weeks earlier than the two previous years and this seemed to have a considerable effect on the weather, which was windier and wetter, even in the Caribbean, than previous voyages. Generally, the ship was in good condition, given the imminent refit (March) which is desperately needed. The crew work tirelessly to do what they can with failing technical issues, and maintain very good standards of attentiveness and service to their customers. Failing technical issues included automatic doors which no loner work, power failures, problems with rudder response and what seemed to us to be some very peculiar motion - an odd 'shimmy' which was especially noticeable on higher decks aft. This seemed to improve after an extended stay in Antigua to effect rudder repairs. On the way home, however, there was a period of some six or seven minutes during which the ship had a quite alarming six degree list to port. There was a strong wind onto the starboard side at the time, but it seemed that the usual automated stabiliser and/or ballast transfer corrective actions did not kick in. There was also an engine problem during the voyage home, though we did arrive in time. There were two late itinerary changes - an earlier than expected arrival in Antigua in the evening rather than morning, and an overnight to follow, due to the need to repair the rudders, and an inability to call in at Grenada due to strong winds, resulting in an evening arrival in Barbados rather than the following morning. Having said that staff were excellent, there were two major niggles, both with reception. First when the terrace bar closed at ten thirty instead of the advertised time of eleven thirty, and crew started hosing the aft terrace deck down at that time, we complained and were given a total cock and bull story that 'there hadn't been a quiz in the waterside buffet that was why the bar closed'. There had never on any occasion been a late evening quiz in the waterside but this disinformation came from the bar manager, who had clearly confused the terrace bar with the beachcomber bar. No explanation at all was offered as to who had ordered the deck crew to start hosing down the deck so early when customers were still using the space. The second niggle was that when my wife asked reception to find out what the odd six degree list had been, reception assured her they would ask the bridge and leave a message on our phone with the response. No message was ever left. One final niggle concerned the quality of berths in port. At two locations, the ship berthed with the stern immediately adjacent to unloading container vessels, with resulting noise, smell of diesel exhaust smoke, disturbance and unpleasant aspect. This seemed almost as though P&O were unwilling to pay for the better and more convenient berths that other lines used, but even if not the case, given that in each case the ship had to turn when leaving, it would have been far preferable to turn first and berth bow to container vessel rather than stern since there are no balconies, suites and open decks immediately adjacent to the bow and noise etc would therefore have been minimised. Generally, however, an excellent cruise with some very good friendships renewed, or made, including Amanda, Paul and Louisa and Jan and Dave. Food was, we felt, back to the standards of two years ago after a noticeable drop in quality in 2017. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2017
Our first time on the Britannia for a week in the Caribbean. We were really disappointed to find out that all of the signature restaurants required a cover charge ranging from £25/person to £35/person!! In my opinion this is a ... Read More
Our first time on the Britannia for a week in the Caribbean. We were really disappointed to find out that all of the signature restaurants required a cover charge ranging from £25/person to £35/person!! In my opinion this is a rip-off given that we had already paid a lot for the cruise to eat in our designated Meridian restaurant - The food was excellent. Also given that this was only our second cruise, we were amazed to see that on 'non-formal' evenings, people were arriving for dinner in beach shorts, round neck T-shirts & flip flops, (both women as well as men) when the dress code was casual smart (smart jeans). Why have a dress code if it's not being enforced?? Is it too much to ask passengers to wear trousers & a short sleeve shirt? A general dumbing down of standards that will not do P&O any favours in the long run. The entertainment was very good if somewhat repetitive, the only way to get more variety was to pay extra £35 plus/person for a dinner show. The regular act (Pulse) were very good, but do you really want to see them 3 nights running doing set shows of 'Movie songs' then General pop, then Abba? On the plus side, every member of staff, from the cabin crew, to waiters/bar staff & entertainers were exceptional. They couldn't do enough for you (a special mention here to Rajesh our cabin steward) & always attentive with a smile. Although we enjoyed the cruise, there are many other companies out there who will provide the certain (not unreasonable) standards we are looking for & not 'rip-off' a captive audience to visit other dining experiences such as extra £50/couple for the Sindhu Indian restaurant. Additional £50 for a curry??? Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2017
This staff on this ship should be sacked and replaced with people who actually want to work, the waiting staff are lazy, rude and ignorant. and as for a smile, god no. Room service was actually even worse, they cannot understand basic ... Read More
This staff on this ship should be sacked and replaced with people who actually want to work, the waiting staff are lazy, rude and ignorant. and as for a smile, god no. Room service was actually even worse, they cannot understand basic English on a ship that is supposed to be geared up especially for Brits. Try to get a drink around the pool, no chance normally people are falling over them selves to serve you, not on P & O it's get it yourself. And when you eventually get someone to get you a drink, they basically throw it at you along with your cruise card, will not take empty glasses from you, as it's not their job, so they just roll around the floor. The COOKS because you could not call them chiefs produced the sort of food I would serve at a child's tea party , and unless you want curry and chips every day for lunch forget it, instead of parading them through the restaurant, time would be better spend teaching them to cook. What a disappointment. book any other cruise line for P & O Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2017
This was our first cruise, and having been quite excited but also nervous about what to expect we certainly were not disappointed. We were surprised by the ease and speed once of the aircraft of actually getting onto the ship, all in all ... Read More
This was our first cruise, and having been quite excited but also nervous about what to expect we certainly were not disappointed. We were surprised by the ease and speed once of the aircraft of actually getting onto the ship, all in all very speedy and exciting albeit a bit mesmerising for the first time, be prepared if it is your first time it's a bit of a whirlwind! I was very impressed by the size of the cabin especially the walk in wardrobe - made it so easy to get ready in the evenings. Our steward Fransico was amazing and helpful but not all in the way, he cleaned our room and did everything as if by magic! The bars and restaurants were very good and the service in all excellent. I found the fish was overcooked but I presume they do this to avoid any possible illness maybe, i'm not sure? we did have a gastro flu type bug outbreak but it was handled incredibly well and didn't really impact on us at all. Entertainment was varied and New Year's eve was amazing we actually celebrated at 8pm (UK New Year) and again at midnight Caribbean time, the singers were fantastic, food delicious, staff efficient and the crowd on board was brilliant. Shore excursions got cancelled a few times which was a disappointment and slightly annoying as most the time when we asked why no one had an answer. But to finish off, if you have never cruised and are unsure, if you don't go you don't know and I found that most travellers on board had been on many cruises, it seems to be a bit of an addiction if you are not careful lol !!! Well done P&O we had a great time and booked again for next year !!!! Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2017
We arrived at terminal at 2 30 it was slower than usual cases taken promptly but had to wait awhile for them to take photos and take car away. Check in quick. Our inside cabin good a little smaller than other p&o ships. Never been on ... Read More
We arrived at terminal at 2 30 it was slower than usual cases taken promptly but had to wait awhile for them to take photos and take car away. Check in quick. Our inside cabin good a little smaller than other p&o ships. Never been on the Oceania before but found her a wonderful ship easy to navigate. The atrium was decorated absolutely beautifully. We were freedom dining and enjoyed each nights company. The headliners shows, once again put on fab performances. The jingle bell rock on New Year’s Eve was magical really set the tone for the night. Our gala meal was great with good company, we then went to starlights bar to watch ‘beautiful world’ a celebration of ‘take that’ it was outstanding. Then on deck 12 to watch the lovely fireworks. All in all a wonderful New Year’s Eve, after spending the day walking around Amsterdam. Thoroughly enjoyed Bruges. All in all we had a fab time love the oceana, booked next new year Hamburg/Brugges, whilst on board. Disembarkation good even after a delay due to high winds, the port handled it well with 3 large cruise ships in. Looking forward to our next cruise in April on Britannia. Read Less
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