2 Young 30+ year olds -Started out on the P&O Oriana on the 9th May 2009 for a well deserved 14 night cruise across the med. From embarkation in Southhampton which took nearly 2 1/2 hours of queing, we were aboard the Oriana which we ... Read More
2 Young 30+ year olds -Started out on the P&O Oriana on the 9th May 2009 for a well deserved 14 night cruise across the med. From embarkation in Southhampton which took nearly 2 1/2 hours of queing, we were aboard the Oriana which we had heard so many good reviews about and on the surface the ship looked divine. The ship was tastefully furbished with the old style and charm of former vessels with polished wood and chrome in plentyful supply and a delightful 'deco' Atrium which gave a sophisticated ambiance to the the centre of the ship. However, the look of the ship and its copious facilities were soon out shadowed by the dreadful service and atmosphere that followed. What P&O failed to highlight in any of their publicity was that the ship would not be suitable for middle-aged people or younger. The average age on the ship during our cruise was 70 which was probably brought down by the handful of babies and children on board. THIS IS THE NORM ACCORDING TO THE CREW, APART FROM A FEW WEEKS DURING SCHOOL HOLIDAYS!!! We have never seen so many old and infirm people and come 11.30pm the whole place became a ghost ship with few bars or facilities staying open due to P&O's bar policy of 'if there are less than 10 people in the bar it closes'. All bar 1 night, when the band kindly stayed up with us, we had NO night life!! During the day was not much better, especially during days at sea when the itinarary was totally geared towards the elderly clientelle e.g. flower arranging, bingo and ballroom dancing. To cut a long story......we had a terrible time, most of our excursions were cancelled due to lack of numbers.....please make note that the exciting excursions like sail and swim, gladiator training in Rome WILL be cancelled as the older passengers would not be able to partake in such activities. Also,most of the crew seemed unhappy and unmotivated, especially the Admin services we complained to. Having complained to the Admin services and stated our concerns they said this was the norm and if we wanted to we could swop to the Ventura also docked in Barcelona for a further £1200, despite the fact that the Ventura cruise was cheaper than we had paid and 1 day shorter. Thanks P&O where is your customer service??
So onto the Ventura.....What a Ship!!, tastfully furbished with so many services that I could not list them all in a short review. The ship is huge with 19 decks. The age group on board was mixed with an average of 50 years old so the bars, casino stayed open and daytime activities were varied. From the moment we were onboard and met the crew all of them were so friendly, smiling and could not do enough for you. The Admin Manager- Hayley Alexander (deserves to be named for the service she provided) was outstanding and arranged an upgrade, ensured we were treated well and even got us to meet the captain and visit the bridge. Overall, all the crew were outstanding and made our cruise so special making up for the dreadful service on the Oriana. The entertainment was top class and as good as the West End with breathtaking dance choreography and stunning vocals from a highly talented cast. Around the ship you will find all kinds of activities from vocal impersonators, divas, black jack tournaments, karaoke, pianists, small bands, magicians, cinema and much more. We were pampered in the well equipped spa and were able to tone up in the excellent gym facilities. Again, staff were delightful and very experienced. Excursions were well planned and good value for money. Finally, take no notice of the negative reviews about Ventura's food and restaurant services as they were excellent all round. From fine dining in the East Restaurant (which we would highly recommend) to freedom dining in the Cinnamon restaurant and casual dining in the Waterside and on deck the food was plentiful, excellently preapared and very tasty in deed. For all you folks thinking about trying out Cruising for the first time or if you are young at heart then look no further than the Ventura as this beauty will be hard to beat on all fronts from- faclitilties, freindliness of crew, food, entertainment and all round cruising experience, excellent!!!!! Read Less