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7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2016
I was so looking forward to my first Christmas Cruise - but 16 nights later I was glad to disembark- disappointed is an understatement - the entertainment was dreadful - and the entertainment team - all five of them - had little experience ... Read More
I was so looking forward to my first Christmas Cruise - but 16 nights later I was glad to disembark- disappointed is an understatement - the entertainment was dreadful - and the entertainment team - all five of them - had little experience - they were geared for entertaining children - not passengers of a mature age - and calling for Santa on Christmas Eve to come out of the funnel went down like a ton of bricks - perhaps Christmas Carols might have been more appropriate- so we waited with baited breath to see what had been planned for Christmas Day apart from a five course dinner - in a word -.nothing - the Horiszon was the same as the previous day with the exception of a film - BFG at 2pm which we went to to pass the afternoon - boredom was setttimg in fast - I was quizzed out but the end of the trip - wasn't into line dancing - didn't want to learn bridge - and wondered occasionally if passengers were asleep or dead - The evening entertainment left a lot to be desired apart from a coup,e of acts - and News Years Eve - was thrown together at the last moment - three or four venues all doing different things - the captain managed to prevent the usual countdown to midnight in the Harlequin- 8 bells eithervside of midnight and that was it - bit of a damp squid - and the dancing re started - The food was excellent as was the service in the dining room and our cabin - but P& O may have a a large fan base but they want to pull their socks up and not take us for granted - change the entertainment and entertainers - don't treat elderly passengers as if we are all on our last legs - Yes I am aware I will have people telling me to stop moanimg etc - but we spent a lot of money for a Christmas Cruise expecting something really special - Apart from the tan - I wish I had stayed at home Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2014

My family consist of my husband and myself , two boys ages nearly 10 & 17 and my father.

We had an effortless flight from Manchester to Barbados. I must say I dislike having to pay for soft drinks on such a long flight. Food ... Read More

My family consist of my husband and myself , two boys ages nearly 10 & 17 and my father.

We had an effortless flight from Manchester to Barbados. I must say I dislike having to pay for soft drinks on such a long flight. Food was edible enough.

On arrival at Barbados we were promptly escorted on to a A/C bus and driven to the cruise terminal. this usually takes about 45Mins, our driver decided to take the back roads and we arrived within 20 mins.

Check in at the cruise terminal is my only bug bear, there must be a simplier system and I feel all passengers should be offered refreshments whilst we wait in line. especially after such a long journey.

I really hate been asked to have a photo taken as we board the ship for the first time.! Who wants a picture taken after travelling so long.

As we had been on Ventura several times before, we were able to locate our cabins very quickly. Cabins were clean and tidy and adequate foe all our needs A202,A206 balcony cabins deck 12. Cabin boy quickly introduced himself. we noticed our beds had been set up incorrectly, this was mentioned and was sorted upon our return several hours later.

Cases arrived very quickly.

Within an hour of arriving my youngest was ready to sign up to the Kids clubs. I was happy to be advised that the 9-12 yrs now had to be signed in and out { this wasnt the case previous years and i was a little dubious) I for one would not want my nearly 10 yr old wandering out around the boat whenever he felt he wanted to. I wasnt really impressed with the stickers attached to our cruise cards as they allowed only us to pick up our child. My older son is nearly 17 and I would have like to have been able to send him to pick up the younger one on the odd occasion. As usual the kids club staff were fantastic, i struggle to get my son to spend time with us on the cruise as he loves kids club so much. These staff do a brilliant job with them.

I get a little fed up with some reviewers moaning about kids splashing in the pool and wandering around the ship. My kids are very well behaved and in all honesty never saw any unruly kids, but it's there holiday too its a xmas cruise, if you don't like kids dont' go on a family friendly ship. There are plenty of adult only cruises to choose from.

I wasn't impressed with the pool attendants this year , they were like the naughty police and really were not needed. They just spoilt the fun for everyone.

We had Freedom dining, got a table everytime. Food was adequate but not great. Enjoyed all of the specialised eateries, The white room, east and the glass house. I was disappointed that a surcharge had been added to eat at the beach hut. A little too greedy P & O.

The way passengers have to queue to be allocated at table for Christmas day and new years eve, is disgusting. I personally queued for 2.5 hours, other up to 4 hours.

The have immigration to a tee why can't they do the same for the tables for special days ????

Entertainment was ok. Really enjoyed Paul Eastwood the comedian and Robbie Williams tribute. A little disappointed with everything else. There is so much talent out there, why are P & O not finding it.

We had excursions from the ship but we also did some of our own trips, all thoroughly enjoyed.

Enjoyed all the Islands.

My only other complaint is the films on the interactive TV, Jaws is over 20 years old we should'nt have to be paying for films at all after what we pay for the cruise in the first place.

We are booked to go on the Xmas cruise on Brittannia I hope P & O are taking notes of everyone's concerns as certain things do need revampling.

Other than a few hiccups we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves on this cruise. I certainly would rather be on the lively Ventura than the boring block of high rise flats docked at the side of us on St Maarten.

 

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3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2014

Our first cruise on 'Oriana' was fifteen years ago, and we were so looking forward to being aboard her again, in fact we were hoping that this Xmas cruise to the Caribbean would be wonderful, but it truly wasdn't. It was quite ... Read More

Our first cruise on 'Oriana' was fifteen years ago, and we were so looking forward to being aboard her again, in fact we were hoping that this Xmas cruise to the Caribbean would be wonderful, but it truly wasdn't. It was quite dispiriting to see how tired ‘Oriana’ is looking these days, with ‘The Conservatory’ (correctly known as ‘The Piggery’) being the worst. Cabinets broken or deteriorated, dirty walls, filthy windows, crockery grubby, and most people eating up there piling their plates to the rafters then leaving most of it. I had to contact the Deputy Captain to organise for our bathroom to be re-grouted, get a new shower curtain to replace the filthy old one and replace the curtains by the balcony as they were badly torn and stained. We had a balcony cabin on 'B' deck & had rather expected it to be better appointed with scuff marks on the wardrobe doors and on the lovely old wood. However, we realise she is now coming up to 21 years of age and even with the refits she’s had, P&O could give her a lot more TLC, as it’s heart-breaking to see such a graceful ship being so neglected. For example the seats in the cinema & theatre should be replaced as they are truly uncomfortable, sunken and grubby, same goes for Anderson’s Bar with the furniture tired, worn stuffing and discoloured, and although the carpets are kept spotless at night many of them are betraying worn & frayed edges. The best bit about ‘Oriana’ is the staff – who we found to be absolutely tremendous, they are the ones who have made our holiday memorable. Food was good and bar prices reasonable.

The worst or most disappointing bit? A great many of the passengers, their meanness, the tattoed crude men who couldn't be bothered to dress halfway decently on black tie evenings, the lack of basic good manners, lack of hygiene, many uncouth – not shy about the ‘F’ word around the ship and just their general boorishness. We witnessed drunken behaviour, women in a mad rush to leave the theatre after a show wearing vertiginous heels then falling over and breaking their ankles or wrists. Why rush when they’re on holiday? And why wear stupid high heels when the ship was experiencing choppy weather & was unstable? It just beats me. In the daily newsletter P&O were constantly having to remind passengers about their dress code, to not save seats in the theatre & cinema, to not take their own litre bottles of spirit or their own wine into the public areas & just ask the staff for mixers or coke & the old perennial annoyance of leaving deck-chairs by the pool with towels & books on them, departing for a 2-3 hour lunch, and wondering why fellow cruisers were cheesed off with them when they eventually returned. On formal nights a great many passengers couldn’t be bothered to dress properly so that they were turned away by staff at the restaurant door then they became aggressive, or on the last night not bothering to tip their waiters or just to pass them a £10 pound note which disgusted us.

Next time we will have a really good think about a different line (and this sounds snobbish & I don't mean it to) but if we have to pay extra to get away from the “Butlins-on-Sea” crowd then so be it. I paid a great deal of money for this cruise and I feel robbed. With regret I don’t think we ever wish to return to ‘Oriana’. Have to do our homework before our next one as much of what we witnessed was really off-putting. Many of the staff were unhappy and were badly treated by some passengers who you wished frankly you could chuck overboard. I was also shocked that some passengers had had their cruise paid for by the Government then had the cheek to say they thought the experience to be 'not what they expected and their food was rubbish'.

 

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Sail Date: December 2014

Arcadia cruise 9-20 December 2014 cruise J421

Our first impression was a good one as we arrived at the new Mayflower Teminal. It is very well designed and set out, much improved on the "shed" we were in in 2008.

We had ... Read More

Arcadia cruise 9-20 December 2014 cruise J421

Our first impression was a good one as we arrived at the new Mayflower Teminal. It is very well designed and set out, much improved on the "shed" we were in in 2008.

We had to wait two hours for a friend who was joining us but had lost his passport. We were guided to comfortable seats in a roped off area complete with brass stands, brass knobs and royal blue rope. There were refreshments and a ringside view of everyone coming and going.

We booked this cruise at future cruise sales when we were on Aurora in June. I use a mobility scooter and need to book an adapted cabin so it was agreed at the time of booking that cabin C2 would be suitable to my needs. I had the scooter with me when we booked.

Despite this and filling in all the forms in advance, when we checked in P&O reckoned we were not in a cabin suited to a scooter so another 40 mins while they sorted that one out.

Eventually we got on board and after checking the cabin made our way to the Belvedere Buffet for a very tasty lunch. Good first impression on the food, even for my partner who is vegetarian, something very few caterers understand.

Muster drill was a bit of a comedy. They kept announcing to keep the lifts for for the lame and lazy but they were full of the fit.  I eventually got into a lift with a woman in her nineties but the lift would not go where we wanted and took us up and down ad nauseam. We were in there so long her father was waiting for us when we got out to demand I make an honest woman of her.

You might be surprised at the number of people complaining about what a farce having a muster drill was, you would think that after the Costa Concordia disaster they would see it in a different light.

We were on Freedom Dining and it felt like they were operating a smart wheeze at dinner. When you arrive you are given a pager and told there is a half hour wait so "you might be more comfortable waiting in one of the bars". We had just bought a drink when the pager went off. Less than ten minutes, they must have really upped the drinks revenue.

We were all pleased with dinner but that awful refined diesel oil that they try to pass for butter had followed us from the last cruise. Thankfully the buffet had little pats of Irish butter so we smuggled some out.

We came back after lunch to a letter for each of us accusing us how not having registered a credit card and threatening to stop our credit. This has happened every time we have sailed with P&O despite all the rigmarole of them swiping cards and taking signatures at check in.

It turns out that the P&O computer system could not cope with my partner's name which starts O'R...... They do not do apostrophes and said he would need to change the spelling to Or..... I presume he cannot be the only traveller with an apostrophe and as it has been causing problems for us since 2008 I am sure it could have been sorted.

The cabin was fine and the steward kept on top of it but it really needed a good deep clean as there was a lot of fluff going back a long time under the bed and settee. There were a couple of inexcusable problems in the bathroom. A very badly scored toilet seat, the scores yellow with urine and a mouldy bathmat. We complained and they were replaced.

The food onboard ship has been excellent. Every morsel tasty, good quality and well cooked. A hundred times better than our first Arcadia Christmas 2008. Then we paid £5700 for a balcony cabin for the two of us and parted with the money as we believed they would really push the boat out (if you will pardon the pun) but apart from a wallet "from Santa" tossed unwrapped onto the bed there was nothing extra. On that cruise there was a standing joke about being served potato croquettes and carrot medallions at every meal and by the end of the cruise it was not a joke, it was a recurring horror story. That was the one where at afternoon tea, William, the vegetarian got two slices of bread with just a rocket leaf! He asked if he could not at least have a cheese sandwich and was told he should have given 24 hours notice for that. 

So well done Arcadia, you have redeemed yourselves.

One of the highlights in the Palladium theatre was a great male singing quartet. Former West End Musical singers who have formed a group. Their performance was amazing on the first night hence the reason we headed off early and camped out in the front row for their next show.  Check our fourtunes.com

Ports

Our first port was Vigo. A tip for disabled visitors. Ask any taxi driver on the rank to call you an accessible cab and they phone "Eurocabs" for you. I was able to drive my scooter right into the cab. There is a €5 cover charge but it was only an extra €4 to take us to the top of the town.

Porto was next. Another tip for disabled visitors. It is very hilly you might make it down to the railway station with its magnificent tile murals and the cathedral, great views of the river from there and the port producers on the opposite bank. If you go further down be prepared to get a taxi back to the coach drop off.

We have been to Cadiz many times and we were hoping for good weather to walk along the shore then make our way back into the city via the Roman Amphitheatre but the rain was torrential and relentless so we gave up and returned to the ship. At which tme the sun came out and we got an hour sitting out but it was short lived then back to rain.

Malaga was a gem, What a lovely city. A great central shopping street, very stylish with all the top brands. A well developed port with an attractive marina, more shops cafes, bars and well kept beaches. At each corner an attractive square with beautiful historic buildings all very sympathetically preserved. 

We took the accessible mini bus shuttle into the city but walked back through the marina and along the promendade. Do not be afraid to stop for refreshments in the marina, it is all very reasonable priced and they have the cutest, tamest sparrows that will eat out of your hand.

We were told in the booking info that we would spend the morning in Gibraltar. Once the daily paper has been circulated we learned we dock at 7 and leave at 11.30. People tend to save their shopping for Gib as it is so British but as shops open at 10 there was just an hour before one needed to head back to port. My companions went up the Rock on the cable car but it was not accessible for me, too many steps. So I stayed in the car park below. I tried the Almeda Botanical  Gardens but same again, steps!. I guess that was to be expected from a settlement built for mountain goats. 

They found the cable car quick and the top of the rock unusually quiet. The monkeys (Macaques) were there but much better behaved. There are signs up threatening. £4,000 fine for feeding them. There were babies, very cute, we have pictures. Protective adults, not very cute with threatening grimaces and great pictures of the view all around is it was such a clear morning. I was reading that the Macaque population had got out of control so they have introduced a system of modern birth control (Marie Stopes eat your heart out) and exported a few families to a park in Scotland.

We had a wonderful day in Lisbon, 7 hours. My companions hired Segways from Red Tour Segways in Rua Dos Fanquieros, a man we have patronised for years.  I was impressed by the performance of my scooter but Lisbon being so flat the load was reduced a little despite carrying half the P&O buffet round my midriff. I set off with such good intention but the food is all so good!!!!! Measuring it out later the scooter did about 7 miles so just made it back to the cabin before the battery died. It is the one question people ask me all the time. "How many miles do you get out of it?" But there are so many variables it is almost impossible to answer. 

I found a lovely local deli in a back street selling smelly fish and cheese and got some good wines for the couple who are looking after the car. We had Coffee and Nata, the Portugese custard tart, a Christmas speciality, at the St Nicholas cafe in the main pedestrian street that runs off Black Horse Square.  We had been warned about thieves and pickpockets but the biggest surprise was the number of men who sidled past muttering "cocaine? hashish? Marihuana?" I bet they shopped any tourists who bought drugs to the police for a cut of the profit as there were lots of Polis around who must have known what they were doing. I tried sidling up to people muttering "Sennacot? Omeprazole? Rennies?".

Once the rush hour traffic was clear the streets were fairly quiet as there is a two day rail and metro strike on. To those of us who have been coming to Lisbon for many years you can see how badly it has suffered under the recession. Many empty shops and abandoned premises with older shopkeepers presiding over out of date stock that was once their livelihood. Many more beggars, local people and not addled with drink or drugs just abandoned by the state.

They have made a good start with dropped pavements and are half way to full accessibility. Half way, in the you drive off the pavement and get to the other side of the crossing to be met by a 6inch kerb. 

Then back to the ship and the two day cruise back to Southampton. All in all it was a good cruise.

So we would definitely do Arcadia again after this one. Well done P&O .

 

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Sail Date: December 2014

Having cruised twice before in the Med with Thomson and having enjoyed my experience thoroughly as a special treat I decided to book a surprise cruise to the carribean for my wife's 50th Birthday. We booked a week prior to travel and ... Read More

Having cruised twice before in the Med with Thomson and having enjoyed my experience thoroughly as a special treat I decided to book a surprise cruise to the carribean for my wife's 50th Birthday. We booked a week prior to travel and flew out from Manchester T1 early on the 6/12/2014. The chartered flights with Thomas Cook airlines went very smoothly, good quality food and service and the fact that this was chartered by P&O which meant we loaded the cases in Manchester and then didn't touch them again until they arrived at our cabin door on the ship made the flying experience really great.

We arrived in Barbados to gorgeous warm sunshine and where then off loaded by P&O directly onto the transfer coach and taken directly to the port, no hassle with customs etc. on arrival at the ship we then went through a short process to take our photographs, present our credit card and be issued with our boarding cards. Again this was very swift and professional. The ship as an awesome site, biggest that we have been on. The cabin allocation again was swift but we did encounter a problem in the cabin with the set out of sleeping arrangements, we had requested a double room but where allocated a twin and unfortunately this couldn't be changed to a double due to the configuration of the lamps attached to the bedside tables, this was the main weak area of the service we received as INfeltvthat P&O didn't do enough to rectify the fault..

The facilities on board are great, choice of 4 swimming pools, plenty of sun beds, great waiter service, brilliant gym, sauna, spa and plenty of places where you could escape and relax. Food on board was good, plenty of choice and most of it served 24/7. We also used the Beech House for a small surcharge which was good, the MarconPierre and Athol Cuutcher restaraunts also seemed nice. We had early dining in the Bay Tree restaraunt at 6:30 which we found too early. Service again was outstanding but portions where a little small. Evening entertainment was good, we did the theatre after dinner then onto an internal bar such as Havanah, Tamarind or Metropolis and finish off the night with a few drinks on deck.

The Headliners theatre company who performed in the theatre are a must to see, as is a comedian by the name of John Martin. Beer pric scare not bad but be aware that some of the bars do not serve draft beer, only from cans or bottles. We did feel that entertainment on board overall wasn't as good in some areas as on the Thomson ships. We where also a little disappointed by the formal evenings which didn't seem to be a celebration of a special event unlike the Thomson ships. The ship overall is neat and tidy, consistently cleaned, quite spacious and modern.

The ports we visited on our Itinerary where good although some are up and coming ports which do need further development, the nicest places where St Maarten, Tortola, Curaçao, Bonaire and of course Barbados. I do still struggle to understand why the ships sail so early ( 5pm ) from some ports when the next port is only a short distance, we would have loved to stay ashore at places like St Marrten and Curaçao to get a taste of the nightlife. Same withnthe 2 days at sea on the return journey to Barbados, we could've called at one more stop on the way. All of the islands accept the US dollar but be aware that a couple of places have their own dollar so some change could be given in this currency which can only be spent on that Island. In Barbados also most prices are quoted in Barbados dollars to which there are 2 to every US dollar, make sure you ask when buying something or quoting a price for a taxi. You also need to try the flying fish in Barbados, yummy. The people in the Carribean can't do enough for you, very friendly and eager to help. Taxis are positioned at each port as well as numerous tours etc which are priced reasonably, the Beaches are stunning, the water is just as you imagine in a brochure and the climate is a steady 27 to 28 day and night, the humidity takes a bit of getting used too as does the 4 hour time difference..

Overall our first experience with P&O was good although we did feel that it could have been better, we do love the Carribean and will re visit. We would recommend P&O cruises to others and will be cruising again with them

 

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1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2014

This was our 4th festive cruise on Ventura around the Caribbean islands. The usual efficient P&O system of dealing with flights and luggage soon had us in the holiday mood. This time we were on a Dreamliner from Manchester. We were ... Read More

This was our 4th festive cruise on Ventura around the Caribbean islands. The usual efficient P&O system of dealing with flights and luggage soon had us in the holiday mood. This time we were on a Dreamliner from Manchester. We were happy with our balcony cabin on B deck and this was kept immaculate by our Steward Edward. Overall this was one of the best cruises we have done with wall to wall sunshine for the whole trip. We thought the quality and quantity of the food and also the quality of service had improved since the previous Christmas and also the standard of dress of the passengers was very high. Many ladies and girls opted for long dresses or cocktail wear even on the non-formal nights. Also on formal nights there were more men in evening dress than previously. So we were well happy. In the evenings we drank mainly in the Glasshouse or Tamarind. Prices seem to have held since the previous year both for drinks and meals in the speciality restaurants although they have introduced a cover charge for the Beach House restaurant in the evenings. This clearly had the effect of reducing the once mandatory queuing to zero and on the evening we ate there, hardly any other diners.

The one blot on the proceedings was the requirement to queue to reserve your dining times for Christmas Day and New Year's Eve. I was near the front of the queue and it still took 1.5 hours for me to be seen to. Some people were queuing for up to 4.5 hours. This is appalling and P&O need to find another way of addressing this matter for example by using Cruise Personaliser.

Like many others we will not be on Ventura for Christmas 2015 as we will all be on the Britannia.

All in all an excellent cruise on the home from home Ventura .

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1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2014

Just returned from the Christmas cruise aboard Ventura.

I'll will try to summarise my thoughts ....

The service from the steward and dining room staff (early sitting) was excellent.

The dinning room food in the ... Read More

Just returned from the Christmas cruise aboard Ventura.

I'll will try to summarise my thoughts ....

The service from the steward and dining room staff (early sitting) was excellent.

The dinning room food in the evening was largely good with just a few disappointments but in nearly all cases the meat portion was too small.

Our D deck cabin was very average with no internet access when the ship was moving, poor maintainance in the bathroom, a faded settee, questionable AC and ridiculous noise from the tender launching process at 7am (!) in Tortola . To add to this the balcony was not at all private with virtually every cabin above it having a birds eye view of us. The balcony was often littered with cigarette butts which I assume came from the rooms above .

The guest entertainers were typically good but the production shows were over ambitious given the singers available and their lack of talent . It's takes a brave girl of any description to offer a "tribute" to Karen Carpenter but if they cannot sing well its just not practical and how 3 white guys can try to mimic the Drifters is beyond my comprehension - they must be able to both sing and dance and do both at the same time!

The Calypso band that played in various venues was quite good but the rock band much worse.

There was a constant problem with the lack of sun beds . This is down to bad deck design or even ship design and poor management - given though P&O can cure this but they have to want to do it. Similarly the show lounge is too small and requires a 3rd nightly show.

P&O employ "minders" around the swimming pool whose sole purpose appears to be annoy the kids who are jumping in and out and enjoying themselves. These pool minders even kick out adults in the pool if the appear to jump in, even though they weren't. Making these people redundant would offer a serious cost saving . They could be re employed as traffic wardens where they could irritate a larger number of people and not damage the cruise's reputation. For some reason the hot tubs were often closed for cleaning - even on Christmas Day - is there no planning or consideration given to the days on which this happens?

Ship maintenance, such as refreshing of paint, occurred during day hours. Why? Wouldn't it be easier to do this at 5am or when passengers are sleeping rather than make paying passengers move this lounge chair during the day to accommodate ship repairs?

The kindergarten now operates a nonsensical process for signing the kids in and out and this needs to be looked at. As it stands a cruise card with a kids club sticker on it is "worth" a child and a signature the same as the one on that card is the only thing required to release the child. If there really is such a problem a picture of the parents maybe more worthwhile. I suspect the process was engineered by someone at a desk with a pen but little or no practical experience.

The itinerary worked well except from Christmas Eve in Dominica. As you may know it rains there a lot so to organise Santa's arrival on the open deck as we left was frankly stupid, it was always going to rain and of course the entire event, witnessed by hundreds of families, was a complete wash out. Clearly a different port or venue or time was needed.

At Tortola the dock is being rebuilt and is closed for the duration. The itinerary suggested it was a "possible tender" port. It's a definite tender and those on deck 9 should have been warned of the very loud noise and shuddering vibration a 7am when the tenders are launched. To be fair the tender process seemed to worked ok but there is no need to go there at all until the dock is built - there are lots of other islands.

There were too many formal nights - 4 in total. This was way too many and should be re thought on family cruises. Given the fact we all had to fly in with the accompanying baggage problems, a clear dress code itinerary would have been useful ahead of the cruise, sadly it's not provided.

The passengers were an eclectic mix of pensioners, couples and families with older and or younger children, some of whom were well heeled educated types and many others who could be described as "tattooed wonders", some of the later may perhaps be better served at a guest house in Blackpool or Butlins. I realise P&O is not going to conduct IQ tests on the passengers at the pier prior to boarding but I recommend they think of something before the entire cruise resembles a remand centre.

There were too many smokers onboard and now may be the time to ban smoking completely. This would discourage those who need budget fares and relieve non smokers of ash, smell, and dirty ash trays which ruin otherwise useful deck areas.

I noticed on a number of occasions that "housekeeping" was not as it could be with abandoned coffee cups left in halls for many hours and festering nappies in lifts. Some of this will be as result of the passenger mix but P&O should know who they sold the cruise to and prepare accordingly.

Throughout the cruise the air conditioning did don't seem to work too well. Cruise ships in my experience are typically really quite cool inside but the Ventura was always warm. Even with the AC set to minimum in the cabin it was often too warm to sleep and other passengers who commented on the issue suggested it was a cost cutting measure.....

P&O offer what amounts to late check out of the cabin to those who wish to pay for it. The process for this defies belief - as after paying £85 you have to leave the room you've had to the last fortnight together with your hand luggage at 9am and come back an hour later to room a few doors along the hall. If a good hotel offers late check out they let you have the room you are in - it saves preparing it again - and often they do not charge either. On this cruise all the passengers arrive on flights in the later afternoon and those going home need to leave before that. The only explanation for devising such a scheme is to collect cash and generate work for the stewards, it really is that silly.

The additional cost restaurants are multiplying - and getting pricey. We went to the "Beach House" where even the burger is £2 extra - over and above the £6 you've just already agreed to. The place is ok but really you should stay with the dining room. Many of the other dining places are much more money and where often empty.

Breakfast in the dining room was a slow a prescriptive saga and I see no reason to go there. The buffet arrangement upstairs seems better with plentiful if rather average food but often a shortage of tables unless you go out on the deck and sit in the cigarette smoke and ashtrays.

P&O now serve Costa coffee which is big improvement on the liquid served in the buffet. Given their quest to charge for everything they can they should serve it at all the bars and for breakfast at a "nominal charge" of course.

The buffet lunches were a bit tedious with the menu only changing a little each day and offering some bizarre choices for a Carribean cruise including faggots and a hotpot! On deck they serve burgers and hotdogs which are quite good but again the lack of tables either with or without smokers is an issue.

The reception desk staff were typically polite but often could not answer many questions sensibly and they also had a habit of not answering the phone at all.

P&O want you to buy a "wine" package for dinner but while this appears to offer some value the chosen wines are not good and the wine list selection is a better bet albeit at extra cost

The beauty parlour prices where laughably high and it's hard to imagine anybody paying them.

The return flights on Thomas Cook were only just about acceptable and only because we paid extra for Premium seats. The economy looked too cramped for an 8 hour flight and the food and drink are extra back there too. To add to this if you want to sit together as a family you have to pay another £15 each - each way - £90 for a family of 3!. This is a rip off and those concerned should be ashamed of such fees on families who have, in some cases, already paid £8000+.

The gratuity policy appears now to involve charging every adult £55 (for the 2 week cruise) to there account and this covers the gratuities, however what is less clear is who gets the money, how much of it and what happens if you choose to opt out of the £55 deal. I asked for the money to be credited back to the account and it was and I gave cash to the room steward and dining room waiter and his assistant, but if more than those 3 were about to receive from me did they do without and in any event who were they and what is it they did for me?

As with so many other silly fees in this world P&O should scrap the gratuity like they have with the one on the bar bill and pay their, largely excellent, service staff a sensible wage.

As Ryan Air will tell you making people mad will not generate repeat passengers and P&O should take a good look at what they are doing before the policies get any worse.....

I expect I will sail with P&O again - we are booked already but the Ventura will not be on my shortlist and P&O need to sort themselves out if I am to stay a loyal passenger. I am hoping the issues only relate to the Ventura but I am not hopeful.

 

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Sail Date: May 2014

I am sure some of the views on these forums, reflect what some might have thought a cruise today would be the same as in the 1950's!!! Today the ships are on a huge scale, and the clientele far removed from that era.

The flights ... Read More

I am sure some of the views on these forums, reflect what some might have thought a cruise today would be the same as in the 1950's!!! Today the ships are on a huge scale, and the clientele far removed from that era.

The flights to Venice and from Genoa were on time, and the P&O team at each end were superb, baggage checked in and then the next one sees it - it is in the cabin. Cabin steward was good, polite, although we kept it tidy so all he had to do was re-arrange / new towels etc. There were two beach towels in the cabin, and more available in the ' spa ' changing room - which would answer a previous complaint in a review- that persom did not look far enough.

We dined in the Cinnamon Restaurant, and thought the choice and standard high.We did try the White Room, and yes £25 cover charge, was it worth it, YES for a one off experience, as we were able to dine outside, the ambiece was superb, and a few foodie extras thrown in too, service was brilliant, the food was exceptional, really enyoyed it, we lingered and whay not.

The ship is big and it took the week to find one's way around, the ' observation deck ' at the front front on Lido deck was not listed in the leaflet, found it by chance - and a great viewing area.

The Theatre is very good, on two deck levels, ( far better than on the Oceana- just a minor point ) we went to the two ' Headliner shows' good singers, and how they change the costumes so many times in seconds is beyond me !!! well done. The '' 4 Tunes '' four guys singing in harmony were outstanding, again we managed their two shows.

Ports of call - Kotor by tender- and a trip up the mountain, the 25 bends are NOT for the faint hearted.

Rome - we did the Tuscania village trip, beautiful countryside, a very relaxing morning, good wine too at the olive grove farm, and olive oil to purchase too.

Corfu & Corsica - suggest just go on foot around the towns, the walk up to the old fort in Corfu, and lunch there was a highlight.

P&O do offer very good value for money, the prices on board are in £'s and in my opinion the drinks prices are very reasonable, this is my 2nd P&O cruise.

My suggestion - avoid the buffet restaurants, just people not knowing where they are going or what they want- food quality fine though. We did NOT enjoy a might in the Beach House resaurant- menu disappointing. We chose freedon dining- which is ideal, and usually had a table for two, but no problemd sharing as we did from time to time. Afternoon tea in the Saffron was of a high standard.

We did use the ' adults ' only oasis pool - although as slightly out of school holidays few children on the ship. The sun loungers are close together and there IS the towel on the sunbed syndrome, which P&O DO need to address.

Would I use P&O again - certainly yes, would like to try the Britannia when she comes on stream.

 

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2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2013

Sailed from Southampton on 21st Dec. for the Canaries. This is the first time we have sailed with P and O,although we have sailed before with their sister company, Princess.

Well what can I say, although the ship is in need of ... Read More

Sailed from Southampton on 21st Dec. for the Canaries. This is the first time we have sailed with P and O,although we have sailed before with their sister company, Princess.

Well what can I say, although the ship is in need of updating as the decor was a little tired, this did not spoil anything for us at all. We found the staff polite and friendly although sometimes we had to wait for a drink.

Our cabin steward Reagan was exceptional, always ready to help and assist us with anything that we asked for.

The entertainment on board was good. We used the theatre on most nights as there was always something on that we wished to see. The food was to die for. There were some people on board who were moaning about it but I expect those people usually eat every night at the Ritz.

The Captain Neil Turnbull was brilliant, he kept us informed about everything and was often seen about the ship talking to the passengers. What a nice man.

The only thing that I didn't like or appreciate where some of the passengers who thought that they were better than anyone else. Sheer snobbery abounds still on P and O and a lot of the older passengers are guilty of this. Some of them are downright rude with no manners (which they usually accuse the youngsters of) To these passengers I would say , this is 2014. Not 1924 the class system on cruises no longer exists. My money is the same colour as yours lose the attitude.

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Sail Date: December 2013

My husband and myself have just returned from a very disappointing Christmas & New Year cruise on Ventura. Disappointing to the point that we also will never cruise with P & O again. This is our fourth Caribbean cruise.

... Read More

My husband and myself have just returned from a very disappointing Christmas & New Year cruise on Ventura. Disappointing to the point that we also will never cruise with P & O again. This is our fourth Caribbean cruise.

We stupidly booked through P & O and we were totally ripped off - we booked "the last cabin" (14 months ago) which unfortunately was inside and were assured that because we had booked directly with them we would certainly be upgraded. Of course it didn't happen.

We were told that there were no upgrades and yet we met many people who had been upgraded without requesting it on embarkation day.

So the choice of having a relaxing time watching the world go by was denied to us.

The buffet lunches were very monotonous curry, curry or curry with the odd stew now and then. The self service area itself is very small and cramped.

We ate in the cinnamon restaurant every night and the choice of food was ok, steaks were cooked exactly as we requested and the service was excellent.

The main thing that ruined our holiday was the gangs of teenagers ( who's parents obviously couldn't care less where they were or what they were up to ) it was like being thrown onto the set of TOWIE or Made in Chelsea. Kids lying around drunk, throwing each other in the pool after one too many cocktails and gypsy wedding type girls crying because NYE was a disaster for them as they hadn't pulled ! We avoided the top decks because of all this but we still had to step over the occasional body on the stairs !!

There was never any security present and I am amazed none of these out of control teens didn't end up over board to be honest.

We were also disappointed with the service on deck 7 which was non-existent until disembarkation day when half a dozen crew sit in the arena chatting and popped out now and then to make sure they get the last bit of money they can from you. We certainly didn't have to fetch our own drinks that day! There was even a nice cream man - we hadn't seen him at all during the cruise !

Smokers were definitely catered for - we had a job to find anywhere to relax without having smoke blown in our faces - deck 7 at least had one side which was non smoking. We tried to go up to the oasis spa exclusive area for peace without cigarette smoke but although it was empty, we were told it was completely booked out ! We never found out what the extra cost was for peace and quiet !

Also, If you do decide to try Ventura don't expect much from the onboard shops they are truly basic and vastly overpriced.

Announcements from the bridge were regular, Captain Carr is a marvelous delegator - I'm not sure he ever docked or sailed away (which always included a reference to 'winding up the big elastic band' and encouraging us all to grab a gin and tonic) but I for one always felt safe.

The highlight of the whole on board experience was the Panto which the crew put on for us - absolutely fab!

Unfortunately, we will be looking at other cruise companies for our next cruise - we paid for a luxury christmas cruise which fell short of our expectations on many levels.

You can't beat cruising the Caribbean - the majority of the Islands are amazingly beautiful but apart from the locations We could have spent the festive season at The Blue Water Centre still surrounded by chavs and chavettes but at least the shopping choice would have been better.

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