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Sail Date: January 2018
We love the Caribbean in Jan/ Feb to escape the UK winter. Ventura was late arriving in Southampton due to bad weather, thank goodness we weren’t on that cruise! P&O gave us all £15pp extra onboard spend to cover lunch on ... Read More
We love the Caribbean in Jan/ Feb to escape the UK winter. Ventura was late arriving in Southampton due to bad weather, thank goodness we weren’t on that cruise! P&O gave us all £15pp extra onboard spend to cover lunch on the way as we were advised to arrive later in the day to allow disembarkation. There was free tea and coffee at the terminal and we didn’t wait too long to be transferred to the ship. The sea was choppy for the first 2days at sea but soon improved ( or maybe we just found our sea legs quickly). Madeira was nice and sunny. Went to the gym on sea days to offset the extra food and actually rather enjoyed it! There was always something going on on board but same list most days. The talks are usually interesting. Did lots of sunbathing and actually used our sun beds for hours. We saw loads of beds though which were reserved for hours with no one on them. P &O need to take the bull by the horns and sort out this problem which causes so much anger. The entertainment was mostly good and especially ‘The Runaround Kids’ who got a standing ovation both nights. Metropolis was a nice place in the evenings and much quieter than other venues where the microphones were a bit too loud. Havana is the most ridiculous design and needs a complete overhaul. The half walls are too high, there are posts where they obstruct too much of the view and what on earth the two high tables are for at the front I can’t imagine. We didn’t come on holiday to have to watch acts on the tv screen! The staff were great as usual and cabin stewards very friendly. We had a few problems this cruise with excessive noise in cabin late at night (don’t book around inside cabin R717 ) and after being moved we had a water leak. We were unlucky because this was our 18th cruise with P&O and our first problematic one. The islands were great as normal and the people who moaned about the port of Guadeloupe should have done their research and travelled outside the port area. We had a lovely trip there to the beach and the nicest swimming conditions ever. All in all another successful cruise. 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
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2017
We wanted the to escape the gloomy Scottish weather over Christmas and New Year and relax in some Caribbean sunshine. The cruise didn't start well with a near 4 hour flight delay from Gatwick with P&O's chosen charter airline - Thomas ... Read More
We wanted the to escape the gloomy Scottish weather over Christmas and New Year and relax in some Caribbean sunshine. The cruise didn't start well with a near 4 hour flight delay from Gatwick with P&O's chosen charter airline - Thomas Cook (MT3720). This resulted in us arriving very late on board, too exhausted to consider eating anything and being directed more or less immediately to a special safety drill for all the late passengers. Heading back to the cabin we saw that it was quite dirty. We mentioned this to our cabin steward who seemed to shrug his shoulders and said he would 'give it a good touch' the next day. However, the following day, in full daylight, the very poor state of the cabin was revealed and it became clear that none of the surfaces had been cleaned for weeks, with evidence of hairs on bathroom shelves and a very 'unhygienic' looking stain on the toilet. We reported the matter to the front desk and received a visit from a Deck Manager who agreed the room was dirty and he arranged a 'deep clean'. He suggested, however, that the state of the room was due to previous passengers leaving the balcony door open - I'm not sure how/why that would justify the room not being cleaned appropriately. The cruise progressed OK with quite good weather in most of the ports of call. Entertainment on the ship was quite good with the highlight show that of male vocal group 'Troubadour' and somewhat surprisingly the performances of the resident group 'Pulse', whom we found to exceed the performances of the stage singers/dancers. We are frequent cruisers so we were disappointed at some of the guest performers, e.g. Mark Walker, who we have seen many times over several years and he hasn't varied his set. The P&O 'Christmas Present' was quite a let down. On it's maiden Caribbean Christmas Cruise on the Britannia we each received boxes of very nice Marc de Champagne truffles, which we took home and savoured after the cruise. This time, however, we each received identical Britannia Snow Globe ornaments, which weren't very personal or worth the weight in our luggage home so they went straight in the bin. I expect many other passengers did the same. Due to hurricanes in the Caribbean the itinerary of this cruise had been rearranged and abbreviated with two of our favourite ports of call - Dominica and St Maarten - being removed with a day instead at Tobago and an additional day in Barbados at the end of the cruise. If we had been given the option to cancel/rearrange this cruise due to the changed itinerary we would have done but that was never an option. The two and a half days in Barbados at the end of the cruise were particularly tedious with our balcony cabin facing the port and the incessant noise of operating cranes and other heavy machinery. We have been to Barbados many times and have done various trips there so weren't inclined to do any more trips, plus the weather was a bit 'inclement' over those days. We probably would have preferred to go straight home the day after arriving in port in Barbados rather than 'lingering' there. There were lots of passengers coughing and spluttering during the cruise so invariably I also picked up a virus that remained with me for the 2nd week of the cruise and remains with me as I write this review. My wife succumbed to the virus on her return home and has had to take two weeks (and counting) off work. I expect poor hygiene on the ship was probably to blame for our illness as many people avoided washing their hands when entering the buffet restaurant and this was not particularly well enforced by P&O personnel. I would point out though that there are only three hand washing stations at each entrance to the buffet restaurant with often significant queues (20-30 people) waiting to wash their hands. It's probably little wonder that some passengers had no patience and simply by-passed this process. In the ratings that follow I might have recorded some categories as 'Good' but that option isn't available as the jump is from 'average' to 'very good'. We are unlikely to travel on the Britannia again but will be travelling on the Arcadia later this year and the recently refurbished Oceana next year. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2017
We chose this ship as we had previously cruised in it. In addition we have sailed on 10 other occasions with P & O over a period of 25 years. But NEVER AGAIN. We paid nearly £6,000 for this cruise and it was the worst value ... Read More
We chose this ship as we had previously cruised in it. In addition we have sailed on 10 other occasions with P & O over a period of 25 years. But NEVER AGAIN. We paid nearly £6,000 for this cruise and it was the worst value for money ever experienced. If you are planning a cruise please read this with care. We had a nice cabin on Deck 14 (R5??) but that is about the good side of things. Food was far from the quality it was 4 years ago - maybe the taking over P&O by the American Co. Carnival had a lot to do with it. I am a vegetarian but I would bet wager that McDonald's serve better. One would have thought that they would have pushed the boat out on Christmas Day and New Year's Eve but NO - just bog standard grub. Oh! sorry we were given some very cheap and nasty Christmas crackers and a party popper each. By the way I guess I am speaking on behalf of the majority of passengers as we had chosen 'freedom'dining meaning that we sat at a different table each evening - thus sitting with about 90 different people during the cruise. Nearly all said they would not cruise with P&O again. In fact a couple said they were going to cancel their next booked cruise. Christmas day each cabin was given a signed (by the captain) card and each passenger got a lovely present of a child's snow globe of a P*O ship - not even Ventura. Bet you can all guess where they ended up (waste bin - not the sea!!!!) After a calm crossing of the Bay of Biscay our first port of call was Lisbon. But where did we berth? at a container terminal - from our balcony we looked out on what must have been some two thousand containers!!! In the past we have berthed near the rail/road bridge opposite the statue of Christ the King. All we can assume is that Carnival will not pay for good berths. My wife usually indulges in beauty treatments - but not on this ship where they were some 2 1/2 times the high street cost. However she was overcharged i the shop selling cosmetics and when she returned to point this out - no apology - no apology! This friends is called service. Carnival's influence is clear to see money, Money MONEY all the time. One thing which really annoyed me was that in the daily newsletter they were advertising lessons in how to play Blackjack, Roulette, 'one arm bandits'. We have a serious gambling problem in UK and to see this really got my back up. How irresponsible can an organisation be? So immoral. Courtesy coaches were available at some of the ports. In most cases they did not take passengers to the main area of the port - but partway so we had to walk the rest. This has never been the case in or experiences.1 In the past orange juice has been available at most meal times - not on this ship - only at breakfast. My wife attended a Russian classical piano concert which was held in the Tamrind Bar which is open to drinkers ans the general public walking by to other parts of the ship. On other vessels such a concert would have been held in the theatre where doors could be closed where the music could be appreciated without distraction. I felt it such an insult to the pianist. One of the few good things was that a pint of Fosters was about £4.15 - little more than UK. However one of the saddest things was that the itinerary was changed at the last minute. Many passengers were planning to go ashore at Funchal, following the glorious firework display, to join in the New Year festivities with the locals and maybe friends/relatives who may live or be holidaying in Madeira. This was because the original itinerary stated that the ship would leave Funchal at 09.30 new Years Day morning. However the tenders (we were at anchor in the bay) stopped running at 17.30 New Years Eve. Such a disappointment for many we spoke with. On all the cruises I have attended lectures by interesting people on a variety of topics. Not on Ventura all that was offered was a guy boringly taking about 'pop' music - on about 8 different occasions - oh! and he tried to sing some of the songs - enough said. The other speaker was the Ship's Chief Engineer. Being an engineer myself I thought the content was rather too technical , with due respects to other listeners. The slides he projected were in the main terrible. There you are my friends - do hope you have found this information helpful in deciding that Ventura is not for you. PS On board gratuities was over £80 per passenger. This, it is said, to give equally to all service crew members. But this we found is not the case. Speaking to a few bar waiters this money is shared between cabin stewards and ding-room waiters. Bar waiters (who work a 12 hour day 7 days a week) get £210 a month plus 6% of any orders they take per month. I wonder in what other walk of life does this happen. If they paid these hard workers a living wage all this gratuity business would not be necessary. Employing these guys from the Philippines etc in this way is a total injustice. In all extremely disappointing. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2017
We chose this cruise because of the Itinerary and we have cruised with P&O many times before. Dining arrangements have changed over the years with the advent of Freedom Dining which we tried once but changed back to Club dining as I ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of the Itinerary and we have cruised with P&O many times before. Dining arrangements have changed over the years with the advent of Freedom Dining which we tried once but changed back to Club dining as I don't like having to have a pager at peak periods. With prefer second sitting at 8:30pm as it allows time when returning from ashore. We have always preferred a table with 6 - 8 persons and the restaurant managers have always provided us with like minded and interesting people to share with. This was not the case this year as we had a table to ourselves and several other larger tables had people missing a lot of the time. Whilst I appreciate some guests were visiting other restaurants it appears freedom dining was the main cause of this cultural change. The ship takes a bit of getting use to in terms of layout. The choice of Beer or Larger can be frustrating in terms of what is types are sold in different bars and in some only small bottles are sold at inflated prices. The Staff were friendly and the entertainment was good. Access to the various cities from the ports of call was easy whether going on one's own or choosing an excursion. Whilst Zeebrugge does not rate high on visitors list like Brugge I was keen to see the Memorial to the Royal Navy and Royal Marines at Zeebrugge together with St George's walk given that it will be 100 years ago on St George's 2018 that the blocking of the canal entrance took place with it supporting raids there and Ostend for which 11 Victoria Crosses were awarded. Knowledge of this action seemed lacking from crew members I spoke to. The shuttle bus service to Blankenberge was appreciated as an alternative visit to Brugge. Unlike other Cruise Ships I have been on there was also a lack of interesting Lectures or talks whilst at sea. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2017
The sun decks on the ship were soulless. They were spartan and devoid of any character. The ship had just had a refurb and we were surprised how poor the ship was turned out. In the theatre it was either very cold due to the air ... Read More
The sun decks on the ship were soulless. They were spartan and devoid of any character. The ship had just had a refurb and we were surprised how poor the ship was turned out. In the theatre it was either very cold due to the air conditioning or extremely hot. This ship has no WOW factor at all. It would be better “dry docked” and opened as an old people’s home. The entertainment in the theatre from the ship’s cast was extremely poor. One show was entitled “music from the Blues Brothers” but when they started singing “under the boardwalk” that was our queue to leave. The cast weren’t so much as singing the songs more like screaming the songs. The guest entertainment was fine, no problems with them and very entertaining. The guest speakers were also first rate although the ship’s technicians let them all down badly on more than one occasion. Either the microphone or the visual aids weren’t working. We felt annoyed and embarrassed on behalf of the speakers. The hygiene in the restaurant in respect of hand sanitising was hit and miss. New Year’s Eve was a “Free for all” to get into the dining room and we had to ask for the sanitising gel. On average the food was good but the majority of waiters just weren’t interested. On NY Eve one of us ordered medallions of beef and that is all that was on the plate, no vegetables or potatoes, just beef! The food at breakfast was cold most of the time. Cabin steward provided excellent service. All one side of the ship, Port side, was smoking which made it very uncomfortable walking around the ship and sitting in certain areas, I.e. certain parts of the Belvedere restaurant. We are in our 60s and would not consider sailing on the Arcadia ever again. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2017
Embarkation slow. Small ship in reasonable condition. Decor ok if a little beige. Ships entertainment group were quite good as were some of the guest singers. The comedian was non comedic and I can't find adequate, printable words ... Read More
Embarkation slow. Small ship in reasonable condition. Decor ok if a little beige. Ships entertainment group were quite good as were some of the guest singers. The comedian was non comedic and I can't find adequate, printable words to describe the awful pantomime. Food quality started off badly and improved sufficiently after some complaints. No complaints about the crew, all were very polite and helpful. Shore excursions were ok but expensive for the short time they took. P & O have stated that because the Adonia is being sold, the last 6 months cruises will be extra special. What were they like before ?? This is the third P & O cruise we have done and was not up to those taken on the Arcadia or Oriana. I don't think we will trouble them with any more bookings, unless of course we get a cheap (half price) deal at the last minute. Otherwise, Cunard here we come. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2017
Chose this cruise as we wanted an adult cruise over Christmas. I must congratulate P and O on taking penny pinching to a new level. The food was hardly ever hot, just luke warm, EVERY night we had to ask for extra vegetables, they tried to ... Read More
Chose this cruise as we wanted an adult cruise over Christmas. I must congratulate P and O on taking penny pinching to a new level. The food was hardly ever hot, just luke warm, EVERY night we had to ask for extra vegetables, they tried to get away with 3 sprouts for Christmas Dinner. One night my wife ordered New England Clam Chowder, only to find that the "clams" were actually chicken (we are still waiting for an explanation). Considering we were in the Caribbean, apart from the evening meal, the only ice cream available was a very small tub for over £2. P and O excursions were a total rip off. Thankfully we did our own thing, (as did many fellow passengers) we enjoyed longer days out, visiting more places at usually half the advertised P and O price. We were constantly reminded by staff that if our trip was late back, the ship would not wait. Every trip we booked we asked to be back 2 hours before departure, and due to very heavy traffic once we were back 1 3/4 hours before. More scare mongering by P and O. Some entertainment was very good, some not so. The cabin was fine, as was the cabin steward. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2017
Have been on this ship twice before for Christmas cruise. Previous experiences much better than this one. The entertainment was awful, the food not much better and the ship had a downcast air about it, as it is reported that the Adonia ... Read More
Have been on this ship twice before for Christmas cruise. Previous experiences much better than this one. The entertainment was awful, the food not much better and the ship had a downcast air about it, as it is reported that the Adonia will be sold in March. There was far too much emphasis placed upon classical music. Even the gust cellist, singer and pianist rendered classical rather than middle of the road music which would have been more in keeping with the class of guest on board, including ourselves.In the Conservatory self serve restaurant, we were constantly assaulted by every Christmas song ever written, One does not want this when eating, particularly at an early breakfast. It was stopped for a while after complaints were made by many of the cruising guests. The master of ceremonies would have been better suited to a low class holiday camp ! Our cabin was immediately below Andersons bar. The floor above us was uncarpeted and the chairs scraping and banging late at night was very bad. The saving grace of this cruise was the very good cabin steward and all the waiters, who were also excellent. Embarkation and disembarkation at Barbados was chaotic. The very small buses for the 50 minute transfers was very uncomfortable indeed. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2017
We had never been to the Caribbean before but our cruise on Britannia was really, fantastic. The holiday started with a very good flight from Gatwick with excellent and friendly service on the Tui flight to Barbados. I had read many ... Read More
We had never been to the Caribbean before but our cruise on Britannia was really, fantastic. The holiday started with a very good flight from Gatwick with excellent and friendly service on the Tui flight to Barbados. I had read many criticisms of the ship before we sailed but I must admit, I cannot see many reasons for these criticisms. The only major fault we found was the fact that the air conditioning temperature throughout the public areas (restaurants included) was too cold and at some times unpleasantly cold. Everything else about the cruise worked very smoothly from our embarkation at Barbados until the time we disembarked. The staff on the ship were always friendly and helpful in every area providing an extremely good service. We were pleased that there were no port transfers by tender as it can be tedious getting on and off the ship. We did a few more shore excursions from Britannia than we have previously done and whilst they were quite expensive they were well organised and we were pleased that we had booked them. Some of the ports of call have not much of interest and are really built up around the cruise terminal. There was plenty of entertainment on board and the sea day shuffle board and quoits tournaments were always fun and a good way of meeting other passengers. We did not find the ship too crowded, there was always plenty of space in whichever venue you chose to go to. It was also nice to find that P&O still make something of the formal nights and enforce the black tie code in the restaurants (other than the Horizon buffet) and other areas of the ship. We would definitely cruise with P&O again and would even do the same cruise again. The weather in the Caribbean is fantastic although we did have a few more showers that we expected but at least it was warm rain and the sun shone again very soon afterwards. All in all we found it a fantastic cruise that was value for money. Read Less
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