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377 P&O Cruises Europe - Western Mediterranean Cruise Reviews

Chose this cruise because of the ports and the time of year. First three days were excellent then the Norovirus outbreak god out of hand and pools were emptied, buffet was closed, all venues on the ship were single entry with staff ... Read More
Chose this cruise because of the ports and the time of year. First three days were excellent then the Norovirus outbreak god out of hand and pools were emptied, buffet was closed, all venues on the ship were single entry with staff enforcing the use of hand sanitisers. Loungers were put away mid afternoon to scrub the decks. Handrails and lift buttons could not be touched. Menus, condiments, etc were removed from the restaurants. Crew were wiping down everything daily with virox. Crew were ignoring the sanitisers. This lasted for the following 11 days. Atmosphere on board was ruined. Compensation from P&O: nothing. Would not sail on this ship again. Entertainment was really good, particularly main theatre. Ports were really interesting and not leaving Barcelona until late night was a bonus. Dress code, however, was not enforced and hygiene standards were poor. Crew attitude was very variable, cabin steward was the exception. Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
Good itinerary inc. Rome/Naples/Sardinia, and whilst we are not anti-kids this was the first one outside the school holidays. Usually take a suite but prices were crazy, typically double what we normally pay, and P&O were still ... Read More
Good itinerary inc. Rome/Naples/Sardinia, and whilst we are not anti-kids this was the first one outside the school holidays. Usually take a suite but prices were crazy, typically double what we normally pay, and P&O were still offering a suite at top price on the morning we sailed. Opted for E730 Superior Deluxe and it was great with the big end/corner balcony, and none of the horror stories about noise from the nightclub below or engine vibrations - there must be some very picky light sleepers who find this cabin a problem. Lots of familiar friendly faces in the crew who remembered us from previous cruises and were genuinely pleased to see us and chat and update us on the families, lovely. Food was generally good in MDR and Buffet at lunch, and lots of veg. choice, not all green beans as some so often point out. Galley tour and Brunch was good. Buffet not as frenetic as it can be and far less table reserving whilst one goes to the Buffet and one stays holding table - which takes too much time if tables are busy. MDR menu cycles are a bit repetitive, same cycle for a number of years, but with ten main course choices at dinner not an issue. Epicurean continues to be a delight, and on day one excellent value at £17 per person. Did three shows all good, "Phantom" singer, comedy pianist, and Astonish which was amazing, OK you can work out some of the illusions but not all, and I'm still trying to work out the 4 card trick you all take part in! WW2 talks are same/similar as in all previous cruises over the years, and are getting a bit long in the tooth, you will be c90 now to have been in service in WW2. Some new topics perhaps, still military, what about Falklands, and current armed forces? Dancing is not my love although the Leader of the Opposition loves it and I can get round the dance floor. Goran and Roanna who we have been with before are excellent, and with Roanna even I thought I could Cha Cha. Met some nice fellow dancers and "watchers". Wheelchair/scooters not as many as can be sometimes, and none were demanding special service/queue/lift jumping. Second time on Ventura this year and 6/7 times overall. Been on other P&O ships and all good but we like Ventura and Azura best - big enough to have everything but not too big, mind you we will give Iona a try. Booked two cruises on Board - best value. Took one P&O excursion to Amalfi coast and Pompeii excellent, two through Cruise Excursions Barcelona Gaudi and Rome under our own steam - dropped off at the Colosseum and picked up at St Peters, easy and Rome done leisurely. Captain was quite visible around the ship and approachable. Rescued three migrants halfway between Africa/Spain, an increasing issue I suspect, well done to passengers and Bridge spotting them. Embarkation and disembarkation seemed to be further tweaked and improved, very little waiting around or big queues. An excellent cruise as ever. Martin Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
We picked this cruise because it left from Southampton (no flying) and visited countries we had not seen before at the right time of year. The drive to Southampton was smooth and we arrived at 12.15, with a couple of hours to spare, ... Read More
We picked this cruise because it left from Southampton (no flying) and visited countries we had not seen before at the right time of year. The drive to Southampton was smooth and we arrived at 12.15, with a couple of hours to spare, the port parking were very organised and efficient. We expected to sit in the departure lounge but were processed straight away and on the ship in the buffet by 12.30, cabins were ready by 12.45. Our cabin was a standard inside, C deck forward, adequate but clean and tidy, very quiet at night and a fantastic cabin steward. Arcadia is an adult only ship, with few people on board under retirement age and a lot with poor mobility. We had fixed dining at 18.30, the menus were varied and always well cooked, we used the buffet on black tie nights because we didn't dress up for them (the majority of people dressed up for black tie, some of them going a bit over the top), the buffet food was hit and miss, limited in selection occasionally. Breakfast was a bit "smash and grab" in the buffet so we went to the MDR if we were up early enough. The poolside grill served lovely fish and chips in the afternoons too. The ship was clean and smart, there were always crew to be seen cleaning handrails and surfaces down or painting parts of the ship. There were a couple of buckets about catching water drips, certainly around the retractable roof of the pool. The swimming pools were small but we enjoyed using them in the hot weather, the jacuzzi 's were rather weak but heated. On one day we bought tickets for the hydropool and steam rooms, this was fantastic, hot and powerful, and we were the only ones using them. There were several musicians to choose from to listen to during the day, some better than others, we ended up watching a guitarist/singer most evenings because we found the main headliners show much too loud to enjoy, they need to sort their sound system out. We did not attend any of the daytime entertainment, it was aimed more at the elderly guests than ourselves, other than quizzes there was bingo, ballroom dance lessons, knit and natter, painting, and talks on the Queens household. The crew are all friendly and welcoming, smiling and will try to assist with anything you ask. The excursions booked varied, Easy Marseilles and Port trip wasn't easy and only spent 20 minutes in the port, but the Lisbon amphibious duck tour was fabulous with an excellent tour guide. We also enjoyed the catamaran trip and swim in Palma, not quite what we expected but a good day none the less, I do think there should have been someone checking the safety of swimmers, it seemed a bit slap dash with no counting of passengers at any time but the day was relaxed, I swam with fish, the bbq was ok and the sun shone. Gibraltar we used a taxi tour from the dock, this was great too, we saw the apes, St Michaels cave and the siege tunnels and went to lookout points. Classical Rome and Pompeii tours from the ship were both organised and well run, crowds of people at both sites but we saw what we went for. Cartagena we wandered around ourselves, the museum and Roman amphitheater were marvelous. We self disembarked with ease and were driving out of the port by 07.20, all very organised. All in all a good cruise, it is definitely the way to travel, I would go again but would probably not go with P&O, I would research the cruise line next time and go on a ship which is more relaxed about dress codes and has a younger age group. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
We selected this cruise as it was one of the only ships that had a suite with two bedrooms and was traveling to Monaco between the two Grand Prixs and the track was set up; Our cabin was the Oriana Suite with a balcony Situated at the ... Read More
We selected this cruise as it was one of the only ships that had a suite with two bedrooms and was traveling to Monaco between the two Grand Prixs and the track was set up; Our cabin was the Oriana Suite with a balcony Situated at the front Port side of the ship;There are two bedrooms which we had set up as two king beds; There were two Pulman beds in the second bedroom which we did not use, we also noticed that the two sofas in the living room were also sofa beds; both rooms had a dressing area, ample storage and hanging space, dressing table in each room with hair dryer, three small TVs and BOSE sound system; Bathroom in main suite area had a bath and overhead shower, the second bedroom had a shower room. Both rooms had a connecting door and each cabin had its own door and key; the second cabin would be considered an Interior cabin as it did not have window; Ample space for four adults; The Butler service was not really necessary as he was lazy and tardy, All talk and no action; However our cabin Steward Vincent, was amazing and picked up the chores that Butler was meant to be doing; However we spoke to lead steward and explained what was happening and they immediately addressed and things improved; The food was amazing we took breakfast in The White Room (Epicurean) each morning and sat outside on the rear deck the food and service were amazing in this restaurant, We also enjoyed the Champagne afternoon tea in this restaurant and ate our Evening Meal several times also in this fantastic restaurant; The Sindu Restaurant was also very good and again the food quality was excellent; Small Cover charges apply in these two restaurants but well worth it; We were also surprised at the quality of the food served in the Cinnamon and Saffron restaurants, three of our cruise nights we spent in these and again the food was very good; The Glass house was also excellent, lovely staff, we did not eat in the buffet so we are not able to comment on this food. The staff all over the ship were so happy and helpful and minor glitches were sorted instantly along with a complimentary drink or bottle of wine so nothing to grumble about as any issue was sorted immediately along with care and consideration Unfortunately we delayed with a propeller issue before we left port, but we were kept fully informed and eventually sailed at 11.30pm but we were not too bothered as we had been able to start our holiday have a lovely leisurely lunch explored the ship, had a facial and lovely evening meal before we left Port; Had we had a flight delay we would have been stuck in airport searching for meals and listening to frustrated passengers demanding information from service desk; We missed the port of Cadiz as the captain had to divert to Vigo but again we were offered excellent trips in Vigo and our own Cruise Insurance refunded £150.00 each for the schedule Change and having paid an extra £12.00 to cover the excess we received the full amount of £300.00. The P&O excursions were also very good although we had a small glitch in Livorno whereby the river trip was cancelled; BUT by that evening after telling the excursion desk when we returned we missed the river trip due to the boat breakdown, our on board account received a 25% credit for each person and a letter of apology; Amazing after sales service; A couple of the P&O excurisions were fully booked and we used a company called www.cruisingexcursions.com this company was excellent and amazing value for money; The Entertainment on this cruise was mostly around Strictly Come Dancing which was well advertised before we booked and we knew this was going to be on board, we did not realise that a lot of the normal entertainment shows would not be available, although alternative entertainment was available in the Havanah and Tamerind Clubs; The two on board Guest Speakers were very good; The ship itself was very tidy and clean, Our cabin recently had a new carpet installed and again the service was excellent; I have read through other reports and notice some very disappointing feed back, I have to say having been on several cruise lines, Cunard, Regent Seven Seas, P&O and Royal Caribbean, thus far, this was fantastic Value for money and exceed our expectations for the money we paid; We felt we received far more than we paid for, would definitely book this ship again and recommend this ship without hesitation; My advice is IF THERE IS ANYTHING you are disappointed with speak to any of the Managers at the time you are experiencing the problem and they will help / explain and ensure you understand what is going on; This was the best customer service we have received in a long time; Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
We chose this cruise as it was visiting Oporto and Lisbon - well meant to have been. On the first sea day we were advised no Oporto due to technical failure which would be rectified in Lisbon. A late arrival in Vigo and evening departure ... Read More
We chose this cruise as it was visiting Oporto and Lisbon - well meant to have been. On the first sea day we were advised no Oporto due to technical failure which would be rectified in Lisbon. A late arrival in Vigo and evening departure From Lisbon to compensate! However with the speed we travelled on departure from Lisbon we are sure an earlier departure would have enabled a half day call at Oporto. Two sea days with little to do on board were rather tedious and we would not have booked a weeks cruise to have three sea days out of the 6 full days, Otherwise we were pleasantly pleased with the cabin HA Balcony on C deck with a 10ft deep balcony. We had travelled in January on the Celebrity Millenium and the cabin on there was dreadful by comparison. The food on board was of a high quality again unlike the Millenium, and the service from the restaurant staff and waiters on board was very good. Would I travel on the Ventura again? I very much doubt it. The ship has 3,500 pax capacity far too many people when endeavouring to disembark/embark by tender with 3 hours total spent queuing in Guernsey. I much prefer smaller ships such as a Queen Victoria and Oosterdam/Nieuw Amsterdam. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
Wanted to experience a bigger ship to thought we would try the Oriana going to,, Spain, Italy, Gibraltar etc. Oriana holds around 2,000 passengers and was the biggest ship we have ever been on. We stayed in Soton the night before and ... Read More
Wanted to experience a bigger ship to thought we would try the Oriana going to,, Spain, Italy, Gibraltar etc. Oriana holds around 2,000 passengers and was the biggest ship we have ever been on. We stayed in Soton the night before and boarded early. One thing I always look for is the entertainment, and I must say I was blown away by the Headliners theatre company, up there with the best I have ever seen on a ship. The theatres were excellent and to be honest the whole ship came to life in the evenings, such as Harlequins bar and the bar the other end of the ship I can't remember what it was called but there were fun quizzes in there. In the day there were a lot of activities going on and it wasn't really our thing. Sea days are great for relaxing but there wasn't too much opportunity of that short of actually sitting in your cabin all day. I did go to the spa for a massage once which was very therapeutic and recommended. For a ship of its size Oriana was very efficient at getting all the passengers and crew off at every port- there aren't really any hold ups. Some lovely places I hadn't visited for 30 yeras. Overall a good experience, I may come back again but perhaps on a shorter cruise with no sea days. Read Less
Sail Date September 2017
I have read many reviews of Oceana and in some cannot recognise the experience we had. It was our first cruise and were a bit nervous about what we would find. All in all it was fabulous! Our Cabin steward, Socorro, was great. The ... Read More
I have read many reviews of Oceana and in some cannot recognise the experience we had. It was our first cruise and were a bit nervous about what we would find. All in all it was fabulous! Our Cabin steward, Socorro, was great. The cabin was spotless and we felt really looked after. The waiters in le Jardin and the Ligurian were helpful and attentive. Reception were able to answer all our questions. Ok, the carpets show signs that people have walked on them. The bathroom is not the standard you would expect in a five star hotel on land. But hey, we were at sea, sun rises over a different city every morning were fabulous, food was great, service outstanding, entertainment catered for a diverse assembly. Sun decks can become crowded. There are plenty of other areas to visit if you are interested. We really enjoyed the dance classes, magician and wine tasting. Read Less
Sail Date August 2017
We had been recommended to P&O by a friend who had previously been on Britannia and had really enjoyed it, so we thought we'd give it a try ourselves. The itinerary were all places we had never visited before, and looked ... Read More
We had been recommended to P&O by a friend who had previously been on Britannia and had really enjoyed it, so we thought we'd give it a try ourselves. The itinerary were all places we had never visited before, and looked really good. We took the bus down to Southampton, which was really useful and meant we didn't have to drive. Embarkation and disembarkation was excellent with no problems and was efficiently run. The ship's decor is a little different to the normal american decor we're used to, but in some ways it was a nice change. Having no lift in the centre of the atrium didn't bother us, and we simply worked around it. The ship was very clean and in good working order and was kept spotless. The cabin was a good size and I mention about it in more details below. We chose freedom dining as it has always worked for us and we had dinner in the meridian restaurant on deck 6. The service in the restaurant was excellent and we never had to wait for a table. After the first night, we sat in the same place night after night and the two waiters in that section were very friendly and accommodating to our slightly requirements to say the least. It never felt rushed and we enjoyed the experience. The was always a queue though after we exited the restaurant after about 7:30pm, so we always had dinner earlier, which suited us fine. We did have a slight gripe about the horizon buffet food though. There wasn't a massive selection and some of the service was a bit hit and miss. Ice cream we found wasn't free, like it is on other cruise lines, which was a bit disappointing, especially after a day in port. The was a range of activities such as dancing, port talks, iPad classes, etc which was nice. A guest speaker called Gloria Barnett did numerous talks about the sea and the various types of life living there as well as human impacts etc. It was fascinating and very interesting. There was something to do for us all. The Headliners shows were very good, although in our opinion there was too many comedians and not enough variety of other types of acts. Shame really, otherwise we enjoyed them and watched all the shows offered. Ports now. Lisbon We did it ourselves and simply walked into town. Took about 20 minutes walk. Interesting city to walk around the streets and we also took a tram ride to Belem which has some nice sights too. Cadiz (Seville) We took the "Sights to Seville" P&O tour to Seville that was definitely worth it. Even though we didn't have too longer time there we really enjoyed ourselves and saw many of the important attractions Seville has to offer. The tour guide was really knowledgeable and we learned a lot about the region and its history. Marseille We decided to simply stay in Marseille instead of going elsewhere. We got the shuttle bus into town and the got the little tourist train N1 to the Notre Dame Church on the top of the hill, which is worth a visit. Lovely views. Interesting little tour with commentary. After that we simply walked around the waterfront and shopping areas. Nice place to have a walk around. Monaco A great place to visit especially with the motor racing that is held there. We tendered just out of Monaco and had a leisurely walk around and visited all the main sights. We even managed the trek up to the palace, even in hot temperatures. In the evening there were having a firework display an it was Austria's time to give their firework display in the competition. Very nice to watch. La Spezia We took the train to the Cinque Terre ports which was very easy and we enjoyed visiting 4 out of the 5 villages. We tried to visit Corniglia, but there was too many people wanting to get on the very tiny bus at one time, so we gave up and moved to the next village. They were all worth visiting and were all very different. Cagliari A real disappointment to be honest. P&O had shortened our time there from 8 hours to 5 hours due to a operational problem or something. Anyway we were going to visit Nora, but did not have enough to visit it to our hearts content so we stayed in Cagliari itself. The city itself was very quiet on a Monday and there was tons of graffiti and most things were closed. It seemed most of the passengers did the same thing as us and were back on the ship after about 2 hours. Not worth a visit otherwise. Gibraltar A lovely place to visit. We got the shuttle into town. Very useful. There is not many attractions so to speak but we went on the cable car, even me who's scared of heights tried it, simply to visit the rock itself. It was worth it. We went and saw the Barbary macaques. There are cheeky so and so's. One nicked my hat by jumping onto my shoulders and didn't seem to want to give it back until it got food from the taxi drivers. Great view though up there. Had wander around the town and had a great time. Read Less
Sail Date July 2017
We travelled on Oceana as she was going to the ports we were interested in calling at, especially Corfu where we have enjoyed the Boat Trip and Swim excursion before. However, this ship is now in a poor state and I do not mean just ... Read More
We travelled on Oceana as she was going to the ports we were interested in calling at, especially Corfu where we have enjoyed the Boat Trip and Swim excursion before. However, this ship is now in a poor state and I do not mean just decoration/furnishings (which I understand are being renewed in November). We were barely able to open/close the sliding door on our balcony due to dirt being allowed to build up in the runners which meant you had to push the door with all your might in order to open it. Also the rust that has gone unchecked was very apparent at the top and bottom of the door frames. We found the food being offered in the buffet (we chose Freedom dining) just did not go together, ie curry with no rice one evening and jerked chicken on bar-b-que night with no fries, just a dish with a few over-cooked wedges or mash. The desserts, although looking very pretty, were absolutely tasteless. The Catering Manager needs to sit down with the chefs and come up with food that not only looks nice but tastes nice too which is something that just is not happening in the buffet on Oceana. Read Less
Sail Date July 2017
Worst holiday I have ever had. I am in a wheelchair permantly I was not able to go on exscurstaions due to no access for wheelchair. Not able to going in any bar or show on black tie nights because my husband who assists me was not able ... Read More
Worst holiday I have ever had. I am in a wheelchair permantly I was not able to go on exscurstaions due to no access for wheelchair. Not able to going in any bar or show on black tie nights because my husband who assists me was not able to remove his jacket. Not access around the pool areas . No access in the starlight show the only access for wheelchair was used to stack the people's who could walk . Priority lifts used by everyone able to walk , people queuing to get in lifts at meal times . Shops not accessible due to stands being put in the Isles to sell things and entertainment very poor , not able to see any on the deck 12 because of no access . All entertainment in the day was based on fitness so not able to do this. £84 charged for a week for 2 for tips , drinks exspencive £15 for double becardi & coke . Seemed to me that all the ship was interested in was getting your money off you by selling photos all the time. You are only allowed in the dining area at night for your meal for 90 miniuts because the next sitting needs to be done. Staff smoking on the deck in there uniforms not good smelling of fags when serving customers . What price you see it advertised at seems cheep untill you pay all the exstra on top after booking so if you are in a wheelchair and can not walk do not book this ship . Read Less
Sail Date June 2017
We chose this cruise as we went on a 7 day cruise for the first time last August on P & O's Britannia and we decided there and then that we would do the Mediterranean this year and as we had such excellent treatment with P & O ... Read More
We chose this cruise as we went on a 7 day cruise for the first time last August on P & O's Britannia and we decided there and then that we would do the Mediterranean this year and as we had such excellent treatment with P & O Cruises, we would use them again. Our cruise had seven ports of call and seven sea days and every part of it was wonderful, from the crew, waiters and waitresses, entertainers, chefs, cabin steward and shore excursions, the whole deal was perfect! On our arrival back at Southampton, I said that I could gladly do the same cruise again as each of the ports of call, you could visit and see something totally new the next time. It was our first visit to Italy and our excursions to Rome, Sorrento and Pompeii were stunning. Our cabin steward, Ramesh was such a happy, cheerful guy, always greeting us every morning, before starting his long day. Then again in the evening Ramesh would wish us an enjoyable evening on our way to dine at the restaurant, it was a pleasure to have him looking after us throughout the cruise. Having now done two cruises with P & O I can honestly say that the entertainment on board their fleet is second to none and the Headliners dancers, singers and musicians are extremely talented and so pleasant. The entertainments team work so hard doubling up with various tasks throughout the cruise and are helpful, polite and fun loving. From comedians, shows, speakers, illusionists, singers, etc. our entire cruise was non-stop entertainment, and it didn't cost us a penny! We dined in the Bay Tree restaurant each evening and our waiters, Rally and Mario were so much fun and so hard-working - they never stopped. Our wine waiter Johnathan was also a hard-worker, I regularly saw him working the various parts of the ship during the day, our restaurant at night and in the clubs after the restaurants had closed. The Ventura is a family friendly ship and there were young families on board, yet it didn't impact on anyone's enjoyment, well not on ours anyway, in fact there is nothing better than the sound of youngsters enjoying themselves. Read Less
Sail Date June 2017
Although we have cruised approximately 10 times before, this was our first with P&O. My comments: - The staff were friendly and helpful. - There were plenty of sun-loungers. - The breakfast buffet was fairly efficient with ... Read More
Although we have cruised approximately 10 times before, this was our first with P&O. My comments: - The staff were friendly and helpful. - There were plenty of sun-loungers. - The breakfast buffet was fairly efficient with plenty of seating. Likewise the lunch-time buffet. We did not try the evening buffet as we favoured the dining rooms. The meals there were varied and of a high standard. - There was plenty to do (or not do if you chose) on the sea days. - The evening entertainment was quite reasonable with a few different guest stars. - The guest speaker was very information and interesting. - The hairdryer was reasonably powerful. - Timings on leaving the ports were somewhat vague. We are used to booking a cruise and knowing what time (probably) a ship is going to leave and arrive at ports but even on arriving on the ship at Southampton, staff didn’t seem to know what time it was due to leave. - One other minor niggle that they seemed to run out of things for instance before we had even left Southampton, one bar took our order but then returned 10-15 minutes later to say they didn’t have what was on the drinks menu and another 10-15 minutes to return our cruise card. One of the bars ran out of one of our favourite beers in the first week and then our second favourite in the second week. They had run out of Earl Grey on the penultimate day and mint tea on the last day (or at least they weren’t putting any out in the buffet restaurant). - We would book with P&O again as we enjoyed our cruise overall but P&O wouldn’t be the only cruise company we would consider. Read Less
Sail Date May 2017
My first cruise on Ventura was back in 2010 when I was not impressed with the ship, so it was with some in trepidation that I returned to her. However, I must say that I was most impressed with the improvements I found. I am a frequent ... Read More
My first cruise on Ventura was back in 2010 when I was not impressed with the ship, so it was with some in trepidation that I returned to her. However, I must say that I was most impressed with the improvements I found. I am a frequent cruiser having done over 50 cruises with more than 10 cruise lines. Ventura and Azura are the largest ships I have travelled on and now I am starting to recognise the benefits of a larger ship. I had priority boarding but there were a lot of frequent cruisers (Caribbean level and above) on this cruise. However, I was still on board within 20 minutes of arriving at the port. There have been many comments about the state of Ventura with the ship being tired and in need of a refit. Yes, there is some worn carpet but it took me two days to find one stair that had some threads showing. To be honest I didn’t look that hard as I was enjoying myself. Given reports of norovirus on many ships it was good to see that there were staff cleaning lift controls and stair banisters on a regular basis. I went on this cruise with the intention of having a rest and to get some sun. This was achieved as both crossings of the Bay of Biscay were smooth and once clear of the bay it was t-shirt and shorts weather. Good weather in the Canaries and Agadir. I only took the shuttle in port where available and the most surprising port was Agadir – so much nicer than Casablanca – and well worth getting off the ship to see. I was on club dining and had the second sitting with a table of singles. Service was very good with all courses being served in time to get to any of the 10:30 shows. Menus were very good and seem to be the new ones that P&O planned to introduce. A good choice of six starters, three soups plus a salad. Mains usually had a choice of six or seven plus a further three regional/regular ones. Deserts also had a good selection with a couple of ice cream choices. As usual there was cheese and stilton available and the waiters were keen to give a large portion. Entertainment can be a bit hit or miss but as the ship has three main entertainment areas, there was a good selection to choose from in addition to entertainment in various bars and atrium. Some shows were very well attending with standing room only if you arrived close to the starting time. One downside was that there was only one speaker who gave seven talks. These were of interest to me but may not appeal to everyone. Some days, a film was shown in the theatre in the afternoon. I never had any difficulty finding a seat on deck or in any of the bars with the exception of the coffee shop. I had booked an HF grade cabin which was upgraded to an HB one. This was mid-ships on R deck and apart from some noise with people walking on the deck above was fine. My cabin stewardess saw that I always took an early breakfast so always serviced the cabin by the time I had finished breakfast. Food in the alternative restaurants was very good and the menus changed for the second week of the cruise. There were some early dining offers where a bottle of wine was included if you booked for 6:30 or earlier. I also sampled the food/wine pairing meal in the Glasshouse which was good value compared to other lines. Staff in all areas of the ship were friendly and keen to help and many would say hello as you went around the ship. SO, would I go in Ventura again? Answer is yes and have a further three cruises booked on her. The ship met my expectations, not as elegant as say the Cunard Queens but more than adequate for a winter break. You can find issues on most ships, but none spoilt my enjoyment of this cruise. Read Less
Sail Date January 2017
We booked an out side cabin ,with part view ,what we had was the view of the inside of a life boat ,not only that there were men working in them every day right out side are window it was important for my husband to look out as he suffers ... Read More
We booked an out side cabin ,with part view ,what we had was the view of the inside of a life boat ,not only that there were men working in them every day right out side are window it was important for my husband to look out as he suffers with sea sickness but we had to draw the curtain during the day to get any privacy .when i complained i was told my travel agent should have explained it better ,why on earth would we pay to see inside a life boat i was fuming. the next complaint ,were given late dinner sitting ,as we were one the first on the ship we tried to change to an early sitting as we have Hiatus Hernias and it is impossible for us to eat late, we were told there was nothing they could do and they would put us on a list .so we ate in the buffet for the first six nights it was only when an officer noticed how extremely upset i was because there was hardly anything for me to eat as i am a Pescetarian it has got to be fish or vegetarian and there was nothing like ,that he got us into freedom dining for the rest of the cruise, now to the biggest complaint ,we were above an outside door that constantly banged ,as we spent so many days at sea we spent a lot of time in are cabin ,it was bang bang none stop from early morning to late at night it drove you mad we reported it but nothing was done . We only booked the cruise because we were going to Casablanca they cancelled it saying it was was to rough that meant another day at sea . That excuse have been used on are last 3 P&OCruises one of which was in the Caribbean were the sea was calm.I will not be booking P&O again. Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
This is the second time we have been on this pre christmas cruise. It was a little shorter than last year at 12 rather than 14 nights and missed out Madeira but still incredible value for money at under £45 per night. The food alone ... Read More
This is the second time we have been on this pre christmas cruise. It was a little shorter than last year at 12 rather than 14 nights and missed out Madeira but still incredible value for money at under £45 per night. The food alone would cost more than that in a restaurant. We really found it hard to fault anything. The food was fantastic in the restaurant and buffet. We managed to switch from second sitting to freedom dining which is far better as you are guaranteed a full table as well as being able to eat when you like. We feel it would be better if P and O could move entirely to freedom dining. As there are two shows every night, the second sitting means you cannot see both as we usually like to do. The shows were superb. My wife often goes to west end shows and says the Headliners were of a higher standard. Quite an achievement when you consider the difficulties of performing on a moving ship and having nine shows rather than one (as in the west end) to learn. The other acts were good, Beatles tribute band were fantastic, the comedians OK. There were also top quality singers from the west end and an excellent classical pianist. Daytime at sea featured dance lessons and one speaker who wasn't of great interest to us. But plenty to do for everybody with a good gym. You could choose noisy or quiet places on deck. Excursions? Well, as experienced cruisers we wouldn't even consider doing them on any cruise ship. Being herded around waiting for people to get on the bus and visiting tourist shops simply isn't for us. This is apart from the extra expense. They are rarely good value. All the ports were dead easy to visit on your own and you can cram far more into your day so why would you? The Oceana may not be state of the art but it is a very elegant ship internally. The atrium is beautiful and we like the plaza being at the top front of the ship with large windows. Great views ahead. Cabins are a little dated but comfortable, all you need. Remember the price. We always book inside. We spend little time in the cabin so would rather cruise more often than waste money on a window or balcony at significant extra cost. The staff were extremely helpful, professional and friendly. The ship is going for refit next winter. We suggest a revamp of the seating in Starlights theatre is all we would change. Worst thing about the cruise? The small minority of moaners who we concluded must have been on a different cruise to us. Some even ranted because conditions prevented us from getting into Casablanca. Did they really want the captain to risk our lives? Clearly it cost P & O a lot of money on cancelled excursions and the fuel going all the way down there before turning round. They wouldn't have made the decision lightly. Also too many people talking in the shows. Mainly older people surprisingly. Can people not shut up for 45 minutes? Even looking round and glaring at them often didn't work. Their conversation was clearly more important than everybody else's enjoyment and their attitude was very disrespectful to the entertainers. Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
Thought we would give P&O a try as they are held in such high esteem by their past customers, maybe I set my expectations too high? We selected a 10 day Iberia cruise in an outside unobstructed cabin The departure port was Southampton ... Read More
Thought we would give P&O a try as they are held in such high esteem by their past customers, maybe I set my expectations too high? We selected a 10 day Iberia cruise in an outside unobstructed cabin The departure port was Southampton which was a first for us. Here are my thoughts about my 14th cruise but first with P&O. I have cruised with 5 other cruise lines. Positives - It was a reasonable price for a 10 day cruise, the entertainment was good and the staff on the whole were efficient, hard working and polite but not over friendly (which suits me). The itinerary was good (except Gibraltar) and the bar/entertainment areas were nice to visit in the evening. We really enjoyed all the entertainment and drinks prices were reasonable. There were quite a few negatives however which will put me off cruising with P&O again. The cabin was dated and small, the age profile of the other guests was extremely old (I am in my 50's and felt young) Everyone was British so on board, it was like a sketch from Little Britain and didn't feel like a med cruise when returning on board each day. The dining room experience was extremely rushed and the 2 person tables were very very close to the next table so no privacy at all. The food in the dining room was uninspiring, I felt that they were working to a budget. Mains such as pies, fish, cornish pasty etc cropping up more than once. Boring food, very disappointing and just the 3 courses! My starter was virtually removed while I was still chewing and replaced immediately by my main course so the dining experience was around 30 minutes in total most nights. The staff worked hard but the ratio of staff to cruisers meant that they had no time to chat and build a rapport which is a first for me on a cruise Apart from a couple of Indian nights in the buffet we felt that the choice and availability of food was the worst we had seen on any cruise. A roast dinner and one other choice plus a very sad salad and desert bar. It closes very early and by around 9 pm there was a tiny station still left open. Pizza bases were not even freshly made on board, a minor thing but summed up the lack of effort for me. Lastly, I felt that the rigorous enforcement of the dress code was very out dated when compared to up market lines such as Celebrity or Holland America. They were happy for you to wear a cheap black suit and tie but not to wear an expensive smart outfit? Why? Consequently I think it attracts its fair share of "twopence ha'penny millionaires" which is quite amusing to watch but sad for P&O as surely they won't survive. Its a package holiday remember and only a 3* at that so they need to improve and move with the times. I am British but will not be selecting P&O again sadly. Read Less
Sail Date November 2016
I went with my husband, elderly mother and father (80) and brother. We had balcony rooms on R deck. This is the second cruise for my husband and I and we used Princess last time so had something to compare with. I cannot fault this cruise ... Read More
I went with my husband, elderly mother and father (80) and brother. We had balcony rooms on R deck. This is the second cruise for my husband and I and we used Princess last time so had something to compare with. I cannot fault this cruise as all 5 of us enjoyed it and would love to cruise using P&O again. Embankment was no problem, bags were taken from us as soon as we arrived and we were in our rooms in less than an hour. The balcony rooms are lovely and clean and the views are fantastic. Balcony furniture is ideal. I noticed the balcony fronts were always kept clean so views were not compromised. The food was amazing and we used Freedom Dining as our option due there being five of us. We used all available restaurants within the Freedom Dining arrangement and we were never disappointed with the quality, service or menus. You are able to visit three other restaurants on the ship but they incur a service charge but we were very happy with the food experience without adding further expense. I enjoyed the entertainment however the men in our party were not so keen. The dancers and singers gave thier all. The arena was a full house every night and the comedians had us laughing. I would have liked more educational talks in the day but 3000 people are a lot to please. Ports were lovely to visit and enjoyed them all. P&O have shuttle busses laid on which are great. We had rain on some days so a bit of a damper but that had nothing to do with P&O. Staff were so professional and we felt truly pampered. We all enjoyed the cruise and would love to do it all again. Read Less
Sail Date November 2016
We booked this cruise because of the 5 destinations we had never been to 4 of them: La Coruna, Cadiz, Gibraltar and Lisbon. Malaga we'd visited many times but nonetheless it was still great to go back. All the ports were excellent. ... Read More
We booked this cruise because of the 5 destinations we had never been to 4 of them: La Coruna, Cadiz, Gibraltar and Lisbon. Malaga we'd visited many times but nonetheless it was still great to go back. All the ports were excellent. The cruise overall was an excellent value for money deal. Also, we've booked a 2017 cruise on the Ventura with an elderly relative and a wheelchair user so we used this opportunity to check out the ship's facilities which seemed excellent. I'll report back on how that trip goes in August 2017. We travelled by rail to Southampton - a dangerous thing to rely on in the current Southern Rail crisis as it turned out but we left a huge margin for delays and train cancellations. The Ventura is huge and we are relatively new to cruising but the ship felt spacious and, very occasionally, not particularly crowded. The public areas were clean and well presented. My greatest fear was getting caught up in lengthy embarkation and disembarkation queues, and thus wasting precious shore time, but, apart from Gibraltar, getting on and off was handled very efficiently throughout and many passengers seemed to stay on the ship in most ports anyway. There was only half a day in Gibraltar which was not enough by general passenger consensus. Most of the ship's population seemed to want to get off to grab some duty free. Port and ship staff just couldn't process everyone on and off before the scheduled departure time and the queue was nearly an hour to get back on. We had a basic balcony cabin B612 which was excellent. The double bed, apart from the annoying two singles pushed together scenario, was otherwise comfortable and our cabin steward superb. The TV access to our on-board account worked but was incredibly slow. WiFi was expensive at some £12 per day for the intermediate package (ie. no streaming) so we used that on sea days. Outbound, the ship rolled around quite extensively in the Bay of Biscay - surprisingly so (to me anyway) for such a big ship and it was not stormy by any stretch. That coincided unfortunately with our booking in the Sindhu restaurant which was a bit wasted. Yet the food there (and in the Epicurean) was mostly delicious although there was far too much of it. Most of the time we opted for freedom dining in the evening and sat at tables with 6 - 10 people rather than wait typically 40 minutes for a table for two; that proved enjoyable overall and it was nice to meet new people each evening. Freedom dining menus also made it easier to manage portion size compared to the speciality dining and the overall food quality was excellent; I really do not understand some of the reviews that criticise the choice and/or quality of the meals on this ship. Other meals we tended to go for the self service options which had some deliciously healthy salady things as well as mega-calorie options. I can quite believe the unashamedly blatant factoid in the Horizon newsletter that the average passenger gains 7 - 14 lbs on a cruise like this (and so should attend the exercise sessions!). I put on just 2 lbs which was a relief really. Service throughout the ship - in the bars and restaurants - was pretty faultless really given the scale of the operation and numbers of people involved. We went on a 'behind the scenes' tour of the ship which, although a tad expensive, was fascinating, awesome in parts, and most reassuring. A fascinating half hour on the bridge was the highlight of my time on the Ventura. The port excursion desk staff were friendly although not that helpful at enabling independent touring which was actually quite easy in the ports visited. The P&O port guide leaflets highlighted the key must-see sites in each location but generally omitted to show where they were on the map or explain how to get there. Other websites had provided us with the information needed to do our own thing. In La Coruna, for example, we took a (superbly efficient) train to Santiago de Compostela for 19 euros return (for two) rather than £72 for the coach excursion - far more thought and planning involved for sure, but fun also. We did book a P&O excursion for Gibraltar (Secrets of the Rock) which was absolutely superb and really helped make maximum use of the limited time there for us as first-time visitors. The Horizon daily newsletter and hotel team broadcast the huge variety of activities available. I particularly enjoyed the astronomy lecturer on sea days. I tried out a spa back and neck massage treatment which was excellent and my partner swore by the efficacy of a few acupuncture sessions. There were a number of free health related talks but you did need to be prepared for a hard sell should you opt for an individual follow up session. For example, we had some very dubious "body composition tests" carried out following one of the talks which, according to the 'professional', pointed to the urgent need need to invest in a course of detoxifying tablets costing many hundreds of pounds. As ever, it's always best to take results like these away and review what to do in the cold light of day. Not surprisingly, a large area of the ship seems solely geared towards shopping or otherwise extracting money from passengers. Entertainment was mixed and down to personal taste. So I'm not going to comment on it! Final disembarkation was fine for us - we weren't in a rush because Southern Rail had cancelled our train. We were off the ship and out of the terminal ahead of our notified disembarkation time. However, there was some chaos and visible frayed tempers in the Tamarind Bar during the process I think because the system for managing the large groups of passengers was a bit random and unfair. So, a most enjoyable trip and the first cruise for which I am delighted to award an overall excellent rating. This experience compared very favourably to a much less satisfactory short cruise on the P&O Oriana which I've also reviewed on this site. Read Less
Sail Date November 2016
First time sailing with P&O, but it will not be the last. We had to be on board at 2.30pm but we arrive at the dock at 1pm thought that we would have a long wait to get on board but we were told to join the line of people follow them ... Read More
First time sailing with P&O, but it will not be the last. We had to be on board at 2.30pm but we arrive at the dock at 1pm thought that we would have a long wait to get on board but we were told to join the line of people follow them to the main hall fill in the medial cards, when our number was called to go to the counter get our information put on record was given our cabin and accounts card and pass throw security and on to the ship all in 15 to 20 mins {not bad time in all}. The staff on board were most helpful as my husband suffers from IBF [Lactose intolerance to daily milk cheese & butter] the restaurants bent over backwards to have meals that he could eat. Room service most helpful in having Lactose free milk so we could enjoy the tea & coffee in our cabin. The only things about the cruise that we find off putting was the Black Tie and Evening wear nights [3 in 10 days cruise] which we find to much it also does not leave many place to eat if you do not want to dress up, also they must do something about the channels on the TV they are very poor in programmers. As we do not tend to go to the shows, this cruise we find they were some entertaining. When come to Disembarking the ship we find again no problem we had the choice of take our suit cases off ship yourself or wait and be called later in the morning to collect them in the warehouse. Read Less
Sail Date November 2016
most things pretty good without a wow factor. Dining in main restaurant was a very pleasant experience with good food and great service. The evening buffet sadly was not so good very limited choice and apathetic service We ... Read More
most things pretty good without a wow factor. Dining in main restaurant was a very pleasant experience with good food and great service. The evening buffet sadly was not so good very limited choice and apathetic service We were allocated eight thirty dining which was far to late for us, we tried to change this but request was refused. Entertainment was ok, very good guest speaker relating her experiences as a senior police officer. Dancing ballroom, sequence, and line dancing all available. Shows and guest artists all very good. Arcadia attracts a mainly elderly crowd so may not be the ideal choice for younger people Ship clean and well maintained with cabin stewards excellent as always. Ports of call all interesting, with Cartagena and Valencia great places to wander explore plazas and ancient buildings A must visit is to see the futuristic development in Valencia wonderful buildings in a great setting . Read Less
Sail Date November 2016
I have just returned from this cruise as a solo traveller and think some people writing reviews must be talking about a different ship!! ARRIVAL and embarking was fast, painless and friendly (drove to Southampton. Porters took luggage ... Read More
I have just returned from this cruise as a solo traveller and think some people writing reviews must be talking about a different ship!! ARRIVAL and embarking was fast, painless and friendly (drove to Southampton. Porters took luggage and CPS parked my car. Luggage at cabin before I was!!) DINING: chose club dining, largest table (8). Never a que. food was excellent. Waiters fast, polite, sense of humour. Lovely to see same people on table, share the days events and learn about each other over the twelve days. All singles, varying ages, lovely group of people! Buffet breakfast and lunch - never had to que (?? At least six serving stations). Lots of choice of hot lunches or varied salads, and full English breakfast and continental. Amazing staff, tables kept clean. Yes if you were looking to sit on your own it might be hard to find a table BUT you gain much more if you brave it and sit with others - I met so many people who loved to chat - people are friendly if you give them a chance! STAFF - they were ALL so helpful, friendly, courteous and nothing was too much trouble. Only on two days was there an unpleasant smell on lower decks for a couple of hours - it wasn't the end of the world!! I've smelled worse in supermarkets loos! The maintenance crew were also excellent. It was an adult only cruise. At 56 I was one of the youngest but I expected that. There was a wealth of experience and stories shared over a meal or a coffee - I loved it! EXCURSIONS - probably best to book before boarding as everybody else seemed to do so a lot of popular trips were full. Make sure you are aware of walking/standing times if you have problems. Gibraltar secrets of the rock tour - amazing BUT more than 45 mins walking. Some serious up and down gradients and stairs in and out of the caves. ENTERTAINMENT: lots to do during the day. Headliner's evening shows got better as the cruise continued. Other entertainers were excellent too. Plus lots of other things going on around the ship. DISEMBARKING: early yes, but as ship heading off to Caribbean at 5:30 not unexpected. Very organised (would have been even easier if some passengers listened to instructions and waited .. !! Was like being back in nursery school!!) I must have been on a different ship/cruise to the moaners because I wish I could have stayed onboard for the Caribbean cruise leaving later on. Oh! no sign of cabin cough and the Bay of Biscay apparently behaved itself Read Less
Sail Date November 2016
This was our first time on Ventura for 3 years, and she remains one of our favourite ships. I was a bit wary of what the weather would be like in early November but it was much better than I feared. Embarkation in the refurbished ... Read More
This was our first time on Ventura for 3 years, and she remains one of our favourite ships. I was a bit wary of what the weather would be like in early November but it was much better than I feared. Embarkation in the refurbished Mayflower Terminal was excellent. Our check-in time was 15:30, but we arrived at 13:15 and had dropped car off, checked in, boarded and got to our cabin within 25 minutes, with luggage already there. There were some minor areas where Ventura could do with a bit of TLC, such as stains on the bed valance, carpets on stair edges and in buffet frayed, and the gold covering on panels in lifts peeling off - but these are just minor cosmetic issues. We chose this cruise because we had not yet been to three of ports: Valencia, Ibiza and Cartagena. And we loved all three ports. Valencia - lovely city, although shuttle bus needed as berth is on the outer limits of the port. Terminal was non-existent, just an empty tent, with no welcome at all. Got bus into city, about 4 miles and did own thing, someone to give maps out would have been nice, but nothing. Ibiza - the old town is beautiful. We walked from the berth, takes about 30 mins but pleasant walk past apartments and hotels. Port workers here were giving out maps but they were of the island, not the town centre, but the town is compact enough not to really need a map. Cartagena - ship berths in city centre, Roman Theatre was impressive and only 5 mins walk from the ship. Read Less
Sail Date October 2016
how disappointed we were with P&O Britannia!! no wow factor, poor repetitive food, tiny cabins when using the bathroom it felt as though you were using a portaloo and that's no exaggeration we were in a balcony cabin but it felt ... Read More
how disappointed we were with P&O Britannia!! no wow factor, poor repetitive food, tiny cabins when using the bathroom it felt as though you were using a portaloo and that's no exaggeration we were in a balcony cabin but it felt like a small box. the worst thing for us though were the staff, they were untrained and lacking in even a smile. they walked about as though they were bored stiff and there was no happy holiday atmosphere on board. We had 3 cabins and one was an accessible cabin for a full time wheelchair user - this cabin was fine and big enough for its use. There were no electric doors for this cabin though and other features of this ship are terrible for wheelchair users. There is no central stairway so EVERYONE has to use the lifts which means you are left waiting for a lift whilst they constantly go up and down FULL because there is no dedicated lift for wheelchair users. The hoist in the pool area has to be booked 24 hours in advance of wanting to use it!!!!!! this policy is archaic it discriminates against disabled people because no other passenger has to book to use the pool at any time never mind knowing 24 hours in advance when you would want to use it. To add insult to injury the battery pack for the hoist was not charged up when we came to use it and the staff showed no interest in the upset and distress this caused when we could no longer use the pool. SHAME ON YOU P&O!!! we have travelled with celebrity cruises before and they knew how to treat the disabled and also all the staff had a wonderful friendly smile - we regret giving Britannia a try,- we will definitely not go with P&O again or recommend them. Read Less
Sail Date October 2016
After 20 cruises with various companies including P&O this was our most disappointing we had a balcony cabin (the shelf the two chairs and table provided could not be used together.) on the plus side the cabin though smaller than some ... Read More
After 20 cruises with various companies including P&O this was our most disappointing we had a balcony cabin (the shelf the two chairs and table provided could not be used together.) on the plus side the cabin though smaller than some was spotless and the cabin steward was brilliant. The food in the self service restaurant was hit and miss sometimes cold and dry other days very good, we gave up using the freedom dining restaurant because of the often 40 minute waiting time many of the bar staff were to put it bluntly rude when we asked one member of staff what was the matter was his reply was that many of the crew did not like the ship and were not happy and wished to be off. We will sail with P&O again but not on the good ship Britannia. Britannia rules the waves we think not !!!!. Read Less
Sail Date October 2016
As a first time single traveller and first time with P&O I was understandably nervous about this cruise. First impressions were I disliked Britannia, however as the days went by I got to like the intamacy of the ship, so many places to ... Read More
As a first time single traveller and first time with P&O I was understandably nervous about this cruise. First impressions were I disliked Britannia, however as the days went by I got to like the intamacy of the ship, so many places to go and never crowded, even on sea days. Food was dull and repetitive and too British, waould have loved to be served regional food from the counties visited. Sailaway parties were awful and best avoided, Rule Britannia and Gos Save the Queen just made me cringe! Cabin F331 great, well appointed and suited my need nicely. All the staff were amazing, can't praise them enough. Specially restaurants amazing, and the Limelight Club amazing, Madeline Bell and Jackie Graham were awesome. Loved the Live Lounge, The ship Group Pulse were great and made me want to dance! Overall a great holiday, but a warning to single men, keep your status to yourself or you may receive far more attention from the single ladies than you bargained for! As for being too British I was disappointed not to meet people from other countries, the Brits can be a bit insular and extremely negative, far to many unjustified moans were heard! Read Less
Sail Date October 2016
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