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1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2014
Would like to inform everyone interested in P&O and Ventura specifically that we have just had an excellent two week cruise in the Mediterranean. We had the odd complaint about specifics as usual but, overall, the holiday was extremely ... Read More
Would like to inform everyone interested in P&O and Ventura specifically that we have just had an excellent two week cruise in the Mediterranean. We had the odd complaint about specifics as usual but, overall, the holiday was extremely enjoyable. We took friends with us who had never cruised before and they had a wonderful time and want to do it again. We had been on the same ship in the Caribbean in 2009 and we found it much the same. The cabins were very comfortable with an almost complete lack of noise from neighbours either side. The cabin steward (Savio) was excellent and our room was kept lovely and clean and our towels refreshed whenever required. The food in the main restaurants was very good. We think the evening meals in Cinammon were possibly better than 6 years ago. The buffets for breakfast and lunch are always excellent. Very geared to the British taste. We did not dine in the speciality restaurants. How much food does anyone need, after all? We did not have any trouble finding a sunbed on the 4 sea days (all of which were sunny). Considering there were 4 in our party I consider this an indication that some of the claims about being unable to find a space are somewhat exaggerated. Maybe not in your most idea location but still in the sun!! People still seem to have to rush upstairs at 7am to get their towels out though! I like a short swim every morning and had no problems with the Spa swimming pool which is child free. I can see that in the height of the season the main pools would be a nightmare with too many children. Our main gripes were the prices of the drinks - which of course are ridiculous on all cruise ships nowadays and P&O's excursions and lack of information about ports for anyone wanting to "do their own thing". We went on one excursion and it was, to put it plainly, awful. £41 each for about 2 plus hours travelling in a coach and no time to look around the town we wanted to see. Heard others making similar complaints. So, my advice is - don't book excursions. Do research on the destinations before you go and use the "Hop on Hop Off" buses. Altogether a pleasant experience. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2014
Having been disappointed on other cruise lines sailing from Venice due to the chaotic and drawn out Embarkation / Disembarkation organisation this was an absolute pleasure. We handed in our bags at Birmingham and only saw them in our ... Read More
Having been disappointed on other cruise lines sailing from Venice due to the chaotic and drawn out Embarkation / Disembarkation organisation this was an absolute pleasure. We handed in our bags at Birmingham and only saw them in our cabin. The marshalling and transfer of passengers was totally excellent and there were ample check in staff. last time there was only 3 this time there must have been around 30. If all P&O fly cruises are this easy, even though I hate the airport part, I will definitely do it again. Maybe part of it was Birmingham departures as this is a great, well organised airport to go from. All the security desks were open even early and there were security personnel waiting for us. Very different. If you haven't sailed out of Venice do so whilst you can as it is spectacular . Forget dinner (though we had the new P&O version of freedom dining - set dining room but turn up when you want) as the view is much more important. Quite spectacular and this is the third time I have sailed out but previously always had a couple of days in Venice on the way out and the way back as well. Food overall was plentiful and very good. Entertainment was not the best as we only saw the Headlines Theatre company twice ( we would go to see them every night given a chance) but the other acts were more than exceptional, especially the Motown Queens. Guest speakers were good, bar prices reasonable (cheap by US lines prices), we got to all the ports, the organisation at each was great ad the staff with the exception of 1 surly waiter were fantastic. What's not to like? This is our 5th P&O cruise on various ships and the overall quality is consistently high and the cruise value equally so We are trying the new Costa Diadema in a few weeks and are hoping that the fly and embarkation parts of the trip are as good, but past experience tells us otherwise. Hope we are surprised Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2014
This was our first cruise and, on the whole, we thoroughly enjoyed it. I can’t praise P&O enough for the extremely smooth transition from Venice Marco Polo airport to the ship. We didn’t have the usual scrum round the baggage ... Read More
This was our first cruise and, on the whole, we thoroughly enjoyed it. I can’t praise P&O enough for the extremely smooth transition from Venice Marco Polo airport to the ship. We didn’t have the usual scrum round the baggage carousel. We just sailed through (please excuse the pun) customs, where a bored looking official gave our passports a cursory glance, and then the P&O staff guided us to the very comfortable coaches and onward to the Ventura. Our cases were delivered to our cabin later on. On arrival at the Ventura, I must admit it did feel like we were herded like cattle through the registration process. However, it was all done very quickly and efficiently and then we were on board. Our cabins weren’t ready yet but we were advised to go to Deck 15 for tea and coffee and an announcement would be made later. Unfortunately, we had arrived at lunchtime and the Waterside Buffet restaurant was packed with people. We couldn’t see one free seat. We were exhausted from getting up at 2am to go the the airport and we just wanted to sit down with a cup of tea. We scouted around for a seat and I noticed the Beach House bar outside and the fact that a few people were smoking on one side. I guided my, by now irritable, husband outside and told him to sit on a bar stool and light up. I then went and found the tea and coffee machines and we started to feel a little bit more human. Soon afterwards, there was an announcement that the cabins were ready and we went to find ours on Deck 9. We had booked a superior de-luxe cabin and we were delighted with it. It was spotlessly clean and bright with plenty of wardrobe and storage space, fridge, kettle, hairdryer, two TVs, vanity table and a sitting area with a sofa and chair and a decent sized bathroom (bath with shower). We couldn’t have been happier with the cabin. The other positive point about our cabin was the fact that it was extremely well sound proofed. You couldn’t hear any noise from neighbours. Any outside noise almost disappeared when you closed the balcony doors. The only sound we heard was if someone let their cabin door slam or if people were talking loudly in the corridor. Our steward kept the cabin spotless during our two weeks and we were always well supplied with tea/coffee/milk, plenty of clean towels etc. Excursions We did our own research before we left for the cruise and worked out where we wanted to go, train timetables etc. However, we did book one trip with P&O which was on the Genoa stop. We booked the Portofino trip which was around £63 each as there is no way we could have found our own way to Portofino easily. It was a lovely trip and we were glad we went on it, although we would have liked to have had more time in Portofino. We felt a bit rushed. For the Civitivecchia stop, we had already decided to make our own way to Rome on the train. The port authorities were very helpful in that they had set up an area where they were selling the train tickets and local bus tickets for the station bus. We purchased a return BIRG ticket to Rome for 12 Euros each, which is extremely cheap considering that the journey takes almost an hour and the ticket could also be used on the Metro and bus systems. We also purchased the local bus tickets we needed to get to the station, which cost 80 cents each. It was all made very easy and I am grateful to the port authorities for that. There were regular trains to and from Rome, approximately every half hour. To compare prices with the P&O equivalent trip in which you paid for a train ticket for a pre-booked seat and guide on the train only (basically just a train journey with help), the cost was £47 each. P&O did employ scare tactics as well on a couple of occasions. On their announcements and I think it was also mentioned in the Horizon newsletter, they kept repeating that Italian railways were notorious for sudden strikes and to make sure we had a back up plan for getting back to the ship. I understand that this is probably true and that there are strikes, but I was slightly cynical about P&O’s tactics. If you get stranded independently somewhere, the ship sails without you. If you are with a P&O excursion, the ship waits for you. In Ajaccio, we took the local open top bus tour which cost us 10 Euros each. The equivalent P&O excursion was £41 each (Introduction to Ajaccio). We took the train from Monaco to Antibes - price 15 Euros each for a return ticket. P&O Old Antibes trip - price £30 each. Again there were trains almost every half hour, except over lunchtime. Food We were allocated the Cinnamon restaurant and we went there to eat on the first black tie evening. We didn’t realise beforehand that they were promoting Marco Pierre White’s menu on that particular evening. I ordered the soup and my husband ordered the smoked salmon as starters, once we had translated the gobbledegook from the menu. The soup came and it was consomme. We did wonder if it had been made with the Knorr stock cubes that Marco Pierre White advertises. My husband had a large plate with a tiny piece of transparent smoked salmon, a small piece of lemon tied up in a muslin bag and a few other little bits of decoration. The main course was also just bits of food decorating the plates. We were so disappointed...and still hungry, so we skipped the dessert and went up to the buffet restaurant for some real food. We ate mostly in the buffet restaurant because the food was good and the choice was good most of the time. They usually had a different country’s food each night and this wasn’t a problem normally because there were other choices if you didn’t like the food from a particular country. The only problem we had was on the Tandoori night. Everything was spicy, even some of the salad choices, so if you didn’t like Indian food, there wasn’t much choice that evening. They did have a roast each evening, eg. roast beef, chicken, pork but the chef who was serving it was very stingy and only gave you a couple of very thin small pieces of meat. Entertainment Some of the evening entertainment in the Havana Bar was very good. We saw Elton John, Phil Collins and Kenny Rogers tribute acts, which were surprisingly good. In the theatre we saw a young singer called Paul Hughes who sang in the Frank Sinatra/Michael Buble style and we also went to see Tom O’Connor in the theatre as well. He is still going strong and is funnier than some of the younger comedians you see on TV nowadays. A few of the singers we saw were typical cruise ship cheesy singers and we did think that the ventriloquist act was just a step too far so we gave that a miss, but on the whole, the entertainment was very enjoyable. A Few Negatives The cost of the food on the Thomson flight. For the prices people are paying for their cruise holidays, not even a cup of tea or coffee was offered. A cup of tea or coffee cost £2.50, Kit Kat biscuit £1.30, sausage roll £3.50 etc etc. Drinks were quite expensive on the Ventura and I did notice that a lot of people were buying a drink and making it last. Also many people got tea and coffee or water from the buffet restaurant and brought them outside. A few examples of prices: Pint of Carling lager £3.85, small can of Heiniken lager £3.85, glass bottle of Coca Cola £2.50, other soft drinks £1.95. The Great British Sailaway - at the Laguna Pool and Breakers Bar area. This happened several times on our trip and was akin to Butlins holiday camp entertainment. Jolly, happy P&O entertainment people would lead a sing-along with all the happy sunbathers waving flags and cheering as the ship set sail from whatever port we were at. It was really just a promotion for whatever alcoholic drink P&O were promoting at the time but it was really quite cringe-worthy. The P&O photographers. On disembarking at each port the photographers were there to take another photo. On each black tie evening, they were there to take a special portrait photo. On another night they were taking a soft focus photo to make you look 10 years younger...and so it goes on. The photos taken on embarking and disembarking cost £11.80 each. The black tie portrait photos cost £17.95 each and the special album to collect all your photos in cost £21.00 so if you were daft enough to buy all of your photos, you could be paying around £200 over the two weeks, which is probably enough for a deposit on your next cruise! Arriving in Barcelona on a Sunday when all the big stores are closed all day. Not impressed by this. I assume it was P&O cost cutting over port fees. Also, leaving some ports early when we had a sea day the next day. Again, this could have been cost cutting. Gratuities. There is an automatic gratuity charge of £3.95 per person per day on the Ventura. For us this amounted to £55.30 each over the two weeks of the cruise. Someone we spoke to had one of his charges removed (he was there with his wife) and told us that he was met with quite a hostile response from the receptionist, but he made them take the charge off his account. He said he would rather give the money to his steward and a couple of waiters in his restaurant. You are within your rights to have the charges removed and when you think about it, it is a bloody cheek forcing passengers to pay gratuities. It is not the passengers’ responsibility to tip every member of staff on the ship. We left a good tip for our steward and we left the gratuities on our account but we would seriously consider having them removed if we go on another cruise. On the whole our experience with P&O on the Ventura was positive with just a few niggles. We have got the cruise bug now and would love to go on another one but we will do more research into other cruise companies before making our choice. I am sure there are pros and cons with all of them. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2014
We have just returned from our first cruise aboard Ventura. Having read some of the negative reviews I was apprehensive about what to expect - I need not have worried. The first day went smoothly from the airport to the ship (a very early ... Read More
We have just returned from our first cruise aboard Ventura. Having read some of the negative reviews I was apprehensive about what to expect - I need not have worried. The first day went smoothly from the airport to the ship (a very early start unfortunately). After checking in, the hold luggage was not seen again until we were on board the ship. P & O staff were positioned all along the route through Venice Marco Polo Airport directing everyone quickly to waiting coaches for the transfer. Security checks inside the port building were reassuringly efficient and at around midday we had enjoyed a buffet (Waterside) before accessing our cabin at 12.45 p.m. (after getting lost in corridors a few times - see below!) For this cruise we had chosen an outside cabin with balcony, which turned out to be a perfect choice given the wonderful ‘sail ins’ and ‘sail aways’ to follow. The luggage arrived shortly afterwards, so we unpacked essentials before exploring the glories of Venice for a few hours (using the “People Mover” near the port entrance and on foot). This was a very pleasant start to the holiday before our return to the ship in time for the emergency muster drill. We had been allocated a Club Dining late sitting in the Bay Tree Restaurant (9.0 p.m. first day then 8.30 or 8.45 after that) Not ideal dinner times for us, but we soon adapted to this, as there are plenty of daytime food options to fill the gaps, including afternoon tea. This was also convenient if, as on a few occasions, shore excursions finished late afternoon. The restaurant staff, mostly from India or the Philippines, were friendly and attentive, especially the waiters in dealing with my wife’s special dietary requirements. We were directed to a table for two, which would have suited some couples, but (for variety of company!) the head waiter accommodated our moving to a table for six at the beginning of our second week. In the Bay Tree there was enough variety in the dinner menus for most tastes and a standard grill menu every night. We were very happy with both the quality and quantity of the fare on offer. On this cruise there were four formal nights and two ‘theme’ nights, one 60s and 70s the other Tropical. There was a nice buzz around the ship for these special nights - our fellow passengers liked to dress up on the black tie and black and white nights, but were less inclined on the ‘theme’ nights. We wore some 60s and tropical attire to get into the spirit but evening casual was the norm. We stuck with the Bay Tree Club Dining on this cruise except for one night in the White Room on Deck 19. The food and service here was exceptional - in our view well worth the cover charge for that special occasion. On the second morning at (waiter-served) breakfast in the Bay Tree, we heard stories from passengers about the storm and high winds the previous week. The ship had listed alarmingly for a couple of hours before righting itself due to the water emptying the swimming pools on the open deck to one side of the ship. Disconcerting on only the second day! They lived to tell the tale, and again we need not have worried - on our cruise it was rather choppy between Corfu and the Straits of Messina (Day 5), but by then we had our sea legs. After the horror story in the Bay Tree on the 2nd day we decided to go for buffet breakfast and lunches in either the Waterside or the Beach House. These areas were very busy on some port days, but we found it interesting sharing a table and chatting. We are not sun worshippers, but there seemed to be enough sunbeds for those so inclined. There is plenty on board Ventura to keep non-sun-worshippers occupied on sea days, quizzes, films, ballroom dance classes, some retail therapy - and more food. The library is quite small but has a reasonable stock of fiction/reference for days at sea - there are quieter parts of the ship (and balcony if you have one) to just sit and chill with a book. Drinks prices (and wine packages) are comparable with the UK. The Oasis Spa treatments were high quality, but expensive. The evening entertainment it must be said was not always to our taste, very middle-of-the-road, but passengers who went to the theatre and Havana bar we spoke to enjoyed the high energy shows with the Headliners, the 4 Tunes, and some tribute acts. We caught the tail end of some shows after the quizzes in the Exchange which we went to most evenings. The entertainment staff were energetic and funny - but some passengers did take quiz nights a bit too seriously! The ports visited, the main reason we chose this particular cruise, were varied and interesting. Having previously visited Florence, Pisa, Lucca and Rome we booked organised shore excursions for places not yet seen. These were somewhat pricey, but guaranteed to return to the ship on time. More confident cruisers went ashore independently and most we spoke to had no difficulties getting around. The guides on our “Best of” Corfu, Ajaccio, Dubrovnik (sadly, the only day of rain) were very informative. The highlight trips for us were Paradise Gulf (boat trip to Portofino) and Herculaneum, which was outstanding. Apart from Dubrovnik (sadly the only day of rain), we were blessed with fine weather - there were some unforgettable moments, including wonderful scenery around Kotor (a hidden gem), sailing by Stromboli, sunrise over Vesuvius, and sailing into Venice. Ventura is a large ship and rather daunting for first time cruisers. We were provided with a “side view’ deck plan when we first went on board, but no plan views of the decks. Apart from reception staff, there were no crew members directing people to the different parts of the ship. The geography of Ventura takes some getting used to, and the signage in the public areas is limited (come on P & O, you can do this!) This said, we thoroughly enjoyed our first cruise and can recommend this itinerary. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: September 2014
Had a week on Ventura for our honeymoon in september 2014. Embarkation was really quick and very easy at Venice and after a seamless journey from Manchester we were in our cabin by lunchtime enjoying the view from our C deck large ... Read More
Had a week on Ventura for our honeymoon in september 2014. Embarkation was really quick and very easy at Venice and after a seamless journey from Manchester we were in our cabin by lunchtime enjoying the view from our C deck large balcony. After a good look around skipped lunch and went for afternoon tea, in the main restaurant which was nice. Lovely slightly late sail away from Venice which I think changes soon with the cruise ports being moved so appreciated the view of St Marks etc weather little rainy next day but at sea so did cookery demonstration and chilled! Enjoyed all of the ports, stayed on the ship at Rome as been before and enjoyed the peace and quiet. Sunbeds busy on sea days but getting up and out to breakfast by 8-30 meant we were able to get tow no problem at the back of the ship just above the pool. Nice spot as fab views and cool breeze. Do think in the very busy areas it should be up to P and O staff to remove towels left for more than say two hours. We tended to have breakfast and lunch in the MDR as enjoyed the service and choices were good. Had dinner in MDR most evenings - food good, but would say no better than a good pub / gastro pub at home. Did try the white room, lovely view sat outside - little dark...hard to see the menu....service good but again not overwhelmed by the food. ordered the scallops, prawn and oyster dish and asked for no oysters as don't like...waiter had to go and ask chef if he was allowed to serve without..same for my husbands request for no snails with his steak...which i found a little strange..who is the customer? Didn't realise that all of the dish was tempura battered with a risotto that tasted floury so not really anything to cut through the tempura batter. Strawberry soufflé desert ok! Wouldn't go back for the food but lovely first week wedding anniversary location wise in the open air at the back of the ship. Really enjoyed the balcony cabin on C deck with covered area then part where yes others can see down into. This meant lots of chats with neighbours and a social atmosphere. All in all nice ship, I liked the size as always something to do..would have liked a comedian one night which there wasn't. Nice bar and couple singing / guitar at the metropolis bar on deck 18 after dinner. Ship not as glitzy as say RC or Royal Princess but a nice and friendly atmosphere. Waiters in MDR not a patch on RC didn't feel as though I could recognise ours other than they were near our table. Rest of staff lovely. Heading back onto Ventura for Caribbean in March, drinks prices good and liked the fact you could bring something yourself so much better than the american ships and you don't feel so......ripped off?? all in all benefits of P and O outweigh the slight negatives in my view. Looking forward to our next cruise and as a cruise convert form skiing and non cruise holidays previously....love the fact that its like a floating island where you go to your favourite restaurants each night, there is always loads to do with mixed age ranges and you wake up somewhere different most days. If in doubt try it!   Read Less
Sail Date: August 2014
My boyfriend and I were new to cruising this year and have just disembarked the Ventura ship with P&O Cruises. It truly was the holiday of a lifetime and whilst we have no other cruises to compare this to, we do have reasonably high ... Read More
My boyfriend and I were new to cruising this year and have just disembarked the Ventura ship with P&O Cruises. It truly was the holiday of a lifetime and whilst we have no other cruises to compare this to, we do have reasonably high expectations and lots of previous experience of high quality holiday packages. We booked this cruise very last minute (just 17 days before embarkation!) and therefore wondered if we were too late to book certain excursions or for my boyfriend to hire a suit for the black tie events. Everything was so straight forward and easy to organise. We had access to the P&O ‘cruise personaliser’ online which enabled us to book excursions, book a reservation at ‘East’ restaurant, order a suit etc. I was very impressed with this personalised touch and the way we could see our personalised holiday itinerary at a glance before we’d even arrived. Let me get to the holiday itself! Everybody looks for different things on holiday but I genuinely believe this ship had a wide enough choice of everything to suit the vast majority of people. I personally enjoy: excellent food, engaging entertainment, space to relax in beautiful surroundings, exercise and spa facilities and a well-equipped and comfortable room. My boyfriend enjoys these same things as well as lively nightlife and the opportunity to socialise with fellow holiday makers. FOOD Ventura boasts a wide range of restaurants, both a la carte and buffet styles. AMAZING food! We were allocated a table at the Bay Tree restaurant, 2nd sitting which tended to be around 8.30pm. Reading some other reviews, I can see that some people don’t like having allocated meal times but for us it worked well. We enjoyed knowing we had a table reserved at this top class restaurant and I loved the nightly process of getting myself dressed up for the occasion! The menu varied every night (7 nights) and every night the food and service were brilliant. I am a vegetarian and was concerned that my options may be limited or repetitive. How wrong I was! I enjoyed delicious concoctions that I’ve never tried before most nights and even the soups were varied across the week, all equally tasty. My boyfriend was blown away by the food and loved the fact that he could order 2 different mains in a night if he fancied it for no extra charge! Desserts were also fabulous and varied every night. The waiter service was 5 star, with our waiter remembering after the first night that I like a peppermint tea after eating. Amazing when you consider the masses of people those waiters serve every day and the fact that they’re never on board for very long! The buffet restaurant was very good for breakfast – a wide choice of cooked food (including vegetarian sausages!), continental style food and lots of fresh fruit. We didn’t tend to use the buffet for meals other than breakfast as we were booked in at the Bay Tree but the one night we did opt to go there for dinner, we were again very impressed. We had 1 evening meal at ‘East’ and my word, it was one of the best oriental restaurants we have dined at. And we’ve been to a lot! The food was an explosion of tastes and the service was impeccable. For an extra £15 per person to dine there for an evening is well worth it. A restaurant of that standard in London would cost about £70+ per head for what we had. There is a wide variety of food available throughout each day too; including BBQ grills on some days, freshly prepared pizza to order, ice-cream and the buffet restaurants. Not to mention afternoon tea and inclusive room service. I am not a drinker so can’t comment on the alcohol available, however I love a mocktail and there were some excellent varieties on board. For just £2.50 a drink, they were the best value for money mocktails I’ve ever had. We bought a ‘soft drink’ package where we got 20 drinks for £35. Super value for money! My boyfriend had the odd alcoholic drink and was impressed with the quality but noted that they’re not particularly cheap. CABINS We stayed in a balcony cabin on deck 14 (Riviera deck). Excellent cabin with great facilities. The bed was queen-size and extremely comfortable. The interactive television gave us access to a range of inclusive films and shows and we could also order room service via the TV. The bathroom was well lit with lots of towels provided, a large mirror and perfectly adequate shower considering we were on a ship! The balcony was a very nice added luxury – the morning views were spectacular and we spent a few afternoons on our balcony playing chess (borrowed from the on-board library) and sipping afternoon tea! The room-keeping was superb and beds were made at least twice a day, with chocolates left on our pillows after every evening meal and towels shaped into animals! The cabin was spotlessly clean upon arrival and maintained to a high standard every day. We were very impressed with the fact that we didn’t see our luggage after we checked in at Manchester airport until we checked in to our cabin. The same for the journey home, we left our luggage outside the cabin the final night and were reunited with it back at Manchester airport. Very well organised! ENTERTAINMENT We enjoyed a whole host of nightly entertainment in the theatre and various bars. We enjoyed soul singers, West End style shows with singing and dancing and stand-up comedians. We also made use of the casino which was pleasantly low priced with minimum bets being just £2 for blackjack and three card poker. My boyfriend actually ended our cruise up by about £50 in the casino so that was a result! There were 2 black tie nights during our 7 night cruise and these were great fun. There were lots of on-board photographers to capture the moments and whilst we didn’t purchase any photos, we enjoyed the novelty of being treated like celebrities! In the daily ‘Horizon’ newspaper that was delivered each prior evening, there was an outline of sporting activities for the following day. Unfortunately for my boyfriend, these events were unattended and therefore didn’t take place. There are sport courts on board but my boyfriend only got to play me and a random child! I suspect people are too busy soaking up the sun to want to play sports but if they’re advertised as being on, it wouldn’t hurt the staff to try and encourage people to attend. RELAXATION Despite what some people have said about Ventura being over-crowded and packed out with children and teenagers (it is a ‘family-friendly’ ship!), we found this not to be a problem. I did pay extra for access to ‘The Retreat’, which in hindsight I’ve realised was unnecessary as there were lots of quiet areas with empty sunbeds throughout most parts of the ship. The only area I avoided like the plague was deck 15, (Lido deck). This was where families with children and teenagers congregated around the pool and it would have been difficult to claim a sunbed here or to relax as the music was always loud all day. But of course, that’s what some people love and enjoy – if I came on board Ventura as a child, this would have been perfect! ‘The Retreat’ was not at all pretentious as another reviewer claimed it to be, nor was it empty. It was actually fully booked the day we embarked and we were lucky to be able to book it. It was wonderful to have waiter service on these comfortable and well spread out sunbeds. I spent lots of time up there reading books and sun-bathing! One thing I have learnt for next time is not to use the ‘Oasis Spa’! I booked myself in for a hot stone massage on the first day. Relaxing as it was, it was not worth the extortionate price. It was as good as a massage at a ‘Bannatyne Spa’. These cost half the price charged on Ventura. There is a cheeky 10% service charge added on at the end. The first mention of this was after the masseuse asked me if I’d enjoyed the massage and I said I had. You then feel obliged to pay the extra 10% service charge. I would have preferred to know about this before I booked the treatment, had I known it would cost nearly £100 all in I would have left it! I found the ‘Oasis Spa’ to be generally over-priced for what it offered and the staff here are clearly on commission and trained to use pushy sales techniques, which was disappointing. The masseuse tried to force expensive Elemis products on me after my treatment to which I had to refuse 2 or 3 times before she accepted that I wasn’t going to buy. I took part in a yoga class one morning and have to say, it was of a better standard than my usual class at the gym! The instructor was clearly highly trained and experienced and offered a great class that I’d recommend to anyone. EXCURSIONS We did 4 excursions during our cruise. A tour of beautiful, mountainous Montenegro first. This was a 5/5 trip, excellent organisation and value for money. We saw some beautiful sights and tried some local food which was really eye-opening. We visited a waterpark in Corfu which was again, 5/5. The waterpark was one of the best we’ve been to, rivalling parks in Florida! We could have done with an extra hour there before being picked up but it was a great day. We had a tour of Rome, 4/5. It was good but just not quite to our taste as much as we expected due to the very long drive there and back and the sheer crowdedness of the city. We should have expected this in hindsight. It was great to see Rome but it was too much to cram in a day really. Our final excursion was a beach trip in Corsica. I would only rate this 2-3/5. This was because the beach was very average with no sunbeds, very over-priced beachside eateries with slow service and not a long enough length of time at the beach. We actually had to get a taxi back to the ship because we were 4 minutes late to meet the coach and our names hadn’t been written down on this particular excursion so no one knew we were missing! FELLOW PASSENGERS There were a huge range of people on board Ventura, ranging from families with young children to solo pensioners. We spoke to various people in the restaurant, the bars and ‘The Retreat’ and all of them were lovely. There was no evidence of pretentious attitudes or people being rude to staff which I’d read about in 1 review. There is a problem with people reserving sunbeds with towels on the busy Lido deck. It clearly states in Horizon that this is not allowed, so people who are complaining about this are well within their rights to move peoples’ belongings from sunbeds to sit down. My boyfriend did this one day when he wanted to sit in this area for the sail-away party. SERVICE We were made to feel like complete royalty throughout this cruise by all staff we met. They can’t do enough for you and service is always with a smile. Anyone who complains about lack of service here must have some serious delusions of grandeur because unless you expect a personal butler, I don’t see what there could be to complain about! We have already put down a down payment for next year and can’t wait to return, I would recommend this cruise ship to anyone who is looking for an extra special holiday and something truly unique. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2014
As a first time cruising couple travelling with a 2 year daughter we were a little sceptical about the entire holiday and what we would encounter on board the ship. We didn't need to worry however the staff bent over backwards to help ... Read More
As a first time cruising couple travelling with a 2 year daughter we were a little sceptical about the entire holiday and what we would encounter on board the ship. We didn't need to worry however the staff bent over backwards to help us and interact with our daughter at every step of the way. So lets break it down - We arrived in Venice and had a walk around having spent the night in a hotel and got on the ship around 2ish. The check in process and embarkation were a breeze, plenty of staff around and helpful dock workers taking our bags for loading. We explored the ship for a bit and made our way to the cabin for 3 o'clock and our bags were already there and waiting. Riviera deck inside cabin R744 Breakfast is a self service affair with a choice of fresh fruits, cereals, muffins, meats, cheeses, smoothies and full English breakfast and according to my wife a horrible porridge personally all porridge is horrible so….. There is a continental side at the aft of the ship with waffles apparently however this seemed to finish at 7.00am and we missed it every day. We mainly attended the mid section of the ship. This was the only time that you can get access to anything other than water coffee or tea free of charge with pure orange, apple and pineapple available. Lunch is the same sort of setup as breakfast with a mixture of hot and cold food and usually with a curry or something as well High tea - sandwiches, cakes, scones and cream……… all good………not for the waistline though…. Dinner - We ate at the Bay tree restaurant on the first sitting our waiters Mark and Sheldon were amazing and never stopped trying to play with Faye (our 2 year old) and make her smile. It took all week but eventually she was high fiving and laughing at them. The food here was rich and well presented with a standard classic menu that was always available and a menu that changed daily. It could have done with a little more variety by the end of the first week. The children s menu had a good selection of standard foods like fish fingers, burgers, chicken breast and you could pick and mix to create your meal with vegetables and potatoes etc. We only used the bay tree in the evenings and should have tried the buffet selection for the evening meal. As the first sitting meant we missed every sail away party and a few other events. The food arrives quickly and no sooner than one course is cleared the next is arriving which can make it feel a little rushed. On the first formal night we had a guest menu from Marco Pierre White - however we found it lackluster and the 2nd formal menu had nothing special about it which was disappointing as we had expected something from East. Speaking of which we booked a table there and included for our 2 year old - the food was simply spectacular. Everything we had hoped for the menu was varied and Atul actually visited each table chatted with guests and posed for photos. In hindsight we should have checked out the evening menus at the restaurants before deciding what to do for dinner. They were posted outside and its normally only a slight detour to check whats on or go for the buffet and then go play. Our daughter would have benefitted from this as she could have gone to play with Mr Bump or the family disco sooner. Entertainment - There was plenty to do on the ship had we ditched our daughter. Not much in the way of family events to get involved with at least not for a two year old. However she loved the Reef kids club and the staff there were brilliant with her. The events whilst not spectacular were definitely entertaining. Trying to keep track of what was going on was tricky. The horizon newsletter that is distributed each evening with the listings could be a bit better laid out as tracking what was going on was done by time rather than rooms and areas. There were plenty of bar areas to relax and unwind and the Tamarind and Havana were good places to sit and listen to different music acts and a cinema in the afternoon. Now we have done it once we would certainly have a better idea how to organise our time better the second time around. Cabin and service - Simply excellent, The cabin was always clean with fresh towels and we even got some jelly beans for the little one and a balloon on the first night which she loved. Every staff member from the backroom cabin crew,cleaners and the plumber that we met to the waiters, bar staff and officers were all friendly approachable and couldn’t do enough to help. I could write suggestions and improvements for ages but suffice to say we had a blast – it might not be as fancy as other cruises but we loved it and were already discussing another one on our trip home. One thing make time to visit the Spa the ladies and treatments were awesome - I would highly recommend the hot stone aromatherapy massage in particular (I had 2) when you go say hi to Edyta for me! :-) John, Kelly & Faye   Read Less
Sail Date: July 2014
OMG!! I LOVED THIS CRUISE!!! This is our third cruise line company, having previously experienced Carnival and Royal Caribbean, it was SUCH a delight to board a luxury ship aimed at the British customer. UK airport check in was smooth and ... Read More
OMG!! I LOVED THIS CRUISE!!! This is our third cruise line company, having previously experienced Carnival and Royal Caribbean, it was SUCH a delight to board a luxury ship aimed at the British customer. UK airport check in was smooth and painless with a P&O Rep to quickly guide us through. The plane was sub-contracted specifically for the cruise passengers, so everyone onboard was excited to be experiencing the same holiday, especially as you can see the ship as you come in to land, (if you are lucky enough to be seated on the right hand side of the plane). Transfer from Venice airport to the cruise port was reasonably swift, and a fairly easy check in and embarkation. You are immediately bombarded by the cheery photographers who constantly take your photos throughout the cruise, (bless them they have a job to do). Luggage delivery to the cabin was slow, but gives you plenty of time to explore the unbelievably amazing ship. We had 7 days to explore, and still didnt see everything. To be really honest, I actually cant find anything negative to say about this cruise. The food was completely amazing, truly delicious, varied and plentiful. The chefs and Maitre D are so helpful if you have an allergy and make every effort to provide safely prepared dishes every night. ALL the public areas are immaculate, with staff constantly (but discreetly) tidying, painting, cleaning. The decor is beautiful, the evening entertainment is superb, all British entertainers. The 4Tunes quartet were West End quality, dance shows great, and two fantastic northern comedians, we almost split our sides laughing. Daytime entertainment is really good, you have GOT to participate in the sail away party, that really is a blast. Loads of shore excursions to choose from, (a bit pricy but that's standard on cruises). Staff are so helpful and happy, nothing is too much trouble. Cabin was kept immaculate and was of a high standard. Fortunately we only encountered one rough night where there were a lot of poorly tummies onboard! Provisions were made for these people and any mess swiftly cleared up!! I was SOOOOOO pleased with P&O, compared to the majority of other ships that are much more focused on American passengers, that I booked another P&O cruise whilst onboard for the new Britannia launching next year. All in all, a fabulous holiday, cant wait til next year! Well done P&O. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2014
Having read several reviews, we were very concerned that we had made a poor choice in booking a P&O cruise. Talk of "chavs" and "Butlins" filled us with dread - whilst reports of poor standards on board had us ... Read More
Having read several reviews, we were very concerned that we had made a poor choice in booking a P&O cruise. Talk of "chavs" and "Butlins" filled us with dread - whilst reports of poor standards on board had us dragging our heels to the departure lounge. Wrong I'm afraid.... As part of our "package"  - we stayed overnight in Mestre before joining the ship in Venice. Arriving at the port just after 11am - the embarkation procedure was completed efficiently and we were taking our first tour of the Ventura by 11:30am. Like the majority of other passengers we were encouraged to head for the buffet restaurants for our first meal on board. The same restaurants remained extremely busy for the remainder of the cruise. Whilst we acknowledge the efforts of the staff to keep an even flow of food and passengers - the general standard was adequate and on par with the budget "eat all you like" establishments back home. Just ok.... For a more refined and quiet dining experience we opted to go to the Bay Tree Restaurant for most of our meals. The food was excellent - as were the waiters. Nothing was too much trouble. We avoided afternoon tea - but enjoyed the poolside grill for a lunch time snack. Unfortunately the pizzeria remained close throughout our stay. Our inside cabin was ready to occupy by 1pm and we were expertly looked after by our cabin steward Darryl (Deck 12-Aft). Slight vibration experienced as described by other passengers in this forum - but not too uncomfortable. The cabin itself was comfortable and reasonably spacious. The Ventura takes a bit of navigating & we were often confused by dead ends! However we soon learned that deck 7 was the centre of the Ventura universe - and you could find most facilities from here. Ok - we have covered dining and cabins..... The ship was full to capacity - and for most of the time we did not feel over powered by the volume of people. We were able to get seats at the entertainment venues etc, but experienced difficulty in getting a sun bed on sea days. Despite appeals from the staff about reserving beds - passengers were hoarding spaces with the flair of our German friends on the Costas...! My husband & son dared to leave their bed for a quick swim and some one complained that they had abandoned their beds. Pot - kettle....! There was a wealth of activities offered throughout the day. Sometimes it was hard to choose. I used the spa once - watch out for the special offers in the Horizon magazine. The men enjoyed sports, used the gym, watched films etc. I was happy to go along to seminars and dance classes. Something for everyone... As the daytime activities wound down - the ship took on a different vibe. Formal nights had an air of sophistication and it was great to see everyone in their finery. We mostly went to the shows in the Arena theatre: a male group called 4-Tunes (very good), cheeky comedian Peter Piper and the P&O theatre company: Headliners (superb). There were also tribute acts and vocal groups at other venues who were also very good. Port days were quieter on board. We enjoyed all ports - and were able to visit most on foot. We booked an excursion to Rome - as this was more difficult to manage ourselves. All in all we were very pleased with our first cruise experience and would not hesitate to travel with P&O again. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2014
This was our second cruise, the first last year was on the Azura and we did not expect the Ventura to be as good. The cabin steward was excellent and couldn't do enough to make our cruise more enjoyable. We stayed in a 3 berth cabin, ... Read More
This was our second cruise, the first last year was on the Azura and we did not expect the Ventura to be as good. The cabin steward was excellent and couldn't do enough to make our cruise more enjoyable. We stayed in a 3 berth cabin, the last one on the starboard side. The extra berth was dropped down from the ceiling and was put down after we went out for the evening and put back up when we went for breakfast. We suffered a couple of bruises when going past to the loo in the night but nothing too bad. The itinerary was great and we enjoyed every port visited. My favourite excursion was the Herculaneum with a P & O excursion, the guide was extremely knowledgable and made the tour very interesting. Ports visited included Kotor, Corfu, Civitaveccia, Ajjaccio, Lisvorno, Naples. The younger people in our party enjoyed the water park in Corfu very much. Personally I'm not a fan of fly / cruise and prefer going from Southampton, especially when trying to pack enough clothes for 2 weeks, but it did give us 2 more days in the sun so shouldn't complain. I'd recommend this cruise whole heartedly however. There was a group of 13 of us altogether (family and outlaws) and we all enjoyed.   Read Less
Sail Date: July 2014
My wife and I decided to experience a fly/ cruise with P&O and made our way to Venice to join the Ventura cruise ship as she sailed to various destinations over 14 days. Pour only previous experience with P&O had cruises departing ... Read More
My wife and I decided to experience a fly/ cruise with P&O and made our way to Venice to join the Ventura cruise ship as she sailed to various destinations over 14 days. Pour only previous experience with P&O had cruises departing from Southampton and it was a bit of a trek for us as we made our way from our home in Belfast to Venice via London gatwick. This would be our main negative in that it took is almost 12 hours to complete this journey on the outbound leg and 10 hours on our return. More departures from Belfast airports would encourage a lot of new business for P&O. When we eventually made it to Venice to board the ship we were pleasantly surprised at how easy the whole process was, because it was a fly/cruise passengers were arriving at different times of the day and this prevented any large build up and the need to wait in queues. It only took us about 10 minutes from we entered the terminal & completed paperwork until we boarded the ship. Quick and painless. The Ventura is one of the largest ships in P&O,s fleet and at first we were a bit daunted by its size and the numbers on board but to be honest we never experienced any feeling of being crowded of had any delays when visiting any of the shows, shops, theatres, restaurants or bars. We were also told that there were up to 600 children on this cruise but thanks to a great children,s entertainment programme we hardly ever saw any of them and could not say one negative thing about them. Our cabin was spacious and was kept spotless by our cabin steward Sorcorro, it had all the necessary requirements, ample wardrobe space, fridge, free safe, interactive tv & tea & coffee making facilities, there was also the essential daily copy of the Horizon which detailed all the events happening on board on a daily basis. The various restaurants were excellent and the food and service were of the highest quality, we had opted for the newly introduced "Freedom Dining" which allowed us to dine in the formal dining rooms anytime between 6pm and 9.30pm, we could also give our preferred table size each day from dining in a romantic twosome (it was our 40th wedding anniversary) to dining with up to 8 other guests. We varied this over the cruise and met some lovely people from all parts of the UK and also has some time on our own. The entertainment overall was very good with some acts being excellent and some being good, our favourites were the comedians and special mention must go to Carl Scofield in week 1 and to Tucker in week 2, both should be on tv, we were in stitches. We also really enjoyed the Beatles experience, Vocalist Laura Carter and ex-Brooksider Sam Kane. There were also some individual tribute acts and these were good without being great. The highlight of any evening had On to be the main theatre shows and here the Headliners Theatre Group stole the show, all the performances over the cruise were outstanding, singing, dancing, storytelling, fantastic sets & customer changes, superb. Our only complaint was that they were not on every night and only occurred on about 6 occasions furring the cruise. Casino facilities were very good and easy to follow and we had a little flutter or two , almost breaking even at the end of our stay. There were a number of organised tours in each destination and while they looked quite good they seemed to be pretty expensive, being experienced cruisers we tended to do our own thing and on occasions combined with other guests to make up the number and use the taxi buses waiting at most of the ports. Using this transport we managed to visit Rome and see all the sights (St Peters, Trevi fountain, Spanish steps, Colosseum, Roman ruins etc) at our leisure and all for 35 Euros each. In other poets we also used this transport to visit Pisa, Florence, Pompeii & Dubrovnik. We would highly recommend this cruise to anyone interested in seeing a lot of places in a relatively short time.   Read Less
Sail Date: July 2014
Great ship and excellent staff. Drinks well priced. It is a bit too big tho! even on the 14th day, many of us were still having to consult our deck maps, heaven help next years "Britannia" guests! Shows a bit variable, but some ... Read More
Great ship and excellent staff. Drinks well priced. It is a bit too big tho! even on the 14th day, many of us were still having to consult our deck maps, heaven help next years "Britannia" guests! Shows a bit variable, but some really excellent. Food really not too bad, only had two "iffies"-(both roast beef and yorkshires, not good). Its true what other reviewers say:- two sizes of trousers !! Kotor and Corfu good, Rome dissapointing, Piza and Florence good--tho' VERY wet, Naples ie Pompei Hmmm, went alone by train, NOT, NOT 15 mins walk to Station, try 50. and eventually there one brick wall looks like the other one. (OK, Phillistine !!) Ajaxio nice, Dubrovnik ankle deep in flood, hey ho, but will return. Venice, well its Venice, so good every time. President hotel in Mestre, DONT. Bar never open and the only food is a cold Brekky. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2014
My girlfriend and I have just returned from a 7 night cruise around Italy on the P&O Ventura and had a FANTASTIC time. From start to finish P&O were faultless and everything was catered for from the moment we arrived at Gatwick ... Read More
My girlfriend and I have just returned from a 7 night cruise around Italy on the P&O Ventura and had a FANTASTIC time. From start to finish P&O were faultless and everything was catered for from the moment we arrived at Gatwick airport until the moment we touched back down. The organisation was absolutely exceptional and the embarkation, disembarkation, booking in and all the organised trips we went on ran incredibly smoothly and like a well-oiled machine. The itinerary was well thought out and had something for everyone with a range of different ‘stop-offs’ including cultural visits such as Venice and Rome and more relaxing beach destinations such as Corfu and Corsica. Initially my girlfriend and I toyed with the idea of booking a balcony cabin before deciding on an external cabin with a partially obstructed view (this option was a few hundred pounds cheaper). On hindsight we are now very pleased that we went with the chosen option as for the minimal amount of time we were in the cabin it would have been a waste of money as there are plenty of quiet places on and around the outside decks to sit and relax/enjoy a drink. The money that we saved by having an external cabin was better off going towards our final bill! The cabin was extremely clean and more than spacious enough for ourselves and although there was a lifeboat outside our window, we still had a nice view of the sea/ports when we looked out. The bathroom was small (as expected) but more than adequate for the both of us and the shower pressure/temperature was better than most hotels we have been to. The bed was unexpectedly huge and very comfortable and relaxing. The interactive TV was excellent and we loved the room service facility/up-to-date bill page and captains log channel. There were fresh towels every day for both the cabin and the pool and fresh bedding at request. The staff were fantastic and could not have done enough for us. The food was equally impressive and the five course menus were varied with more than enough options to suit everyone. We dined at Marco’s restaurant on one of the evenings and couldn’t believe the value for money, it was exceptional. The 24hr buffets were also faultless and there was always a massive selection of both hot and cold food to choose from. On one of the sea days the staff did a BBQ on the top deck with burgers, hot dogs, chicken pieces, massive salads and fresh fruit and once again this was delicious. To summarise P&O excelled themselves and the Ventura was a lovely ship with so much on offer for everyone, whatever their tastes. We will definitely be returning.   Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: June 2014
My husband and I have just returned from our wonderful cruise on po cruise ship ventura. This was our first time with p o but it will not be our last. Staff throughout the ship were always happy to help from the officers to the bar and ... Read More
My husband and I have just returned from our wonderful cruise on po cruise ship ventura. This was our first time with p o but it will not be our last. Staff throughout the ship were always happy to help from the officers to the bar and cabin staff . Entertainment was brilliant , something for all tastes throughout the whole day and into the night. The shore excursions were a little expensive but were really well organised and the guides were really pleasant and also very happy to answer any questions. Our cabin was perfect and our steward Patrick saw to our every need. We chose the freedom dining option which worked really well and we would recommend the Cinnamon resteraunts for fine dining or the Waterside for delicious buffet food. Thankyou Ventura for our WONDERFUL Cruise. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2014
Before I write my review I’d just like to say that we are a married couple in our late 20's doing their second cruise. We cruised last year with Royal Caribbean and said that we would never do a cruise again. We hated it, ... Read More
Before I write my review I’d just like to say that we are a married couple in our late 20's doing their second cruise. We cruised last year with Royal Caribbean and said that we would never do a cruise again. We hated it, "Butlins at Sea" "Hi-De-Hi Campers" and "what have we done?" where all said on our first day. However we saw this cruise come up which gave us a very good deal and allowed us to visit a lot of the places on our "places to see list". We booked the cruise with the approach of let's just put up with the ship, enjoy the abundance of food and enjoy the excursions. The service was fantastic, we checked out bags in at Gatwick next time we saw them they were outside our cabin on the ship. The Thomas Cook charter flight was as you would expect nothing to write home about but good enough for the two hour flight to Venice. On arrival in Venice we went straight though immigration and were guide to the bus waiting for us. After a short wait we were off for the short drive to the port. There was a bit of a queue at the port the check onto the ship but considering we landed less than an hour ago it wasn’t an issue. There are thousands of passengers turning up all wanting to get on board, what else would you expect. I did notice there where a few passengers who were arriving with their own luggage so it may only be people who book to travel on the P&O Charter flight who get the smooth airport service. We were on board by about 11:30 and were told our cabins would be ready by 1. We milled around and explored the ship while we waited for our cabin. It was ready before the time they gave us which was good so we promptly headed to our cabin and got changed. We hadn’t received our main luggage yet but had shorts etc in hand luggage to cover us for the first day. I’m not surprised we had to wait for our luggage we were probably at the ship before it had even left the airport. We heard some people complaining that the didn’t have their luggage but if you think realistically about the logistics of getting several hundred suitcases from the airport to the ship and then delivering them to the cabins it’s going to take time, I personally wasn’t expecting to have mine until 7ish that evening. We got a water bus into Venice for the afternoon and when we returned at about 5:30 our luggage was waiting for us outside our cabin. The process was similar on the return we were given our boarding passes and luggage tags a day or two before departure. We placed our bags outside our cabin the night before we departed and didn’t see them again until we collected them at Gatwick. People where again head complain that you had to be out of you cabin by 7 the morning of departure but if you think about the logistics, all the cabins need to be cleaned at prepared by 1 that afternoon for when the new passengers turn up. Yes it’s an inconvenience to be out of your cabin at 7 and have to wait around until your specified departure time but cruise ships aren’t like ordinary hotels as all of the guest turn up at the same time on a cruise ship. Except the process that the crew have to go through and realise the world doesn’t revolve around yourself and you won’t have to many problems Now to the nitty gritty of the cruise, it was mainly older passengers and there were very few younger people and hardly any children. We did find a lot of the older passengers looked at us with a “what are you doing on here?” and wouldn’t sit next to us in the bars even if the only seats left where next to us. In the second week when more passengers arrived there were more children and families but they didn’t cause any problems and in general everyone on the ship was very friendly, you get the odd rude person but you get them everywhere. The Ports where in general very good, like I said earlier there were lots of places to visit that where on our “list” however some of the transfers from the ports to the cities you where docked to visit where long so you didn’t get a great deal of time to explore i.e. Civitavecchia to Rome is about 1 hour 30 minutes, Livorno to Florence is about 1 hour. The highlight of the trip for me was Kotor, a lovely little medieval walled city with fantastic views of the bay from the top of the mountains. You had to pay for all shuttle buses into the towns which where about £3 per person each way so even if you didn’t do any organised excursions and just wanted to explore on your own it could become very costly. There was nothing to stop you walking or getting a local taxi in most ports though. The entertainment was poor, there where good acts that I could watch over and over but most of them once was more than enough. The tribute acts where pretty good, we saw Gary Barlow, Phil Collins, Whitney Huston and Tom Jones. Gary Barlow was by far the best, he looked and sounded just like the real deal. The comedians where in general poor in the first week Manuel Martinez did two shows which were hilarious the second week we saw two comedians and both where awful. One even managed to empty the room he was performing in. For a company that says it gets some of the best performers out there this should not happen. The Theatre Company put on a very good production but if you are a fan of West End musicals or have done Latin & Ballroom dancing you will be very disappointed with the dancers. However the bars where very nice each has a different feel, so you will be able to find one that suits your taste. Some of the venues which they have evening entertainment on in could do with being better laid out. There are a few places which have restricted views. I would say that the rooms were designed for their feel and their use was an afterthought. The bar staff did a good job of taking your drinks orders. The amount of order they take at a time I’m surprised they manage to get the right drinks to the right people. The venues do fill up so we would always get a seat no later than 30 minutes before the show would start. All that can be said about the food is fantastic, Breakfast, lunch and dinner can either be in a formal sit down served restaurant or from the buffet. We always had breakfast from the buffet as we like to eat and get on the go rather than have a leisurely breakfast. Selection was great cooked breakfast, cereals, pasties, hams & cheese and fruit and quality was fantastic. Lunch again from the buffet was fantastic with a good selection of very tasty food. We sometimes ate at the poolside grill and pizzeria if we didn’t fancy a meal at lunch and again the food was great. The only thing that I would say is seating in the buffet restaurants is a bit of a premium especially if you are there during the peak times we did occasional spend a little while trying to find a table and a couple of times we had people ask to join us. I think the restaurant could be laid out better to utilise the space available. For dinner we were on Freedom Dining. We were assigned a restaurant and could just turn up any time between 6 & 9.30 and be given a table either a table for two or sharing with others. If there isn’t a table available they give you a pager and call you when a table is available. We would go and get a drink whilst waiting and never had to wait more than 30 minutes. The Club dinning has sittings at 6.30 or 8.30, 6.30 I believe is too earlier as we often got back to the ship around 5.30 so unless you can get ready for dinner pretty quick I don’t think it leave enough time to get ready and the 8.30 sitting would only give you one hour to eat you dinner before the evening shows start at 9.30, especially as the whole restaurant has sat down at the same time to have up to 5 courses I don’t think this would be regularly achievable. The food like everywhere else on the ship was fantastic but did get a bit repetitive over the two weeks, each night was a variation of meat and two veg. don’t get me wrong the food was fantastic and wasn’t just pork, chicken and beef. My only gripe would be that there weren’t enough sun loungers around the pools. Around the ship as a whole there were plenty but not around the pools especially on sea days. In summary this cruise was fantastic and if viewed as a floating hotel which takes you to lots of different destinations you will have an amazing holiday which can be as relaxing or tiring as you want. This has changed our opinion of cruising and we are already looking at other cruise that will visit places on our list.   Read Less
Sail Date: June 2014
My wife and I have done a number of cruises all over the world and congratulate P and O Ventura and the entire staff for getting it right ----- here's why. a) Once we checked in our baggage at Gatwick airport we did not see it again ... Read More
My wife and I have done a number of cruises all over the world and congratulate P and O Ventura and the entire staff for getting it right ----- here's why. a) Once we checked in our baggage at Gatwick airport we did not see it again until it arrived outside our cabin door, and at the end of our cruise the cases where left outside of our cabin to be collected later on the baggage carousel at Gatwick. b) Tea making facilities in the room. c) Complimentary water offered in the restaurant automatically. d) Alcohol can be brought onto the ship. e) We chose freedom dining in the Cinnamon restaurant and the food and service was 5 star. f) The evening shows were excellent and the 'Headliners' equalled the best that Broadway can offer. g) All the ports of call were excellent and not chosen to make up the numbers. h) Hygiene was taken seriously and everytime you visited a restaurant you were requested to apply antiseptic hand gel. i) You could eat outside in the buffet restaurant. j) Good choice of food in the buffet late at night k) The condition of the ship was immaculate and clean. l) The majority of passengers were English so announcements were not made in six languages ---- believe me after a few days that can be really irritating. j) Our cabin was near the back of the ship and there was no vibration. There is always going to be something not right but for that we have to go to heaven but Ventura is not far behind, so stay happy and enjoy yourself, and remember if you want to see Venice from a big ship do it now because by the end of the year they will be banned, and when you are sipping your 6th Gin and tonic you will realise that the logistics of running ships like this is staggering. Best wishes to you all, Chris and Anne Our rating 5 plus. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2014
We went on board with mixed views after reading previous poor reviews of a similar cruise in the Western Med. Not being a stranger on the Ventura I took a discerning look on my embarkation. We were told the cabin wouldn't be ready ... Read More
We went on board with mixed views after reading previous poor reviews of a similar cruise in the Western Med. Not being a stranger on the Ventura I took a discerning look on my embarkation. We were told the cabin wouldn't be ready until 1 pm but were beckoned by our steward to come into the cabin as it was ready. He introduced himself and was very informative advising us of our dinner booking and provision of other services he was able to provide. The cabin was spotless. When disembarking to spend time in Venice I noticed that the ship and it's fabric were clean and of a high standard. The meals on board were excellent and our waiter was extremely attentive and informative. We always had a leisurely dinner. We lunched and breakfasted both in Waterside and Baytree finding the food to be of high standard. Some of the courses offered in the Baytree for lunch I would have liked for dinner. The shows were good catering for all tastes, and especially liked the Liverpudlian comedian. Ports of call were good, we prefer to go on our own no disrespect to the tours P&O provided, our fellow diners did a couple of P&O tours and were very impressed. Read Less
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 to ... 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.   Read Less
Sail Date: April 2014
We have just come back off a cruise on the ventura the actual cruise was excellent,the cabin steward kept the cabin spotless,we was lucky enough to be on board when the opera boys sang,they did 4 shows all full houses,what amazing singers ... Read More
We have just come back off a cruise on the ventura the actual cruise was excellent,the cabin steward kept the cabin spotless,we was lucky enough to be on board when the opera boys sang,they did 4 shows all full houses,what amazing singers a fantastic show,overall the entertainment on board was excellent the headliner dancers was west end standard,we was on freedom dining which suited us the only drawback was if we wanted a table for 2 we had to have dinner at 18.00 or wait about 1to 2 hours but had no waiting to sit on larger tables,such a shame the restaurant staff was not keen with the hand sanitizer people was walking in without sanitizing there hands with staff watching not only the saffron but other eating places,come on p and o get this health issue sorted. The disembarkation of the ship we found was stressful not enough time ieaving ship to flight time,not enough time if any delays,the coach had accident on ramp leading to departures,Genoa airport is not the best very busy and small,overall a great holiday and enjoyed very much,we have booked 13 night cruise next year on the ventura transatlantic. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2014
A pretty good cruise on the whole, embarking in Venice through to Montenegro, off to Greece's Corfu island, back to Italy for the Rome trip, then to Corsica and finally Genoa for the flight home. The weather was fine throughout and ... Read More
A pretty good cruise on the whole, embarking in Venice through to Montenegro, off to Greece's Corfu island, back to Italy for the Rome trip, then to Corsica and finally Genoa for the flight home. The weather was fine throughout and temperatures never really dropped below 70 deg F. Saw some fabulous sights from our outside balcony including night time lightning at sea, a moody volcanic island and some fantastic port destinations. Food on board was good on the whole in the standard restaurants with plenty of choice beyond the staples. The trips we booked were OK - from the wonderful mountain views of Montenegro to the olive groves of Italy - though they all began to get a little samey. Judging from the comments we have heard from others, the trip to avoid was the extremely long drive into Rome from the nearest port town. In retrospect I wish that we had researched the trips a little more, and checked out some of these reviews, before we, errrm, took the plunge as it were and booked every single available trip! The "rest" days, which were days at sea, while enjoyable in themselves, we not sufficiently restful between port trips to recover properly, so I would advise to go it alone more often on the port visits rather than take group trips all of the time. The evening shows on board, while of a high quality, were really not my cup of proverbial tea. The shows were spectacular, while being mimed, visually stunning while seeing "tap dancing" without taps, so again entirely mimed to such an extent that you kept wandering what it was you were actually being entertained by. Another slight point of contention with P&O was the penny pinching and up selling you come across on board, all of the time. An example of the former being when we were sitting down, as a group of six, just before the show and the canapes came round.... but we were ignored because we did not buy any drinks! Given that we were a relatively large group paying thousands of pounds between us, we felt second class citizens at that moment! And an example of of upselling is the constant "sales" on board of jewelry, clothing etc in the shops, all at special discounts, though you can easily buy the same things onshore at even cheaper prices (in Euros) that the ship's sale prices (in pounds). Having said all that, would we do it again? Probably, but with more pre cruise research.   Read Less
Sail Date: July 2014
Never been on a cruise before (of any sort), so unsure how it would compare to normal holidays(I normally arrange flights, hotels, transport, restaurants, etc, independently to pick the best that suits my needs). Allocated a balcony cabin ... Read More
Never been on a cruise before (of any sort), so unsure how it would compare to normal holidays(I normally arrange flights, hotels, transport, restaurants, etc, independently to pick the best that suits my needs). Allocated a balcony cabin on the Lido deck, which was not bad, apart from the overweight joggers who thought it fun to get red and out of puff using deck 16 above at 6:30am for their morning run. I soon put to a stop to that by getting the Night Manager to rope off that section of deck until 8am. The cabin itself - Travelodge circa 1985, even down to an open hanging rail rather than a wardrobe. Bed comfortable enough. Air-conditioning not up to the task, and room always too warm. Pointless mini-TV and a 'fridge' that was really a chiller that tried but wasn't up to the task. The bathroom had insufficient ventilation, thus nothing dried properly resulting in a mouldy shower curtain.The lack of drying meant that the cabin steward ended up needing to supply clean (dry) towels twice a day, every day. Food onboard was very patchy. - In the self-service cafeterias (Waterside and the Beach House) quantity over quality seemed the aim of the customers, who didn't seem to mind the luke warm food (chef measured the temperature and told me 65c was fine), noise, and the struggle to find a table. - Frankies Grill - Cheap burgers served on plastic plates. I would say more McDonalds than Byron, I that would be disparaging McDonalds. - Cinnamon and Saffron - Staff friendly and willing, and mostly efficient (apart from all the wine waiters), but the food? The problem was that the menu was overambitious, and they just kept failing to deliver. If somebody offers me a good meal, and they occasionally surprise by producing an excellent meal, I am happy. But if somebody promises me an excellent meal, but most often produces just a good meal, with the occasional rubbish, then I am unhappy. Unfortunately P&O fits into the latter category. The issue seemed to mainly occur in the evenings with the hot food. Cold starters were always perfect, but hot... utterly random. I can only assume an insufficient number of staff in the kitchen. I could also see why the older customers were happy with the food, because the menus seemed about 20 or 30 years out of date. It was certainly not the sort of interesting menu that you would have seen in London this millennium, even in an unambitious restaurant. Freedom dining, fine if you want to share. If not, be prepared to be asked to wait every night for up to an hour. Or they tell you a minimum of half an hour, so you get a drink, and then two minutes later call you. Random, and again not anything seen in any normal restaurant. Dress code, hmm. Take what P&O say with a pinch of salt. Casual evenings translated as "wear anything you like", including a few adult men wearing shorts in the main dining rooms in the evening. Formal evenings, the vast majority (95%+) were wearing dinner jackets and bow ties. The 'dark suit' option was chosen by very few, and I thought they stood out more than those who hadn't changed their dress style from the casual evenings, looking like they had just stumbled in from the office. Bars - Something to suit everyone, from the Metropolis cocktail bar down to the Exchange station Pub (I didn't think downmarket station pubs from the 80's still existed until I saw that one), but the prices were not bad. Entertainment - Much better than expected. Shows usually about 45 minutes, and clearly a lot of money and effort thrown at the productions. Also pleasantly surprised to see that there is a rotation of shows, so you won't see the same acts/shows repeated on a 14 night cruise. One poor entertainment point was the quality of the film projection on the films that were shown. P&O have spent a huge amount on the rest of the entertainment and insufficient on the film projection equipment*. If you want to see a film in TV standard definition quality, blown up onto a cinema size screen, so everything is fuzzy (or if they are showing it in one of the bars, on a 4:3 screen not widescreen), then this is for you. *When I asked, I was told that the equipment that they use to show the films was not intended to do so, but was only intended to show backdrops, etc as part of the stage show. It shows. And a final point on entertainment. If you know that a show is going to be full, what sort of idiot leaves a single spare seat between them and the next group, so that you have two or three empty seats on their own in a row. So don't be shocked when someone asks you to move up. Swimming pools and deck chairs. People were out at 6:30am, especially on sea days, putting out towels to reserve chairs. Their tactics were successful as P&O were utterly ineffectual about doing anything about it, other than to print a small bit in occasionally the newspaper. Port stops, mostly good, but excursions were completely extortionate. And I thought that the captain seemed to express just a little to much pleasure in announcing for several days running, that some people who had gone ashore to Rome had been left behind, especially as he then went straight into a sales pitch for the excursions. Venice - You would have thought that for people travelling independently to the ship, P&O would appreciate that they may need some information such as the berth number and automatically provide it. Alas no. You may also think that they would tell you when check in opens, not just a suggested arrival time. Alas no. You may also think that they would tell boarding passengers which restaurants were open at lunch time, so everyone is not queuing at Waterside. Alas no. Kotor - A long 20 minute tender ashore for a pleasant morning stroll, but not much there. I suspect it is lovely about 8pm in the evening with a cold beer, but of course we had left by then. Corfu - A free port shuttle bus ride to the port gate, and then change to a second (possibly chargeable) P&O shuttle bus ride to the town gate, for a pleasant morning stroll. I know from previous visits Corfu town is lovely about 8pm, but of course we had left by then. Rome - From Civitavecchia, a free port shuttle bus ride to the port gate, and then a second chargeable town bus ride to the station, followed by a train to Rome. Absolute chaos at Civitavecchia railway station on the return, as everybody arrived back on the same train, all wanting to catch the single bus that would get them back to the ship before it sailed. Made worse by American's who struggled with the concept of public transport, and had never experienced the joy of the Northern Line on the tube in the morning peak. A nice day seeing the sights, but, and there is theme developing here, I know from previous visits it is lovely about 8pm, but of course we had left by then. Ajaccio - France, very definitely France, even down to the dog on the pavements. But nice all the same. I suspect even nicer about 8pm, but of course we had left by then. Ajaccio to Genoa - Force 8 winds, so the sick bags were out and being filled. However as I don't get sea sick, after an interesting show where the cast were struggling to stay upright, up to Metropolis to watch the front of the ship going up, up, up and then down, down, down crashing through the waves. Lots of carpets being cleaned around the public toilets the next morning. Genoa - A stroll into town down a street that would have made the Kings Cross area in the 90's feel upmarket. At 9am it was interesting. At 9pm I suspect it is very interesting. A pleasant morning spent strolling the more upmarket areas of Genoa and using the funiculars and lifts to see the views, before returning to the ship for lunch. I used the bus to get back to town in the afternoon, as I had seen enough tattoo parlours and shifty people selling other "goods" and "services" for the day. Livorno - Been to both Pisa and Florence before (and been able to stay past 4pm), so opted to stroll around Livorno, which is a surprisingly pleasant port town without the "interesting" characteristics of Genoa. Naples - Easy day trip out to Herculaneum on the tram and train. Enlivened by pickpockets on the tram on the way back, necessitating a trip to the Naples central Police Station (the cruise port police dealing with people off the cruise ships don't speak anything other than Italian, why would they?). The building and police detective who offered to assist were straight out of the casting for Hill Street Blues. Really helpful guy and worth the hassle going there, as the insurance paid up without question. So the pickpockets did me a favour by getting me a shiny new phone. On the way back to the ship from the police station, a bloke sticks his head around a street corner and says "psst, want to buy an iPhone or an iPad". Dubrovnik - A (possibly chargeable) shuttle bus ride to the town gate. At 9am up on the city walls there were half a dozen people, including a guy running laps of the wall. By 11am, Dubrovnik was full. Completely full. I can understand the desire to rebuild after the 1991-92 conflict, but the whole effect now is rather Disney, except I suspect Disney would do it better. The whole city within the walls now only exists for tourists, with every place being a museum, a bar, a restaurant, or a shop selling tourist tat (catering for all ends of the scale from cheap to expensive tat). And what was amusing was that Croatia uses the Kuna not the Euro, so lots of signs saying "No Euros". Or the sneaky bars not saying whether they did or didn't, but you could be sure it wouldn't be to your advantage if you only had Euros to pay. Hot as hades, by early afternoon, so a nice long queue in the sun to get a shuttle back to the ship. Definitely a place that is nicer at 8pm. Venice again - As the ship stays overnight, then we were able to go into the city late afternoon, and be able to stay into the evening after all the day trippers had left. Much, much more pleasant riding a vaporetto back up the Grand Canal as the sun is setting. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2014
Thoroughly enjoyed our Cruise, the organisation onboard and disembarking for the Shore, was fantastic and the ship appeared spotless in all areas. Our Cabin Steward was exceptional, quiet and unobtrusive, but twice a day our cabin was ... Read More
Thoroughly enjoyed our Cruise, the organisation onboard and disembarking for the Shore, was fantastic and the ship appeared spotless in all areas. Our Cabin Steward was exceptional, quiet and unobtrusive, but twice a day our cabin was serviced with nice little touches like towel animals. We were sorry that he, Altivey, finished his stint, before our trip was over. We found the Buffet food good, a different theme each night and if you didn't like that Genre, there was always a Roast on offer. There have been some niggles by other critics about how quickly/ slowly the food is served in the Saffron or Cinnamon Restaurants, how can the waiters please every one? Some cruisers are in a rush to get to the first Show, others want to linger. We thought the Four Tunes and the Headliners provided excellent shows and we liked the Comedians. We found you couldn't have a leisurely meal and make the first show, the alternative was waiting around till 1030pm for the second show. The Musical Director and his Team were mostly good , but perhaps could have showed their talents more often, besides the Sailaways. Having your photo taken so often was nice and gave you a great variety of shots to choose from, but it was too expensive for you to buy most of them. I found the Guides on some of the Tours quite tedious and often hard to listen to or understand. I felt English people with Local Knowledge would have been more interesting, I didn't want to hear the history of almost every building I passed or the geneology of everyones ancestors. Facts I forgot in most cases as soon as I heard them. A bit of current local knowledge would have been preferable. The Excursions were of course pushed and it would have been good if the Ship gave more information on visiting the ports independently. We would have loved to see behind the Scenes of the Ventura but at 75 Euros per person for the privilege, we, and most others, declined, thank you. In common with most people, we could not get a Sun Lounger because they were claimed by the Towels and Belongings of their, usually absent, owners. P and O saying this is not allowed, is NO deterrent. Despite the few niggles, would I cruise with P and O again, definitely.   Read Less
Sail Date: June 2014
A little late but here we go, disappointed with the Ventura the transfers were good from Manchester to Venice then to ship, when on the ship had to go first to the waterside Buffett talk about manic what a ridiculous set up no room for ... Read More
A little late but here we go, disappointed with the Ventura the transfers were good from Manchester to Venice then to ship, when on the ship had to go first to the waterside Buffett talk about manic what a ridiculous set up no room for movement everyone in each other way and no tables also no squashes only tea coffee or water to drink like a bun fight. Eventually got our cabin on B deck with balcony very spacious and clean changed towels twice a day and sheets once a week, decided to go on water taxi into Venice cost £15 from reception, left ship went outside a bus was there asked rep was told that only people in wheelchairs could use this. I am registered disabled but only use sticks he was quite adamant that I could not get on.Eventually he relented and let me on,he came with me how ridiculous other people were struggling along on foot what a waste of resources. The one saving grace was another gent at the waterside helped me on and off boat and directed me to a shop when back to get bottles of coke much cheaper than on the boat. Afternoon tea that day was a bit of a joke all over the place cakes first etc,also the staff could not get rid of you quick enough very surly.We found the cruise to be anything but relaxing no sun beds all week unless up at crack of dawn, late dinner which we asked to changed to be earlier but catagorically told No so time dinner finished no shows as to tired Been with Royal Carribean and so much more relaxing better food and more room to relax. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2014
This was our seventh cruise having previously been on 4 Royal Caribbean ships, P & O Aurora and Azamara Journey for a special occasion. The ports of call on this Ventura cruise appealed to us and despite some negative reviews we ... Read More
This was our seventh cruise having previously been on 4 Royal Caribbean ships, P & O Aurora and Azamara Journey for a special occasion. The ports of call on this Ventura cruise appealed to us and despite some negative reviews we thought we would try a larger P & O ship. As summarised above, we thought Ventura was in pretty good condition, our cabin on B deck had an un-overlooked balcony with loungers (we looked on to cabins below so lower deck balconies were not private) and was nicely furnished, bed comfortable and a very nice cabin steward Manoj who attended to everything for us. We ate in the Saffron restaurant on Freedom Dining and it worked well, the food was good. We also tried the White Room but did not think it was worth the extra £50.00. The Glass House wine bar was great, the wine was really good and the food and prices excellent. The problem for us on Ventura was the number of people on board and the lack of space both in places like the Waterside buffet (a real scrum to find a seat and food) and the outside decks especially on sea days. The loungers are packed together like sardines and there is just not enough room. We quite like to sit outside on a chair in the sun with a book in a quietish area but there was no availability of chairs or quiet. We probably should have booked the Retreat area but objected to the cost and on a 7 day cruise we just gave it a miss. Consequently we had a continental breakfast delivered to our room each day which was OK but not spectacular, and used our balcony on sea days when it was in the sun. Previous cruises have also been made up of varying nationalities and we prefer that mix of people on holiday. At times there is a Butlins on Sea feel about Ventura, a comment which has been made before. So its back to Royal Caribbean or possibly P&O Aurora for us - we really enjoyed the latter, more space, smaller boat. I think Ventura appeals to some Brits because it is so British, there was even Lancashire Hot Pot on the menu one lunchtime and a safe food menu generally with bread and butter pudding, roast dinners etc. The beer and wine is also very cheap which again is probably geared to us Brits who like a drink. Its horses for courses and you can't please everyone but regrettably we won't be back on Ventura or Azura again.   Read Less
Sail Date: August 2014
We love cruising, but I wouldn't cruise with Ventura again. We had a lovely holiday, but we had great expectations sine we have been cruising for years. I took my 21 yr old daughter and my 3 yr old granddaughter with me. Flew from ... Read More
We love cruising, but I wouldn't cruise with Ventura again. We had a lovely holiday, but we had great expectations sine we have been cruising for years. I took my 21 yr old daughter and my 3 yr old granddaughter with me. Flew from manchester to Venice was fine, they took cases at airport and they arrived straight into our cabin. check in was easy and fine. Cabin with balcony was fine but the bunk bed for a 3 yr old not suitable as she fell out, it is too open and also rattled all night, so I spend a cramped week with her in my bed. I am used the great service on P&O cruises sadly not on the Ventura. We were given Freedom dining - given a pager and waited ages for table - got too late to eat, waiters looked harrased and hurried us, forgot our bread, service was bad. Childs food was like something from Mcdonalds but not as good, & arrived when We were having our desert. Quality of food and service were not good. TRy the East restaurant ..you have to pay but it was excellent, Beach hut is also very good but you have to pay-if you want the quality and service you have to pay extra. Theatre was good, pools around kids area although very deep and you need to be with them all the time, are nice and warm, but you need to get early for a sun bed, Kids thought kids club too boring..hence no kids in there - which was one reason for taking our little one. Venice was lovely - you need to pay for boat to get there, but was lovely, as were most of the ports. Instead of waiting and trying to find table at the buffet - we just took trays back to cabin it was easier. British sail away was good fun. Beach hut and East for food although it costs. if you have a small child be aware of the bunks. Don't expect 5 star - you won't get it. TRy Oriana instead although adults only. Read Less
Ventura Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.2
Dining 4.0 3.9
Entertainment 4.0 3.7
Public Rooms 4.0 4.0
Fitness Recreation 4.0 3.9
Family 4.0 3.9
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.5
Enrichment 3.0 3.4
Service 4.0 4.0
Value For Money 4.0 3.7
Rates 3.0 3.9

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