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4 P&O Cruises Ventura Cruise Reviews for Cruises for the Disabled Cruises to Europe - Western Mediterranean

Embarkation at Southampton was awful. I am disabled & reliant on my female P.A & there was no guidance or assistance in unloading the car with our luggage. We were told to put our suit/dress holders in our suitcases yet we saw ... Read More
Embarkation at Southampton was awful. I am disabled & reliant on my female P.A & there was no guidance or assistance in unloading the car with our luggage. We were told to put our suit/dress holders in our suitcases yet we saw other people carrying theirs. Upon entering the terminal we were given a fast track card, what a joke! We were waiting more than 1 hour! We were quickly rushed on to the ship, shown our cabin & straight to the life jacket drill. My cabin was B302 an accessible cabin which was very roomy & quiet despite being close to the staircases & lifts. Access to the balcony was excellent. The wet room floor was slippy, the toilet not raised & the grab rails were not in a good position. The staff on main reception were useless, unhelpful & bad mannered! We asked 2 questions & both times were told to look at our newsletter. When we disembarked the bill was wrong. I had been mis-sold some treatments in the spa costing £112 which I returned the same day & was told by the spa reception that mŷ account would be credited within 2 hours which it hadn't. Be careful with the spa receptionists as they sold me a treatment which I did not ask for that was £30 more expensive without telling me the cost. They also added a 10% gratuity cost without telling me before the treatment. Also, my partner nearly ate a piece of plastic in her desert in The Sindhu Restaurant which they said they would deduct the cost of the wine of £19 from the cost of our meal due to the chef's mistake. Main reception were so unhelpful, it felt like 'we have got your money, now leave the ship'! I did not leave the ship until the bill had been altered & yet when I got home I checked my credit card statement they had debited the wrong amount including the £112! I had to phone P & O customer services & miraculously the £112 was credited to my credit card the next day! Main reception told us the night before disembarkation to phone them the next day so they could arrange for my wheelchair, bed post, walking frame & shower chair to be collected. We were then told by reception that we should have left all the equipment outside my cabin the night before! They then said that they could not arrange for the equipment to be bought down from my cabin! They expected my female partner to carry all that equipment & 3 bags of hand luggage by herself! Disgraceful P & O!! Fortunately I had read on a piece of paper that assistance was available in the bar next to the casino & they were very helpful. Incidentally they were not P&O staff! What a surprise! Apart, from all that we had a great time but that was down to ourselves, the entertainment I.e Paul Emanuelle (great singer), the karaoke night, sail aways, and not to mention the food & service in The Epicurian Restaurant (fantastic). Read Less
Sail Date August 2016
After an excellent Weekend visiting Longleat House and Safari Park we traveled to Holiday Inn Express which in our opinion is betterthan Premier In Although further from the Port. We arrived at the port at 10-30 there was a delay and we ... Read More
After an excellent Weekend visiting Longleat House and Safari Park we traveled to Holiday Inn Express which in our opinion is betterthan Premier In Although further from the Port. We arrived at the port at 10-30 there was a delay and we were lined up in car park for 30 minutes. After this we had an excellent embarkation. Stateroom was available as soon as we had lunch We were in P340 which is accessable with a wet room, Inside but next toCosta Coffee, very central. Dinner companions were a delight!!! They put up with Ann being fed her Dinner (this has put some people off in the past and they never returned to the table) Food was very good throughout the cruise both in dining room and waterside. The ENTERTAINMENT WAS A GOOD MIX OF musicals type shows by the HEADLINERS and cabaret singers and classical music. There were many children on board, many more than you would expect in Term time. Read Less
Sail Date September 2012
This was our third trip with P&O, our second on Ventura, previously Xmas 2010 which followed Azura in May 2010. I posted a full review of both trips on here for those interested. Ventura met our expectations again, based on our ... Read More
This was our third trip with P&O, our second on Ventura, previously Xmas 2010 which followed Azura in May 2010. I posted a full review of both trips on here for those interested. Ventura met our expectations again, based on our previous trip 4 months previous. We travelled as a party of 4 in 2 cabins: - 3 adults in the 40-50 age group and our Mum in her late 70s who is a part time wheelchair user. Embarkation: We arrived at 11.45, car swiftly taken off our hands by CPS and we were on board within 30 minutes having lunch in the buffet. Cabin: A standard balcony cabin on C deck. These have the larger balconies which are twice the depth of those featured by standard balcony cabins on other decks. We didn't mind the fact that half the balcony is visible to those above as you still have the overhang of the deck above which shades the rear half from view if some privacy is required. We would definitely choose a C deck cabin again if available. The interior of the cabin was identical to that on Azura the previous year (we had a superior deluxe cabin on D deck on our Xmas Ventura trip but didn't feel the price difference on this trip justified it). The inside of our cabin was kept very clean by our invisible cabin steward who we saw only once when she introduced herself. Not an issue for us but I know some prefer a more personable cabin steward. We did note the balcony wasn't clean on boarding and wasn't cleaned at all during the trip, either the interior part or the outside glass and could have done with a good deep clean. On our Xmas cruise they advised on some mornings which sections of the balconies would be cleaned each day but there didn't seem to be any balcony cleaning at all on this cruise. However we were so pleased with the size of the balcony that we forgave this. Food: We ate in the buffet for breakfast each day. Again a good choice which suited all our preferences including Quorn bacon and Quorn sausages to order for our Veggie member. Can't really fault the breakfasts at all apart from saying that some things could have been warmer on occasion. Lunch was also mainly in the buffet with most of us choosing from the large salad range. A couple of us had burgers or pizzas from the places by the pool which were always reliable and freshly cooked. Most cruises, and Ventura too, receive criticism for having too little space to sit in the buffet. We always found a space but maybe not in the section we would prefer. I've said it before that the people who complain about not being able to find a seat seem to be the same ones who hug their third cup of tea after finishing their meal for an eternity instead of making way for others or they are the couples who sit at a table for 8 instead of walking a few yards further and sitting at a smaller table. We chose Freedom Dining in the Cinnamon Restaurant again and ate there on 12 of the 14 nights. We thought the MDR food on Ventura at Xmas was very good and better than on Azura and we thought that on this trip it had notched up even further. A really good choice of selections on the menu and a good separate Vegetarian menu to pre-select for the following night. Out of the 12 nights we were seated immediately on a table for four on 10 of them with a buzzer being given on the other 2 nights with waits of 5 mins and 15 mins which was pretty good. This allowed us to plan to dine around our choice of entertainment. Having now experienced freedom dining 3 times on P&O I have to say the flexibility means we would always choose this option. However, I do believe there is a trade off in terms of the service. This can be very variable with some waiters looking quite fed up and quite a difference some nights in terms of the speed of the meal being delivered: anything from 1 hour to 2 ½ hours dependant on the waiter so it was hard to predict. On one night we sat with our empty soup bowls on the table for 25 minutes before I had to find the head waiter to get things moving again as our waiters seemed to have vanished. I would describe the service as functional rather than great. I do think that in Club Dining the waiter is encouraged to go the extra mile in order to secure their tips and maybe achieve more than the recommended tip from a passenger with whom they have built up a relationship. We hear about the little personal touches Club Dining waiters offer and how they get to know your preferences. On freedom dining a set tip is assured (unless you go to Reception to adjust it) so they simply don't have the same incentive to offer more than a functional level of service. After all why should one waiter offer a higher level of service when his less enthusiastic colleague will receive the same share of the tips? I'm not sure what the answer is here apart from better management of the waiters. On RCI's equivalent of freedom dining the waiters were superb in every respect, always smiling and incredibly helpful and personable. As I said we would still choose freedom dining over Club dining to allow us more flexibility but I do feel that the service could be better overall. We dined in the Beachcomber Diner one night which was a nice change and offered a good choice of freshly cooked food and was very busy. We also ate in the White Room to celebrate a birthday. Overall we were a bit disappointed with MPWs eatery. The service was ok but not as good as on our previous visit or as good as in Seventeen on Azura and it was a shame the menu was the same as it was 4 months previous. My Mother was not too pleased upon ordering a dessert to be told by the waiter 'are you sure as there are a lot of calories in that'! Maybe something got lost in translation but it's not what a woman wants to hear. Also Veggies note that small appetisers are served but they don't have any for veggies and the desserts are not marked as vegetarian and this took quite a bit of persistence to get accurate answers about whether they were vegetarian or not. I think as we all thought the food in the MDR was so good when we compared it with our evening in the White Room this led us to decide we would not visit it again. Nice to try but we were not overwhelmed. We didnt eat in the East restaurant as the Veggie options were not great. Entertainment: This cruise had the best entertainment of our 3 P&O cruises. Daytime activities were again varied and offered a packed programme however the main difference was the Headliners Shows. Previously we had become tired of the 'West End Show' description given to the Headliners on Azura and our previous Ventura cruise as we felt they never quite hit the spot and could be a bit cringeworthy. Many disagreed but mainly those of a certain age. However we were told that we were the first to experience 3 of the new shows on this cruise and that the headliners were a new group of professionals that had been put together. We were handed a program detailing the experience of the performers and it was clear this was no amateur group. The result was amazing: Superb voices, great dancing, professional sets and costumes and excellent productions. Their shows became increasingly more popular and the 8.30 performance required people to start queuing up to an hour or so early to ensure a seat. We only went to the 7pm shows and always found a seat with ease. If P&O are going to roll this new style out across the fleet then they are going to start gaining a very good reputation for quality shows. They put on a total of 6 shows. We had seen one before, Destination Dance, on Azura last year and all four of us didn't like it at all. It felt a bit like seeing an Amateur Dramatic production, however the same show performed by these guys was amazing. Such good dancers and singers and the sound was superb. We did find it strange that Hughie Taylor the Cruise Director was quite invisible. He only appeared for some Arena shows and didn't introduce the Captains Welcome Speech at the time we attended. At the Great British Sailaway his job entailed handing flags out rather than being part of the main entertainment team which was a little strange. I think he is possibly suited more to a smaller ship without the cross section of ages on Ventura. Most of the other acts we had experienced previously. I'm not sure how often they rotate their acts but I would be pretty miffed if we booked another cruise with P&O in the next year or so and came across the same group of singers and comedians yet again. However I would have to say we could watch Jimmy Love as Elton John any day. We have to mention Laura from the Entertainment team who had us in stiches on numerous occasions with her accent (when calling number 66 during bingo it became 'sexty sex' for example). Her quizzes were equally funny. Bars: We really like the choice of bars on Ventura each one offering a different ambience and you could always find somewhere to sit somewhere onboard. Drinks prices remain very reasonable although we did note draught lager and some cocktails have increased in prices since Dec 2010. Not by a lot but an increase nonetheless. Bar service is generally superb. Ports of Call: I'm not going to go into a description of each port as this can be quite subjective and is covered in the ports of call section on this site. However I want to mention a new one to us: Valencia. Even the Captain had not been here before. We decided that we had seen enough history on our cruise and planned a trip to the Oceanographic Aquarium. This is part of a recent development of the old riverbed (La Ciudad de las Artes y de las Ciencias ) and the modern architecture is amazing. We took a taxi from the ship to the Aquarium and as it didn't open for an hour we walked around the area and were stunned by the buildings. It looks like something from a Sci-Fi film. The Aquarium was great too (the biggest in Europe) and we spent 3 hours in total exploring including watching the Dolphin Shop in the Amphitheatre before taking a taxi back. We worked out that in the end we only saved about £8 each off the cost of the ships' trip to the Aquarium so some may prefer to plump for this especially if you are only splitting the taxi fare a couple of ways. The Aquarium is amazingly disabled friendly with lifts everywhere down to the underwater tanks and tunnels. There are a few niggles in this review however this is really us being nit-picky. We still really like Ventura and still prefer it over Azura. We prefer the mix of passengers. Ventura is constantly being knocked as 'Butlins at Sea' which is very unfair and I feel this comes from passengers who don't really want to mix with children or younger people and perhaps are of a certain age and more suited to one of P&Os more traditional or adult only ships. On both Ventura cruises we have been on the age range has been wide although as this was a term time holiday it still must have averaged in the mid-50s. Because of this wider mix of ages we feel Ventura has a more relaxed feel whereas we found Azura to be a little snobby at times. We like dressing up for dinner with the best of them however we also want to be able to relax and enjoy our holiday as well and there were a nice bunch of people on this cruise with fewer of the 'old moaners' we encountered on Azura (sorry about the choice of description but you may know what I mean). We were told by the Captain that this cruise had over 1200 people new to cruising onboard which seemed a very high figure so P&O must be doing well attracting this number of new cruisers. Ventura does most things very well. It doesn't excel at many but neither does it disappoint much too and for us she continues to be our choice for a reliable mass market cruise. Read Less
Sail Date April 2011
We sailed on Ventura for 14 nights from Soutampton - Springbank Holidays. Embarkation was good. We needed assistance with a wheelchair. Our balcony cabin was good, with lots of clothes storage. Shower was rather small. The balcony had 2 ... Read More
We sailed on Ventura for 14 nights from Soutampton - Springbank Holidays. Embarkation was good. We needed assistance with a wheelchair. Our balcony cabin was good, with lots of clothes storage. Shower was rather small. The balcony had 2 lay back chairs,a stool & a table, it was not possible to lay out flat on the balcony. We were on A deck and thought C deck balcony was larger, but overlooked from above, they also had sun when ours had gone. No towel sculptures on an evening. The cabin had tea making facilities & tea/coffee etc was provided. We had 2nd sitting for evening meal [8.30pm] Was a little late as we did not get out until around 11.00 on some nights. Food quality was excellent. We dined in the white House restaurant one night [£20 extra] not worth it as the meal was not any better. We used the set restaurant for most of our meals, as it was almost impossible to get a table in the buffet restaurant. We tried different times, but always the same. Almost all waiters, cabin staff etc were from India. Some were pleasant, but many were sullen. All staff referred to the ladies as MADAME, which did not sound very friendly. We are usually addressed by our names. The entertainment was good and there were 3 shows, so we could catch the early one before dinner. Bars were always full, little dancing though. Main criticism we had was with the sun loungers. Impossible to get one on sea days.Towels were being put our early morning & left all day, even when not in use. These on most ships would have been removed if not in use, but this did not happen. There was no adult pool, so all pools were full of children, shouting & splashing around. We were assisted with the wheelchair when we got off at ports. As the ship is large we docked often in an industrial port with working ships & containers for the view. Some of the posts we were provided with a shuttle, but 2 ports we had to pay and there was no way that we could have walked. Disembarkation was quite the opposite to embarkation. Masses of people trying to get off all at the same time. We were not let off until 9.15 although we had a card for 8.45. We had booked a taxi and they were there waiting to take us to the Holiday Inn, where we had left our car. There were porters at the dock to help if needed. If you can, do the self/express disembarking, they were off at 7.00 with no problems. The ship did not seem to have decided whether it was a traditional/formal cruise ship or a casual/we do not do cruises ship. We would not sail on this ship again. Read Less
Sail Date May 2010
Ventura Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.2
Dining 4.0 3.8
Entertainment 4.0 3.6
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 3.3
Service 4.0 4.0
Value For Money 4.0 3.6
Rates 3.0 3.9

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