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2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2019
Some background detail first of all. P&O has been our cruise company of choice but I have been trying other cruise lines to review for my travel blog. This cruise was a long awaited return, after just over a year away from ... Read More
Some background detail first of all. P&O has been our cruise company of choice but I have been trying other cruise lines to review for my travel blog. This cruise was a long awaited return, after just over a year away from P&O Embarkation was relatively smooth apart from the appallingly managaged car parking which resulted in a half hour wait to drop off the car. Although strictly speaking not P&O's fault is is their recommended parking provider and provided as part of the select deal. We were traveling with other family members, two adults and two children, who had a family suite. Once parked check-in and security clearance was quick and even though we headed straight to our cabin once on board our bags beat us to the cabin - a promising start. We met our cabin steward, Cathy, who was friendly and personable - a good start to the onboard experience …… little did we know at the time this would almost be the zenith of the cruise. The safety drill was an improvement as you are no longer required to take your life jacket with you, although the demonstration was somewhat undermined by loud, fellow passengers noisily talking over the demonstration and / or finding the whole thing a joke. We had selected “Freedom Dining” as we didn’t want to be tied to a fixed dining time, this also means you are on a different table each night and this led to a mixed experience. We took advantage of Freedom Dining on four of the nights, twice with just the adults and twice with the children as well. Service was decidedly mixed, on two of the nights the service was really good, as one would expect, on the other two totally indifferent with the waiting staff simply going through the motions. It may be coincidence but the two better experiences were when we dined with the children. On another night we dined in the Sindhu restaurant and the service, as well as the food was exemplary with one of the best waiters we’ve ever encountered. In terms of the staff generally we were shocked by the contrasts. A large number offered the standard of service you would expect from P&O, however a very significant minority had an almost, couldn’t care less attitude. The ship just felt generally unhappy. A couple of examples, at one of the food outlets, the woman serving looked as though she had sucked a lemon and acted as if she was doing you a favour by serving you. Indeed a fair percentage of staff seemed to have lost the ability to smile or to be affable. Yes, there has always been the odd staff member on any cruise but here it was much more noticeable and prevalent. On another occasion we wanted an ice cream milkshake and were having trouble finding any on board. I went to reception to ask if any were available on board to be given the response “I don’t know, ask at one of the bars.” The jolliest person on board seemed to be the Captain, who also seemed to think he was a stand up comedian …… he was certainly a refreshing change from some of the aloof Captain’s we’ve come across but I have to admit, after a week, some of of his jokes were becoming a bit boring. I wasn’t overly impressed when he suggested two latecomers were cheered and applauded on board after being late back in Bergen – they may well have had a good reason for being late and the “welcome” could have been humiliating. The sail away from Olden was brilliant - although this is down to the town rather than P&O Turning to food, the food in the main dining rooms was of the usual high standard, although I don’t think I’m alone in being under the impression portion sizes are shrinking. Food in the buffet was more variable ranging from good to inedible – I made the mistake of going for toad in the hole one night – the single sausage was OK but the batter was stodgy and undercooked. The buffet was also too small for the numbers on board, especially at breakfast on the sea days. On the final evening a "Family Disco" was advertised .... the children were looking forward to this but it was a con and a shambles. It wasn't a disco and there were no staff running it ..... basically it was a dance floor with a pre-recorded sound track, most of which was unsuitable for children. The only staff were bar staff trying to sell alcohol to the parents. When one of the parents complined to one of the bar staff, he shrugged his shoulders and walked away. Obviously we speak to fellow passengers on board and it was interesting to note that everyone we spoke to who had sailed with P&O before all thought the standards on this cruise had dropped dramatically. More tellingly, the family members we travelled with are both ex-P&O bridge officers and this is the first time they have been on a P&O ship in ten years and they were appalled by the drop in standards. I wonder if it is down to the removal of the service charge and subsequent reduction in pay for staff …. Is this causing a reduction in morale? We also found from a cabin steward, not ours in case P&O read this and decide to victimise our steward, they are now being asked to look after more cabins than they used to. Whilst on board I had planned to book a future cruise with P&O to take advantage of the discounts and other benefits – after this experience I did not bother. In the past I’ve been happy to pay more for the superior level of service with P&O. I am now of the view I can experience the same level of service with another Carnival company, Costa, for around two-thirds the price of P&O. It will be a long time, if ever, before I sail with P&O again and that’s something I thought I would never say. It seems P&O are aiming to dumb down to the lowest common denominator rather than providing a class service. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2019
This was the second time that we’d cruised on this ship. Standards have certainly dropped. Firstly the good points. Embarkation at Southampton was excellent and totally stress free. The cabin was ready as soon as we walked onboard and ... Read More
This was the second time that we’d cruised on this ship. Standards have certainly dropped. Firstly the good points. Embarkation at Southampton was excellent and totally stress free. The cabin was ready as soon as we walked onboard and our room was very good. The ship has recently been upgraded and is very nice.Our cabin attendant was also very good throughout our holiday. Entertainment was also generally good. The bad points. The food was very poor in the main dining rooms and buffet areas. With the choice in the Waterside very limited. The payable restaurants were much better. The catering staff didn’t have any interest in the passengers and appeared sullen and unhelpful. I wonder if this is anything to do with the discontinuance of gratuities . I think that P&O need to ‘up their game’ to keep up with Celebrity and others. The overall experience has certainly put us off another P&O cruise. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2019
As first family crew chose p and o. Buffet food was average and bland especially at dinner time.Very difficult to find a table at buy times. Staff in buffet restaurant not particularly friendly. Believe other worked. Restaurants included ... Read More
As first family crew chose p and o. Buffet food was average and bland especially at dinner time.Very difficult to find a table at buy times. Staff in buffet restaurant not particularly friendly. Believe other worked. Restaurants included in price Cinnamon and Saffron. Had lovely food and very good service. We paid for food one night in the glasshouse (tapas) that was amazing. Beach house food which you had to pay extra for was average. My food had a hair in it yuk. Put me off. Our steward was excellent very friendly. Most of the other staff were not very smiley and seemed disinterested. Reception staff not very friendly or smiley either. Swimming pools were good but sometimes full of screaming kids. Entertainment was good. We3 - vocal group were amazing. Adele impersonator very good. Metropolis bar was very classy with good views and a guy playing piano. I used the gym. It’s very good with up to date equipment and nice views into the sea. Overall good. But customer service standards could be better. Maybe staff not getting tips anymore is having an affect. We are thinking of trying another cruise company next time to get a better standard of customer service and friendlessness. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2019
What an amazing experience overall with very little to fault! Embarkation was swift, we used CP Parking and had priority boarding through our suite booking. It took us less than 20 minutes from arrival at the dock in our car to ... Read More
What an amazing experience overall with very little to fault! Embarkation was swift, we used CP Parking and had priority boarding through our suite booking. It took us less than 20 minutes from arrival at the dock in our car to stepping on board the ship - couldn't have been any easier! Once on board we did find that there was no assistance/help for those new to cruising to know where we should go or what to do! I felt this was the one element of the cruise that was a little bit of a let down. Safe to say we walked aimlessly around for a while before working out where to go. All meals and food were fantastic. We had a mix of breakfasts at the Epicurian, the waterside buffet, the bay tree restaurant and on our balcony. All were wonderful. Lunches were taken at the waterside buffet or the poolside grill / pizzeria. Good choice and plenty available. We had select dining at the 6.30pm slot in the bay tree restaurant where we had the same table for 4 by the window each night. Our waiters Wilson and Suresh were exceptional and brilliant with the children showing them new drawings and tricks each night and serving up the odd extra chocolate treats! Ports visited: Stavenger - we did our own thing here and just took a long walk around the different areas of the town, plenty to see and keep the children busy Olden - amazing sail down the fjord - simply stunning. In Olden we did the beautiful Stryn exursion which was a lovely coach drive through the mountains stopping off at various points for photographs etc. It also included a stop at the national park centre for traditional pancakes, tea and a chance for the children to play at the small beach by the lake. definately our stand out day. Alesund - we did our own thing in the morning climbing the 416 steps to the viewpoint high above the town. Stunning views but be aware it costs once you get up there to enter the viewpoint area with the cafe/toilets etc. In the afternoon we did the exursion to the Atlantic Sea Park - much nicer than the sea life centres in the Uk, but we did find that the 3 hours allocated was a little long - we were done in 2 hours and had to wait for the coach to return. Bergen - biggest port of call and very busy with numerous cruise ships all in dock at the same time. Again we did our own thing and took in the sights of the old shopping quarter the park and lake and the fish/traditional food market. Both children attended the Reef childrens' clubs in the evening - surfers and scubas and had an amazing time, meeting lots of new friends onboard. this enabled us to have time in the evening to relax and take in some of the entertainment on offer. The Beatles experience were fantastic as was the Astonishing magic show. Spice Girls tribute and comedian also good fun! We felt the cleanliness of the ship and attentiveness of staff was excellent throughout. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
Firstly embarkation was a breeze. Turned up early and no hanging about. A porter came over collected our cases and off we went. But if you take a suit bag you have to carry this on yourself. Straight onto the ship, the bars where open the ... Read More
Firstly embarkation was a breeze. Turned up early and no hanging about. A porter came over collected our cases and off we went. But if you take a suit bag you have to carry this on yourself. Straight onto the ship, the bars where open the holiday was well under way, and didn't have to wait ages for the cases to arrive at our cabin. The cabin had plenty of hanging space, coat hangers and comfy a lot of mirrors! I ordered my wife flowers before we got onto the ship and they where there and they have now come home with us and still perfect. Our cabin assistant was called Ana and she is amazing, you could ask her anything and she knows. She works really hard So if your cabin assistant is as good give them some extra they deserve it. Dining. We went for freedom dining, which meant we could go to the Saffron any time between 18.30 and 21.30. If you want a table for 2 be prepared to wait. Otherwise you sit with 6 other people and not the same people.If you are a big eater you will lose weight and it takes 2 hours to eat a 3 course meal. You can however have what you like, so if you opt for the pan fried chicken you can add a steak which I found out on the Friday.I found some waiters little snatchey towards the men, and not too intent on watching butter levels, it was like if its gone its gone. Waterside. Utter chaos little selection and poorly set out. Breakfast was Luke warm and limp. Pastries dry and hard. Lunch very similar BUT go to the beach house the buffet there amazing!!!!Still disorganised but worth it.We had lunch in the Saffron one day which took over an hour and if you order a plate from the menu i.e the cold meat plate that is all you get so don't forget to order your sides. We didn't eat in the specials. when an Indian couple tell you that the Indian restaurant was poor you guess they should know. Drinks Pub prices pints £4,30 wine £5.00 ish Costa coffee £2.60 when you order a drink be prepared to wait it takes a while to get it, usually about 15 minutes although we did wait longer than that when it's busy. We opted for the soft drink pack and consider we saved but everyone is different.If you go for the soft drinks package and order a alcoholic one be prepared for the comment "this is for soft drinks" and you have to explain you know we have to pay for a alcoholic drink. Ice cream Ridiculous price £3.45 for 2 golf ball sized scopes. Burgers and hotdogs from the poolside great Big and juicy cooked fresh and not dripping in grease. condiments though in a large pump vat. Entertainment. We saw 2 good comedians and the Astonish Show which was good. I am not a lover of cruise ship singers so can't judge as it would be unfair. Didn't have much to do with the day time events either. We paid for the use of the Retreat. Adults only a waiter lunch bought up to you afternoon tea of sorts. But be careful as the price isn't fixed and a couple the next day paid £75.00 less and got more thrown in. Overall our expectations of the Ventura was good here are some rough points We had a photo shoot at the same time as another couple, then a private viewing of our photos If we wanted them the price was £1500.00 I can not make this figure look anymore ridiculous the other couple £450 for the same package! Figure that out? Other passengers I am not a snob, How ever I am able to conduct myself in an acceptable manner You will need at times a high tolerance level to endure them from both sides of the coin, and I must point out that the Ventura is a wheelchair friendly ship which although liberating can at times turn into a destruction Darby. Thus paid for the retreat, The attendant in the downstairs perfumery is possibly the most unhelpful person on the ship. All the staff apart from the fore mentioned did work hard and long hours, and sometimes you had to double take as they had changed from working pool side to the restaurants. You could talk to the officers and they interact with ease and it's not a chore, and the Captain is witty. Excursions!!!!! Our experience and others We paid for 2 excursions On 1 we had the misfortune of having someone sit behind us who had been before and wasn't interested. I paid to hear the guide. I have come home not knowing anything about what I saw, but know her family intimately and so does the rest of the coach. Before we set off I noticed that our trip finished at 18.30 but so was the boarding time. I questioned this and was told that there was plenty of time. when we got back to the ship we where thrown on our bags launch onto the X-ray and spoken to like idiots regardless of mobility. If you want to complain the shore excursion desk closes at 18.30!Our second was really nice the coach drivers are highly skilled. Watch the pricing I know you pay to guarantee getting back on board but to be charged to take a child under 6 on the train in Flaam is a bit rich when children under 6 actually travel for free. Other points P and O do black tie nights. Get involved and enjoy then spend the evening people watching many giggles were had.If you don't you can only eat in the Waterfront as widely stated, don't bore others the next day moaning that it was your only option. The scenery is stunning get up early though as you sail through around 4am Sunsets are out of this world. Is it value for money? only you will know. We paid for extras because we wanted to. Their guidelines are their guidelines. the choice stops with you. Norway is expensive. A coffee and a waffle for 2 £13.00(130.00kr)a bottle of coke from £3.00(30kr) Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
This was a family cruise around the Fjiords with frequent cruisers. The boarding was very efficient and our cabin (Superior Deluxe Balcony) could not be faulted when we first arrived. However, the food across the board was below ... Read More
This was a family cruise around the Fjiords with frequent cruisers. The boarding was very efficient and our cabin (Superior Deluxe Balcony) could not be faulted when we first arrived. However, the food across the board was below average. It was below average in general, not just in comparison to the normal standard of cruise food. The buffet was small, cramped and disorganised with limited selection. We ate breakfast in the buffet and restaurant. The selection in the restaurant was very disappointing as each day there was a special which could not be ordered on any other day. i.e. Eggs Benedict could only be ordered on a Monday etc. We ate in the Cinnamon Restaurant every evening and were able to have the same table seating all of us every night. The poor staff are run off their feet from clear staff cuts and do not have enough time for the usual niceties let alone to take orders and serve the food. The food in the restaurant was bland and disappointing on almost every occasion. The desserts were diabolical. The pastry was always uncooked, the panna cotta contained far too much gelatine and had less flavour than a piece of paper. Our cabin was very noisy. Being near an engine room there was a constant rattling. We did complain and were offered to move to an indoor cabin! When we refused to downgrade we were offered ear plugs. However, we were impressed with the size of the cabin and canapes on the Captain's night were a nice touch. Our cabin stewardess was lovely and really looked after us. The entertainment was average and if anything on the tacky side. They could do with more seating in the bar/lounge areas. On the positive, drinks were very reasonably priced in comparison to other cruises we have been on as were the spa treatments. We will not be cruising with P & O again.Yeah Read Less
11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
Family getaway over the Easter hols. Boarding was OK and smooth. Cabin was ok (inside twin with 2 bunks) but too small for four people. Service for food and drink was painfully slow, no fault of the staff, just not enough of them ... Read More
Family getaway over the Easter hols. Boarding was OK and smooth. Cabin was ok (inside twin with 2 bunks) but too small for four people. Service for food and drink was painfully slow, no fault of the staff, just not enough of them for the amount of passengers, of which there were far too many; one couldn't move in any of the swimming pools! We ate in the buffett restaurant, Saffron and cinnamon restaurants and the poolside grill. All food was OK but nothing really stood out, not even on the formal nights; A cheese board consists of 2 tiny bits of cheese and a couple of jacobs crackers! The ship is generally clean and tidy and in a good state of repair. P&O are the Ryannair of the ocean...EVERYTHING is extra! P&O need to stop being so greedy and bring the luxury back to cruising or they wont be around for much longer. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
Had good responses from people using P & O. Having had Cruises with Royal Caribbean & Cunard, we thought we would see how they compared. Firstly, the boarding chaos was never explained by any P & O official. (It took over ... Read More
Had good responses from people using P & O. Having had Cruises with Royal Caribbean & Cunard, we thought we would see how they compared. Firstly, the boarding chaos was never explained by any P & O official. (It took over one hour & 30 mins TO check in). You were left in your car outside the dock for 45 mins WITH NO EXPLANATION before being herded into a chaotic receiving hall where we were given Numbers & told to take a seat (There were none) until your number was called. Cabin & Steward was excellent, & kept spotless during the voyage. Dining was very good in the Saffron Restaurant & waiters were brilliant. We also used the Self-service dining areas which were pleasant & fairly spacious & well staffed; However, the buffet area was quite small & crowded. There are activities but they are fairly low key & mostly appealing to children. One activity in the main Atrium was a display of how to make a Bed in under 2. 30 secs?! This actual drew a sizeable crowd, I think primarily because of disbelief that this could be a judged an 'activity.' People on holiday actually took part! The trips/excursions were a shambles. Oporto was called off because of rough seas, with the Captain sounding less than sympathetic! Spending an extra day in Lisbon. Then two full days at sea?! Until Our visit to Guernsey!! Where to begin... 21/2 hours queue to get a ticket to get into the 'Actual' queue for the Tender. 3hrs.20 mins set foot on Guernsey! Then, a 3-hour queue to come back. You couldn't invent it! The Ventura left 2 Hours later than the original 'back to the boat' They have no concept of how to organize any large gathering & Officers are nowhere to be seen. Finally, 2 hours to disembark! I shall leave the tale of Two ships there. Good Cabins & Good food vs laughable organization skills. I leave you with final Bon-Mot. An Illusionist was booked for the Area theater but couldn't be found? Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2019
This was the first cruise for our daughter and son in law with two children age nine and six. We as grandparents have been on Ventura before. Our daughter was impressed with how smart the ship was and we, since our last trip. have been ... Read More
This was the first cruise for our daughter and son in law with two children age nine and six. We as grandparents have been on Ventura before. Our daughter was impressed with how smart the ship was and we, since our last trip. have been with Royal Caribbean, Princess and Celebrity and agree the ship is not a let down. The family chose an extra large balcony cabin on Deck 9 (D728) and that was great for four people. We had a regular balcony on the same deck (D734) and we faced aft. We gained an extra large balcony, mostly shaded, but when ship was at sea the noise from the wake was loud. We had some moderately rough weather and did feel movement and vibration but nothing outrageous. Cabin service was good, our steward cleared the fridge for our bottles and made regular deliveries of ice and lemon. Breakfasts were delivered on time and accurately when we asked. We mostly ate in the main dining room and food was generally very good, only two or three dishes would have been sent back if we were paying by the dish!! The first formal night, with Captain's reception offering a choice of drinks (not just cheap fizz!!) and a special menu, was as as good as any gala night at sea in seven cruises. The disappointment came when the second black tie event did not have any extras and we chose uninspiring dishes from a rather ordinary menu. Our grandchildren appreciated the children's buffet but our daughter and son in law did not enjoy the atmosphere in the main buffet. Following our experience on the American lines the buffet choice is very limited with three counters of the same offering where as others have much greater variety, including free ice cream. Tables were cleared promptly and it felt clean. Entertainment around the ship was varied and generally of good quality. The entertainment manager took a low profile and we appreciated how this avoided a "holiday camp" atmosphere. Astonishing, the new magic and illusion show is brilliant and definitely as good as anything we have seen. The other acts in the main theatre, however, were aimed at the older age group which was a shame on what was intended to be a family cruise during the school holidays with more passengers under 50 that we have ever seen before. The company production of Burt Bacharach songs was well done, but the other four nights we had two shows from a Rock and Roll Band and two shows from a Tina Turner tribute act (All these dating back to the 1950/60s!!). We were not enthusiastic and our children did not even bother after the first night. There were disruptions from weather and other factors which were handled exceptionally poorly. We had an hour long queue in the car to drop off luggage- never known that before. Then, as ship was late in port and there were gangway problems, everyone was boarding at least an hour late. We were however well informed at this stage and seating was available. In Lisbon we were told the weather was too bad to get into Porto so we were staying another day in Lisbon. That second day we left at 11:30 in the morning and this was very limiting as we knew from the first day nothing was fully open before 10am. We reached Guernsey which we knew was a tendered port but the waits to get off ship were horrendous. It was suggested we join the queue late but it took from 10:45 to 1pm to get ashore. We were watching the queue to get back on the ship from about 3 pm and it was never shorter than an estimated two hours. We joined the last tender and got back to the ship 1h15 after it was due to leave. We spent more time waiting than exploring St Peter Port. We did hear there was an extra tender boat for hire but if this could not be used then there should have been a booking system,even a ballot for the popular times. The port arrangements at Vigo and Lisbon were fine both within walking distance of town. Returning to Southampton there was a delay notified the day before but we still had to vacate cabins by 8am and breakfast finished at 9am. We could not get ashore until ten to eleven but Anthony from the ents staff kept us informed as we waited in a restaurant. Our grandchildren really loved the children's clubs and children's entertainer Josh was excellent, but we would have enjoyed more enrichment for the adults to enjoy the free time. We found the drinks very good value and a meal at Sindhu was excellent. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
Absolutely excellent cruise. Went with my parents and grandma. I'm 16 and love cruising. A great way to get away from the mayhem of a modern Christmas and enjoy a traditional Christmas with grandparents and friends. The itinary was ... Read More
Absolutely excellent cruise. Went with my parents and grandma. I'm 16 and love cruising. A great way to get away from the mayhem of a modern Christmas and enjoy a traditional Christmas with grandparents and friends. The itinary was great despite the first and last days being bitterly cold in the Bay of Biscay. We called at a number of ports: Lisbon (Xmas Eve-warning hop on hop off bus red route great (blue less so)but stops at three on Xmas Eve) , Lanzarote (we did the fire Mountains tour well worth it sutable for all ages as not much walking needed highly recommend esspecially if you have young children or are a person that wants to do something different but can't walk far), Gran Canaria ( hop on bus good but nice just to walk around the streets- old town quite away from ship so shuttle required. Going up the cathedral town is a must...alift is in side), La Palma( mountain hike tour well worth it if your like a good hike. It is down hill but the views at spectacular and there's a cafe at the bottom by a light house which serves excellent canarian potatoes), Tenerife ( went to Siam Park great day out good for all ages something for everyone from little slides to a wave machine to big slides), Madera ( despite the rain it was an excellent day rounded off with the fire works for New year's Eve which were spectacular they definitely didn't dissapoint. We had a berth in Madera so got the best views). Despite what people say P&O still have very high standards all the staff cherry and nothing to much bother . Food excellent a d great variety but some dishes do lack a little flavor. The buffet is small,too small compared to the open plan one on Aurora and Britannia but despite this food variety was good and the afternoon tea and late night snacks good especially the roulard. Hot chocolate is on offer but needs to be asked for. Had breakfast in both venues equally good and on Christmas day they served buxfizz in the main dinner room so well worth going there on the big day. Food variety was a little samey for breakfast but generally good and always served with a smile. Didn't have lunch in the dinning room so can't comment but lunch in the buffet was always different and nice especially the deserts and meat. Our cabin was C518 with a bunk. Excellent service from our steward Sanjo nothing too much trouble and always said hello when he saw us. One little niggle is was a bit small for two adults and a 16 year old son so a superior Dulux is worth it but the bunk was very confy. Balcony very large bigger than cabins above at same price so C deck cabins are well worth it. And extra special treat was meeting our cabin steward from a cruise 18 months ago who remembered us istantly remembering our names and talked with us for a good 40 mins. That's personal service! Our captain was the delightful Andrew Willard whos morning announcement was fab. Over the cruise he worked through the sounds of the twelve days of Christmas and always had a thought for the day. He was obsest with his gesse whos recording kept squaking at the wrong time. Also in Madera and at the peninsula club cocktail party he sarcastically talked about Queen Victoria's Madera disaster which was very amusing as we're all his announcements. Great captain and easy to talk to as he wondered around the ship. Ventura her self was well kept apart from a few areas her decks are nice and you can even walk round the bow on the prom when the wind isn't too high. Some parts of the deck were closed at times but after asking and officer it was for H&S as the wind was too strong to open doors safly and spray was coming on the deck. The other side was open however. Embarking was quick wasn't on priority but were onboard with in 30 mins of arrring at the terminal the quickest emarkation we have ever had. Disembarking was a little slow but were off with in out timed slow. Overall the cruise was great and I and my family would do it again. If you are looking for a cruise for the festive period this is a great trip with warm weather. A cruise not to be mist! And don't believe what people say about p&o they are top class we have sailed on a few other lines and p&o are top of the charts as they are truly British. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2018
Embarkation was quick and we were able to go on the ship straight away, the atrium was decorated with a large tree. Despite very poor weather on the run down to Madeira for 2 and half days, the captain changed some of the evening ... Read More
Embarkation was quick and we were able to go on the ship straight away, the atrium was decorated with a large tree. Despite very poor weather on the run down to Madeira for 2 and half days, the captain changed some of the evening activities. We enjoyed the cruise and ports of call and had booked 2 excursions unfortunately the deep sea fishing was cancelled due to lack of numbers, but was able to book a different excursion. A new excursion was trekking in Lanzarote which was well guided a small group of 11 took part. Our cabin was clean and serviced to a consistent standard, indeed we rarely saw Jay at all. We had booked freedom and as a group of 3 got the same table every night. The waiters were excellent and nothing was to much trouble if you wanted more you just had to ask. Entertainment was the usual mix of headliners and guest stars as seasoned P&O cruisers did not watch many as seen most before. Dancing in the Atrium is a little small and there was always a lack of seating, the hosts were very good and did a good mix of ballroom and sequence dances. The gym has some new equipment installed and was busy at times but there is enough so you can find free kit to use. During the cruise the rear staircase carpet was being replaced, we had no problem with this as it was phased and only 1 side was done at a time, we were also told that the tv system was being upgraded. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2018
This was our second P & O Cruise of 2018 and also our second on Ventura, the last being in June 2017. We selected an 11 night cruise down the West coast of Europe and just into the Mediterranean. As normal we chose to drive to ... Read More
This was our second P & O Cruise of 2018 and also our second on Ventura, the last being in June 2017. We selected an 11 night cruise down the West coast of Europe and just into the Mediterranean. As normal we chose to drive to Southampton from home in Lancashire and set off very early being as it was a Monday sailing expecting heavy traffic. Traffic and conditions were favourable so we had a great trip and having left at 3:45 we arrived in Southampton at 8:30 and this was the only place we met heavy traffic. A walk around the Southampton shopping centre occupied us until we ventured to the terminal at noon and we were soon on board and venturing to the buffet for a welcome lunch after our early start. Cabins were announced as being ready so we made our way to deck 11 and B714 on the port side towards the rear. The cabin was average in size but very comfortable with a small but efficient bathroom. We met Jessica, our cabin stewardess who was excellent in the way she took care of everything brilliantly yes was hardly noticed at all. Once unpacked we decided to check out the ship and look for the recent changes from its partial refit. There was nothing major but all very clean, several new carpets and looking smart and refreshed and almost a copy of the Azura that we had sailed on in June. We had our favoured dining option of freedom dining so generally went for evening G & T’s followed by dinner between 7:45 and 8:30 in the Saffron Restaurant. The food was markedly better than our last trip on Ventura and all of a good standard with reasonable choice. We really prefer to be on a table for two and achieved this every night, we had a few short waits but nothing major. We ate all bar two dinners in Saffron, the other two we opted for the buffet, more for a change than anything else. We breakfasted in Saffron most days and this was always good and very hot. Lunches were taken in a mixture of buffet and Saffron and were all nice. The buffet could be a bit of a scramble sometimes with the ship being full but they kept up well from the kitchens but I must say the set out and lay out of Celebrity ship buffets is better than P & O ships. This time we did not visit and of the ‘pay for’ restaurants as we enjoyed the main dining room so much. We enjoyed all ports, Lisbon where we have visited before was again an excellent choice, the second port was Valencia, a new port for us that was OK, Cartagena was our Sunday port and a really nice city that I would be very happy to return to. The port is just walking distance from town so a very nice change from many port stops. Gibraltar was the next port and the only rainy day of the trip so we did our duty free shopping and decided against a trip up the rock. The final stop was Cadiz but we had pre-booked a ships trip to Seville and we really enjoyed this as one of the nicest cities we have been to in Spain and a host of photos full of memories. We had a sea day for the final day en-route back to Southampton and a gentle sea as we crossed the Bay of Biscay. We availed ourselves of most bars over the cruise but as we are not big drinkers so it was more for a change of scenery than anything else. We enjoyed all the production shows that the Headliners cast put on and were of a great standard. In fact I would go as far as to say this Headliners cast were probably the best we have seen on a P & O ship to date. Bernie Flint still had the audience laughing. In other lounges the entertainment was good but the Cruise Director was a little bland and for me could have been more outgoing without but without the Butlin's style. That said his team worked hard and deserve praise. Normally we book about two months out from a cruise but this time we booked on board to come back to Ventura for a Canaries cruise in November 2019 with the offer of decent on board credit. We did our usual of carrying our own luggage off so we did not have the hassle of sitting around waiting so were off quickly and back home in Chorley for 1pm after a good trouble free drive home. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
We normally sail for around two weeks, and we were worried that 7 days would be too short to enjoy our holiday, however the Ventura did us well. Embarkation was extremely quick with little to no waiting, we were on the ship within 20 ... Read More
We normally sail for around two weeks, and we were worried that 7 days would be too short to enjoy our holiday, however the Ventura did us well. Embarkation was extremely quick with little to no waiting, we were on the ship within 20 minutes or so. The ship is lovely, felt warm and cosy without seeming old or dated, plenty of areas to relax and it never felt crowded in the public areas. The outside pool areas were nice, the pool at the back is very quite and relaxing, and the inside pool (although it got loud during the day) provided shelter when cold and was a nice area. Dining was overall good, but there is room for improvement. The MDR was always up to a great standard, heavy on seafood but pleanty of other choices and some options that always remained the same. Service was good and attentive, and we always left feeling well fed. We ate there 2 times for dinner. We ate there twice also for breakfast, menu was a good size offering plenty and is a good alternative to the buffet (more on that later). We didn’t eat in there for lunch. We ate in the Epicurian twice for dinner, Sindu once and the Beach House once. All were amazing and well worth the extra charge. Sindu was our favourite, meals were unique and creative but tasty and familiar enough to not seem crazy or over the top. Service was incredible and it is a shame we only ate in there once. The Epicurian was also very good, providing a nice fine dining experience. If your looking for a slow, relaxed meal that doesn’t leave you feeling over-indulged then this is the place for you. Food was very creative and tasty which left everyone satisfied with their meal. However as said, service is slow (they cook everything to order) and took around 2 hours, so leave plenty of time. The Beach House was our least favourite (but still very good) and were satisfied eating only once. Portions were huge and very indulgent, so not the right spot if you’re looking for a light meal. Entertainment was repetitive, but what we did see was good and enjoyable. Comedians, shows and live music were the main entertainment. Service was generally good, waiters were happy and friendly (even in the buffet) very attentive (you don’t have to wait long for a drink) and the entertainment crew were funny and enjoyable. Our cabin steward was good, didn’t see much of him but did a very good job and was friendly. We traveled with our teenage child, the activities were good and he made friends, the staff were very lovely and really enjoyed working there. Overall a good cruise, and would possible cruise again. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2018
The embarkation process was smooth, arrived and checked in within 30 mins. Our cabin was indoor, c366 and was as expected. Not a huge amount of hanging space/storage but for a short cruise was adequate. It was a port intensive ... Read More
The embarkation process was smooth, arrived and checked in within 30 mins. Our cabin was indoor, c366 and was as expected. Not a huge amount of hanging space/storage but for a short cruise was adequate. It was a port intensive cruise. We visited Gijon, it was meant to be la coruna but due to poor conditions the port was changed. A nice coastal resort worth walking to park and headland opposite old town. Bilbao we didn’t do an excursion we got the shuttle to town. Did an independent walking tour, took the funicular up for views. Took the metro to areeta, walked back via there to ship 3.5 km - nicer than central Bilbao. La Rochelle was lovely. €9 to enter all 3 towers. Loads of eating choices. No need for excursion if forecast is good. Cherbourg we went to mount st Michael. Our guide was rather eccentric and got only an hours free time after excusing ourselves of his company. Journey was 5 hours. Organised ship excursion and the most disappointing Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
It had been a long held dream to sail to Santorini ................ Unfortunately we did not get to see Santorini or Mykonos on this cruise (the whole reason why we booked the cruise) and of course no one can argue with the forces of ... Read More
It had been a long held dream to sail to Santorini ................ Unfortunately we did not get to see Santorini or Mykonos on this cruise (the whole reason why we booked the cruise) and of course no one can argue with the forces of nature that were blowing through the Greek Islands at that time - but there was no comparable alternative offered. Just an extra day at sea (in the safe knowledge people would spend even more money in the shops/bars etc) Followed by a visit to Sardinian port, on a Sunday, which to all intents and purposes was closed. The half day visit to Gibraltar could have been extended I’m sure but that wasn’t to be. From the moment we came out of hiding in Piraeus, it seemed to be ‘full steam home’. The Captain could have been more communicative throughout this time, although P&O will say that’s NOT what passengers want! We paid five thousand pounds for a very disappointing cruise and for the money P&O must have saved by cancelling three ports and having an extra day at sea, the insult of ‘ a free drink 'with the Captain' in compensation is truly shameful. Entertainment was poor with the exception of a Gary Barlow tribute act. During the day there were all sorts of lectures and seminars which didn’t have universal appeal. Bizarrely, on one occasion, you could have your tongue examined for free in the Spa, along with the usual overpriced ‘treatments’. Unfortunately, P&O appear to have an archaic pseudo class system in place. We paid for our balcony at a higher price than they sell to their preferred 'loyalty' guest and yet because we chose to eat every night in either the Waterfront or Beach House, something as simple as blue cheese was not available unless we were prepared to eat in the Cinnamon which is cramped, noisy and to be honest when we visited The Cinnamon (just the once) the food was tasteless and lukewarm. By comparison, the food at the Waterfront was lovely, always hot and enough choice. The chefs were friendly and approachable and the waiting staff at both venues are absolutely 1st Class - fabulous. If P&O do not have a critical look at themselves and NOT move forward with the times, we feel they could be left with the same reputation as SAGA once had as the 'cruise line for the elderly cruise snobs' because that's exactly the kind of cruise we feel we have just experienced. We are absolutely sure that the time we took to answer their survey following the cruise will have been for nothing. Although P&O seem to have a monopoly on sailings from Southampton, we would think seriously about booking with P&O again. They need to bring their cruises into the 21st century - look at Royal Caribbean and yes even NCL & Marella on which we have had much better experiences. They won't of course, because they probably prefer their elitist, pretentious customer base, of which we are not. We are both professionals and wear uniforms daily and, along with many other passengers, we chose not to dress up in the P & O uniform of black tie on the formal evenings. Subsequently we were ostracized to the Waterfront, which suited us just fine. Everyone we ate with in the Waterfront and Beach House were dressed beautifully for dinner. Not once did we see anyone looking 'under-dressed' or 'scruffy' but the attitude of some of the old regulars towards 'dress code' is incredibly supercilious and snobbish. One ‘gentleman’ ordered a fillet steak on a lava rock – (which you cook yourself) he sent back to the kitchen as he didn’t like the way it was cooked !!! I don’t know how the wonderful staff put up with people like that. We overheard terrible comments being made about guests who chose not to wear black tie - I wonder if those same snobs would be particular if a paramedic and nurse who were not in formal dress might need to attend to them in an emergency ? Shame on P&O for encouraging this archaic attitude. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
The embarkation was reasonably quick after being kept waiting in our car for 15min by a lack of baggage porters. Once on board lifts were a problem due to one on each floor aft end out of order causing unacceptable wait times. The ... Read More
The embarkation was reasonably quick after being kept waiting in our car for 15min by a lack of baggage porters. Once on board lifts were a problem due to one on each floor aft end out of order causing unacceptable wait times. The cabin c631 was clean and tidy although a little drab colour wise, our steward was friendly and helpful. The Baytree restaurant the food was imo predictable nothing to really get you excited , the waiters were very busy indeed often having to run ! around the restaurant . The waterside deck 16 the food at times could only be classed as canteen quality! Drinks onboard were reasonably priced The pool area was very pleasant was always possible to find a sun bed For three nights at £900 for 2 would we book anther Ventura cruise No This was our 3 Ventura cruise after a a gap of 8 yrs standards have dropped . Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
Our family party booked a seven-night cruise of the Norwegian fjords: Southampton - Stavanger - Alesund - Olden/Louen - Bergen - Southampton. Embarkation Brisk and efficient as one would expect with a cruise. We were processed and on ... Read More
Our family party booked a seven-night cruise of the Norwegian fjords: Southampton - Stavanger - Alesund - Olden/Louen - Bergen - Southampton. Embarkation Brisk and efficient as one would expect with a cruise. We were processed and on board the ship within half an hour of arriving at the Mayflower Terminal in a taxi. Ship environment Ventura is a nice ship that is spotlessly clean and obviously very well maintained. However, it's a ten-year old ship and looks a bit tired in places. There is a general inconsistency between areas that have clearly been refurbished and those that haven't had a facelift. The atrium in most cruise ships usually has a bit of a wow factor but the central area of the Ventura is a bit poky and unimpressive. The ship's layout is a tad confusing and finding one's way around was a challenge because you can't walk through parts of certain decks. My overall impression of the ship is that it seemed very crowded with seats difficult to find for entertainment activities and sunbeds hard to secure on the open and sun decks. Food and dining The food and service for dinner in the main Bay Tree restaurant was generally excellent, with only a couple of disappointing dishes served during our stay. The menu completely changed daily and offered a wide choice of starters, main courses and desserts. You could also opt for a choice of soups and salads instead of, or in addition to, the starters and main courses, plus cheese and biscuits at the end of the meal, so it was possible to have a six course meal if you so desired. I personally didn't enjoy or rate the Marco Pierre White menu served on the first black-tie evening (and therefore avoided it on the second formal dress night). The desserts on all menus were a little lacklustre compared to the standards I have seen on other cruises. These are small criticisms though and, overall, the standard of the food was top-notch. Two of our party opted to eat in one of the select restaurants, The Epicuran, on one night and they said the food and service there was excellent. On most days we took breakfast in the Waterside buffet and the food here was very good although the choice was quite narrow compared to other cruises. Some of the serving areas are very limited for space and the layout of dishes was illogical (who on earth puts the fried bread and toast after the eggs?!) resulting in a bit of a scrum at busy times as people tried to dart in and out of different areas to assemble their breakfasts. I liked that the toast was prepared for you so you didn't have to faff about with one of those self-service machines. We got a table without too much effort on each day, even though the breakfast service was very busy. If on board, we usually took lunch or high tea in one of the buffet restaurants. Although the quality of the food was ok, the choice was very limited compared to other cruises and it was all really rather bland and uninteresting. I struggled to find something I fancied on more than one occasion, which was a cruise first for me. There is a poolside grill serving burgers, hot dogs, pizza but it isn't very obvious or well advertised and we didn't actually discover it until the final day. A major downer in the buffet restaurants is that only tea, coffee and water is available at lunch and tea with the juice/soft drink machines deactivated. Presumably this is to encourage people to buy soft drinks from the bar, but it seemed very penny-pinching of P&O. All in all the lunch and tea buffet service was significantly below the standards I expect from a premier cruise line. Drinks The bar areas are generally plush with excellent service, although they could get very busy before dinner. We enjoyed pre- or post-dinner drinks in The Metropolis at the top of the ship with stunning views, the Tamarind, Havannah and the Red Bar at various times. All nice environments for a snifter. Drinks on board were expensive but not outrageously so, and there were plenty of waiters around to take your order wherever you were on the ship. P&O didn't offer any all-in drinks packages (other than to buy a package of a few bottles of wine for dinner) which is another big mark against them in my book. Entertainment / activities I found the entertainment on offer good, both in terms of the shows staged by the in-house performers and the guest acts. In fact, the in-house shows were not far off the standards of a West End show. Guest acts I enjoyed included a comic ventriloquist and Nya King, a brilliant Whitney Houston tribute act. Unfortunately, the main theatre suffered intermittent but persistent technical problems with the stage equipment during our stay, which led to the interruption or cancellation of some shows. There was also a packed programme of activities during the day with plenty of talks, demos, sports, bingo and quizzes. My only criticisim of the entertainment is lack of seating in the main theatre and that the timing of some activities clashed with dinner sittings (why not time some events for 10pm rather than 9.30pm or 9.45pm so that dinner second sitters can go to them?). Pools and swimming The indoor pool on the lido deck was freezing and the jacuzzi hot tubs were tiny with brackish and unappealing looking water. I wish they would reserve a couple of the hot tubs in the main pool areas for adults only as you can't really use them when there are other people's unaccompanied children in them. The outdoor pool on the lido deck and end terrace pool were warmer but very deep for young children. There is an adults only pool by the spa but clearly this is suitable only for parties with no children at all, and it was hardly used by anyone from what I could see. No towels are available at the poolside, but blue bathing towels are provided in the room for use at the swimming pools. No blankets available, either, for the loungers, which I thought was unusual on a cruise ship. Ports and shore excursions We mostly did our own thing as the ship docked close to the main downtown areas of each port. We did one shore excursion, the Loen Skylift, which was superb. We would have booked more shore excursions through P&O but we like to book a day or two before rather than weeks in advance and so trips were either fully booked or had been cancelled due to low numbers. We have never had a problem doing it this way with other cruise lines, but it seemed too difficult for P&O. The shore excursion staff member we spoke to was rather dismissive and was more interested in getting away at the end of his two hour desk duty than to sell us anything. I was amazed as presumably there is a good profit in it for them! Generally, port facilties and embarkation were smooth and we did not encounter any problems. Again, though, P&O is without those nice little touches that you get from other cruise operators, such as a welcome back on ship with ice water and a hot flannel or wet wipe to freshen up, or whatever. Conclusion Overall we enjoyed the cruise very much but I am not sure that P&O will ever be our first choice of cruise line. I just felt that there was too much penny-pinching across the board and, although all these niggles were quite small individually, together they added up to an inferior overall experience when compared to Celebrity, Cunard or Royal Caribbean. A cruise is meant to be something really special, but there were too many areas where P&O don't make you feel particularly special at all. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2018
this was my first and last cruise with p and o drinks very expensive the draft beer tasted discusting ... Read More
this was my first and last cruise with p and o drinks very expensive the draft beer tasted discusting this was like butlins at sea and the bars and public areas were uncomfatable i bought a pint of peronni and it tasted like dish water in the bar in the casino on formal nights there was karioke on as i said this was like butlins at sea. we did set dinning every night and when you came out you was still hungry as the posions were very pitaful the cheese board only had a selection of four cheeses and most times did not contain blue cheese. there were no extra touches on a night in the cabin like you get on other cruise lines. on a afternoon at 5pm you could not get anything to eat as they shut the full area for childrens tea there was three children in there. i would never go with p and o again and i would not recomment them to anyone Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
We are regular P&O cruisers and had a party of 12 for a much and long awaited cruise with family. Embarkation was great and we were excited about the widely reported refurbishment - couldn't find anything different I have to say!! ... Read More
We are regular P&O cruisers and had a party of 12 for a much and long awaited cruise with family. Embarkation was great and we were excited about the widely reported refurbishment - couldn't find anything different I have to say!! Started to unpack and found a used sanitary towel in a bed side drawer - that was awful !!!!!!!. The toilet smelt strongly of urine and so did our daughters cabin on another floor - so this wasnt an isolated issue. The showers overflowed every time we used it and the dreaded awful shower curtains remained - the plastic panelling was also cracked in the shower which cant be hygienic. The cabin steward wasnt friendly nor did he clean the bathroom well each day. The toilet often didnt flush and we difinately hadnt put anything down them we shouldn't. The entertainment was awful at times - a duo - the girl just cant sing - heard better buskers - she was totally disinterested and its an insult to field such poor acts. Pulse was also poor - lead singer. Comedian was poor and we saw the same shows as we have done in the past 2 years - so we missed a few this cruise as we have seen them several times before. The Astonishing Show was great - very professional. Serious sounds were fanbtastic as they have been for the last 2 years - didnt tire of hearing the same act for the 3rd year running !! Entertainment Team unprofessional - had a total disregard for their passengers and seemed to be constantly having in jokes with themselves during their evenings with us - not particularly great to listen to and it got tedious. P and O and definately losing it - their focus is on selling Specialist restaurants and trips on board - if only their energies could be spent on getting the basics right. Having people on Reception who can actually help or communicate effectively once a complaint / issue had been raised. The queue for photos last night was over an hour wait and then when we got to the front desk finally they told us they hadnt managed to sort our order out and to come back later!! Not a great way to have to spend your last night - absolutely no customer care or valuing the passengers what so ever. Very rushed at times at breakfast times - Baytree Restaurant - Toast hard as rock and stone cold. When are they going to sort the milk jugs out the milk spilt all over EVERYTIME they were used. My husband paid £80 to see Marco Pierre White yesterday to watch him cook and to sample his dishes - everyone was fish based (no prior warning) and my husband hates fish so he couldnt try any of Marco's food - which was a massive shame and an expensive 2 hours ! I am so sad that P and O wont be the cruise of choice next time, we feel we cant recommend them to anyone again - we will retry Celebrity / Royal Carribean or Princess cruise liners next time in the hope their focus on the customer care and high standards have remained.. Read Less
11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2018
We chose this short cruise to take our two Granddaughters on to see if they would like a longer cruise with us at a later date. Big mistake!! We have cruised with P&O before and had a great time but this was a disaster. The booking in ... Read More
We chose this short cruise to take our two Granddaughters on to see if they would like a longer cruise with us at a later date. Big mistake!! We have cruised with P&O before and had a great time but this was a disaster. The booking in was fine and the cabins were good but the stewards seemed a little confused! As we moved out from Southampton we became aware that we had booked on a 'booze cruise' with the number of Hen and Stag parties on board. The food in the restaurants for adults was fine but very restrictive for young teenagers.. Evening entertainments were good. We only had one stop at Guernsey but the following morning this was cancelled due to weather and the fact that we needed to transfere by tender. My granddaughters were so disappointed. Had we been informed that transfers were subject to weather we would have booked a different cruise where we would have had a definite berthing so they could enjoy the experience of 'going ashore' We were told by the Captain we would have an enjoyable day at sea. It may have been enjoyable for the parties that dominated the pools and hot tubs but for two young girls it was not. I am not a prude but I don't want them subjected to the language we heard. When we finally got into a hot tub just after 6pm it was littered with half eaten food and half empty plastic drink glasses.At this point the crew started to clear all the sun loungers away so we got out. I do not blame the crew for the mess, this was due some selfish passengers. Final point...dining..It was 'hunt the vacant table' time.We ordered drinks with our meals on three occasions and each time they arrived at the end of our meals.Due to the lack on empty tables it felt we were rushed to eat and leave but all of the catering staff. I know that these mini cruises are used to help train the staff but we paid a lot of money for this trip and were all looking forward to it but at the end both granddaughters said thanks but never again,which is a shame as my wife and I have had good cruises with P&O.If your going to take a mini cruise with P&O then be prepared..( I submitted a request to review the cruise with them and to complain but they still haven't replied to date)..We will continue cruising but not with P&O Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2018
school holidays. 2nd time on Ventura but the lack of coffee machines at the bars is no good for caffeine fans. There us one Costa on level 5 which is so busy one often left due to queues. There are machines in buffet restaurants but ... Read More
school holidays. 2nd time on Ventura but the lack of coffee machines at the bars is no good for caffeine fans. There us one Costa on level 5 which is so busy one often left due to queues. There are machines in buffet restaurants but coffee is often weak I enjoy double shot lattes several times a day. The food is excellent, every restaurant every day but this is only ship I've been on where there id no all inc drinks package. Another deal breaker. Entertainment superb, friendly staff, super ship but lack of coffee machines at bar will not see me return. The breakers sun bar allows smoking outside but only on left hand side. You need to get up there early if you want an outside table. My best cruise by far was with AIDA prima the German cruise liner which is already re booked for next easter. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2018
We were celebrating a significant wedding anniversary. The cabin was fine (we always choose an inside because we sleep better and it is cheaper). The staff on the ship were excellent as was the catering.Entertainment was first class. ... Read More
We were celebrating a significant wedding anniversary. The cabin was fine (we always choose an inside because we sleep better and it is cheaper). The staff on the ship were excellent as was the catering.Entertainment was first class. Points that were not so good. Smoking. There are rules about where but largely ignored by the smokers. Staff not enforcing the rule. In the end we just referred to going out on the open deck as visiting 'cancer corner'! Children. Again rules regarding supervision in and around the ship ignored by some parents but not enforced. The ship. Possible the worst laid out cruise ship I have been on. Even after nearly 2 weeks many passengers were getting lost trying to find places they had visited before. Plus I have never been on a ship that groans and creaks as much as Ventura and we hardly encountered any waves at all on the trip. heaven knows what it would sound like in any type of sea. That and the vibration from the propellers especially the manoeuvring ones which when used for docking the serving staff stand with their backs to the cupboards to stop all the crockery falling out! Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2018
Chose this cruise as we had only been to lanzarote of the Canary Islands before and non of the other ports except Lisbon ( and then only on a business trip) the fact we had been on Ventura before (back in 2010 for our first cruise) and ... Read More
Chose this cruise as we had only been to lanzarote of the Canary Islands before and non of the other ports except Lisbon ( and then only on a business trip) the fact we had been on Ventura before (back in 2010 for our first cruise) and that it had just been spruced up was also an attraction as we would know the ship and hopefully be chilled from the start. This was also the first time our son (16) had had his own cabin, though for the last 6 years we have had Suites on various ships as they worked well for the three of us so we were prepared for some drop in perks etc offsetting the benefit of the fully seperate space. As it turned out the perks loss was no big deal as they are pretty thin on the ground with P&O anyways we did not mi. Boarding was quick and easy, we arrived about 30 mins before our allotted time but were on the ship before it having hardly sat down before our letter card was called. So other than a couple of hours on board, we did not miss the priority boarding. Breakfast in epicurean was missed as it would have been great to welcome the day on the external terrace but the MDR breakfast was ok ( Note that Bay Tree seems to be less crowded and a slightly better atmosphere for breakfast than Saffron - not sure why) Entertainment was a bit hit and miss but that is situation normal for us. We saw a couple of very good headliners shows, an excellent Adele tribute, an interesting cocktail pianist with the most individual timing and the worst duo we have ever seen on a ship. The latter were however so bad it was amusing. The chap was not a bad guitarist but his patter was like the worst of a local radio DJ and his partner was the most disinterested detached performer I have ever witnessed. She always looked like she was on the point of yawning. The music was so weak and laid back and the repertoire was seriously odd. When one night in Metropolis they suddenly broke into AC DC’s ‘highway to hell’ I honestly thought I had fallen asleep and was dreaming it. The mix of bars and performance spaces is good though it was a mistake to reduce the size of the Exchange (pub) to add cabins since our last trip as this space is clearly more popular and hence crowded by the mostly British clientele than the Glass House on the deck above which was often empty despite the excellent wines and food on offer. The pool areas were always crowded and this was exacerbated by the windy conditions which often caused the upper sun decks to be closed. We retreated to a combination of our balconies ( which the steward opened up to connect) and the Retreat which my wife had booked along with some spa treatments. The mix of ports was good though 12 days is an odd period and it would have been nice to throw in another Spanish or Portuguese or even a channel island port to pad it out to 14. Crew and service were almost all excellent with the exception of one rather grumpy sommelier. The drink prices especially the wine are very reasonable compared to other cruise lines and although it was disappointing to see that all of the room service menu was now chargeable generally the on board additional cost items including the speciality restaurants were reasonable. We tried Sindhu and Epicurean and whilst they do not quite have the atmosphere of those on Britannia ( possibly due to the fact that the decor has been adapted from the original fit outs rather than refitted) the food was excellent and the service very good. Generally we found the MDR food pretty good at dinner given the banquet nature of the cooking and the freedom dining and our willingness to share tables led to some great and often hilarious conversation over dinner. Thanks to all that we shared with! We never had to have a pager throughout the cruise which is a major advantage of being willing to share a table. ( at lunch the food was less successful and they would be better concentrating on salads and light bites similar to those in the Glass House rather than a traditional three course meal which boardered on school dinner standards at times). It’s always difficult to go back to any hotel or ship where you have had a great time in the past and as Ventura was the first ship we ever sailed on, and which triggered a year after year cruising habit since, then it was never likely to come up to the heady standards of our first cruise. Overall though we had a great time and would return to Ventura again for the right itinerary without much thought. It’s a very easy ship to enjoy. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2018
I have previously sailed twice on Princess ships and thoroughly enjoyed the experience and the holidays. We chose this P&O cruise as the dates were ideal and it was a short break away from work to visit some new places. As cruise ... Read More
I have previously sailed twice on Princess ships and thoroughly enjoyed the experience and the holidays. We chose this P&O cruise as the dates were ideal and it was a short break away from work to visit some new places. As cruise holiday expectations are a completely personal thing, I will instead run down some of the good bits we loved about the cruise and some bits we thought could be improved on. Good stuff: Embarkation was smooth and pretty quick! Didn't have to wait in a long queue with the number system they used. The cabin (D514) a deluxe balcony room, was fantastic. Well cared for, tidy and spacious. The balcony was large and the bed very comfy. The bathroom seemed much larger than on Princess, with a bath. The cabin steward Edwin was good, and seemed to work incredibly hard each day. Dinner was fantastic every day in the Bay Tree restaurant (more on this topic to come). The waiters were pretty good and friendly. A wide range of options each day and everything cooked perfectly. Excursions: we did a couple of P&O shore excursions which were well organised, and enjoyable. Catered for young and old with a good range of options for different interests. We particularly enjoyed the Tapas Trail in La Coruna which was brilliant. Speciality restaurants: Sindhu was a lovely choice for a meal at dinner time, with a friendly waitress and plenty of food for your money. Tasty and interesting without being too "out there". Epicurean was good for people with an adventurous streak... Drinks were reasonably priced and there was a good range of choices for both alcoholic drinks and soft drinks. Tasty cocktails and we liked the "wine flights" in the Glass House as a way to try different wines relatively cheaply. Not so good, but could be improved: Food at breakfast and lunch in the main dining rooms (Bay Tree or Saffron) was poor - it was certainly not at the same standard as the dinner meals. Breakfast seemed to be identical to that served in the buffet, and lunch was a little bit like school dinners. The afternoon tea could have been nicer if we weren't all squashed into a tiny section of the dining room. The amount of things which were not included in the fare was very different to the other cruises I have been on - ice cream at the poolside is not included in the fare, nor are cakes/biscuits at the costa cafe. Room service is also chargeable on P&O. This ship felt very crowded from the outset. On the website it says the capacity is 3078 guests, however we found out at the end of the cruise that we had sailed with nearly 3400 guests on board - a lot more people squeezed in! Entertainment was a bit hit and miss on this cruise - we weren't that excited by the theatre shows but the comedy act Mark Walker was really good. There were not many onboard activities which were not aimed at families and children, with only a few quiz type things on offer for adults. The music around the pool, although varied, was incredibly loud - could hear the ship for miles when at port! The coffee shop was a bit of a nightmare as they were not really set up to handle both sit down customers and those looking to grab a takeaway coffee - the waiters and staff got confused easily about who was waiting to order etc so queues of people formed pretty quickly. They need to decide whether they only want sit down customers, or only want takeaway ones in that small space. Decor on the ship was nice, however it didn't seem to have a common theme running through. Some areas looked really plain and others were lovely. The Glass House was the nicest spot we thought, with the Metropolis bar also a nice place to relax. On the whole this was an enjoyable cruise, with a heavy emphasis on families and children (even though it was outside of school holiday time). Would sail with P&O again on either an adults only ship, or for a longer cruise to get more of a quieter time. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2018
We chose this cruise for the destinations. We stayed in Southampton for a few night previous to the cruise to get over jetlag. Getting to Southampton is not the easiest we have done and was very laborious. We did not need transfers to ... Read More
We chose this cruise for the destinations. We stayed in Southampton for a few night previous to the cruise to get over jetlag. Getting to Southampton is not the easiest we have done and was very laborious. We did not need transfers to the port as we had a car. The ship was a great ship, one of their medium size ships. The cabins are very similar to Princess ships, although you are able to have a kettle in your cabin which is fantastic. The activities on the ship were better than most, but the entertainment was not as good and could be improved. The ports are the reason that we picked this cruise. The shore excursions were also better than most. The dining to me was more refined and what cruising dining in the dining rooms should be. The service was outstanding. The staff were very helpful. Embarkation and dis-embarkation was a breeze and very easy to do, wish they were all like that. 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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