1. Home
  2. Cruise Lines
  3. P&O Cruises
  4. Ventura Review
  5. Ventura Cruise Reviews

6 P&O Cruises Ventura Cruise Reviews for Family Cruises to Mediterranean

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
Sail Date May 2018
We chose this cruise as we were travelling with an extended family group (9 in total including 3 children) and wanted to depart from Southampton and visit somewhere sunny with beaches. I travelled with my husband and our children (age 1 ... Read More
We chose this cruise as we were travelling with an extended family group (9 in total including 3 children) and wanted to depart from Southampton and visit somewhere sunny with beaches. I travelled with my husband and our children (age 1 and 2), my parents-in-law, and my sister-in-law, her partner and son (age 10). We have cruised many times but it was a first cruise for the rest of the group. We booked a Superior Deluxe Balcony cabin (DE) almost a year in advance on a Select fare, and 2 weeks before our departure noticed on the cruise personaliser that our cabin had changed - to a family suite (BE)! With much excitement we frantically researched suite perks and butlers as had never travelled in a suite before. The rest of our group were in standard balcony cabins. Priority embarkation was brilliant, we arrived at the terminal, used CPS for parking, and were directed straight into a VIP area to wait to board (coffee and cake provided), however within seconds of arriving we were immediately directed through security and straight onto the ship. We went to a priority boarders lunch in one of the main dining rooms, received a glass of fizz and chose a light lunch from a small but tasty buffet selection. It was very calm and a pleasant start to our holiday. We then went to find our cabin and were thrilled to find it was double the size of the DE cabin we had booked, and basically had an inside cabin set within its footprint which we used for our two children. The suite gave us 2 bathrooms and double the usual amount of storage in a regular cabin, which was fantastic for all the baby clutter we had with us. There was also a large lounge area with 2 sofas and a double size balcony. We have sailed Ventura twice before (in a balcony and a superior deluxe balcony) but always aft to mid ship. The family suite was however right at the front and we felt far more movement than we were used to, the only disadvantage of our otherwise very lucky upgrade. the balcony furniture banged and rattled against our doors in the bad weather as we sailed down through the Bay of Biscay. We then enrolled our children for kids club, our daughter was old enough to go to Splashers (age 2-4) and we signed both up for night nursery - however never used it in the end. It turned out that our daughter absolutely loved her club and spent a couple of hours there most days, usually whilst our son napped, giving us some free time either to relax in the cabin or on the balcony, or for family to babysit so we could go out and about. We were impressed by how many hours a day the kids club was open, but think this was just due to it being a school holiday cruise. My nephew enjoyed his age group's club too and the evening sessions there let his parents drop him off after dinner and have some grown up time in the bar and at shows etc. The ship had just had a refit when we boarded, with carpets replaced, some soft furnishings changed and a refresh of the shops. This smartened the ship up and it seemed in good shape and looked cleaner and tidier than when we had last sailed on her 4 months earlier. The only negative change was that the interactive TV function to check bills and order room service had gone. We had freedom dining however went for dinner about 6pm every day as a large group. We were very well looked after in the main dining room by very friendly and accommodating waiters, we asked to be seated in the same area every night as these staff looked after us so well. We hardly used the buffet on this cruise as we found it too hectic and tricky to navigate with 2 toddlers and a buggy. As suite guests we were able to have breakfast in the fantastic Epicurean restaurant each morning which was such a treat. Top notch service and cooked to order food in a beautiful and calm setting. The only select dining restaurant we used was Sindhi, once for a romantic dinner for two and on the last day for a special lunch for the 4 of us. Both were excellent and we really enjoyed the food and were well looked after. Our room steward was also excellent and coped with all our mess so well. The butler however did not seem to do much, we just saw him once every evening when he brought us canapes, menus and milk for our children. As we were travelling with our young children we didn't really see any of the entertainment or make use of many facilities on board, other than Splashers, the Nursery where we played with our son each day, and one afternoon we managed a soak in the hot tub by the adult only spa pool whilst we were child free. We played in the casino a couple of times and Metropolis was our favourite spot for a drink day or night due to the great views. We didn't book any excursions and only used the shuttle buses in Madeira and Lisbon, both fast and efficient, with no queues by the time we left the ship after a late breakfast. In each port we just went for a walk, visited a beach, had an ice cream and found a playground. It worked well for us and made it a cheap trip! We would then get back on board for a late lunch. We loved the idea of pizza by the pool but the pizza was very disappointing. To conclude, the suite was an amazing upgrade, although the location not very desirable. The ship suited us well as a family, and we will be sailing Ventura again in November due to a great price on a Spain & Portugal itinerary. Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
I don't normally leave reviews, but feel that I need to on this occasion for the benefit of first time cruisers like ourselves. After booking our cruise from Southampton to Gurnsey, Portugal and Spain I went online to read reviews ... Read More
I don't normally leave reviews, but feel that I need to on this occasion for the benefit of first time cruisers like ourselves. After booking our cruise from Southampton to Gurnsey, Portugal and Spain I went online to read reviews and comments...I wish I hadn't as I felt quite disappointed and nervous due to the negative comments and complaints. I guess some people are hard to please and can find fault with anything....my nervousness was immediately put to rest from the moment we boarded Ventura. The embarkation ran smoothly and P&O were very organised and professional with every attention to detail covered. Once onboard....wow..wow..wow!!! Our balcony cabin was compact but offered everything we needed for a good nights sleep...there was too much going on to stay in there for long periods of time. Although we cruised in the school holidays, the children aboard were kept busy in the clubs and the swimming pool areas were never too much of a problem. The days at sea were obviously busier but never over crowded which I thought they may have been. All swimming pools and swimming pool areas were immaculate and despite other reviews, there were plenty of sun loungers to be found just not always in the busier and more popular spots. All the staff could not do enough for you, courteous, polite and always checking that you had everything. Our cabin steward was incredible...Manoj....thank you. We chose freedom dining and eat at the buffet style restaurants all week. The variety and choice of food was outstanding (24 hours every day). I think at times I did notice small queues for the waiter service restaurants, but you were provided with an electronic pager and beeped once your table was ready. We used room service once which was perfect and came with some lovely little touches. The port stops were nice, but unfortunately for us the weather was not. We only had one sunny day in Lisbon. Due to the poor weather conditions we were unable to stop at Gurnsey and our crossing over the Bay of Briscay was very choppy. I must admit I didn't like that too much. I cannot comment on the shows or films as we chose to retire early most evenings. I enjoyed the Spa resort, the prices were competitive to salons in the UK. The shops were adequate and offered a nice variety of goods. We were able to view our online account 24/7 on our TV in our room, this was settled very easily on the last night by the card which had been registered on the embarkation day. I could go on, and on .....I'm just so glad that we had this amazing experience which will stay with us forever....thank you P&O and Ventura. 2 travelling adults and 1 teenage son (17 yrs) Read Less
Sail Date August 2015
OMG!! I LOVED THIS CRUISE!!! This is our third cruise line company, having previously experienced Carnival and Royal Caribbean, it was SUCH a delight to board a luxury ship aimed at the British customer. UK airport check in was smooth and ... Read More
OMG!! I LOVED THIS CRUISE!!! This is our third cruise line company, having previously experienced Carnival and Royal Caribbean, it was SUCH a delight to board a luxury ship aimed at the British customer. UK airport check in was smooth and painless with a P&O Rep to quickly guide us through. The plane was sub-contracted specifically for the cruise passengers, so everyone onboard was excited to be experiencing the same holiday, especially as you can see the ship as you come in to land, (if you are lucky enough to be seated on the right hand side of the plane). Transfer from Venice airport to the cruise port was reasonably swift, and a fairly easy check in and embarkation. You are immediately bombarded by the cheery photographers who constantly take your photos throughout the cruise, (bless them they have a job to do). Luggage delivery to the cabin was slow, but gives you plenty of time to explore the unbelievably amazing ship. We had 7 days to explore, and still didnt see everything. To be really honest, I actually cant find anything negative to say about this cruise. The food was completely amazing, truly delicious, varied and plentiful. The chefs and Maitre D are so helpful if you have an allergy and make every effort to provide safely prepared dishes every night. ALL the public areas are immaculate, with staff constantly (but discreetly) tidying, painting, cleaning. The decor is beautiful, the evening entertainment is superb, all British entertainers. The 4Tunes quartet were West End quality, dance shows great, and two fantastic northern comedians, we almost split our sides laughing. Daytime entertainment is really good, you have GOT to participate in the sail away party, that really is a blast. Loads of shore excursions to choose from, (a bit pricy but that's standard on cruises). Staff are so helpful and happy, nothing is too much trouble. Cabin was kept immaculate and was of a high standard. Fortunately we only encountered one rough night where there were a lot of poorly tummies onboard! Provisions were made for these people and any mess swiftly cleared up!! I was SOOOOOO pleased with P&O, compared to the majority of other ships that are much more focused on American passengers, that I booked another P&O cruise whilst onboard for the new Britannia launching next year. All in all, a fabulous holiday, cant wait til next year! Well done P&O. Read Less
Sail Date July 2014
I have cruised once before on Ventura and I had just as good a time this year. On my previous cruise I had a deluxe balcony cabin which was great but this time I was in an inside cabin. I was apprehensive but it proved to be no problem. ... Read More
I have cruised once before on Ventura and I had just as good a time this year. On my previous cruise I had a deluxe balcony cabin which was great but this time I was in an inside cabin. I was apprehensive but it proved to be no problem. In fact, I slept better than I usually do because it is so dark and cosy. If you book an inside cabin DO NOT book cabin C621. This was my first cabin and it is next to the main air conditioning unit for the whole ship. The room had a noisy vibration which came through the walls. I was lucky that someone else's misfortune at having to leave the cruise meant that I could change cabins. The staff were great and they moved all our "stuff" whilst we were round the pool. We chose Freedom dining and it worked fine. We were in the Cinnamon Restaurant and went around 7 to eat and never had to wait. If you can get table 33 go for it. The waiter is fantastic. His name is Sunil and he Could not do enough for us. My Granddaughters enrolled in the children's clubs but they loved the pool so much they didn't go to any events. Entertainment is variable. The Arena show was superb but it is only 50 mins. The Tribute acts were good but some of the other acts were mediocre. Drinks are reasonable with no surcharge as the American cruise liners add on. When we docked at Naples we took the Hydrofoil to Capri. Very easy but expensive at 40 €. Dubrovnik was magic and easily reached by bus. Venice was superb. Use the tender from the ship 15€ each as it costs the same at the quay side. We took a Gondola trip. It is 80€ wherever you catch it. It is a set price. The only problem is, is that in July it is mad busy and it is not very romantic to be in a line of tens of other Gondolas. Still a must do! Just remember that with four ports of call in seven days this is not a "restful" holiday but Dubrovnik and Venice are now off my Bucket list.   Read Less
Sail Date July 2014
Having read the previous review of the same cruise by Rakugoka I find it fascinating to see just how subjective a review can be, as it is clearly based upon one's own experiences, but of a similar event. Anyway, this was our first ... Read More
Having read the previous review of the same cruise by Rakugoka I find it fascinating to see just how subjective a review can be, as it is clearly based upon one's own experiences, but of a similar event. Anyway, this was our first P&O experience, and the beginning could be seen as a good start, or a bad one, depending on how you look at it. To ensure your baggage arrives at your appointed cabin P&O very kindly e-mail you a label to attach to your case(s). As these labels are not of the type you would see attached at the baggage check-in at the Airport, we felt there was a risk of them becoming detached during the handling of our suitcase at either Birmingham or Genoa (or in-between) and so had intended to sellotape them to the bags once we collected them at Genoa. However, we had not been made aware that, once the bags were deposited at Birmingham check-in, we would not be expected to see them again until they were delivered to our cabin and so missed the opportunity to attach our labels indicating our cabin number. Several anxious hours ensued upon arrival at the ship, and many visits to Reception, to seek reassurance that our 'unlabelled' bags would still find their way to our cabin. Fortunately, they did eventually turn up and so, relieved, we then settled in for our departure form Genoa. The other point of annoyance from a P&O novice point of view was that it was nowhere clearly stated that, in fact, the transfer from Genoa Aipoprt to the ship was included. After much searching and deliberation on Cruise Critic we had decided to get a Taxi from the Airport to the ship, only to find in fact, the organisation was so good, they had actually laid on a bus, which was brilliant, but so glad we hadn't booked a private transfer as this would have been a waste of money. I suppose, in a nutshell, it would have helped considerably if the P&O cruise personliser had made these points more clearly. I would concur with the previous reviewers observations regarding the check-in process at Genoa, with a single line having to pass the photographer, and you could clearly see that the 20 or so check-in staff were never fully utilised, meaning the photo process was causing a bottleneck. Many people chose not to have their picture taken but nonetheless still had to run the gauntlet of staff trying to 'persuade' you to have your picture taken (which was later for sale at over £14 but they didn't tell you this at the time!). It would have been much more efficient to separate the queues into 2, for those wanting their photo taken and those that did not but, I suspect, this may have resulted in a significant lost opportunity for P&O to try and tease a bit more cash out of you, as it would be quite likely far less people would have gone down the photo op queue than by their current method. So, having settled in to our cabin, met our brilliant Steward Iris, and eaten all the chocolates which greeted us, we set-sail. There was also a bottle of Champagne in our cabin, which we struggled to decide what to do with, as we're both not particularly fond of the stuff. We had booked a Balcony Cabin which was superb. Very well appointed, nice balcony, very clean, and was made available to us ahead of the scheduled 4pm. Iris (male by the way) was superb, very friendly; helpful and efficient, and never showed any problems with the daily clean, or evening turn-down. On previous cruises we had become used to niceties such as the customary folded towel animals on our bed on one or more evenings but this didn't happen on this cruise. Don't know if this is by design on a P&O cruise, or just that Iris's artistic side wasn't up to it. This isn't a complaint by the way, just an observation. We had also selected the Freedom dining package, meaning we could attend our appointed Restaurant any time during the evening 'window' and, being the anti-social type we are, always requested a table to for 2 as opposed to sharing. One each occasion we were advised we would have to wait, and were handed a pager to notify us when our table was ready. Most times this was a very short wait, and were quickly seated at our table. The food, we found, was excellent, both on the 'Classic' menu (which stayed the same throughout) and the alternative menu which varied from day to day. I would say that, of the thing you would note as standing out, would be that everything was supremely efficient'. 2 of the nights were designated as Black-Tie which, as people that prefer not to partake of these, we were forced into the option of either using one of the themed Restaurants (at an additional cover charge), or to take advantage of the Buffet style restaurants on the Lido Deck. Unfortunately, P&O chose to make all of the Buffet Restaurants themed also, on these nights (one being a Thai night, and the other a Curry night). As we were keen on neither we felt the only option was to attend a Restaurant at additional cost. We chose the Glass House on both occasions, which was excellent, but we once again felt, the 'system' was designed to encourage you to spend your cash as, to us, it would have made more sense to split the themed offerings in the buffet restaurants to a night which was different from the Black-Tie night, or at least still provide a normal buffet service in one or more of the 4 buffet restaurants. At each port, there were a number of excursions on offer. We only took one excursion, to Pisa, to see the Leaning Tower, but we opted to book one on-line from crusingexcursions.com which was around half the price of the P&O one, and still with an excellent guide, and the bus returned us directly to the ship. The cabins (or 'State Rooms' as they like to call them) are provided with a flat screen TV (2 in our cabin) which has channels devoted primarily to P&O sales, news (BBC and Sky) and Sky Sports News. There is a channel where you can purchase movies at around £2 each, or a small selection of TV shows which were free of charge. There is also an interactive service, where you can order room service, view your account etc, and also receive messages. Rather annoyingly, if there are messages waiting, you are forced into reading these before you can progress onto viewing any TV channels. On 2 occasions, were advised 'you have 5 web mail messages waiting for you' which, if you clicked on this, you were then taken to a screen advising you take out a subscription for their internet access (e.g. £35 for 90 mins) before you can view your web-mail. I personally felt this was misleading and, potentially, dishonest, as P&O could not actually KNOW you had e-mail messages waiting, and this was just a ploy to get you to buy their internet services. I also not, regarding their Internet Service, they offer it with a caveat that you shouldn't expect it to be very quick, as it is accessed via satellite. To me, this is akin to offering you meal in a restaurant for £20 but don't expect it to be very good! - If it's not a 'good' service, then it should be offered free-of-charge. Overall, we had a wonderful experience, the ship was very clean, well appointed, and the staff, whilst not always falling over themselves to go the extra mile were however, always pleasant and, once again, I feel compelled to use the word 'efficient'. I would say P&O's emphasis was on efficiency, as opposed to customer service. We were constantly left feeling like they wanted us to buy 'extras' which is understandable, to a limit but, somehow, we just felt as thought they were continually trying to extract just a little bit more, all of the time. Despite the little niggles, as previously described, we would seriously consider going back to P&O, but not to the same ship.   Read Less
Sail Date April 2014
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

Find a Cruise

Easily compare prices from multiple sites with one click