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37 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2016
Looked into cruising a little, but always felt daunted by it. Took the plunge based on the rights dates and great last minute price. To give an idea of what type of travellers we are, We are a married couple, both 37, who enjoy good food ... Read More
Looked into cruising a little, but always felt daunted by it. Took the plunge based on the rights dates and great last minute price. To give an idea of what type of travellers we are, We are a married couple, both 37, who enjoy good food and wine, sightseeing and relaxing on holiday. We travel anywhere from traditional Spanish resorts, to Bali and Malaysia and skiing. Here's a list of what we thought. Travelling from and to Southampton was brilliant. There was a wait of around an hour to get on the ship, but so easy once checked in. We used the recommended car parking company and it was so simple, like meet and great. We chose self disembarkation. This is not really explained well, but basically means you leave before 8.45 in the morning. I.e. Before the hoards of people enter the massive luggage claim area to try and locate their luggage. Breakfast is best in the main restaurants, but only served to 9 on port days and 9.30 on sea days. The buffet is ok for breakfast, but of lower quality. I'd avoid the buffet at any other time, it's ok but there are so many better places. Not a lot was explained to you. Being a new cruising puts you in the minority. Thus, ask, read the horizon guide each night and explore the ship fully in your first day or so. We found food in the main restaurant bland other than on gala nights. They are catering for a mass market after all. It was very good, but needed seasoning, herbs, spices etc. The additional paid for restaurants are wonderful, and good value. Yes, you can eat for no extra cost, but for a feeling of going out for a meal, they are great. Service is quality and there is not the noise and bustle of a mass catering environment. The glass house is fabulous, a must try. They do wine flights, 3 x 125ml wines for around £10 or £11. Lots of different ones to try. The tapas plates are brilliant. Sihdu was also very good, with scallops and lobster on the menu. The beach house is a great American BBQ style, and excellent value. You get more generous portions in the paid for restaurants. Note, the glass house do a tasting menu with wine paring for £30 a head. This is something not advertised until the day before in the horizon magazine. However, all regular cruisers know about it, as they rush to reception to book as soon as they get on board. I don't blame them, but unfair of P and O not to advertise in advance so us new people can also get a chance to try. Other restaurants and events are easily booked on board, and some you can't book anyway. We never had a problem. Good tip, the glass house serves food till 10.30 ish, an hour after all other restauarants. There is so much entertainment, you have to pick what you want to do. Most is duplicated in the evening, at 8.30 and 10.30, which for us seemed too early to have finished dinner then go, and too late to always go after dinner. However, most things last 45 mins to an hour. Have a run around on the first night or two and work out what you like. We like live bands and music more than the shows, so planned accordingly. The live bands were very very good. There were two comedians on our cruise. One was brilliant, the other ( who has been doing the cruises since i was born) was awful, clearly the material is getting a little tired. Cabin (balcony) was bigger than I expected. However, it had a sense of the hospital room about it. Wiped down walls, plastic moulded work tops, bad pictures on the wall. The bed was comfy. The to was awful. News channel and that was it. Loads of films to watch but the to was so bad, the picture and sound was not good. There is free room service, which is good quality and fairly speedy to arrive. Shower is powerful. There is a full size bottle of white company shower gel attached to the wall, plus 100ml size of white company shampoo, conditioner and lotion. I'm sure you can ask for more if needed. The ship itself was impressive due to size. Some public areas were canteen like or reminded me of bars in Benidorm hotels. Other areas more elegant, such as the glass house, art gallery and metropolis bar. Something for everyone so you just find what you like. Getting on and off the ship was easy. We experienced a queue only when you had to use the shuttle bus, but it was only 20 minutes or so. Going from Southampton means you can take on drinks etc with you and keep in your fridge, just top up at each port. Drinks on board we brilliant. Extremely good wine list and all low prices, cheaper than in the uk. About £17 gets you a great bottle and most were in that region, rather than one or two then loads at higher prices. Cocktails about £5.50 to £6.50. The vast majority of men are in black bow tie for gala night. I dont think I saw a standard suit. However, there are areas you can dress casual ( the buffet). At other times though, this is not a posh ship. You get the odd one or two people who do dress up every night, but most people are casual or wearing what you'd expect for a normal meal out somewhere. Pools are all heated, which is fab. The two in the middle were usually busy and noisy. The adult only was closed the whole time we were on board, which is disappointing. There is a big mix of people. Apologies if I offend any regular visitors here, but I want to be honest. There are a lot of very old people, who would not look too out of place in a care home ( a cruise is cheaper), there are a lot of people who are less able (both medically and die to size), which could be due to being no fly. There were a few families and kids were all well behaved. Couples like us were in the minority, with most resembling our parents (daily mail in one hand, free glass of prossecco in the other). Spa treatments were good, but overpriced compared to uk, and come with a heavy sales pitch to buy products and Botox. Excursions were overpriced compared to what you get in port, but come with the safety net of not missing the ship. If the shuttle is paid for, generally means you don't need to use it unless you fall into one of the categories I've described above. I thought bingo and the race night were pricey ( no, not our usual sort of thing, but we'd thought we'd try it, especially with a last minute extra sea day due to rough weather). Every member of staff is brilliant. Genuinely helpful and happy. Not pushing for tips. Always there to offer you a drink or help, but not pushy. A real asset to P and O. Everything is cash free. You can even gamble and charge to your room ( dangerous). You cannot add tips on to any bill, so would need cash. That said, we saw zero people tipping. We decided to in the paid for restaurants though. The gym is large, but the equipment is not great quality. Runners were about usable. Cross trainers very light weight. It was also very hot! Overall, we loved visiting several cities we wouldn't have gone to otherwise in one holiday. It's wonderful to arrive in the port, go on a ( self organised) walking tour, stop for lunch, then hop back on the boat. Being on the ship was relaxing in itself, as you can't go anyway so just sit back and relax. The good and drink was excellent, which we like. The entertainment was great. People watching may not have been exactly what I was expecting, but it's good to know cruising is not always a stuck up affair. We will do a cruise again, and would use p and o and other similar lines. Read Less
17 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2016
Having perused the reviews before we left, I was a bit unsure as to whether my best mate had made the right choice for this one......How wrong I was!!!! A fantastic ship, with the staff being more than helpful, even when I had an ... Read More
Having perused the reviews before we left, I was a bit unsure as to whether my best mate had made the right choice for this one......How wrong I was!!!! A fantastic ship, with the staff being more than helpful, even when I had an accident and ended up in a wheelchair for the weekend! The food and service for the whole duration, was second to none, and the prices were more than reasonable. Our check in was swift and slick, and nothing was too much trouble for our cabin steward. I stayed in a balcony room (5th deck, I think) and it was immaculate from start to finish. Didn't go ashore in Bruges, as I've been there before. Still, plenty to do on board. Disembarkation was smooth, and the food was excellent! It shows that the ship has undergone a major refurb since 2013, and I wouldn't hesitate to go again. Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2016
This was our first cruise and we were both nervous and excited about our trip from Southampton to Bruges on P&O Ventura. Below is our review and some of the things that we would do differently should we decide to do another cruise that ... Read More
This was our first cruise and we were both nervous and excited about our trip from Southampton to Bruges on P&O Ventura. Below is our review and some of the things that we would do differently should we decide to do another cruise that may be useful to other fist time cruisers. Parking and transfers - we used ACP (Alternative Cruise Parking) and the service was excellent from start to finish. All questions that we asked prior to arrival were responded to promptly. Upon arrival we parked our car and was on our way to the Cruise terminal within 10 minutes. The driver offered lots of useful information as well as trying to put nervous 1st time cruisers minds at rest. We were told when we got back and dis-embarked to call the office number and a vehicle would be there to collect us within 15 minutes and that was exactly what happened. Upon arrival back at the car park the lady that we dealt with (Sue) seemed genuinely interested as to how we got on. What a pleasure to deal with a company that actually delivers on it's promises. We would have no hesitation in recommending ACP to friends and family. Arrival and embarkation at the Mayflower Terminal Southampton - Our arrival time was 3pm and we arrived at 12:30pm. This was our first mistake as we sat for 2 hours having to listen constantly to a women making announcements every couple of minutes which although might be necessary did get on our nerves! Lesson learnt next time we will aim to arrive close to our embarkation time. Drinks and toilets were available in the "holding area". Cabin - once on board we arrived at our room to find our cases were already at the door. We had a balcony cabin on deck 12 situated in the mid aft section of the ship which was quiet with no noise from the above deck. The living / sleeping area was nice with plenty of storage space for clothes a decent sized safe and a very comfortable queen size bed. The balcony was nice with good quality recliner chairs and a table. The bathroom was disappointing. The shower was very small although the water pressure was good and always hot. The worst part was every time we lifted the seat on the toilet we were greeted with an unpleasant smell of stale urine. A special mention to our Cabin steward who kept our cabin spotlessly clean and tidy, thank you. Emergency Drill - Due at 16:15 but delayed until 16:45 due to inconsiderate individuals that feel that they are exempt! Although irritating this is a requirement by law. In our opinion anyone late should be given a heavy fine (suggest the cost of their cruise) or better still ejected from the ship unless a very good reason is given for being late! Bars - We tried the following bars:- Breakers bar, good fun nice pint but drinks served in plastic beakers. Exchange bar, good service, entertainment and nice drinks. Tamarind, rude miserable staff. Metropolis, flat beer and weak coffee! Restaurants - We tried the following restaurants:- Bay Tree - The first night we were greeted with an enormous queue going up the stairs at 20:25 for our 20:30 sitting. The 2nd night we arrived at 20:45 and walked straight in, another lesson learned! The food was hit and miss as the first night was awful i.e. prawn cocktail served with wilting salad and beef that was tough and tasteless! The 2nd night however was excellent. The service was excellent on both nights. Waterside, excellent buffet breakfasts, lunch & desserts. Frankie's Pizzeria, awful pizza's friendly staff. Frankie's Grill, nice food miserable lady chef! Disembarkation - we chose to self disembark which requires you to carry your own baggage off the ship. The ship docked at about 07:10 and we were off the ship by approximately 07:35 which worked well for us. Final thoughts - We were told by numerous people before going that we would not even know that the ship was moving. We found this to be untrue as the ship could be heard / felt shaking and rolling during our crossing. We experienced queuing on board but this can be avoided with a little planning. However in our experience there was always a considerable wait to get drinks from the bars but we found the prices were very reasonable and in line with what you would expect to pay in an average pub / restaurant. We found that this mini cruise gave us a very good insight as to what a cruise would be like. We enjoyed our first cruise but are still undecided as to whether to go on another. Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2016
I booked this as a treat after a busy X mas for myself and my husband , I was sceptical about the whole thing , a lot of reading about cruising there seems a element of snobbery, well I loved it yes a mini cruise was for us anyway a bit ... Read More
I booked this as a treat after a busy X mas for myself and my husband , I was sceptical about the whole thing , a lot of reading about cruising there seems a element of snobbery, well I loved it yes a mini cruise was for us anyway a bit booze cruise not what I'd do on a week (my days of partying every night unfortunatly have gone,but after a hectic X mas at work just what the doctor ordered ) good food and decent priced drinks, all kinds of people from fun groups of stag parties to hen dos , and everything else in between , everyone I spoke to were lovely , something for everyone I think. Formal nights were fab we dressed up both nights , my husband is def more jeans and t shirt but even he loved it, so yay more dress shopping for me, entertainment was fab though I didn't see everything , food was good from buffet to more formal resturant, my husband loved the food to and from a ex army chef that's good. We ate one night in the glass house was very nice, next night we missed the saffron rest so ate in the buffet , no complaints at all , It was so smooth on our trip to Brugge I didn't realise we were moving though perhaps that was a mix of fizz and cocktails, return trip slightly noticed it, I shall defiantly cruise again , I did see some negative comments I in all honesty think you basically just can't keep the amount of passengers on board happy. Staff were really good attentive , our room attendant was great , I'd recommend this type of holiday to all, from ease of parking , having our bags taken in to getting on board all easy and organised well. Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2016
my husband and I took our first ever cruise on board P/O VENTURA on the 2 January 2016. we stayed overnight on the 1 jan at wetherby service hotel, and cruise connect picked us up the following morning at 7.30. we had a good run down to ... Read More
my husband and I took our first ever cruise on board P/O VENTURA on the 2 January 2016. we stayed overnight on the 1 jan at wetherby service hotel, and cruise connect picked us up the following morning at 7.30. we had a good run down to Southampton, arriving about 2pm. we embarked onto the ship. (I WAS IN AWE OF THE SIZE OF THE SHIP) had our pic taken, then onto reception to collect our card etc. we then caught the lift to our cabin. not disappointed, we had a balcony, the room was spotless. our cabin attendant introduced himself. a charming young man, by the name of REVLON. I did some of our unpacking, then proceded to the MUSTER STATION for the drill of safety. I wont go on too long with my review, only to say that we really enjoyed every aspect of the cruise. down to our room, the cleanliness of the ship, we ate in waterside for breakfast and Bay Tree for select dining, and no complaints over the food, everything was good. I know we can not compare with any other ship, but our first experienceon this ship, we ENJOYED it very much, and are looking forward to booking our next one for next year, as it will be our 70th and golden wedding. some people moan over the least little thing, but I would like to say, there is something to do for everyone on this ship. I even got my pic taken with TOM O CONNER!!!!!! we will probably book with P/O for the next one. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2015
We did enjoy the cruise but a few parts were disappointing! Are departure was smooth apart from we didn't book parking in advance. We were told just to turn up,it was included in our package and someone would take our car when we ... Read More
We did enjoy the cruise but a few parts were disappointing! Are departure was smooth apart from we didn't book parking in advance. We were told just to turn up,it was included in our package and someone would take our car when we arrived. But apparently we had to book it before, we then saw a very small print at bottom of email,you must book it your self !! So we had to pay £135 to sort this but p&o on board did add this to our on board spend. Our room was great queen size bed and a fold out sofa bed for the teenage boys but was a bit worn and springs made lots of noise when my son moved in the night. balcony was large. Lots of choices of films on TV. The room was cleaned twice a day with tea & coffee refills,chocs and biscuits! Ship is very large,takes awhile to find your way. Pool at back is very nice place to Sit and get some sun ! The staff are all lovely We had freedom dining .... Food was like pub grub nothing special, and uninteresting old school 80s food. we did eat at sindhu twice,well worth the extra money £15ph. Drinks well priced some great wines at good prices,soft drinks can soon add up for the kids over 13 days so be careful. Free cold water and coffee,teas are available at buffet,so make use ! You can bring on your own drinks but must be drunk in you room there doesn't seem the be a limit! But would Carry on in hand luggage to avoid breakages ! The weather was warm in its 60s, we had 3 sunny days the rest was over cast but that's just pot luck ! The boys enjoyed the pools on board & my oldest loved the gym never was busy lots of great machines. The sea days were a bit boring shows ok, if any good they were packed !!! So get there a hour before or you will be standing ... Tom Jones & Phil Collins are great ! And there was a great band which played a lot in the tamarin bar got everybody dancing. Queuing didn't find a problem everybody has to wait. The restaurants give u a pager,if they can't sit you straight away. Buffet seats hard to find but you can always walk in the next loung or eat by pool. Pizzeria is free and are thin and delicious. Food off shore avoid the restaurants near by with laminated picture menus.... walk up side streets,we found great tapas bars in Tenerife and Lisbon and well priced ! Lanzarote was the worst place we visited nothing really to look....I recommend you do a excursion !!!! We Wished did :) High lights Lisbon,grand canaria,Madeira Tenerife. grand canaria we didn't sail until 8pm so when back off shore later, we found a lovely out side bar covered in amazing lighting at bottom of shopping centre just near boat port !! cheap drinks,no wines though, Only Spirits served in big wine glasses lots of ice big measures...drinks 11.50 euros; great night cap ! The travel back was so slow and could have stopped off in brittany. But I suppose p&o make more money if your spending on board. The people on board are mainly older but in school term times sure this changes. My son really liked the kids club staff are great ! We did come out of the tips only because we were charged for the children too £240 a bit expensive we thought. So we tipped our cabin man and some waiting staff. We would have preferred to tip every night after our meals at table. Maybe p&o should pay more wages then we wouldn't be expected to pay in to tip. Would we go again maybe but would try Mediterranean/Caribbean Caribbean cruises liner next time for us looks more fun and modern:) Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: November 2015
Spent 3 nights aboard Ventuta sailing to Le Havre and Zebrugge. This was my first ever cruise and I went with my mother who has cruised a few times,so has more insight into cruising than myself.Firtsly I must say We were both impressed ... Read More
Spent 3 nights aboard Ventuta sailing to Le Havre and Zebrugge. This was my first ever cruise and I went with my mother who has cruised a few times,so has more insight into cruising than myself.Firtsly I must say We were both impressed with the speed of embarkation and the helpfulness of the P&O team ashore.Our cabin C316,was very tired looking and the shower facility not really adequate,however cabin was clean and well serviced by our steward.The food really let the ship down.Rushed meals and not particularly well presented.The Waterside buffet was a bit of a bun fight to say the least.Entertainment was mediocre and the background music in the bar areas way too loud,although you could find quiet areas.Excursions were good with informative tour guides.Would we go on this ship again? Definitely not for me. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2015
We are seasoned cruisers, but this was my first with P&O, but not for my wife. It was a short seven day cruise that went as far as Lisbon. The weather was mixed with some wet days and some better days. I won't comment on the ports ... Read More
We are seasoned cruisers, but this was my first with P&O, but not for my wife. It was a short seven day cruise that went as far as Lisbon. The weather was mixed with some wet days and some better days. I won't comment on the ports but focus on the cruise. The good things. We were given a time to embark. This worked better then I thought. We arrived at 3pm, and were on board well before 3.30pm. The food. Outstanding. Up there with the very best we have had on cruises. The variety of food in the buffet was vey good. We used it most days for breakfast and lunch. The quality was also excellent. We went freedom dining and the choice, quality and service in our restaurant was outstanding. The ship itself was in good shape given it is seven years old. It was very clean both in the public areas and our cabin. Our cabin steward was also excellent. The entertainment was good. We enjoyed the production shows, four in a week. The dancers were excellent, although the singers did not quite have the range we have seen elsewhere, good at rock, not so good for musicals. Our loo was blocked but sorted within thirty minutes. The Not so Good The interactive TV was not. We asked for it to be resolved but it was not. Could take fifteen minutes just to check the inboard account. We gave up checking messages. The bar staff were not always efficient at serving. Once we waited more then twenty minutes. Went to the counter, but was told to wit for a waiter to serve us. Some of the swimming pools were out of action for much of the cruise. Given it was half term, the others were full of children, so never really got a swim. More avoiding kids in the pool. We like quizzes but felt they were held in the wing place. Many were in a small bar area, which was full fifteen minutes before start time. The ones we were able to attend were good. We also saw two recent films. However all in all we had a good time and would be happy to go with P&O again. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2015
At times service in the main bar was particularly bad, waiting 45 minutes just to get a drink, refusing to let you get one from the bar. Areas of the ship discusting filthy, especially the toilets, very stained toilet seats. Public seating ... Read More
At times service in the main bar was particularly bad, waiting 45 minutes just to get a drink, refusing to let you get one from the bar. Areas of the ship discusting filthy, especially the toilets, very stained toilet seats. Public seating areas, fithy, even in the buffet resturant. Entertainment not brilliant although some was good but very repetitive and catered for the o.a.p's! Not all holiday makers were over the age of 65 and wanting to sit around knitting all day or doing the tango to a 1940's tune! Nor did we want to jive everry evening. Formal evenings were a joke, put on your best gear to have dinner, sit on dirty seats and maybe have a picture taken, costing around £20 to buy it, no special evening event, well i suppose you could do a ballroom dance in the foyer. Drinks at the bars although not too expensive, slightly more than in my local but there again my local pays the english taxes whereas the ship does not. Everything was about making money on the ship, go to an event, expect them to try and get you to pay for expensive treatments! The best thing about the cruise ship was the food, you could not go hungry, plenty of choice and great food. If the weather is not great, expect to be bored as there is little to do! Read Less
Sail Date: September 2015
This was my first cruise, but my wife had cruised before when she was a young girl. At first site the ship is really impressive. The food was excellent and the quality of service in the restaurants was friendly and professional. The ... Read More
This was my first cruise, but my wife had cruised before when she was a young girl. At first site the ship is really impressive. The food was excellent and the quality of service in the restaurants was friendly and professional. The balcony cabin was very comfortable and extremely well maintained by the cabin steward, Edwin. Our towels were changed twice a day and there was very ample storage space. Our first day was rather spoilt by the staff in the spa area, who were rude when we wanted to view the special relaxation area and then when we were shown round the spa facilities, we were bombarded with a hard sell of the very expensive offerings. You have to pay to attend fitness classes. On the subject of paying, I would expect WiFi to be provided free in these circumstances, but in practice the package offered was extremely poor value. The quality of entertainment was generally very good. The headliners were very professional and some of the other acts were very entertaining. The ballroom dance instructors were excellent, but the area allocated for ballroom dancing is much too small. Surely this is one of the traditions of cruising? On this theme the facilities on the ship seem to be have deigned by an accountant and not an entertainment specialist. There are not enough seats in the theatre and other entertainments areas. (Or there are too many passengers!) There was a constant scrabble for seats. On deck near the Lagoon bar, the entertainment seemed to be designed for young people at Butlins, which did not represent the cross section of people on the cruise. Totally unsuitable music throughout, with very little classical, jazz or even Charleston period. They should pay more attention to their passengers and less to the personal preferences of the entertainment team. Unfortunately the cruise ended on a low note as a passenger was lost overboard and extra time was spent searching for him but to no avail. We will cruise again but not on this ship. They should reintroduce a more formal dress code and try to make things more upmarket. We may try one of the smaller P and O ships or else a different line with a greater focus on traditional values. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: September 2015
i arranged this cruise for my wife and it was a birthday surprise for her. This was our first cruise but i knew what i wanted with regards to service had talked to seasoned cruisers on what was to be expected. We made our own way to ... Read More
i arranged this cruise for my wife and it was a birthday surprise for her. This was our first cruise but i knew what i wanted with regards to service had talked to seasoned cruisers on what was to be expected. We made our own way to Southampton but when we got there, it was all well organised and efficient. From the moment my wife and i boarded, we were treated with respect, nothing was too much trouble. the suite i had booked was spacious and the steward was attentive but inconspicuous. The food was out of this world, as was the service at the first set dinner times.The balcony was a great add on as we could sit out there ion the evening and soak up the ambiance. The shows laid on were of the highest standards, I've paid to see shows that were not as good as these ones. The port excursions were not on interest to us as we went via taxi's at a better rate, we thought, than the excursions laid on. Dis-embarkation at all the ports we visited, were well thought out and very efficient. The acts ranged from a comedian to a 60's band who were extraordinary. There were things to do on board all the time, you would never be bored, filling your time was easy. Although there was very few children on board when we traveled, There were a lot of activities available for the little one's should you have needed them. One issue was at dinner, everyone was trying to use the lifts and get into the restaurants at the set time, causing bottle necks. The foyer for our dining room, "The Bay tree" was tiny so trying to get out of the lifts and away from the doors, was interesting at times. The various entertainment areas were very pleasant, waiters would wonder about, keeping out of the way, but was always there to supply your orders quickly and without fuss. The duty free shopping would have to be carefully done as you can pay more than you would on shore. They do offer a price match service that we took advantage of with two spirits we bought on board. We were not able to get a letter form the duty free shop on Gibraltar, but took a photo of the spirits concerned, the price label and the outside of the shop and showed it to the on board shop. they gave us an immediate credit for the difference. Very impressed with that. on a downside, the ship's gift shop staff could be distracted with joking with each other whilst processing your purchase, There should have been more attentiveness to the Passenger rather than chuckles with their fellow assistance, it was only in this store though and all other sales assistants, were professional and attentive We could not leave the ship when arriving at Monti Carlo because of weather conditions as it was too rough, a correct decision given the state of the sea, the captain gave his reasons which let us all know where we stood. Everything else was brilliant. This voyage of enlightenment was marred only by the tragic incident involving a man who went overboard on our return to Southampton, our thoughts go out to the man's family. The captain was totally professional in his handling of this sad event. Both He and his officers did everything they could to locate this poor man, but to no avail.All passengers were kept fully up - dated as to how things were progressing and he and his officers were calm and responsive to the situation even as this was a dreadful, but thankfully, rare occurrence. in conclusion, i can honestly say that this was a wonderful experience and one we will both be doing again given every opportunity. I think you would be very unfair to mark this in any other way than almost perfection. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2015
We went with 2 other couples on this 2 days to Guernsey. This was our first cruise and it will not be our last. We were so impressed with how efficient the whole process was. Everything about the experience was first class, the food was ... Read More
We went with 2 other couples on this 2 days to Guernsey. This was our first cruise and it will not be our last. We were so impressed with how efficient the whole process was. Everything about the experience was first class, the food was fantastic the service was superb and friendly in the restaurant, we went for freedom dining which suited us better. The bars were busy and not too long await for drinks. Also very reasonably priced. The trip to Guernsey was superb also. Cruising is defiantly an option for the future. The cabin was clean and well stocked. Thank you Ventura for our first experience but defiantly not our last. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2015
We arrived in Southampton at around half 12, and weren't supposed to embark until about half 3, but only had to wait about 10 minutes in the lounge area before we were called. Had picture taken, gave credit card details, and went ... Read More
We arrived in Southampton at around half 12, and weren't supposed to embark until about half 3, but only had to wait about 10 minutes in the lounge area before we were called. Had picture taken, gave credit card details, and went through customs all very smoothly, the whole process took less than 20 minutes. When we got on the ship we were told that we would not be able to go to our cabins until around 2pm, but that wasn't a problem, as we only had our hand luggage and a couple of suit bags. We made our way up to deck 15 where the buffets, bars and pools were and as soon as we sat down we were approached by a member of the bar staff, who was extremely helpful and service was with a massive smile, which is what you want to see on your holidays. When we got to our balcony cabin, we were pretty surprised at how roomy it was and the balcony was very spacious too. We asked our cabin steward for an ice bucket and glasses, as we had brought champagne on board with us. Nothing was too much trouble for the cabin steward, who turned our beds down each night and left a chocolate. I could get used to this lifestyle. Although the sail away was a little late, we were very lucky with the weather and able to go onto the open deck 15 and listen to the band, and watch everyone / join in the party. We ate in Saffron, one of the freedom dining restaurants on both nights, where we had the choice to wait for a table for two, or share. We chose to share, and met some really lovely people. We also went to the Arena theatre on the first night, although I wasn't overly impressed with the comedian. Then off to the Havana nightclub, first night was a Take That tribute and second night was a Tina Turner tribute, the club was packed both nights, but this didn't present a problem for the bar staff, who were really hard working and efficient. We also had breakfast and afternoon tea in one of the buffet restaurants, which we were happy with. We had breakfast on the second morning in Saffron, and the quality was excellent, as was the service, always with a smile. The only complaint we had about the breakfast was that the toast was hard and cold, and had obviously been pre prepared. However, this didn't spoil our breakfast at all. We didn't get to see all the areas of the ship in the two days, it just wasn't enough time, but what we did see was fab. We went on a coach trip excursion on Guernsey, which wasn't very good, and didn't leave a great impression of the island, its probably not somewhere we would choose to visit to be honest, and we have decided not to bother with any more excursions when we go on future cruises. We weren't due to disembark until half 3, but as we were ready at around half 9, we were allowed to leave the ship and collect our luggage, which was waiting for us. A very smooth disembarkation. Fantastic weekend, we are already looking at booking our next cruise with P&O. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2015
Apprehensive after reading all the negative reviews of Ventura but very pleasantly surprised. Arrived at cruise terminal two hours before appointed time of 2.30 but sent straight to check-in and then onto ship, so we were in the ... Read More
Apprehensive after reading all the negative reviews of Ventura but very pleasantly surprised. Arrived at cruise terminal two hours before appointed time of 2.30 but sent straight to check-in and then onto ship, so we were in the Waterside buffet by 1pm. Announcements were made that cabins wouldn't be ready until 2pm but this was no problem as we sat in the restaurant and enjoyed our first meal on board. When we were able to take over our cabin we found it to be well equipped with everything we needed. The Bay of Biscay was rough so not the most enjoyable start to the cruise, then we had heavy rain in Vigo, the first port of call but, of course, nobody can do anything about the weather. Pleased to say that we arrived in Lisbon in sunshine and from then on the weather was lovely and the sea calm for the rest of the cruise. We dined first sitting in the Bay Tree and enjoyed the food, always attractively served by friendly, efficient waiters. In fact, all of the crew that we encountered were polite and helpful at all times. Most of the entertainment was first class, particularly Adrian Walsh, Tony Wallace, Viva Voce, Elias Hendricks; The Headliners were also good but would be better if the volume was turned down slightly as they seemed to be louder than the other acts. The Arena theatre is spacious and comfortable. The sail-aways seem to be a bit like "Butlins-on-Sea" as some reviews have mentioned but, on such a huge ship, there is always somewhere quieter to retreat to and we enjoyed the sail-aways from our balcony. I have rated the cruise as "excellent" but would give 9.5 out of 10; the only negatives were that the Oasis pool was supposed to be an "endless" pool but the jets didn't work at all and the dance floor in the Atrium is too small - more than 6 couples dancing and it becomes crowded - a separate area for ballroom dancing would work better. At the end of the cruise disembarkation went smoothly. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2015
We started our holiday on Sunday 23/08/2015. The embarkation was a dream, none of your long queues as in the airports. From arriving at the port at 11.am to sitting in a bar on board ship at 11.45am.Luggage taken away by porters straight ... Read More
We started our holiday on Sunday 23/08/2015. The embarkation was a dream, none of your long queues as in the airports. From arriving at the port at 11.am to sitting in a bar on board ship at 11.45am.Luggage taken away by porters straight to our cabin, car valet parked securely. Check in a doddle. That was on the Sunday. Woke up Monday morning everything went pear shaped. We had sailed to Guernsey as planned, the weather had turned nasty and the captain decided in our health and safety that because the only way we go ashore was by tender, it was unsafe for anyone to do so. Sensible. So the Guernsey trip was cancelled. We sailed to our next destination, Lisbon, 7 hours sooner than planned. We still got there at the same time as previously planned Wednesday morning, just went slower. I know the ship is not the easiest thing to park up, but as this happens quite a lot at Guernsey, they should have some back up port. We sailed past France and Spain to get to Portugal. I`m sure there must be a port somewhere along the way that would be only to glad to receive a cruise liner full of passengers. On top of that the duty free shopping which was open on Sunday night was now closed for the duration of the cruise because we had not officially left the E. U. If only we had been warned on the Sunday this might happen. The P & O crew and staff are brilliant they had entertainment back up plans in force in abundance. They now had a captive audience for two days. The weather out in the Atlantic was so blustery for the two days nobody was allowed to go on deck apart from deck 15 which has shelter. When one is a smoker, which I am one, your options are limited. As nobody had gone ashore the breakfast restaurant was so full that even after queuing for an age, when you did get your breakfast you had to walk around for 15 minutes to get a table, by which time your food is cold. We learned that the best time to go for breakfast was after 11am just before dinner time, quieter then. The rush starts all over again at 12. Seasoned cruisers know the score and time everything perfect. This was our first cruise and will probably be our last. They suit a lot of people, if they like to lie on a lounger at 7am before the sun gets up just to commandeer it and run around in herds to get to the dinner table early and make sure they don't miss a show. If you are quick you can watch a show at 8.30pm and rush around to the next bar at 9.30pm to catch another one just before you run to the arena to get a seat for the 10.30pm. Not for me. Nothing wrong with the P+O service, there are more than enough waiters and staff to make sure your glass is full and ready to take your money. We managed to escape and go ashore in Portugal, we even went on P+O trips, after driving us in a coach for an hour to a beach they were good enough to give us a full hour to have a look around before bringing us back to the ship. We booked this holiday as a treat for my 60th birthday, we even treated ourselves to a room service breakfast that day and was charged extra for the privilege. There has been no mention of compensation for missing one of the destinations,must be just one of those things I suppose. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2015
This was my first ever cruise and I was looking forward to it so much. My son also married on board. There were some positive points I.e. Loved my cabin and balcony, the housekeeper kept this very well but having said that as a solo ... Read More
This was my first ever cruise and I was looking forward to it so much. My son also married on board. There were some positive points I.e. Loved my cabin and balcony, the housekeeper kept this very well but having said that as a solo occupant I was also v tidy. My five year old grandson loved the kids club but we were a little concerned when told that they were registered for 100 in a relatively small area. Fortunately, on the times he attended this number did not materialise. Sindhu was a lovely restaurant as was the glasshouse - at a supplementary charge .... The main at the Epicurean was delicious but service very poor and seemingly lacking leadership. The weather was poor and as a result the planned stop at Guernsey was cancelled and we set off for Lisbon. crossing the Bay of biscay was rocky but not unexpected as this is a renowned area of inclement weather. Neither can P & O be held accountable for poor weather. However, with three thousand plus passengers crammed on board the whole ship was overcrowded and it did feel like Butlins on a boat. With tots in our party the swimming pools were unsafe due to overcrowding (way over the recommended number and no checks made) and it was impossible to use jacuzzis as these were both monopolised , and overcrowded, with young teens. The retreat for adults is available - at an additional cost ... We waited patiently to use the single netted area on deck 19 to vacate so we could play with a five year old. Unfortunately, within minutes of entering there, a group of young teens also decided they would go in - result was people and balls flying everywhere. No system or checking therefore older children again monopolising the area. With cricket bats and balls it is an accident waiting to happen. A safer, and fairer, syestem would be allocated time slots and supervised by staff to ensure safety. For three thousand plus passengers to have one netted area, one golf area, one set for quoits and one giant set of chess - it's a bit lacking !! The captain was an affable gentleman and the wedding went well, canapés were laid on whilst we awaited the couple having photos taken. The GF canapes were delicious but no drinks had been provided - not even water - these were extra and had to be purchased. One small bowl of crisps for four young children seems a bit stingy and others, were requested and provided at additional cost - (spice flavoured). The wedding meal was held in the Epicurean. Staff here seemed ineffective, over loaded and confused. My son, daughter in law and her parents sat on one table and the rest of us round the corner, up against a wall, on another table. Staff had lists which had been meticulously sorted by my well organised daughter in law but seemed unable to refer to them and mixed up many of the meals - which arrived at various intervals. One child waited A long time for a dessert - by which time we had all finished ours although three of us left them as they were raw pastry. Some three hours later, with tired and bored children we left before coffee was served as everything seemed to take an age. Food in the buffet was a case of attempting to find a table first - quite a feat as everywhere packed. It did not cater at all well for coeliac individuals and staff seemed poorly informed. No labels on any food stating GF or veggie so had to ask which was suitable - much to the annoyance of other passengers waiting behind. Given conflicting information resulting in one very upset stomach and a sleepless night. food was canteen style and quality. Spoke to other people with similar probs and they were terribly disappointed. Almost in tears one day when told the only sauce I could eat on my steak was tomato ketchup. I paid the same price as everyone else but had very, very limited options. I had one of the worst GF pizzas I had ever eaten whilst on board - burnt on the outside and cold in the middle. Apart from restaurants where we paid extra the food was a massive disappointment to me. To summarise, there were some highlights and good points I.e. Embarking and disembarking was very slick, cabin and balcony, the glasshouse, Sindu and the main at the Epicurean but I think P &O should look to either selling purely family cruises or other as they seem to want to capture all groups of clientele and, in my opinion, this is not working. They also seem The experience for me was one of 'pack them in and get them to spend'. Staff work very hard and are mostly polite and helpful but way overloaded in restaurants especially. Maybe another carrier would offer a better experience. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2015
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
12 nights on the Ventura was a struggle for my husband, 14yr old, 9yr old, 71 yr old mum and myself, unless you like a 'Butlins/Haven holiday camp type holiday at an extortionate price point'! (A fellow passengers words). Not ... Read More
12 nights on the Ventura was a struggle for my husband, 14yr old, 9yr old, 71 yr old mum and myself, unless you like a 'Butlins/Haven holiday camp type holiday at an extortionate price point'! (A fellow passengers words). Not classy and upmarket as they profess to be. Chavvy, raucous and packed like a cattle market, and I'm no snob. The ship was so over packed, that unless you stayed in your cabin, you had no peace, (even in there you could hear kids running up and down). Everywhere was congested, with 3,400 passengers the facilities were packed day and night during sea days. We walked around for over half an hour looking for somewhere to sit for breakfast in the buffet area, walking around looking for sun loungers was another daily challenge. My 2 star rating is for the Headliners performance group (I'm a sucker for musical theatre) and the service we recieved from our cabin steward and freedom dining waiter. Everyone/thing else is not worthy of a peanut. Be Warned they automatically add gratuity charges of £60 per person over 12yrs and unless you fill in a form to remove this they will keep it and expect you to tip! The captain also announced a "free" shuttle bus service on port days but my mum & daughter were still charged. The entertainment team is irritating and false at best and very amature at what they do. The girl doing quiz round the pool was unbearable! Every opportunity is used to sell something, be it a guest speaker, a performer selling CDs, table sales, or a spa promotion, making more money on top of already inflated prices. The excursions are completely overpriced, in their literature they say they offer the cheapest packages - not true! We copied their advertised excursions off our own back on a couple of islands for half the price using a private cab, do not be fooled by p&o. Kids clubs for 9yr old seemed safe enough with a sign in/out policy but my daughter felt it was chaos in there after 3 separate days visits so didn't want to go back. The teenagers 13yrs plus, are free to go and come as they please, although my 14yr old made friends from there she preferred to meet with them outside of that room as it seemed like a pick up joint for the older teenagers, especially at night. We couldn't get near the pools for congestion, the hot tubs full of kids too, the adult only area is at a price and their pool ice cold. I'm struggling to give you positives. Cabin was kept very clean & tidy Freedom dining, you can please yourself time wise & sit with others or alone if you choose Waiters very professional & friendly, as is cabin stewards, (can't say the same for reception staff thou) The White company complimentary products in your cabin are lovely, but you won't get a replacement unless you ask for it Really can't think of anything else good to say, other than Don't waste your money! Top tips...... If you are partial to perfumes or drink in duty free, cheaper to buy outside in ports you visit than on board. We found a difference of £10-£20 less off ship and stock on board not great either. Spoke to some staff who said they were being paid less than minimum wage for very long hours hence several were counting down the days till they left ship. P&O all in all do not seem like a very good company to cruise with or work for. Suffice to say we will not cruise with p&o again even my mum who has cruised before said this was by far the worse. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2015
First time for us, and the last with P and O I think. Not what I expected for the price, I'm not hard to please but this was quite downmarket. I got the impression from others who had cruised before that they felt the same, perhaps P ... Read More
First time for us, and the last with P and O I think. Not what I expected for the price, I'm not hard to please but this was quite downmarket. I got the impression from others who had cruised before that they felt the same, perhaps P and O are trying to appeal to a wider market but they are certainly not appealing to the higher end market. Glad I chose freedom dining as there were certainly people on the ship I had nothing in common with and I would not have wanted to sit with them for 2 weeks. The ports were great but the excursions over priced, having travelled in Italy on numerous occasions we made our own way to Rome, 9 euros each on an air conditioned train, on time and clean, as oppose to the £54 each for the coach trip in. The 'entertainment' was amateurish apart from the comedian, a lot of it was not entertainment through the days but simply ways to get you to buy treatments from the spa, which were also much more expensive than at home. Even the water in your room has to be paid for, I've stayed in some less expensive hotels and that's not the case with them. I ve also stayed in some expensive hotels and this is not a patch on them I'm afraid, but it does still rate as expensive ! We made the best of it, the Epicurian restaurant was superb but addition cost, and the alcohol was fairly priced, we always have a good time but on this occasion that was down to us and not the cruise. The ship is tried and not very clean, that said the cabin steward did a lovely job, returning to a clean and tidy, cool cabin after the excursions was very nice, he was polite and helpful, in fact we removed our tips, which they take automatically, as the service else where was hit and miss, and we tipped the cabin steward only. I'm told some of the staff work on commission only, and whilst I feel sorry for those guys, the automatic tipping simply helps to cover the wage bill for P and O. Pay the staff properly i say, and leave the tipping to the discretion of passengers who feel they have had good service. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2015
My husband and I have just returned from our first cruise and although we had a fabulous time I would like to let others know some tips if you have never cruised before. We travelled on the P&O Ventura from Southampton and from the ... Read More
My husband and I have just returned from our first cruise and although we had a fabulous time I would like to let others know some tips if you have never cruised before. We travelled on the P&O Ventura from Southampton and from the start it was a very smooth operation and we were very impressed at the organised way it all started compared to the "cattle market" airports we were used to. Only one tip here - when you drive up to the terminal if you have booked car parking they are there waiting for you very efficient but make sure you unload your baggage quickly because as my husband went to look for a trolley to load our luggage onto a chap got into the car to drive it to the car parking - I was still trying to unload the luggage from the boot so be quick! Once inside the terminal all went extremely smoothly and very calming. Once on the boat you have to realise it is enormous and all the time you are bumping into people all looking as lost as you are! Even seasoned cruisers found the Ventura very large and hard to find your way around. The cabin we had was an outside cabin with balcony which was very nice. In fact the whole ship was very tastefully decorated but a bit on the tired side. First of all I will tell you all the positives which far outweigh the negatives and wouldn't want to put anyone off a cruise but just point out the little things we would have found helpful to know in advance. We had set dining - there are 2 times for this 6.30 or 8.30 we chose the latter and had a table for two which turned out to be the best on both counts. If you choose the earlier sitting be prepared to rush some days as the trips can run late but if you have children the earlier sitting is probably the best time. A table to for 2 is best because if you sit with others on a table for 6 or 8 you find you have to wait until the last person has finished their course before you are served the next course. We were told some funny stories from other seasoned cruisers about waiting for elderly passengers to finish chewing their steaks whilst the others on the table waited! the food itself is very, very good - 5 course dinners with very attentive waiters. You can opt for freedom dining but that is in the other restaurants where it is buffet style help yourself - very good food the same as the restaurants. There are other restaurants on board which you have to pay a supplement for - passengers highly recommended the Beach House food if you fancy a change. Be prepared for girls to come round every day all day to try and sell the other restaurants where you pay a supplement. It can become a little irritating. We decided not to go to the restaurant for waiter service for breakfast because again you have to sit anywhere and they will fill the big tables first and we found it easier to go to the buffet Waterside restaurant. Again the choice is massive. Men do need to wear long trousers in the evening in the restaurants. There are plenty of poolside loungers but some do reserve whilst they then go for breakfast but this didn't get too silly but the staff don't prevent it happening. They issue a daily newspaper the Horizon which will be delivered to your cabin during the evening and lets you know the dress code for the following evening and any information regarding the next day's port. It also lists the entertainment for the following day so that you can decide which bar you want to go to. This is a negative for the late 8.30 diners - by the time you have finished your meal and make your way to the various bars they are full and you have to sit where you can. The entertainment was very good and there is something for everyone of all ages. We were told because it was a "Strictly" cruise there were more younger people on board than usual on the cruise and in fact there were 7 weddings on board on our cruise. The service from the waiters at the poolside and restaurants and bars was excellent. Port and shore excursions were very good and the guides were excellent. A few tips here though. The P&O rep was very "school ma'am" with the passengers and there seemed to be a conflict of timings with her and what passengers were told in the Horizon paper and she would tell you off if you were too early! The organisation of the trips left a lot to be desired at some ports like Gibraltar and Monaco passengers were left in the very hot weather queuing up at the port to get back on board the ship. This was due to the fact other ships were in dock at the same time and all passengers from all ships were ferried through the same system so it can take hours. We found the excursions very good but a tip for Rome is men as well as women have to have their knees covered so wear long shorts and women have to have their shoulders covered if you are visiting the Sistine Chapel. It was an excellent excursion but a very long day in the heat and I would advise you to have a day off from any excursions the next day and just do your own thing. If you are a person who likes to go shopping make sure you don't do all the organised excursions because you don't get time to shop. Another tip is some of the ports have sightseeing buses which are a cheap and good way to get about if you don't want the expense of the organised trips. Cadiz is a very good port for shopping and very cheap. Hang on until you have done all the trips with regard to buying from the duty free shops on board - you can find cheaper alternatives particularly perfumes at the ports. You will also find they reduce things towards the end of the cruise so look out for bargains then. With regard to formal dining - 4 on a 2 week cruise are usually held on a sea day so that you have time to prepare. We did find though that on the other nights there were 2 themed nights we did not know about - one was a 60/70's night and the other a "tropical" night. So if you want to be prepared take an Hawaiian shirt with you! Be prepared to be sociable with fellow passengers because they are the best people to advise you on things you don't know. You will not get any advice from P&O. We had free on board spend with our cruise and other passengers said to decline the "tipping" deduction they make from your spends. It is better to tip your own waiter and steward as you see fit. We appreciated that advice because you would tip them on top of what P&O deducted from your account but don't do it just to avoid tipping at all! Other seasoned passengers told us they felt the Ventura was too big with over 3,000 passengers and even they kept getting lost. They preferred other smaller P&O ships. They also said they found the food, entertainment a higher standard than other lines and the drinks were cheaper than the American run cruise liners. The prices on the drinks is on a par with pub prices at home. They add 10% extra when you are in Spanish waters because the Spanish have their own taxing system! We had a couple of ports where a tender was used and this was the ships life boats which wasn't a problem for us but some of the elderly had issues so check if you have any disabilities that you can go ashore. To summarise we had a lovely time and would definitely cruise again. I do think however that P&O could make a bit more effort to help first time cruisers with information. On board they do a daily "solo" travellers tea and I completed a questionnaire on board and after the cruise to suggest they could hold a first/second day coffee morning for first time cruisers to give them advice and answer any questions they may have. It does come across that P&O are only interested in selling another cruise to their "regulars" with the discounts they get. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2015
This was our first cruise ever - a 'gift' for our wedding anniversary. We were put in cabin B344, an inner one. Although we personally found the temperature to be a bit warm (as we like to sleep in cool temperatures), most ... Read More
This was our first cruise ever - a 'gift' for our wedding anniversary. We were put in cabin B344, an inner one. Although we personally found the temperature to be a bit warm (as we like to sleep in cool temperatures), most would find the 23C all-round room temp to be very cozy. The cabin was certainly big enough for two of us and the queen bed quite ample. We had 2 nights of gale force 8 winds and slept like babies; the most we knew of it was a gentle rocking of the bed and an announcement by the ship the next morning. My wife walks with a stick and we found crew to be very attentive. She was whisked into the ship almost immediately for embarkation, avoiding any crowds or lines of passengers, and we were set into the buffet room to enjoy lunch while the rest of the ship embarked. The same was true of disembarkation - off the ship before the rest of the passengers and out into a flagged-down taxi before the rest arrived. The buffet rooms were lovely - clean and spacious with tons of tables and waiters everywhere waiting to get you another drink or take away your tray the moment you were finished. No table was too far away from a window to not enjoy the view. The food itself was great - we're not into fine dining, we just eat food - and there was plenty of variety for all tastes and lots of it. Everything from cold cuts and rolls, little nibbles, to several main dishes and sides. The desserts were to die for! And it really was 24-hours a day, though you may find yourself switching from one side of the dining room to the other, depending on the time of day. (Little ones had their own tea time at 4-6pm, so they could go to daycare when adults wanted to enjoy themselves.) There were tons of little areas around the ship where you could sit and have a drink (or 10) and we never had to wait more than a couple of minutes for a waiter to take our order and deliver a delicious cocktail. There were a large number of heated pools and wonderful whirlpools -easy to get in and out of - and these all had bar areas and seating around them as well as counters serving fast foods, ice creams, etc. We had signed for low-impact activities, a couple of tour buses, and they had quite a few to chose from and quite a few grey heads and people with mobility problems on them. Again, first on/first off, lots of attendants helping on and off the bus as well as into/out of attractions. We certainly couldn't fault the customer service if we tried. And the excursions were great as well with knowledgeable tour guides. We were so happy with our experience we signed up for another cruise - a 10-night one, on the same ship - on our second day. We did, however, book a balcony cabin. We would personally recommend an inner cabin if you don't plan on doing much besides sleeping it it, but if you like to get away from the crowd, you may wish at least a cabin with a window. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2015
We stayed on the Ventura so just thought I would write a review since we were massively impressed with our first time cruising, so here are some tips: When it comes to Gratuities(Tips) you automatically pay a fee a day, we took this ... Read More
We stayed on the Ventura so just thought I would write a review since we were massively impressed with our first time cruising, so here are some tips: When it comes to Gratuities(Tips) you automatically pay a fee a day, we took this off, you just go to the reception and ask to have them removed, that way you can tip who you want to tip throughout your cruise, we did this and ended up tipping more but that way we knew the staff got them. When you arrive go straight to the Waterside Café or Beachside all on deck 15 as you can have food straight away, especially if you had been waiting a long time to Embark. The restaurants that are inclusive are Cinnamon and Safron, they serve the exact same menu and is inclusive of your all inclusive cruise. Could not fault the food at all! They serve Breakfast at Saffron and Cinnamon, then a buffet breakfast in waterside so you can help yourself. Then at dinner it is a 3 course meal and tea it is a 5 course meal. Forgot to mention the hot pizzas and afternoon tea in the waterside. Shows were fab and you don't need to book, they run twice in one evening. The maids are spot on, ours did our room 3 times a day, they constantly check for dirty towels. Overall it was amazing, going on my honeymoon in 5 months, were trying the Oasis of the Seas, Royal Carribean! AMAZING! Read Less
Sail Date: April 2015
Me and my sister's first time cruising, we were accompanied by my dad and step mum who had cruised before. My dad had chosen to drive down and use CPS parking which went smoothly, picking up the car at the end of the cruise was no ... Read More
Me and my sister's first time cruising, we were accompanied by my dad and step mum who had cruised before. My dad had chosen to drive down and use CPS parking which went smoothly, picking up the car at the end of the cruise was no trouble and it only took him 10 mins. We went to the Mayflower terminal to board Ventura. We arrived at 2pm which I'd say is the worst time to arrive. They had seating but it was all taken up at that time. We waited two hours in total before checking in and boarding which was seamless. First impressions of Ventura were excellent; finding our cabin was no trouble, they have ship plans and deck levels near the lifts to view for quick reference. I loved our cabin (C637) balcony cabin on Deck 10, it had loads of space for me and my sister, and the bathroom was a reasonable size although it rather reminded me of an airplane toilet but slightly larger. Our cabin just had the shower. Service onboard was excellent; in the buffet they always cleared the tables away quickly; in fact they will often take your tray away if you want to just have your plate on the table. In the main dining rooms the waiters were really good and professional despite them being busy sometimes. We always found the service a bit slower in the dining rooms though so if we needed to eat quickly we chose the buffet. We tried the Glass house, East and Beach house restaurants and service was excellent. Also all the staff including the cleaners always seemed to greet you with a smile. Our cabin steward Rajesh was really nice and our cabin always looked spic and span. I like their turn down and make up service too. On the whole, I enjoyed the excursions although we went on one tour which was advertised to give us some free time to wander around but the lady only gave us half an hour free which by that time we needed a drink and a snack which took nearly half an hour so it wasn't 'free time' in my opinion. Loved the entertainment on board, the headliners company really blew me away with their talents on the stage. Getting into the theatre early is a must on those nights they perform! There were quizzes daily, we took part in one or two. We watched a film in the arena but screen quality was bad as they had clearly just had the video image stretched out onto a bigger screen. Watching a film in the Havana club was slightly better as they used a smaller screen. There were some free films to view on the cabin tv which we took advantage of sometimes. If you want to watch your own without paying for the chargeable ones I recommend a portable dvd player or tablet with preloaded films. We didn't go to one port which happened to be the last one; Guernsey as we needed to go via tender and the water was too choppy by the pontoon. We had extra entertainment laid on instead which included an extra film to watch. Food - couldn't fault it and the same standard whether in the buffet or dining rooms. Can't understand why we get free pizzas but not free ice cream though. Disembarkation was smooth - we chose to disembark ourselves as we wanted to leave early with having a 5 hour trip home and apart from waiting for lifts carrying our own luggage we were off the ship in twenty minutes. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2015
We joined the cruise as first time sceptics, not expecting to enjoy it. From the straightforward embarkation process to the speedy disembarkation (so much faster than an airport) we loved everything about Ventura. We are in our 50s and ... Read More
We joined the cruise as first time sceptics, not expecting to enjoy it. From the straightforward embarkation process to the speedy disembarkation (so much faster than an airport) we loved everything about Ventura. We are in our 50s and 60s and were pleasantly surprised by the mainly younger clientele on board. We didn't like the idea of being surrounded by pensionsers. The service and food in the Saffron restaurant was excellent for the price. I can't praise the staff on board highly enough. Every single individual was friendly, helpful and efficient. Bar prices very reasonable. One small niggle was the fact that we had to wait 20 minutes in cold and rain for our return coach from Blankenburg back to Zeebrugge. Seemed rather unnecessary as there was only 1 train per hour and it would have been easy to have plenty of coaches waiting for the train. The spa was great. Again friendly, helpful staff. Clean facilities, although the steam room did have a rather musty damp smell which was a bit off-putting. A great two nights - we would definitely go on another P&O cruise. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2015
Great room, great staff, great food and seemed to be filled with really nice people sailing with us. Staff always reminding people to cleanse hands before entering buffet or retaurant and signs up in toilets, etc. Whole ship was ... Read More
Great room, great staff, great food and seemed to be filled with really nice people sailing with us. Staff always reminding people to cleanse hands before entering buffet or retaurant and signs up in toilets, etc. Whole ship was spotless and staff could be found washing hand rails and door knobs all through the day. We saw the man in charge of buffet, Beach Bar, etc, always patrolling. One day he went mad at staff because he found 1 chip on the floor....hig standards to be sure. Gripes: A lot of upselling, especially drinks waiters, they watch you and pounce! In fact they huddle when a place is quiet then it's a case of which one of them reaches you first...pack mentality! Often food is whipped away if you are up getting a cup of tea...never leave it unattended they are over efficient!! Children....not a problem BUT two nights running in the Havanna lounge, we wnet after 12. A lady kept leaving her children while she danced te night away, they children were aged 3-6. The poor kids were left to sleep on chairs, all unattended and the mother certainly was not watching them. We complained to the bar manager but he just kept saying @It's a family disco'. I pointed out the age of the children, the time of night and the fact that the mother was nowhere to be seen. Nothing was done about this. I ended up sitting watching the kids just in case........ Entertainment not too great but comedian Mark Walker is a must see. The pianist in the Red Bar was funny, friendly and skilled. All staff were very willing to help, always said 'Hi' as you passed them and were always smiling. Photos: Expensive and they don't always upload all the photos, a little disorganised in that sense. The cruise highlights are usually recorded but seems they didn't replace whoever does the recordings after he quit his job at the beginning of the cruise. That was a shame and definitely must have been a financial loss to P & O. We would definitley recommend this ship and the cruise itself. However, travellers should think twice before booking the organised trips as they are very expensive. We went ad hoc and used the taxis and buses at each port....saved a fortune and ended up seeing much more. We will definitely cruise again because it was so cost effective, you couldn't get a five star hotel, the food and service in each country for the price of a cruise. More to the point it makes it so easy to see each country without packing your bags and travelling to each location! Brilliant time had by all. Thanks to all on the Ventura. 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 3.3
Service 4.0 4.0
Value For Money 4.0 3.6
Rates 3.0 3.9

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