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15 P&O Cruises Ventura Cruise Reviews for First-Time Cruisers Cruises to Europe - British Isles & Western

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
Sail Date February 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
Sail Date January 2016
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 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
Sail Date August 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 May 2015
We are a couple in our late forties, and this May we abandoned our children for the first time (they *are* old enough before you worry) to take a somewhat belated 20th Anniversary break on a cruise liner. A four day break to Zeebrugge in ... Read More
We are a couple in our late forties, and this May we abandoned our children for the first time (they *are* old enough before you worry) to take a somewhat belated 20th Anniversary break on a cruise liner. A four day break to Zeebrugge in Belgium and Guernsey.We've actually been considering this for years, it was seriously mooted for our honeymoon, but we've never really got round to it before. We chose P&O based on a mixture of recommendations, reading, and where we (or to be more precise, the missus) fancied going.We arrived early at Southampton, despite it being a bank holiday. We arranged to book with CPS who handle the parking for that port. Sadly, this was a complete shambles on both entry and exit (see later for exit)On entry, we were fed into a "loop" near the checkin area where they pick up your bags and drive your car off. There were many cars waiting to be checked in, we waited about an hour and a quarter. I spoke to one of the security men who was getting worried because they simply didn't have enough space to put any further cars if any more turned up. In his view (and he was right as far as I could see) the delay was due to undermanning by CPS - there were several 'check in' lanes but only one was in operation and could handle about a dozen cars at once, each taking maybe five minutes. This was hugely unimpressive but we didn't mind too much because it was a nice day.When we actually got to offload this was done very well. We progressed to the terminal building to a far more efficient system run by P+O where they checked tickets, took photographs and credit cards and so on. This took no time at all, but we then went to another long queue caused, I think, by the Port Authorities not employing enough staff where they checked the baggage. Then, finally, we got on the boat and headed for our cabin.We had booked an outside cabin with a balcony on Deck A. It was spacious (more than expected) and clean - there was a large double bed, a TV showing assorted cable-type shows and an information channel, a seperate bathroom and the balcony. We also had a fridge which was filled with the drinks we had brought on board (including a bottle of Champagne the missus had sneaked on)One of the cases was not ours - it belonged to the deck below. We brought this to the attention of the steward (ess ? she was female) and it was taken away. Ten minutes later it was back :) despite being clearly labelled.Staff overall were excellent though throughout, nothing was too much trouble. Most of the staff were Indian, from the Goa area I understand. Our fellow Passengers were also very pleasant. Whether we were lucky, or this is a function of the holiday I do not know, but we spoke with a cross section of ages and social classes over the break (if you know what I mean !) and everyone was very friendly. Didn't see any 'hen party' behaviour at all.The first thing we went to was the raffle for free treatments at the Spa, obviously a loss leader to get people in. Whilst the girls doing the work were excellent, I didn't like its hard sell mentality at all. I was able to hear the manager tell the girls to stand near the exits to give passengers a tour as they exited (most people left after the raffle) and we were asked to stand, for a contrived reason, in cabin floor groups. The cynic in me says this is a handy way of grouping people by finances. The missus did have a massage and said it was very good, but it was expensive, probably a 30% markup unlike the rest of the ship where prices for drinks etc. were about par.We had all our dinners in the Bay View restaurant, club dining, just a table for two though we did chat with the couple on the table next to us. Service was generally excellent, and there was no push towards expensive wines - I don't drink much wine and the missus just drinks a glass or two a night, so we only used two bottles in four days, which was reasonably priced. The food was well presented. Portions were on the small side but there were several courses and we always felt full when we left.We went to the first two of the four main performances in the Arena theatre. The first night the show was a performance of 70s classics (the missus is slighly younger than me, mistaking Suzi Quatro for Blondie - possible grounds for divorce) and was done by the resident song and dance group. It was great fun, lasting about 45 minutes or so with no interval. The second show was a Take That tribute band who were pretty good. I enjoyed it even though I only recognised about half the songs. The third night was the resident theatre group again doing songs from the musicals, and the last night was a comic. There were usually a couple of other performances going on elsewhere, we saw an Annie Lennox tribute, there was a Johnny Cash tribute, an impressionist and two chaps who sang with a piano, and a couple of house singers who appeared at odd times.We slept well. One thing that we didn't suffer from was noisy announcements, these only came though if you had the information channel on.In the morning, just, we went to the Breakfast buffet which was pretty good, a mixture of continental, fruit and English fry up. This was the source of one of the very few complaints I had - the orange juice was frequently watery. It's a sign of how much we enjoyed the cruise that the 'complaints' are pretty trivial.We went to Bruges on Day 2, taking a half day trip. We took the official excursion even though there were options such as the train or taxis, simply because we were cruise rookies. We disembarked (no passports were checked in Zeebrugge or Guernsey) onto a coach. We had a rather eccentric guide who didn't like the Germans very much telling a story of a hotel the Belgians built, then the Germans came in and destroyed it in 1914-18, the Belgians then restored it only for the Germans to destroy it again in 1939-45. Fortunately we didn't have any German passengers :) Bruges we enjoyed, especially the ride round in the horse drawn cab which isn't cheap (and apparently the boat trip is well worth it). Coming back, it chucked it down and we got soaked. There was confusion about a potential missing passenger. Why they didn't keep a list of who was on what coach I do not know. But the organised excursion was pretty well organised.Wednesday was a sea day. This is my other P&O complaint, which might be a function of the trip type. There was plenty going on in the evening, in fact if we did it again we would change to an early dining shift so we could experience more. In the day time there was less going on. Wednesday I thought would be more representative. Discounting childrens activities there were a couple of quizzes, one dance activity (line dancing, the only dancing lesson of any sort all trip), a film (not brand new but recent - Skyfall was on for example). There was one 'lecture' which was about a fellow's time in school (I think, we missed it)Many of the activities documented in Horizon appeared to be the Spa running sales spiels "come and learn all about Acupuncture (and we can flog you a session)" during the day. I was rather disappointed to be honest, but having said that we didn't get bored. I went to a cricket session - got picked last in teams (I am podgy and nearly 50) but I can still bowl fairly sharpish, though my back and shoulders regretted it the next day :)The missus had a massage in the morning and a yoga session in the evening at the Spa and said it was very well done. Good thing considering the price and by this time I just didn't like the people who ran it (not the actual staff themselves)We tried the in cabin service on Wednesday - you can order food through the TV, and this came pretty rapidly - you could order sandwiches and so on for free, drinks (paid, obviously) plus some food was charged (Burger + Chips was Â(EURO)3.50)Wednesday night was also the formal night. We got dressed up in our finery (less so in my case) and there were several people taking photographs in various settings throughout the ship. There was one photographer (David I think) who is quite a diminutive fellow but managed to take a decent set of photos of me, which means the man is a genius. Photos retailed throughout at 10 or formal night photos were 16 (to be fair they were slightly larger). There were regular photo sessions - you had the opportunity at meal time etc., but the photographers were not pushy. We didn't go to the Wednesday show partly because we were slightly late for dinner but mainly because we were slightly smashed.Thursday was Guernsey day. You have to go to Guernsey on the lifeboats/shuttles so there was a ticket system and a long queue. Not ideal but well enough done given the limitations, especially as the weather was borderline. We got plenty of time in St Peters Port. We had planned to visit the Underground Hospital but looking at the bus timetables we decided not to. In retrospect, we would book the trip for Guernsey (which helped with the disembarking) and planned ourselves for the far more ad hoc trip to Bruges. But you live and learn.Thursday we also sampled afternoon tea, and lunch for the only time. Lunch was an alternative of a cut down meal or an assortment of fillers, Afternoon tea was sandwiches and cakes, crumpets and teacakes.As time progressed the prices in the shops dropped, though they never were ridiculous. Apart from the Spa prices were pretty close to normal, no great deals though as promised, tax free cancelling out the mark up. The missus did buy a handbag and checked prices afterwards, it was slightly less than the RRP.On our last day we had a formal breakfast which was very similar to the buffet (slightly extended) but with waiter service. We had sent our cases ahead and got up early for breakfast (most days we weren't early enough for the formal breakfast !). Disembarkation started with those who had kept their cases, then everyone else, we decided to sit and have a drink and wait for the queue to die down, we don't live that far away from the port.In retrospect we would probably keep our cases and get off as early as possible. So, having waited to disembark though our own choice, we went to collect the keys, which was done rather efficiently, and then we found our car easily enough. Then it ground to a complete halt. The reason for this was all the cars went out through the same one track road past two people in Hi-Viz jackets on different junctions who didn't seem aware that there was half a dozen cars in one direction, and hundreds in the other. We were stuck in the queue, frequently not moving for ten minutes at a time for about 90 minutes. Amazingly there were no fights and no shunts.It is rather disappointing. The cruise itself was great but it was spoiled by the parking at the beginning and end - not P&O's fault at all. If (as is likely) we go again I will try the offsite parking with minibus transfer or possibly parking elsewhere in Southampton, because however bad they are they couldn't be worse.Overall though we really enjoyed it. The negatives are almost exclusively about the car parking at either end. We will do it again, I'm sure, and would certainly consider P&O again. The weather was erratic which meant the balcony wasn't used much, and I had concerns about the standards of the daytime entertainment which might be problematical on a cruise with more sea days. Read Less
Sail Date May 2013
I have wanted to go on a cruise for as long as I can remember but have never had the opportunity before so when a fabulous offer price coincided with half term ( I work in a school) and my mother in law offered to have the kids, it was too ... Read More
I have wanted to go on a cruise for as long as I can remember but have never had the opportunity before so when a fabulous offer price coincided with half term ( I work in a school) and my mother in law offered to have the kids, it was too good an opportunity to turn down. I was a little concerned before we went as the price seemed very low for what was included and I thought the ship might be over run with kids as it was half term. Having decided to leave ours at home I didn't really want to spend the 5 days getting irritated by other peoples children. However I couldn't have been more wrong. Although there were apparently 600 children on board I didn't really notice and the children we did encounter were incredibly well behaved and polite. I half wished we had taken ours along too as the facilities for children seemed excellent.Embarkation was incredibly smooth. We had paid for port parking with CPS and were very impressed with this service. We had to wait approximately 30 mins in a queueing system before we were processed. This was very efficient. Once you get out of your car your cases are whisked off in one direction and your car in another. It's then a few paces into the terminal where you wait to be issued with your cruise card. We couldn't fault this process at all.We got on board about 3pm and were able to go straight to our cabin which was located on B deck (level 11) and had a balcony. It was very spacious and had a fridge and tea and coffee making facilities.We had asked for 1st sitting club dining but were in fact giving 2nd sitting in the Saffron restaurant. The disadvantage of this was that we could only see one show in the evenings as they seemed to run two slots 8:30 and 10:30 when all the shows rotated. An earlier sitting would mean you could take fuller advantage of all the entertainment. However eating later meant that we could skip lunch and have afternoon tea (at 3:30) then not feel too full for dinner. We did this on both of our port days when we left the ship at around 10am and arrived back before 3pm.The restaurant staff were incredibly helpful. My husband has several food intolerances and they were great at adapting the food for him. We thought he might have quite restricted choice but in fact they were happy to adapt anything he choose from the menu. He was giving the lunch and dinner menus the night before and choose in advance. They even made sure that there were specially adapted cakes and sandwiches available every afternoon for afternoon tea whether we went or not. Because of my husbands dietary requirements we didn't try any of the other restaurants. We were more than happy with the saffron. We were sat on a table for 7 at dinner, this was great as you got to know some of your fellow passengers quite well and could swap stories of your day each evening. We were sat with similarly aged people and discovered on the last night that we all came from the Coventry area, spooky.Bruges was a joy. Being cruise novices we weren't sure whether to book excursions or not but after a little research decided to 'do it ourselves'. It was so easy (& cheap). A free shuttle bus was provided to the local town of Blakenburg. From there it was a 10 minutes train ride, trains are 1 an hour and it cost 5.60E return. Bruge train station is about a 15 minute walk from the market square but it is a lovely walk and there is so much to see on the way. I would very much like to go back to Bruge. People told us the canal boat trip is well worth doing. We just had a lovely wander round in the unexpected sunshine, ate waffles and bought chocolates, delicious. Getting back to the boat was equally easy and we returned in time for afternoon tea.Our sea day was gloriously sunny so we shunned the talks, movies and other entertainment in preference of sitting in the sun and reading. There were lots of waiting staff around on deck ready to take your drinks orders, my criticism of this would be that if you just want the free tea, coffee and water you need to walk down to the beachside and waterside restaurants at the back of the boat. It would have been useful to have more places where you could get water, particularly on hot days. Our experience of bar waiting staff was that they were very efficient and returned relatively quickly with your drinks order.I thought the entertainment was good, I don't think it's what you get if you were to go to the west end but it was very entertaining and there was a good variety. We saw one show in the theatre and a comedian in Havana and well as various singers in bars around the ship.One of the nicest aspects of the cruise was meeting lots of different people at meals and in the bars. It felt like a very social way of holidaying. I wouldn't have any reservations in asking to be sat on a large table again and people we met who had dined alone said they wished they'd asked for a larger table.It was a bit overcast in Guernsey. We had to wait about 30 mins for our tender and left the ship about 10am. Crossing was a little choppy but not too bad. We just went to the occupation museum in St Peter Port and then had a wander around town. If I went again I might do the round Guernsey bus. I think Guernsey would be better enjoyed in the sunshine. Didn't have to wait to get back on the boat just walked straight onto a tender and left.We talked to a few people about disembarkation on the boat and decided as we didn't have much luggage the best thing to do would be to do it ourselves. This was incredibly easy. We walked straight off at 7:45, picked up our car key and drove straight out of the port with no queues. Definitely the easy stress free option. We were home (in Cambridge) by 10am.Obviously as a first timer I have nothing to compare our cruise to but we thoroughly enjoyed it and would not hesitate to book another with P&O Read Less
Sail Date May 2013
We're a young(ish) active couple in our early 40s who booked a week on Ventura cruising the Norwegian Fjords as our first cruise. We didn't want to spend a fortune or go for more than a week in case cruising wasn't for us. ... Read More
We're a young(ish) active couple in our early 40s who booked a week on Ventura cruising the Norwegian Fjords as our first cruise. We didn't want to spend a fortune or go for more than a week in case cruising wasn't for us. My husband hates flying so a cruise from Southampton seemed ideal. We normally holiday in the UK and enjoy walks, photography, good food and in my husband's case, a pint of two of real ale. This cruise appealed because is was sure to be scenic and seemed like a good introduction to holidaying at sea. We travelled by train from Nottingham to Southampton to avoid the stress of driving and the expense of parking. It was easier than getting to the pick up point for the coach. As soon as we got out of the taxi at the Mayflower Pier our cases were immediately whisked away and we joined the line for check in. The queue moved fairly swiftly and within about 30 mins we were on board. We felt a bit lost and not sure what to do but were handed a map of the ship and wandered off to find our cabin. On our way we came across our cases which were waiting on the corridor and wheeled them the rest of the way down to our cabin towards the aft end of the C deck. We'd decided on aft to save £100 each and had read that C deck cabins have the best balconies. This is true. Our cabin had everything we needed, was well tastefully decorated, comfortable and a reasonable size. Our cabin steward, Grazie, introduced herself almost as soon as we'd moved in. She told us where to find our muster station and made sure we were happy with our cabin. She did a great job keeping our home for the week clean and tidy and was always smiling and chirpy. After unpacking (and yes there was plenty of room for our stuff, our cases and enough hangers) we went for a wander and afternoon tea. Then it was time for the safety talk at the muster station (Havana). This didn't take long and was straight forward. We spent the first afternoon exploring although we still managed to get lost a few times, even towards the end of the week! The floors are a bit confusing as some areas don't seem to link up from all 3 staircases but we had some extra exercise finding our way round. We'd opted for freedom dining and ate in the Cinnamon restaurant each evening, We didn't see the point of paying extra to eat in the "select" restaurants as the food and service were very good in our allocated restaurant. We elected not to share tables and never had to wait long for a table for 2. We ate close to 6pm most evenings and were shown a window seat several times. We have no complaints about the food. There was plenty of choice and it was possible to request items that weren't on the menu if you're especially fussy. The service from the waiters was prompt and efficient. Some were more smiley and friendly than others but they were all good at their jobs. We sampled most of the bars on board and preferred the Metropolis bar over all due to the relaxed atmosphere and great views. We also liked the Red Bar as it was comfortable. The drink prices were reasonable and the service was attentive without being pushy. Even in busy venues, such as the theatre and Havana bar the staff did a great job in getting to you when you needed a refill and remembering who ordered what. I don't know how they do it! Hubby was happy with the range of real ales and I enjoyed working my way through the cocktail list and sampling the occasional liquor. We went to some of the shows in the theatre. The Headliners singers and dancers were very good and their shows were professional and entertaining. The comedians were ok but we didn't see any of them for a second time. The Neil Diamond and Tom Jones tribute acts were very good. The older ladies in the audience especially enjoyed the banter from the Tom Jones act! We didn't partake in the entertainment every evening. We were happy just to sit in the Metropolis bar with a drink, enjoying the sunsets and chilled out music. There was a fairly comprehensive programme of daytime activities but most of it wasn't really our cup of tea. We did use the gym which was very well equipped. The classes were a bit expensive but the free "fab abs" class was good. The treadmills and cardio equipment are arranged to give a great view out to sea at the front of the ship. Who needs MTV! There are plenty of swimming pools on Ventura but only a few brave souls made use of them. It was rather nippy in April! If you want to do "proper" swimming you'll find them a bit small. The endless pool wasn't working most of the time but it was too cold to use it anyway. The temperature around the only covered pool was reasonable and if that had been bigger or "endless" we might have used it. Ventura is a family ship so this area was a bit noisy for us although most of the time we didn't really notice many children elsewhere on board as it was term time. You can always get something to eat on the ship without having to pay extra for it. The 24hr buffet had a good choice of food. Breakfast, lunch and afternoon tea were fairly varied and of good quality. Seating was rather limited and at times we walked circuits around both sides of Waterfront and Beach house to find a table. It probably would be less congested in warmer climates when you could make use of the exterior seating. On our cruise we had 2 sea days and visited ports on 4 days. The excursions were very expensive. We only booked one - the Flam railway trip. This was also pricey but we don't regret booking it. There wasn't a lot to do in the ports other than enjoy the scenery. This was enough for us. Flam and Bergen are covered below. We also visited Stavanger and Olden. Both were interesting and pleasant to wander around. We liked the old town in Stavanger but it felt as though Ventura and its passengers took over the town in a rather imposing and intrusive way. It seemed as though it wasn't quite ready for the tourist season as not everywhere was open and quite a lot of work was being done in the port. Olden has some shops geared towards tourists. We didn't buy anything but lots of people did - they were packed! We found the old wooden church which was worth the short walk to find. Again, some of the shops were closed - they missed a trick there! The prettiest area can be found by turning left and walking down the road back along the Fjord. There's a wooden pier by some conifer trees where we took some lovely photos which look like paintings. There is something surreal about the colours of the landscape and the snow-capped mountains reflected in the water. Yes, Norway is expensive but cruising is a cheaper way to visit as there is no need to pay for food and drinks - you can get them on the ship! We only wandered around in the ports for a few hours between breakfast and lunch so didn't need to get on and off too many times. This was a good thing as queuing to get through security was a bit of a chore, albeit necessary and understandable. We had been a bit nervous before our holiday about rough seas. One night was quite bad although the staff were reassuring, especially the captain who had warned us that there would be a big swell and some noise from the bow slapping down on the sea (gulp!) We wore our anti sea sickness bands and didn't feel ill, just a little anxious. We propped ourselves up in bed and watched the TV most of the night to distract us from the noise and motion. There was some vibration from the stabilisers which i understand was worse on the lower decks. The rest of the time we were lucky to have fairly smooth seas and good weather. We knew it would be cold and packed accordingly. Disembarkation was swift and well organised but no drinks were offered wile we waited to be led off the ship. We would have happily paid for a cuppa in the bar as we'd had to vacate our room by 8am and were not due to leave until after 10am. We could have left earlier, taking our bags off ourselves but we'd have had a long wait at Southampton station. We were expecting the buffet breakfast to be rammed on disembarkation but we beat the crowds by eating before 7am. It was the quietest we'd seen it all week! We would definitely recommend P&O and Ventura and the Norwegian Fjords. In fact I've been missing the ship since we came home! It would be interesting to see how different the experience would be in warm weather when you could sit on deck and enjoy the pools. Maybe next time... Read Less
Sail Date April 2013
We were first time cruisers and due to a medical my mobility is a little slow (use a walkng aid) and rules out any flying This cruise was advised by travel agency. We live very close to Southampton and our son drove us to check in. ... Read More
We were first time cruisers and due to a medical my mobility is a little slow (use a walkng aid) and rules out any flying This cruise was advised by travel agency. We live very close to Southampton and our son drove us to check in. Within minutes our bags were taken from us and due to mobility was amazed, taken straight to checkin desk and within 15 minutes we were standing in our cabin C431 a twin with shower and balcony. We decided to leave the unpacking till after we had a walk around the ship. What a lady, Ventura had just come back from having her refit. Atrium was bright and airy. Onboard shops were easy to find, walk around and noone jumped on you as soon as you entered the shop ( one of my pet hates. We found most of the places for Dining, the Orangery was already very busy. We had booked with the knowledge we would be given a dining time and table on reaching our cabin. We were on MDR 2nd sitting in Saffron. And so we set sail. We missed the sail away party as we were unpacking. Our cabin was spacious and we had everything we needed. Our cabin steward Winston, was fantastic once we had told him we were first time cruisers. Our nights on board were 2 Black tie. 2 smart casual and 3 casual. We loved the thought of getting dressed for dinner. The meals were very good, waiters very experienced and helpful. We had no issues with the food and rarely ate lunch as we either on an excursion or had a light snack in the Orangery. Eating in the orangery was a little ruff as the few times we ate there reminded us of school caffateria. We ate in the White room one evening, and both the food and the staff were lovely. We had pre-booked 3 excursions as the last one was full, but we were told via the excursion team, we had seats for the Flam railway. Our ports of call in the Norwegian Fjords were Stavanger. Flam, Olden and Bergen. What wonderful sights, to stand on the pier without a coat on to looking up to snow capped Mountains. Excursion were very good. One or two "Eek" moments on the coach going up the mountain on very narrow roads, I swear at one point some of the coach was hanging over a 70mtre drop. On the whole we really enjoyed our excursions. The entertainment was fair as I had been expecting full scenery, lighting and Broadway show so I was a little disappointed with the shows, however we saw the Chapman Brothers twice, only one we liked. There were children on the cruise and most were very polite and courteous, mind u is till cannot understand young, fit children who take the lift to go up or down one floor!!! Overall we were very impressed with the service. Staff very very friendly and helpful. We enjoyed it so much we have recently returned from a 14 night Baltic cruise on the Aurora, but that's another tale. Well done all the staff on Ventura for its them that make or break a cruise Read Less
Sail Date April 2013
We were all looking forward to our cruise, and it certainly did not disappoint! The ship was fantastic in the main, and the facilities excellent. We normally holiday in the UK in Bournemouth or Centre Parcs and was worried about some of ... Read More
We were all looking forward to our cruise, and it certainly did not disappoint! The ship was fantastic in the main, and the facilities excellent. We normally holiday in the UK in Bournemouth or Centre Parcs and was worried about some of the negative reviews about CHAVS and Butlins at sea. However I found the fellow cruisers to be not at all like that. I would book the cruise again today if they were to repeat it, however I have checked and they are not, not even in 2013! We chose Freedom Dining and were allocated Cinnamon. The food was excellent in the main dining room, and the service was very good. I chose Gluten Free meals and in Cinnamon the request was well taken care of, the head waiter taking my order each night for the following day to allow the chef to prepare it in advance. I researched on here before we went and was glad to have discovered afternoon tea, really enjoyed it on the ship, again gluten free sandwiches, and some cakes too! Although the buffets served a purpose when returning from shore I would always have eaten in Cinnamon given a choice as I found it much nicer food, just wish we had been around to try lunch in Cinnamon too. The cocktails we had were nice, however I found if you went to the bar directly the strength of the cocktail increased remarkably compared to ordering it from your sun lounger! We travelled independently to Bruges using Ronys Taxi, it cost only 95 euros for 7 of us return and was amazing value compared to the tours, and dropped us straight to the market place. They were reasonably prompt however the driver on the return drove far too fast, if anyone uses Ronys Taxi and the driver number is 00066 be afraid, very afraid! We all felt relieved to be back at the ship. Le Havre was much better than we expected, the weather made it being around 30 degrees. We got the shuttle to town which was quick and easy, and spent some hours around the beach which was really nice. Great choice of beach bars where we enjoyed several drinks. Guernsey was great for a few hours too we walked to Castle Cornet, and around St Peters Port again the weather made it, not a cloud in sight and around 30 degrees again. Our cabin was spotlessly clean, James the steward kept nipping in, changing towels, making the beds up, it seemed like he checked it nearly every time we left it. I was concerned about our cabin allocation, we got allocated D123 first, and I got it changed due to the many bad reviews of that cabin for noise, however we were certainly no better in E116 and we got woken numerous times the last two nights with staff bounding up the staff metal stairway that was next to our cabin. I reported it in the morning the first time, but they were a bit dismissive as I had not rang them as the noise was occurring. I did not want to wake my daughter up however the first night. The night manager came down the second night as I called reception, and explained the problem, its a main route to the bridge apparently for crew. It was really noisy shoes clanking up and down metal steps. He offered to move us but since it was 11.30pm final night thought it would be less disruptive to stay put as was not looking forward to a 6 hour drive after a changing cabin. That was the only real negative to a wonderful holiday however. I will follow it up with P and O. Read Less
Sail Date July 2012
We are just back from the Ventura's three night short cruise and have been more then pleased after reading some of the negative reviews here beforehand.Our inside aft cabin (B721) was nicely decorated and more roomy than expected. We ... Read More
We are just back from the Ventura's three night short cruise and have been more then pleased after reading some of the negative reviews here beforehand.Our inside aft cabin (B721) was nicely decorated and more roomy than expected. We were woken by the engines as the ship was docking, but soon went back off to sleep. If you are a very light sleeper you may want to consider another location on the ship. The food was fantastic, not one complaint. The buffet was fresh and plentiful, we didn't have to que once. Dinner in the main dining room was outstanding, from the food to the service, to the surroundings, just perfect. We also ate one evening in the Beach House and had another very enjoyable meal. The menu in there doesn't change, we both had Buffalo wings to start and ribs for main, with a side of Bruchetta. Although it's not fine dining its was all cooked and presented beautifully, we had a window table overlooking the ocean watching the sun set - what more could you ask for?Service throughout the ship was second to none, we didn't go to the bar for our own drinks once. There are plenty of bar waiters to bring your drinks to the table and they keep an eye on your drinks for refills.Everything was well organised apart from disembarking. Luckily we were one of the first off but can imagine the chaos that we left behind. People were queuing up the stairwells and the whole atrium area was packed.Brugge was lovely and very easy to get to on the train, there is no need to pay the £28pp excursion fee. Le Havre was like a ghost town because it was a Sunday and everything was shut.On formal night it seemed everyone made the effort, we didn't see anyone under dressed. Many people were dressing in suits and smart dresses for the smart casual night too.There were a couple of hen parties, but they certainly didn't make a nuisance of themselves. All in all a good trip. Read Less
Sail Date April 2011
We've recently returned from our first cruise and enjoyed it so much that we're now cruise converts! We'd been interested in booking a cruise for sometime but weren't sure if it was our sort of holiday. We did lots of ... Read More
We've recently returned from our first cruise and enjoyed it so much that we're now cruise converts! We'd been interested in booking a cruise for sometime but weren't sure if it was our sort of holiday. We did lots of research as to which would be a suitable ship and eventually picked P & O's Ventura, we thought we'd go for 7 days only, just in case we didn't like it. We used the P & O website to book the holiday, getting a 10% discount and double on-board spend. We had staterooms A501 with a balcony and A517 inside and also chose the freedom-dining option. Living only three-quarters of an hour from Southampton, we had a short drive to the Ocean Terminal and were impressed with the CPS parking arrangements. Wasn't really sure what to expect with the check-in procedure but were pleasantly surprised with how smooth, efficient and stress-less it was. We arrived about 1.00pm and it was busy - it was announced later in the day that there had been 2,500 people in the terminal at that time - but considering the amount of people checking in we couldn't believe that it only took 45 mins between arriving and boarding. We went up to the Waterside Restaurant, had something to eat and it was announced that the cabins were ready at about 2.00pm. Following a quick walk around Deck 15 we went to our cabins. Some of the luggage was already outside the door; some didn't turn up until a few hours later. We had a balcony cabin and an inside one. Both were very comfortable. The beds were really comfy, plenty of storage space, etc. The hairdryer was powerful enough to dry my thick, shoulder, length hair; it was an ordinary plug in one (not one of those powerless wall mounted ones you sometimes find in hotel), so don't worry about packing a hairdryer. My GHD's also worked perfectly. Two small bottles of water were supplied, along with tea, coffee, milk, biscuits and sweets. Complimentary toiletries were by the White Company. Beach towels were also supplied. The balcony was great, enough room for three of us to sit out on and wasn't overlooked, although we could look down onto Decks C and D. We used either the Beach House or the Waterside for breakfast. Lots of choice from traditional cooked breakfast, through to cereals, pastries, fruits, etc. Although the ship was full we never had a problem finding a table. You could also have breakfast delivered to your room. Lunchtimes (when onboard) we used the Waterside Restaurant (wide choice of food) or Frankies, where they did lovely pizzas to order and a good burger (perfect for when you're relaxing on deck or using the pool). Occasionally we would pop into Waterside for a bit of afternoon tea, where there was a selection of sandwiches, cakes, etc. There was a silver-service tea in Saffron each afternoon but we never got as far as getting there; next time maybe..... In the evenings we used either Cinnamon (we went at about 7.00pm and never had a problem getting a table), Beach Bistro or Waterside. Again, a wide range of food, always well cooked and presented. I'm veggie and had no problems finding something to eat. We had a quick peek into Marco Pierre White's restaurant and it looked very inviting, they also did a good veggie option. However, we were so busy trying the other restaurants that we ran out of time to go there. Apparently, MPW was on Ventura the week before, so we just missed him. Entertainment was very good. My favourites were the Four Tops and Drifters Tribute Groups. We also saw Saturday Night Fever and a Freddie Mercury Tribute. There were also plenty of different quizzes including a Dr Who one, talks, classes, etc. Cheryl Baker was guest speaker, not my cup of tea but others who saw her found her enjoyable. The facilities for children looked fantastic and my nephews would of loved them. All the children seemed happy and were well behaved. I had a quick look round but didn't use the gym. Plenty of equipment and great views. At the Oasis Spa is a sauna and steam room for general use. Also for £10 a day you had unlimited use of the Thermaspa. This I did use and it had a couple of steam rooms and a lanconium, complete with warm tiled beds for relaxing on. I felt great after using this. Outside is the adult pool, which although slightly chilly is meant for swimming in, rather than playing in. It was also a lap pool but unfortunately the machinery was out of order last week, due to some rough weather on the previous cruise! There were also two lovely Jacuzzi's too. We used the indoor Beachcoomber Pool on the wet days and the Laguna Pool on the sunny days both were lovely and warm. Didn't get to try the Terrace Pool as we tended to always be down the other end of the boat. Weather wise we had a real mixed bag, so you'd be wise to take summer and winter clothes on a trip to the Fjords. Our first full day at sea was gloriously hot, with lots of sunbathing, swimming and general relaxation. The North Sea was also very calm - not what we were expecting at all, even the Captain commented on how kind the North Sea had been to us. The four stops were as follows:- Bergen - when we arrived at Bergen it was drizzly/low cloud/foggy. We used the shuttle bus and had a good walk around Bergan. We were also going to use the funicular railway, which can easily be done independently, but as we couldn't see the top of the mountain because of the poor weather we decided to abandon this and went back to the boat after a couple of hours. As soon as we got back to the boat the weather improved and the sun came out! Bergen is a pretty little town and well worth a look around. Flam - it rained all day One of the Costa boats was already moored up at the quay, so Ventura used its tenders instead. We'd already booked via P & O to do the Flam railway trip but I expect it would be cheaper to do this independently. The line is 12.4miles and at its steepest gradient it's 1 in 18. There were lots of stunning views and waterfalls, especially the Kjosfossen. At the top of the line we visited the hotel where we had coffee and waffles with raspberry jam and sour cream, yum, yum. Ventura and the Costa ship had a bit of a competition with their horns, which was great fun. Olden - raining. We visited the Briksdal Glacier, again pre-booked with P & O. I expect it would be difficult to get here independently. There are two options with this tour, either walking the whole way or getting the troll bus halfway and walking the rest. We walked the whole way and it can be a steep walk in places (especially in the pouring rain). The troll bus takes you up the steep bit and then drops you off to walk the rest of the way to the glacier. There is a steep bit after the troll bus drops you off and I saw one old lady struggling to make it up this bit, however after this it's a much flatter walk and well worth the effort to see the retreating the glacier. Again, there's a thunderous waterfall half-way up the steep bit, so you might get wet there, even on a dry day. We also had a nice selection of coffee and cakes at the Briksdal hotel on our return. Stavanger - in the morning the weather was overcast, however in the afternoon there was wonderful blue sky. Ventura moored up in the city centre and this was perfect for a gentle wander around. On our last day at sea, again the weather was warm, with blue skies, perfect for a last bit of relaxation before our return to Southampton. Disembarkation was equally smooth. We were given an allocated time of 8.15am to leave the boat and our luggage was waiting for us in the terminal. There was a short walk over to the CPS Car Park and we were on our way back to Bournemouth by 8.45am. We thoroughly enjoyed our first cruise and loved the Ventura. We're now looking at the Caribbean Cruises for next year. Read Less
Sail Date July 2010
We didn't know what to expect, i had gone on a cruise 30 plus years ago in my teens and couldn't remember too much but my partner had never sailed, so there was a slight concern of sea sickness ....which never came i'm ... Read More
We didn't know what to expect, i had gone on a cruise 30 plus years ago in my teens and couldn't remember too much but my partner had never sailed, so there was a slight concern of sea sickness ....which never came i'm pleased to say. The Ventura was a loverly clean ship and you hardly knew you were sailing. The start / checking in was the best experience ever , the atmostphere was so calm and i lost count of the P&O check in staff at Southampton. This set the holiday off very well . You were given a ticket with a letter on it and when this was called you went up to the check in ....we were there in a full hall and only waited about 20 mins from us arriving ...oh i forgot to add they took our bags at the car and we never saw them again until we gor to our cabin ! The information on board was second to none as your TV gives you information on position, miles travelled etc and also gives very interesting information on video form of your ports you are visiting. The cabin was fantastic and the attendant very polite and friendly . Towels seemed to be changed 2-3 times a day soometimes . They turn your bed down at night and not only do they leave a printed itinerery for the next day they leave small choclates on the bed ! The choice of food was vast and the quality very very good. You can eat in other restarants of varrying tastes at a varring suppliment.Or there is a non formal dinning area which is very nice and no suppliment. But to be honest the main restaurant is as good or better than any 5 star hotel you may visit so we stayed in there !! The entertainment was good some acts better than others but there is so much choice if one wasn't to your liking you can just go and find another going on at the same time ...its that easy. The drinks on the Ventura ar normal pub prices so no worries there. The staff are very friendly and helpfull. Even the collection of our bags at the end was a breeze as i was worried i wouldn't see my plain black case as i'd forgot my bright pink gay pride march strap ! But no worries there , they let you off and you walk into a massive hall / warehouse as part of the route out and your bags are all lined up in deck order so you just find your deck walk along the line ( there's no conveyor belt) and just pick your bags up ....all done ...easy as that !!! We are going again !!! Read Less
Sail Date June 2010
My wife and I selected the P&O Ventura as a first cruise as the round trip to Lisbon was only for 7 days and we felt we could put up with this whatever it was like. Before booking the cruise our main concerns were would there be ... Read More
My wife and I selected the P&O Ventura as a first cruise as the round trip to Lisbon was only for 7 days and we felt we could put up with this whatever it was like. Before booking the cruise our main concerns were would there be endless queues as upwards of 3,000 passengers could be milling around. (3,400 on our trip). Embarkation at Southampton took about 40 mins from dropping the car. We arrived spot on our allocated time of 12.30pm and were surprised to see how busy the terminal was already - virtually standing room only. There were about 20 embarkation pass groups in front of us but as mentioned it took about 40 mins. We had a balcony cabin on B deck amidships on the port side. One day we had 8 foot waves (moderate apparently) but very little movement in our cabin or indeed of the ship. When docked we rarely had the sunny-side so if you want to sit on your balcony in the sun I would recommend starboard for this schedule. Never had to wait more than a minute or so for a lift except when the theatre (900 people) turned out. Easy to get seat/lounger outside. We opted for fixed, first sitting dining and the service and food choice was excellent in the Cinnamon restaurant. We shared a table for six and the other couples were of similar age (late fifties)and we got on together fine. One other main reason for opting for a cruise was that my wife had recently been diagnosed with Coeliacs (gluten intolerance). We normally take city breaks and the thought of asking for gluten free food in non-English speaking countries was a bit daunting. Every evening the head waiter brought the next day's menus to my wife (lunch and dinner) and helped her choose. Apparently we could have got the ordered meals anywhere on the ship the next day just by quoting our table number. In fact my wife was able to make her own choices from the extensive buffet in the Waterside restaurant. On a couple of occasions when returning from trips in port, we went for the afternoon tea and the staff were able to supply suitable cakes, biscuits and sandwiches almost immediately on request. Seating for breakfast and lunch in the Cinnamon restaurant was arranged by filling tables as people arrived. Therefore different every day. Everybody seemed very easy to talk to and friendly and were a spectrum of ages and cruise experience. Plenty of first timers for the same reason as us eg short trip as a taster. All were pleasantly surprised and would do it again. We used various bars and the Arena theatre for three of the Ventura company musical productions. Good standard and very popular. We were seated about 30 mins before start of 9.00 performance and theatre probably good as full 10 mins later. Also saw the Freddie Mercury and Annie Lennox tribute acts in the Havana club which were also entertaining. Very good drinks service - either get it yourself or from roaming waiters (pub prices). Disembarkation was again problem free. We were given a 10.15 slot to leave by the random allocation system (8.45 earliest) but in fact got off 30 mins ahead of schedule. Overall, we really enjoyed our first cruise and the ease of getting an excellent choice of gluten free dining was a brilliant addition. We would certainly go again but probably only consider the larger vessels so that there is the same level of dining choice and entertainment we would now wish for.   Read Less
Sail Date May 2010
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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