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5 P&O Cruises Ventura Cruise Reviews for First-Time Cruisers Cruises to Caribbean - Southern

As first time cruisers we were fortunate enough to experience the Carribbean for my partners 60th/retirement celebrations. We decided that as we often visit the Med, that we wanted something special.And.....special it was!! However it ... Read More
As first time cruisers we were fortunate enough to experience the Carribbean for my partners 60th/retirement celebrations. We decided that as we often visit the Med, that we wanted something special.And.....special it was!! However it would have been equally special if we had sailed around in circles!!The ship definately made the holiday, what a fantastic experience. The size of the ship was the first shock, nothing could have prepared us for how vast it is. Secondly the security/organisation/and speed of boarding etc was amazing for almost 3500 passengers. No amout of reviews or photographs could prepare you for the facilities on board and the excellent staff who assisted our every need. The web site will tell you of all the restaurants/ bars/ entertainment available so I will just try to elaborate with some of our experiences. we had a super deluxe cabin which was far more somfortable than some expensive hotels we have stayed in. To sit on the balcony wearing our complimentary bathrobes, sipping complimentary champagne, overlooking the most fantastic sunsets I have seen conributed to the most relaxing holiday we have experienced. We chose to pre book 6 trips with P and O and were relly glad that we did. Yes, we could have had excursions in port that were cheaper , or taken local taxi's to a local beach etc, but I defy anyone to prove that they would provide such good value. We took one local trip with another group of people and had to agree that you need to be very careful about confirming what is included in the price. We specifically wanted to visit the live volcano in St Lucia...which we went to with the tour guide.However he omitted to inform us that the entrance fee for that and a botanical garden were not included!!!! So unless you merely want to visit a beach I would be wary. Our trips included swimming with Turtles and Stingrays which was a fantastic opportunity and experience, tubing down the Pagua river which was really good fun,a fantastice scenic trip on the Sugar Train,and a cycling trip around St Maarten which was probably the only trip we thought was overpriced. The onboard entertainment was amazing and our daily newspaper helped us to plan the day to suit ourselves.We usually opted for the early showing in the theatre before dinner, so that we could also manage to visit Havana for one of the tribute singers/ comedy acts. Each to their own but being bored was never an option. The restaurants are exceptional, and we personally preferred the buffet restaurants for breakfast or lunch only as the fine dining restaurants made the holiday even more special. The White room is a MUST to visit and East was a lovely change with beautifully presented food. My only criticism was that the 'towels on sunbed malarky' still existed and it was often very difficult to get near to the swimming pools. It is a good idea to enjoy the peace and quiet on 'Port ' days. I could go on and on about how fantastic it was but if I simply said that we very reluctantly left our cabin at the end of the trip vowing to return ASAP!! Read Less
Sail Date November 2011
Well, from beginning to end we were treated as you would expect on the occasion of your wedding, like royalty. P&O have the mechanics of embarkation and disembarkation down to a tee. No problems. The wedding ... Read More
Well, from beginning to end we were treated as you would expect on the occasion of your wedding, like royalty. P&O have the mechanics of embarkation and disembarkation down to a tee. No problems. The wedding co-ordinator, Kat had everything we required organised and sorted and any little extra or change we asked for was quickly and efficiently dealt with. Th wedding day itself was a complete dream. The Captain, Hamish Reid conducted a fantastic ceremony; the photgraphy was artfully done in various locations around the ship (thnaks to another Kat!), with the biggest difficulty of the whole trip deciding which prints went into the album. For cocktail hour we retired to Metropolis, we the orderes canapes were waiting for all our guests. As with the whole trip, the service here was impeccable. we had then booked to eat in the White Room as a sort of on-board reception, and we would recommend all who cruise on Ventura do sample this restaurant. Our cabin was looked after superbly by Stanley, nothing but praise for him and the rest of the staff. Indeed the service on board the whole ship was second to none, whether in the restaurants, bars or pub it just can't be faulted. The islands visited are all simply beautiful, with Grand Turk and Antigua highlights for us. Jamaica (Ocho Rios) was pretty intimidating, the only downside to the cruise. As a first cruise, not to mention our wedding/honeymoon, it just couldn't be bettered. Staff, ceremony and setting all contributed to to a never-to-be forgotten experience. Read Less
Sail Date November 2010
As first time cruisers we weren't too sure what to expect. Not sure we would go with P & O again as on speaking to our fellow passengers they too were disappointed with several things. The evenings were great, met with some ... Read More
As first time cruisers we weren't too sure what to expect. Not sure we would go with P & O again as on speaking to our fellow passengers they too were disappointed with several things. The evenings were great, met with some very lovely people (how lucky we were). The gentleman was right about the sunbeds, not enough to go round and I understand that the shop had capacity for another 800 people, god only knows what it would have been like at sea on those days if you wanted to sit up top. The food was great but the customer service could have been improved. Didn't see much of anyone in authority walking round and the teenagers and some adults were diving, bombing etc despite warning notices. The staff when told at reception weren't interested, and there could have bneen a serious incident. As the prices on the cruise were offered at very reduced prices it made it very cheap for some undesirables who showed that they didn;t know how to behave on a luxury cruise liner. Bit disappointing if you had paid full price. Read Less
Sail Date October 2010
We had an excellent first time cruise. The ship, food and staff were faultless throughout. However after reading on Cruise Critic that the Marco Pierre White restaurant is often fully booked prior to embarkation we followed advice that ... Read More
We had an excellent first time cruise. The ship, food and staff were faultless throughout. However after reading on Cruise Critic that the Marco Pierre White restaurant is often fully booked prior to embarkation we followed advice that you can book in advance. The P&O office pointed out that we had to buy a £20 p.p. supplement voucher. I was then asked whether I wanted white or red wine at a cost of £16 per bottle. I queried this as it was nonsensical that I would know which wine I would choose before knowing what I was going to eat. However I was told that was the system, so I opted for white wine at a total cost of £56. Once on the ship I discovered there was plenty of availability and we chose to eat in the restaurant on the first formal evening. We chose our food and I explained that actually although I had opted for white wine I would now prefer a more appropriate red wine. It was explained by the waiter and then the restaurant manager that my original chosen wine was brought on board at Southampton and whilst I could have something else at an additional cost I had to take ownership of the one I had originally chosen. I asked to see the wine and it was brought to the table - once opened we found it was a bottle of very cheap and nasty Chardonnay. The staff in the restaurant said this procedure had caused problems several times before and they recommended I speak to P&O shoreside as they felt it was a ridiculous system. Returning home I wrote to P&O to complain and ask why they didn't just ask for a £16 payment up front to contribute to the wine, but in their response they completely missed the point and said 'for any passenger who is uncertain of what wine they would like we can only advise that they wait until they are on the ship before booking into the restaurant'. Two lessons - there was plenty of availability for the restaurant, and if you do buy a voucher for yourselves or friends tell P&O they/you do not drink alcohol and choose once on board. Read Less
Sail Date March 2010
The combination of fabulous service, really good food, a comfortable cabin, interesting ports, and fabulous weather mean that any whinges are indeed minor. It did surprise me however the number of people my wife and I chatted to on the ... Read More
The combination of fabulous service, really good food, a comfortable cabin, interesting ports, and fabulous weather mean that any whinges are indeed minor. It did surprise me however the number of people my wife and I chatted to on the ship who did just that, whinge about every minor issue. Do regular cruisers often say "the toast is better on Celebrity" and similar? If so, how sad is that, as it must spoil their enjoyment. I have listed many good points in my opening sentence, but would also add that the price of alcohol on board was very competitive. I also enjoyed the art gallery, the ambiance of the Metropolis bar (and the fabulous performances of the duo Sophistication), the exemplary organisation of embarquation and disembarquation, the friendliness of the staff and other passengers. My minor whines are as follows: The pool areas are a bit like Butlins on a bad day, very crowded and noisy. The excursions are expensive. Charging £20 a person for a photo with the captain as the only way to see the bridge. Too many "tribute acts" in the entertainment. Very few quiet areas, as musak is everywhere (I ended up sitting out on the promenade deck) All in all we had a fabulous time, the most relaxing holiday ever. Read Less
Sail Date February 2010
Ventura Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.2
Dining 4.0 3.8
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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