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4 P&O Cruises Ventura Cruise Reviews for First-Time Cruisers Cruises to Transatlantic

My wife and I booked a mini-suite balcony cabin for a 21 night 'positioning cruise' aboard the P&O's MS Ventura from Southampton to the East Caribbean, calling at Funchal, Tortola, Antigua, St Lucia, Grenada, Dominica, ... Read More
My wife and I booked a mini-suite balcony cabin for a 21 night 'positioning cruise' aboard the P&O's MS Ventura from Southampton to the East Caribbean, calling at Funchal, Tortola, Antigua, St Lucia, Grenada, Dominica, St Kitts and Barbados, from where we flew home. This was our first ever cruise and the experience exceeded our expectations in every way. As well as visits to the ports of call these are 10 things that we liked about the being on board: (1) The construction quality of the ship, built by Fincantieri at Malfalcone in Italy at shipyards that began by producing ships for the Austrian Empire before WWI. We liked the non-slip hardwood decks and the sturdy doors and fittings. (2) The interior decor. A lot of thought has gone in to the choice of carpeting and artwork in communal areas. In the cabin there are large fluffy white bath towels, large blue beach towels, smart tea cups and elegant glasses that don't crack when you pour boiling water into them (to de-chlorinate the tap water). (3) Buffet breakfast. There is a fabulous choice! In addition to traditional bacon & eggs, you can choose from healthy options such as muesli, yoghurt and ripe ready-to-eat fruit. Haddock poached in milk is available on request. To wash it all down there is proper Twinings breakfast tea, a preferable choice to the barely drinkable coffee. We enjoyed sitting at a table outside at the stern of the ship. (4) Lunch in the Saffron restaurant was our favourite meal. I enjoyed changing in to long trousers and a shirt and sitting at a table for two near a window. Chef TREVOR GLASS, his name understated in small typeface on the menu, is the unsung hero of the ship. What tremendous choices, and all prepared from scratch by a kitchen crew working 3 shifts a day. No deep-freeze to microwave food here! I loved the traditional British dishes like proper steak and kidney pudding, and sponge puddings with custard. The chef has a mercifully light touch with salt and sugar, and presentation was appetisingly beautiful. I enjoyed rediscovering English cheeses, and trying out English wines. We also enjoyed the first dinner sitting at a table for 8 in the Saffron, and enjoyed wines such as Pocket Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough from New Zealand (£17.50), an unexpected Alios Tempranillo/Touriga Campanila from Brazil (£14.25) and from Spain, a red Co Vines Tempranillo Uriel Requ'na (£12). (5) The romantic atmosphere of the Pierre White restaurant: outdoor seating overlooking the wake of the ship, soft Frank Sinatra music, the gentle hum of the ship's engine and unobtrusive service. The pleasure came from the unique atmosphere rather than from the meal itself. (6) Our Indian waiters Gulam & Kunal and cabin steward Manuel. There is a long, historical mutual respect and affection between Indian service staff and customers. Ours were kind, attentive and friendly. (7) Formal nights. They were good fun! When I promenaded around the ship I felt as if I was an extra in a James Bond movie! It's pure fantasy! My wife enjoyed buying some new outfits for the cruise, while I went to a larger branch of Marks & Spencer and spent £59 on a dinner suit, £27 for a pack of 3 white shirts and £10 for a bow tie. The Caribbean-themed evening was also tremendous fun, with our friendly Indian waiters similarly dressed in garishly colourful Hawaiian shirts (8) On-board Entertainment. The seats in the 784 seat Arena theatre are admirably comfortable for films and shows. The Headliners Dance Company put on more than half a dozen excellent performances and sang along live rather than lip-sync. They are accompanied by live music from the multi-talented Ventura Orchestra. These were full-scale productions, complete with dry ice, laser beams & pyrotechnics. The legendary 72 year old Jamaican-born Jimmy James also entertained us with his hit songs like 'Now is the Time' and 'I'll go where the music takes me'. I enjoyed 2 of the 3 comedians, especially Essex-born Tucker. Tribute singers entertained with Elton John, Sting & George Michael hits in the Havana bar, and a classical pianist did some classy afternoon recitals in the Tamarind Bar (9) The Gym, sauna, steam room and jacuzzis. We were delighted to make daily use of state of the art Technogym exercise equipment at no extra cost. There are excellent saunas and steam rooms in the changing rooms, kept at optimum temperature from 8.00am to 8.00pm. We enjoyed the open air jacuzzis by the Oasis pool as well as the ones where the sail-away parties took place. (10) Our fellow Passengers. Everybody was on their best behaviour. We enjoyed the convivial company and delightful regional accents of ordinary working people drawn from all over the England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland. There were some great tattoos on men and women alike! Read Less
Sail Date November 2012
I was looking forward to the cruise, but was feeling very apprehensive given some of the reviews criticising the ship for various failings. I needn't have worried! Cleanliness - our cabin and the public areas of the ship...spotless. ... Read More
I was looking forward to the cruise, but was feeling very apprehensive given some of the reviews criticising the ship for various failings. I needn't have worried! Cleanliness - our cabin and the public areas of the ship...spotless. Our cabin was roomy and well equipped, the steward, Savio was a dream, very efficient and helpful. Food -EXCELLENT! plenty of choice, well presented and full of flavour! If you didn't like what was offered there were the buffet and select dining options. Our waiters little Eric and Jessaly were attentive, pleasant, full of smiles and enjoyed showing us their magic tricks at the end of the meal. Entertainment was BRILLIANT just like the west end! The Headliners - P & O's own theatre troop were out of this world, full of energy and talent. They proved so popolar that they eventually had to perform 3 shows in an evening, no mean feat! A special mention must go to Clem Curtis, one of the Foundations, that performed as a guest artiste. All the entertainment team were there watching him, a standing ovation all round! Organised trips were good and overall were good value for money. One change to the Itinary was that we stopped at Ponta Delgada not Tenerife, a move welcomed by most of the passengers. Drinks in the bar were very reasonable, cocktails were delicious and generous. One thing that we were anxious about before the cruise was the issue of shhhh children. No problems here at all. There were plenty of activities for them and their was an adults only pool too! My advice would be to have second sitting as I didn't see any children in our restaurant...The Saffron. Some people moaned about the ship but IMHO would have moaned about anything. So to sum up Ventura is a big ship , but had peronal small ship attention to detail. Interesting point Captain Charlie Carr was very people orientated and made time to walk around the ship every day talking to the passengers. Good ship with a good captain. We will cruise with P & O again, my only concern... can it be as good? Read Less
Sail Date March 2012
This was our first ever cruise and we really enjoyed it. Flight with Thomsons was superb and we came down the steps of the plane straight onto a coach which took us to the ship. Check in was very quick and hey presto we were on holiday. ... Read More
This was our first ever cruise and we really enjoyed it. Flight with Thomsons was superb and we came down the steps of the plane straight onto a coach which took us to the ship. Check in was very quick and hey presto we were on holiday. We had a beautiful balcony cabin on the starboard side and our view the first day was onto the Carribean and another cruise ships and a couple of tall masted yachts...beautiful! Plenty of hanging and cupboard space and Edwin our Steward did a fabulous job of looking after our every need. We found the food in all the restaurants to be very good. We went for Freedom dining and it worked out perfectly for us. Drinks were very reasonable and we couldn't believe how cheap the duty free drinks were (£12for two litres of dark rum.) We kept a bottle of Cointreau in our room for a relaxed 'sundowner' each evening. The entertainment was very good with something for everyone I think. We had no problem what so ever with sunbeds. We ad a relaxed breakfast and then went up on deck and always got a sunbed without a problem but people were reserving and going away for hours and on a couple of days we saw two older ladies reserving both sunny and shade beds which is really a bit selfish. We were supposed to go to Tenerife but ended up in the Azores which we really enjoyed. Started to get a bit bored with the formal nights....three might have been enough but five days with none and then four formals very close to each other was a bit off balance. We had not one single complaint with this holiday apart from the fact that you had to be in the secret service to find a toilet. come on P&O some indication in the public rooms as to where they might be would be helpful. Enjoyed it and would recommend it. Read Less
Sail Date March 2012
We were taking our first cruise and initial impressions were very good. Smooth transfer to Southampton from Birmingham Airport and not too long waiting to get on the ship. Luggage arrived in our cabin and as first time cruisers, all ... Read More
We were taking our first cruise and initial impressions were very good. Smooth transfer to Southampton from Birmingham Airport and not too long waiting to get on the ship. Luggage arrived in our cabin and as first time cruisers, all instructions/directions on what to do and where to go were displayed. We were on 1st sitting in Saffron and throughout the cruise, the food was exceptional as was the entertainment. The only major flaw was that on the first day, we went onto the deck for a sunlounger and found that people had been up since 5.30am putting towels on the sunbeds and reserving them!!We spent most of the morning searching the decks for a sunbed to no avail and gave it up as a bad job!!! Second day, exactly the same!! Third day, found 2 beds and put them on the quoit deck as only space available.During the day, Capt Alistair Clarke came round the decks asking if everything was alright and we expressed our disappointment at the lack of loungers to be greeted with the response that there was nothing wrong with his ship and we must not be looking in the right places.Trust me, there was nowhere else to look!! I had scoured the ship. He then said "Are you first time cruisers?" to which I enquired if it was our 20th cruise does this give you the right to a sun longer? which he then chose to ignore and walked off rather arrogantly. Apart from the Captain's arrogance, the rest of the staff were brilliant and we had a thoroughly enjoyable time meeting some lovely people. We will certainly cruise again, but not on the Ventura as 8 dyas scrambling for a sunbed in what seemed to be like being at Butlin's was not what we expected!!!!!!! Read Less
Sail Date October 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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