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10 P&O Cruises Ventura Cruise Reviews for Senior Cruises to Caribbean - All

Having used the Ventura last year for a 35 day cruise we were looking forward to a repeat cruise which this time included some South American ports of call.We booked a outside cabin but were disappointed to be given a cabin on deck five ... Read More
Having used the Ventura last year for a 35 day cruise we were looking forward to a repeat cruise which this time included some South American ports of call.We booked a outside cabin but were disappointed to be given a cabin on deck five which was so small that the bed filled most of the space and there was nowhere to sit except the bed.The noise from the thrusters made sleeping difficult and after a complaint on our satisfaction form we were given in upgrade to a balcony cabin.We think the previous occupant must have been I’ll as in no time we cam down with the virus raging through the ship .Everywhere we went people were coughing and sneezing and at every port people were taken off either to hospital or home . The ports of call were great and the trips in Limon,Cartagena and Panama were worth the visit alone.Other carribean islands we have visited in the past and knew what to expect.This time we saw Grenada,St Vincent and Guadeloupe where we visited the death in paradise film location and had a lovely day.We have no complaints about the chosen ports of call or the P@O organised excursions.Well organised and all very interesting. The ship however is tired and furniture old and well worn.Entertainment on board was third class with poor quality singers,comedians etc.They even put on juggling on two evenings. The atrium is still used for the dance classes which only cater for about 30 to 40 couples while the rest of us have no choice.People hate the noise there twice a day when all you can hear is the instructor shouting the steps over and over. Meals were ok,the buffet offered the same fare every day and things ran out including sugar etc.Boring choices and obviously a cost cutting exercise. Evening meals were also sub standard we thought with poor quality meats,undercooked vegetables and very average. The arena theatre and public areas where people congregated is where the sound of coughs and sneezing filled the air,it is no wonder to us that so many fell ill,The guests are mostly over 65 and we suppose this accounts for the high illness count.The hospital on board was busy all the time. What with the lowering of standards in food,entertainment and the rising cost of taking a cruise we will now be more discerning and probably not take the longer cruises in future as it’s no fun coming home sick and disappointed The staff as always on PandO are the real jewels in the crown but it must be value for money and this was nit Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
We try to get away from the UK winter weather and, having sailed twice before on the Oriana on similar itineraries, we like the US ports, and although not great fans of the Caribbean islands, at least they're warm. We find the P&O ... Read More
We try to get away from the UK winter weather and, having sailed twice before on the Oriana on similar itineraries, we like the US ports, and although not great fans of the Caribbean islands, at least they're warm. We find the P&O service, dining and entertainment entirely adequate and sometimes exceptional and had no qualms about booking Ventura as a cruise of this length was likely to be child free and full of retired couples like ourselves. Unfortunately however, there was discordant modern "party" piped music played continually at a significant volume in all bars, lounges and public areas of the ship including around both top pools - the only quiet area was our cabin - it was impossible to relax, read or chat quietly to fellow passengers. Why on earth do P&O think that passengers in their 70s & 80s would want "shouty party" music for teens/ twenties blasted in their ears 24/7? The westbound crossing was a bit "bumpy" with the ship frequently noticeably heeled over due to a cross wind acting on the huge superstructure, not a problem for us, but not ideal. We enjoyed most ports, even in the rain in New Orleans, but found Key West, St Lucia and St Martin very overcrowded - St Martin had 7 huge cruise ships in port - around 25,000 people! In summary, we won't be going on Ventura or to those overcrowded ports again! Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
Embarked without trouble,outside cabin with picture window very satisfactory.As peninsular cruisers discounted price and on board spending money was a nice bonus. All meals were fine with plenty of choice but often a little bland we ... Read More
Embarked without trouble,outside cabin with picture window very satisfactory.As peninsular cruisers discounted price and on board spending money was a nice bonus. All meals were fine with plenty of choice but often a little bland we thought.The first seven days were a bit rough as it was February and the North Atlantic after all. We enjoyed all the ports of call and some were first time visits.I,e Bermuda and the Bahamas,the later was a little bit disappointing as the last hurricane caused damage as yet not rectified. American immigration at New Orleans was extremely slow and took most of the first day to get the 3000 and also the crew members ashore.Weather in New Orleans was dull and foggy but we had a lovely time off the ship and will always make the most of these exciting places.Further American ports included Key West,Miami and port canavaral with a visit to the NASA Space Centre,all having a different appeal with lots to see and do. Then into the warm sunshine and Azure seas of the Caribbean including Grand Turk,St,Maarten.St Lucia And Barbados.All wonderful ports of call if a little overcrowded with so many cruise ships at this time of year.Our final port of call after five days at sea was the delightful island of Pria da Vitoria in the Azores,with perfect weather and a welcoming people we enjoyed probably the best day of the cruise.After this it was home to Southampton and because of threatened storms the captain got us back early and that was much appreciated. The fellow guests we got to know on our freedom dining option were stella and we made several new friends. The evening entertainment was also of high standard with little we did not enjoy.There is so much to do and they cater for all tastes from on board lectures,the latest movies,classical pianists ,we must mention the duo of pianists for Four Hands who are exceptional,comedians,etc etc.Dance classes ,night clubs,several bars with competitive prices compare to some cruise lines. Please could you move the dance instructor from the Atrium area twice a day as her constant instruction over the microphone is really annoying.Nit a place where people meet,have a coffee or go to reception or the shops.This is the on real gripe which I’m sorry to bring up as it bothered lots of us in that area and we would avoid it if she was there. Emarbed in good time and set off home. Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
We chose this cruise for my wife's 60th having used P&O before on a number of occasions, sadly things are not what they used to be. The dining experience is now average in terms of product and service, green beans with everything, ... Read More
We chose this cruise for my wife's 60th having used P&O before on a number of occasions, sadly things are not what they used to be. The dining experience is now average in terms of product and service, green beans with everything, if they could serve them as a dessert I think they would! Waiters have had cutbacks and are overworked resulting in a poorer service which is not their fault. The dining room ceiling leaked form the air conditioning unit and we had this problem on 3 nights, eventually being moved table. The food was passable and you will not go hungry on the ship as there is always a buffet open somwhere on the ship. The ship is in need of the refurbishment it is currently getting in Brest,France. Our cabin was spacious as it was a deluxe cabin and it was also a bit tired, the grouting around the bath was black and carpets needed replaced. There was a leak in our balcony door which soaked the carpet. However saying all that the bed was very comfortable and cabin steward excellent always ensuring we had everything we need for a comfortable stay. The entertainment was of a good standard, other activities where geared for P&Os elderly clientele and was standard fair, is shuffledeck,table tennis, quizes, bridge clubs and not to mention the ballroom dancing classes in the atrium. The Atrium could be put to better use as it is the hub of the ship and we would have liked to see more live music in this area as it would have helped the atmosphere on the 3 floors which it serves. The Arena theatre is the main area for twice night shows and was very busy on our cruise as the ship was full, (in fact you needed to get to your seat 30 minutes before most shows to ensure a seat). The Havana lounge at the opposite end is a terrible venue and was known as the Meerkat lounge due to the high backed seats (the comedian mentioned he could only see the heads of the audience popping up and down like meerkats). The ports of call were good and excursions offered quite good but certainly not cheap. They do look after your safety though and tend to go a bit overboard sometimes, that was not a pun! Overall we did enjoy our cruise however would avoid going back on the Ventura even after the current refit it is undergoing. The ship is just not to our liking, the Arena's seats are to tight, Havana lounge enough said, no separate Cinema which should be a given on such a large ship. Carnival have striped bare much of the niceties of a P&O cruise and not replaced them with anything. We will try other lines in future to see if there is better value for money to be had. Read Less
Sail Date February 2018
Because we wanted to try cruising, we usually have seven weeks in Key Largo, we decided we needed a change. Because we wanted some sun a Caribbean cruise seemed a good option. Also the ship left and returned to Southampton. The cabin, ... Read More
Because we wanted to try cruising, we usually have seven weeks in Key Largo, we decided we needed a change. Because we wanted some sun a Caribbean cruise seemed a good option. Also the ship left and returned to Southampton. The cabin, food and entertainment suited us fine. I attended art classes every sea day, they were brilliant. As we were first time cruisers I was scared of missing boat and so we booked P and O trips in all the Caribbean Islands, New Orleans and Charleston. Apart from the kayaking and snorkleing in Antigua which was marvellous, the Dunnes Falls etc. In Jamacia and the Tea Plantatin visit (me) and Patriots Point (husband ) in Charleston the trips in Barbados and New Orleans were the biggest waste of time and money I've ever spent. The people who organise these trips for P and O need to get out and do them themselves before they charge the exorbitant prices they do. In New Orleans we booked ourselves onto a Mississippi Riverboat trip for $40 for two, P and O charged over $60 per person for exactly the same trip. This is a rip off and they should be ashamed. P and O also need to get into a discussion with US immigration and refuse to use American ports until they streamline the exit process for 4000 passengers and crew. It took us from docking and collecting our exit ticket at 7:15am until 12:45pm to leave the ship and it took other passengers a great deal longer. Therefore a day wasted. Take away the income these ships bring in and it will soon be sorted. Put a woman in charge!! Read Less
Sail Date February 2018
A cruise chosen because of the itinerary (including New Orleans, Tortola and Amber Cove) but which was a little disappointing when Tortola and Amber Cove were changed to Antigua and Ocho Rios after Hurricane Irma. The ship itself was OK if ... Read More
A cruise chosen because of the itinerary (including New Orleans, Tortola and Amber Cove) but which was a little disappointing when Tortola and Amber Cove were changed to Antigua and Ocho Rios after Hurricane Irma. The ship itself was OK if not a little tired, it has gone in for a refit now. Have never heard so much moaning among fellow passengers about nearly everything. Food in main restaurants was pretty bland and nearly all overcooked. If you liked French beans you'd be OK because they were served with just about every meal!! However, the food in the specialty restaurants being Epicurean, Sindhu and the Glass House was superb and worth the extra money. They should give the waiting staff in the main restaurants lessons in the art of conversation (we are used to having conversations with the staff on Princess and building relationships but this was non existent on Ventura). Entertainment was excellent but I wish Spa staff would stop the hard sell tactics after a massage or gym class. We don't go on holiday to be at the receiving end of this kind of high pressure selling!! Read Less
Sail Date February 2018
We take a 4 week cruise every January, this year we choose Ventura, a very big mistake. We had cabin D225, a Deluxe Bacony and booking over a year in advanced paid the full price. ( over 4 times the price P&O offered to last minute ... Read More
We take a 4 week cruise every January, this year we choose Ventura, a very big mistake. We had cabin D225, a Deluxe Bacony and booking over a year in advanced paid the full price. ( over 4 times the price P&O offered to last minute paseners for an inside cabin.) The cabin was a disgrace, a sette only fit for burning, dirty bed cover ( changed after complaining) discussing bath and overall a complete insult to the word ‘delux’ The Epicurian restaurant we chose to celebrate my Wife’s Birthday had a dirty table cloth and the food far from the standard you would expect to receive from a premium charging restaurant. Not a patch on the similar restaurant on Brittania. Our main restaurant for My Time Dinning, The Sinnerman, was again very disappointing, serving Green Beans with your main course nearly every night. This was our 37th Cruise and by far our worst. We were told by passengers in our adjoining cabin that they had been told that the same cruise next year had gone up 50%. Sorry P&O this will be our last cruise with you. We are away again in April on the Queen Mary and cannot wait. Read Less
Sail Date January 2018
This was our third year running on this cruise to the Caribbean from Southampton and return, on Ventura. This time, departure was two weeks earlier than the two previous years and this seemed to have a considerable effect on the weather, ... Read More
This was our third year running on this cruise to the Caribbean from Southampton and return, on Ventura. This time, departure was two weeks earlier than the two previous years and this seemed to have a considerable effect on the weather, which was windier and wetter, even in the Caribbean, than previous voyages. Generally, the ship was in good condition, given the imminent refit (March) which is desperately needed. The crew work tirelessly to do what they can with failing technical issues, and maintain very good standards of attentiveness and service to their customers. Failing technical issues included automatic doors which no loner work, power failures, problems with rudder response and what seemed to us to be some very peculiar motion - an odd 'shimmy' which was especially noticeable on higher decks aft. This seemed to improve after an extended stay in Antigua to effect rudder repairs. On the way home, however, there was a period of some six or seven minutes during which the ship had a quite alarming six degree list to port. There was a strong wind onto the starboard side at the time, but it seemed that the usual automated stabiliser and/or ballast transfer corrective actions did not kick in. There was also an engine problem during the voyage home, though we did arrive in time. There were two late itinerary changes - an earlier than expected arrival in Antigua in the evening rather than morning, and an overnight to follow, due to the need to repair the rudders, and an inability to call in at Grenada due to strong winds, resulting in an evening arrival in Barbados rather than the following morning. Having said that staff were excellent, there were two major niggles, both with reception. First when the terrace bar closed at ten thirty instead of the advertised time of eleven thirty, and crew started hosing the aft terrace deck down at that time, we complained and were given a total cock and bull story that 'there hadn't been a quiz in the waterside buffet that was why the bar closed'. There had never on any occasion been a late evening quiz in the waterside but this disinformation came from the bar manager, who had clearly confused the terrace bar with the beachcomber bar. No explanation at all was offered as to who had ordered the deck crew to start hosing down the deck so early when customers were still using the space. The second niggle was that when my wife asked reception to find out what the odd six degree list had been, reception assured her they would ask the bridge and leave a message on our phone with the response. No message was ever left. One final niggle concerned the quality of berths in port. At two locations, the ship berthed with the stern immediately adjacent to unloading container vessels, with resulting noise, smell of diesel exhaust smoke, disturbance and unpleasant aspect. This seemed almost as though P&O were unwilling to pay for the better and more convenient berths that other lines used, but even if not the case, given that in each case the ship had to turn when leaving, it would have been far preferable to turn first and berth bow to container vessel rather than stern since there are no balconies, suites and open decks immediately adjacent to the bow and noise etc would therefore have been minimised. Generally, however, an excellent cruise with some very good friendships renewed, or made, including Amanda, Paul and Louisa and Jan and Dave. Food was, we felt, back to the standards of two years ago after a noticeable drop in quality in 2017. Read Less
Sail Date January 2018
We love the Caribbean in Jan/ Feb to escape the UK winter. Ventura was late arriving in Southampton due to bad weather, thank goodness we weren’t on that cruise! P&O gave us all £15pp extra onboard spend to cover lunch on the way ... Read More
We love the Caribbean in Jan/ Feb to escape the UK winter. Ventura was late arriving in Southampton due to bad weather, thank goodness we weren’t on that cruise! P&O gave us all £15pp extra onboard spend to cover lunch on the way as we were advised to arrive later in the day to allow disembarkation. There was free tea and coffee at the terminal and we didn’t wait too long to be transferred to the ship. The sea was choppy for the first 2days at sea but soon improved ( or maybe we just found our sea legs quickly). Madeira was nice and sunny. Went to the gym on sea days to offset the extra food and actually rather enjoyed it! There was always something going on on board but same list most days. The talks are usually interesting. Did lots of sunbathing and actually used our sun beds for hours. We saw loads of beds though which were reserved for hours with no one on them. P &O need to take the bull by the horns and sort out this problem which causes so much anger. The entertainment was mostly good and especially ‘The Runaround Kids’ who got a standing ovation both nights. Metropolis was a nice place in the evenings and much quieter than other venues where the microphones were a bit too loud. Havana is the most ridiculous design and needs a complete overhaul. The half walls are too high, there are posts where they obstruct too much of the view and what on earth the two high tables are for at the front I can’t imagine. We didn’t come on holiday to have to watch acts on the tv screen! The staff were great as usual and cabin stewards very friendly. We had a few problems this cruise with excessive noise in cabin late at night (don’t book around inside cabin R717 ) and after being moved we had a water leak. We were unlucky because this was our 18th cruise with P&O and our first problematic one. The islands were great as normal and the people who moaned about the port of Guadeloupe should have done their research and travelled outside the port area. We had a lovely trip there to the beach and the nicest swimming conditions ever. All in all another successful cruise. Read Less
Sail Date January 2018
Ventura sailed on the 18th of January from Southampton for the Caribbean, returning to Southampton on 15th February. The itinerary took in Madeira, then a string of Caribbean Islands including Barbados, St Lucia, Martinique, St Kitts, ... Read More
Ventura sailed on the 18th of January from Southampton for the Caribbean, returning to Southampton on 15th February. The itinerary took in Madeira, then a string of Caribbean Islands including Barbados, St Lucia, Martinique, St Kitts, Antigua, Tortola and Sint Maarten before crossing back via Ponta Delgada in The Azores. Embarkation was smooth and painless at the Mayflower Terminal (a strong contrast to the chaos of our last visit to the Queen Elizabeth Terminal!) and we found our bags delivered very quickly to the cabin. We choose to take meals in the second sitting fixed dining 'Bay Tree' restaurant and quickly made friends with our four table companions Brian and Anthea, and Mike and Tracey. The craic round the table was exceptional and most entertaining and later in the journey we took part in the quiz sessions (the eight o'clock challenge), one of many the others took part in, and made up a table team of six that proved to be almost invincible - well, eight wins out of 26 days wasn't bad going and provided wine for the table. Meals were always acceptably good and on occasion memorably so, and food was hot, though additional culinary expertise would have been useful in the soup making department, where the regular Tomato Soup was thin flavoured. On the final formal night, an alleged 'Baked Alaska' was served up which could only described as an offence under the trades descriptions act as it had weary never seem any form of baking. It consisted of a half centimetre thick sort of soft biscuit, with a scoop of chocolate and vanilla ice cream on top, topped finally with a piped swirl of sugared egg white (meringue mix) which did not remotely cover the ice cream, and was then blow torched, leaving the bulk of the egg white completely raw. The was the only really serious affront to the culinary arts in what was otherwise a very good and constantly changing menu - though with 28 nights, some items did reappear once or twice, but never with a completely repeated menu. We dined in the 'Beach House' restaurant on three occasions - an 'American Diner' style menu with a small cover charge of just £5 and additional charges for a handful of options - mine was the totally outstanding Cook it yourself 6oz Fillet Steak on Lava Rock which was exceptional and came with an additional charge of just £2.95. There were many activities available on sea days, though I chose to find a sheltered table outside on deck 15 aft on the Terrace Bar, where I painted (six oils ad six watercolours were the product of the voyage in total. Ports were very good generally, though Martinique was a disappointment. Ponta Delgada was excellent with an excursion to the delightful town of Ribeira Grande and Fire Lake. We also took in excursions on Sint Maarten and St Lucia but did our own thing on the other islands. The excursions were generally fair value for ship bought excursions and actually compared well to the external competition from cruisingexcursions.com Waiters in the dining rooms (Edvon and Manoj were ours and well worth a mention) and the in the breakfast buffet were always helpful and efficient as was our Cabin Steward Vimal, who went out of his way to be helpful and deserves special mention. Bar waiters were also good in our view. We met many people whilst sitting out on deck on sea days including the very special Jo and Gavin and the subtle humour of Colin, who was on a first time cruise and ready to fly back from Madeira until he met Jo, Gavin and ourselves, along with others who made up a genuinely sociable crowd which was one of the best aspects of the cruise. Overall, the balance between sea days crossing the Atlantic in both directions and island destinations worked out very well indeed for us, though it would not be to everybody's taste. There was a good range of entertainment on offer, though we did to personally attend all that many shows, especially with our late dining and too much table chatter! All in all, an excellent cruise which sees us back home relaxed and ready to go again. On the particular point we have already booked the same voyage next year (wth a couple of port variations) securing a pretty decent £400 each on board spend by booking whilst on board. Disembarkation was a bit of a mess as we had a train booked for 09.30 from Southampton Central to meet our train at noon from Kings Cross to Inverness. We had to fight long and hard to get a disembarkation time of 08.30 and then got stuck with a bunch of jobs worths who refused to allow us access to the baggage 'until all the coach passengers had been allowed through. With everything clearly running late, when they next shouted that coach passengers only could go through, we fooled the system by saying we were coach passengers. We then had to beg someone to reach our cases, but at least they were helpful and we made our train. Had we not done so, with 540 miles to go we would have been unable to reach home until the next day. Not, perhaps, the best way to end the cruise, but we will know better next time and will self disembark, carrying our own cases, which allowed disembarkation between 7am and 8am. Read Less
Sail Date January 2016
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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