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8 P&O Cruises Ventura Spring Break Cruise Reviews

I'd never fancied a cruise - this was a friend's choice for a "girly weekend away" for us 2 older ladies. I expected to hate every minute - but actually really enjoyed it. Our cabin was spotless and the beds were ... Read More
I'd never fancied a cruise - this was a friend's choice for a "girly weekend away" for us 2 older ladies. I expected to hate every minute - but actually really enjoyed it. Our cabin was spotless and the beds were really comfortable. The whole experience was so good that we have booked another cruise for the Autumn. I simply don't understand the poor reviews given by some people regarding the staff/food/bars, etc. All the staff were fantastic: always helpful and cheerful. There were a number of bars, all with different atmospheres. If you don't want karaoke, then there's a lot more to choose from! (We liked The Red Bar, which was quiet and uncrowded.) The food was amazing, considering they were catering for 3,000 people! High-quality food in the restaurant at dinner. The Waterside buffet was busy at peak times, but what do people expect? We did joke that you could probably eat yourself to death if you wanted to - and some people seemed to be trying. We had a late lunch and watched one family finish their (huge) lunches and then go straight on to afternoon tea with mounds of sandwiches and platefuls of cakes! There was one hen-party group on board who were a bit of a pain during the emergency drill, but we never saw them again and we were told that hen parties weren't being accepted in future. Overall, we thought we got excellent value for money and would certainly recommend. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
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
Having not sailed with P & O for a few years , we booked this cruise many months in advance and having read recent poor and scathing reviews we were wondering what we would find onboard Well we found a fabulous ship, wonderful crew ... Read More
Having not sailed with P & O for a few years , we booked this cruise many months in advance and having read recent poor and scathing reviews we were wondering what we would find onboard Well we found a fabulous ship, wonderful crew and we had probably the best cruise we have experienced. I really am puzzled by the bad reviews about this ship. To start with, wherever we were onboard, any crew we met were friendly and polite, that includes the dining room, buffet restaurant, decks, anywhere! The food itself, well I am sure the evening meals are bigger than before with P & O, we thoroughly enjoyed every evening meal. The buffet food too was great, a slight problem was we thought the area around the self service food was a little cramped. Entertainment was undoubtedly top class, I've seen many Headliner shows on P & O and this crowd were amazing, the stage sets and costumes too seemed to be better than before. The other entertainers were varied and enjoyable also. There were very interesting talks given, and demonstrations too. In fact we kept saying how much the overall experience had improved. So we were stunned to hear other guests moaning about the entertainment, waiters etc, truly baffled. I really do wonder if some people can ever be pleased especially given the amazing value of this particular cruise. We felt quite indignant on behalf of the ship's crew, especially having seen some of the other passengers ignorant manners when being served in the dining room, I wonder what impression the Brits give sometimes. We have sailed with many other cruise lines and loved most, however a big thumbs up to the crew of Ventura, they deserve it! Read Less
Sail Date April 2015
We have just returned from a fantastic Spring 13 night cruise on Ventura, to the Iberian coast. It was a fabulous cruise with 7 ports of call, so lots of interesting things to do. We were blessed with beautiful weather throughout our ... Read More
We have just returned from a fantastic Spring 13 night cruise on Ventura, to the Iberian coast. It was a fabulous cruise with 7 ports of call, so lots of interesting things to do. We were blessed with beautiful weather throughout our cruise.We had two late evening departures which were lovely. We will never forget dining on the outdoor terrace of the White Room whilst in Gibraltar until 11pm, with amazing views, weather, food, wine and service all coming together to create an outstanding evening. Indeed, every meal was delicious, and consistently, the best food we can remember eating on board any ship. This was our first cruise on Ventura, and it is now our new " favourite ship"! So well done P&O. We had heard that the food on Ventura was very good, and we were not disappointed. It was consistently excellent every day. The dishes were absolutely delicious, and the accompanying sauces were superb. All four Gala Marco Pierre White dinners were outstanding. Every meal was divine, certainly no-one on our many tables ever complained or left any food on their plates! It was consistently, the best food we can remember eating on board any ship. The vegetarian choices were very imaginative and tasty, and Roby our head waiter was keen to offer me a special vegetarian menu every night. This was our first experience of Freedom Dining, and we enjoyed it very much. It suited us to choose different times to dine, as the whim took us, and to enjoy a wide variety of fellow passengers' company which added a new dimension to our dining experience. There were the usual range of entertainment choices on board. The casino was very well attended, as were all the shows. For the regular cruiser, it can sometimes be a challenge to find something new to do. For example, we would like a choice of guest speakers. We found all the staff very courteous,welcoming, friendly and enjoying their jobs. Our cabin steward, Chris, was very helpful and engaging. We had a couple of very minor issues whilst on board, and these were dealt with immediately and effectively. The service was faultless throughout the ship. Ventura has a very good vibe about her! Read Less
Sail Date April 2015
We joined the cruise as first time sceptics, not expecting to enjoy it. From the straightforward embarkation process to the speedy disembarkation (so much faster than an airport) we loved everything about Ventura. We are in our 50s and ... Read More
We joined the cruise as first time sceptics, not expecting to enjoy it. From the straightforward embarkation process to the speedy disembarkation (so much faster than an airport) we loved everything about Ventura. We are in our 50s and 60s and were pleasantly surprised by the mainly younger clientele on board. We didn't like the idea of being surrounded by pensionsers. The service and food in the Saffron restaurant was excellent for the price. I can't praise the staff on board highly enough. Every single individual was friendly, helpful and efficient. Bar prices very reasonable. One small niggle was the fact that we had to wait 20 minutes in cold and rain for our return coach from Blankenburg back to Zeebrugge. Seemed rather unnecessary as there was only 1 train per hour and it would have been easy to have plenty of coaches waiting for the train. The spa was great. Again friendly, helpful staff. Clean facilities, although the steam room did have a rather musty damp smell which was a bit off-putting. A great two nights - we would definitely go on another P&O cruise. Read Less
Sail Date April 2015
We travelled to Southampton by car and our luggage was taken by porters and car handed over to be parked very easily. The check in took longer than expected as there was a problem with the computers but , once in board we could access our ... Read More
We travelled to Southampton by car and our luggage was taken by porters and car handed over to be parked very easily. The check in took longer than expected as there was a problem with the computers but , once in board we could access our cabin straight away . The cabin was a on C deck with spacious balcony , a comfortable bed and tea / coffee facilities. The shower room was small but adequate with plenty of hot water, shower gel , shampoo and conditioner, plus body lotion. Our steward Remy was very attentive and kept the cabin spotless....loved the towel animals and little chocs on the pillow a nice touch ! We were allocated freedom dining in Saffron dining room and the food was fantastic , although we rarely managed to eat all five courses. We tended to eat breakfast and lunch at the buffet , which, despite being busy was very well run . We didn't use the other food venues so can't comment on them . All the staff on board were very friendly and greeted us with a smile . The entertainment was very good at the Arena theatre , we enjoyed the shows very much . There was also entertainment in other venues , spoilt for choice really ! Drinks in the bars , theatre and restuarants were reasonable prices and we also served promptly . You could even grab a costa coffee if wanted. There was always lots going on all day , all over the ship , the choice was yours whether or not to join in . For those who wished to curl up with a good book there was a librarary on board too. The children were well catered for with their own clubs and had their choice of pools to choose from . ( there was an adult pool too ) We stopped at several different ports during our cruise but didn't use the ship excursions , preferring to do our own thing . We used the shuttle buses a few times but these were expensive for the distance covered . In Gibralter we shared a taxi for eight people at a cost if twenty two pounds each . The driver took us to the rock , caves and tunnels then dropped us in the centre to explore the streets and squares ourselves. When we returned to the ship there was a sail away party , complete with flags, where Rule Brittania , among other songs , was sang with gusto by all who attended, along with vigorous waving of flags, great fun . The young lady passenger who performed Irish Dancing alongside the pool was very good , well done ! In Lisbon we used the hop on hop off bus but could have walked to see most if the attractions as they were centrally located . We used a private guide with other passengers in Rome and were fast tracked into the Vatican museums , a must as the queues were very long , perhaps two hours long ! In Palma , Vigo and Barcelona we simply strolled and enjoyed the lovely cafés outside. Monte Carlo was explored using the hop on hop off buses which took us all over . Disembarkation went smoothly I thought , despite the huge amount of passengers. Our luggage was put outside our cabin the night before and was waiting for us in deck order in the terminal . The one thing I would critisize would be that the entertainment is the same on all ships and has been for five years ! As this was our first time with P&O it really didn't matter but it might put me off going on other cruises with them .....think this needs to be addressed . All in all a lovely cruise . Read Less
Sail Date March 2015
Great room, great staff, great food and seemed to be filled with really nice people sailing with us. Staff always reminding people to cleanse hands before entering buffet or retaurant and signs up in toilets, etc. Whole ship was ... Read More
Great room, great staff, great food and seemed to be filled with really nice people sailing with us. Staff always reminding people to cleanse hands before entering buffet or retaurant and signs up in toilets, etc. Whole ship was spotless and staff could be found washing hand rails and door knobs all through the day. We saw the man in charge of buffet, Beach Bar, etc, always patrolling. One day he went mad at staff because he found 1 chip on the floor....hig standards to be sure. Gripes: A lot of upselling, especially drinks waiters, they watch you and pounce! In fact they huddle when a place is quiet then it's a case of which one of them reaches you first...pack mentality! Often food is whipped away if you are up getting a cup of tea...never leave it unattended they are over efficient!! Children....not a problem BUT two nights running in the Havanna lounge, we wnet after 12. A lady kept leaving her children while she danced te night away, they children were aged 3-6. The poor kids were left to sleep on chairs, all unattended and the mother certainly was not watching them. We complained to the bar manager but he just kept saying @It's a family disco'. I pointed out the age of the children, the time of night and the fact that the mother was nowhere to be seen. Nothing was done about this. I ended up sitting watching the kids just in case........ Entertainment not too great but comedian Mark Walker is a must see. The pianist in the Red Bar was funny, friendly and skilled. All staff were very willing to help, always said 'Hi' as you passed them and were always smiling. Photos: Expensive and they don't always upload all the photos, a little disorganised in that sense. The cruise highlights are usually recorded but seems they didn't replace whoever does the recordings after he quit his job at the beginning of the cruise. That was a shame and definitely must have been a financial loss to P & O. We would definitley recommend this ship and the cruise itself. However, travellers should think twice before booking the organised trips as they are very expensive. We went ad hoc and used the taxis and buses at each port....saved a fortune and ended up seeing much more. We will definitely cruise again because it was so cost effective, you couldn't get a five star hotel, the food and service in each country for the price of a cruise. More to the point it makes it so easy to see each country without packing your bags and travelling to each location! Brilliant time had by all. Thanks to all on the Ventura. Read Less
Sail Date March 2015
Our first P. O. cruise, but not our last. We expected a P. & O. cruise to be a bit special & we were not disappointed, but also a little surprised. Our first surprise was the parking. It all went very smoothly, but not an ... Read More
Our first P. O. cruise, but not our last. We expected a P. & O. cruise to be a bit special & we were not disappointed, but also a little surprised. Our first surprise was the parking. It all went very smoothly, but not an "aston" or a "roller" in sight, just your mondeos & astras.The check in went well considering that over 3200 people were waiting to board.We restricted ourselves to minimal hand luggage but next time we will take a small"pull along" case. Once on board we found our outside cabin quite easily & were surprised on 2 counts.Firstly the cabin,(sorry "stateroom") was quite roomy,larger than we expected & secondly our "ocean view" was only partly obstructed by the supporting structure of the lifeboats & we could see out to sea but not directly downwards.From what I could make out this was the case with all the outside cabins.The cabin was very comfortable & the 'fridge was very useful particularly if you want to chill some wine or beer bought ashore from home or one of the ports of call. There was no problem taking alcohol aboard. It is also worth considering which side of the ship to be on.On our itinery it was a slight disadvantage being on the port side as the ship usually docked with the starboard side against the moorings. A standing joke with cruisers & staff was the size of the ship.There is no doubt that this is a"biggy" & can be confusing, but we thought that this all added to the experience.For those people who are concerned about sea sickness then don't be, as the ship is very stable. We were also slightly surprised at the "mix" of people aboard. We thought that it would be mainly 50's & over, but there were young families. 30 somethings & quite a few disabled people for which the Ventura seems to be reasonably friendly. The dining did not disappoint. We went for the "freedom dining" in the Cinnamon restaurant which went very well. The food was very good with great choice, well presented & excellent service. In our case having a drink is a big part of a holiday & we found prices reasonable.A pint of draught bitter (boddintons) £2.75 & stella £2.95. Large canned beers (spitfire speckled hen etc ) £2.70.Branded spirits £2.10 to £2.40 a shot & bottle of house wine at £11.75.Getting a drink was very quick & easy with waiters hovering around just looking for customers. The entertainment was first rate & would not be out of place on the West End stage. On leaving a port of call there was a"sailway party" up on the top deck, which was great fun but unfortunately there were only 2 despite there being 4 ports of call, this was disappointing. Tipping can be a difficult area, but P & O charged us £11.60 per person for the week which we thought was more than reasonable & we tipped our cabin steward sepatately at the end of the week . Disembarkation went smoothly considering the number of passengers & we were on our way quite quickly. All in all a very pleasant holiday & one that I am sure we will repeat. 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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