1. Home
  2. Cruise Lines
  3. P&O Cruises
  4. Ventura Review
  5. Ventura Cruise Reviews

41 P&O Cruises Ventura Spring Break Cruise Reviews

I was very excited to be going on Ventura after waiting 12 months since my booking. The problems started at Southampton when i had to wait for 2 hours in a Q to park the car.This is unacceptable for any passenger but especially disabled ... Read More
I was very excited to be going on Ventura after waiting 12 months since my booking. The problems started at Southampton when i had to wait for 2 hours in a Q to park the car.This is unacceptable for any passenger but especially disabled passengers, which i am sure i was not the only one . There was a long Q to get on board and the Lady at the security check in for bags etc asked me if it was nearly at the end as she had been on duty for 4 hours already.She said its always like this when Ventura is in .We finally got on board at 4.00 and it was time to sail.We did not go to the muster station for the emergency drill as it had already started and no one asked us if we were going. This is the first time i have seen this happen where people don't need to go to such an important meeting. We met first timers who had not been either.The cabin was beautiful.The problems started straight away. We were booked for early dinner and when we went down the Q was horrendous. When we went for our table for 2 we found 4 tables for 2 stuck together to make a table for 8. We were lucky the others were lovely people but had also asked for tables for 2. The service was really slow and the dining room was really cold all week. The food was sometimes only lukewarm.The self service restaurant  was our next call next morning for breakfast and the Q here was worse than the night before. This was like this all week. Not much staff to cope with over 3.000 people. Lots of complaints about the wait for cups glasses cutlery etc.I have been loyal to this company since 1997 and have never seen anything like it .I did not like the fact that the hand washing gel is now self service. There were lots of people not bothering with it and i was very worried about picking up a bug. There were 4 ports of call and there were shuttle busses to take you from the dock . When we went the first morning for the bus and guess what there were at least 300 in the Q and hardly any busses. Lots of people complaining.. The other 2 days the exact same thig with people waiting in the long Q.I felt very sorry for people who were on their first cruise.Lots were saying NEVER AGAIN.I heard lots of people saying they will be going back to Royal Caribbean as they know how to treat customers.I would not travel on Ventura Again. I had hoped to book AZURA for next year but not now as it will be just the same or maybe even worse.I have booked Arcadia for October . I have travelled on her before and there were no problemsFor my 2010 cruises i will be looking at Royal Caribbean and Celebrity and Cunard  as i met lots of satisfied customers from these companies Read Less
Sail Date April 2008
My wife,Pat and I had only ever cruised once before on the Arcadia. This was two years ago when it was then the P&O's latest vessel. Our experience was a brilliant one,leaving us looking forward to the next one but not hooked on ... Read More
My wife,Pat and I had only ever cruised once before on the Arcadia. This was two years ago when it was then the P&O's latest vessel. Our experience was a brilliant one,leaving us looking forward to the next one but not hooked on cruising to the neglect of other types of holiday abroad. Our only misgivings were that you only have a limited time ashore to explore and discover the countries visited. What it does do is give you a taste,which then encourages you to return at a future date to expand further. The food was magnificent,the entertainment was fantastic and the ship was awesome. When the offer dropped into our laps to cruise on the Ventura with upgradings at a reasonable cost we jumped at the chance as it had to be bigger and better than Arcadia ! Our first disappointment was on the second night when we went to watch the show. This was nowhere near as good as the talented group of performers on Arcadia. We thought that the performance would get better as the week progressed,but no,in fact it got worse. People were leaving before the end on most nights. This was particularly true with the second Comedian "Sludge" Lees who was awful ! The food in the Saffron was O.K. without coming up to the standard we had come to accept on Arcadia. The buffet restaurant (the Waterside) was nowhere nearly as good as on the Arcadia with poor choices available most of the time. Our experience wasn't helped by the wine-waiter throwing a glass of Chateau-neuf-du-pap over me on the second night. I'm still waiting for an apology from the lady in question and a replacement glass of wine ! They did launder my shirt and "cream" trousers however. Although we would prefer to cruise without children,the 20 or so that were on board during our cruise did not bother us and they were perfectly behaved. However the next cruise after ours had 450 children,that would have been a nightmare ! We renewed our vows whilst on board,which was a moving experience for us both. The package at £250 is not cheap,but we were glad we did it. The icing on the cake was that we had Captain Dowds to perform the ceremony as he was the Captain on the Arcadia on our first cruise. Sadly the 80 pictures taken by the onboard photographer left much to be desired and we were unable to select 24 for the album of the occasion (another £120) but luckily one of our table companions had taken some excellent photos of the occasion on our camera so we got our album at a fraction of the cost ! Ventura is big. Very big !! But we were left thinking that much has been lost in P&O's efforts to go larger. The experience hasn't put us off cruising,but we won't cruise on Ventura again. Read Less
Sail Date December 2008
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
We had often wondered would we enjoy a large cruise ship after the ultimate experience of Azamara could anything be better than that.,so when I saw a 2 night cruise to Zeebruger to visit Bruges and try all that chocolate and special price ... Read More
We had often wondered would we enjoy a large cruise ship after the ultimate experience of Azamara could anything be better than that.,so when I saw a 2 night cruise to Zeebruger to visit Bruges and try all that chocolate and special price balcony cabin same as inside i booked it.What a mistake from the moment of check in at Southampton to the chaos of disembarkation nothing lived up to expectation,Too many people, nowhere quiet to relax,queues for everything from breakfast to lifts, buses,everywhere you went people pushing and so much noise.The cabin clean and bed very comfortable ,best of all cruises we,ve had,plenty of hot water and good shower.No water in the room to drink and 2 sachets of coffee a day!!!Food ok could be better, buffet breakfast lacked imagination and fresh fruit could have been fresher.Staff fairly indifferent but polite chatted a lot to each other.Would recommend that P and O .staff do an Azamara cruise they could learn a lotWill never chance P and O again Read Less
Sail Date March 2011
Our cruise from Southampton to Bruge, a two day taster cruise that left on the 25th March 2011 and returned on the 27th March and cost us £350 per person plus extras, was a big disappointment I'm sorry to say. As quite experienced ... Read More
Our cruise from Southampton to Bruge, a two day taster cruise that left on the 25th March 2011 and returned on the 27th March and cost us £350 per person plus extras, was a big disappointment I'm sorry to say. As quite experienced cruisers we wanted to taste the delights of P.& O. which we thought would be a real treat and cut above the others (Royal Caribbean and Princess). From the very beginning organisation was a real issue. We arrived at the cruise terminal (Southampton) to be handed the colour coded cards with letters on, with no explanation as to the procedure other passengers filled us in, and over an hour later waiting in a huge hot hanger (please please tell me that's air conditioned in summer ?) we were called. Then you que for check in, then you que for security now I understand that some queing when dealing with 3000+ passengers must be inevitable but there are ways to handle large groups with courtesy and tact rather than making them feel like cattle, and this was not attempted here.We arrived on board and a few staff were "hanging around" and we managed to find out where are cabin was ,but on previous cruises this has been handled as a warm welcome with smiles and grace, not so here.Best Bit of cruise was the brass band on the dock which played us off, magic. Our cabin was adequate, with furnishings as expected but the overall feel was that the decor, fabrics and flooring were very tired. A small TV on which little information was ever displayed and PAY per view films ! unlike Princess or Royal Caribbean where the latest movies run for free, with plenty of choice of other channels and information is updated daily in a rolling show recorded by the cruise director. (Dont even think P&O have a cruise director).In the bathroom were decent size toiletries, but a shower curtain rather than a door. In the Room were tea and coffee making facilities and a fresh daisy, all small nice touches. On the balcony, nice furniture two loungers, one foot stool (every one else had two??) and an occasional table (what do occasional tables do the rest of the time? [I digress]).We went for a wander around the ship and came back to find our case had been left outside someone else's cabin, luckily we walked past that particular cabin so reclaimed our case !!! can you imagine the problems we could have had had we not been lucky enough to spot it?There was no explanation of where we could eat (this was the major problem of this cruise there was never any information or help or organisation), we ended up on the deck eating hot dogs and burgers although, I believe, we could have eaten a nice afternoon tea in the buffet but no one told us!The restaurant was pleasant, the food and service excellent, we had first sitting 6.30pm and a table with two other couples and although we were strangers we got on well and I have no complaints about the restaurant and my partner was pleased to note that on the formal night people were denied access to the dining room if they were not adhering to the specified dress code. The breakfast (which we took in the buffet on deck 15) was also excellent with masses of choice and very nice food. My partner had full English and I had continental with fruit and yogurt all lovely and well presented. We will give credit where credit is due the staff and food served on this ship were top notch.The entertainment on board for this two night cruise were awful, a bad comedian, two X-factor rejects, a sub standard tribute to the four tops and a George Micheal tribute act. I hope that normally on longer cruises the shows would be good but might have expected at £350 a head for two nights we deserved better. The crew also seemed to think this was a "Party Cruise" nobody billed it as a party cruise when we booked it, it was described as a "Taster" and we expected a taste of P.& O.'s usual standards.Bruge and the shore excursion- We booked the four hour tour, boat ride and shopping advertised as "A Taste Of Bruge" £40 a head.Our coach was half an hour late leaving the ship due to lots of chatting and checking lists by the P&O staff, so we were instantly late starting our walking tour. No problem for the guide who was 6'4" with a stride to match and decided to do the whole thing at top speed with no "comfort stops", in the end three of us ladies had to demand a toilet break which went down very badly and he went into a complete sulk when half the group decided not to continue with the tour and make their own way back to the ship (at considerable expense). If I were you I would book the "Bruge at your own pace" (£28)which is basically a transfer to and from the ship and look round Bruge at your leisure. A lady however told me that this was also fraught with disaster for some people as when they went to get the buses back, some how the buses filled before every one who had paid were seated on them. The driver of the last bus refused to carry these passengers, despite their having tickets and turning up in good time ( one was even in a wheelchair), and left them to make their own way back to the ship, ten miles away. Perhaps to make your own way to and from Bruge via the train is the best option as many more experienced passengers did. Bruge by the way is lovely. The boat "driver" we had was very funny and we tipped him because he was the best bit of the tour.Disembarkation- We have been on many cruises and are used to the system, you keep the bare essentials with you and put your main case(s) outside the night before you dock. In the morning those who want to get off quick (and didn't put their cases out the night before) get off first. Then the others are kept in different lounges and called in order (usually colour coded) to avoid chaos, no one ques for longer than necessary and you wait in comfort! That's how they do it on other ships, not here though, lip service was paid to the organised way, we waited for the calls for disembarkation but after nothing for an half an hour my partner went to find out what was happening. He was told by a member of staff that they'd abandoned any attempt at organisation and everyone was now queing (3000+ people) to leave the ship by one gang plank!!! madness which we then had to join. What a rubbish way to end a rubbish weekend. Everyone was hot,tired and very fed up, it didn't have to be like that, the fact that the ship was late docking should not have caused this chaos.When we got home a P.&O. brochure was awaiting us, and leafing through I was amazed to find that this ship is only 3 years old, it has not aged well. It needs a deep clean and preferably a complete refurbishment, it needs someone to organise the staff and provide more information, where are the little cards with maps of the ship ? (so handy on other cruises we've been on). The staff need to up their game be polite and informative (one spoke to me so rudely he alone would have put me off P.& O. single handedly) the general attitude seemed to be it's only a two day cruise we dont give a damn about the passengers. You will not be surprised that we will not be travelling with P.& O. again and are having our next cruise with Princess, they know how to treat their customers (and we've already booked it).It saddens me that a great British company has been reduced to this. Read Less
Sail Date March 2011
The holiday got off to a dissapointing start when our flight was delayed because of an outage with the baggage belt supply at Gatwick. After just over 2 hours we finally took off. The service was very slow on Thomas Cook flight. As ... Read More
The holiday got off to a dissapointing start when our flight was delayed because of an outage with the baggage belt supply at Gatwick. After just over 2 hours we finally took off. The service was very slow on Thomas Cook flight. As usual they do not regard themselves as in the service industry but are "inflight safety officers". The temperature on the aircraft was very cold to suit the cabin crew working, and not the passengers. Upon arrival at the Venturer, we were impressed with the efficency of the check in, also the transfer from the aircraft. The Venturer is a very big well kept ship. The big let down is the staff on the whole of the ship. There is one nationality which is prevalent throughout the ship and they just do not pay attention, are very slow, and walk about in pairs talking to each other. The one exeption was the cabin steward, Martin. He excelled in his work and was always happy if sometimes a little tired. The mixed fruit at breakfast always ran out quickly and was never replenished quick enough. When I asked one of the supervisors in a white uniform to do something about it his attitude was not what it should have been. The edges of the dining room in the breakfast buffet were never clean. Maybe the staff are used to living like it but the officers should inspect it better and educate them The entertainment during the day was dire. The guest speaker could send you to sleep every afternoon with his monotonous droning from a book. The quiz prizes were a joke. nothing usefull like a bottle of wine. Just silly stars like a child at primary school would receive for merit. As in other reviews, trying to get a drink in the Exchange bar was very difficult. The staff also played some dreadfull rock music which they must have liked, but could not have suited the average age group of the people using the bar. We booked freedom dining, but when we got there, we were told we HAD to got to Saffron restaurant at 18.30 as too many people wanted freedom dining. When we booked by telephone with P&O we were not told there was a possibility we would be changed. When we complained, the reception staff pointed out a very small "wl" next Freedom dining on the booking form which denoted wait listed.Because of this, were restricted to that restaurant or the buffet which was always very full. There were other venues to dine which P&O unbelievably wanted you to pay for.The food must have been the same, so you had to pay for better service. One of the venues, East, was Asian food. Now, the curries in the buffet did not seem authentic,(surprising as they were cooked by Indians) so I didnt think it would be a good idea to pay and be disappointed. On the transatlantic crossing, the ship took a detour to the Azores instead of calling at Tenerife. The captain told us this was to avoid bad weather. I rather suspect this was to save a massive amount of fuel,and of course, money. On other cruises, the majority of staff seemed to be Phillipino, who were a delightful race of people, always so happy, and more importantly, good at the job. This ship needs a complete crew change. P&O staff were not good at the job,and sometimes surly. I suggest the people running P&O try a little "undercover boss" trips on their own ships and then on other cruise lines to see where they are going wrong. I think I'll give P&O a miss in future. Read Less
Sail Date March 2012
Ventura, 1st April Med cruise All started well with a B&B with parking and transfer at Chilworth Hilton, Transfer got us on the way before 12 and with an excellent check in we were having lunch on board soon after 1pm. We went to ... Read More
Ventura, 1st April Med cruise All started well with a B&B with parking and transfer at Chilworth Hilton, Transfer got us on the way before 12 and with an excellent check in we were having lunch on board soon after 1pm. We went to check out the cabin and we were told not to go in because it was being used as a show cabin (very abrupt). When we were let in our Superior Deluxe Balcony Stateroom, we were overcome with the smell of urine in the bathroom, the flowers in the cabin were dead, the white room pamper pack was missing, the carpet was stained, the settee was threadbare, the window was covered with children's hand prints and every flat surface was covered in thick dust. I ran my finger over one area and could have knitted a jumper with the fluff. On investigation of the bathroom we found the bath had black mould all round it as did the shower curtain, the toilet seat was badly chipped and ingrained with yellow stains, no guessing what that was. We reported the issues to reception who said it may not have been cleaned yet, so we left it for another hour and reported it again. The housekeeper came round had a look in the bathroom and said it was the ventilation. I explained to him it was due to the mould on the shower curtain and the state of the toilet. We left the matter with them and they changed the shower curtain. This did seem to reduce the smell, so my wife cleaned the room for them with ant-bacterial wipes and this got rid of most of the smell. The following day a man came to strip out the bath seal and replace it, at least this looked more inviting to have a shower or bath. The toilet seat was never changed and is still there for the next people, I just hope they notice and put paper on it. The cabin was never dusted in all the time we were there so I wrote DUST on every surface this was still ignored and will be there today. So that was the cabin but in general the ship is not very clean, the only parts are the bits you can see; but if you look if it does not move then no one will notice its not been done. The public don't help with leaving plates etc. anywhere on the floor, stair wells, lifts, but then there does not seem to be any member of staff willing to move them. If you want a real shock that should but does not shame P&O, then check out the floor in "Havana". Without exaggeration I have seen cleaner underpasses in city centres. It is the type of tiled floor you get in a shop and should be stripped and polished every week and buffed daily. It has less foot fall than a shopping centre and they seem to be able to keep them clean. This should be a dance floor but it is covered with chairs and never used for its original purpose. As expected for an Easter cruise there were a lot of children on board, in the main they seem to be catered for very well apart from the pool areas. Be aware if you have children this is a danger area in every sense of the word, it is unsupervised and they are allowed to "bomb" into the pool and even go in on very rough days when waves in the pool could have smashed a child's head on the side of the pool. They were allowed into the Jacuzzis unsupervised with adults, and it only needs the wrong sort of adult to be in with them and who knows what could happen. I did report this as a child protection issue as many adults had also expressed concern and no action had been taken. The entertainment in the theatre was first class and they worked very hard throughout the cruise, there were some low points with the one off acts but the show team, band and production staff put on some class shows. The food in the main dining room was very good and varied; we never felt the need to try the specialist venues due to the quality of fare. The staff who attended us were first class, and though the tips were now put on the bill it did not seem to affect the attitude and service we received. Yes we did have a lot of gripes but feel they were justified and put a damper on the cruise, we visited some very nice places and on the whole had good weather, apart from missing Laverno due to strong winds; but this was compensated for by moving quickly to our next port of Monte Carlo for an afternoon docking and an overnight and next day stay. The original port of Cadiz was also changed to Gibraltar, this did not bother us but had upset others who were meeting people in Cadiz. The disembarkation went quite smooth and again we were well looked after with the Hilton having the transfer waiting for a quick return to pick up the car. In summary far from being a superior deluxe cabin though it was a good size it was more "inferior". The ship looks impressive from the outside, but very dull on the inside, not very clean, a lot of "dead spots" during the evening away from the theatre, the entertainment just does not seem to flow. The tribute acts left a lot to be desired, Freddy Mercury looked like a cross between Bugs Bunny and Billy Bunter and Phil Collins tried to sing with a fake cockney accent and sounded more like Dick Van Dyke in Mary Poppins. Our standard of cleanliness is as a minimum what we have at home, but if paying a lot of money expect this with extra touches. You get the latter but this does not cover up the dirt. Do not be fooled with the brochure or internet as it must have been done when the ship was new. Read Less
Sail Date April 2012
Just returned from a Norwegian Fjords cruise for our anniversary. We have been told on numerous occasions to try P & O cruises, so that it what we decided to do on Ventura for 7 days, with an excellent offer of £499 for a weeks ... Read More
Just returned from a Norwegian Fjords cruise for our anniversary. We have been told on numerous occasions to try P & O cruises, so that it what we decided to do on Ventura for 7 days, with an excellent offer of £499 for a weeks cruise. We had never been in and inside cabin before and although apprehensive it was fine. Very small when you are used to Balconies but still livable. We noticed that we could not have bath robes because of the grade of cabin we were in and we didn't get any animal sculptures ( but that was okay by us). We did however have an excellent cabin steward Dipu who went out of his way to do anything for us and kept the cabin immaculate. Embarkation was good and we used P & O valet parking which although we had to wait for 20 mins was efficient. We didn't use shore excursions and were able to get off freely and explore ourselves. We did have very heavy rain in Stravanger and because of this people returned to the ship sooner, getting back on board was a joke and we got soaked in a 40 minute queue not impressed. The Headliner shows were very good but we found that there was just not enough time to see a lot of what was offered in the evening and it all seemed to be very good. We opted for fixed dining on a table of 8 on 8.30pm dining. This was our first experience of this and we were lucky and had a full table, some were only half full. We have eaten better food but it was okay, I think we expected better. The lack of Steak, Fish or a Pasta meal as an alternative to the daily recommendations was not to our liking but we didn't go hungry. Cheese boards are a joke so poor!!!!!!!!!!!! We had booked a celebration pack costing £60 this was well worth doing, apart from Champagne and chocolates on arrival we had the most incredible Champagne Breakfast delivered to our cabin and were able to have a photograph taken on our anniversary included in the package. We chose to self disembark and this was brilliant, easy and we were off the ship by 7.40am. Read Less
Sail Date May 2012
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
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 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
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 cruised a few times before mainly RCL and Celebrity but thought we would give P&O a whirl, so we booked two cruise, one 'taster' on Aurora last December and Ventura. Have to say we were not so impressed with Aurora, ... Read More
We have cruised a few times before mainly RCL and Celebrity but thought we would give P&O a whirl, so we booked two cruise, one 'taster' on Aurora last December and Ventura. Have to say we were not so impressed with Aurora, mainly let down by the crew who on the whole were not so interested in doing that extra bit but we thought it is only a short cruise (3 days) hopefully it will be better on Ventura. On Ventura we found the crew were so much better, very helpful and cheery, food in the main dining room was ok, service a bit slow at times, as for the dining room itself it was on all one level with what felt like a very low ceiling which gave the place a rather cramped and gloomy feel, nearly all the other ships we have been on have dining rooms spread over two decks which tends to make them feel light and airy. The Waterside (buffet) restaurant was a bit of a disappointment in the range and quality of the food on offer, which we felt was limited, breakfast was a bit of a bun fight to get a table, many people were forced to grab a table near the pool area. We tried the 'Beach House', section of the Waterside that is sectioned off in the evening and this was really ok, there is a £5 cover charge and some meals you have to pay extra but the food was ok as was the service. Going upmarket we tried 'The White Room' , now that was really nice and should be for £25 service charge each but it was nice to have a relaxing meal, so all in all the food on Ventura was fairly good. Entertainment in the main theatre was good and the waiters were not intrusive as you sometimes find on other ships, entertainment around the rest of the ship was a mixed bag, plenty of quizzes and bingo. Cabin (balcony at the rear of the ship) was OK, nothing fancy, you have like a walk in wardrobe as you enter the cabin, this is opposite the the door to the toilet/shower. All the places to store your clothes were open so everything was on show,prefer the arrangement where there are doors to hide things away and makes the place look tidy. The main let down was the ship itself, it was ok but that is just about it, there is no wow factor about it, the Atrium is fairly small for a ship of that size and it just felt they had crammed as many cabins (and people) into the ship as possible, this is the first ship we have been on where everywhere was always crowded, you could not really relax anywhere, apart from your cabin. We may do P&O again if it is a good itinerary but think we will be going back to Celebrity. Read Less
Sail Date April 2015
My friend had never cruised before I had been on Oceania, MSC and Fred Olsen cruises, so we decided to try P & O. We embarked from Southampton having driven down we were satisfied with the arrangements and did not have that long to ... Read More
My friend had never cruised before I had been on Oceania, MSC and Fred Olsen cruises, so we decided to try P & O. We embarked from Southampton having driven down we were satisfied with the arrangements and did not have that long to wait to board, considering the numbers they are dealing with. However first impressions of the ship itself were not particularly impressive, staff were not particularly welcoming and the décor lacks the WOW factor. We went for an inside cabin both for economy and also because I had always had an outside or balcony previously and wanted to see if my paying the extra was really worth it. The cabin was very comfortable and bigger than expected but we did miss not having daylight, so yes the extra to get this either by means of window or balcony is worth it. Dining on board was the biggest disappointment, the food was canteen standard and the service was poor, no smiling welcoming waiters here. The entertainment by way of the shows was also poor to pathetic. The ship had a few families on board with children who seemed to be completely on their own (I guess parents were there but we didn't see them with the kids) they jumped into the pools and played in and out in the Jacuzzi, which meant that we didn't bother to try to use either. The staff completely ignored this behaviour and made no attempt to point out the notices that said no jumping or diving in the pool - how an accident didn't occur is miraculous. The general cleanliness of the ship was just about acceptable but never did you see any staff member wiping down handrails or insisting that passengers use the anti-bacterial spray at entrances to dining areas. Neither of us will be going with P & O again, which is such a disappointment as I really thought they would be so much better than this being such an iconic name within the industry. Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
Never used P&O Cruises before apart from their ferries. We like Thomson Cruises and were looking for something that would be along those lines or better than. P & O Ventura did not dissapoint on our first cruise with her . ... Read More
Never used P&O Cruises before apart from their ferries. We like Thomson Cruises and were looking for something that would be along those lines or better than. P & O Ventura did not dissapoint on our first cruise with her . We had booked an inside cabin deck A and was upgraded to a obstructed viewbon E Deck and was impressed by the space,clean,modern room with a vey comfy double bed and very quiet with no motion when at sea . The room fridge came with two bottles of water free and our cabin steward Prakash was great in re-supplying our teas,coffee and biscuits everyday and he always had time to make sure we were ok and ask how our day had been . The bathroom was very modern and everything worked , nothing faulty and came with toiletries that seemed decent. Although the ship was full we never felt over crowded and seemed plenty of staff to go around . We never had to wait long apart from our one night in the Bay tree Restaraunt, which to us was painfully slow service . We were first in the queue and and shown to our table ,despite this we and the table next to us had to wait 25 minutes for a menu our own waiter even managed to serve starters to some of his other tables before he even came back to us and it got no better. We used the Beach House & Waterside self service for the rest of our cruise and the food was hot ,tasty and well presented a lot of dishes served in individual pots and dishes , to be honest we looked forward to eating in these places ,so did not use any of the pay to eat restaraunts. We never had problems finding a table to eat our meals at and the views from up there through the large windows were great. Going for a drink the Ventura gave us eleven bars and a show bar to choose from and the service was fast and friendly and the staff were not stuffy as we had read on other forums. Just our opinion but unlike Thomson who seem to encourage staff to stop and chat , P& O want customers to be served asap ,so they move to the next waiting customer rather than stop and chat. All the bar staff we spoke to were friendly and would spend the odd moment chatting but then would be off serving or off doing other bar duties. We found them to be ok. The Headliners show team put on two very good shows and had the advantage of a high tech theatre and lighting plus sound system compared to Thomson ships we had used . This is one of the places where Thomson win hands down as their show teams put on two shows as well but at least six nights per week , the crew even do a show in the theatre. Having said that we were happy with the shows we saw with P&O . The first day on Ventura , we were no sooner on board and were pounced on with the big sell .. Photo's ,Spa's and drinks packages but to be fair we said no thanks and never was bothered again . Keeping tabs on your spending was easy with the interactive TV giving you an up to date balance and the TV gave a lot more ,ships web cam , captains log and map plus loads of TV programs some pay per view but loads are free. The ship on our week had a good mixture of passenger ages and the ones we met were friendly and considerate to their fellow passengers and used the hand gels at meal times. The ship was very stable even in bad weather ,you had to look out of a window at times to remind you that the ship was moving ,the chances of being sea sick should you suffer from it must be very remote . The ship has a promenade deck with plenty of chairs should you wish a stroll or sit and watch the world go by or go up to the sun deck should you wish to lay on a lounger . Given the chance we will be back on the Ventura it's a good family /couples and singles ship and everyone seems to have a good time with plenty to do on board . I hope we sail on her again and soon . Read Less
Sail Date May 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
Is was the first cruise with P & O and I was very dissapointed with the level of service on the ship. I have cruised before with Ocean Village, Royal Caribbean and Princess. I found the staff on the Ventura miserable and unhelpful. The ... Read More
Is was the first cruise with P & O and I was very dissapointed with the level of service on the ship. I have cruised before with Ocean Village, Royal Caribbean and Princess. I found the staff on the Ventura miserable and unhelpful. The cabin steward was very good and kept the cabin clean and tidy. Generally the ship is lovely but there were just too many people on board. The buffet was a nigtmare every morning with long queues to get your food and running out of basic things like milk and cups. We had to walk round and round the buffet for ages to find a table and sometimes ended up with four us at a table for two and had to take turns to sit down and eat. Very stressful. The restaurent food was just ok - nothing special. The waiters were miserable and unhelpful and were more interested in laying the labels for the next day than serving he customers they had. Could not manage to get a seat in any of he bars that had entertainment so gave up. Long unmanaged queues for tender boats - quite chaotic actually. Long queues for photographers and reception. If you lie queueing you will love this cruise! Passangers getting ratty with people pushing in. There were children in the adult only pool messing about. The ship is basically the same as Emerald Princess which I went on last year but the staff and service on Emerald Princess are far superior and made for a much more relaxing and enjoyable cruise. This has put me off going with P & O again. Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
My brother, sister in law and myself took our mum on this cruise for her 80th birthday. We visited Amsterdam and Zebrugge. The cruise ship has zero wow factor. The buffet dining area is similar to that of a 2/ 3* hotel. The waiter service ... Read More
My brother, sister in law and myself took our mum on this cruise for her 80th birthday. We visited Amsterdam and Zebrugge. The cruise ship has zero wow factor. The buffet dining area is similar to that of a 2/ 3* hotel. The waiter service in the main restaurant is also poor. Staff were miserable and unwelcoming, everything seemed too much effort. After 15 minutes on one morning, we had to get up and ask for some tea and a menu as nobody had been to our table. One evening, we were told that we would have a 30-40 minute wait to be seated and told we could go and wait in a bar with a pager, not easy when mum has mobility problems. The food was, at best, ok. The ship was cold, I mean cold,with everybody walking around inside with either fleece tops or coats. Even in the spa, when I asked if the room could be made warmer, I was told that many people had already complained but nothing could be done as the temperature was controlled by the bridge. Not great when having a full body massage. The staff at the spa however were excellent. The daytime programme was dire, with very little to do. On a plus note, the evening entertainment was very good every evening with an excellent comedian on 2 nights. The cabin, a twin inside, was very comfortable with plenty of room. Read Less
Sail Date February 2016
1. Embarkation. Excellent. Arrived at 13.10 for 13.00 boarding (yes we were late) but were in our cabin at 13.30. 2. Cabin. Clean, well appointed and our cabin stewardess (Lourdes) was really helpful and attentive. 3. Dining ... Read More
1. Embarkation. Excellent. Arrived at 13.10 for 13.00 boarding (yes we were late) but were in our cabin at 13.30. 2. Cabin. Clean, well appointed and our cabin stewardess (Lourdes) was really helpful and attentive. 3. Dining Second sitting in Bay Tree restaurant. Table for 8 snd our fellow passengers were all lovely people, great conversation and all from very different backgrounds and geographical (UK) areas. Table waiters were very attentive but some times a little slow but the wine waitress was, in my opinion, not quite up to the job. Mixed up who's wine was who's on more than one occasion. Food was excellent and could not be faulted. 4. Entertainment P&O should really vet their guest speakers before putting them up in front of an audience of potentially several hundred people. The policeman who had been awarded the GC clearly had some amazing and fascinating stories to tell but his delivery was so monotone it was monotonous and sending people (including me) to sleep. The Headliners and Bernie Flint were fantastic and the first Karioke night was the best I have ever seen (thank you Derek and Annie). During sea days I thought the the activities (bingo and quizzes) were sparse and more could be done. Sail aways were not up to the standard we have enjoyed on previous P&O cruises. 5. Shore excursions:- Severely overpriced and are not value for money. Maybe they should spend and overnight stop in Madeira and cut out one of the Canaries 6. Weather. Not good except for Madeira (but I can't blame P&O for that). Bay of Biscay did it's usual on the way home. 7. Dis-embarkation. Absolutely excellent. 8. Overall. Too many (overpriced) photographs, no semi formal evenings and on formal evenings how was some one dressed in a track suit allowed to be served cocktails at the Captains reception? Read Less
Sail Date February 2016
Just back from Iberian cruise on Ventura. Having had a not very pleasant experience a few years ago with P and O we have been trying other cruise lines with very good result, but we decided to venture back to see how things had changed. ... Read More
Just back from Iberian cruise on Ventura. Having had a not very pleasant experience a few years ago with P and O we have been trying other cruise lines with very good result, but we decided to venture back to see how things had changed. Embarkation went much as normal big queue at Southampton, all a bit late following a deep clean due to Noro. As usual everyone seemed to be ticking the no boxes on the health questionnaire, it seems to be a waste of time as no one will admit to feeling ill and missing the cruise; it would be better to strip us all off and send us through a sheep dip. We were on the ship after about an hour so not too bad, the ship itself looked quite drab and "beige" following experiences on other lines. I was expecting better after the refit. We soon realised once on board that the ship was still under red alert and this does disadvantage you in many ways. The question ever one was asking was if they have done a deep clean why are we still under red alert, we can't go near any food, we can't touch anything in the shops and meal times feels like school dinners when you have to ask the teacher for salt and pepper and they come in paper packets. The cabin was a superior deluxe balcony cabin, again it looked a bit drab with various stains on the carpet and walls and a lot of mould round the bath but in general it was clean and dusted. There was plenty of hanging space so we got busy unpacking. The champagne and chocolates were in the room and made for a good start. The cabin has a bath with shower over it though the shower is no more than a dribble, and you had to move about just to get wet. I will elaborate on cabin issues later. We were greeted with the sight of people with masks and gowns going into the suite next to ours, it was later we found out that they were under isolation; why were we not informed then we could take extra precautions. It was l a few days later that we found out one of the children was sea sick and the medical staff had over reacted. The food in the MDR was good, plenty of choice, well presented and well served. Our waiters were very good. I can't understand why some reports say the staff are surly, they are trained to be distant until you break the ice with them because some people don't want to have anything other than being served. Chat and laugh with them and they will respond. The food in the buffet was very much the same every day, it was served to you by staff up until the last 2 days. The food area is very small compared with other lines, just one side open and this is as i said before very compact. A lot of passengers were trying to avoid the hand gel, making waving movements near the machine and walking away rubbing their hands (why), staff did chase them when you brought it to their attention but then they would still insist they had done it. Most people did all in their power to have a table all to their self even though it becomes quite packed, why will the "beige" people not share? Entertainment was very good, from the shows though these are the same ones we saw 4 years ago, to the individual acts. But the main issue was with the dead spots between acts and vast areas of the ship with nothing going on. During the day on sea days there was the usual quizzes and bingo, come on P and O; Pontins closed years ago because people have moved on. Can we at least have a bit of musical entertainment during the day, other lines have strings and piano's playing in the bars and atrium. We are keen dancers, I don't think P and O have ever seen any one dance; it is impossible if more than 3 couples are on the floor in the joke of a dance floor in the atrium. Judging by the amount of people wanting to dance and the amount of people who wanted to watch it should be in one of the larger venues with a larger floor. Ports of call were Vigo, Lisbon, Porto and Cherbourge. The stop at Vigo went off very well the ship docks in the centre of town so going on foot is not a problem, we didn't do a trip here so nothing much more to report on Vigo. We docked near the centre of the city in Lisbon, that was quite a surprise as in the past we have docked near the bridge, well out of town. We did the trip to Obidos, this is a nice little place and I would recommend anyone trying it if you have never been. Try the Ginja in the chocolate cups, try a few they are very cheap around 1 euro and each one is different. Porto was our next stop, the port is very good and well set up for cruises. They put on free shuttles to the city and to the port gates. The one into town takes about 30 minutes and runs about every 15 minutes. The one to the port gates is just as regular, as you walk out of the gate just turn right and you are on a fantastic clean white beach. Then we get to Cherbourge or not as came to pass. We were greeted the day before on the sea day with a letter telling us about the terrorist activity in France and to keep out of crowded places, this goes a long way to putting you in the holiday mood; it's not as if everyone had not heard about the issues in France; basically tell us what we already know. Then during the evening meal the Captain came over the loud speaker with more doom and gloom saying he had reports that the sea was getting a bit choppy, the rumour then started to go round that we would not go to Cherbourge. So come the morning after a quiet run over the B of B and not much movement during the night, the Captain came on the loud speaker with the expected news that due to the very rough weather and the impending storm we would be spending the day at sea again. He said he did not want to put the safety of his crew at risk, but it seems OK to put us all at risk and leave us at sea during a major storm. I did think the procedure during a major storm was to run for home or find a safe port, we were in reach of Southampton and could have stayed overnight there. As it happened the storm was 2 days away, all seems a bit suspect to me. We were then treated to another sea day so decided to go and watch the film in the morning, we went to the first venue advertised and were told after some time that we would have to go to the theatre; after waiting there we were told to go back to the original venue only to find the majority interest film had been replaced by a minority interest hairdressing event, I can do that waiting to pick my wife up from the hairdressers. They re vamped the programme taking off some of the good things and putt on more quizzes, My view is that if it had been a port day they would have had offers for the spar and hairdressers but if we have a captive audience we can charge the full amount. We went to our cabin to watch a film on the TV , it was quite a calm sunny day and we tried to open the balcony for some air but found it to be jammed shut; I reported it to reception they said someone would fix it; but no one ever came. This was the day that our dressing gowns arrived, I had thought they had stopped using them but they appeared in the cupboard. If you are susceptible to static don't use them as they are made of nylon and give you quite a shock when you come to hang them up. We were invited into the large suite next door because she was not happy with the state of the cabin, for a suite I would have expected better it was like going into an old caravan, with even more old stains than our cabin. She said the bedding had not been changed all week and on reflection neither had ours but we had presumed that was because of the red alert. I advised her to ask for the house keeper. I also asked our steward if he would change our bedding, he broke down in tears and said they had given him too much to do; my wife spent the next hour trying to console him. Later that day the housekeeper came to our cabin very apologetically, we did ask him to look after the steward as he was close to breakdown. I explained that the balcony door would not open he showed me that you need to kick it in several places and then pull it very hard, I wish I had known that at the start of the cruise; I could have asked reception for a big hammer to facilitate the process. So in summary no storm and no Cherbourge. Disembarking went well, we chose to take off our own bags so were off before 8 o'clock. I would recommend it if you are able enough as you are requested to put your bags out by 8:30 in the evening. This means you either spend the evening in the clothes you are going home in or go home in your evening clothes. Sorry it's a bit long but I do like to say it as it is, I understand others will have different views on it and die hard P and O groupies will lambast me for writing this. Will I be giving it one more try I don't think so, even though we have amassed a lot of peninsular points from the past when P and O were not "affordable cruising" and I guess it is our own fault for looking for a bargain for a short break. Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
What we thought would be a pleasant spring break on a 7 night cruise along the Iberian coast turned into a rather stressful experience. The dreaded norovirus had struck the ship prior to sailing so was being deep cleaned,hence a two and ... Read More
What we thought would be a pleasant spring break on a 7 night cruise along the Iberian coast turned into a rather stressful experience. The dreaded norovirus had struck the ship prior to sailing so was being deep cleaned,hence a two and a half hour delay in the departure lounge not enough seating ,bored children, and large queues even to get a coffee, wasn't the greatest start.However we understand health at sea is of paramount importance so had to grin and bear it.They lost our boarding cards so we stood like idiots at the desk for fifteen minutes till they were found. And eventually made it on. Rarely book an inside cabin and now I know why, a tiny mirrored box, with a tired bathroom and a leaking shower,saved only by our charming cabin steward Colin,who did everything he could to make our cruise enjoyable. We prefer a combination of buffet and select dining,however due to the fact that every scrap of food had to be served by hand in the waterside buffet for the first five days as the clean up continued the element of enjoyment was lost.Often not understanding your requirements I had either twenty slices of cucumber or two slices dumped unceremoniously on my plate in the haste to move you along, continual queues, it was not a pleasant experience surely under the circumstances opening up more counters may have helped.? Poor sea day activities programmes, same old sake old, evening entertainment saved by Mike Doyle the rest were tribute acts and the usual Headliners shows we've seen time and time again.Select dining good,though why do we have to pay so much for some venues on top of the holiday cost ? Enjoyed the Glass House but service slow on times, cocktails up in price tasted watered down on times and at £13 for 2 you expect more, oh and cocktail of the day has now apparently ceased to exist along with aperitif of the day.Bottle of drinkable white wine almost £20 not for the faint hearted. The only excursion we booked was cancelled as high winds meant we couldn't dock at Cherbourg.OK these things happen, but a poorly hastily arranged activities programme saw most of us milling around the ship like lemmings looking for things to do.We gave up headed back to the cabin for a film on the smallest TV we have ever had, but it passed a couple of hours. All in all a disappointing cruise,and whilst some elements are beyond everyone's control l do think P&O really need to up their game as we felt like cash cows rather than valued customers. Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
Revisited Ventura as I liked the itinerary but unfortunately the weather was poor in the Canaries which is unusual. The food in the restaurants was good. A bit boring in the buffet restaurant. On the plus side the service of the staff ... Read More
Revisited Ventura as I liked the itinerary but unfortunately the weather was poor in the Canaries which is unusual. The food in the restaurants was good. A bit boring in the buffet restaurant. On the plus side the service of the staff is excellent and entertainment was good. I have sailed with P&O for fourteen years and the standard has definitely dropped. In the Exchange bar it is a bit like Butlins at sea. The standard of dress there with a lot of passengers are football shirts and shorts in the evenings which never used to be. With regards to daytime activities there always seemed to be a sales pitch to the senimars such as talks on Beauty I.e skincare, hairstyles etc. This is for them making more money. I will probably sail with P&O again but it will be on one of their smaller ships, there is more character to them. Ventura don't provide enough seating for the amount of passengers that it carries. Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
Firstly arriving at Southampton to embark our time was 3pm arrived at 2pm sat there until 4.30pm. Once onboard had to go straight to Safety Procedure at Muster Station. We have been on 6 cruises and this was the most disorganised one have ... Read More
Firstly arriving at Southampton to embark our time was 3pm arrived at 2pm sat there until 4.30pm. Once onboard had to go straight to Safety Procedure at Muster Station. We have been on 6 cruises and this was the most disorganised one have ever seen. Not on deck but inside, no checks of people attending, most people didn't bother attending. Due to weather conditions dread to think what would have happened in real emergency. We were unfortunate to hit Storm Katie next day which was very frightening Tannoy system so muffled could' not understand most of announcements. Waterside Buffet was like Motorway Cafe apart from Freshly made omelette, bacon hard, eggs like plastic. Would have used restaurant for breakfast but this closed at 9am which is fine if weather good but no good when no rush to go for breakfast in pouring rain and cold. Unless you want to pay extra. Entertainment mostly 2nd rate, also not enough seats to accommodate everyone in bars etc for shows. No contingency plan during day for inclement weather. Smoking areas Deck 7 (mostly closed due to weather) and 15 starboard side (only ship we have been on where smoking not permitted on balconies) Deck 15 very rarely cleaned . We chose P & O thinking it may be a bit upmarket from some cruises but very disappointed it was Butlins on Sea. Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
Chose this cruise because of a 'big' birthday, wish we'd waited another 2/3 weeks because the weather wasn't too good in the ports, the sea was calm though even across the bay of Biscay. I've cruised around 10 ... Read More
Chose this cruise because of a 'big' birthday, wish we'd waited another 2/3 weeks because the weather wasn't too good in the ports, the sea was calm though even across the bay of Biscay. I've cruised around 10 times, not on a ship this big before - I couldn't understand why people said it was too big? Possibly because of the amount of passengers...but you do know this when you book. Overall we enjoyed it, I won't compare with other ships - I have rated on 'value for money' - which this is definitely in my view is a definite 4 star. Some people paid the equivalent of £70 a day for inside cabins! Shows in the theatre were good, we also enjoyed comedians, the resident band Dynamite Groove in the Havana bar. We had cabin with balcony which was good when the weather allowed us to use it. We thoroughly enjoyed the evening meals, lunch was a little bit repetitive but there was a large choice so there was always something different to choose. The cruise news always included some 'hard sell' seminars I.e. Come along to see how you can lose weight, or deal with arthritis, back pain etc. - too much in my opinion.... The exchange bar was a large area that included casino, slot machines, large screen tv, bingo playing, resembled a pub taproom - I didn't use it because it has no interest to me. When the weather allowed there was a 'sail away party' - not my thing at all, very crowded, very loud music, passengers walking around with pieces of pizza in their hands, cheese dripping everywhere. Lots of smokers huddled in the designated areas... These negatives wouldn't prevent me using the ship again though - I just don't use the areas that I dislike... I have to agree with a previous review though - the dress code of some of the passengers leaves a lot to be desired, football shirts and canvas pumps in the evening is not acceptable - particularly on black tie evening...obviously not allowed to use the main dining areas in such attire but it did 'lower the tone' .... Overall, staff very nice and pleasant, cabin/bed comfortable, public rooms attractive, evening meal (flexible dining) very good, getting on and off the ship at Southampton was well organised. I didn't use any shore excursions, we like to do our own thing and this was very easy in all the ports - Lisbon, Cadiz, Valencia, Ibiza, Cartagena, Gibraltor. These were quite expensive for those people unable to walk into town, I would suggest getting a taxi from the port area, there are plenty available. Read Less
Sail Date May 2016
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

Find a Cruise

Easily compare prices from multiple sites with one click