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41 P&O Cruises Ventura Spring Break Cruise Reviews

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
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
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 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
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
We are veterans of twenty cruises and this was our first time with P&O, we chose a seven night trip to the Norwegian Fjords leaving from Southampton. Parking was superb, boarding efficient our bags were outside our cabin by the ... Read More
We are veterans of twenty cruises and this was our first time with P&O, we chose a seven night trip to the Norwegian Fjords leaving from Southampton. Parking was superb, boarding efficient our bags were outside our cabin by the time we got there, room attendant excellent and beyond reproach. The ship itself was just dull, no wow factors at all everything Brown and beige. The shops were likewise dull with low end products nothing exciting on show. Food in the main dining room just not good same menu every day with a couple of changes not well presented and everything was just bland. The waiters were indifferent to rude, never introduced themselves just took orders and slapped the food in front of you. The buffet option was so small and cramped to be a joke the food simply dreadful. The late night snack options a joke. Entertainment was a mixed bag, one funny comedian one that should have been sent home. A couple of good tribute bands and an excellent rock headliner show. Day time offerings poor. Drink prices very attractive compared with RCL and Celebrity around £5 to £6 for a cocktail. Staff generally just not helpful or up to the standard we have learned to expect. We heard to of them chatting about passengers and laughing at them, to my mind totally unacceptable. Our first and last trip with P&O Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
1. Food excellent, 2. Disabled cabin and bathroom perfect. 3. Crew fantastic, friendly and attentive 4. Bars, restaurants, entertainment venues very good but some are very “dated”. 5. Embarkation and disembarkation very well ... Read More
1. Food excellent, 2. Disabled cabin and bathroom perfect. 3. Crew fantastic, friendly and attentive 4. Bars, restaurants, entertainment venues very good but some are very “dated”. 5. Embarkation and disembarkation very well organised and easy to cope with. 6. Lift system is random at best and inadequate at busy times.7. Signage is still poor. On the last day of our cruise there were still people wandering round trying to find which deck things were on. Now for the bad stuff... 1. One announcement from the bridge saying there were “ technical issues” so we would not be going to Oporto. No further explanations given. There was a suggestion that a longer stop in Lisbon would fix the “issue” (what was it - there seemed to be an engine problem???) It was no benefit to the aging and disabled population on board to stay in Lisbon until 3’oclock in the morning. EVERYONE I spoke with wanted to go to Oporto.To miss it out was appalling. So our first stop was Vigo where almost everything was closed as it was Sunday so that was rubbish. Our second stop was Lisbon - wonderful entrance and beautiful City. However as I had been there before it was of course Oporto I wanted to go to. Oh and then the last stop at Guernsey I had to stay on board as I couldn’t take my scooter with me.. So I paid all that money to see a town that was closed, to visit a town I had seen before and NOT to go to Oporto or Guernsey.( obviously I knew Guernsey might be difficult but I hoped...) But not Oporto. I see no benefit of the rearrangement - we could have left Lisbon an hour earlier than stated and sailed to Oporto (even for an hour less than stated) 2, You must change Vigo as that was really poor. 3. You must also do something with your intercom. Not audible in the cabin - had to rush to the corridor to catch the end of it. 4. Too much maintenance going on - painting, hammering, areas roped off. The ceiling panels were changed for new ones at the Waterside area. So less places to sit. The discarded panels, metal rods and other debris was left on either side of the area by the doors for the restt of the cruise 5. Shops were limited and poor unless you wanted posh handbags or perfume! Overall having spent 6 days on board and only visited one place that was ‘open’ and interesting, I couldn’t wait to get off the ship. This mini-cruise was to let us see if we would like cruising (we had only been on the QE2 before) but our experience was actually DREADFUL> Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
Service in restaurant was very hurried manic at times food was hit or miss menus ranged from the sublime to the ridiculous steaks were appalling and most evenings food was cold -lunch however much better than dinner food on buffet ... Read More
Service in restaurant was very hurried manic at times food was hit or miss menus ranged from the sublime to the ridiculous steaks were appalling and most evenings food was cold -lunch however much better than dinner food on buffet terrible and cold every time we tried it.we spent a lot of time up on lido deck and the outside tables were never washed down they were periodically tidied and dirty crockery removed but by the and of the cruise they were sticky ugh! They had new carpets fitted just before we cruised and they didn’t fit very well at all in the deck corridors and the off cuts and trimmings were still on the floor of the lifts up to last day! On the other hand the entertainment was good! But dress code for dinner non existent t shirts with rude slogans allowed come on!Would I cruise with p&o again I don’t think I would we sailed on Ventura on her maiden voyage and can honestly say that things have gone downhill since then the interactive tv screens we enjoyed all those years age eg cabin service /account accessibility no longer available Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
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
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
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
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
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
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 itinerary and the dates. Worst cruise I have been on engine problems late embarking and Cadiz not visited called in to Vigo on a Sunday at 5pm more for P and O benefit. Terrible crossing at sea with many I’ll, food poor, ... Read More
The itinerary and the dates. Worst cruise I have been on engine problems late embarking and Cadiz not visited called in to Vigo on a Sunday at 5pm more for P and O benefit. Terrible crossing at sea with many I’ll, food poor, entertainment poor, overcrowded. We did not get off ship at Vigo as people were going ashore and coming straight back, so was at sea from Friday to Weds morning. Should have left ship in Barcelona and flown home. Will never cruise again with P and O. All the staff on board were great apart from sickly entertainment manager. We had planned this trip carefully as we do not like too many sea days wow what a disaster that turned out to be. Coach journey down great but coming back we waited for 2 passengers that we later found out got off the ship in Italy due to medical grounds. You would have thought that p and o would have notified the coach company. We then waited for 5 passengers from Cunard to be bussed over hence left at 10am after sitting on coach going nowhere for an hour. NEVER AGAIN P and O. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
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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