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1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2015
Although we have cruised a couple of other times with different cruise lines, and we really should have known better than to take to much notice of the bad reviews, we were a touch apprehensive when holiday time arrived.The check in at ... Read More
Although we have cruised a couple of other times with different cruise lines, and we really should have known better than to take to much notice of the bad reviews, we were a touch apprehensive when holiday time arrived.The check in at Birmingham Airport was smooth and the flight on the new Dreamliner was ok with the exception of the meals which at best can only be described as filling.We arrived in Barbados on time,and were quickly shown onto buses which took us straight to the cruise terminal ( no waiting around for luggage and going through immigration etc ).The embarkation was quite quick and slick and we were on board in the cabin, and changed within 1/2 an hour. The balcony cabin on Riviera deck aft was not enormous but lovely and clean and perfectly adequate for a 2 week cruise ,the walk in shower was large enough with an ever ready supply of hot water and plenty of clean towels and toiletries supplied.We spent the first full day on the beach at the Boatyard and had a very good day.We were allocated freedom dining in the Cinnamon restaurant and can honestly say we enjoyed every meal,we had a very good choice on the menu and always received first class service from the waiters.We breakfasted at the Saffron restraunt or in the Waterside Buffet and there was always seating available or we were seated straight away. The entertainment from the Headliners and the various Solo artists , duos etc through to Tom O Connor were first class and i can honestly say that we enjoyed all the shows tremendously.A special mention to Tom O Conner who packed the theatre 4 times any delivered very funny shows without a swear word or rude joke. Ponta del Garda gave us the opportunity to visit the Crater Lakes and a Pineapple Plantation along with some beautiful gardens and was a welcome break during the atlantic crossing. This brings me to the only slight negative on the trip for us and it was that we thought there could have been more variety with the daytime activities that were offered ,but this is personal and i am sure a lot of the cruisers were more than happy with what was offered.To sum up,far better that we expected and certainly not as bad as a lot of reviews made out we had a fantastic time and will certainly travel with P & O again.   Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2015
After a problem with my parents having to cancel britannia maiden voyage they had a huge deposit outstanding so the 4 of us ended up on Ventura if I am honest not our first choice !!! But do not be put off please ! A relaxed ship with a ... Read More
After a problem with my parents having to cancel britannia maiden voyage they had a huge deposit outstanding so the 4 of us ended up on Ventura if I am honest not our first choice !!! But do not be put off please ! A relaxed ship with a friendly crew and fab entertainment (do not miss the 2 boys from headliners doing solo set amazing ) But the most fantastic revelation was the food WOW WOW as a proper foodie we have eaten in some great restaurant s I cannot believe the quality and presentation of the food in the saffron restaurant !!!! Along with the wine package it was like eating in a 5/star hotel every night ☺ so if you want to be wowed go on ventura ..... The young lady who runs the waiters is fab wonderful unexpected cruise Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2015
This was our first P& O cruise and it was a near hit , but had too many misses! We booked a deluxe superior balcony cabin. We were promised little extras such as a bottle of champagne, dressing gown, canapés, fruit basket and flower ... Read More
This was our first P& O cruise and it was a near hit , but had too many misses! We booked a deluxe superior balcony cabin. We were promised little extras such as a bottle of champagne, dressing gown, canapés, fruit basket and flower display. The flight down was fabulous from Gatwick a Dreamliner ands embarkation onto the ship faultless. We got our luggage in under 1 hour as well. The cabin was fine, E720 on deck 8 aft, not huge and the balcony was in permanent shade as the floor above extends to the balcony rail. The champagne was in the fridge, not on ice. No fruit, a box of chocolates was on the coffe table, no canapés or fruit bowl. It took 3 days to get the fruit bowl. 1 Apple, 1 orange. 1 bannana and 6 individual grapes.  Then saucer of 5 revolting canapés. The flowered didn't ever materialise. The ship is beautiful with lovely facilities, however she is abysmally let down by dreadful customer service at many levels. Freedom dining is a problem. Although it's good to have the freedom it means that Gala nights are a waste of time and absolute let down. As nothing is put on for them. There are not any special presentation . Ice or fruit carvings - no songs or ceremony. You put on your finery, eat as normal and that's it. The waiters on the whole were extremely rude, unpleasant and poorly trained. They lean across you in front of you. The service in Saffron was chaotic and hit and miss. Yes there were a few who were lovely but on the main it wasnt a good experience. It's clear that P& O have taken the majority of their best staff for Brittania and left the dross behind on Ventura The room service menu, is tiny and you have to pay extra for many items. The bar prices are good. The White room is excellent. The entertainment was good, if you could Eve get a seat.  P&O have waiters galore selling booze, but can't invest in stewards to look after passages on the sun decks, theatres or have a customer relation desks, staffed by senior managers, who have first hand In depth knowledge and experience of the standards offered to and expected by British & American passengers at 4&5* resorts and cruises. It would seem unfair to expect us a fare paying passengers to put up with such shoddy and laughable service for a premium fare!   Also this cruise had 8 sea days, with the exception of a quiz, lectures on murders and the occasional free film, nearly every additional leisure activity such as painting had tone paid for! The TV is a disgrace - sky news, bbc news Sky sportthsts it. Previous passengers were saying last year they had 48 free handles. The chi late buffet is no more.  Most of the buffets have curry.  In fact it's hard to get things without curry! I love curry but from time to time. The afternoon tea sandwiches were weird combinatiins as well. All in all we had fantastic weather, a comfortable cabin and a relaxing g time. But if P&O want to retain a decent reputation they need to listen and learn some customer relations lessons from their bosses at Carnival or even better celebrity &princess Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2015
Friday March 13th Left house at 5am and had good ride to airport. Checked in right away in seperate queue and security much quicker than usual. Flight premium economy. Seats roomy but a bit hard after a while. Free drinks and nice food ... Read More
Friday March 13th Left house at 5am and had good ride to airport. Checked in right away in seperate queue and security much quicker than usual. Flight premium economy. Seats roomy but a bit hard after a while. Free drinks and nice food from James Martin. Flight delayed a little due to medical emergency on incoming flight. At Barbados taken straight onto third coach which set off within seconds. At port checkin very quick as there were not many of us. No special checkin for suite passengers. Room had bottle of champagne and chocs but had to ask steward for bottle closer, so that we could drink half the champagne and save the rest.He did not know what I meant but later the butler brought one. They seem to share duties to some extent. Saturday March 14th Barbados Woke up panicking thinking it was 8am but had misread watch and it was only 7am. Breakfast in Whites. Very nice but staff a bit over-attentive. Took taxi to Bridgetown, 2 dollars per person each way. Lunch in dining room, nice but limited. Weather warm and partly overcast. Saw showat night but thought that it was poor. Choreography not very imaginative Cast good singers and dancers though but very repetitive. Theatre half empty. Sunday March 15th St Lucia. We had been here before so did not go on a trip. Breakfast in the White Room and mid-morning went ashore to find cheap wi-fi. Found a bar where if you spent 5dollars you got allday fast internet. Spent $5 on a Guiness which is 7.3% alcohol here and brewed locally. Tonight is black tie and food includes lobster. Monday March 16th St Kitts and Nevis. Boat trip to Nevis. Learnt native of Nevis is a Nevitian. We already knew that a native of St Kitts is a Kittician. Tuesday March 17th Antigua. No trip but went to shops and found internet bar. Wednesday March 18th At sea. Weather excellent and sea smooth with a little swell. Breakfast outside at White Room. Thursday March 19th Breakfast inside as White Room patio was soaking wet. Took back library book. Overheard woman complaining that if you reserve a sun lounger and go to lunch people move your stuff! She seemed quite upset! Cruise critic meeting at 10.30. About fifteen people there and had a good chat. Lunch in room. Talk on unsolved murders. Not bad Talk and forum about iPad use. Learnt how to use iMovie, but the forum was hijacked by people wanted to know how to connect their phones. Had tiramisu at dinner which was much nicer than the one at the White Room. Monday March 23rd Azores. Trip to pineapple factory and crater lakes. Very sunny and warm. Not feeling too good with sore throat and cough. Internet on board. Obviously slow but not too bad. I could download the Times and my mail in about three minutes at 7am, when it seemed to be quicker. We had bought the 100 minutes plan with 20 extra minutes for£35. By today we have 8 minutes left although they do a deal for extra minutes - 60 minutes for £15 or 30 minutes for £10.50. Paid restaurants The White Room. As suite customers we got breakfast here daily and it is well worth it if a little over-attentive. We also ate here one night and was not so impressed. I had a tiramisu which was not as good as the one that I later had in the main restaurant. The Glass Room. Excellent food although we only had the little plates and a shared sundae. East Seems to get heavily booked so had to book a couple of days ahead. The food was nice but by then I had developed a cough and cold so could only manage a tiny amount. My wife enjoyed it though and we could have had an intended bonus as they forgot to charge us for a bottle of champagne, but we pointed it out to them and they added it on with a brief thanks. Other passengers Despite dire warnings on this forum we found everyone we met to be very nice. Obviously there is the sun lounger issue and it would be easy for me to criticise but then we had a huge balcony to ourselves and did not need to compete for space. Entertainment Obviously very subjective. The ship's entertainers seem talented and enthusiastic but I thought that most of the dance routines lacked imagination and need more set chenges. When we left the Azores Tom O'Connor joined the ship and his act had the theatre packed to the gunwales (note the nautical reference!). Was this because his performance was brilliant or were we just desperate for a good act? We saw tthee films on board. The first time that we looked in on a film showing in the Havana Club it was almost finished and what was obviously a widescreen film was showing in 3:4 aspect so the whole picture was squashed. The first film that we actually saw was in the Tamarind Club and we all sat waiting for it to start but a waitress said that nobody knew how to stop the backgound music in the club playing and start the film. After over fifteen minutes they managed to get assistance. We then saw the film "Belle" in the Arena Theatre. As befits a full-time theatre it has by far the biggest screen. I could not make out the model of the projector, other than it was a Sanyo but i would say, and I do the projection for a local video society, that the picture quality was about VHS standard although luckily the sound was good. There was very little fine detail and dark areas exhibited considerably blocking. The last film that we saw was "Interstellar" which I had been looking forward to. Again the picture quality was poor and after about half an hour the picture started moving upwards until it had disppeared off the top of the screen. After what seemed like a long wait a "technical" person could be seen moving around and the picture descended again. I am assuming that they had not been watching the film as they then rewound it fifteen minutes so we had to watch part of the film twice! Crossing the Atlantic We had crossed the Bay of Biscay before in terrible weather so knew what to expect but no, the weather was sunny and the sea was calm. People were swimming in the pool the day before we arrived at Southampton and on arrival day there was hardly a cloud in the sky. Coach transfer. Full marks to P&O for providing these although they are not well publicised. On the coach to Manchester, which took about five and a half hours for the journey, including a 45 minute stop some passengers had been given totally unrealistic timings for onward flights. Motorway journeys always take way longer than you expect. We had parked at Manchester Airport short stay car park and getting from where the bus left us at the drop-off point to the car park took almost an hour. Would I go with P&O again? Probably not. Although the ship was fine and the beer was cheap I found the entertainment boring and the extras for suite passengers very poor. Next January we are booked on the Norwegian Getaway and I hope to find that a bit more exciting. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2015
Good flight out on dreamliner, quick efficient service to ship, lovely cabin superior delux d218 only drawback first nite not much sleep as directly above lifeboats and noisy where maybe a rope or something was loose and made banging ... Read More
Good flight out on dreamliner, quick efficient service to ship, lovely cabin superior delux d218 only drawback first nite not much sleep as directly above lifeboats and noisy where maybe a rope or something was loose and made banging noise, but was sorted next morning, visit lovely islands our favourite was Grenada, food good chose freedom dining in the Saffron restarant, charming young boys as waiters, new lots about the food being served, entatainment quite good but could not always get a seat, all staff went out of their way to help you, looking to book another cruise for my husbands 70thtaking our daughter who has special needs so will need to choose the right cabin. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2015
P&O first of all made a mess of our cabin choice, we booked a cabin on the back of the ship on deck C when I tried to open the cabin door it would not open so I called reception and was told that I had been upgraded which at first I ... Read More
P&O first of all made a mess of our cabin choice, we booked a cabin on the back of the ship on deck C when I tried to open the cabin door it would not open so I called reception and was told that I had been upgraded which at first I thought was good until I saw the cabin which was on the lido deck midships it was so much smaller with a much smaller balcony and very high, we were told that because it was midships it was an upgrade and no cabins where available on deck C. after a very stressful encounter with the reception team we where asked to stay in the cabin and they would look into getting us moved, at which point I asked if we could get a flight back to Manchester (which I wished we had) as we could not accept this cabin for to weeks, eventually we where given a more suitable cabin on the back of the ship. The entertainments team on the ship where so unorganised and did not inform passengers of the change of program for the evening entertainment. The waiters in the restaurant we rude and did not appear to be interested maybe because the gratuities had been paid from onboard accounts. Also the food in the restaurants on many occasions was cold having been brought so far from the kitcen. The waiters on the open decks where not interested if you only wanted water and actually turned their backs on us. We paid nearly £600 to upgrade our flights but were told that if we wanted to sit together we would have to pay a further fee to do so.The outward flight was not to bad as we where sat directly behind one another but the inbound flight we were a few rows apart. I contacted P&O on my return and complained about all this however they as usual only offered excuses and no offer of any refund which I would have expected. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: February 2015
We arrived at Glasgow Airport with some anticipation as a fortnight before our cruise date we were informed of a change of aircraft for our outbound flight to Barbados from a Boeing 767 -300ER to a Boeing 787 Dreamliner. We had previously ... Read More
We arrived at Glasgow Airport with some anticipation as a fortnight before our cruise date we were informed of a change of aircraft for our outbound flight to Barbados from a Boeing 767 -300ER to a Boeing 787 Dreamliner. We had previously booked our seats 18a and b. While sitting in the departure lounge we were quite disconcerted when we noticed our parked aircraft suddenly surrounded by Airport Fire Service Appliances with all emergency equipment in operation, after an extensive examination of the aircraft all emergency staff stood down and boarding of the aircraft began. First impressions of the aircraft were good, appeared to be very light, spacious and roomy. Once seated, I was next to the window which was bigger than on previous aircraft and offered a better view I noticed the seat was only slightly narrower but had much better legroom ( I am 6' 1" ) the seatbelt was longer, ventilation was much improved. Having pre booked seats in the 2-3-2 layout of the 767 aircraft we were seated in a row of 3 seats on the 787 no other passenger was seated beside us which was good as it gave us some extra space, this applied to our return flight as well. Once airborne I found the aircraft to be somewhat quieter than usual, the flight crew were very pleasant and cheery and looked after us better than our last long haul flight on BA.Only thing I did not like was the fact there is now no choice of food in economy class, oh sorry there is "Take it or Leave it"' I appreciate costs have to be kept down but it is a long flight to endure without something to eat if you do not like what is offered, in this case Pasta Bake . After a relatively quick flight time of 7 hours 45 minutes we arrived at Barbados alighting from the aircraft I felt quite refreshed and bright, we experienced P&Os usual seamless transfer to the port and took approx 20 minutes to check in and board the ship. We had booked cabin C102 (Port side just below the ships Bridge) but prior to departure found we had been upgraded to A430 (Port Side Midships adjacent to Lifts), while losing out on the large C Deck Balcony we found our new cabin to ideally situated for all of the ships amenities.We have occupied this type of cabin before so it was no suprise to use , the cabin was clean, showing some signs of age( the ship has been in service for 7 years), such as the balcony handrail needing revarnishing but certainly nothing worth complaining about. Our cabin steward Harak introduced himself to us, he was very friendly and only to happy to comply with our request for ice and lemon to be provided on a daily basis. I also requested a feather pillow as I do not like foam pillows. Throughout our cruise Harak was very attentive without being obtrusive, our cabin was kept spotless and on some evenings we returned to find an additional occupant in the form of a towel animal. Our luggage was delivered to the cabin within 4 hours of boarding. Thereafter we called at our usual port of call Breakers Bar for something refreshing to quench our thirst, only to be disappointed to find P&O no longer have draught "Banks" lager on board, however our disappointment did not last long as we were offered Draught "Peroni" lager which fitted the bill perfectly. After freshening up we attended "Emergency Drill" and thereafter had an enjoyable meal in the Beachouse Buffet. Dining: We had chosen Freedom dining and were allocated Cinammon Restaurant although after the first night we could have chosen to dine in either Cinammon or Saffron dining rooms. While not deaf I find it difficult to hear table conversation if seated in the centre of the dining room and therefore always request a table near to a wall or in one of the alcove areas, this request was met by Arun the restaurant manager and we were seated at table 111 attended to by Monal and Raj, and wine waiter Jack, the service provided by these three Gentlemen was in my opinion excellent. We had met a former colleague and his wife who were on their first cruise at the airport, and had invited them to join us at dinner which they did, on the first formal night we had a table for four and one of the main course choices was Lobster, I knew from previous experience that the portion could be on the small side and I asked Monal if I could have two portions my request was met and thereafter every night we ate in Cinammon Monal offered myself and our fellow diners an additional portion of their main course choice. All food served was piping hot, very tasty and most enjoyable, however I did overhear other passengers commenting that some of the food was bland and tastless, possably depends on what they had chosen. I personally like strongly flavoured, spiced food but as I have said found all my food to be tasty. We also made use of the Glasshouse, Waterside Buffet, Beachouse(Waiter Service), and East for Evening Meals. Glasshouse: We attended a "Taster" Dining night in the Glasshouse at a cost of £30 per person. The meal is limited to approx 20-30 people and has to be booked in advance as it is popular and is held two or three times per 14 night cruise. It is a four course meal including a large fillet steak, each course is accompanied by a selected glass of wine to comlement the food. This meal is excellent value for money. Waterside Buffet: The main buffet restaurant hosts various theme nights throughout the cruise such as Caribbean Night, Tandoori Night, Great British Menu Night,etc,we chose to attend on Tandoori night and had an excellent meal although not as highly spiced as I like, but they have to cater for all passengers not just me. Beachouse(WaiterService): This is part of the buffet situated at the aft end of the ship on the starboard side and is turned into a waiter service restaurant in the evening(non book able), there is cover charge of £5.00 per person and a very small charge on some of the menu choices EG: £2.50 for a lava rock cooked fillet steak. They used to charge £7.50 for this prior to the introduction of the £5.00 cover charge for entry. East: I never had the inclination to use this restaurant on previous cruises as I didn't think it was my idea of an Asian Restaurant, but as we had a large amount of OBC, the boss decided we would give it a try. What a revelation the food was superb to such an extent I felt I had to have a second visit which was even better . We had excellent table companions in Graeme and Carol,Pat and Keith, Gordon and Jean we met up most evenings and were allocated a table in the sector covered by Monal and Raj. On the last Formal night our table companions had all elected to dine at other venues and we therefore elected to share with other passengers within our usual area, we were most surprised to be joined for our evening meal by The Venturas Captain Simon Terry, he was an excellent table companion.On all of our cruises with P&O this is the first time we have ever seen the Captain dining in one of the MDRs. Breakfast: This was always taken in the Beachouse about 8.00am before the busy time, varied selection of food through cold meats, cheese, fresh fruit, cereals, full English , with poached eggs/Omellettes, black pudding/ waffles/ pancakes on request, I always found breakfast a tasty start to the day. Lunch: Lunch was a very tasty Pizza from the deck 15 Pizzaria, the chef Jayghill was only to happy to make me a Pizza of my choice from the available ingredients , the Pizza Menu only lists a selection of 5, but as long as they are not to busy(such as Sea Days) Jayghill and RJ(Assistant Chef) would make passengers their choice per ingredients. Ports Of Call: We have been in all of the Ports before and as the boss is prone to car sickness if not driving we tend not to do excursions , however on this cruise we decided while calling at Tortola we would do the excursion to Jost Van Dyke an Island off the North Coast of Tortola. Jost Van Dyke is reached after a ferry trip of appox 1 hour and is a fairly underdeveloped island, on arrival in a small bay you are transported by road a short distance to another bay where there is a beautiful white beach with a few small beach bars including the famous "Soggy Dollar Bar" the home of the "Painkiller" Cocktail. All Sunloungers/sun Brollies are free of charge for those on the excursion and a barbecue Lunch and one free drink provided,additional drinks are at a small charge(Rum Punch $2.00). The beach is quite popular with the sailing fraternity and throughout the day we were joined by a number of large and small yachts . Entertainment: Having cruised a number ot times we are well used to P&Os Entertainment but we still enjoyed the Headliners shows as each troupe puts their own mark on the shows, I thought this years group gelled very well and complimented each other's individual contribution. I am not a fan of comedians but attended both shows by Roy Walker which I found very entertaining, no swearing, no outright smut but a wee bit risqué , and no running about the stage shouting at the top of voice like a madman .(Perhaps a sign of me reaching old age). Bars: During the day we usually made use of the open deck areas near to Breakers Bar, where we were served by Edwin who within a day or two new our names and our order off by heart, we found the waiters attentive but not in our face, in my opinion the waiters can't win some people complain they are subjected to hard sell, others that they cannot get service. I have always found a polite No thanks suffices,after all they are only doing their job. Prices were on par with a busy town centre pub. In the evenings we always had our nightcap in the Glasshouse where we were well looked after by Stephen and AJ. All the Glasshouse staff were very friendly and prepared to spend a couple of minutes in conversation, however this is a popular bar and can be busy. Staff: Throughout our cruise we found all staff we had dealings with to be friendly, efficient and helpful, we have read reviews on this site stating that staff on Ventura were surly, unhappy and not prepared to interact with passengers, well they must have had a complete crew change as we had no experience of that type of behaviour. Some of the crew have an excellent command of English while others have not and this may give some passengers the impression of rudeness, I have always found if you take the time to speak to crew members they will do their best to reciprocate. However some of my fellow passengers(a minority) have obviously forgotton how to say Please and Thank You. Weather: Having cruised in the Caribbean since 2005 mostly in February/March we found the weather this year to be erratic in that we had rain every day of the first week, not a lot but unusual and strong winds throughout both weeks. This did not affect our overall enjoyment of the cruise however. Overall impression of ship: Ventura has now been in service for seven years with one refit in that time, she is showing some signs of wear such as dents and scrapes within the lifts, carpets showing wear, balcony handrails needing varnished etc but nothing that can't be dealt with by ongoing shipboard maintenance. After all she does carry approx three thousand passengers every fortnight none of whom ever drop anything on the carpets, bang into things or accidentally damage fittings. To finish we had a great cruise overall, nothing to cause complaint and we met some very nice people including those who we chose to dine with and others such as Jacquie and Ian Ramage. While onboard we took the opportunity to book next years Caribbean Cruise which will be taken aboard Azura as Ventura is not venturing to the Caribbean. Disembarkation When disembarking at Barbados we had to vacate the cabin by 0900 however you are allowed to remain on the ship and use all facilities until your flight is called, thereafter you disembark and board buses which take you to the airport and then are fast tracked through emigration and security and into the departure lounge. Your luggage is transported direct from the ship and the next time you see it is on the baggage carousel at your home airport. P&O have this procedure well organised. To round off the cruise we flew home on the Dreamliner and it's the best sleep I have ever experienced on an aircraft.   Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: February 2015
Although the title may give it away I am going to try & give a fair assessment of our holiday as well as address some of the negative comments a minority of travelers - reviewers seem compelled to make. We have cruised the Caribbean in ... Read More
Although the title may give it away I am going to try & give a fair assessment of our holiday as well as address some of the negative comments a minority of travelers - reviewers seem compelled to make. We have cruised the Caribbean in Feb for the last 6 years as 2 couples on ocean village, Thompson, princess & the last 3 years with P&O Azura & twice on the Ventura. Between the 4 of us we have also sailed with Royal Caribbean, Holland America & even the Island Escape. What some companies lack in catering they make up for in entertainment say & on the more luxurious ships the drinks are expensive & so on but they all have their merits, we have always enjoyed our cruise holiday & since our first one we have taken no other type of vacation. We travelled to manchester on the 12th feb from the northeast & stayed at the raddison for the night before our early morning flight on Friday. I like this hotel, although pricey you can comfortably walk along the skyway to check in, a lot better than shuttle busses. It would be nice to have more Newcastle flights though. We were on the Thomas Cook flight in the premium cabin which was fine, good seats, free drinks & good movies. After the 8 hour flight 40mins later we were at the Barbados port check in, 1/2 an hour after that we were on board enjoying a beer at Breakers Bar having dropped our hand luggage at our immaculate cabin. There really is nothing to complain about with this process & don't forget you check you're luggage in at departure & then it is at the state room on the ship, on what other type of holiday would that happen? With our flight being on the 1st day of the 2 day check in we spent our 1st days holiday on the beach at sandy lane in glorious sunshine while the rest of the flights checked in (these holiday makers have their day in Barbados on the return) Moving on quickly to the 1st sea day on Ventura which is where the next area of cotroversy arises, the sun bed saga! Yes young families like to have the beds next to the kids' pool so there' up earl,y other people like shade, others have their preferences, one thing for sure you're never going to get a lounger of you're choice wandering the decks at 10-30 am after a leisurely breakfast! We've never had a problem getting 4 beds together so honestly nothing to moan about here. I have to admit that just for a change we booked the retreat this time at £350 per couple for the trip & made good use of it & we perhaps trimmed a bit off our usual on board spend to justify that, you will all have worked out by now that we don't fill empty bottles at the water stations or smuggle gin & vodka back on board in water bottles, some people still do! Moving onto the islands in general & addressing what to do on shore days, you either go it alone, stay on the ship or have a P&O organized trip, the latter is mentioned in various reviews as being overly expensive, however everybody we have spoken to about their trips results in positivity, we've always enjoyed the rare organized trips we have been on. The alternative to this is a tour or journey by local taxi services, dependent on the wealth of the island in question the trip can be a 'hairy' ride in a van that wouldn't pass an M O T test in this country, to an ok ride in a mini bus, the choice is yours. Basically you get what you pay for. Food on this floating 5 star hotel attracts various forms of comment, all I can say is, every boat I have been on from so called 3 star to 5 has been in my opinion of a very high standard, putting a very high percentage of onshore establishments too total shame, the Ventura is no exception, this trip we enjoyed freedom dining in the cinnamon restaurant for dinner, also the glass house & white room, great service & meals, the buffets on deck 15 more than adequate, I find the whole dining logistics for 3,000 guests totally fascinating, how people can find fault with any of this is staggering. I have to say at this point that as 2 couples we are proud to each have up & coming young chefs as sons, both have worked in Michelin star kitchens & this year one made the final stages of professional master chef, take my word for it, the catering is just fine! We enjoyed the entertainment on board, good comedian Paul Eastwood, the ventriloquist Gareth Oliver, magician & Tom O'Connor ( a bit past it but hey, it's only an hour out of your evening!) In general, life on board the ventura is all you would want for a great vacation, predominantly British tourists from all walks of life, a good mix of young couples, families, teenagers, middle aged & elderly all getting along with one another, this trip I thought was especially sociable, all the bars busy & bustling just ideal, again some people can find fault with this, reading other reviews about 'undesirables' & paying more to avoid this, come on! There is no doubt that when chatting to some 'seasoned' cruisers you get the impression of missing the old days, ways & traditions, but times & passengers have changed thankfully, plus the fact the modern ships are bigger, better equipped & cope with the rigures of the oceans far better, (stabilizers, thrusters etc.) No matter which modern day ship you are on you would never know you were in the company of 3, 5 or now even 7,000 passengers. I have to say the final sail away from St Maartin was classic Brit nostalgia, moored next to the gigantic Oasis of the Seas, the entertainment crew did an amazing job as we sailed off, fab. Yet previous reviewers compare this to Butlins, honestly! Personally I have to say you will never see more of the world other than by cruising, I couldn't spend 2 weeks on any Caribbean island, a day is enough. We would never have been able to go to all the amazing capital cities of Europe if we had not done it by cruise ship, so all in all a most marvelous way to holiday & is it so wrong that it is becoming more available to more & more people? Of course not, you can't go wrong with this type of vacation, give it a go you won't regret it. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: February 2015
Starting with the chartered flight from Gatwick. Boarding very painless, fairly quick and no delays. Plane ok, seats don't recline, which is fine for a daytime flight, but not good on an overnight home with no sleep and having to ... Read More
Starting with the chartered flight from Gatwick. Boarding very painless, fairly quick and no delays. Plane ok, seats don't recline, which is fine for a daytime flight, but not good on an overnight home with no sleep and having to drive 4 hours when you land! Only a very limited choice of free films, the rest you have to pay for £4, which if you are on a Thompson or BA flight are free. Drinks also charged for, food disgusting. Normally i can tolerate airline food, this was the worst ever and i'm not a fussy eater! Boarding at Barbados was chaotic. Standing in a line for half an hour in a boiling hot warehouse shed waiting to get our seacards. More check in stations needed at busy times. Once on board everything was fine, cabin ready and nice and clean. The ship was already very busy and the signs at reception said there were no upgrades available as the ship was full. The library is very small all the popular books had already been checked out, luckilly i took a couple with me, there were no book swaps available either. We had been allocated freedom dining, but a quick visit to the restaurant manager soon changed it to second dining in the MDR. First night we did the deck buffet, food was very nice with a good choice, but unfortunately a bit cold. We had an early night due to the travelling which was when we discovered that cabin E205 (outside) is right above the theatre, and you could hear everything. This is fine if you don't want an early night any time during the cruise, as the last show is 10.30 and finishes at 11.30pm. A visit to reception the next day was successful as they changed us to a cabin further down the corridor which was nice and quiet E410. The only problem was that someone was coming into that cabin on the Friday and we left on the Saturday so would have to go back to our original cabin, this was not a problem for us. Entertainment was very good, the headliners theatre company are very professional and would give a west end show a good run for their money! Tom O'Conner was guest comedian, not our cup of tea but very good. Had to get to the theatre early to get a seat, unfortunately people who had been to first sitting and seen the show earlier also went again for the second show which didn't leave a lot of seats for those coming out of second sitting around 10.15. Food was very good, perhaps not as much choice as there has been in the past, but very tasty and enough choice for us. We didn't pay for any of the optional dining places, I didn't see the point when we had already paid for food. We also ate in the Waterfront Buffet some evenings, this was fairly quiet and the choices were very good, we had a tandori, seafood and asian nights. Entertainment staff were good fun, the sailaway parties were enjoyable and they made an event out of them. The excursions were fairly pricey, we did most ports on our own for a fraction of the cost, everywhere was easy to get around, but the two we did through the ship were very good, these were a snorklelling trip in St Martin and the Farewell to Barbados on the last day which dropped us off at the airport. Again another long wait to leave the airport. We had a slight issue on the last Thursday when we went to swap back to our original cabin, they had out someone in it, so we moved to deck 12, unfortunately it was an inside and we didnt realise till 11.30pm when we went to bed! So back to reception next day where the staff once again were very helpful and moved us to a balcony for the last night, so I have 4 cabin reviews to do! Overall, personally i prefer Royal Caribbean, but would not rule out another cruise on Ventura. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2015
There is absolutely nothing ‘Special’ about a P&O Cruise anymore. Standards have plummeted to ‘lows’ that are unacceptable in view of the claims made in P&O Cruise Brochures. For a company that sells its cruises on ‘The ... Read More
There is absolutely nothing ‘Special’ about a P&O Cruise anymore. Standards have plummeted to ‘lows’ that are unacceptable in view of the claims made in P&O Cruise Brochures. For a company that sells its cruises on ‘The Fine Dining’ experience. Silver Service has gone, but they won’t tell you. – You have to find out for yourself. – Wine waiters have an impossible work load, not leaving their previous duty until they are already required for Dinner Service and then too many tables. – It’s blatantly obvious then that most tables are not even going to get their wine order taken until after they have started eating and most will not get their wine until they have started main course. – This is far from ‘Fine Dining’ and nothing like the claims made in the brochure about “attention to detail to the whole food and beverage experience.” Dress Codes are now ignored with people without shirts regularly ignored by Crew in Self Service Restaurants. – Has anybody considered that a dress code requiring a shirt in a restaurant might actually have something to do with hygiene? – I don’t suppose for a minute that chefs are excused ‘whites’ in the kitchens and are therefore allowed to drip sweat over food. – Why then should a customer be allowed to visit the buffets without a shirt? Claims in the brochure about Ventura “having places where you can find peace and relaxation” are simply untrue unless you retreat to your cabin. Firstly ‘Agadoo’ type Music is played all day on the top decks at such a high volume that it is difficult to talk and impossible to ignore. Secondly, you are hounded by ‘upselling’ as soon as you sit down. – Previously, the Restaurants that require a supplement to be paid, were only sold by crew outside of these restaurants, now crew are ‘patrolling’ the decks all day approaching customers that are attempting to relax quietly. On top of this drinks stewards are noticeably more pro-active sometimes approaching you before your empty glass even touches the table, and photographers approaching you three times as you leave the ship in port, within hearing of when you politely refused their colleague. – Yes, you could simply say “no,” but we go on holiday to relax and the brochure does claim that this is possible. – Well it isn’t! This is just a small part of a lengthy complaint that has been sent to P&O.   Read Less
Ventura Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 0.0
Dining 4.0 0.0
Entertainment 4.0 0.0
Public Rooms 4.0 0.0
Fitness Recreation 4.0 0.0
Family 4.0 0.0
Shore Excursion 4.0 0.0
Enrichment 3.0 0.0
Service 4.0 0.0
Value For Money 4.0 0.0
Rates 3.0 0.0

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