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Sail Date: February 2013
This was our second cruise for my wife and I, our first was Western Med on Azura in 2012. We're in our early 50's. We flew from Gatwick, on BA scheduled service. This was decided by P&O (we'd booked a Getaway deal in ... Read More
This was our second cruise for my wife and I, our first was Western Med on Azura in 2012. We're in our early 50's. We flew from Gatwick, on BA scheduled service. This was decided by P&O (we'd booked a Getaway deal in August 2012 so had no say, but we did save a lot of money!) Flight was fine on our Boeing 777, landing on time at Barbados 5.30pm. Unimpressed by BA's food though, pretty poor for an 8 hour scheduled flight - a bland pasta meal about an hour into the flight, and one (yes, one) sandwich prior to landing, and that was it. On the plus side was the free bar and good entertainment system - note, take your own headphones, BA's don't work. We had to queue for an hour to clear Barbados customs and then retrieve our suitcases. We subsequently discovered that charter flight passengers didn't have to do this, they went straight from the 'plane to the ship. So, on the bus to Ventura, and a speedy boarding once we'd been allocated our cruise cards. We were in a balcony cabin on B deck, which P&O allocated, and we were happy with the location. Didn't see much of our steward, but cabin was always clean and well stocked (we didn't get any towel art though!). A minor point, the biscuits that P&O put in the cabin were always broken and not as good as we had last year. Ventura is almost identical to Azura in layout etc, so we soon found our way around. The Captain was very jovial and all the crew we came across seemed happy and were very polite and helpful. Our cruise included 4 sea days, and we spent them just lazing around in the sunshine or going to some of the talks. We felt there wasn't much to interest us, which was a contrast to last year's cruise. Sunbeds soon got taken with people leaving towels and then not coming back for ages. We (my wife) ended up getting up early to bag a sunbed but it was that or go without. The food was much as we expected having cruised with P&O before, but it was here that we felt standards were starting to slip. We ate in Cinnamon (Freedom dining) in the evenings, and usually in the self service restaurants for other meals, and we didn't have one hot meal. Although the plates were hot, the food was only ever 'warm'. The only hot meal we had was in Ramblas, were we paid extra for 'authentic' Spanish cuisine - very nice, pity it's being replaced with a Glasshouse. They ran out of mugs and plastic glasses in the self catering restaurants every mealtime, which became tiresome. There wasn't anything wrong with the food quality, just that it wasn't hot. Bar drinks had gone up in price considerably since last year, and P&O still insist on waiter service - even when there's hardly anyone in the bar, it still takes a long time to get a drink (so we just buy less P&O!). We waited 25 minutes for a drink when we were in the main theatre, the show was almost over by the time we got the drinks. Entertainment - we enjoyed the shows we saw - Freddie Mercury Tribute, Robbie Williams tribute and the ship's Headliners. Clem Curtis (ex-Foundations) was good, even better on the Karaoke at St Lucia! Also enjoyed comedians Tucker and Fogwell Flax Our ports of call were: Antigua - on a Sunday, so Antigua was shut! We took a local taxi tour around the island for about $25US each St Maarten - another local taxi, we teamed up with 4 other passengers and paid $25US each for 3 hours. Our driver (Tony Friday) was so laid back he was almost horizontal and was happy to take us wherever we wanted to go. Cheap T shirts here - 3 for $12US St Vincent - a local minibus this time, again teaming up with others off Ventura and paying about $25US for 3 hours In all these ports P&O's tours were a lot more than the price of the local taxis! Grenada - we'd booked a P&O tour to the beach before leaving UK so paid more than we should have! The beach was lovely though, blue sea and golden sand. Barbados - took a 45 minute walk to the beach, seeing a turtle in the harbour on the way. For the price of 2 sunbeds and an umbrella we also had a drink each and 'free' minibus back to the port. St Kitts - P&O tour to the St Kitts railway, which we think is the only way that you can go on the railway. Really enjoyed this even if a bit pricey (£65 each) St Lucia - another P&O tour booked in the UK to Reduit beach. Lovely beach. Lots of fun back at the port tourist village with Karaoke and Piton local beer at the free wi-fi bar. A note here about wi-fi - we found free wi-fi at every port tourist village, so no need to pay for on-board internet access. Just follow the crew ashore, they know where to go. Dominica - went up to the rainforest, spectacular - banana and coconut trees, humming birds etc. A real bonus, there was a carnival in town which was great. P&O announced this the previous evening with dire warnings that everything would be shut and there would be no taxis, but, funnily enough, there were lots of places open and taxis too! Tortola - our final port, local open sided mini-bus/taxi up and down the steepest roads I've ever seen to Cane Garden beach, which was great. $8US each, each way, again a lot less than P&O. It can seem like you're going to same island after a few, they all have steep roads and started to look the same after a while! We didn't have any language problems, English widely spoken. We then returned to Barbados for our return flight. All customs etc completed on Ventura, cases weighed on the quayside (we were overweight on one case, but BA didn't seem to mind!) and then back on Ventura to wait for bus to airport (free wi-fi here). Our return flight was on time, albeit a little bumpy, but the food was even more disappointing - yet another bland pasta with cheese meal after about an hour, then nothing until breakfast 6 hours later. I was hungry by then, imagine my delight when breakfast turned out to be a blueberry muffin with a miniscule orange juice and coffee! So, would we do it again? Yes, I think it's fair to say we would. The Caribbean was lovely and warm without being oppressive, the people very welcoming, the beer cold and the beaches and scenery just great. Ventura looking tired, but she is due a refit. As to P&O - well, it felt at times like 'Butlins at Sea' but the ship's big enough to avoid that if you want to. Very hygiene conscious with anti-bac spray at every restaurant entrance and when returning to the ship from shore, but some of the public toilets do need attention. I just wish they would serve HOT meals, it surely can't be that difficult. Also, why no bananas in the restaurants? They grow them in the Caribbean!!! Hope this review is helpful - we're glad we went, and really enjoyed ourselves. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2013
My wife and I were on cruise N303A, we flew out on a Thompson flight to Barbados, the flight and the embarkation experience was very good, we did not have to go through any of the air port controls, just a quick photo' and check then ... Read More
My wife and I were on cruise N303A, we flew out on a Thompson flight to Barbados, the flight and the embarkation experience was very good, we did not have to go through any of the air port controls, just a quick photo' and check then we were in our cabin. It would have been better if our personal P&O cruise specialist had told us to pre-book our flight seats, we would then have been able to sit together in the same row. Our cabin was adequate, clean, tidy and our steward's service was faultless for the whole cruise. Some areas of the ship left a bit to be desired, a bit of paint here and there, also the smell of urine in ( and outside ) the public area toilets was not very pleasant and some of them could have done with a proper deep clean ( I did complain, but to no avail, I also sent a picture of one toilet to P&O MD, I would post it but it is too awful ). Unfortunately our P&O cruise specialist told us that the dress code for all dinners would be smart, or black tie--not the case though --most were casual dress and we did not pack casual clothes, just took smart and tropical wear, annoying. The food on board was fine but the lunch time buffet's cold food was almost the same every day, the poor wine waiter at our dinner table was set an impossible task, it looked to be that he had a dozen or more tables to look after, with the obvious result, since every one arrives to be served at the same time.. A few days before we sailed we telephone booked another advantage P&O cruise with our specialist, however when on board Ventura we discovered that we could have saved ourselves money by booking while we were on board. We sailed on Adonia a while back, they too offered savings if you booked while on board, I should have remembered, I am told by head office that personal P&O specialists are not allowed knowledge of this sort, so buyer beware, "personal cruise specialist 's" only specialise in sales. I did write to customer services, they wrote to tell me they are sorry that I was disappointed with the service I received, but that it was in fact the best available. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2013
For a long time I tried to persuade my partner to go on a cruise to which got the same reply of that she didn't fancy it, well after to talking to lost of people in the restaurant that we run together we found that more and more ... Read More
For a long time I tried to persuade my partner to go on a cruise to which got the same reply of that she didn't fancy it, well after to talking to lost of people in the restaurant that we run together we found that more and more people were doing them, so eventually she said yes but only if she could have a balcony cabin, well the next day I was on the phone to a friend who I found out through facebook was working for a cruise company booking cruises, so I booked a 2 week cruise round the caribbean, we upgraded on the flight, and decided to set a date for our wedding so that the holiday would be our honeymoon, well the holiday was soon here, and after having trouble with the online booking service to reserve our seats on the plane, we found ourselves setting out to the airport in the early hours of the morning to be at the airport 4hours before the flight, didn't mind leaving early as was too excited to sleep, but the wait at the airport was boring, we were soon on the plane and enjoying the comforts of upgrading and the service was excellent, good food, lots to drink and ice cream, the only bad thing that whilst making my way to toilet i caught a ladies arm and she split hot tea on her at first everyone was a bit upset, but the stewardess made sure we was all OK and made us all fell better, felt really bad about what had happened, well we were landing in Barbados and we were ushered on to coaches and whisked out of the airport and on our way to the ship, no going through customs and not waiting around for suitcases, on arrival at dockside we were very efficiently checked in and given our cruise cards and were soon on board, we was amazed at the size of the ship, and how nice and clean it was on board, we soon found our room and was very happy with what we had been given, as my friend had been on the ship the previous year and had had a similar cabin, we deiced to investigate the ship and had a quick look round before heading back to our room to see if the cases had arrived so that we could get ready for dinner to which they arrived just in time, one thing we have learnt is that we will take a smaller case next time with a change of clothes and swim wear in as it would of been nice to freshen up and have a dip and get out of the tradition winter clothes, we ate most nights in the cinnamon restaurant and I`m amazed to read reviews that said the food was cold and not that appealing, I as a chef found the food to be hot and very appetizing, we were very fortunate to met a lovely couple and had dinner most nights with them, we sat at the same table and had the same set of waiters, who were very entertaining and was always happy to make our dinning experience good as my wife and Steve who we ate with both were fussy eaters, the buffet breakfast was very good and there was always a great selection of food, i did find it amazing that some people were moaning that tea and coffee was not served to you, you had to get it yourself, its a buffet restaurant that's the whole idea getting it yourself. waiter service round by the pools was very good and as was it in the shows am surprised to see that people had trouble in getting drinksThe shows were amazing we really enjoyed everyone of them. we could not fault anything with the cruise, the food the service everything was better than we expected, we can not wait to return next January. the only thing that was wrong was that we was expected during our stay to choose our seats on the plane going home and to pay another 30 per person to fly home considering that we had payed £500 to upgrade this was something i wasn't going to pay put for, so ended up sitting behind my wife coming home, but we didn't mind this. all in all was a fantastic time and would recommend cruising to anyone, my wife decide after only 1 day on board that she wants to do this again, and since returning we have now book another 2 cruises, we have also said that cruising is the only way to travel, no more hotel holidays for us and staying on one island for the duration of the holiday, There is nothing better than going to bed after a good day, good food and good entertainment, than waking up at a different island, the sea days were good and finding a sun bed isn't as bad as people say you might not get the ideal spot that you want but there will be a bed somewhere. and sea days are good chance to go to talks and to see more of the ship, or do some washing if you need to, on sea days on ventura the evening is a formal night, these were good really enjoyed dressing up, it just made it that bit more special. the photography teams on board were good too tho the price of the photos could be a bit cheaper as we found not a lot got bought and the photos that got displayed got thrown away, what a waste of paper. we did buy the encore book which was a great keep safe. hope that this is off some help. Happy cruising. Colin Read Less
Sail Date: January 2013
As two first time cruisers, celebrating 3 special occasions in 2013, we were so excited to be heading for the Caribbean in January 2013 on the P&O Ventura. We had planned and prepared for this cruise for 18 months and it was such a big ... Read More
As two first time cruisers, celebrating 3 special occasions in 2013, we were so excited to be heading for the Caribbean in January 2013 on the P&O Ventura. We had planned and prepared for this cruise for 18 months and it was such a big disappointment. I would recommend that anyone thinking of going on their first cruise to research yourself thoroughly before you jump on board. We had gone to a specialist cruise shop in Liverpool and the advice given to us failed in the first instance as the wrong cruise company was recommended. We wanted a ship with the “wow” factor, including the wave pool, rock wall, indoor mall, but P&O ships don’t offer these services… We now know we should have chosen a Royal Caribbean ship for a number of factors. The beginning of the holiday started well as we boarded our charter at Liverpool Airport (this was a test schedule). The flight to Barbados airport was ideal and the transfer from plane to ship went smoothly bypassing Barbados customs to transfer directly to the ship. Upon boarding we didn’t experience the WOW factor and our first impression of Ventura lasted with us the whole cruise as other experiences didn’t come upto the expected standard. The general area furnishings were outdated, tired and worn and within our room (B326), the carpet was dirty, the towels threadbare and yellowed, the sheets in need of renewing as we found a hole in the duvet upon one of the changes and the balcony furniture was stained. Whilst on board we found that the ship was due for refit in March so we would it would be interested to see if passengers cruising after that refit report a significant change. Other passengers on board felt the standard against price paid was very poor. Having paid extra for a balcony and checked the brochure before hand for any restrictions, we found that our balcony was completely covered, the canopy being the floor of the balcony above. So beware of B deck balconies as this canopy stretches a good proportion of the ship. We have since raised this mis information with P&O (the fact that according to the brochure, our balcony wasn’t “restricted” in any way) and their customer service dept are not willing to accept this fact. I would recommend that if you do have a problem whilst on board then persist with the in- house team to rectify any problem, as once home, the UK based Customer Service Centre are not interested in listening to you regarding your concerns. There were four days at sea during the 15 night holiday and we expected to take full advantage of these relaxing on a sun-lounger. This was not the case as the sun-loungers filled up by 9 am with customers reserving them from sunrise. The in-house literature requested that passengers do not reserve beds and if they are moving away from their bed for half an hour then it be freed up. Policing this request was none existent as staff weren’t interested in the distress of some customers who searched the ship and were unable to obtain a sun-lounger. Some selfish customers went as far as reserving one each in the shade and one in the sun and swapped between the two periodically throughout the day. The feedback from P&O customer services reported that “they had provided the facility to sunbathe and were not obligated to find passengers a bed!!” This issue with beds has been a major problem with other passengers on Cruise Critic Sites and has been reported since 2009 and yet P&O have made no attempt to implement a procedure for the comfort of their passengers. I wonder if this is the norm with all cruise ships but it is certainly off-putting and a bad mark against P&O for their lack of interest to rectify this problem. I have some good aspects to report. The itinery with the variety of islands covered and the length of daily stay in port (normally arriving 7 am and departing 5 pm) was ideal. Booking P&O organised excursions is recommended as it alleviates the worry that you may get left behind if you are delayed. These excursions do seem expensive but the island tours give you a good overview of beach and town. The evening entertainment content was of a high standard but that did prove a disadvantage in itself as seating was unobtainable unless you left your meal early and reserved your seat in the cabaret lounge and theatre. The food was of a high quality in all of the ship restaurants and the waiting and bar staff attentive and helpful. We dined in Saffron on the first sitting and the organisation was excellent. I would recommend eating in the waiter service restaurants than fending for yourself in the buffet restaurant which at times was like a free for all at a holiday camp as some passengers chose to queue jump and many were disrespectful of the waiting staff. The bar prices were on par with UK hotels and the fact that you paid in £ Sterling was a bonus. The soft drinks and ice cream package was good value for money. Ship’s passengers are 90 % British and for us Brits that like our tea available in the room, all rooms had tea making facilities and a fridge. I believe P&O advertising is bringing in a different clientel and the traditional standards of cruising are being left behind. The Captain’s Gala on the second night was a let down as the Captain appeared for a five minute slot at the beginning of the evening and was never spotted again for the rest of the evening. There was no Captain’s table at which he was dining and he wasn’t "Meeting and Greeting" the passengers as we expected. In fact passengers wanting to approach him were queuing to have their photo taken with him to which they would then be asked to pay for this official photo. Official photographers were in abundance but the price charged was expensive and there were no offers for those wishing to purchase more than one photo. I can only guess at the amount of photos that were wasted and it surely would have been more cost effective to have reduced prices and put packages together. The “Spa” didn’t give the ambiance of privacy and restfulness expected and the prices for spa treatments and prices in the hairdressers were far too expensive. Therapists were under pressure to attract the customers themselves, however, appointments were always available when requested and the daily specials provided the best deals. Disembarkation was straightforward and smooth running. All in all this cruise didn’t give us the excitement, elegance and luxury we expected to get for a special holiday and as such it left a lot to be desired. After my experience I wouldn’t recommend a P&O as a company to cruise with. Many customers on my cruise that had travelled with P&O previously highlighted the lowering in standards they believed because P&O are attracting a different group of passengers, those cruising on a budget and choosing to travel at the lowest category available. The late deal prices are now comparable to an all inclusive resort in Benidorm. There was a wide assortment of tattoos on display and a number of passengers chose not to participate in the formal evenings and were wondering the ship in shorts and T shirts in the evening. A shame as the formal evenings were good fun and what cruising used to be about. The glamour and extras are being discarded to the detriment of those passengers wanting a traditional cruise experience.   Read Less
Sail Date: December 2012
Eastern Caribbean December 14- 28th 2013 This was our first cruise (we travelled with our daughters aged 21 & 16) Airport check in at Manchester, breezed through check in as we had opted for the Premium upgrade, bigger seats, good ... Read More
Eastern Caribbean December 14- 28th 2013 This was our first cruise (we travelled with our daughters aged 21 & 16) Airport check in at Manchester, breezed through check in as we had opted for the Premium upgrade, bigger seats, good food, free drinks, headphones & a goody bag...great start. We got off the plane and straight onto a waiting bus, no baggage to collect or immigration queues, just straight to the ship! Enjoyed the commentary from the bus driver too. Easy check in on the ship, quick photo and swipe of the credit card and on board. Cabins: We had outside balcony & inside cabins on C Deck. Both lovely and clean and we were well looked after by cabin stewards Lilybeth & Domnic. Nothing was too much trouble; both were really friendly and genuinely concerned that we had everything we needed. Baggage arrived at our cabin just before we had to go for our meal (informal on first night) we had toiletries in the cabin so managed showers before dinner. All areas of the ship looked clean. One or two looking a little bit tired in places, but on the whole nothing to complain about. We opted for the 8.30 sitting at dinner and were in the Bay Tree restaurant. Waiters were very efficient (almost too efficient sometimes, when dinner felt a bit rushed) It did slow down the second week to a more leisurely pace. I wonder if this is because the waiters here also have to work in the other bar areas during the evening. Food in the evening was to a good standard, portions sizes just right if you want 3 courses. Never managed to complete all 5! The menus were varied and wine prices were reasonable. We had opted to pre buy the Commodores package, it does work out a bit cheaper. Christmas day there was the full turkey dinner option or many other choices, hats & crackers etc on the tables made it more traditional. We mostly ate lunch and breakfast in Waterside which offered a very good choice of dishes, good quality, we tried afternoon tea once or twice too. Tables were cleaned and cleared quickly so no problem finding a table. They enforced the use of hand sanitizer, which given the recent norovirus outbreaks in the UK I was pleased that they did this. We dined in the White Room and East also. Both very good quality, worth the extra cost as the service is a bit more personal. Outside spaces & pools -- Only went in the adult pool near the spa, which was good it has the resistance option so you feel like your swimming against the tide, so can't comment on the other pools. They never really looked overly busy. Kids seem to enjoy them! I did have a bit of a fear of not getting a sunbed after reading reviews that people leaving towels on them all day but not turning up. It's obviously busier on the at sea days, but to be honest we never found it difficult to get 4 sunbeds together, and we didn't get up at the crack of dawn and put our towels on, we just went when we were ready and there were always beds available. That might be why you can barely get your foot in between them in some places. Guess that they do this so there are enough, but in some areas it did feel a bit close! Gym: Went 3 times during the two weeks, had intended to do more honest! Gym was well equipped, didn't really get too full, and was nice being on the treadmill looking out at the passing Caribbean islands! Bars/Entertainment -- We liked Red bar for pre dinner cocktails and champagne. Piano player was good in there too. Entertainment was ok..Nothing that outstanding, but it is a cruise ship. Freddie Mercury tribute act was good, even though I wasn't a fan of the real Freddie, this guy was quite entertaining. Also saw Headliners which were good. I admit to cringing when I've seen some of the sail away parties on DVDs but well you just have to join in when you are there. Neil Oliver the cruise director and his team did a really good job of making the sailaways fun. Shops: The essentials shop did sell just that...the things you may have forgotten, prices were more expensive than at home but not overly so. Jewellers did seem to have some good prices on things you can compare eg Watches. We had recently bought our daughter a watch for her 21st Birthday and could have got it on board around 20% cheaper...will know for next time. Perfume & Cosmetics shop didn't have a huge range but adequate. When it was time to leave, we packed our bags the night before left them outside the cabin and they were taken away and put on board, so again no luggage to check in, in fact no check in at the airport either, as you get your seat allocation and boarding cards for the plane while on board. It was a very efficient service, couldn't fault it at all. Would certainly cruise P&O again, in fact already booked for Dec 20th 2013 before we left the ship. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2012
My husband, son (13 years) and I have just recently returned from a fantastic holiday aboard the Ventura sailing around the many beautiful islands of the Eastern Caribbean! Feel I need to write a review as we had such a wonderful time ... Read More
My husband, son (13 years) and I have just recently returned from a fantastic holiday aboard the Ventura sailing around the many beautiful islands of the Eastern Caribbean! Feel I need to write a review as we had such a wonderful time aboard this ship. Firstly, we flew with Thomson Airlines direct from Newcastle which was a treat being a direct flight of only 8.5 hours. The embarkation was very smooth and efficient and we weren't long exploring our home (ship) for the next two weeks. We found the Ventura to be very organised, clean with lots of helpful staff. Unfortunately there was a bout of Norovirus onboard as we embarked, but this situation was handled very well by P&O. Extra staff were in the buffet areas, where you were not allowed to handle any of the utensils. The staff served you. Antibacterial hand gel was strictly enforced, not only in the buffet, but in the main restaurants also. Within a couple of days, P&O advised there were no more reported cases of Norovirus and all usual facilities had resumed. Excellent points.... -Saffron Restaurant -- absolutely wonderful food (5 courses) each evening. My husband is a fussy eater. Here he always found such wonderful dishes on the menu. -Breakfast in the buffet. Always fully stocked even until late breakfast (around 11.30am) -East (Asian restaurant) -- we sat for lunch one day which we found to be very pleasant and enjoyable. -Ramblas (Tapas restaurant) -- again a pleasant treat with just a very small cover charge. -Drinks -- very reasonably priced including bottles of wine, which were enjoyed each evening at dinner. -The entertainment was fabulous in the Arena Theatre. We watched excellent comedians to a vocalist from the 'Foundations' in the 60's to the brilliant 'Headliners' Entertainment team. -We required a replacement bulb in our room. I called through to reception and within 5 minutes the maintenance team had it replaced. Overall, I would rate P&O 10/10. Mostly enjoyed and I will definitely book with this company again. We have sailed with Princess Cruises previously and find P&O to be just as good. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2012
We had previously cruised with NCL, Princess and Celebrity and were really looking forward to sampling P & O but unfortunately we were rather disappointed with some aspects of this cruise. Our flight was a Thomas Cook charter to ... Read More
We had previously cruised with NCL, Princess and Celebrity and were really looking forward to sampling P & O but unfortunately we were rather disappointed with some aspects of this cruise. Our flight was a Thomas Cook charter to Barbados, and it was as good, if not better than many schedule flights, with plenty of legroom and attentive cabin crew. Ventura is a large ship, chosen by us as I do not have the best sea legs and we thought it would be good to choose a large ship as we were crossing the Atlantic. Our cabin was very nice, well equipped with a very helpful cabin steward. However, the public rooms were not as grand as we had previously encountered, no impressive atrium or quiet reading rooms. The dining room (Bay Tree) was well appointed and we were pleased to have a table for two, our two waiters were very attentive and pleasant but the food was not up to the usual cruise ship standard and the menu was not very varied. The drinks however were very reasonably prices, both the wine and the bar drinks, in some instances half the price of other cruises which was naturally a real plus. We went on three shore excursions which we thoroughly enjoyed, our first was a tour of St Kitts where our guide was very knowledgeable and made the trip a joy. We then did a snorkeling trip on Tortola with two snorkeling sites, again our guides were very professional with the snorkeling being best off 'Treasure' Norman Island. Finally, we did a tour on the Azores, which again was very good with a lovely local guide. The Azores was an unscheduled stop but a real gem and far preferable to Tenerife. Unfortunately there were two aspects of this cruise which really spoilt our holiday; the first was the attitude of the Shore Excursions and shop staff on board ship, we found they lacked any social skills and had total apathy when you expressed any interest in any port of call or any shop items. The second was the number of places on the ship where smoking was permitted. As people who like to take a stroll along the Promenade Deck you had to walk through the 'fog' every time on the Starboard side. Additionally, smoking was also permitted in one of the outside bars, near one of the pools and on the balconies, one of our neighbours was a smoker which spoilt our use of our balcony. Indeed, the smoking issue was a real down side for us, we will seriously have to consider whether we would cruise with P & O again if they continue to give preference to smokers over non smokers. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2012
This is our 5th cruise and third with P&0. The others were on Oceana (which we loved ) and Azura (which was good, but not quite up to Oceana standards). Although we enjoyed ourselves overall, on this cruise we found that a) food in ... Read More
This is our 5th cruise and third with P&0. The others were on Oceana (which we loved ) and Azura (which was good, but not quite up to Oceana standards). Although we enjoyed ourselves overall, on this cruise we found that a) food in the buffet restaurants was not as good b)dress codes were not adhered to (bare backs in the Atrium, polo shirts and jeans in the restaurants on formal nights, even when officers were present) c) harassment from the waiters in some of the bars (one after another, they would be on you to buy another drink almost before you had taken a sip from the first drink) d)poor service at breakfast in the main restaurant (25 minutes from order to service and then the eggs were cold !) P&O used to have a good reputation, but we wonder if their chase for profit means that they are willing to let standards slip. Probably, we will try Oceana again, but we'll be switching to Celebrity X or Caribbean if things don't improve. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2012
My wife and I have cruised 6 times in all with RCI, Celebrity, Holland America and P&O - must say that the last offers best value for money, plus good food, service and staterooms Of course, since prices have dropped the Ventura ... Read More
My wife and I have cruised 6 times in all with RCI, Celebrity, Holland America and P&O - must say that the last offers best value for money, plus good food, service and staterooms Of course, since prices have dropped the Ventura attracts a small number of "Jeremy Kyle" style guests, but they tend to stick to the Waterside buffet and Exchange Bar - so if you eat all meals in one of the waiter service restaurants and pick your bars carefully, you will avoid them almost all of the time. Must recommend The White Room - excellent value for an additional '£25, so much so that we went twice! Duty Free prices excellent - where else can you buy two litre bottles of Navy Dark Rum for '£12 to drink in your stateroom? Freedom Dining in the Cinnamon Restaurant is a must - four of us did not wait once for a table in 2 weeks The 8 sea days were very relaxing and I highly recommend this cruise to anyone who wants good food, service and realises that times have changed and that a wider range of the public will now be around - get used to it and chill out! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2012
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 a marvelous time the Ventura transtlantic- would have liked a few more warm days but thats just the luck of the draw. enjoyed the hassle free flight and journey to join the ship. CABIN- It was smaller than on RCI and beds seemed ... Read More
We had a marvelous time the Ventura transtlantic- would have liked a few more warm days but thats just the luck of the draw. enjoyed the hassle free flight and journey to join the ship. CABIN- It was smaller than on RCI and beds seemed smaller too but as you don't spend too much time in there it didn't matter. i enjoy sea days and sitting on the balcony listening to the waves and reading is most important to me, so as long as i can put my feet up and relax, then I'm happy! wardrobe area good size and toilet fine but wish p and o would get rid of the shower curtain. FOOD- You would have to be very picky not to find something you like to eat on this ship. we were on freedom dining and most days we would pop down and look at the menu for that evening and if nothing whetted our appetite we either had a buffet or went to the section of The Beach House that was converted in the evenings to waiter service. our meals also varied depending on what shows/entertainment we wanted to see.Also being on freedom dining as we had already paid our tips on our on board account we didn't feel the waiters/maitre de would worry if we didn't eat there as they knew their tips were safe. when we did eat in cinnamon they were always attentive and nice. ENTERTAINMENT- We enjoyed all the entertainment. we only saw the Headliners Theatre Co a few times but liked what we saw. The comedians and singers were all really good Rob Linacre we thought shone but CLEM CURTIS was simply brilliant. A mention too for The Ventura Orchestra, these were very good and certainly complimented the singers. TOURS- cant comment on here as did our own, will post review on port of call board. A lot of the crew were quiet, but that's not a complaint, rather that than 'over the top'!they were friendly and always said hello. LAUNDERETTE- this was really useful as I'm one of those who hates lots of dirty clothes around. its just a shame about some of the people who use them, a bit like the sun bed savers! A few occasions witnessed people being totally self centred. like the lady who put her washing in one machine and saw the next machine empty, so took one item out and put it in the empty machine to 'save' it while she went back to her cabin to get another load but in the meantime there were other people who came in to use the facility and couldn't. now my only gripe is the medical services- don't get me wrong i expect they do a good service for those in real need, but there should be a way to buy 'over the counter' medicines on board. i had a troublesome rash/prickly heat which started on 3rd day of holiday. i managed to get some calamine lotion in the shop which didn't do much good but as i thought it was the heat i thought i would have to grin and bear it. i only realised after we left the azures and it got cooler that my rash didn't change and as we were then constantly at sea i had to go and ask at medical centre about it and nurse told me to get anti histamine cream from on board shop but they said they don't sell it, went back to medical s]centre and was told is wanted any cream would have to pay £50 to see doc. needless to say i didn't bother. i was also annoyed as i feel it is either the air con or strong detergent being used on laundry as rash disappeared once home even though its been very warm here. ignoring my gripe with the medical centre i still had a great holiday if i could find out what caused the rash i would be back on board in no time. the ship and crew are great so get on board! Read Less
Sail Date: March 2012
This was our first ever cruise and we really enjoyed it. Flight with Thomsons was superb and we came down the steps of the plane straight onto a coach which took us to the ship. Check in was very quick and hey presto we were on holiday. ... Read More
This was our first ever cruise and we really enjoyed it. Flight with Thomsons was superb and we came down the steps of the plane straight onto a coach which took us to the ship. Check in was very quick and hey presto we were on holiday. We had a beautiful balcony cabin on the starboard side and our view the first day was onto the Carribean and another cruise ships and a couple of tall masted yachts...beautiful! Plenty of hanging and cupboard space and Edwin our Steward did a fabulous job of looking after our every need. We found the food in all the restaurants to be very good. We went for Freedom dining and it worked out perfectly for us. Drinks were very reasonable and we couldn't believe how cheap the duty free drinks were (£12for two litres of dark rum.) We kept a bottle of Cointreau in our room for a relaxed 'sundowner' each evening. The entertainment was very good with something for everyone I think. We had no problem what so ever with sunbeds. We ad a relaxed breakfast and then went up on deck and always got a sunbed without a problem but people were reserving and going away for hours and on a couple of days we saw two older ladies reserving both sunny and shade beds which is really a bit selfish. We were supposed to go to Tenerife but ended up in the Azores which we really enjoyed. Started to get a bit bored with the formal nights....three might have been enough but five days with none and then four formals very close to each other was a bit off balance. We had not one single complaint with this holiday apart from the fact that you had to be in the secret service to find a toilet. come on P&O some indication in the public rooms as to where they might be would be helpful. Enjoyed it and would recommend it. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2012
The flight to Barbados was comfortable and passed by so quickly, the service on board was excellent. On arrival to the Ventura check in was friendly and fast, the ship looked magnificent in the sunshine. We had an inside stateroom and it ... Read More
The flight to Barbados was comfortable and passed by so quickly, the service on board was excellent. On arrival to the Ventura check in was friendly and fast, the ship looked magnificent in the sunshine. We had an inside stateroom and it was spacious and spotlessly clean, our steward introduced himself straight away and asked if he could do anything to help us settle in. Our cases arrived outside the room within the hour. We had our meals in the Baytree our waiters Mangesh and Daniel were great and met our every need. We had a meal in the White Room to celebrate a birthday I can not praise them enough, the food was amazing and the service second to none. The entertainment was good, the headliners theatre company were amazing the shows they delivered were professional high quality. The only grump I have was the Havana club shows were so well attended that it was impossible to get a seat after second sitting. The end of the cruise there were three performances in the theatre to ensure all the passengers could see the shows, I feel that it should have happened sooner so that everyone had the same opportunity to see the performances by The singers and comedians. On reflection I would opt for freedom dining on a future cruise to allow more time for planning my entertainment on board. Many thanks to Captain Charlie Carr and his Staff for a wonderful cruise Read Less
Sail Date: February 2012
My husband and I decided to have a last minute break in the Caribbean in an inside cabin. We had been on P & O Ventura in 2009. P & O are by far the best at transporting British passengers to the Caribbean. Using a bonded flight ... Read More
My husband and I decided to have a last minute break in the Caribbean in an inside cabin. We had been on P & O Ventura in 2009. P & O are by far the best at transporting British passengers to the Caribbean. Using a bonded flight from Manchester we got off the plane in Barbados and straight on to a coach and off to the ship. Our luggage arrived soon after. We found the food to be excellent with plenty of choice. The service was also good. The main improvement this time was the entertainment. The shows were fabulous and there were some comedians on who were good on the whole. Last time we were on the ship there were several tribute acts. P & O must have listened to their passengers because there was only one this time. Mary Peters, gold medalist from the 70's was on the cruise and did a great talk. The Captain Paul Brown was very good. We heard he had ejected some passengers for bad behaviour and we are all in favour of this to keep standards up. Our only complaint was the Cruise Director Huey Taylor. We nicknamed him The Invisible Man!!! I have never had a Cruise Director like him. He never introduced a single show or did any of the quizzes we went to. Someone told me he had been an excellent cruise director in the 80's. Obviously he is past his best and should consider another job. I would certainly use P & O again for a Caribbean cruise. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2012
We have just returned from a cruise on P&O Ventura to the Caribbean and had a great time. We flew from Manchester and all passengers were on our cruise which meant that we never had to go through customs or collect our cases in ... Read More
We have just returned from a cruise on P&O Ventura to the Caribbean and had a great time. We flew from Manchester and all passengers were on our cruise which meant that we never had to go through customs or collect our cases in Barbados and we were transferred to a coach as soon as we landed. Check in and boarding Ventura was very quick and efficient and our baggage arrived in our cabin shortly afterward we boarded the ship. The ship was bigger than on our previous cruises but we did not find this to be a problem once we had found and remembered our way around and if anything we preferred the larger ship. Our cabin was comfortable and always kept very clean by our steward who was very efficient and friendly. We requested fixed dining at the second sitting which was at 8.30 and this suited us as it meant we could relax after our days out and have a drink before dinner either in our cabin or in one of the many bars. For breakfast and lunch we used the buffet restaurants as this gave us more flexibility and although these restaurants did have times when vacant tables were hard to find, we just altered our times slightly and didn't have any problems. The food and service were excellent throughout. One big plus for us was the P&O policy on alcohol. On Celebrity Cruises we were only allowed to take two bottles of wine on board when boarding, bags were searched when returning from shore excursions and any bottles confiscated and any alcohol purchased from their duty free shop on board had to be retained in the shop and collected at the end of the cruise. P&O was totally different in that we were allowed to take bottles on when boarding, buy bottles of wine on shore and bring them onto the ship and even bottles bought in the duty free shops were allowed to be taken back to our cabin. In addition drink prices in the bars and restaurants were similar to UK pub prices whereas Celebrity were very expensive and also subject to a fixed service charge which was not negotiable. Another plus for P&O was their tipping policy in that it was left to our discretion as to who and how much we wanted to tip compared to Celebrity Cruises policy of a fixed amount added to your ship account every night. There were many different entertainment venues and bars which catered for all tastes and the theatre productions were excellent. We had some concerns after reading some reviews on P&O about shortage of sunbeds, rowdy passengers etc. but we did not have any problem with either of these. Yes sunbeds around the main pool were busy and it was noisy at times but there are several other areas where sunbeds were readily available and more peaceful. Again some of the reviews, mainly from seasoned cruisers, commented on a lowering of standards on P & O but I really do think some people can be very set in their ways and are very hard to please. Our cruise had four formal nights where dinner jackets or lounge suits were required for men and the other nights were smart casual which I personally thought was maybe one formal night too many. I am a recently retired professional and so I am quite used to dinner jackets and formal dinners but on the formal nights it did remind me too much of previous work functions and the atmosphere appeared to be different as some of the guests spent a lot of time examining what others were wearing to see if they conformed with "Cruise etiquette". I even saw one review of our cruise were someone complained that he saw a lady wearing a coloured dresses on Black and White Night. So What!! And anyway, P&O never advertised that there would be a Black and White Night until the night before. My wife wore a navy blue ball gown and looked gorgeous and all the ladies appeared to have made a real effort to dress up for the evening even though some of them might not have been in black or white dresses. Our highlights of the cruise were:- We enjoyed the large number of Islands visited and particularly liked the smaller islands of St Martin, Grand Turk and Bonaire as they were more relaxed and you always felt comfortable whilst walking around the areas surrounding the ship and whilst on the beaches whereas on some of the larger Islands you sometimes could feel intimidated if you wandered too far away from the ship. We also enjoyed a full day out in Jamaica where we had a trip to visit Nine Miles where Bob Marley was born and buried and also climbed the Dunn's River Falls which was great fun. We used Yardie's Tours who we found on the internet and they were very good. We also had a great day out in Antigua visiting Nelson's Dockyard and we were lucky enough to be there at the same time as the Royal visit of Prince Edward and Sophie. Overall we really enjoyed the cruise and would definitely go P&O again in the future. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: February 2012
Flights were excellent and on time Cabin was excellent and our luggage arrived in good time We were looked after very well by Simon and Avelino The Ports visited were very good although we were disappointed there had been no changes ... Read More
Flights were excellent and on time Cabin was excellent and our luggage arrived in good time We were looked after very well by Simon and Avelino The Ports visited were very good although we were disappointed there had been no changes since last year for the Newcastle flight. But we knew this before we booked so no complaints. Overall we felt the staff were not as good as previous cruises and that is despite the fact we were extremely well looked after by Karen at breakfast in the White Room. She always made us feel so very welcome and gave us the lift to enjoy the rest of the day! There were 4 in our party as our two adult daughters were with us. The breakfast was not up to the expected standard. Apart from the Beach House the food elsewhere was certainly not up to the standard we expected and had 'gone back' considerably from the same time last year! A couple of the waiters were 'unreal'- I was a bit slow with eating my Prawn Cocktail and the waiter tried to take my dish away despite the fact that I still had my spoon in my hand. When I told him to wait, he countered that my main course had arrived. Indeed it had, but the sole was inedible! We were Saturday to Saturday bookings and on the Friday night there was no entertainment. The films on our TV's had been removed. No 'paper' on the Saturday - No puzzles (needed the answers for the Fridays crossword!). We definitely were 'not wanted"!' It was the Friday night that the waiter virtually told me to hurry up eating my prawn cocktail. I have to add that the rest of our table were amused at this. It last happened to me over 70 years ago when I was in the infants classes at School In my experience the Azura beats the Ventura by a considerable margin Read Less
Sail Date: February 2012
My husband and I cruised on the Ventura with friends for the second time, and we definitely weren't disappointed. The food and service was just as good as we remembered. Two weeks before the cruise I fell and broke my ankle and ... Read More
My husband and I cruised on the Ventura with friends for the second time, and we definitely weren't disappointed. The food and service was just as good as we remembered. Two weeks before the cruise I fell and broke my ankle and thought I wouldn't be able to go on the cruise because of the flying, but I was lucky enough to have my plaster taken off and an air boot fitted a week before our holiday. I was not expecting to enjoy the holiday because of my broken ankle, but couldn't have been more wrong. I found all the crew very helpful, and every evening after our meal our waiter would get my wheelchair and wheel me to the lifts, even though my husband and our friends were with me. Some people might think this was because he was expecting a good tip, but we always tip the hardworking waiters and our cabin steward very well. We noticed one evening that a waiter on the cruise we were on in September was in the same dining room. When we made ourselves known to him he remembered us and asked about the others on our table, there were ten of us that time, and he even remembered some of their names. Each morning at breakfast he would come to look for us and ask how my ankle was. We also saw the same wine waitress who remembered us and was thrilled to see us. I am surprised to see that some of the critics have said they find the crew bad mannered and unhelpful, but we have always found them to be very good and have had no complaints whatsoever. Someone said that they thought 4 formal nights was too much, but I would like more, as I love to dress up!! We can't wait for our next cruise, which will be in 2013. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2012
My wife and i booked our cruise to celebrate our anniversary and my birthday on board,everything was well organized and smooth as soon as we checked in at Gatwick and was greeted by a friendly P&O lady representative who assisted our ... Read More
My wife and i booked our cruise to celebrate our anniversary and my birthday on board,everything was well organized and smooth as soon as we checked in at Gatwick and was greeted by a friendly P&O lady representative who assisted our very speedy check in.Our flight took off on time at 9.30am and had a hassle free flight,nice lunch,choice of menu even! and as much to drink as you wanted included in the price,we actually enjoyed the flight,a first! Arrival in Barbados was ok and straight onto the bus and to the ship,my wife took a change of clothes onto the plane,very wise as it was very hot in Barbados. Through the Friday school run traffic,you can see the ship,but it takes ages along the congested roads to get to the port .Check-in at the shed was as quick as it can be and not too stressful at all,your first of many photo shoots(more about that later)how many people actually buy this photo after 12 hours traveling,not many! Then you see the Ventura in all her glory that really is a moment,smiling staff ready to guide you to your cabin,we were able to choose our cabin online off the ships plan whilst talking to our booking agent over the phone (cruise 118)who was very helpful and gave us lots of advice,which we took,thank you to Gavin, To get to our cabin,each time,we just had to walk through a million pounds worth of art,tough eh! Our cabin was outside with window lovely double bed and very comfortable and most importantly QUIET!!!!!!!!!!!Luggage was delivered a couple of hours later by our lovely cabin steward who kept our cabin spotless and we had a different towel sculpture every evening when he turned our bed down with chocolates on the pillows. We chose club dining(as advised again)at the bay tree restaurant at 6.30 -7 this was perfect for us as we could fit in the shows and the cabaret most evenings.We loved the Theatre venue but hated the Havana venue as it was very anti social with the ridiculous booth type layout .bad for the artists. as they can only see the tops of peoples heads as they strain to see over the barriers,for goodness sake P&o sort this out,Couldn,t fault the food but were grateful for the small but adequate portions.as we both put on too much weight!The wine packages don,t add up,they were all over £76 FOR 6 Bottles it was much cheaper choosing our wine with dinner on a nightly basis, we would suggest the package be 6+1free. Now returning to P&0 photo package,we were offered an album of five photos during the cruise for £125 we considered this excessive and would ask P&O what happens to all the remaining non purchased personal photos unwanted or unaffordable by the 3.000 passengers on board.Surely your personal album should include all your photos as they are of no value to anybody else,and as P£O is a environmentally friendly company? what do they do with the pile of unclaimed photos.Shame on you! So to end our review,to all the silver seventies crashing bores we encountered on board,you know who you are,you did not spoil our holiday and why do you think that P%O translates into :personally ours or: preferred oldies!! what is it with these people, P&O no longer can survive without opening up cruising to a wider and a more tolerant passenger.We will cruise again ,we will be selective as we discovered ,other passengers paid twice the price for the same package,you don,t get twice the holiday!CAVEAT EMPORIUM !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Read Less
Sail Date: January 2012
It was the first ever cruise I have been on and it sure wont be the last, to say we had the time of our lives is an understatement. Me and my (now) wife decided on this cruise as we wanted to get married abroad - to anyone thinking the ... Read More
It was the first ever cruise I have been on and it sure wont be the last, to say we had the time of our lives is an understatement. Me and my (now) wife decided on this cruise as we wanted to get married abroad - to anyone thinking the same I urge you to do this, it was the dream wedding for us. We travelled with our 2 kids and and 2 relatives who are seasoned cruisers, as the title states you feel like royalty. nothing is a problem and the staff and crew bend over backwards to make sure you are comfortable and having a great time. Every day we went back to our cabin there was a treat for us (wedding VIP)from horderves to champagne and sweets we must have had about 5 bottles of champagne given to us throughout the 2 weeks. The kids clubs are that good that I almost forgot I had children and it wasn't because we were palming them off onto the kids supervisors all the time, its because they were having that much fun (magicians, parties, pool games etc, etc) they didn't want us cramping their style - this gave us some nice relaxation time in the sun. The shows are first class although the ship is that big we didn't know much about them til the second week but it was the type of show you would pay decent money for in UK theatres. I really could go on and on but i'm going to say one thing - BOOK IT you wont regret it. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2011
After a christmas cruise on the arcadia 5 years ago which was superb we decided to try P&O again and booked the christmas cruise on the Ventura. This being our 18th cruise on various cruise lines, we do know the standard to expect. ... Read More
After a christmas cruise on the arcadia 5 years ago which was superb we decided to try P&O again and booked the christmas cruise on the Ventura. This being our 18th cruise on various cruise lines, we do know the standard to expect. After a good flight all be it delayed we arrived in Barbados early evening.We were transferred immediately from the airport but had a long delay sat at the port on the coach, not what you want after a long flight. To our surprise when eventually on board we find out we have been upgraded to a balcony cabin from an inside cabin.Very nice thank you, but we found out later people had paid for 4 weeks what we had for 2 weeks as we booked 20 months in advance. The ship itself was fine although due to its different layout from other ships took a while to work out.The entertainment we found was okay although as in our previous cruise their were no well known celebrities.. The ports of call were fine but there were too many days at sea. The ship seemed to be cleaned early morning and then never again, one of the dirtiest ship's we have ever been on. Toilets not cleaned and by evening the paper hand towels were all over the floor. Trays of food left in the corridors all day. On deck the tables were not cleared quick enough. Dirty carpets all around the ship. Days at sea were very stressful as 50% of sun beds had towels left on them at 7am for most of the day which no staff ever moved' Our major problem was the food. The main restaurant was an experience you would want to forget. We had the worst Christmas dinner we have ever had. The standard of food was pub grub at best, not what you'd expect Poor quality and badly cooked. The buffet had theme nights but had very little choice, lunch or dinner but the breakfast buffet was very good if what you wanted was a traditional English breakfast.We tried the White Room and found very nice but not worth the £20 cover charge. If you travel with Celebrity or Holland and America you would get this as standard every night. We enjoyed EAST but would have liked a little more choice. This to me proved they could cook quality if you paid extra for it. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2011
Just returned from a 2 week western carribean cruise on Ventura and although overall enjoyed the trip a few aspects were not up to a 4 star standard. Flights - Thomas Cook Premium Cabin, Gatwick to Barbados. Speedy check in and ... Read More
Just returned from a 2 week western carribean cruise on Ventura and although overall enjoyed the trip a few aspects were not up to a 4 star standard. Flights - Thomas Cook Premium Cabin, Gatwick to Barbados. Speedy check in and excellent flight with good service. Well organised transfer from airport to ship and in cabin within short period of time. Cabin - Clean and well presented and excellent Cabin Steward, Melicio, who could not do enough for us. Entertainment - Theatre shows excellent but found remainder of entertainment quite average with the outdoor entertainment team being dire to say the least. Food- Found this to the biggest disappointment. Breakfast Buffet average. Lunch buffet - below average standard, very repetitive with lack of imagination. We opted for freedom dining in the Cinnamon restuarant which again was below standard. Beachhouse restuarant was excellent but unless you were willing to queue for at least half an hour before opening you stood of obtaining a table. Marco Pierre White and East Restuarants were also excellent but unfair that to get the expected 4 star food you had to pay a subsidy. Pools and Sunbeds - After reading previous reviews of lack of sunbeds reckon more had been provided but were jammed so close together it was a joke,with towels reserving sunbeds from early morning. The main pool area being a cross between Butlins and one of the cheaper Costa Hotels. Port of Calls - Excellent choice of ports, all good in their own right. Through chatting with fellow passengers got the impression that there were a few grips as some people had paid less for a 4 week cruise than others had done for a 2 week trip. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2011
We have been with P and O before but have been on an assortment of other cruise ships since. So we decided that Ventura would be a good choice for Christmas in the sun departing and returning from Barbados. I regret that we found the ... Read More
We have been with P and O before but have been on an assortment of other cruise ships since. So we decided that Ventura would be a good choice for Christmas in the sun departing and returning from Barbados. I regret that we found the ship dirty, many of the public areas were simply not cleaned often enough, the floors were not hoovered and glass work and handles not polished, some of the public toilets do not have a very good smell. We found the entertainment to be low quality although the 'Headliners' stage shows were good. Although a very nice man perhaps the cruise director need replacing with a younger one with new ideas and energy but I suspect the problem was more with the budget allocated to him. The food was okay in main restaurant but the quality had dropped drastically since we last sailed with P and O. The food in the buffet was very poor. Very little choice and mostly English type meals, cottage pie, pasty etc. One of the things we enjoy about cruising is the choice in the buffet of worldwide cuisine. This was real Butlins type food. The East Restaurant (which had a surcharge) had little choice and not very exciting food. The White Room, again an extra charge was quite good. We found the crew across the ship to be lazy and we thought that they had little interest in doing their job. The crew in the casino were the worst. We will never touch P and O again and I know that many more of the passengers on Ventura felt the same. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2011
This was our first time with P&O. Found Ventura a bit grubby. Ate in East on first nite, nothing special! We were allocating dining in the Baytree restaurant so ate there on the second nite and found hair in my food. So that put us ... Read More
This was our first time with P&O. Found Ventura a bit grubby. Ate in East on first nite, nothing special! We were allocating dining in the Baytree restaurant so ate there on the second nite and found hair in my food. So that put us off. We then ate mostly in the buffett or Waterside, the food there was very nice. On the second week we gave the Baytree another try, and guess, found hair in my food again! I was sent two letters of apology to our stateroom saying they had written to head office in Southhampton to 'investigate' how hair could have ended up in the food. Come on, it came off someones head in the kitchen. The staff on board do work very hard although there was an air of discontent, the Philopino staff are being paid in dollors and the Indian staff are getting British pounds. Not very fair. Do review your on board account frequently as we had been billed for room service we did not receive. Whilst chatting with one of the hospitality managers, I mentioned that housekeeping of public areas, ie: the pool areas, decks, toilets, casino was lacking, especially the smoking areas, ashtrays never emptied, banana and orange peels lying about for hours and staff just walking past them. Tissue paper and hand towels covered the floor of toilets. Yes the dirty, iresponsibe passengers were guilty of this but I still expect it to be cleaned for the rest of us. Found the spa very nice and used it frequently, until one day I seen 4 male crew shaving in the steam room and tapping the razors against the seats. Disgusting. We booked 3 trips, snorkling with turtles in Barbados, Bob Sleigh at Mystic mountain in Jamaica and the helicopter trip in St Lucia. Really enjoyed each. We did our own thing via local taxi's at the other stops. One took us to Hawksbill resort in Antigua, would really recommend this. For $40 you can have a day pass, including all drinks, food and water sports. Also the beach to yourself. Bonaire was a waste of time. Missed Grand Turk as the captain could not dock ship, if he had been American the ship would have docked. This meant 3 days at sea, not happy! Entertainment was so so, but I do expect this on cruise ships. Try getting the attention of the waiters for a drink, they spent most of the time watching the entertainment. The main let down on this cruise were the fellow passengers, hard faced and very rough. I had spoke with guests who had sailed on Ventura previously, some 4 times, but they agreed that standards had slipped and would not travel on her again. Was led to beleive this was a 4* ship, maybe a 3* with 2* service. Would I travel on P&O's Ventura again? No never Would I recommend P&O. No, we shall stick with Cunard or Fred Olsen Read Less
Sail Date: December 2011
Bonded luggage: check your cases in at Manchester and the next time you see them is in your cabin! Coach straight from plane to ship, short queue (water available) to get key card and map of ship. Then go out: couldn't believe the ... Read More
Bonded luggage: check your cases in at Manchester and the next time you see them is in your cabin! Coach straight from plane to ship, short queue (water available) to get key card and map of ship. Then go out: couldn't believe the size of Ventura when we first saw her.., wow! - In all the ports I had a great proud 'my ship's bigger than your ship' feeling! Get on board, hunt out your cabin, where there'll be instructions where to eat on the first night -no dress restrictions as they understand you may not get your cases in time. To avoid getting lost in the early days we used the two same decks 7 & 15 to get around and kept to the starboard side, where our cabin was. This helped a lot! TIP: all the lifts face forward. Plus the carpet is a different colour in each section (Forward, Mid and Aft). We found the booze in the bars and restaurants quite reasonable. Booze for your cabin and cigs (inc B&H) very reasonable; purchased at the shop on board. Smoking permitted on Deck 7 starboard side (where the Arena, Ramblas bar, Tamarind Bar and Havana nightclub is); only a few steps away, loads of chairs and you can take your drink, so very easy. Also smoking is starboard side on the open deck 15. I found it hard going with all the stuff to do -- when do you fit in time to sleep?! For all those with anti-social husbands, mine surprisingly loved every minute of it! No-one bothers with the taking time to get to know you thing; everyone just wades straight in, so you instantly have lots of new friends, though, we found it strange that no-one introduced themselves - we asked names when we met again! I did a few laps of deck 7 (outside) at about 7am, as the gym annoyingly didn't open until 8am. Deck 7 makes a nice walk too. Loungers at busy areas do get taken early, but we were happier out of the way on the high decks -do go looking round from one end of the ship to the other to choose your preferred location. We liked the area round the spa pool with Jacuzzi's as it was quieter. Pool towels provided in cabin. One day I got a workout moving my sunbed round as the ship appeared to keep changing direction interfering with my sun! The next day we discovered the cheeky captain, Charlie Carr from Wigan, had gone in the shape of a Xmas tree! You could see this on the map on the telly! I'm very pleased that on the last day we got a 'Cruise Log', summary of the entire trip as I was dying to know how many miles we'd done. Rather than Freedom dining (if you go at a busy time they give you a pager for when a spot becomes available) we decided on the more formal dining and chose 1st sitting 18:30 at the time of booking. NB. 2nd sitting was 20:30 I'd have still been too full for breakfast the next day, plus, we like a drink in the evening! We were in the Bay Tree, which had a slightly more formal feel than the Saffron (though it's the same two sitting affair). You sit with the same folk each night, so it's good to request a large table so that you'll hopefully have some good couples to chat with. We had plenty of time to have the four courses and a bottle of wine.., though if you don't finish the wine they keep it for you for the next day - fat chance of that happening with us! We'd then dash to the opposite end of the ship (5 mins max) to catch the first show 20:30 at the Arena (which is reminiscent of a picture house). This show repeated at 22:30. We ate at East and The White Room on a few occasions (cover charge applies), both were excellent. I used the 'Cruise Overview' in the cabin to plan which nights and rang the restaurants on the first night to make our reservations. We managed to get into The White Room again near the end of the cruise, so it's always worth a call to see what availability they have left. You can take breakfast where you like; we found a lot of folk went to the Bay Tree (waiter service) even though they weren't eating there at night. You're put on a large table, first come basis, so you get to mix with a variety of different couples. We went early. There's quite a selection for breakfast. If you don't get enough - ask for more! TIP: Use room service (mostly free): we used if we were going onshore early for a trip. Order via your telly, food delivered promptly. We took some plastic bags to take leftovers with us/keep in the fridge for when we returned. Or, go for Afternoon tea on deck 15 for sarnies etc from 3pm (very tasty!). Hygiene I noted is paramount and quite sensible when you think about it. Use the hand wash dispensers. There was a good looking young opera type singer Victor Michael in the Arena who was funny and got everyone involved. So I was looking forward to even better acts as we approached Xmas, but unfortunately, for my taste anyway, this didn't happen. I think I was expecting more quality acts, or perhaps they were aimed at the older generation. The acts etc in the Tamarind were the same, so it was then that we began to appreciate the Metropolis Lounge on deck 18; good to sit chatting with a bottle of Veuve Clicquot (very reasonably priced at £37). It was nice to see that the majority of people dressed up for the black tie nights. Show off your outfits at the Captains Welcome evening, where there's complimentary drinks for an hour. Now that was the start of a good night! P&O onshore trips were very expensive, but we did the few you shouldn't miss, which were very good. On some islands, there are dedicated taxi's to take you to the usual spots. They've been doing this for years man, so there's no need to worry. For example, a couple who shared a cab to a beach with us in St. Vincent left his wallet in the taxi with £400 in. We thought we'd never see the driver again! No problem, he was even early! I was desperate to wave a tacky plastic Union Jack flag. These were finally given out at the Sail Away party from St Lucia. After their morning trips, most passengers spent the afternoon on the grass near the ship in the Rum Bar, so we were pretty popped up! I had a fabulous time! We received a couple of upgrades and ended up in an outside cabin P245 on deck 5 forward. These have a large window and although I didn't know it beforehand (first cruise), really appreciated the outside cabin as we could see the waves and I like to wake up early in the morning, so enjoyed the natural light. We didn't close the curtains! It was great to kneel on the bed and look out as we pulled into a new port. Cabin P245 was perfect for us; near to the forward lifts in a large hallway (rather than down a corridor) and next to the gallery. Very quiet. In the first hour aboard, my equilibrium was a little off, but as I didn't have my seasickness pills (we didn't have our cases at that time, so consider keeping them in your hand luggage), I had a couple of Mojito's as I heard mint (and also ginger) are natural seasickness remedies. Didn't suffer again and infact loved the way the gentle movement of the ship the ship lulls you to sleep, very comforting! There's loads of hanging space for all of your posh dresses! Service in all the restaurants and the bars (on deck 7) was excellent. We didn't really frequent deck 6 (where the pub and casino is). We heard a few people moaning about service, but found that as we were polite, we received excellent service. A smile goes a long way! I didn't think we'd use the cabin steward much but on the few occasions we asked for ice or a shoeshine kit etc, Umesh went out of his way to assist, and with the biggest of smiles. Being from Yorkshire, we aren't the most generous natured, but I parted with my tips quite happily! (P&O recommend that for 2 passengers on a 2week cruise its: £42 for the Cabin Steward, and £44 for two waiters). Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2011
We flew out from M/C on Sat 3 Dec to Barbados without a hitch which is more than can be said for earlier flights on Fri and those from Gatwick who seemed to have major problems and delays. Embarkation was no problem at all and handled ... Read More
We flew out from M/C on Sat 3 Dec to Barbados without a hitch which is more than can be said for earlier flights on Fri and those from Gatwick who seemed to have major problems and delays. Embarkation was no problem at all and handled well. we didn't pre book seats and luckily my ife sat directly behind me so it wasn't a problem. Not sure its worth the £50 expense for the benefit Impressed with Ventura overall, although now showing a few rough edges to common areas. Balcony Stateroom was excellent in terms of quality and comfort. Sharon our steward was also very good and we got to know her quite well. Appears to be more bars, clubs, venues on board in comparison to say Celebrity Eclipse. Very good onboard drinks prices and like the fact prices are GBP without added tax etc. Overall v good entertainment - Headliners brilliant + Freddy Mercury tribute + Fogwell Flax as Sting +. Rest much of a muchness but still above working mens club standard. We chose freedom dining which was a great choice whether you wanted to share tables or be on a 2. We used White Room to celebrate wife's birthday....excellent. Also used Ramblas which was good but menu options a bit restrictive. Food quality and choice in main dining room very good but you had to be careful about combinations as sometimes you didn't get what you expected. Buffet breakfasts and lunch OK so slong as you could work out which restaurant was open when. Bit a bun fight due to high volume of diners on occasions especially port days..not to be unexpected. Biggest criticism was with passengers adopting typical sunshine/hotel mentality of sunbed booking at ridiculous times of the day. I'll swear towels were out at the crack of dawn on sea days with nobody in site other than a towel and a book. Hence not enough sunbeds or a quicker turnround of beds. By the end of the cruise you could see more and more passengers getting frustrated. Overall, brilliant experience and would have no hesitation on sailing with PO again Read Less
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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