1. Home
  2. Cruise Lines
  3. P&O Cruises
  4. Ventura Review
  5. Ventura Cruise Reviews
Sail Date: January 2011
We opted to take this cruise because we found a particularly attractive deal through an internet agency . We have previously enjoyed visiting the Caribbean twice before. However, we normally refrain from any form of package holiday, ... Read More
We opted to take this cruise because we found a particularly attractive deal through an internet agency . We have previously enjoyed visiting the Caribbean twice before. However, we normally refrain from any form of package holiday, preferring to arrange everything ourselves. We value privacy and 'doing our own thing' so taking a cruise with 3000+ other souls represented a significant departure for us. We were very impressed with the smooth arrangements from checking in at Gatwick to our arrival in our stateroom. This was very slick indeed. The flight was with Thomson and the crew worked very purposefully to ensure that we were comfortable, and they plied us with complimentary drinks. The 4 sea days were probably our least enjoyable. The clamour and reservation of sunbeds, with extended periods of conspicuous non-occupancy, led to justifiable resentment. However, we are not as keen on sunbathing as many on board. The beds are often very close together, to the extent that navigating a clear passage to another area of the ship was often something of a challenge. We found many areas to be rather lively, and it wasn't easy to find somewhere quiet to read in relative peace. We were very glad to have a balcony, where we could read, play travel games etc - this was a major boon. We enjoyed visiting all the islands, each of which had individual appeal. We are not divers and we do not snorkel, yet we still found plenty to do to keep our interest. We often took a P&O tour in the morning, returning to the Ventura for lunch. We then pottered around the nearby town in the afternoon. It was very hot, so it was always a joy to return to the air-conditioned comforts of our cabin. Dining We started by breakfasting in Waterside / Beach house. When we were there quite early (ie before 07:30) we found these restaurants to be perfectly adequate, without lengthy queues and reasonably easy to find a table. At peak times we found these restaurants to be too crowded. We had breakfast once in Baytree. Here the service was slow and we were required to share a table with 3 other couples. On port days we had room service breakfast on our balcony. All but once, the breakfast arrived punctually at the pre-organised time. It was a joy to watch our arrival at an island whilst scoffing a pain au chocolat on our balcony. Lunchtimes were taken in Waterside / Beach house. Again, these were quite busy on sea days. On port days it was always easy to have a quiet (and relatively quick) lunch before heading into town. One distasteful aspect of buffet dining was the opportunity for gluttony and wastage. We saw people taking 3 desserts, having a sample of each and leaving the rest. For our part, we were happy to have a salad, the daily variety of which was highly commendable. As we were on freedom dining, we could eat when we chose. We normally ate in the Cinnamon restaurant, arriving before 7 o'clock. This meant there was no waiting for a table for 2. These tables are set quite close to one another, so we could chat to our neighbours quite easily. The food in this restaurant was of a uniformly high standard. House wines were set at favourable prices. We normally opted to eat 3 courses although others with a more capacious appetite went for the soup and fish courses as well. On one occasion we were asked (very politely) to vacate our table as it was needed for another couple. We had finished our coffee and were chatting to our neighbours so this was entirely reasonable. On another occasion when we were equally tardy, the arrival of the new butter pats for the next diners was a more subtle way of encouraging us to move. It made us smile. We also ate at 'East' twice and 'The White Room' once during the fortnight. Both of these restaurants offered sumptuously presented, top quality meals. Service was impeccable, and the experience was entirely worth the small supplement. (We booked both restaurants almost as soon as we arrived in our cabin on the first day - a wise measure to avoid disappointment.) Entertainment We thought that the Ventura company were very versatile and we enjoyed the shows. During the fortnight, there was a wide selection of shows, each performed thrice nightly. The acrobats (ex Cirque de Soleil) were outstanding. We enjoyed one of the comedians (Ray Turner) with his adroit observational humour. Another (Fogwell Flax) worked hard but anyone who laughs at his own jokes is rather too artificial for our liking. My wife enjoyed line dancing with 'Lonestar LIbby (!!). There was plenty of other activities but Bingo, horse racing etc we can do without. Stateroom Excellent in every respect. Very comfortable bed. Quality toiletries. Slightly odd choice of TV channels, not that we wanted to spend our time watching television. Service Our cabin steward kept our cabin in a spotless condition. He was the soul of discretion, being able to work around our variable timetable with the utmost aplomb. His unfailing good humour and civility made our cruise experience all the more enjoyable. Service in the restaurants was of a very high calibre, particularly in the speciality restaurants. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2011
The first thing to be said is that P & O have got their model right, and the very few mistakes we witnessed were caused by individuals, rather than systems they have put in place. Their use of bonds to transfer baggage and people is ... Read More
The first thing to be said is that P & O have got their model right, and the very few mistakes we witnessed were caused by individuals, rather than systems they have put in place. Their use of bonds to transfer baggage and people is very efficient, and greatly reduces the tensions associated with air travel in these fraught times. Once checked-in at Gatwick, the next time we saw our baggage was when it was delivered, in a timely fashion, to our cabin. There were no immigration and customs controls to navigate at Bridgetown; instead we stepped off the plane and into a minibus, which delivered us direct to the cruise terminal - we were in our cabin an hour and a quarter after landing. On the return journey immigration controls were cleared on the Ventura, a simple security form completed in our cabins resulted in boarding passes, baggage reclaim tags and security stickers being delivered, and again the baggage was next sighted at Gatwick. Passengers were bussed to Bridgetown Airport, where P & O had arranged a dedicated security lane, and we were airside within minutes. Cabins were impressively kitted, with UK king-sized beds, fridges, good quality toiletries, and interactive televisions, through which it was possible to order food, drinks, excursions etc, and which kept us up to date with our spend on board. There were restaurants to suit everyone, ranging from traditional two-sitting silver service, through freestyle eating to self service. The quality of the food was generally very good.We were first sitting in Bay Tree restaurant, where we were seated with 2 other couples. I suspect that these arrangements were made by age, and they worked - we loooked forward to their company every evening. The waiting staff were attentive, and on the first evening spotted that one of the ladies had problems with food. They summoned the head waiter, and every evening thereafter she was given the next day's menu, to make her selection at leisure. On several occasions they gladly provided items not on the menu. We ate in White's twice, and felt thoroughly spoilt. The food and service were definitely 5-star. The gym was equipped with state-of-the-art machines, and the staff were both approachable and knowledgeable. There was entertainment to suit all tastes, and on the couple of occasions we found ourselves in the wrong place at the wrong time, we merely moved on to another venue, to enjoy other offerings. The ship's resident show troupe included three excellent singers, a stand-out balletic trapeze artist, and two acrobats ex Cirque de Soleil. There was one show where events conspired against them, but we all enjoyed watching them ad-libbing their way through it. Highlights of the cruise included an unscheduled meeting with our sister ship Azura in Aruba. She sailed just before us, and as we exited the harbour she steamed past us, with both liners thundering the air apart with volleys of salutes from their massive horns. That caused the hairs to stand up! The other was an organised reef snorkel and swim with sting rays off Grand Turk. The briefing given by Captain Stumpy was very thorough, and he even warned us of the predators we might encounter. However, he didn't prepare me for the five-foot barracuda, which swam out of the depths! The good captain did admit, afterwards, that they throw overboard the odd scrap to attract this beast. Finally,as a proud Highlander I was impressed by the piping of the haggis and the Address on Burn's Night. I was rather less pleased to find that the Drink of the Day was an Irish whiskey. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2011
We booked our cruise in November 2010 and got a substantial reduction on the brochure price but with no on board spend. We certainly feel we got value for money. Our flights from Manchester were only an hour late leaving and on time for ... Read More
We booked our cruise in November 2010 and got a substantial reduction on the brochure price but with no on board spend. We certainly feel we got value for money. Our flights from Manchester were only an hour late leaving and on time for the return. Drinks were complimentary courtesy of P and O. Stepped off the plane in Barbados and straight to the boat via a coach from the aircraft steps. No immigration whatsoever. Perfect. Asked for freedom dining but got a table for 8 at 6.30. After suffering from a little temper tantrum in private and a quiet word with the Maitre D we were allocated a table for 2 at 8.30. Problem sorted. The food in the saffron restaurant was very good and the service was excellent. Wines were good and well priced and the glass was never left to go dry. Wine packages were available which gave about a 20% disc on the price. Tried both the White room and East. Both were very good but not quite as sharp as the alternate dining on other ships such as Todd English or Sabatini's. On a 2 week cruise though a change of venue just reminds you how good the main restaurant was. Didn`t use the buffet except for a snack and always found a table. Always took room service breakfast. Served by the same waiter everyday. Again Excellent. With Tea and coffee facilities in the room there was always a hot drink to go with that. Our room was good but not great. The carpet was stained I think because of the Tea facilities. It was shampooed after a couple of days and came up a treat. Should have been done before we boarded. In general the room was a little tired. An apple and an orange doesn`t constitute a fruit basket either in my book. I could have refilled it myself from the buffet I suppose. Had to ask for ice but then it was there everyday. If you want a sun lounger in a prime spot on a sea day get up and on it before 9.am otherwise your just going to be disappointed. No point complaining that's just the way it is. Entertainment in the evening is pretty good some great acts and some a little less so. I saw more shows on this cruise than on any other I`ve been on. The ship is short of intimate drink venues though for a nice pre dinner drink. Red is very open and Metropolis is fine if there's live music but not consistent. Drinks packages available for your room and pretty much duty free prices so I guess that's the place to have a pre dinner drink if you have a view. The ports of call were excellent pretty much toured the entire Caribbean. They are what you make of them. If you just wander round the port you`ll doubtless be disappointed. Organised tours were reasonable value for money and if you get on the Internet its possible to find great deals with local tour companies or just find a taxi in port and head off. Overall the cruise was good fun. Met fantastic fellow passengers. A warm and friendly crowd. Lots of first time cruisers. Some folks felt that the cheap last minute deals maybe attract the wrong crowd. Well as i booked last minute I could hardly agree could I. I did wonder if there was a convention for the tattoo`d on board but perhaps I`ve led a sheltered life and some choice language on a couple of occasions though nothing I haven`t heard before. Overall we had a great holiday with good company and got fantastic value. I think we`ll be back. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2011
Just returned from a fantastic fourteen day cruise around the Caribbean. What a way to start your holiday, straight off the plane and on to awaiting coaches avoiding the hassle at the airport and enjoying a drink on the ship less than an ... Read More
Just returned from a fantastic fourteen day cruise around the Caribbean. What a way to start your holiday, straight off the plane and on to awaiting coaches avoiding the hassle at the airport and enjoying a drink on the ship less than an hour after landing. We opted for freedom dining and the staff in the Cinnamon restaurant were very attentive and pleasant at all times. We only had to wait twice for a table and the most we waited was 10 minutes. Excellent spa facilities. Had a Elemis facial, Swedish massage and fourteen day pedicure which still hasn't chipped 18 days later. We dined in The White Room twice, and on one occasion we dined under the stars on our way to Jamaica. We also dined in East once, each time the food and service was exceptional and exceeded any service we have experienced in England. We pre booked the Celebration Package which included champagne, chocolates and flowers on arrival in our cabin, a champagne breakfast in bed, two spa treatments and a portrait photograph for £145 which was exceptional value. The champagne breakfast was so good we decided to book another one during our second week. The entertainment team work very hard, and the sail away parties are not to be missed. A couple of nights there was some movement on the ship, but nothing to worry about. Our favourite bar was The Metropolis (deck 18) where we enjoyed pre and after dinner drinks. It was so relaxing. Overall we has a wonderful holiday, we could not fault P & O cruises and are already looking for next years cruise. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2010
Flew out to Barbados on Thomson B767...P&O gave comp drinks..bags deliverd to cabin after last seen @ LGW.Embarkation so easy inc. a 30 min mini-bus ride to ship side.Return from BGI just as easy and painfree. We had a BALCONY cabin ... Read More
Flew out to Barbados on Thomson B767...P&O gave comp drinks..bags deliverd to cabin after last seen @ LGW.Embarkation so easy inc. a 30 min mini-bus ride to ship side.Return from BGI just as easy and painfree. We had a BALCONY cabin midships.Very nice that biscuits supplied with kettle and a choc on pillow at night. The beds were very narrow(and we're slim!),and balcony not that large but OK.Good shower and plenty of towels. We dined in Saffron for B'fast+Dinner and the Maitre D' was so good in finding us a table-for-2.No good not to sit and hear the USUAL moans and groans! The deck 15 buffet was manic...a glorified Mc Donalds frequented by the greedy ones(plates piled high with often uneaten food!) We dined in WHITE CLUB for £20 each..not as good as AZURA XVII speciality. Splashed out 15 quid each for EAST which was superb..best ever Sea Bass and gentle Thai service. The Beach House on D15 was also v.good,especially the "pay-food". Pizzeria(15) also superb and very QUICK. Just loved the 4 lectures by Mike Whitehouse,a former RED ARROW(1978-80),who also spoke on 617Sqn Dambusters.The shows weren't the best as male singer poor,but fab costumes. We loved the Lulu,George Michael and Cher tributes but best of all was Brett Cave..even better than Elton John..this boy is a "class act". Down on deck 5 was the WHITEWALL Art Gallery. 3 super talks on Rolf Harris,Jack Vettriano and the oh-so-fab Argentinian Fabian Perez given by Ryann(S.A).Kirsty And Ryann were so delightful and pleasant..and not a bit "pushy". I finished up buying an Original..and bubbly on Whitewall!!! There was usual stampede for sunbeds..but we're not into Skin Cancer..so no problem forus. Uncontrolled smoking on adjacent balconies was a prob for some..but we got lucky! The port highlight was St.Maarten(Dutch) where we took a $10 taxi to wetch a KLM B747 almost land on the beach..Air France send a A340 but,also NOT daily. Grand Turk was gorgeous.. pink sand/turquoise sea..beach stone's throw from ship! Ocho Rios is AWFUL...hostile natives +dreaded SANDFLIES. Domenica just a mass of trees/rainforest..been there,sadly got the T-Shirt!! Special mention for Maitre D' Joy Fernandez from Mumbai and also Victor,Head Waiter,from Goa..both such wonderful ambassadors for P&O. The Indian(GOA) waiters worked their butts off to give us all a super holiday. Capt.Hamish Reid was a real character..theatre full to hear him! Only bad thing for me was the intensely aggressive, and totally unnecessary, security on boarding and reboarding.You'd have thought they were expecting the TALIBAN not nice Brit,well behaved passengers.Control freak/racism comes to mind. P&O you did it for us...RCI beaten all hands down. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2010
We wanted to do something different for our 25th anniversary and found a Caribbean cruise on the Ventura. Money first, at a discount which effectively meant two for the price of one this represented tremendous value. Drinks, ... Read More
We wanted to do something different for our 25th anniversary and found a Caribbean cruise on the Ventura. Money first, at a discount which effectively meant two for the price of one this represented tremendous value. Drinks, however, are expensive, P&O clearly use drinks to make up their money. A good idea would be to try and sell more at lower prices. Comparing Ventura to the Dawn Princess, well there is just no comparison, the Ventura is streets better is terms of options, facilities, and feeling of space. Plus points include the ability to cope with different groups of people, of different age ranges and expectations, from young people, couples with children, older people like us, as well as making single people welcome and apparently having excellent disabled capabilities as well. There was no feeling of intrusion or confinement on board. The non basic restaurants are excellent, particularly Ramblas (Tapas) and East, which despite a slightly odd location on board is just perfection. Service and atmosphere in each was just incredibly good. The Oasis Spa and Fitness Centre is excellent. Great value. Shore Excursions are very well organised and the staff exceptionally conscientious. One of the staff was so concerned about whether one of our bookings was right that he searched for us in order to double check that we had what we wanted. Entertainment is good overall, much better than we expected. There are some downsides. This is a Caribbean cruise, and the only concession on board to being in the Caribbean was a steel band who knew about twelve songs, which grated by day three. Otherwise, we could have been anywhere. Training the bar staff to make some Caribbbean drinks would be good, don't order a rum punch unless you are highly addicted to sugar. Actually, getting some Caribbean bar staff would be even better. The Reception staff were with one exception worse than useless, rude, unhelpful and ignorant. We found that it was 100% better to ask our cabin steward! It doesn't help that the in cabin manual is incorrect and the online information via the cabin television is incorrect. They do not, for example, change travellers cheques despite saying that they do. The bar staff were disappointing and there was no atmosphere in any of the bars. This made the entertainers jobs a lot harder in trying to build an atmosphere at some of the events. All lot of people would leave when the act was finished instead of staying and savouring an atmosphere, because of the bar staff. Surprising, because this must be costing P&O a lot in lost revenue. Despite having a large number of drinks waiters wandering round, particularly on deck, it was a minor miracle if one actually asked if you wanted anything and when approached, which was the requirement in order to get served, most found it extremely difficult to comprehend what you wanted. Surprising again, because this must be costing P&O a lot in lost revenue. The standard restaurants were pretty good, the buffet "Waterside" restaurant was ideal for breakfast. Our main dining was in Saffron. Vegetarian and Meat based dishes were good but the chefs have no idea how to cook fish, which all looked as if it was boiled for a standard ninety minutes! Back to school there I am afraid. The menus are a bit pretentious, and they do not in some cases do what they say. The waiters were reasonable although with a tendency, because of the fixed periods, to interrupt you if you happened to be speaking when they approached. The ship offers special facilities such as weddings and renewal of vows. These seemed to be very well organised but we tried to order on board and had a bit of a nightmare, best advice, book those sort of things in advance. Disembarkation paperwork was a shambles. By the admission of staff, 20% of passengers did not receive the paperwork or instructions. I think this is another "Reception" issue. Having paid effectively half price we felt this was almost excellent. If we had paid full price we might have had a more critical view. The challenge for P&O is to work on the 10-15% of issues to turn this from being very very good into something world class. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2010
Well, from beginning to end we were treated as you would expect on the occasion of your wedding, like royalty. P&O have the mechanics of embarkation and disembarkation down to a tee. No problems. The wedding ... Read More
Well, from beginning to end we were treated as you would expect on the occasion of your wedding, like royalty. P&O have the mechanics of embarkation and disembarkation down to a tee. No problems. The wedding co-ordinator, Kat had everything we required organised and sorted and any little extra or change we asked for was quickly and efficiently dealt with. Th wedding day itself was a complete dream. The Captain, Hamish Reid conducted a fantastic ceremony; the photgraphy was artfully done in various locations around the ship (thnaks to another Kat!), with the biggest difficulty of the whole trip deciding which prints went into the album. For cocktail hour we retired to Metropolis, we the orderes canapes were waiting for all our guests. As with the whole trip, the service here was impeccable. we had then booked to eat in the White Room as a sort of on-board reception, and we would recommend all who cruise on Ventura do sample this restaurant. Our cabin was looked after superbly by Stanley, nothing but praise for him and the rest of the staff. Indeed the service on board the whole ship was second to none, whether in the restaurants, bars or pub it just can't be faulted. The islands visited are all simply beautiful, with Grand Turk and Antigua highlights for us. Jamaica (Ocho Rios) was pretty intimidating, the only downside to the cruise. As a first cruise, not to mention our wedding/honeymoon, it just couldn't be bettered. Staff, ceremony and setting all contributed to to a never-to-be forgotten experience. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2010
We had a last minute booking on Ventura for her March Trans Atlantic crossing. The journey from East Midlands Airport was seamless as was the embarkation. Well done P&O, MSC could learn a lot from you. Now for the niggles. The food ... Read More
We had a last minute booking on Ventura for her March Trans Atlantic crossing. The journey from East Midlands Airport was seamless as was the embarkation. Well done P&O, MSC could learn a lot from you. Now for the niggles. The food was not the usual high standard expected of P&O. Rating: Could have done better. Lack of Managerial control in Marco White's restuarant. I object to paying £56 supplement for a special meal on a special occasion, my wife's birthday on a Formal evening to sit opposite people sitting in their shirt sleeves whilst others displayed red braces, their Dinner Jackets hung on the back of the chair. There is a dress code and it should be enforced. We had opted for set dining and it was impossible to get a seat in Havanah or any other bars where entertainment was in progress after the second sitting so missed out on most of the evening entertainment. . We thought the Theater shows were sub standard and although the cast gave of their best the singing left a lot to be desired. However the Guest speakers were great, especially those from the Tate Gallery and the chap who spoke on Naval history. Ventura is a lovely ship, just a few too many passengers for total comfort and despite the niggles we would sail on her again. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2010
Started the cruise by selecting a Thompson flight upgrade to premium seating UK to Barbados. This was money well spent as the holiday really started with the dedicated service offered by the airline crew, the 10 hours or so seemed to pass ... Read More
Started the cruise by selecting a Thompson flight upgrade to premium seating UK to Barbados. This was money well spent as the holiday really started with the dedicated service offered by the airline crew, the 10 hours or so seemed to pass in fairly reasonable comfort, one small gripe was if you wished to put your seat right back for sleeping, the person behind me complained that she could not sit and read properly. Transfer to Ventura was done in style, straight from the aircraft to coach and through a fast check in at the port, with our baggage not being seen until we got to our cabin. We had a balcony suite with a separate room for sleeping and a comfortable lounge with sliding doors to the spacious balcony. On arrival we opened the door to fresh flowers, fresh fruit and a bottle of very cold champagne. The cruise was as good as any we have been on, the food in all of the ships many restaurant's was above the quality found in most UK eating out places. We paid £15 extra each for a meal in P&O's famous Marco Pierre White restaurant and reckon this to be as good as eating gets, much better value than the £150 you can spend in a down town Chelsea eatery. The evening entertainment in the ships theatre was very good apart from one night when the a 'comedian' invited in from Cunard tried to invent his own form of flat sailing jokes, we followed the queue of early departures after 20 minutes. The bars on Ventura offer all cocktails and beers at reasonable prices,I recommend the cocktail of the day, for the price of a pint of beer you can enjoy a drink that would cost a fortune on land. Our big gripe on the cruise was the terrible British habit of guests placing towels on the sun deck chairs, most mornings after breakfast we found that by 9am all places were taken with more towels than people on deck. P&O staff seem to be of the opinion that this is normal on all P&O cruises. We have cruised with other Cruise Lines and found that after 15 minutes the deck staff remove personal effects from deck chairs not being used. Day time entertainment on deck was available in the two main pools to much cheering and banter, we elected to find a quieter and more relaxing pool at the front of the ship. On the whole we found Ventura an exellent ship and would book again if my wife elects to 'towel up' at 6am every morning and reserve our deck chairs. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2010
Friday 13 Doncaster to Barbados To Doncaster air port for 7 am flight delayed until 11am boarded ok but slowly In flight was good upgrade to premium was worth the extra, it plenty free drinks 4 meals and attentive service Landed in ... Read More
Friday 13 Doncaster to Barbados To Doncaster air port for 7 am flight delayed until 11am boarded ok but slowly In flight was good upgrade to premium was worth the extra, it plenty free drinks 4 meals and attentive service Landed in Barbados it was 27C straight off the plane into a minibus, 1st away and to the ship 40 minute drive to bridge town, the luggage is bonded and sent directly to the ship and your cabin Settled in and went for dinner in the cinnamon dining room which is dedicated to freedom dining we had a very nice meal in this very large smart restaurant Saturday 14 Barbados Excursion around the island interesting a lot of run down shacks with galvanised sheet roofs but interesting the high light was to be a visit to a beach with a dedicated lounger and umbrellas it did not happen We were left to are own devices and final dragged a couple of chairs under a tree where we were next to a building site and accompanied by the sound of a cement mixer for 2 hours Back to the ship and a complaint just managed lunch in the waterside which closed at 3 pm. On the ship you can always get something to eat as there is always one of the other grills or dinners open, for example, the beach house serves a full English breakfast from 0800 to 1200 and then remains open until 930 pm with a buffet and later as an American dinner The waterside has a breakfast from 0630 to1030 lunch from 12 to 3 then afternoon tea At 6 to 930pm there is always a speciality buffet ie Indian Chinese Italian etc There are also the 3 main restaurants aft that must seat between 300 to 500 each and the 3 speciality pay extra 'cover charge' restaurants Sunday 15 At Sea So a chance to wandered around the ship finding our way checked the pools and bars (there are eleven of them ) shops and had lunch in the waterside Tonight was the captain's cocktail party and formal dinning nothing special really went freedom dinning in the cinnamon In the evening we went to see a Neil diamond lookalike but he did not impress us Monday 16 Antigua Berthed across from silver seas shadow her top deck was level with our balcony and we are on deck 9 Ventura has a total of 18 decks, 15 to the pool deck and a further 3 aft housing fitness centre lounge bars and a restaurant The morning was spent lazing, we took advantage that most of the other passengers and particularly the kids were on trips and the pools were empty, so we swam and took it easy had an early lunch, The buffet salads and hot choices are very good That afternoon we took a trip to Nelsons dockyard with stops off both at 'Shirlyies heights' which was an old colonial officers quarters and then at the remains of an old English defensive fort for the views Nelsons dockyard has been refurbished showed what it looked like in Nelsons time, with all the old buildings that were stores held equipment and housed the men while their ships were being overhauled Although they now served as holiday apartments restaurants and bars Return to the ship 1700 we sail for Grand Turk Sat on the balcony and watched as we 'rotated 'in the harbour and left Antigua, tonight we dined in the beach house American style diner and had an excellent steak This evening Took it easy and visited some of the entertainment finishing up listening to a Billy Connelly tribute that wasn't too bad, I laughed at his jokes any way, had an early night Tuesday 17 at Sea Breakfast in our cabin as usual, chased up the inter connection once again, then had a wander around went for lunch, looked at the shops, visited the library, really quite stressful this cruising lark Tonight is once again formal dinning Wednesday 18 Grand Turk an island 6 miles long x 2miles Walked ashore checked out the cruise terminal duty free shops had a walk through the local shops nearby but there is not much to do here its mainly the beach and scuba diving so we bought some duty free and came back for lunch and a swim in the pool We sat on deck had an double choc ice cream and watched the sail away'sing-along' as we departed its like this each time we leave a port they have a great dance rave up on the pool decks either disco or a steel band and every one joins in its great not to be missed Thursday 19 Catalina Island I have finally sorted out my internet connection now I am able to send from our cabin using my laptop via the cabin router through Ventura's 'seamobilecafe' It has been a steady 28 C all week and we are just leaving Catalina Island part of Dominica we have been taken ashore by tender landed on this idyllic beach were we have been swimming in the sea, and lounged under the palm trees, the best day yet The ships galley and bars transferred loads of food and drink ashore by tender, where they set up their own bar and ran a BBQ, all staffed by the guys that normally served you in the bars and restaurants on board. Quite a logistical feat serving 3200 people on a beach in 4 hours it was quite surreal to see the waiters who normally brought you drinks at the poolside or in the lounges bringing them to you along the beach so it was eat drink and enjoy yourself After a tiring day we could not be bothered going for dinner so we order a meal in our cabin from room service and chilled out, it only took 20 minutes before there was a knock on the door and the meal was ok, you just cannot fault the service and politeness of the staff which is excellent Friday 20 at sea Half way through the cruise!! Usual breakfast in our room got waken up with it fact, did some washing in one of the laundrettes, (each deck has one) , went for lunch looked in the shops sent some emails read dozed, had a quiet day Formal night, black and white theme Saturday 21 St Kitts Called off its too windy to go along side so another day at sea heading for St Lucia before the wind stops us entering there Sunday 22 St Lucia (along with Sea Princess and Pacific Princess ) Morning Arrived in Cruise terminal and we tried to do it alone, failed miserable ended up on the same beach as the tours and paid the Taxi twice as much and then it cost us £15 for the sun beds which were useless not amused still the island looked nice and its very touristy with lots of very exclusive hotel complexes for example there are 3 all inclusive "Sandals" here 6 o clock We have just left St Lucia it was really hot 30 °C nice to return to the ship and the air condition, had a burger and pizza by the pool instead of the usual lunch buffet We are off to St Maarten tomorrow, this week we are in the Windward Islands last week we were in the Leeward Islands of the Caribbean We are off for dinner but cannot decide on whether it's the sea food buffet, the formal dining restaurant or Spanish tapas, of course we could go oriental but there is a cover charge of £10, still that's choices for you on Ventura! Monday 23 St Maarten (along with Wind spirit (a modern sailing ship with aluminium masts ) Serenade of the seas (royal Caribbean) and Maasdam...a Holland America ship Shock, horror we had to miss breakfast in our cabin and join the rest of the rabble at the restaurant because we were booked on a 0845 trip to the beach It was a good call though, after a long trudge along the jetty we set off for a long winding and very steep drive in an open sided bus, going from the Dutch side to the French side of the island( St Maarten is split in two and is owned by both countries)we were taken to orient beach There we were shown into our own sectioned off area of the beach laid out with comfortable sun loungers with big umbrellas right by the Atlantic surf crashing on the beach There we swam in the very warm blue sea and battled the waves, and had fun, it was great, the breeze blew, and there were all sorts of water sports to watch. There were little bars and restaurants along the back of the beach, you could hire any type of water sport equipment from snorkel to jet skies, we had a great time, Oh I forgot about the 2 glasses of complimentary rum punch Then it was back to the cruise terminal check out the shops and had a late lunch at 3 pm on board We sail at 6 pm as usual and As usual as we leave a port they have sail away'sing-along' a dance rave up on the pool decks either a group a disco or a steel band Ate in the Rambles tapas restaurant very nice not allot on your plate but adequate and different Tuesday 24 Tortola in the BVI Lazy day in the morning In the Afternoon we have Booked a trip to pussers landing, we got into this 'bus' which was in reality an open sided converted pick up with bench seats and no seat belts This in its self wouldn't have been so bad except that we then started a very hairy journey up some very steep twisting roads which the lake district would have been proud of,Hard Knot pass has nothing on these roads, there are no road marking and they drive with one hand on the horn After a while we had a stop off for ½ hour at the beach on Cane Bay, which would be a good trip on its own, it was a nice spot with a bar and restaurant and we bought some gifts, then it was on to 'Pussers Landing' where we stayed for an hour but this realy wasn't enough time you need 2 hours at least The trip back was not the mountainous route taken earlier but a slightly calmer one along the main high way In the main town, there is plenty to do here doing your own thing, there is a decent size town and a lively market It was English night in the waterside restaurant with the biggest joint of beef I have ever seen in any carvery it must have taken 2 too lift Wednesday 25 Dominica in the Dominican Republic Just went ashore looked in a few stalls but didn't stay long, you need to take the formal trips here if you want to see any thing interesting, there isn't much in the town it would have been better to spend 2 days in Tortola We are ate in the EAST restaurant it was worth the cover charge the meal was spot on Thursday 26 St Vincent Stayed on board childed out Friday 27 Barbados Returned home , our overall impression was the ship is brilliant the skipper Captain Allister Clarke puts his stamp on it and its reflected in the happy way the whole ships company respond to the passengers, I would sail with her again Read Less
Sail Date: February 2010
The Ventura certainly lived up to the hype in the P & O brochure with one exception. The holiday cruise was a joy from the moment we arrived at Birmingham airport through to our flight home. The excellent service with the staff on ... Read More
The Ventura certainly lived up to the hype in the P & O brochure with one exception. The holiday cruise was a joy from the moment we arrived at Birmingham airport through to our flight home. The excellent service with the staff on board going out of their way to ensure we had everything we wanted to make our holiday perfect. We had a superb stateroom with balcony on deck 11 - great views when sailing into the islands, very quiet and great location close to forward lifts. 24 hour room service available at no extra charge - great choice for breakfast on sea days Impossible to get any cold water - design problem possibly. Excellent maid service in room. Dining arrangements and the food offerings were outstanding with ample choice of food choices with too many options generally the norm. The onboard facilities, swimming pools, gym, pub venues, snack bars, shops and the art gallery are all first class. In all these areas the Ventura excels however just one major area of disappointment was the entertainment. The choice was very varied however it was below standard compared with everything else on Ventura - one favourite comedian Manual Martinez we have enjoyed on previous cruises was scheduled to perform and although spotted on the boat never performed ! The inclusion of an ex BBC weather reporter for the late night entertainment in the main theatre remains a mystery. The other complaint we had ( and also voiced by other passengers) was the hideous design of the Havana night spot/bar which comprised seating areas with barriers which restricted the views of the artists! A design fault which should be rectified. Was the cruise value for money -yes without a doubt Are we going to travel with Ventura again - yes definitely (Can't believe the entertainment would be this poor again) Would we recommend the boat to friends and relatives - undoubtedly Highlights - the food, the service, the friendly staff and the sublime food in the White Room (Pierre Marco White restaurant) We will be talking about this holiday for a long time.. If you are thinking about cruising on the Ventura - book now you won't regret it Read Less
Sail Date: January 2010
We have just being on a two week Caribbean cruise on P & O Venture. This being our first cruise meant we went with an open mind and few expectations. Right from the start we were very impressed with the professionalism of P & O. As ... Read More
We have just being on a two week Caribbean cruise on P & O Venture. This being our first cruise meant we went with an open mind and few expectations. Right from the start we were very impressed with the professionalism of P & O. As on landing at Barbados, there was no waiting for our luggage and we went straight to the ship. We were processed very quickly and given assistance to our cabin. After a few hours our luggage was waiting for us outside of our cabin. We were very pleased with the size of our cabin, (Stateroom with Balcony). It was plenty big enough for us, it was very clean and well presented. Our steward maintained the same standard throughout the criuse. The Venture is a very large ship and it took some time to get round it, and even at the end of the cruise we were still getting lost. We had paid for Freedom Dinning which lived up to expectations. As this gave us the flexibility we wanted. We were very pleased with the quality and presentation of the meals which were excellent. The waiters were very good and gave excellent attention, plus they never rushed us. The costs of the drinks was very reasonable, and compared favourably to the cost of drinks at home. We eat breakfast mainly in Shaffron Restaurant and again found this to be an excellent restaurant. We visited a lot of the bars throughout the ship and found the cost of the drinks to be very good. Even though there was sometimes a delay in receiving our drinks after ordering them. We liked the Breakers bar in the day and in the evening used the Metropolis Bar. The only bar we didn't like much, was the Havana as the design of it was not good for watching a show, plus it got very busy on some nights, to the degree people were standing in front of the audience. P and O should look at redesigning this room, removing the barriers which would give more seating. We saw a lot of the enterainment mainly in the Arena Theatre, which was a good theatre. Some of the entertainment was excellent, this included the Venture Theatre Company, plus there were some excellent comedians. The singers were however hit and miss, even so we enjoyed the Robby Williams and Freddie Murcery Tributes acts. There was plently going on all day and night on the ship, and in reality it is impossible to do everything. We found the daily Horison newsletter and the Island information leafletreally helpful. As these enabled us to plan what we wanted to do the next day. Most of the islands we visited were excellent, and varied enough to make each stop different. The only island I was not impressed with was St Vincent, and if we had not gone on a fast boat ride from the dock side, we would have stayed on the ship. We however loved Grand Turk as this was our idea of a desert island, Antigua was beautiful and Nelson's Dockyard was a must see. If we had more time we would have gone to a beach as well. At St Lucia we took a bus trip to see the Piton's which was a hike however it was well worth it, as the view of them was a must see. Next time if I went to St Lucia, I would go to one of beaches as Rodney Beach is excellent. St Marteen had a great beach right by where the water taxi comes in and only cost 6 dollars both ways. On all of the islands we used US Dollars, and found most gave us change in US Dollars. On the advice of others we did not arrange any trips on the ship, and on each Island, local taxi's or minibuses were there to offer very similar trips at half the cost. However, I would advice us negotiate the cost of the trip and only pay at the end. If you want to do a particular trip such as swimming with the stingrays or going on a helicopter ride then book these with P & O. We found the Island people very helpful and informative. We had no trouble when on the islands. When on the ship we found there was plenty of sun beds and could find one even on a busy sailing day. Overall we have no complaints regarding our cruise which we thoroughly enjoyed. We would recommend the Venture to others, and gained the impression from speaking to others who had already being on the Venture, the initial problems appear to be addressed. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2009
Booked at a Large well known T/A (never again!!) Names were mixed up on booking and several minor problems there meant more discounts every time they made a mistake. Flew with Thomson fly Manchester to Barbados great flight free drinks ... Read More
Booked at a Large well known T/A (never again!!) Names were mixed up on booking and several minor problems there meant more discounts every time they made a mistake. Flew with Thomson fly Manchester to Barbados great flight free drinks loads of leg room seat back entertainment (extra charge for "premium" films)and arrived fresh (ish) at Barbados. No formalities whatsoever right down the plane steps onto waiting mini buses to the ship. Checkin at the port was super quick within an hour of landing we were on board. We were in a mini suite (Princess' name)for our stateroom. I can't help but compare to Princess because to all intents Ventura is just like a Princess ship. Food was in someways better than Princess especially breakfasts, but evening meals were better on Princess better quality and more of it.....not that we went hungry. We were on anytime dining waits were minimal often had a table for 2 with no problem. Entertainment on a par with Princess. Ports of call were all good esp St Vincent where we took a powerboat ride along the island to a waterfall, to do some whale watching, see Pirate of the Caribbean location and a beach stop. Disembarkation was a breeze, you need to be "Immigrated" at set times according to your flight. Cases are left outside your room by midnight and the next time you see them is at your home airport. What could be easier??? Its a coin toss whether I would choose Ventura or Princess next time if the routes were similar! Read Less
Sail Date: November 2009
To start it was great to check in your suitcase at the airport and not see them again till they got put outside your cabin, again when we were going home we put our suitcases out the night before and didn't see them till we got to the ... Read More
To start it was great to check in your suitcase at the airport and not see them again till they got put outside your cabin, again when we were going home we put our suitcases out the night before and didn't see them till we got to the airport back home. The ship is beautiful very clean, the cabins are nice we had a balcony which i did enjoy, the room is kept very clean and our steward Grenville could not do enough for you, the food is standard, nothing to write home about, but if you go to the east restaurant and Marco Pierre restaurant it is a different story, the food is gorgeous, there is a service charge of £20 per person but well worth it. I found a lot of the waiters miserable a lot never smiled which i found disappointing, because the other cruises i have been on the staff were great always smiling and very friendly, that is what disappointed me about this ship, i was shocked with some of the staffs attitude, were not fussy people and don't like to complain, but on this holiday i did report 1 of the staff. There is a cafe bar called Tazzine and in the morning they have plates of fruit and yogurt in a glass cabinet and lunch time they have sandwiches and cakes, one afternoon my husband and i went to the bar and asked can we have 2 sandwiches each and a cake, we had only fruit for breakfast had a long walk out and now we were hungry, we was told we had to purchase a beverage and then we could have a sandwich, " no problem were having a drink anyway" so we ordered 2 teas 2 sandwiches each and a cake, when the waiter came there was 1 sandwich each, so we said can we have 2 sandwiches each please, the waiter said you want 2 each with a bit of attitude, so we said yes please, so he went and got us another 1 each, the tea was lukewarm but we just drank it. Anyway 2 days later we went again, 2 teas please 2 prawn sandwiches and 2 egg mayo please, waiter came back with 2 teas 1 prawn and 1 egg mayo, so we said we wanted 2 of each sandwich please, "you want 2 each madame" again with a bit of attitude, so i said yes please but i was a bit pi--ed of now and again the tea was just lukewarm but again just drank it. 2 or 3 days later at breakfast time i decided to go 2 the tazzine for the fruit and yogurt it looked lovely so here we go, the waiter said what would you like madame i said can i have a tea please, but can you make sure its hot please the last 2 afternoons I've had tea it has been lukewarm, he said the tea is always hot madame, so i said no the last 2 times it has been lukewarm, again he said no madame the tea is always hot,so i said take my word for it, it was Luke warm can you just make sure its hot please, yes madame, then i said and can i have a bowl of fruit please and a yogurt, he said no madame you are only allowed 1, so i told him to forget it. I was really pi--ed off now can you believe i was refused food which is supposed to be free on the ship, or should i say payed in advance, so i went and reported this guy i wasn't happy, but the manager listened and did make the guy apologise to me, but i can't believe his attitude in the first place. My husband has IBS and we went to the spa and they said have acupuncture and you will feel the benefit so he did, he had 5 sessions at a cost of £250 and they put a mud pack on him when he was having his sessions, when he finished his 5 sessions they said buy some mud packs and use them at home, so he did they cost £62,the next day when he was reading about the mud packs we found they were for cellulite, so we took them back to the spa and said in a normal pleasant way, can we have a refund on these please, the guy whom i sure is the manager looked in the bag and i tell no lies he flung his hands in the air and SHOUTED why you people buy these things when you people don't want them, my husband asked if there was a problem returning them and he said no,then again SHOUTED but i don't understand why you people buy them when you don't want them, so my husband started arguing with him, so i said excuse me my husband was treated with a condition which wasn't cellulite and these mud packs state on the box they are for cellulite, so he said OK madame i will refund you, but i couldn't believe the attitude, to happen once on the ship is bad enough but to be spoken to like that twice has just put me right of the ship, my daughter was going to get married on that ship but she has changed her mind, when you pay a lot of money for your holiday the least i expect is nice friendly staff, its a shame the few spoil it for the ones that are nice and friendly, but overall the ship is lovely clean and the excursions are good. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2009
Flight 9 hrs, leg space sufficient although quite narrow. Complimentary bar throughout flight. Disembark aircraft straight onto coach then within 30 mins arrive at barbados port and first breath-taking sight of the ventura. Following ... Read More
Flight 9 hrs, leg space sufficient although quite narrow. Complimentary bar throughout flight. Disembark aircraft straight onto coach then within 30 mins arrive at barbados port and first breath-taking sight of the ventura. Following security and credit card registration we were let loose on the biggest ship I've ever seen. We flew out on friday so had overnight in port then all day saturday in barbados plus half empty ship. All port reviews follow. Cabin was clean, and comfortable, with clean cotton sheets and duvet covers, the mattress was soooo comfy. Clean towels when required and of good quality and size. Food at all the standard restaurants was nice, always found much than than I needed to eat (and gained 10 pounds) Most of passengers on board appeared pleasant, courteous and enjoying themselves but in a well behaved way. I did unfortunately encounter one woman who 'hated everything and every minute' of being aboard, so gave her a wide berth! We always managed to get a sunbed 4 together most times, even on sea days, so I was happy about that famous complaint. The only few negative points of my experience are: Lack of ladies toilets, 1- unable to find them! 2- when found, always in a queue due to there only being 2 or 3. Also the entertainment, I felt terribly disappointed with the shows in the arena theatre, the dancers talent varies greatly, therefore poor co ordination with each other, also fed up with storyless type performances, it felt like a talent show most of the time. Other venues entertainment also poor, guest acts are all take off acts eg elton john, robbie williams, bee gees and some MIME! Also resident acts- appalling quality, especially a 'duo' of guys -ve personality and no audience command, singing to backing track (although could of sworn every third song was 'sweet caroline') very disappointing PO! Thank god for the comedians, but why some only get to perform in havana baffles me ???? Standing room only for foggy flax both nights. Fortunately we had and good company for this not to spoil our holiday Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2008
As we approached Ventura after the long but comfortable flight from London Gatwick Airport to Barbados airport, the first view of the ship gave the impression of a multistory block of flats, but this view was soon to change after we ... Read More
As we approached Ventura after the long but comfortable flight from London Gatwick Airport to Barbados airport, the first view of the ship gave the impression of a multistory block of flats, but this view was soon to change after we embarked. The one thing that P&O Cruises do exceptionally well, are their transfer arrangements in Barbados. Luggage is transferred directly from the aircraft to your cabin. Coaches meet you near the aircraft steps and swiftly convey you to the ship, similarly at the end of the cruise luggage is transferred from the ship to your final airport destination and customs and immigration formalities are completed on-board prior to disembarkation. This saves a lot of hassle at the airport both on arrival and departure. On entering the ship, we were extremely pleased to find that she was tastefully decorated in rich colors, with a feel of spaciousness. There were plenty of comfortable chairs and settees, ideal for curling up and spreading out with a book. Traditional P&O style elegance abounded. All public spaces inside were spotlessly clean and remained this way throughout the cruise. On this cruise, we had chosen a balcony cabin on deck 11, port side. The cabin was compact and comfortable. There was good storage space and the added bonus of having tea and coffee-making facilities in the room was appreciated. The bathroom was adequate with excellent toiletries provided and the large fluffy towels were changed twice daily. There was an ample supply of hot water. There is an excellent interactive television system that offers many choices- from television channels to ordering in-cabin room service and to choose free and pay movies. You can shop, gain information - look at your on-board account and many other actions from this facility. Guests should also be aware that this service also acts as your messaging system. The comfort of the bed was average; it certainly did not have the "wow" factor. The covering was a flimsy duvet, which was not large enough to be tucked in and more often than not ended up on the floor. There is a good air-conditioning system, and there is adequate lighting and a refrigerator. Bathrobes are not provided on board, except in mini-suites and above. The balcony, of adequate size was furnished with two upright chairs and a very small low-level table. There was absolutely no privacy on the balcony as owing to the construction of the ship, the majority of balconies on decks 9, 10 and 11 are tiered --be aware of this fact when booking - we could look down to those below and they could look up at us. Additionally because of the design of the ship, conversations could clearly be heard from balconies three or four cabins away. The room was maintained in an excellent condition and serviced twice daily. There are three formal dining rooms on board - two for "club dining" - 1st and 2nd seating and the third for "anytime" dining. There are also other various specialist and casual dining venues. We found the food to be consistently of a high quality in all dining venues -plenteous and varied and especially designed to the British palate in the main restaurant and casual style buffet. The only disappointment was the very limited choice of breads. In the main Restaurant, dinner was well presented and expertly served. Great care is taken to cater for guests who have dietary requirements. Unfortunately breakfast in the main restaurant lacked any presentation skills whatsoever - breakfasts looked as if they had been just thrown on a plate. Yoghurts should be served in a dish and not presented in the container itself. The ship had over 3000 guests on board and never once, even on sea days did we have to queue or wait for seats in the self-service buffet. Dishes were replenished often and hot food was hot and cold food was cold. There are no free juices, other than at breakfast time. Free tea; with lots of different blends and coffee are available here 24 hours a day. There is a full and varied programme of entertainment, outlined in the Daily Newspaper - The Horizon. There is something for everyone. We found the production shows and most of the guest entertainers to be excellent offering professional and varied programmes. For a ship of this size, the Cruise Director and his limited number of staff did a great job. They were highly visible all over the ship, a pity the same could not be said of the officers, and gave the impression of being a most happy and caring team. Even on days when ports of call were cancelled due to bad weather, within a reasonable time, additional entertainment was arranged and relayed to guests. They are to be congratulated! There are the usual on-board shops offering a good selection of goods and usually at competitive prices, do be aware that the shop selling those items that you may have forgotten to bring with you, is, if they have not run out of goods, fairly expensive. There are free launderettes on board, but you have to purchase soap powder from this outlet. They charge 50p for 2 concentrated soap tablets. There is a luxurious spa offering various treatments and therapies. They do offer specials and details of these are messaged to you through your in interactive cabin television as are shop "sales" as well as being advertised in the daily newspaper. There is a well-equipped gym. Internet facilities are available. Although expensive - take advantage of the packages available and the special offers advertised. Specials are also available for the speciality restaurants. There is an excellent and knowledgeable Shore Excursion Team and tours bought from the ship are reasonably well priced and good in content. Occasionally, some tours do not reach their expected standards and to which they have no control - they do however listen and investigate and take appropriate action. There is a Future Cruise Consultant on board, who is most anxious to sell you a future cruise. Beware! She quoted us a price for the same itinerary and on the same ship next Christmas at a cost of £8600.00. We were horrified at this cost. We went next door to the Internet centre and checked P & O`s web site and found the same cruise, although in a different grade of cabin, but in a grade on the same deck with the same facilities, and almost next door to the one that she quoted for £4300.00. We returned a few days later to her, after having again checked our facts and confronted her with our information. You can guess her embarrassment. We asked her to check again and guess what? You are right. Obviously someone who works on a commission basis? We had originally booked the Christmas and New Year Cruise on the Oceana for 2009. However after a number of months, having paid the deposit and received confirmation - P&O cancelled the 2-week cruise and extended it into a 4-week cruise. We were offered a transfer to the 4-week cruise at a supplement - but as we could not get time of work had to decline. We were offered very minimal compensation if we were to book a further cruise with P&O within a specific time frame. We asked to be transferred to the Ventura but were told that P&O would not honor the price available at the time of our original booking, even though they had the advantage of having our deposit for some 5 months. The price had risen by £1000.00 - we did however receive our deposit back in full. Gone it appears are the days of honorability. Administration on the ship and Head Office leaves a lot to be desired. We had a query re on-board credit. The ship e-mailed their Head Office on 21 December and followed the query up with further e-mails - no response was received by the time we disembarked on 2 January and thus we did not receive the credit due to us. Additionally notifications originating from the Pursers Office were In-correct - especially in respect of disembarkation - these had to be withdrawn and re-issued on a number of occasions. Likewise in respect of the 1st edition of the Port information issued in respect of St. Vincent - the information provided actually related to the Azores - what a waste of paper, time and money - more attention to detail is required in this department. The Ships`s photographers do and good job and produce fine quality photographs, together with an excellent DVD of the cruise. Individual photographs tend to be expensive, but again packages are available. This was a Christmas and New Year Cruise and the ship was discreetly and sensitively decorated. There were excellent festal activities. There were, I understand over 700 children on board. This being the case P&O are to be congratulated on their programmes and organized events for those guests as they were very seldom seen and certainly not heard - most well-behaved and a credit to their parents and staff. The facilities for kids and teenagers are outstanding. Dress Code on the ship fell into 3 categories - formal, semi -formal and smart casual. It was pleasing to not that the majority of guests adhered to the dress code especially on formal evening. Following this cruise however, the dress code for this ship and the Oceana fall into only 2 categories - Formal and Smart Casual. There are numerous bars and other venues for drinks throughout the ship. Quiet bars, energetic bars or pool bars. Drinks are well-presented or excellent quality (except at the Captains Cocktail party - where they appeared to lack in alcoholic content) and were reasonably priced. There is a comprehensive wine list again not overly priced. The currency on board is the British Pound. In keeping with the P&O tradition, gratuities are extended on the final evening of the cruise by way of cash in envelopes. Although if you opt for Anytime dining, your gratuity for the waiters in this regard is added to your on-board account. Do be sure that you bring enough sterling for these gratuities. We had planned to withdraw cash at a facility at Gatwick Airport but it was out of order. Fortunately we had enough cash to cover the gratuities, as the Pursers office do not cash personal cheques. There are 3 modest sized swimming pools (one of which is reserved for adults) on board as well as a number of Jacuzzi's. Whilst there are large deck areas with sun beds, there are insufficient sun beds or space for the number of passengers on this ship. - There is just not the amount of required space and beds are so tightly squeezed together and you have to climb on to the sun bed and then sit on it. It does not help when passengers reserve sun beds for hours with their towels and then come along and remove their towels and walk away not having even sat in them. One morning at 7.45am all sun beds were occupied by towels and yet no sun worshippers. P & O do not have a policing policy on this issue - they need to adopt one - this was one of the major factors of discontent on this cruise. A suggestion as to how this might be alleviated is that the upright chairs on balconies be removed and replaced with reclining chairs, like those on the promenade deck. Many guests occupying such cabins would quite possibly tend to spend more time relaxing there than to fight for a sun bed on the open decks. Excellent reclining chairs are provided on the promenade deck. However as the ship has a strict no-smoking policy inside the vessel - many smokers tend to congregate on the starboard side of this deck as it is within easy reach of the bars, entertainment areas, restaurants and night club for their smoke. More ashtrays are needed and those broken need to be fixed and all need to be emptied more often than they are now. This deck also needs to be cleaned more regularly. Some guests on deck 8 - starboard aft, complained about the smoke drifting up from this deck and on to their balconies. They also complained about the noise experienced from these cabins during the early hours of the morning, when smokers from the night-club gathered on this deck. Noise was a constant problem when late night revellers were returning to their cabins in various areas of the ship when the discotheque closed at around 4.00am. There were reports that there were a number of fights on board and those guests were locked up in the brig, but we never witnessed any such fights or any real drunkenness. Unfortunately on the first week of the cruise, the weather was not kind, rain, winds and high seas. This resulted in the ship not being able to dock at 3 of the ports of call. The ship handled well during these conditions whilst at sea. However, it was disappointing that we missed these important ports of calls. Obviously something to do with the size of the ship and its design as guests on other cruise ships and on those of a similar or larger size had no port cancellations. She appeared to the able to dock when in the Caribbean but not at those ports at the edge of the Atlantic. As our fare had included port taxes and charges, it will be interesting to see if P&O refund these to the passengers as they would not have had to pay them and we did not avail of these services. The foregoing are thoughts and/or suggestions and are by no means complaints. They are also designed to assist others when planning their cruise vacation, as to some things that they may wish to consider. In all, we had an excellent cruise and would certainly travel with P&O again. P & O market the ship more towards families, but we feel that the Ventura is suitable for all, couples singles as well as families. We thoroughly enjoyed the traditional P&O experience and would recommend them without reservation. Well Done to all those who made this possible. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2008
Please enter your review. We loved our cruise on the Ventura. We flew to Barbados with Thomson (First Choice aircraft) and we particularly liked the fact that when we checked in our bags at Gatwick that was the last we saw of them until ... Read More
Please enter your review. We loved our cruise on the Ventura. We flew to Barbados with Thomson (First Choice aircraft) and we particularly liked the fact that when we checked in our bags at Gatwick that was the last we saw of them until we arrived in our cabin! We have never experienced this before; it was great! This was also the case on the way back. Only one gripe with the flight; we got exactly the same seats on the way back as we had on the way there. This meant that if you were luckily enough to get extra leg room seats on the way out you got them on the way back too. Equally if you were not sat together on the way out as we were, you were also not together on the way back. I don't know how they can get around this because it was nice to arrive at Barbados and go straight through security without having to check in bags. The first sight of the boat at Barbados was impressive to say the least. It is a large vessel but once on board and once you get your bearings it doesn't feel it. We thought it was a large ship divided into manageable areas. We were on Club dining second sitting and found the food in The Bay Tree to be of good quality and the service was excellent. We tried East and The White Room and found them both to be superb both in terms of the quality of the food and the service. Certainly worth paying extra for in our view. We had breakfast and lunch in one of the buffet restaurants and always found the food available to be of good quality and plentiful (unfortunately!).We never tried breakfast or lunch on the main restaurant. On the days that we were on trips at lunchtime we opted for Afternoon Tea which was a real treat with lovely sandwiches and cakes, scones, etc. As if that wasn't enough the "midnight munchies" were well taken care of as well! On the whole we enjoyed the entertainment on offer. We caught a few of the shows in the Arena theatre. The comic magician was good but we weren't so keen on the Irish comic on there one night. The variety shows by the theatre company were profession and well staged but weren't really out thing. We enjoyed the comics in the Havana bar but weren't so keen on the tribute acts (what would cruise ships do without "Stars in Their Eyes"?!? We liked a pre-dinner drink in the Red Bar especially on formal nights as it was a great place to admire all the lovely outfits! We thought Metropolis was a sophisticated venue but it wasn't that well used and we thought it lacked a bit of atmosphere. The video wall was impressive though. There was a piano in there but we never heard anyone playing it. Some life entertainment up there would have helped. Ramblas was also under-used; it was never busy which was a shame as it was a lovely venue. We liked the Tamarind Club as well and thought Siobhan Phillips was a great singer. We could have done without the "Game Shows" though. As other reviewers have mentioned the sun bed situation is a problem. I don't think I have ever been anywhere either on land or sea where this hasn't been an issue and I don't know what the answer is. There were so many you can hardly walk between them but you still struggle to get one! However if you are patient and keep looking you can always find one somewhere so it is really only a minor gripe. On our cruise we had four formal nights and the rest were smart casual. We loved the formal nights as it is lovely to get all dressed up and see everyone else all dressed up but we thought that three formal nights would have been enough. We really enjoyed the deck parties. We went to East the night of the Beach/Pirate party so only caught the end of the Theatre company show. It did seem to be going on a bit so we weren't sorry we missed it, but the party by the entertainment staff after was great fun. We also really enjoyed the sailaway sing songs. I think some people aren't keen and there was talk of stopping them but I think this would be a shame. The gym was well equipped but I don't think you should have to pay £7 for a fitness class. That being said the Zumba class was great fun and a good workout too. All in all we had no complaints about our cruise and would certainly go on Ventura again. We loved it!! Read Less
Sail Date: November 2008
Arriving at Barbados Airport, we were hit by the heat and the wonderful welcome. We were then escorted quickly and efficiently to a bus which took us to our Ship, The Ventura, along charming country lanes. Our first glimpse at the Ship ... Read More
Arriving at Barbados Airport, we were hit by the heat and the wonderful welcome. We were then escorted quickly and efficiently to a bus which took us to our Ship, The Ventura, along charming country lanes. Our first glimpse at the Ship left us with mouths wide open. It was enormous and so impressive. The embarkation process was swift and before we knew it, we boarded the vessel with our account cards. The ship was very easy to navigate and we were soon in our cabin. The cabin was beautifully appointed with a fridge, tea and coffee making facilities, and dressing table, lit bedside tables and a balcony, from which we enjoyed the views of the Bridgetown harbor and a wonderful sunset. We did find that the cabin was made up with twin beds, but we informed our cabin steward, Angel, and she said that during dinner she would remake the bed into a double. We didn't even have to worry about our bags, as we were told they would be brought directly to our door. So we took the opportunity to explore the ship and have some dinner in our allocated restaurant, Cinnamon. We had chosen the option of Freedom dining, which meant that you weren't restricted to a certain time, this for us was by far the best way, as it allowed us to make the most of the plentiful activities available. The Cinnamon restaurant provided a diverse range of dishes, along with an extensive wine list. The food was always delicious and served in a very prompt and professional manner. There were tables of two available as well as larger tables, giving you the choice of an intimate meal or an opportunity to meet fellow passengers. For a more informal meal, at any time of the day or night, there were the buffet style restaurants, Waterside and Beach House. Again, the standard of cuisine was very high, and was a good option for varying appetites, as it is self service. A must are the Select Dining restaurants, Marco Pierre White's 'White Room', and East, serving Pacific Rim cuisine. We enjoyed dinner at each and the food was of the highest quality. There are many activities available throughout the day and night, including dance lessons, circus workshops, quizzes, fitness programmes, computing classes, golfing tuition, concerts... the list is endless, and it is just up to you as to the level of involvement. For us, we didn't do masses but it was always easy to join in, as a list of the daily schedule was published in the on board newspaper, Horizon. For those passengers concerned about the presence of children on board, there are equally as many activities organized for them, so much so that we hardly noticed them at all. There were a wide variety of shore excursions, tailored to the needs of every age group. We only did a few but they were very well organized and meant that you didn't have to worry about the time and when you had to be back on board. We visited Virgin Gorda whilst in the British Virgin Islands, a trip that we can both highly recommend. The beaches here were idyllic and we really didn't want to leave. Another benefit of the shore excursions organized through Ventura was that they are cost effective due to the transport being provided for you to and from the venue, similar trips can be taken but will usually mean more money, and again, no guarantee that you will be returned to the ship in a timely fashion. For quieter days, especially those spent at sea, we chose to make use of the deck areas for sunbathing and swimming. There is always someone at hand to serve you a refreshing cocktail or two! The service provided by the crew is first rate. You never want for anything. When it came to disembarkation, the process was very easy, all bags were taken straight from your cabin door to the plane and left you with a very relaxed trip back. All in all, the cruise was totally different from how we had anticipated, and dispelled our stereotypical ideas. We really enjoyed it, the first class service, a wonderful ship and a great climate. For a first time cruise, we hit the jackpot and would recommend it to anyone of any age. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2008
From the moment we checked in it was so well organized and easy. Straight off the plane, into a coach and to the ship. The check in staff were really friendly. We had never been on a cruise ship before and it was amazing from the moment ... Read More
From the moment we checked in it was so well organized and easy. Straight off the plane, into a coach and to the ship. The check in staff were really friendly. We had never been on a cruise ship before and it was amazing from the moment we stepped on board. We were told were we would find our cabin and it was so easy to find. My wife and I spent the first hour walking around with our mouths open in amazement! The cabin was spacious and clean with lovely furniture. The beds are so comfortable with big fluffy pillows. We had tea & coffee facilities, an amazing bathroom (the wife loved the shower as it was so powerful!), nice shower gel which meant we didn't need to use our own. We had a balcony with table and two chairs (I sat there every morning with my binoculars as we sailed into a new port). The first night we were put on first sitting dining but we wanted to change to late or freedom. The staff were so helpful and told us that if we went on the first sitting that night (which was fine as we wanted an early night) then we could go on freedom the following night. And the next night we moved to freedom. It worked very well for us. Most night we shared tables of either 6 or 8 and we met some really nice people, this made dining a very social event. The food was excellent - all courses were great. Mrs G never had the soup as she found it too much buy I often went for all courses. If there was not a main course that you wanted then you could ask for a steak - which I did once and it was good! Water was always available on the table so you don't need to buy a bottle. We went to both the White Room and East - these were something else. We both felt very treated and looked after. On port days we went for breakfast in the buffet. A good choice, I always had a fry up but the wife went for the fruit and cereal. On days at sea we ordered breakfast in the cabin which was free and delivered to the balcony for us. There was lots of entertainment. We never went in to the Tamarind Club for dancing as I have two left feet! But people at dinner said it was good. We tended to go to the Arena every night and watch either a show by the Ventura dance group (the Andrew Lloyd Webber night was out of this world)or a comedian - Peter Piper had the place in up roar - brilliant! Went in Havana a couple of nights for a disco and one night was a crew talent show (this was very funny and some really good singers).Our last late night drink was always in Metropolis - very relaxed. The staff could not do enough for you, our cabin stewards was a lovely man. On one day when we were sea all day we decided to spend the day sitting on the balcony reading - our cabin steward did not want to come in and disturb us so he telephoned us and asked when would be suitable for him to clean the room - very good service. He was always busy and always around incase we needed him. We never did a planned excursion and always went out to explore alone. This was our first ever cruise and always thought it would be an expensive holiday but we were shocked that it wasn't when you look at what you get for your money. We have been all inclusive hotels before but this was on another level. We are hooked and are all set for another cruise. It was one of the best holidays we have ever been on and were completely treated for two weeks. One word - Fantastic! 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 3.4
Service 4.0 4.0
Value For Money 4.0 3.7
Rates 3.0 3.9

Find a Cruise

Easily compare prices from multiple sites with one click
Compare and book excursions for your next cruise