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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: January 2011
Staff - Cabin Steward and dining waiters in the Bay Tree were excellent but cannot say the same for all staff throughout the buffet restaurants and bars. There were some cheerful, pleasant staff however there were others who definitely did ... Read More
Staff - Cabin Steward and dining waiters in the Bay Tree were excellent but cannot say the same for all staff throughout the buffet restaurants and bars. There were some cheerful, pleasant staff however there were others who definitely did not look as if they were enjoying their job and made you feel a nuisance if you asked for anything. Food,and Service - Food was ok and staff in the Bay Tree ensured that you were enjoying your meal or were quick to offer a replacement. However the Buffet Restaurants were way below expectations. We only used for breakfast three times - it was a shambles! No cups, glasses, tea spoons - the serving area was very cramped with passengers milling about with laden trays. Settled for a continental breakfast served on our balcony! Lunch time food was boring and if you asked for a cold plate for a salad you were either ignored or made to wait. Suitable plates etc should be available without having to ask? Bars/Drinks - Cocktails varied from good to undrinkable - too much lime juice and when I complained was told "used only a dash of lime" and no offer to replace!!! The Exchange Bar reminded me of a tired Wetherspoons and the very small Casino was tagged on to the side of it?? Entertainment - Mediocre acts were in half empty theatre and decent acts were in bars that could not accommodate the numbers attending. I do not want to stand for 45 minutes with a drink in hand no matter how good the entertainer. Amenities - There appeared to be a shortage of sunbeds. Sail Aways - I found these embarrassing. Why hand out Union Jack flags and sing "Rule Britannia" and "Jerusalem" particularly when there were ships of other nationalities in port?????? And not all passengers were English! Read Less
Sail Date: December 2010
After 25 years of me choosing the holidays, I thought it fair that my husband could choose this time. He suggested a Caribbean cruise and whilst I wasn't actually overjoyed at the suggestion' I agreed. After various ... Read More
After 25 years of me choosing the holidays, I thought it fair that my husband could choose this time. He suggested a Caribbean cruise and whilst I wasn't actually overjoyed at the suggestion' I agreed. After various weather-related traumas in the journey to get to Manchester airport and having to be 'de-iced' before we could fly to Barbados, our flight was very smooth and uneventful. The fact that we got straight onto a coach from the plane and then the smooth operation of going through customs etc at the ships side was excellent. We located our cabin quite easily. It was smaller than it appears on the website but was plenty big enough for what we needed it for. It was clean, comfortable and our Cabin Steward Edwin was very polite and helpful. The ship is lovely, quite easy to navigate around and I never at any point felt that there were 3000 passengers on with us. We chose selective dining which I was a bit unsure about(I was worried that we would be dining with people we just didn't connect with) nothing could be further from the truth as the 3 other couples we shared our table with (table 124 Bay Tree Restaurant you know who you are) were some of the loveliest people we have ever met and for me they made the time on the ship so pleasurable as we giggled our way through every evening meal. The service in this restaurant was excellent and the food on the whole was also first class. We tended to have our breakfast in The Waterside (self service buffet)good quality and plenty of options. On 3 occasions we had a room service breakfast which made a lovely change sitting on our balcony. We spent a romantic dinner for 2 in The White Room, which was very special (at a cost of £20 a head plus drinks). But the best meal by far was when we went as a table to the fusion restaurant of East, absolutely delicious and excellent service. (This costs £15 a head). Our favourite bar was The Tamarind Club which had different vocalists and we often went to watch different shows in the theatre. A highlight of the entertainment was Clem Curtis of the Foundations (Build me up buttercup) who at aged 70 can still get an audience on their feet dancing. Unfortunately our days at sea weather was quite iffy so we spent very little time sunbathing on deck, however on the couple of times we did sunbathe, while there isn't an abundance of sun-loungers we didn't have a lot of trouble finding some. OK my husband was right I did love cruising, although I wouldn't want to cruise every year. The highlights of the ship were definitely our fellow diners and I also enjoyed the sail aways from each port. We never actually went to the sail away parties up on deck but sat with a glass of wine on our balcony as the lovely Ventura quietly sailed from yet another beautiful island leaving us with even more lovely memories and watching the sun set on yet another perfect day. Our final port was St Lucia. Very picturesque but I don't think there was much to keep you in the port. So we hired a mini bus with 3 other couples and after a couple of viewpoint stops that had craft stalls at them we made our way for a wonderful viewing station overlooking the mighty Pitons (a volcano that over time has formed two peaks). We also witnessed the devastation that was caused by the hurricane they suffered in November where landslides took away huge parts of mountain sides and washed away a family of 6 and their house. Nothing has ever been found. We also visited Marigot Bay which is a beautiful beach, that is quintessentially Caribbean. WEATHER - Mainly sunny with clouds. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2010
Thank you Paul Woodman for your cruise review. My wife and I agree with almopst everything that you have said. We were on the same cruise. We didn't opt for Freedom dining. Instead we had first sitting, 6.30 p.m. on a table for ... Read More
Thank you Paul Woodman for your cruise review. My wife and I agree with almopst everything that you have said. We were on the same cruise. We didn't opt for Freedom dining. Instead we had first sitting, 6.30 p.m. on a table for six. We were most fortunate to have four interesting and interested companions.However, one couple had paid £2000 per head less than we had paid.In addition our total "on spend" money was £200, those with the cheap fare had £900 per couple.It certainly makes one think about Booking ahead. Our two waiters were excellent, both were from India and obviously took pride in their work. In the main restaurant most of the meals were just "OK". Generally very bland and no more than 2* or 3*. An exception was the alternative option each night of a steak. These were always excellent and were often ordered in lieu of the Main Menu. We were without a TV in our cabin for almost 72 hours. I reported this fault to Reception by phone and in person on at least 6 occasions. On the third day without TV I left reception with a P & O complaint form in my hand and told the Receptionist that if the set wasn't working on my return to the ship I would make a written complaint. Of course it was then fixed and only made me cross that I hadn't gone down that route earlier. A large number of passengers had taken advantage of the low fares and their dress and general behavior left much to be desired. A high number of passengers were equally disenchanted with the cruise overall and many said they would write to Head Office and complain. It's my experience that very few actually write. Finally, I think P & O are shooting themselves in the foot by offering such cheap fares. I've just read that three Cruise Lines are promising to give back the difference to any passengers if the cruise they have booked is reduced. Paul has already said how poor the entertainment was. We went almost every night thinking "tonight may be better". There were 2 or 3 good shows, best of all was comedian Tom O'Connor; so good in fact that he was asked, and did, another show. I'll conclude by saying that I will look long and hard before I book another P & O cruise. It's a shame, we have such wonderful memories of our days on the "Oceana" Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2010
On arrival aboard the ventura we we greeted with a cabin that was not properly cleaned and to a standard which i would not expect from a second rate youth hostel.Issues of cleanliness included:Dirty stained tea cupsCoffee stains all down a ... Read More
On arrival aboard the ventura we we greeted with a cabin that was not properly cleaned and to a standard which i would not expect from a second rate youth hostel.Issues of cleanliness included:Dirty stained tea cupsCoffee stains all down a wall on cupboard topsA dirty binDirty ashtray on balconyCarpet not well hooveredFinger marks on mirrorBathroom smellingBathroom not well cleanedBathrobe missingI contacted reception and asked for the house keeper to visit the cabin as the hygene and cleanliness was totally unacceptable,on his arrival we were requested to leave the cabin whilst these issues were attended to.not ideal after an 8 hour flight a 1 hour drive and 3 hours at manchester airport. P and O wake up and smell the roses or in this case the toilet! An offer of a complimentary drink or some form of token gesture would have been of some consolation,but not forth coming.All the above issues were dealt with to some degree and i eventually recieved asome what shabby bathrobe which I personally would have been embarresd to donate to a charity shop.Our smelling bathroom saga continued through-out the holiday dispite several matainance men attending to the issue on numerous occassions,I dont believe the issue was ever really solved we became amune to most odours due to the amount of air freshners we had crammed in the room.we found the rest of the ship to be very clean and had no other hygene issues other than with the poor cleaning standard of our cabin,dispite being a suite where we spent a lot of time especially during sea days and sharing with 3 adults ,the cabin was only hoovered at best every other day and minimal house work was done to our cabin at a very poor standard.In the main restaraunts ,primarily evening meals were of a very poor standard to a degree that if i were a paying customer onshore not only would i never return to such a restaraunt i would expect the head chef to apologise for his mismanagement of creating such poorly cooked and presented food.Often badly presented ,very rarley correctly seasoned,very small portions,A pathetic cheese board and very so so menus that would not attract a paying clientel.I found the waiters and most of the dining staff very professional,courteous and polite although reading between the lines after several weeks,i was lead to believe many staff were unhappy on the ship.The best meals in my opinion were breakfast and best be had in the restaraunt as the self service system was generally a mish mash of problems espescially at peak times (9am onwards)day after day the same issues.No cups ,tea spoons or glasses by the drink machinesDirty cups continually being put out by drink machinesLarge waiting times for speacial orders such as a boiled egg, often stood waiting for 5 mins or moreBacon very undercooked and not of a quality one would expect from any restaraunt. I could waffle on about issues with entertainment ect however appreciate that every ones taste are different and trying to appeal to all ages I am sure no one would be pleased all of the time,In fairness i personally thought the evening shows and artist were of a reasonable standard and catered a bit of everything during our 29 days.Conclusion.P and O are certainly allowing standards in all quarters to drop ,in my opinion more of a bargain bucket than an oppulent experience.I appreciate the price of cruising in real terms has probably never been so affordable however ,why do people especially P n O clentele wish to cruise?I would consider P and O to be offering a butlin on the sea experience rather than an opulent ,quality ,fine holiday experience.I have dispite my latest experience with P and O,booked again on the ventura for a simular christmas cruise,for no other reason than this ship is in the right plaice at the right time at an affordable rate to myself.however should the cabin service be of as poor quality let it be known that the captain may be a crew member missing,as for the food i will aim to live off breakfasts and hope the head chef has found his rightful position in life preferably out of a kitchen. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2010
Our flight to Barbados was with Thomsons & we had booked premier class we were very happy with the flight & service. Had read that premier class was not worth the extra money but we felt the £99.00 each way represented good value ... Read More
Our flight to Barbados was with Thomsons & we had booked premier class we were very happy with the flight & service. Had read that premier class was not worth the extra money but we felt the £99.00 each way represented good value for money, with only 35 seats in premier it was much quieter and felt less cramped the service was very good, good choice of entertainment blankets & pillows provided along with a small amenity pack.Despite the snow our flight left slightly early. Really nice to leave your luggage at Manchester and not have to collect it in Barbados.check in staff at Manchester very strict on weight allowance, we saw people having to repack and throw things away just for being 1kg over weight. Couldn't believe how big Ventura was when we first saw her. We were on one of the last coaches from the airport so had to wait for a while in the immigration sheds at Barbados. Found our cabin easily and surprisingly we found our way around the ship without too many problems. I found it helpful to remember that if I was on brown coloured carpet I was at the front of the ship, red mid ship & grey rear of the ship. Very happy with our cabin mid ship on deck ten C deck, no noise or vibration and C deck have double size balconies half of which is shaded and private and half that you can enjoy some sunbathing on although this part is overlooked. Decent size cabin clean & comfortable with tea & coffee making facilities replenished daily.We had requested a double bed & found this a bit uncomfortable as it was two singles joined together. Powerful shower complimentary shower gel, shampoo conditioner & body lotion provided. We had chosen freedom dining & found this worked well for us we prefer to eat early & were allocated a table for two whenever requested. Had breakfast & lunch in the Saffron food & service very good. Tried the buffet at breakfast & lunch on a couple of occasions & while the food was good sometimes the tables, trays & cutlery were not as clean as they could have been. In the evening we went to either the Cinnamon or the Beach House the service in the Beach House was very good. The entertainment was mixed some good some not so good but there is so much choice I think most people would find something that they would enjoy. Captain Hamish Reid was was, friendly & entertained people on a daily basis with his dry sense of humour. All the public areas were clean, bright & modern & ventura is a lovely ship. The majority of the crew were kind & helpful. We met people from all walks of life & found everyone to be friendly & there just to enjoy their own holiday. The sail away parties were fun especially when other ships were leaving port around the same time.With the exception of the weather which was poor at times we could not fault all that Ventura offered.Would I cruise again no but that had nothing to do with Ventura cruising was simply not for me although we had calm seas I did not enjoy the movement of the ship & will probably not cruise again. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2010
We cruised on Ventura 3-17 December 2010; our second time on P&O and our first Caribbean cruise although we have been to this part of the world many times for hotel-based holidays. We flew from Glasgow on a chartered First ... Read More
We cruised on Ventura 3-17 December 2010; our second time on P&O and our first Caribbean cruise although we have been to this part of the world many times for hotel-based holidays. We flew from Glasgow on a chartered First Choice plane with exclusively Ventura passengers on board. We paid the extra £99 each way for the premium seats, which was worth it for the extra leg room. You also get free drinks which you don't get in economy but of this flight everyone got free drinks courtesy of P&O. It was a real bonus to check-in our cases at Glasgow and then not have to handle them again until they were delivered to our cabin and no delay at the airport in Bridgetown as we were taken by coach to the check-in at the port. Our previous P&O cruise was on Azura which is almost exactly the same lay out as Ventura. We were in a balcony cabin at the stern of the ship on Deck C - we had a large balcony. The cabin was excellent with loads of room for our clothes. As we had experienced on Azura, the food was very good in the main restaurant. We were 'freedom dining' and ate in the Cinnamon Restaurant most nights. We rarely had to wait for a table for two, even at busy times. The restaurant manager was excellent; he was always attentive and made you feel very valued. We tried 'The White Room' which was well-worth the extra £20 per head. However, we found the food very rich. 'East' was also excellent, £15 extra for this one. We ate here twice and the staff were very friendly and helpful. We tried 'Ramblas' the tapas bar once and it was of a very high standard and inexpensive. We tried to have lunch there on our last day but it was closed. The disappointing dining experience was breakfast at the Waterside or Beach House buffets. We have been in better works canteens; the serving area is too narrow and it was very claustrophobic, especially during the peak serving times. The buffet areas need to be redesigned to make them more open; P&O could do worse that look at how Royal Caribbean manages to solve this problem. The choice at breakfast was also poor; only white toast and no bagels. We were concerned about stories of badly behaved passengers on Ventura on previous cruises. Although some of the people on the ship didn't exactly look like respectable 'cruisers' we didn't experience any problems; most people we met were very friendly. Not too many children around either. Not too many problems getting sun beds, even on sea days, although the beds around the main pool were very close together. We usually got beds on Deck 19, sports deck, and was generally quiet; we don't think some people even knew there were beds up there. One issue that was debated throughout the cruise was whether or not there should be Christmas decorations up or not. The captain decided that there would be none until the 17 December for the next cruise and there was hardly any Christmas music played either. No jogging track which is unfortunate. You can jog right around the ship on Deck 7 but there are usually lots of smokers there to get in your way. The deck is under cover as well so you can't enjoy the sunshine. The entertainment was hit-and-miss.; lots of 'dancing' related shows in the main theatre - not our cup of tea. Some of the tribute acts were good, especially Laura Butler who did two separate shows, first as Amy Winehouse and then Cher. The Freddie Mercury tribute was rubbish. There was a Scottish comedian, Anthony Scott, who we were warned could be offensive - he certainly was and he alienated most of his English audience within 2 minutes. It would have helped if he had been funny but he wasn't. We booked several excursions with P&O and without fail they were very well organised and we thought excellent value for money. One highlight was a snorkelling trip to 'Champagne Reef' in Dominica, snorkelling over the site of an active volcano; fantastic array of colourful fish. We weren't sure about P&O after our Azura cruise but we really enjoyed this one, we have already booked the same cruise for next December. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2010
Overall we enjoyed our Ventura experience finding the captain's humour very contagious. For the main the staff in the dining rooms were helpful and courteous although (as with life generally) a few bad attitudes let down the ... Read More
Overall we enjoyed our Ventura experience finding the captain's humour very contagious. For the main the staff in the dining rooms were helpful and courteous although (as with life generally) a few bad attitudes let down the good guys. The bad and ugly has to be the self service restaurant on the top deck. No smiles or offers of help here, tables taking an age to clear and getting a drink to accompany your meal a real achievement. Lack of adhering to dress codes was a disappointment as was the calibre of younger passengers sporting tattoos and less than desirable language. The entertainment was a mixed bag of very good and not so good. Tom O'Connor was excellent and for the main the vocalists were too. Having said that we did make an early departure from some of the shows and 'passed their best'vocalists. The Beach Hut could have had a better booking system giving all passengers a chance to experience food of a more interesting, imaginative nature than the main dining halls. We found The White Room food enjoyable but not comparable to the fine dining we expected. The East Asian restaurant wasn't worth a £15 supplement albeit enjoyable. The curry lunches would have been improved with a varied menu. Full marks for the delivery of our luggage from Gatwick to our cabin, like wise from the Ventura to Gatwick. Small points that would have been appreciated, a replacement flower in cabins, an arrival welcome drink. Having said that the Christmas gifts of a pashmina and silver guff links were much appreciated by my husband and self. I can fully appreciate cost effectiveness is all important in making P/O cruises being competitive on their cruise prices especially in these hard times. BUT..., when paying approximately £280 a day (minus spending money) standards could have been better in the main dining halls and the entertainment. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2010
We chose this Christmas cruise on Ventura simply because the itinerary and dates suited our schedule. We were on Azura 6 months before so knew what to expect. In fact we were surprised that the ships were so similar. Ventura is a couple of ... Read More
We chose this Christmas cruise on Ventura simply because the itinerary and dates suited our schedule. We were on Azura 6 months before so knew what to expect. In fact we were surprised that the ships were so similar. Ventura is a couple of years older but doesn't really show it. In fact, given a straight choice we would pick Ventura over Azura. Reason: the front Oasis Pool and surrounding deck is open to all, not just those paying for the retreat and the Casino/Pub area is much bigger as part of this deck area is used for the new single cabins on Azura. Being a Christmas cruise and this being Ventura we expected loads of kids. We were told there were 400 on board but we didn't really notice them as the kids clubs kept them occupied all day and to be honest we enjoyed the wide age range of people on this cruise, a much younger average than our previous med cruises. We met nice people of all age groups. The flights both ways were with Thomsons from Manchester: two hours delay outbound and 6 hours inbound. Very disappointed re these avoidable delays. We booked a month ahead and got a Superior Deluxe Cabin on D deck at a good price. This was lovely, spacious, nice sized bathroom and kept very clean. We were on Freedom dining in Cinnamon Restaurant and enjoyed it. We thought the choice was better than on Azura and the service, though still variable, was better than Azura where they were still finding their feet when we were on her. The Restaurant Manager was superb in ensuring we had the Vegetarian Menu presented nightly to choose the next evenings' meal. I think every ship has issues re buffet dining. It's impossible to provide the space necessary to feed the numbers that want to eat at peak times so finding space can be difficult but surely its either this or less deck space? I have to say that the people complaining about a lack of tables were the same ones who would drink cup of tea after cup of tea and hog a table for ages. We thought the breakfast choice to be good, well cooked and hot. Whilst the choice was the same each day, you could concoct your own breakfasts and differ it each day plus you could order eggs as you wanted them and they had good veggie bacon and sausage available to order as well as perfectly cooked poached eggs. We found the entertainment the same as Azura. The headliners shows were poor yet again, verging on embarrassing. The acrobats during the main headliners show were amazing though it's just the rest of the headliners remind me of a 1970s variety show. As on Azura, we like the choice of places to drink in the evening and especially Ramblas which was quiet and you could order a large glass of wine for £3.25 - a bargain. This was our first Caribbean cruise and to be honest the stops disappointed. Little to see without going on tours or taxis and apart from Aruba the beaches didn't impress. However we were happy with a few hours on shore and then returning to ship to relax on deck. Much will be said of the New Orleans fiasco. 3000 passengers and 1200 crew all requiring immigration clearance. The Captain did warn everyone before arriving that there would be delays but the understatement was that 'all available immigration desks would be open'. There were only 8 desks! Some passengers were not cleared until it was too dark to see New Orleans. Ultimately this is a reflection of the US over the top attitude to immigration. On the scale of things a cruise ship docking for the day should be low risk but the US Border Agency don't asses risk. Any risk has to be controlled irrespective of the damage caused to tourism. I'm not sure P&O could have done more. Yes Azura had the same issue when it docked in New Orleans the week before but knowing this what should have been done? Withdraw this port of call from our trip at short notice? This wasn't possible as many people were disembarking in New Orleans for their flight home. There were people flying home the next day from New Orleans and perhaps P&O could have ensured that they were able to get through the immigration mob relatively early to be given a chance to see the town on the only day possible (people staying on for a month had two days to see the town). I feel a little sorry for P&O who are being made the scapegoat for this issue when the blame mostly lies with the US authorities. However, given the issues I don't believe P&O should be using New Orleans on future itineraries as the first port of call in the US. Finally, this was our first time away at Christmas and we enjoyed it. P&O added some nice touches, Christmas cards from the Captain (Hamish Reid who was superb), presents on Christmas Eve, a nice Christmas Day meal, a pantomime and carols. We would chose them again for a similar trip and for those trying to decide between Azura and Ventura, there is a lot of hype re Azura so if it's a straight choice between the two then let the itinerary, dates and price make your choice as there is little to choose between them. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2010
After thoroughly enjoying a month long Christmas and New Year cruise last year on Oceana we decided to book the similar cruise on Ventura this year. What a huge mistake that proved to be. After only a couple of days it seemed as though the ... Read More
After thoroughly enjoying a month long Christmas and New Year cruise last year on Oceana we decided to book the similar cruise on Ventura this year. What a huge mistake that proved to be. After only a couple of days it seemed as though the ship was being run by an entirely different cruise line. Yes, the ship is large and we expected that. What we did not expect was that many parts of the sip were downright grubby - dirty marks on carpeting, really dirty tiled areas in the Waterside buffet and on one occasion chips were left lying on a staircase in the Beachcombers pool area for over 2 weeks. In the same Beachcombers pool area some birds had defaecated on sun loungers whilst the roof was open in port during the first week of the cruise and these were never cleaned during the remainder of the cruise. There are inadequate toilet facilities on the pool decks. In fact there are only 2 ladies cubicles and 1 disabled between the Laguna and Beachcomber pools and these have to be reached by walking in the smoking area and consequently they reek of cigarette smoke. The only other toilets are situated between the Beach House and Waterside buffet areas. One of our main complaints was the quality and choice of food. In the Waterside and Beach House buffets, the layout is very poor and it is necessary to wander with a laden tray to negotiate various foodstuffs. There does not seem to be a logical pattern to where the various food is located. Often the trays, bowls and plates were too hot to handle but this was obviously to help warm up the mediocre, often barely warm food. At breakfast fresh fried eggs were put out and I found that they were cold. Presumably they then have to warm up under the lights. During the second half of the cruise American type streaky bacon was provided but unfortunately not served in the American style i.e. crispy so it turned out to be greasy. The toast resembled re-cycled cardboard. The choice of fresh fruit at breakfast was very limited and repetitive. The even sliced the grapefruit into thin slices to make it go further! Bananas, when they appeared were of a quality that would not even have been sold as seconds in a supermarket. By the second week the honey in the little containers had solidified. It was almost as though they had not prepared for the fact that this cruise was of a month's duration and not the usual two weeks. Steak, which is usually on the always available part of the menu appeared most nights on the main menu. There was no way anyone could opt for a healthy eating option as many of the vegetables served were of the frozen variety. We endured the freedom dining on only 4 occasions as each time the service was extremely slow and when the food finally arrived it was not piping hot. The waiters had a tendency to try to get all the tables they were saving to catch up so that they could serve each table with the main course simultaneously. The quality of the meat and vegetables was second rate. The Christmas dinner was one of the worst I have ever had on a cruise ship - the turkey tasted more like something that had been artificially produced, sprouts as hard as bullets, roasted potatoes that my have 'visited' an oven briefly to give them some colour but no crispness. Dry Christmas pudding to follow with a brandy sauce that seemed to be alcohol free! We gave the New Years Eve dinner a miss and used room service! The only redeeming factor regarding the food was that there was a Beach House diner open every evening except Christmas Day and New Years Eve (unfortunately). Here there was a limited menu but the food was cooked to order and was excellent in comparison to the rest of the ship. It was interesting to note that as the cruise progressed the queues for this facility started earlier each night and there were many regulars using it, who like ourselves had given up on their regular dining room for similar reasons to ourselves. There was obviously some form of respiratory virus going round the ship as included on the usual letter about Norwalk virus it also included coughs and colds and requested people contact the medical centre if they were suffering from these. Everywhere you went on the ship people were coughing and full of colds. It was not surprising as this started on the outbound flight where someone behind us coughed constantly for the whole 9 hour flight! To make matters worse, the public rooms in the ship were extremely cold. It is the first time on a Caribbean cruise ( and we have done over 30 of these) when we have had to turn the air conditioning in our cabin up from the lowest setting. The only time the ship's interior felt comfortable was during the last two days in Barbados when normal Caribbean temperatures resumed. The first week of the cruise the weather was cool and cloudy in the Caribbean and then we headed north towards New Orleans, which was a further ordeal. P and O provided all passengers with the green immigration forms to complete (which have not been used for almost 2 years) only for the immigration officers to throw them away! The immigration ordeal started at 7.15 a.m. and only finished just after 6 p.m. as there were only 8 booths operating on the quayside. Interestingly though, the crew seemed to complete all their immigration procedures in order to start their crew drills and coast guard inspection by 10.30 a.m. Passengers who were only on the 2 week cruse hardly saw anything of New Orleans as they left early the next day for their return flights. Again it is not the first time P and O have been to New Orleans - in fact Azura was there the previous week so why wasn't there communication between the two ships as they must have encountered the same problem. We have been there on Oriana and it took til 2 p.m. for the ship to be cleared then and they only had half the number of passengers. St. Thomas, too, was a disappointment as we docked at Crown Bay which has very little in the way of facilities as the one at Havensight. In fact one shop owner remarked it was the first time they had had such a large ship in there before. It is obviously a cheaper option in the way of port charges etc. for P and O. It was impossible to walk into Charlotte Amalie and the open 'taxis' were charging $8 per person for the return trip. P and O provided shuttle buses in Port Everglades and Port Canaveral but nothing in St. Thomas. The entertainment was the usual mix of shows, comedians and tribute acts although we did have Tom O Connor appearing in the second half of the cruise. Cabin TV was showing the usual range of Christmas films the first two weeks but did not replace these with any additional films for the second two weeks. In fact the interactive TV was quite annoying as it took time to load and you had to get the remote in a certain position to operate it only to find that most of the films on offer were pay per view (not mentioned in any of the brochures). We did not even get a cruise log for the first two weeks and when we asked at Reception we were told that one had not been issued. Untrue as we had seen them in other pigeon holes. Likewise we did not receive any disembarkation information and were told we should have had one. There was no cruise overview issued for the second two weeks and the excuse given was that the entertainment had not yet been finalised! Were they working on a day to day basis and hoping that it would be 'alright on the night' and that passengers would not notice that some of the shows were repeated from the first half of the cruise. Many of the entertainment venues were not suitable especially the Tamarind where they had the classical artistes performing. There is a thoroughfare through this venue and we had to endure the kids club with their supervisors marching through and other passengers having quite loud conversations whilst walking through which is very distracting when trying to listen to classical music. The Exchange Bar and Casino were other walk through areas and there were often queues in the former waiting for the second performance in the Arena Theatre. There were very few quiet areas on the ship to sit and have a drink as there seems to be a necessity to have bands in most public areas. The library was quite small for the size of ship and had a very poor selection of fiction. Many of the books were old and in need of repair/replacing. It was almost as though all the other ships belonging to P and O had donated their oldest and tattiest books to Ventura.The librarian was not always at her post at the times stipulated which meant people left their returned books lying on her desk and others then picked them up without having to have them recorded. It just seemed pointless having the cabinets locked and specific opening times for the library when it could not be supervised adequately. Despite the fact that the Captain, Hamish Reid is quite a character and was on last year's Oceana cruise, he did not appear to be enjoying his sojourn on Ventura. We never saw him walking round the decks. He also seemed to be taking on the role of Cruise Director announcing all the evening entertainment and the shopping events when he was informing passengers that we were due to leave port. He also did not seem to be able to operate the public address system as most mornings in port we were woken by his voice in the cabin announcing that we had docked in such and such a port. He might just as well have started with "Hi de hi cruisers" to reflect the kind of ship he was running. There has obviously been a lot of cost cutting, changes and directives from Head Office since last year and standards have certainly dropped. I wonder, too, why there was a P and O director on board in Barbados on the last Friday? My advice to discerning cruisers avoid Ventura at all costs unless you want to experience how a cruise ship should not be run. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2010
My fiancEe and I have just returned from a 29 night 2010/11 Christmas / New Year cruise on the P&O Ventura - Caribbean / Mexico and USA. Having booked it in October 2009, we had looked forward to it for over a year, so we were very ... Read More
My fiancEe and I have just returned from a 29 night 2010/11 Christmas / New Year cruise on the P&O Ventura - Caribbean / Mexico and USA. Having booked it in October 2009, we had looked forward to it for over a year, so we were very disappointed in the final experience. Having cruised before on the Marco Polo, Sea Princess and Celebrity Summit, all being good experiences, I will however try to be objective and fair. From what we thought we knew about the P&O brand, we thought it would represent a step "Up Market", but Ventura was very much a "Down Market" experience in our opinion. If P&O don't want to damage their brand, then they should take a long hard look at Ventura or possibly market her under another brand. I say this because a significant number of fellow passengers we spoke to not only indicated they would never sail on Ventura again, but many who had no other P&O experience to compare it with, said they would never sail P&O again. Unless we can be convinced otherwise, we also fall into this second category. The ship itself was bright, modern and very clean. The Arena theatre was huge, and there were two main cabaret venues, Havana and Tamarind. There were four swimming pools and several Jacuzzis although half were cold and despite complaints were never warm enough to use. One of the larger swimming pools had a sliding roof for when the weather wasn't too good. Our cabin on C deck was clean, well equipped and had a large balcony with two reclining chairs, a foot stool (only one !) and a small drinks table. The balconies on this deck were about 10 ft x 10 ft, twice the size of most others, half covered so you could still sit out if it rained. We had a good shower room and the open plan area for hanging clothes gave us ample space for two people. We also had a TV, a fridge (un-stocked) and tea making facilities with a good supply of quality tea bags. The drinks onboard where quite reasonably priced and there was a good choice. You did have this daft system of barman needing to serve you via the waiter, but in truth we never found this to be a problem or to create much of a delay. We read many reports of there being too few sun beds, but we could always find some. Ok, they were very closely packed and as you would expect, very heavily subscribed in the pool areas but away from those areas there were plenty. Anyway, we preferred the privacy of our nice balcony. But P&O in their wisdom have marketed this ship to a different type of person from their normal customer and we felt we were not made sufficiently aware of what to expect, hence my earlier branding comments. As well as this, many passengers seemed to have gotten last minute bargain basement deals which brought on board a lot of people who might be better suited to a Butlins holiday. Sorry if this sounds a bit snobby, but it's an honest opinion and a comparison used by quite a number of other passengers. Shaven heads, tattoos and male earrings were much in evidence, as were sweatshirts and bad language. We didn't want the dress code to be too stuffy but there should be some areas of the ship where a reasonable code is enforced, such as the formal restaurants. Even on formal nights it wasn't always. You and your wife might go to a lot of trouble getting all dressed up in your dinner suit or gown, then some scruffy individual was allowed to enter the restaurant and plonk themselves down at your table dressed in polo shirt, jeans and trainers with tattoos up to their ears This was indicative of the general lack of rule enforcement. For example, on other ships there has been a strictly enforced rule about using the hand sanitizer gel before entering any restaurant, but on Ventura no one challenged you if you entered a restaurant without using the gel dispenser. That worried us as I endured a dose of Norovirus once (off ship) and I had no desire to repeat the experience. We were on Freedom Dining, and as we enjoy dinner as a social event, we looked forward to some convivial evenings with our fellow diners, as we have enjoyed on other ships. While we did meet some very pleasant and interesting people on Ventura, there were far too many evenings when we found ourselves on a table of six or eight with folk who had absolutely no conversation or social skills what so ever. Getting an intelligent conversation going could be like drawing teeth, indeed, one evening on a table for six, a couple joined us and while the wife did manage the odd sentence, during the entire meal the husband only said one word, and that was "No" when asked by the wine waiter if he would like wine with his meal. Boring and rude or what ! As far as freedom dining was concerned, we never had a problem waiting too long for a table. However, the food in the main restaurants was pretty bland and unimaginative. If meat and two veg is your thing then OK but we expected much better. There were some good dishes but not many and as for the buffet restaurant, I've had better food in a works canteen. For the alternative restaurants, Beach House was reasonable but in the East restaurant, food was not great and far from authentic Asian. It was little better in Ramblas, the Tapas bar. Here they wanted us to have just a single "starter" dish as a tapas, not a selection. When we ordered the main dish, Paella, we were offered boiled broccoli and roast potatoes as accompaniments - has anyone on the catering staff ever been to Spain or experienced proper Tapas ????? Worst of all though was the unedifying bun fight that passed as breakfast in the buffet restaurant. Never enough tables, cutlery, plates, cups, trays and not a great selection of food either. The design of the severy was so cramped and with no one-way system enforced, people where forever pushing past and over each other in the scramble to get at the food. A served breakfast could be had in two of the three formal restaurants, which was a much more civilised affair but that finished very early at 9:00am (9:30 on sea days). These could have taken some of the strain off the buffet had breakfast been extended to all three restaurants with longer hours, but it was not.. By contrast, the White Room was excellent and we had no problems booking it. We ate there on Christmas evening at a supplement of £30, but this included a quality glass of wine with each course and again on the last formal night, (supplement £20) wine excluded. Both times we opted to dine outside under the stars. However, supplements are all very well, but not if you have to upgrade just escape to poor quality elsewhere onboard. Most of the chefs were by all accounts Indian / Asian so it came as no surprise to occasionally find an excellent curry on the buffet lunch menu. So why on earth they did not make far more use of this asset and do more of it or even turn East into a truly authentic Indian venue is beyond us. With some exceptions, in general we found the staff to be a bit surly, and a few almost rude, particularly in the buffet restaurant and the bars up on deck. We think half the problem was that the remuneration system didn't serve to motivate them well enough Generally speaking the entertainment was amateurish at best and awful at worst, with a few of notable exceptions. Chris Walker and his Jazz band were very good, and several of the tribute acts were also good. There was some pretty inane daytime entertainment around the main pool but luckily you could escape this by using one of the other pools. The casino was a bit limited and unfortunately for it's adherents formed part of the Exchange bar, which was an onboard "Pub". Here the entertainment hit rock bottom. You could enjoy such delights as an evening of excruciating karaoke. The Great British Pub Night featured a sing-along evening with songs such as Knees up Mother Brown, Roll out the Barrel and My Old Man, amongst other traditional British sophistication, while red-faced guests sat around waving little Union Jack flags and swilling pints of lager. The only things missing were a Glamorous Granny competition and a Knobbly Knees contest. Hi-De-Hi !!! This event was packed out, which could mean P&O had got it right, conversely it could demonstrate the type of clientele they had succeeded in attracting. Brands are meant to stand for something definitive, that's the whole point of them. They should distil the very essence of what you are about and project that image, clear and unambiguously deep into the heart of your intended market, so that when customers buy into them, they know precisely what to expect - P&O, if you value your brand, for heaven's sake do something about Ventura Read Less
Sail Date: December 2010
We have cruised over 15 times and have previously cruised with: NCL Princess Royal Caribbean Holland and America Costa This cruise was by far the worst cruising experience that we have had for the following ... Read More
We have cruised over 15 times and have previously cruised with: NCL Princess Royal Caribbean Holland and America Costa This cruise was by far the worst cruising experience that we have had for the following reasons Pre Flight information This was some what lacking, I opted for paper free but information was not available until very late on and the information about the trips available was very limited so it was very difficult to establish what the trip would cover. There was no information provided in respect of what would happen in the event of the adverse weather conditions. Flight This was misleading as the information in your brochure at the time of booking stated that a scheduled flight via British Airways would be used, but instead a charter flight was provided with Thomas Cook. Our flight was due to leave at 8.30am 18/1/11. When we arrived at our hotel the night before the hotel informed us that we were delayed until 12.30. When we checked in at the terminal at 5.30am we were not advised of a delay, there was no bad weather at this point. Information provided was very poor. We spent 6 hours in the terminal, 2 hours at the departure gate (which had no facilities and was extremely cold) and another 4 hours on the plane during which time we were only offered 1 cup of water and a bag of pretzels, and the air conditioning needed to be turned off for de-icing so it became very hot. During this "11hours 55 minutes" we were only provided with one £5 voucher for refreshments. You notice that I have stated this "11hours 55 minutes" this is because we managed to take off just before any compensation claims would need to be paid. We finally made it to our cabin at 3.30am the following day. Cabin Whilst the layout of the cabin was good there was less space than we are used to with similar grade cabins with other providers. Our cabin did his best to keep the cabin clean but the carpet was filthy and every night the cushions were put under the bed on the filthy carpet before being put on the bed again the following day. We had to request more shampoo and soap and we were told that the shampoo could not be replaced until he could hand the empty bottle in, which was not convenient when two female are on board for a month and wash their hair every day. Food Your promotions state the following which is misleading: Dining P&O Cruises is passionate about food - so prepare your taste buds for a treat. All of our chefs have been inducted into the Chaine des Rôtisseurs and the cuisine they create has been inspired from around the globe. They use only the finest ingredients in their kitchens and will keep your holiday full of mouth-watering flavour. Each of our superliners has a tempting medley of venues for you try and culinary adventures for you to experience. This is just a quick overview of the level of dining available on board, for full details of our dining options click on the link. Breakfast - Selection limited - Food cold - Plates often unavailable and dirty - Cups often unavailable and dirty - Cutlery often unavailable and dirty - No service - Tables not cleaned regularly - Pastries were not edible - Fruit was often not ripe - First two weeks we had back bacon second to weeks only very fatty streaky Dinner - Selection limited - Food cold & tasteless - Cutlery often dirty - Service not professional - no recommendations made, often couldn't remember who had ordered what - Not sure how they could make potatoes taste so poor We eventually learned that if we wanted hot food in the dining room you had to order the steak as this would be cooked to order, and if you wanted food that wasn't bland overcooked or cold that you paid extra and ate in the speciality restaurants. The speciality restaurants food and service were of a standard that I would have expected in the main dining room - Wine service - Service not professional - no recommendations made, and on the first evening I was asked to choose my wine for the second days meal. When I replied that I didn't know what that I would be eating I was provided with the next days menu and told that it would be better if I ordered it then as he was very busy! Your promotion states: We wouldn't be where we are today, Britain's favourite cruiseline, if it wasn't for our team. Regardless of how impressive our ships are, if we didn't have the high levels of service that we do on board, our passengers wouldn't come back, but they do. Time is invested in our carefully selected staff. Before they step on board, they are inducted into P&O Cruises through a comprehensive on shore training programme. Once on board the training continues with On Board Trainers visiting each ship for up to a month at a time to ensure your holiday cruises with us are truly special. You will find a passenger to staff ratio of 2:1 on board equalling an intuitive, but unobtrusive service at all times. From our British Officers to skilled galley staff, all are completely professional and nothing is ever too much trouble. This is misleading most of the staff could not speak good English. They are on 9 month contracts and work 12 hours a day 6 days a week. Bearing in mind we were sailing for 28 days, they didn't remember our names or drinks and I think we got 3 Merry Christmases and no Happy New Years! If the ratio was 2:1 some people must have had 20:1 as staff were no where to be seen and we spent most of our time getting out of there way as we were made to feel we were inconveniencing them by asking for anything. Your promotion was misleading as it states: An eye for detail With so many companies offering holiday cruises, what makes P&O Cruises a cut above the rest? Maybe it's because we think the little things are just as important as the big ones: • Providing personal in cabin pamper treats - Not sure what you mean by this - there was a chocolate on our pillow but nothing more than this! • Ensuring your glass is never empty at dinner - We had to serve ourselves a lot of the time as the wine waiter was too busy • Producing a daily ship's newspaper with the latest headlining stories - this was often not available and we usually had to go back 3 times during the day to try and obtain it • Stewards who remember your favourite drink - Never happened as the staff e=were not interested • Turning your bed down every evening - Yippee this one is true! When you combine these with our other unique touches we hope that you will agree our service is second to none.- totally disagree - I don't believe we received any more service that you get at MacDonalds Your promotion states the following which is misleading: Cruise entertainment P&O Cruises offer the very best in cruise entertainment. Evenings are the social highlight of the day when you are on board a P&O Cruises superliner. When the sun goes down your ship begins to come alive with the hum of conversation and music, and you can be sure you are in for a memorable night with our on board cruise ship entertainment. Our fleet presents an exciting range of venues and cruise ship entertainment: Cocktail bars, nightclubs, casinos and theatres; Live bands, dramatic musicals and deck parties; Cabarets singers, comedians and speciality acts; Classical recitals and concerts; Quizzes and panel games to play, with prizes to be won; Special theme evenings including tropical, 60's & 70's or Black and White Ball themes; Cinemas and games rooms. Diverse and fun, each ship has its own distinctive signature venues and experiences. So chat into the small hours or hit the dance floor. The special ambience of evenings on board will ensure your nights will be sociable and filled with entertaining fun. There was no nightclub - someone played records after the cabaret finished so there was no atmosphere at all The tribute bands were very poor The casino was so small and was tacked on to the end of a bar that held quizzes and karaoke so there was no glamour and no atmosphere There was no cinema - a film was played in the cabaret lounge - this was delayed for an hour as they couldn't get the "projector" to work - not very 21st century You bill this cruise as "sophisticated" several times we heard passengers refer to it as Butlins at sea which is much closer to the mark. To say that we were very disappointed would be an understatement. My sister and I are both self employed, so to take a month off meant that this was a very expensive bad experience. I have read the comments from other "customers" and the comments seem to be very similar to those I have made and yet somehow you have recorded them as 5 stars. Most of the people we spoke to, like us, were so disappointed they may never cruise again. We made several complaints on board ship and to date no one has responded therefore at this stage I am copying in the Advertising Standards and Watchdog in the hope that other people do not get the same disappointing experience 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: October 2010
As first time cruisers we weren't too sure what to expect. Not sure we would go with P & O again as on speaking to our fellow passengers they too were disappointed with several things. The evenings were great, met with some ... Read More
As first time cruisers we weren't too sure what to expect. Not sure we would go with P & O again as on speaking to our fellow passengers they too were disappointed with several things. The evenings were great, met with some very lovely people (how lucky we were). The gentleman was right about the sunbeds, not enough to go round and I understand that the shop had capacity for another 800 people, god only knows what it would have been like at sea on those days if you wanted to sit up top. The food was great but the customer service could have been improved. Didn't see much of anyone in authority walking round and the teenagers and some adults were diving, bombing etc despite warning notices. The staff when told at reception weren't interested, and there could have bneen a serious incident. As the prices on the cruise were offered at very reduced prices it made it very cheap for some undesirables who showed that they didn;t know how to behave on a luxury cruise liner. Bit disappointing if you had paid full price. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2010
We had an excellent first time cruise. The ship, food and staff were faultless throughout. However after reading on Cruise Critic that the Marco Pierre White restaurant is often fully booked prior to embarkation we followed advice that ... Read More
We had an excellent first time cruise. The ship, food and staff were faultless throughout. However after reading on Cruise Critic that the Marco Pierre White restaurant is often fully booked prior to embarkation we followed advice that you can book in advance. The P&O office pointed out that we had to buy a £20 p.p. supplement voucher. I was then asked whether I wanted white or red wine at a cost of £16 per bottle. I queried this as it was nonsensical that I would know which wine I would choose before knowing what I was going to eat. However I was told that was the system, so I opted for white wine at a total cost of £56. Once on the ship I discovered there was plenty of availability and we chose to eat in the restaurant on the first formal evening. We chose our food and I explained that actually although I had opted for white wine I would now prefer a more appropriate red wine. It was explained by the waiter and then the restaurant manager that my original chosen wine was brought on board at Southampton and whilst I could have something else at an additional cost I had to take ownership of the one I had originally chosen. I asked to see the wine and it was brought to the table - once opened we found it was a bottle of very cheap and nasty Chardonnay. The staff in the restaurant said this procedure had caused problems several times before and they recommended I speak to P&O shoreside as they felt it was a ridiculous system. Returning home I wrote to P&O to complain and ask why they didn't just ask for a £16 payment up front to contribute to the wine, but in their response they completely missed the point and said 'for any passenger who is uncertain of what wine they would like we can only advise that they wait until they are on the ship before booking into the restaurant'. Two lessons - there was plenty of availability for the restaurant, and if you do buy a voucher for yourselves or friends tell P&O they/you do not drink alcohol and choose once on board. 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 combination of fabulous service, really good food, a comfortable cabin, interesting ports, and fabulous weather mean that any whinges are indeed minor. It did surprise me however the number of people my wife and I chatted to on the ... Read More
The combination of fabulous service, really good food, a comfortable cabin, interesting ports, and fabulous weather mean that any whinges are indeed minor. It did surprise me however the number of people my wife and I chatted to on the ship who did just that, whinge about every minor issue. Do regular cruisers often say "the toast is better on Celebrity" and similar? If so, how sad is that, as it must spoil their enjoyment. I have listed many good points in my opening sentence, but would also add that the price of alcohol on board was very competitive. I also enjoyed the art gallery, the ambiance of the Metropolis bar (and the fabulous performances of the duo Sophistication), the exemplary organisation of embarquation and disembarquation, the friendliness of the staff and other passengers. My minor whines are as follows: The pool areas are a bit like Butlins on a bad day, very crowded and noisy. The excursions are expensive. Charging £20 a person for a photo with the captain as the only way to see the bridge. Too many "tribute acts" in the entertainment. Very few quiet areas, as musak is everywhere (I ended up sitting out on the promenade deck) All in all we had a fabulous time, the most relaxing holiday ever. 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: February 2010
I booked this cruise after being made redundant and wanting to do something nice with the money. When I printed the e-ticket 48 hours before we left, I found we had been upgraded to cabin D307, from L311. We arrived at Manchester ... Read More
I booked this cruise after being made redundant and wanting to do something nice with the money. When I printed the e-ticket 48 hours before we left, I found we had been upgraded to cabin D307, from L311. We arrived at Manchester airport early to find that the check in had also opened early. We were through check in within 15 minutes and checked into the airport lounge. On arrival at Barbados we were straight off the plane and onto a bus which took us straight to the ship's embarkation sheds (like a large hangar). Although the queues were long, this took about 20 minutes and we were on board. We found we had been upgraded to a mini suite with a king size bed, a bath and shower, a pamper pack and waiting for us was a bottle of champagne on ice, chocolates and a flower arrangement. The only slight downside was that we had to wait 3.5 hours for our luggage to be delivered to the cabin, something we had not anticipated. But, wearing bathrobes and sipping champagne while we waited was not hard! At St Lucia, Marco Pierre White joined the cruise, much to hubby's surprise as he thought that although there was fine dining, Marco would never actually be on the ship. We were booked on Freedom Dining and so ate when we felt like it. The pager system used by the Cinnamon restaurant if they were full was a bonus as we could go for a drink or relax in our room until a table was ready. We also liked the Waterside buffet, although finding a seat was not always easy. The bar and restaurant staff were fabulous, attentive and friendly. Nothing was too much trouble for our room steward and he was so quick at sorting out our room that we joked he must hide under the bed and clean up as soon as we went out! The ship is beautifully decorated throughout and although we got lost a few times, there were plenty of signs to redirect us. Hubby especially liked the well equipped gym. Ventura is so large that although they were nearly at capacity, we could always find a quiet spot to sunbathe and read if we wanted to. Some of the shows we found a little disappointing. One comedian was quite unfunny and some of the productions were slightly amateur (especially the background displays) but then again, we were not in the West end of London. The entertainment staff were brilliant, especially Greer and Jenny who smiled all day and really engaged the passengers without being pushy. I was really sad to leave Ventura and the Caribbean and would love to go back but we have decided to try out other P&O ships and different destinations first to see if they are as good as our first cruise. We weren't sure if cruising was for us but now that we have tried it, I can honestly say that it's the way forward if you want better than 5 star pampering with top notch food and brilliant destinations. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2010
We booked the Caribbean cruise on the Ventura a little sceptically as the last cruise we did on Costa was awful and the one before that on Ocean Village was not as good as the first one with them. Ventura - well run, friendly, and ... Read More
We booked the Caribbean cruise on the Ventura a little sceptically as the last cruise we did on Costa was awful and the one before that on Ocean Village was not as good as the first one with them. Ventura - well run, friendly, and excellent food, the restaurant staff were also excellent nothing was too much trouble. We had 2nd sitting in the dining room this worked for us as it gave us time to shower and chill for an hour or so after getting back from our trips out. After dinner we went to see the shows, such as they were, we had no trouble finding a seat but go 15 mins before start of performance as they always start on time.The entertainment in the Arena Theatre was ok, not great but ok, the same few performers in every show just in a different order. You need to check the daily activity paper to find out where the entertainment is in the various bars we missed a lot because we thought the theatre was the best place to go. We had a balcony cabin (would not cruise without one) the only problem with it was it was the first on at the bow end a long way to walk to reach the restaurants etc but that was really a minor issue and after all my choice when booking. I found the ship very easy to find my way round and if you remember every time you get out of a lift you are facing the front of the ship you can't go wrong. The prices for drinks on board was very reasonable we were pleasantly surprised no more expensive than in a pub at home. We did find the prices in general in the Caribbean a lot more expensive than the last time we went a couple of years ago but that is not P & 0's fault. To vacate your cabin by 9am on the day of departure is too early considering you don't get the cabin till late afternoon when you embark. The organized trips were expensive, use local taxis the taxi drivers are very switched on and will give you all the info you want and the best places to visit. We would definitely Venture on th Ventura again. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2010
First time we had been on Ventura - the cabins are great. We had a super one with an extra large balcony at the aft end of the ship - this proved to be our sanctuary. Whilst this is quite a pleasant ship it certainly lacks the wow factor ... Read More
First time we had been on Ventura - the cabins are great. We had a super one with an extra large balcony at the aft end of the ship - this proved to be our sanctuary. Whilst this is quite a pleasant ship it certainly lacks the wow factor of Celebrity Soltice and is a good deal smaller even though it carries the same number of passengers. Our main disappointment was the lack of really nice places to go for a drink, a nice club bar was needed. The large bar at the top of the ship with its big video screen was the best, but on the whole the staff were not very pleasant or helpful. The biggest disappointment was the huge pub style bar which dominated along with the casino most of the midships area. This I likened to going to darts at the Lakeside Club!! Inane quizzes and football on TV in this huge barn of a room was not for us! Where had all the interesting talks from celebrities gone - in fact anything that would expand your mind a bit! The entertainment seemed to comprise of sales opportunities for the gym and spa or else shopping. I think there was also bingo! With no dedicated cinema, films were shown in different places around the ship and unless they were actually shown in the theatre then it was pretty unsatisfactory. The food in the Saffron restaurant was mostly acceptable, apart from a dreadful gala dinner. Although we did all say that the staff did not seem to be the usual happy bunch and wondered if there was some problem behind the scenes. Our regular waiters at dinner where pleasant, but that could not be said for some of the ones at lunch and breakfast. Whites restaurant was brilliant, however, and we would thoroughly recommend this - especially dining out under the stars - magic. We also enjoyed tapas at Ramblas. We had a horrendous Thompson flight out with a stopover in Shannon - making it 14 hours door to door (and we only live 5 mins from the airport)! On arrival in our cabin it was disappointing to have a filthy loo! The steward cleaned this with apologies and then worked hard to make amends, but not a good start. It was disappointing that some of the passengers did not keep to the dress code - bare chests and tattoos in the restaurants were not remedied by the staff. Perhaps they were too scared of some of the passengers, after two passengers were thrown off for punching a waiter! We avoided the main sundecks after finding some people shouting to one another and raucous laughter at the top of their voices. We all want to have fun, but found that there were too many of the loud ones to make the sunbeds a pleasant place to relax. We actually enjoyed the shows, although there was a lot of criticism from others. I know the main singer could not sing, but he had great stage presence!! The two acrobats and the dancers were fantastic. We enjoyed a couple of the comedians, although a Billy Connolly tribute act was absolutely dire and we were boxed in and could not escape! There were some pretty awful stand alone singers too. One girl, however, had a fantastic voice, but her comedy was sooooo bad we all felt embarrassed for her. Any show held in the nightclub, Havana, seemed to be dire - it really is a very horrid room. Having said that the sound insulation is very good as our cabin was over this and we could not hear a thing!! All in all, lovely to get some sunshine, but it was not only us who thought that P & O had become Butlin's at sea. Sadly after 10 years of cruising around the world, we don't think that P & O will get our business again - they have dumbed down too far. 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

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