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Sail Date: November 2014
We booked for our first Caribbean Cruise over a year before the sail date and we were so looking forward to it. One of the things we liked was that we booked our cases in at the airport and they were delivered to our cabin, one of the ... Read More
We booked for our first Caribbean Cruise over a year before the sail date and we were so looking forward to it. One of the things we liked was that we booked our cases in at the airport and they were delivered to our cabin, one of the things we found out that we didn't like was the length of time it takes to book everyone on board. We were in a hot and sweaty shed on the quayside in a long line and it took a good couple hours. The ship met up with our expectations, great food, lovely staff who were very friendly and tendered to our every need. The entertainment in the evenings was outstanding (Except for the Ventriloquist who was poor) in every venue. There was bars you could just sit and relax and enjoy a drink and there was bars where you could dance the night away something for everyone. But As with every holiday there are parts that doesn't come up to scratch and the Ventura is no exception. Firstly we felt like we were in a 2 Star all inclusive holiday in Spain as the sun beds were reserved very early in the morning with towels left on the beds while the holiday makers were nowhere to be seen, we thought it would be more classy than that. In fact we were told that people were reserving beds as early as 5:30 in the morning in order to get the prime spots. P&O policy states that no sunbed reservations are to be made but we witnessed two incidents of 'Bed Rage' Secondly, we assumed (wrongly) that the evening dress code would be smart casual mixed with a number of Black Tie events. What we found was that quite a number of people did not conform to the dress code and even to the point of wearing football shirts with shorts which tainted the experience. Overall, the cruise was fantastic and what we experienced would not put us off booking another.   Read Less
Sail Date: March 2014
Just arrived home from our first cruise. 1-14th March. We stayed on the Ventura. Being first timers we really didn't know what to expect. We flew from Gatwick to Barbados on Thomson Dreamliner and were very impressed with the amount ... Read More
Just arrived home from our first cruise. 1-14th March. We stayed on the Ventura. Being first timers we really didn't know what to expect. We flew from Gatwick to Barbados on Thomson Dreamliner and were very impressed with the amount of legroom. I assume long haul flights always have personal tv's for entertainment? On arrival in the port in Barbados we were amazed by the cheerfulness of the security staff and those dealing with our ID cards, I asked the guy dealing with mine if I should smile for my photo and he said "Oh yes SMILE, it's good to smile"!. I fully agree with the continuous use of anti bacterial hand gel used before you step on board and in all the dining rooms, such a pity many people ignore it. I wish airlines would use it too! We found our way (eventually) to our cabin (C422) and were very pleasantly surprised with our large balcony whilst below us had half the size and the ones above were even smaller, their cabins were probably much bigger but we had ample space so were very happy!! The rooms are kept immaculately clean by the stewards, mostly boys who do an amazing job and work extremely hard 7 days a week, rooms are serviced twice a day and it's a lovely gesture to find little squares of chocolate on your bed at night. Towels are changed each day and personal flannels are replaced morning and night. Tea, coffee, biscuits etc replenished twice daily. We had a set table in the Bay Tree Restaurant. The menu wasn't particularly amazing but it was better not to have too much to choose from and the food was beautifully presented and very filling. Wine was very reasonably priced as was most of the drinks on board. The waiters were extremely efficient and very pleasant and I cannot fault the service in any way. Entertainment wasn't really to our taste but this is not a criticism. We read a review about sunbeds but although there wasn't supposed to be a shortage, on days at sea we couldn't find two together and it was very much 'sardines in a can', this part of the cruise we didn't like, also there were no sunshades with the sunbeds. We booked a trip for each island we stopped at as we didn't want to just wander aimlessly, each trip also gave us free time to look around the shops in the ports. It was really good to arrive in a different place (nearly) every day. Regarding tipping, we opted out of the compulsory tip charge because we wanted to know EXACTLY where our money was going. Ask at reception for a form if you wish to opt out. We always tip generously, but like to tip those we choose to tip. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2014
So this was my second time cruising with p&o but my first time in the carribbean.The flights to and from the cruise were faultless and the embarkation was quick and easy. Entertainment- There was some form of entertainment on most ... Read More
So this was my second time cruising with p&o but my first time in the carribbean.The flights to and from the cruise were faultless and the embarkation was quick and easy. Entertainment- There was some form of entertainment on most nights and i have to admit they were mostly amazing however during the day there isnt alot going on which i was a bit disapointed in.there wasnt any entertainment around the pools apart from at the sailaway parties at which the deck was too crowded to enjoy it. service- All the bar staff were excellent and friendly apart from one who seemed to be fine to me but was always blunt and rude to my 14 year old daughter(who wasnt loud or rowdy) which i thought was a bit of a let down to an overall good service.However the same cannot be said about my cabin steward(dulce) who was useless.There were 3 of us in my cabin and yet she only supplied us with 2 towels, therefore we asked for another to be in there however in the end we had to go out to her trolley and go get one ourselves every morning because she never gave us one. port-The shore excursions arranged by p&o were amazing and ran smoothly, i would highly reccomend the two reef turtle snorkel as the staff and the excursion itself was exceptionally good. dining- i went to the resturant twice and was not amazed, the food just never seemed to appeal to me and so we ended up going to the buffet most of the time where there was a much better selection of food which was good except for the lack of fruit during lunch and dinner. childrens clubs- My 14 year old daughter used the teens club every day and was definately not dissapointed. on the first night there were only 2 other children in the kids club which were both 5 years younger than her but the youthie working at the time(sam) made a big effort to make her feel welcome.on the second day my daughter went to see if any more children of her age had come to the kids club yet and there were a few more children but not any of her age, however sarah(one of the youthies) who had never met lauren before came over and knew lauren by name and age already and really made her feel welcome and comfortable and assured her that some children of her age would turn up soon. when 2 boys her age turned up sarah made an effort to introduce lauren to them and from then on lauren became good friends with them and spent every spare minute in the kids club.The youthies are all really friendly and caring but arent bossy or patronising, they would joke around with the kids and tease them like they were one of them. We were really pleased with all the youth staff she encountered and i would like to give them all credit: Sam,Abi,Sarah,Lynne,,Danii,Laura, Vicky and Denise, you were all amzing and made laurens cruise experience 100x better. overall this cruise was amazing and am definately going to go on it again. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2014
Just got home from our 3rd P & O cruise, had a fantastic time but I do feel P & O is slipping behind it's competitors, we have already picked our next cruise and it will be Princess again. Our cabin on the Ventura was fine but ... Read More
Just got home from our 3rd P & O cruise, had a fantastic time but I do feel P & O is slipping behind it's competitors, we have already picked our next cruise and it will be Princess again. Our cabin on the Ventura was fine but smaller than Princess, our cabin steward was top notch, couldn't fault his service. However I was enraged to find out from him that we could not have a toweling robe in our cabin. Even on Princess you have to ask for one but you do get it. How penny pinching is this!!! Likewise the food, it was lovely, well cooked and served but no little luxuries like Lobster, caviar and other delights which Princess do so well. We thought the entertainment was good on this ship, enjoyed several of the theatre shows and entertainers but missed a nightclub/disco on board, there was a Dj in the Havana bar but always really late in the evening. Shops were a total disappointment, expensive stuff, Harrods range, mega expensive handbags, not a patch on Princess. Frustrated to find no waiter service in the buffets, self service tea and self service wine dispensers!!! Swimming pools were freezing, didn't use them at all, we waited for the beach. Plus side - drinks were really cheap, £3.50 for a pint of John Smiths and £13 for a bottle of red, saved us a fortune. Also the cost of the cruise is cheaper overall but we would rather pay extra for the little luxuries. We flew Premium class Thomas Cook, worth every penny extra for more leg room and great service. So P & O pull your socks up a bit and stop all the little economies because when we cruise we are looking for luxury. Our next ship will be Ruby Princess, looking forward to comparing!! Read Less
Sail Date: January 2014
We have just arrived home last week from caribbean cruise on ventura,and after reading many good and bad reviews on this ship,and having sailed with P&O 4 times before,once on ventura 3 years ago,I have to conclude that things are not ... Read More
We have just arrived home last week from caribbean cruise on ventura,and after reading many good and bad reviews on this ship,and having sailed with P&O 4 times before,once on ventura 3 years ago,I have to conclude that things are not the same,standards seem to be slipping, the food and entertainment are not on the same level as many other cruise companies,and the type of passengers seems to have changed. You could say "you get what u pay for",we only booked two weeks before and got a lovely balcony cabin for a reduced priced,but I would not have been happy if I had paid full price,as I know a lot of passengers had,but a lot of people we spoke to had got a cheap holiday in the caribbean sunshine and were quite happy! So to sum, up if you can get a reduced price, cabin, from your local airport its dam good value for money. BULLET POINTS. Regional flights,easy check in,no hassle with luggage,good quick transfers to ship Flight with First Choice a bit slap dash,food terrible,paid £2.50 for 1 cup of tea in 8 hours(free bar gone now). Good size cabin,but needed a good clean.Cabin attendant helpful and attentive. Have always liked tea and coffee and biscuits in cabin and free laundry facillities. WATERSIDE/BUFFETS REST. Just ok,never very.hot. ok if u like salads or curries (well there are a lot of indian chefs,but all the currys were good currys,if you love curry) Good English breakfast,but toast always rock hard ,Plenty of other choices too. Serveries just not wide enough,people go the wrong way when they forget some thing, so it ended up like a bun fight. Then you carnt find a seat as people dont move and sit drinking cups of tea BAY TREE REST. Freedom dinning very good,Food and Menus good and varied, for all meals, although meals plated now. Service Good, waiters very pleasant. Most passengers respected dress codes. OTHER SELECT DINNING. I believe was very good but did not use ourselves.Seems an excellent option and very popular for special occasions. ENTERTAINMENT. We found very poor comparing to all previous cruises(about 20 to date).3 comedians in the first week which were just ok.We had seen all the HEADLINERS shows before,3 years ago.Other lookie like,Elton John,Neil Dimond and Cliff Richard,nothing special The Havana Venue is not big enough and not fit for purpose,a lot of people standing,and u couldnt see the small stage although there are small TV screens you can watch the show on. Plenty of other entertainment/music/bands in different venues,depending on taste.t We went to bed early most nights, Television channels minimal in cabin,and have to pay now for any decent film. Entertainment on deck minimal,No organised games around the pool which can be fun when at sea. Entertainment Team on deck at sailaways akin to Butlins singing the same songs every time,month after month,Although THE GREAT BRITISH SAILAWAY is unique and never to be missed,a memory which is never forgotten on a PO cruise. Organised Trips. Good selection,well organised but expensive. You can venture out on your own or with others cheaper in local taxis and buses. SUNBEDS like sardines on sea days ,which was only 3 single days,but there are no germans,so you can find a bed eventually.Better not sit around the pool if carnt stand loud mouthed Brits eating pizzas all day,or dont like TOWIE or Embarassing Bodies. CREW always friendly,polite and helpfull You can take your own alcohol aboard,which most ships dont allow,We saw loads of older ladies with little bottles of spirits in their handbags. I expect they will put a stop to that soon. Drinks reasonable prices,nice cocktails,waiters not pushy with the hard. sell as on american ships. So to sum up, as I could go on for ever,we had a good holiday,met some nice people and ate some lovely food,BUT alot of the competing cruise ships are on another level now,in the decor ,venues,entertainment,food and service and standards. Unfortunately we will be looking else -where for our next cruise,PO you may have just lost another few loyal British cruisers Read Less
Sail Date: January 2014
This was our first time in the Caribbean and also with P and O. The good. The P and O charter flight both to and from Barbados were faultless, flights on time both ways, you put your bags on at the airport and do not see them again until ... Read More
This was our first time in the Caribbean and also with P and O. The good. The P and O charter flight both to and from Barbados were faultless, flights on time both ways, you put your bags on at the airport and do not see them again until in your cabin, on the return, you put your bags out of the cabin before 11pm the night before departure and pick them up again at the home airport. When you arrive in Barbados, you get off the plane and straight onto a coach for the ship, this is followed by a very quick and efficient check in process, overall superb. Cabin steward, Raju, one of the nicest we have ever had on a cruise, extremely polite, efficient and totally un obtrusive. The standard of food was good overall. The majority of the staff did not appear very happy and some of the bar and waiters certainly appeared overworked with a constant stream of superiors checking on them. The ports of call are superb, very friendly people and safe to get around. It is easy to book tours through the ship, but also easy to get tours off the ship without feeling conned. If you are in St Lucia, I would certainly recommend Cosol Tours, absolutely fabulous. The bad This is not an old ship, yet is already showing signs of wear and tear, dirty carpets in hallways etc. It is the first time we have seen basic maintenance being carried out on sea days in public areas, necessitating the closure of public areas. Closing the Beach hut buffet area at lunchtimes on sea days, which only added to the queues in the adjacent main buffet area. Given the size of the ship, the main theatre is too small, if you want a seat you have to be in place at least 30 - 40 minutes before the show starts. The few shows we did see were nothing more than OK, one of the resident bands were very good but only put on a silly times and in the smaller venues. As above in the good, the majority of the staff are lovely, but I was surprised as to how some of them were treated by fellow passengers. Do not get me wrong, if anyone has a cause for concern, they are perfectly entitled to complain, but we personally witnessed some staff being spoken to in a simply appalling manner, The ugly We are from Scotland and I like a drink as much as the next person, but I have never seen sights like it on a cruise. P and O should warn people going on booze cruises or Rum Runner trips about the dangers of very strong alcohol in unusual heat. Sitting on deck 15 just before a sail away we saw ( which turned out to be perfectly healthy people ) collapsing quayside and being wheel chaired on board by uniformed and medical staff purely through drink. On the same night, we were next to a table where a man passed out over dinner, he had been on a booze cruise, none of these people were youngsters. We will certainly return to the Caribbean as it is gorgeous, however, it will more than likely not be with P and O, not because of the staff. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2013
My Husband, myself, our daughter and 82 mum in law were on the Ventura for 2 weeks in the caribbean. Loved just checking in our luggage at Birmingham, and not seeing until we arrived in our cabin in Barbados. We had 2 balcony cabins on ... Read More
My Husband, myself, our daughter and 82 mum in law were on the Ventura for 2 weeks in the caribbean. Loved just checking in our luggage at Birmingham, and not seeing until we arrived in our cabin in Barbados. We had 2 balcony cabins on deck 14, loved waking up every morning and going out on our balcony and seeing coming into every port. First time a balcony cabin, cabin numbers R242 & R246, sorry inside cabin no more. The only thing that spoilt our enjoyed were the people in the next cabin smoking, and then coughing their guts up. Not for much longer I know this is being stopped, but didn't help us at the time. Sandy our room attendant was great, everything perfect including the towel dog. First time my mum in law had cruised, she was well looked after. Dining was fabulous, food was great everyday. The entertainment team of headliners were fantastic, and the guest singers Jane Curry and Peter Grant were brilliant. We had been on the Azura twice before and thought that the Glass House was much better on Azura. The retreat we thought was a waste of space, not many passengers using it. Didn't like the pool with the roof over, we thought that Azura was much better and bigger space with the cinema. Mum in Law had to use the medical centre, only took a weeks worth of medication, the doctor was brilliant, he telephoned the surgery in England to find out the medication she took. Couldn't fault at all. The only thing that leaves a bitter sweet taste is the way that p&o have treated early bookers. We booked this cruise 16 months ago, and upto a few weeks before sailing, p&o selling a balcony cabin for 1/2 the price we paid. I wrote to p&o but they didn't want to know. Shame on you p&o, seriously get your act together with your price policy. Treat your past passengers much better or we will go elsewhere. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2013
We thought the price, including flight to Barbados too good to miss and booked, "on a whim." We were not to be disappointed as our travel arrangements(even allowing for the fact that we had to start from Toulouse)were completely ... Read More
We thought the price, including flight to Barbados too good to miss and booked, "on a whim." We were not to be disappointed as our travel arrangements(even allowing for the fact that we had to start from Toulouse)were completely hassle-free. The Thomson Charter Flight was far better than expected as the highly professional cabin staff looked after our comfort very well. What a treat it was to be met at the aircraft steps and be driven directly to the Cruise Terminal and our luggage being delivered to our cabin. There we met our smiling Goan steward, Leslie Fernandez and spent some time reminiscing about Goa, where we have spent many happy holidays. We found the Ventura very traditional in design and layout, very much always a SHIP, compared to NCL Epic which is a floating hotel. We chose Freedom dining and ate in the Cinnamon Restaurant most nights where we found the food to be brilliant with plenty of choice for the pickiest of diners. The rest of the time we ate in the Buffet Restaurants which served appetising breakfasts until noon and had themed Dinner Buffets eg.Tandoori, Thai, Mexican, etc. We didn't try the White Restaurant as we felt that £50 p.p.was going a tad too far and hardly a cover charge. We did eat in Ramblas one evening and although the food was OK and served hot I found it to be very characterless, with no attempt at a Spanish atmosphere. Where were the Spanish guitars? How difficult would it be to find a CD? Anyway, Ramblas is being removed during the re-fit. Sunloungers? It's all been said! No change, I'm afraid. The Islands lived up to all expectations, the British heritage very much in evidence and English spoken everywhere. We tried the well-equipped gym this year and had a foot and ankle massage(bliss). Our only complaints are about the timing of the shows. You can't go directly from one show to another, like on the Epic and often we couldn't be bothered waiting till 10.30pm for the 2nd show. Also, husband grumbled about the cost of Internet as the signal was often very weak. To answer my question at the beginning: Yes, 21 days is too long at this time of year and coming from W.I. to UK as for the last week or so it started to get cold and sun-seeking lost it's charm. Unfortunately we found not very much to do apart from one excellent lady explorer who gave an inspiring talk in the theatre one day. All the films I'd seen already. All the staff work extremely hard and are polite and charming. Would we do it again? We are still undecided as we think we prefer the more cosmopolitan atmosphere of some other cruise lines. Living in France we are used to being in the minority and found the Britishness a bit over-powering. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2013
This was our second cruise for my wife and I, our first was Western Med on Azura in 2012. We're in our early 50's. We flew from Gatwick, on BA scheduled service. This was decided by P&O (we'd booked a Getaway deal in ... Read More
This was our second cruise for my wife and I, our first was Western Med on Azura in 2012. We're in our early 50's. We flew from Gatwick, on BA scheduled service. This was decided by P&O (we'd booked a Getaway deal in August 2012 so had no say, but we did save a lot of money!) Flight was fine on our Boeing 777, landing on time at Barbados 5.30pm. Unimpressed by BA's food though, pretty poor for an 8 hour scheduled flight - a bland pasta meal about an hour into the flight, and one (yes, one) sandwich prior to landing, and that was it. On the plus side was the free bar and good entertainment system - note, take your own headphones, BA's don't work. We had to queue for an hour to clear Barbados customs and then retrieve our suitcases. We subsequently discovered that charter flight passengers didn't have to do this, they went straight from the 'plane to the ship. So, on the bus to Ventura, and a speedy boarding once we'd been allocated our cruise cards. We were in a balcony cabin on B deck, which P&O allocated, and we were happy with the location. Didn't see much of our steward, but cabin was always clean and well stocked (we didn't get any towel art though!). A minor point, the biscuits that P&O put in the cabin were always broken and not as good as we had last year. Ventura is almost identical to Azura in layout etc, so we soon found our way around. The Captain was very jovial and all the crew we came across seemed happy and were very polite and helpful. Our cruise included 4 sea days, and we spent them just lazing around in the sunshine or going to some of the talks. We felt there wasn't much to interest us, which was a contrast to last year's cruise. Sunbeds soon got taken with people leaving towels and then not coming back for ages. We (my wife) ended up getting up early to bag a sunbed but it was that or go without. The food was much as we expected having cruised with P&O before, but it was here that we felt standards were starting to slip. We ate in Cinnamon (Freedom dining) in the evenings, and usually in the self service restaurants for other meals, and we didn't have one hot meal. Although the plates were hot, the food was only ever 'warm'. The only hot meal we had was in Ramblas, were we paid extra for 'authentic' Spanish cuisine - very nice, pity it's being replaced with a Glasshouse. They ran out of mugs and plastic glasses in the self catering restaurants every mealtime, which became tiresome. There wasn't anything wrong with the food quality, just that it wasn't hot. Bar drinks had gone up in price considerably since last year, and P&O still insist on waiter service - even when there's hardly anyone in the bar, it still takes a long time to get a drink (so we just buy less P&O!). We waited 25 minutes for a drink when we were in the main theatre, the show was almost over by the time we got the drinks. Entertainment - we enjoyed the shows we saw - Freddie Mercury Tribute, Robbie Williams tribute and the ship's Headliners. Clem Curtis (ex-Foundations) was good, even better on the Karaoke at St Lucia! Also enjoyed comedians Tucker and Fogwell Flax Our ports of call were: Antigua - on a Sunday, so Antigua was shut! We took a local taxi tour around the island for about $25US each St Maarten - another local taxi, we teamed up with 4 other passengers and paid $25US each for 3 hours. Our driver (Tony Friday) was so laid back he was almost horizontal and was happy to take us wherever we wanted to go. Cheap T shirts here - 3 for $12US St Vincent - a local minibus this time, again teaming up with others off Ventura and paying about $25US for 3 hours In all these ports P&O's tours were a lot more than the price of the local taxis! Grenada - we'd booked a P&O tour to the beach before leaving UK so paid more than we should have! The beach was lovely though, blue sea and golden sand. Barbados - took a 45 minute walk to the beach, seeing a turtle in the harbour on the way. For the price of 2 sunbeds and an umbrella we also had a drink each and 'free' minibus back to the port. St Kitts - P&O tour to the St Kitts railway, which we think is the only way that you can go on the railway. Really enjoyed this even if a bit pricey (£65 each) St Lucia - another P&O tour booked in the UK to Reduit beach. Lovely beach. Lots of fun back at the port tourist village with Karaoke and Piton local beer at the free wi-fi bar. A note here about wi-fi - we found free wi-fi at every port tourist village, so no need to pay for on-board internet access. Just follow the crew ashore, they know where to go. Dominica - went up to the rainforest, spectacular - banana and coconut trees, humming birds etc. A real bonus, there was a carnival in town which was great. P&O announced this the previous evening with dire warnings that everything would be shut and there would be no taxis, but, funnily enough, there were lots of places open and taxis too! Tortola - our final port, local open sided mini-bus/taxi up and down the steepest roads I've ever seen to Cane Garden beach, which was great. $8US each, each way, again a lot less than P&O. It can seem like you're going to same island after a few, they all have steep roads and started to look the same after a while! We didn't have any language problems, English widely spoken. We then returned to Barbados for our return flight. All customs etc completed on Ventura, cases weighed on the quayside (we were overweight on one case, but BA didn't seem to mind!) and then back on Ventura to wait for bus to airport (free wi-fi here). Our return flight was on time, albeit a little bumpy, but the food was even more disappointing - yet another bland pasta with cheese meal after about an hour, then nothing until breakfast 6 hours later. I was hungry by then, imagine my delight when breakfast turned out to be a blueberry muffin with a miniscule orange juice and coffee! So, would we do it again? Yes, I think it's fair to say we would. The Caribbean was lovely and warm without being oppressive, the people very welcoming, the beer cold and the beaches and scenery just great. Ventura looking tired, but she is due a refit. As to P&O - well, it felt at times like 'Butlins at Sea' but the ship's big enough to avoid that if you want to. Very hygiene conscious with anti-bac spray at every restaurant entrance and when returning to the ship from shore, but some of the public toilets do need attention. I just wish they would serve HOT meals, it surely can't be that difficult. Also, why no bananas in the restaurants? They grow them in the Caribbean!!! Hope this review is helpful - we're glad we went, and really enjoyed ourselves. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2013
My wife and I were on cruise N303A, we flew out on a Thompson flight to Barbados, the flight and the embarkation experience was very good, we did not have to go through any of the air port controls, just a quick photo' and check then ... Read More
My wife and I were on cruise N303A, we flew out on a Thompson flight to Barbados, the flight and the embarkation experience was very good, we did not have to go through any of the air port controls, just a quick photo' and check then we were in our cabin. It would have been better if our personal P&O cruise specialist had told us to pre-book our flight seats, we would then have been able to sit together in the same row. Our cabin was adequate, clean, tidy and our steward's service was faultless for the whole cruise. Some areas of the ship left a bit to be desired, a bit of paint here and there, also the smell of urine in ( and outside ) the public area toilets was not very pleasant and some of them could have done with a proper deep clean ( I did complain, but to no avail, I also sent a picture of one toilet to P&O MD, I would post it but it is too awful ). Unfortunately our P&O cruise specialist told us that the dress code for all dinners would be smart, or black tie--not the case though --most were casual dress and we did not pack casual clothes, just took smart and tropical wear, annoying. The food on board was fine but the lunch time buffet's cold food was almost the same every day, the poor wine waiter at our dinner table was set an impossible task, it looked to be that he had a dozen or more tables to look after, with the obvious result, since every one arrives to be served at the same time.. A few days before we sailed we telephone booked another advantage P&O cruise with our specialist, however when on board Ventura we discovered that we could have saved ourselves money by booking while we were on board. We sailed on Adonia a while back, they too offered savings if you booked while on board, I should have remembered, I am told by head office that personal P&O specialists are not allowed knowledge of this sort, so buyer beware, "personal cruise specialist 's" only specialise in sales. I did write to customer services, they wrote to tell me they are sorry that I was disappointed with the service I received, but that it was in fact the best available. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2012
This is our 5th cruise and third with P&0. The others were on Oceana (which we loved ) and Azura (which was good, but not quite up to Oceana standards). Although we enjoyed ourselves overall, on this cruise we found that a) food in ... Read More
This is our 5th cruise and third with P&0. The others were on Oceana (which we loved ) and Azura (which was good, but not quite up to Oceana standards). Although we enjoyed ourselves overall, on this cruise we found that a) food in the buffet restaurants was not as good b)dress codes were not adhered to (bare backs in the Atrium, polo shirts and jeans in the restaurants on formal nights, even when officers were present) c) harassment from the waiters in some of the bars (one after another, they would be on you to buy another drink almost before you had taken a sip from the first drink) d)poor service at breakfast in the main restaurant (25 minutes from order to service and then the eggs were cold !) P&O used to have a good reputation, but we wonder if their chase for profit means that they are willing to let standards slip. Probably, we will try Oceana again, but we'll be switching to Celebrity X or Caribbean if things don't improve. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2012
My wife and I have cruised 6 times in all with RCI, Celebrity, Holland America and P&O - must say that the last offers best value for money, plus good food, service and staterooms Of course, since prices have dropped the Ventura ... Read More
My wife and I have cruised 6 times in all with RCI, Celebrity, Holland America and P&O - must say that the last offers best value for money, plus good food, service and staterooms Of course, since prices have dropped the Ventura attracts a small number of "Jeremy Kyle" style guests, but they tend to stick to the Waterside buffet and Exchange Bar - so if you eat all meals in one of the waiter service restaurants and pick your bars carefully, you will avoid them almost all of the time. Must recommend The White Room - excellent value for an additional '£25, so much so that we went twice! Duty Free prices excellent - where else can you buy two litre bottles of Navy Dark Rum for '£12 to drink in your stateroom? Freedom Dining in the Cinnamon Restaurant is a must - four of us did not wait once for a table in 2 weeks The 8 sea days were very relaxing and I highly recommend this cruise to anyone who wants good food, service and realises that times have changed and that a wider range of the public will now be around - get used to it and chill out! Read Less
Sail Date: March 2012
The flight to Barbados was comfortable and passed by so quickly, the service on board was excellent. On arrival to the Ventura check in was friendly and fast, the ship looked magnificent in the sunshine. We had an inside stateroom and it ... Read More
The flight to Barbados was comfortable and passed by so quickly, the service on board was excellent. On arrival to the Ventura check in was friendly and fast, the ship looked magnificent in the sunshine. We had an inside stateroom and it was spacious and spotlessly clean, our steward introduced himself straight away and asked if he could do anything to help us settle in. Our cases arrived outside the room within the hour. We had our meals in the Baytree our waiters Mangesh and Daniel were great and met our every need. We had a meal in the White Room to celebrate a birthday I can not praise them enough, the food was amazing and the service second to none. The entertainment was good, the headliners theatre company were amazing the shows they delivered were professional high quality. The only grump I have was the Havana club shows were so well attended that it was impossible to get a seat after second sitting. The end of the cruise there were three performances in the theatre to ensure all the passengers could see the shows, I feel that it should have happened sooner so that everyone had the same opportunity to see the performances by The singers and comedians. On reflection I would opt for freedom dining on a future cruise to allow more time for planning my entertainment on board. Many thanks to Captain Charlie Carr and his Staff for a wonderful cruise Read Less
Sail Date: February 2012
My husband and I decided to have a last minute break in the Caribbean in an inside cabin. We had been on P & O Ventura in 2009. P & O are by far the best at transporting British passengers to the Caribbean. Using a bonded flight ... Read More
My husband and I decided to have a last minute break in the Caribbean in an inside cabin. We had been on P & O Ventura in 2009. P & O are by far the best at transporting British passengers to the Caribbean. Using a bonded flight from Manchester we got off the plane in Barbados and straight on to a coach and off to the ship. Our luggage arrived soon after. We found the food to be excellent with plenty of choice. The service was also good. The main improvement this time was the entertainment. The shows were fabulous and there were some comedians on who were good on the whole. Last time we were on the ship there were several tribute acts. P & O must have listened to their passengers because there was only one this time. Mary Peters, gold medalist from the 70's was on the cruise and did a great talk. The Captain Paul Brown was very good. We heard he had ejected some passengers for bad behaviour and we are all in favour of this to keep standards up. Our only complaint was the Cruise Director Huey Taylor. We nicknamed him The Invisible Man!!! I have never had a Cruise Director like him. He never introduced a single show or did any of the quizzes we went to. Someone told me he had been an excellent cruise director in the 80's. Obviously he is past his best and should consider another job. I would certainly use P & O again for a Caribbean cruise. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2012
My wife and i booked our cruise to celebrate our anniversary and my birthday on board,everything was well organized and smooth as soon as we checked in at Gatwick and was greeted by a friendly P&O lady representative who assisted our ... Read More
My wife and i booked our cruise to celebrate our anniversary and my birthday on board,everything was well organized and smooth as soon as we checked in at Gatwick and was greeted by a friendly P&O lady representative who assisted our very speedy check in.Our flight took off on time at 9.30am and had a hassle free flight,nice lunch,choice of menu even! and as much to drink as you wanted included in the price,we actually enjoyed the flight,a first! Arrival in Barbados was ok and straight onto the bus and to the ship,my wife took a change of clothes onto the plane,very wise as it was very hot in Barbados. Through the Friday school run traffic,you can see the ship,but it takes ages along the congested roads to get to the port .Check-in at the shed was as quick as it can be and not too stressful at all,your first of many photo shoots(more about that later)how many people actually buy this photo after 12 hours traveling,not many! Then you see the Ventura in all her glory that really is a moment,smiling staff ready to guide you to your cabin,we were able to choose our cabin online off the ships plan whilst talking to our booking agent over the phone (cruise 118)who was very helpful and gave us lots of advice,which we took,thank you to Gavin, To get to our cabin,each time,we just had to walk through a million pounds worth of art,tough eh! Our cabin was outside with window lovely double bed and very comfortable and most importantly QUIET!!!!!!!!!!!Luggage was delivered a couple of hours later by our lovely cabin steward who kept our cabin spotless and we had a different towel sculpture every evening when he turned our bed down with chocolates on the pillows. We chose club dining(as advised again)at the bay tree restaurant at 6.30 -7 this was perfect for us as we could fit in the shows and the cabaret most evenings.We loved the Theatre venue but hated the Havana venue as it was very anti social with the ridiculous booth type layout .bad for the artists. as they can only see the tops of peoples heads as they strain to see over the barriers,for goodness sake P&o sort this out,Couldn,t fault the food but were grateful for the small but adequate portions.as we both put on too much weight!The wine packages don,t add up,they were all over £76 FOR 6 Bottles it was much cheaper choosing our wine with dinner on a nightly basis, we would suggest the package be 6+1free. Now returning to P&0 photo package,we were offered an album of five photos during the cruise for £125 we considered this excessive and would ask P&O what happens to all the remaining non purchased personal photos unwanted or unaffordable by the 3.000 passengers on board.Surely your personal album should include all your photos as they are of no value to anybody else,and as P£O is a environmentally friendly company? what do they do with the pile of unclaimed photos.Shame on you! So to end our review,to all the silver seventies crashing bores we encountered on board,you know who you are,you did not spoil our holiday and why do you think that P%O translates into :personally ours or: preferred oldies!! what is it with these people, P&O no longer can survive without opening up cruising to a wider and a more tolerant passenger.We will cruise again ,we will be selective as we discovered ,other passengers paid twice the price for the same package,you don,t get twice the holiday!CAVEAT EMPORIUM !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Read Less
Sail Date: December 2011
Just returned from a 2 week western carribean cruise on Ventura and although overall enjoyed the trip a few aspects were not up to a 4 star standard. Flights - Thomas Cook Premium Cabin, Gatwick to Barbados. Speedy check in and ... Read More
Just returned from a 2 week western carribean cruise on Ventura and although overall enjoyed the trip a few aspects were not up to a 4 star standard. Flights - Thomas Cook Premium Cabin, Gatwick to Barbados. Speedy check in and excellent flight with good service. Well organised transfer from airport to ship and in cabin within short period of time. Cabin - Clean and well presented and excellent Cabin Steward, Melicio, who could not do enough for us. Entertainment - Theatre shows excellent but found remainder of entertainment quite average with the outdoor entertainment team being dire to say the least. Food- Found this to the biggest disappointment. Breakfast Buffet average. Lunch buffet - below average standard, very repetitive with lack of imagination. We opted for freedom dining in the Cinnamon restuarant which again was below standard. Beachhouse restuarant was excellent but unless you were willing to queue for at least half an hour before opening you stood of obtaining a table. Marco Pierre White and East Restuarants were also excellent but unfair that to get the expected 4 star food you had to pay a subsidy. Pools and Sunbeds - After reading previous reviews of lack of sunbeds reckon more had been provided but were jammed so close together it was a joke,with towels reserving sunbeds from early morning. The main pool area being a cross between Butlins and one of the cheaper Costa Hotels. Port of Calls - Excellent choice of ports, all good in their own right. Through chatting with fellow passengers got the impression that there were a few grips as some people had paid less for a 4 week cruise than others had done for a 2 week trip. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2011
Bonded luggage: check your cases in at Manchester and the next time you see them is in your cabin! Coach straight from plane to ship, short queue (water available) to get key card and map of ship. Then go out: couldn't believe the ... Read More
Bonded luggage: check your cases in at Manchester and the next time you see them is in your cabin! Coach straight from plane to ship, short queue (water available) to get key card and map of ship. Then go out: couldn't believe the size of Ventura when we first saw her.., wow! - In all the ports I had a great proud 'my ship's bigger than your ship' feeling! Get on board, hunt out your cabin, where there'll be instructions where to eat on the first night -no dress restrictions as they understand you may not get your cases in time. To avoid getting lost in the early days we used the two same decks 7 & 15 to get around and kept to the starboard side, where our cabin was. This helped a lot! TIP: all the lifts face forward. Plus the carpet is a different colour in each section (Forward, Mid and Aft). We found the booze in the bars and restaurants quite reasonable. Booze for your cabin and cigs (inc B&H) very reasonable; purchased at the shop on board. Smoking permitted on Deck 7 starboard side (where the Arena, Ramblas bar, Tamarind Bar and Havana nightclub is); only a few steps away, loads of chairs and you can take your drink, so very easy. Also smoking is starboard side on the open deck 15. I found it hard going with all the stuff to do -- when do you fit in time to sleep?! For all those with anti-social husbands, mine surprisingly loved every minute of it! No-one bothers with the taking time to get to know you thing; everyone just wades straight in, so you instantly have lots of new friends, though, we found it strange that no-one introduced themselves - we asked names when we met again! I did a few laps of deck 7 (outside) at about 7am, as the gym annoyingly didn't open until 8am. Deck 7 makes a nice walk too. Loungers at busy areas do get taken early, but we were happier out of the way on the high decks -do go looking round from one end of the ship to the other to choose your preferred location. We liked the area round the spa pool with Jacuzzi's as it was quieter. Pool towels provided in cabin. One day I got a workout moving my sunbed round as the ship appeared to keep changing direction interfering with my sun! The next day we discovered the cheeky captain, Charlie Carr from Wigan, had gone in the shape of a Xmas tree! You could see this on the map on the telly! I'm very pleased that on the last day we got a 'Cruise Log', summary of the entire trip as I was dying to know how many miles we'd done. Rather than Freedom dining (if you go at a busy time they give you a pager for when a spot becomes available) we decided on the more formal dining and chose 1st sitting 18:30 at the time of booking. NB. 2nd sitting was 20:30 I'd have still been too full for breakfast the next day, plus, we like a drink in the evening! We were in the Bay Tree, which had a slightly more formal feel than the Saffron (though it's the same two sitting affair). You sit with the same folk each night, so it's good to request a large table so that you'll hopefully have some good couples to chat with. We had plenty of time to have the four courses and a bottle of wine.., though if you don't finish the wine they keep it for you for the next day - fat chance of that happening with us! We'd then dash to the opposite end of the ship (5 mins max) to catch the first show 20:30 at the Arena (which is reminiscent of a picture house). This show repeated at 22:30. We ate at East and The White Room on a few occasions (cover charge applies), both were excellent. I used the 'Cruise Overview' in the cabin to plan which nights and rang the restaurants on the first night to make our reservations. We managed to get into The White Room again near the end of the cruise, so it's always worth a call to see what availability they have left. You can take breakfast where you like; we found a lot of folk went to the Bay Tree (waiter service) even though they weren't eating there at night. You're put on a large table, first come basis, so you get to mix with a variety of different couples. We went early. There's quite a selection for breakfast. If you don't get enough - ask for more! TIP: Use room service (mostly free): we used if we were going onshore early for a trip. Order via your telly, food delivered promptly. We took some plastic bags to take leftovers with us/keep in the fridge for when we returned. Or, go for Afternoon tea on deck 15 for sarnies etc from 3pm (very tasty!). Hygiene I noted is paramount and quite sensible when you think about it. Use the hand wash dispensers. There was a good looking young opera type singer Victor Michael in the Arena who was funny and got everyone involved. So I was looking forward to even better acts as we approached Xmas, but unfortunately, for my taste anyway, this didn't happen. I think I was expecting more quality acts, or perhaps they were aimed at the older generation. The acts etc in the Tamarind were the same, so it was then that we began to appreciate the Metropolis Lounge on deck 18; good to sit chatting with a bottle of Veuve Clicquot (very reasonably priced at £37). It was nice to see that the majority of people dressed up for the black tie nights. Show off your outfits at the Captains Welcome evening, where there's complimentary drinks for an hour. Now that was the start of a good night! P&O onshore trips were very expensive, but we did the few you shouldn't miss, which were very good. On some islands, there are dedicated taxi's to take you to the usual spots. They've been doing this for years man, so there's no need to worry. For example, a couple who shared a cab to a beach with us in St. Vincent left his wallet in the taxi with £400 in. We thought we'd never see the driver again! No problem, he was even early! I was desperate to wave a tacky plastic Union Jack flag. These were finally given out at the Sail Away party from St Lucia. After their morning trips, most passengers spent the afternoon on the grass near the ship in the Rum Bar, so we were pretty popped up! I had a fabulous time! We received a couple of upgrades and ended up in an outside cabin P245 on deck 5 forward. These have a large window and although I didn't know it beforehand (first cruise), really appreciated the outside cabin as we could see the waves and I like to wake up early in the morning, so enjoyed the natural light. We didn't close the curtains! It was great to kneel on the bed and look out as we pulled into a new port. Cabin P245 was perfect for us; near to the forward lifts in a large hallway (rather than down a corridor) and next to the gallery. Very quiet. In the first hour aboard, my equilibrium was a little off, but as I didn't have my seasickness pills (we didn't have our cases at that time, so consider keeping them in your hand luggage), I had a couple of Mojito's as I heard mint (and also ginger) are natural seasickness remedies. Didn't suffer again and infact loved the way the gentle movement of the ship the ship lulls you to sleep, very comforting! There's loads of hanging space for all of your posh dresses! Service in all the restaurants and the bars (on deck 7) was excellent. We didn't really frequent deck 6 (where the pub and casino is). We heard a few people moaning about service, but found that as we were polite, we received excellent service. A smile goes a long way! I didn't think we'd use the cabin steward much but on the few occasions we asked for ice or a shoeshine kit etc, Umesh went out of his way to assist, and with the biggest of smiles. Being from Yorkshire, we aren't the most generous natured, but I parted with my tips quite happily! (P&O recommend that for 2 passengers on a 2week cruise its: £42 for the Cabin Steward, and £44 for two waiters). Read Less
Sail Date: December 2011
This was the 28th cruise my husband and I have been on. We have sailed with several of the better-known cruise lines and this was our 4th with P & O. Having read many of the negative reviews about Ventura on Cruise Critic I must ... Read More
This was the 28th cruise my husband and I have been on. We have sailed with several of the better-known cruise lines and this was our 4th with P & O. Having read many of the negative reviews about Ventura on Cruise Critic I must say that, while we were looking forward to our Caribbean cruise in general (the 5th one we've done), it was with some trepidation that we embarked Ventura having heard it referred to as "Chav City" and "Butlins at Sea". However, we were pleasantly surprised as it turned out to be better than expected, although I would still agree that it is maybe not quite up to P & O's usual standard. I think they are trying to attract younger cruisers (instead of the usual 50+ age group that most cruise lines seem to cater for) so the ship and entertainment programme has been geared towards the 30-40 age group and more mainstream holiday maker. At the risk of sounding like a snob, I would say that the exclusivity usually associated with cruising does not apply to the Ventura. However, I think that the complaints listed here on Cruise Critic did not apply to our cruise on the whole. The ship was clean and in a good state of repair, the (mainly Indian) cabin stewards, waiters and bar staff were all very friendly and helpful, and there was a good selection of hot and cold food. The entertainment was also very good and there was a choice of venues and shows, so there was something for everyone. As it was the school holidays I expected the ship to be overrun with screaming kids but, pleasantly, this was not the case. We had a balcony cabin on deck 11. It was very spacious with twin beds pushed together to form a king-size bed. The balcony had a sliding door (which we tended to leave open overnight as I hate the drying effects of air conditioning) and two chairs, a foot stool and a small table. The wardrobe was a little strange, being directly opposite the bathroom and having no door; just a rail to hang your clothes. I found the lighting to be poor in the cabin; the position of the lights and the brightness was not very good for applying makeup. I was also disappointed with the selection of toiletries; gone are the Temple Spa ones we've had on P & O before and in their place was a generic brand of shampoo and conditioner which was not replenished when finished. There was also a refrigerator and tea and coffee making facilities. The cabin steward kept the room clean and tidy each day and filled our ice bucket on a daily basis. We had requested a table for six in the Bay Tree restaurant as we enjoy the social interaction with our fellow passengers. However, we only saw one couple on our table once during the entire cruise! The remaining diner was an elderly gent of 85 who, while being very pleasant, did not really have anything in common with us. Not P & O's fault though. The food in the Bay Tree was excellent and was served promptly and cheerfully. We found the Captain's Gala Reception a bit of a farce; it was held in the atrium on and around the staircase and over three levels! Unlike Cunard ships, the Ventura does not have a ballroom or other venue large enough for the number of passengers so it held the captain's bash in reception. Strange! The entertainment in the main show lounge (the Arena) was pretty good on the whole. All of the seats in the Arena had little fold-out tables stashed in the arm for you to place your drinks on, and the waiters usually served us very quickly. Shows were on twice each night; once at 8.30pm and again at 10.30pm for the second sitting diners. If you didn't want to watch the show in the main theatre an alternative cabaret was on in the Havana Lounge. However, we found that the Havana Lounge was very badly designed for watching live entertainment; the room has pillars and partitions (OK if you were standing but difficult to see over the top of if you were sitting). It meant there was a mass scramble for seats each night and people coming into the lounge late tended to move their tables and chairs to better vantage points, often inconsiderately blocking the views of people who were already seated there. This happened on a regular basis and soon became quite tiresome. Some evenings we went to The Exchange, the ship's English pub. We nicknamed it "Wetherspoon's" as the design and layout of it reminded us of this well-known pub chain. Each night there was a themed quiz and occasionally karaoke or the resident band which were pretty good. Drinks prices were not too bad, not much more than regular pub prices. One little curiosity is a model train that runs around the top of the bar, passing stations along the east coast main line. The top-most bar/lounge on Ventura is called Metropolis and featured a famous city's skyline projected onto the plasma-screen wall each night which gave an unusual effect. It was understated and relaxing in Metropolis if you just want somewhere quite for some reflection. There are two main swimming pools on Ventura, one of which has a retracting roof which was opened during the day. The larger pool featured a couple of jacuzzis and was where the deck parties were held. I didn't really enjoy the deck parties; they tended to be extremely crowded and the sound system used for the live music must have been designed for the Albert Hall because it was far too LOUD and distorted the singer's voice. The Ventura is a large ship at 115,000 tons. However, she is not large enough for the 3,078 passengers she carries. Compare to the QM2 which is much bigger at 151,000 tons and with 2,400 passengers. I did find crowds everywhere I looked on Ventura, but to be fair we didn't have the problems with queueing and sunbed hogging that have been mentioned in other reviews of the ship. On the whole we really enjoyed our cruise and the Caribbean islands we visited (Barbados, Aruba, Caracao, Grand Turk, Tortola, St Maarten, St Lucia, St Kitts and Grenada). Personally I would not cruise on Ventura again as I prefer smaller ships with fewer passengers, but that is my own personal preference; we certainly didn't have any issues with the ship, service, cleanliness, politeness of staff or quality of food and entertainment mentioned here by other reviewers. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2011
Starting with the positives: All Ports of call made up for the short falls of P & O. St.Marten take water taxi to beach great shops typical port duty free. Grand Turk dune buggy excursion great but island small so don't waste ... Read More
Starting with the positives: All Ports of call made up for the short falls of P & O. St.Marten take water taxi to beach great shops typical port duty free. Grand Turk dune buggy excursion great but island small so don't waste money on any island tours, beach great but take to right of quay for seclusion. Shops good. Tortola 16$ pp gets a shared taxi to Great cane beach or Brewster's beach if you want less crowds be careful of crashing waves a few sore faces and a very bad injury to a fellow cruiser sadly. St Kitts railway not to be missed very popular so book early rum punch on board train very strong pina colada bliss. Antigua treated ourselves to helicopter ride to Montserrat to view volcano and abandoned villages glad we didn't miss this holiday highlight. St Lucia went in shared taxi to waterfalls and volcanic spring also good views of Pitons quite a bit of travelling wish we had taken boat trip to view Pitons instead roads very winding. Dominica went on excursion with PO to TiTou gorge (pirates of caribbean two shot here)and hot springs escape fantastic and if you land lucky and get Elephant and Cammy as guides they may tell you some jokes too blue for general airing but great fun.St Vincent got taxi to wallibou beach scene of pirates of Caribbean one, our driver also took us to wallibou falls, botanical gardens and Port Charlotte thanks Vivienne and it cost just 20$ pp bargain. Then sadly to Barbados at end of cruise went to Harrison's caves the 8Th wonder of the world but a tad too commercial. Negatives now: Cabin L255 at great location on lido deck and you wake up to great views most mornings. You also get good view to crows nest. We were on second dining at 830pm waiters never even introduced themselves!! company at table was exceptional and we made great friends. Unfortunately if you choose second sitting on night of shows at 8pm and 1030 there is no chance you can view them standing room only so a bit of a raw deal here. General buffet breakfast and lunch hard to get seats and waiters too slow to clear tables very seldom smile and cleanliness poor hardly clean tables between guests. Very British plain fare served, you definitely wont starve but repetitive.Cereal bowls always hot!! Sun beds impossible to get even though you are not allowed to reserve them selfish cruisers do there was even a proper fight between guests about this not very good PO should do something about this to save future disputes IE attendants? decks always had empty plates glasses lying around for ages with staff walking past them !!Also we were leaving on Saturday and we had to attend immigration at 7am on Friday, again no shows on Friday only entertainment worth seeing was on LIDO deck at 10pm we don't finish diner till after 10 so missed that! ship like ghost ship on Friday night no atmosphere on what should have been a fun last evening we were lucky to have good friends to enjoy socialising with on last night. Also had to vacate cabin at 9am on departure day and didn't get picked up till 2pm so last two days of holiday not so relaxing. Having said all that still managed to have lovely holiday but it was more down to ports of call, fantastic weather and a lovely circle of friends. If P&O want to keep customers returning they need to step up there service. 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
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: 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
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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