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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
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
last year we were not very impressed with Ventura and felt that food quality and service were not to the standard we expected. The improvements were very noticeable with better menu choices and the food quality was certainly to a better ... Read More
last year we were not very impressed with Ventura and felt that food quality and service were not to the standard we expected. The improvements were very noticeable with better menu choices and the food quality was certainly to a better standard. The ship was efficiently managed and the raucous sailaway parties had been moderated. This time round we had a balcony cabin - so much better and we would never cruise again without having a balcony. Finding our way around the ship was much easier having been aboard before and having a cabin at the bow end meant we always knew which direction to walk! Others felt differently, one lady brought her husband to a talk just so he could help her find her way back to their cabin!! One plus as far as we were concerned was that Catalina Island was missed out and Grenada substituted - P&O said this was due to berthing difficulties but various other reasons were bandied about. We still feel that some shore excursions were poor value and preferred to use local taxis. At St Vincent we used the Sea Breeze ( look for the bearded skipper and green sun shade ) water taxi to reach the beach as this seemed the most substantial boat available as the sea was quite rough. Being on Freedom Dining also worked for us but even so we were often too late to find a seat in the arena theatre fro the 9 o'clock shows - you need to be there at least 15 minutes before they start. There was an outbreak of norovirus halfway through the trip but stricter hygene procedures were swiftly implemented and the spread was contained. All in all a very satisfactory cruise. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2009
Excellent flight from Doncaster, on time and lots of leg room, not worth paying for premium, we did that last year and didnt find much difference. The ship was amazing and suited out needs perfectly. As we were travelling with our son aged ... Read More
Excellent flight from Doncaster, on time and lots of leg room, not worth paying for premium, we did that last year and didnt find much difference. The ship was amazing and suited out needs perfectly. As we were travelling with our son aged 9 we chose Ventura because of its excellent facilities and they didnt disappoint at all, in fact they need a massive wage rise!! The restaurants were all exceptional, we booked freedom dining and always got a table around 8.30pm, the waiters are to be commended for their service and the food outstanding, even the breakfasts in the saffron were silver service!! Metropolis bar very good and our port of call every evening before dinner. The only bad experience I had was in the spa, and having read some other reviews I think people must have experienced the same person as I did. One particular man,think he was the manager was very abrupt when I queried a price on 50% discount day, and he really did leave a bitter taste, which put me off visiting the spa again. Saying that all the other spa staff were very friendly. Our cabin steward Grenville was the business and delivered canapes to us most evenings before dinner!! A special mention to the wine waitress in cinnamon think her name was Eloise?? she worked tirelessly every evening and always smiled. To sum up, very good ship, perfect for families, could get a sunbed on seadays, excellent food, bar prices reasonable and great company. We previously sailed on Norwegian Gem and found that this ship had a little more WOW factor than Ventura but we still enjoyed all the same. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2009
First off let me get straight to the point, I will cover some negative aspects in this review and some positives, they are just my point of view and I have included so much information to give readers of this review as much info as ... Read More
First off let me get straight to the point, I will cover some negative aspects in this review and some positives, they are just my point of view and I have included so much information to give readers of this review as much info as possible. Bottom line is we had a fantastic holiday and I would fly out to Barbados and Ventura again tomorrow. Would I choose Ventura again? maybe but I also like trying out new ships and I think there are other ships which would possibly suite my needs better than Ventura. Having said that one of the reasons we booked Ventura was the itinerary, some of the other ships we would like to have tried were not going for the duration we wanted or the islands we wanted to visit. Would I go on Ventura again for the first time? Defiantly. Our background. I am 30 and my partner Anna is 29. Anna is allergic to wheat, one of the reasons we like cruising is the reassurance they can cater for her diet. We have cruised twice previously once on P&O Oceana (6 years ago) and once on Carnival Splendor (2008). This is the first time we had booked a balcony cabin as on our previous 2 cruises we have been in an inside. Our Cabin was R259 which is on the starboard side about a 3rd of the way down the ship on deck 14. We were on 2nd sitting in the Saffron dinning room. We flew from Birmingham on the 9.15am flight with Thompson Fly. We arrived at the airport early as we were told you get allocated your seats at checkin. we were about 3.5 hours early, check in was open but there was no queue. There was no need for us to have arrived so early as passengers with special dietary needs have their seats pre-booked near the front of the aircraft so it's easy to identify them in order to distribute their food. The flight was delayed so we ended up waiting almost 6 hours in the airport (not a great start). The aircraft was a Boeing 767 2-4-2 seat configuration. The legroom was good but the seat width was not great. The entertainment system is ok but you have to upgrade to get the better films which we did not do. Drinks are mostly free you get 1 after take off and 1 with each meal. The meals were average plane food. The flight was good for a charter airline but the service was not as good as on a schedule carrier IMO. Flight time was 9 hours. Once landed we were told it was approx an hour to get to the ship. This is a load of rubbish we were stood on the dock 20 minutes later and we arrived on a Friday during rush hour. From the peer Ventura looked very impressive, large but well proportioned. Check in and cruise card distribution was quick, we dodged the photographers at the dock, why they think anyone would want a photo taken after 9+ hours of traveling is beyond me. First impression of the ship was very good the atrium is smaller than I thought it would be but overall the decor was very tasteful and elegant. The deck looked very spacious and well designed. Our cabin was wonderful, the balcony was reasonably large with good unobstructed views. You could see down on to some of the larger balconies below but only if you hung over the rail. Our beds were 2 twins but a quick word with our cabin steward rectified that and we came back to a king sized double later on in the evening. The walk in wardrobe is very good with loads of space, a few more hangers would have been useful so take a couple of your own if you have loads of things to hang. The bathroom was small but well designed and adequate. The TV was fantastic, good on demand movies and shows along with the ability to check your onboard account. The channels are a little limited but let's face it you don't go on a cruise to sit in your cabin watching TV. The hair dryer is a little poor if you have very long hair it might be wise to take your own. Dinner on the first night is not at your normal table and the time you go depends on what time your flight leaves, its also casual dress so you don't need to worry about you case not arriving before dinner, as was our case with the flight being delayed. We set sail about 8pm and the first thing I noticed was how stable the ship is, very smooth indeed you cannot tell your moving. I found over the whole holiday even in some rough weather Ventura copes with the sea very well. Food in general was very good especially in the dinning room. Its typical P&O British food choices. Each night there was a choice of 3 starters, 2 soups, 5 mains, 5 deserts, cheeses & biscuits and fruit. Then tea or coffee. On top of that you could also always get melon or prawn cocktail as a starter and steak, chicken or salmon for a main and a selection of ice cream and sorbet for desert. The waiters are superb as they are on all cruises you can get anything as you want it. The food was very British and we got Beef Wellington, Leg of Lamb, Roast Pork, Roast Turkey etc as well as some very nice fish and oriental dishes. The potatoes and veg are silver served with plenty of variety. The food certainly matched what we had sampled on previous cruises. There were a couple of nights where the odd dish was poor like very dry pheasant but your waiter will change anything that's not to your liking. We had a really nice couple on our table at dinner as well as our friends who were on the cruise with us. Dinner was so good every night we did not bother with The White Room, East or Ramblers. We ate in the dinning room most mornings for breakfast, there is the usual traditional British full English as well as kippers omelets and a chefs special like minute steak. We met some very nice people every morning and everyone like ourselves was having a good time. No complaints from anyone really. We also regularly indulged in afternoon tea. Again very traditional with cake stands, neat cut sandwiches, scones, crumpets etc... they even do a gluten free selection if you ask. We occasionally ate lunch and breakfast in the buffet, never had a problem finding somewhere to sit. The food was good, with a large selection. I did not really see the point of the beach house, it just seem like an extension to the Waterside buffet and always seemed the serve the same food it was open for breakfast until 12.00 which was useful if you wanted a lie in. Frankies pizza was ok, the menu seemed a little strange to me with a selection of 4 pizzas Margaret + another 3 I had never heard of. It seemed a bit pretentious to me, when people go to order pizza it's for a snack and they just want something quick, something they know. It would seem sensible to have had things like pepperoni and Hawaiian rather than Diavola etc... The same could be said for Frankie's grill, the chefs took ages putting mayo, salad etc.. on burgers and trying to get them perfect while the queue got longer and longer. Don't get me wrong the burgers and pizzas were good but possibly going gourmet on these meals is a step too far. The interesting thing is we met very few moaners. There was a big mix of fist time and experienced cruisers onboard but neither set of people did any moaning. There was the occasional small comment about something but in general most of the comments were positive, the only negative comments from some people were the ship was too big so hard to find your way around. I agree it was easy to get lost on the first couple of days but for me this added to the exploring which is one of my favorite parts of a cruise. A couple suggested Independence of the Seas to us as a better large ship and another couple liked the QM2, in general most passengers seemed happy with Ventura. During our 3rd day on board the captain came over the PA to tell us there had been some cases or Noro Virus on the ship and as such they would start a sanitation process. We were told their would be changes to how our food was served in all restaurants. If you felt ill or had diarrhea you had to dial 999 from your cabin phone, I assume you would be confined to the cabin. The main differences were in the self service restaurants you could no longer serve yourself the staff served you. In the dinning room the cake stands were removed at afternoon tea and everything was served by the waiters. Salt, pepper and sugar pots were removed from the tables and sachets were provided. We also saw staff regularly cleaning door handles, rails and the machines in the casino. The captain gave us an update every day and after about 4 days the extra precautions were relaxed. The staff were excellent though out this time and kept smiling even though it was obvious they were working twice as hard and being put under a lot of extra pressure. The sand bank!!!! We anchored up at Catalina Island, I did notice the ship seems to be listing to one side and Anna joked we were probably on a sand bank? The joke was on us though as an hour after we were supposed to depart the captain came on and announced we were stuck on an uncharted sandbank. A dive crew came over from the Dominican Republic to check for damage. About 5 hours later we got the all clear and the ship was (in the captains words) lifted off the bank. Sand Bank no.2: We missed going to Martinique because of civil unrest and the island was changed to Dominica instead. We anchored up again, after a day kayaking we were ready to leave but there was a delay. At dinner that night one of the people dinning with us said he had seen the ship move left and right as if it was stuck, after much movement there was a jolt and he saw a large hill of sand move from under the from of the ship? It seems we had been stuck on another sand bank but the captain had kept quiet about this one. At St Martin we were late leaving again his time it was because some people were late back to the ship, one of them was quite drunk and we saw what looked like the security officer having stern words with them before they were aloud back onboard. In general the other passengers were very courteous and a friendly bunch. There was no Butlins style roundness as reported about Ventura in some of the press. There were a couple of people who were slightly drunk in the casino on occasions but before anything could get even remotely out of hand the staff were very quick and firm with them. Security was tight and I think P&O are determined not to get a bad reputation following the much reported Christmas Cruise. The Entertainment: This is where the ship could be accused of being "Butlins Style" but this is only because of the variety of entertainment. Neil the cruise director reminded me a little of Dale Winton, to be fair to him he was full of life and seemed to engage the people on board. The entertainment was plentiful and varied. If you liked Butlins style watching the entertainments team make idiots out of themselves the sail always were the place to be, silly dancing and pop music were a plenty on deck. I hate this type of entertainment so avoided it at all cost. BUT there were a great number of people who enjoyed it and joined in. It also means other parts of the ship were quiet and I could enjoy a drink on another part of the deck and watch us depart in peace. There were a couple of good sing a longs on deck after the sail away Butlins dancing, with everyone joining in. I think there were a lot of people on board from Manchester because as soon as "You will never walk alone" started people started booing (this was a bit of a shame). In the day there were lots of quizzes and also bingo, the bingo calling was quite funny, most of these activities were done in the exchange which was an excellent English style pub. They showed lots of football on the big screen and replayed many matches that were on early in the day in the UK. The exchange was our favorite hang out as the casino is part of it. The Casino was disappointing, we are regular visitors to Las Vegas and although we rarely gamble at home we love to gamble in the casino. The dealers were all miserable apart from 1 young guy who we found out was the trainee. They had a poker tournament every night at 10pm which was no good for us because we were on 2nd sitting dinner. On the last night the casino was open they played some stupid black jack tournament which took up 1 of the black jack tables, not many people played the tournament which meant a table stood empty for most of the night. The other table was packed and it was impossible to get a seat. Many of the gaming lessons did not happen when they were supposed to which was also annoying. The 1 positive was they made sure people did not hog seats on the table if they were not playing. The smoke free environment was also bliss, this is the first time I have visited a casino with a smoking ban and it was fantastic. Another downside is the waiters seemed to ignore the people playing cards so it was difficult to get a drink if you were mid shoe. The casino being so poor is one thing that may push me to going on an American ship rather than a British on. The shows were of good quality. I work in the music industry as the technical manager of a large state of the art live music venue. The ships theatre was superbly equipped and while we only went to a couple of the shows as its too much like being at work the standard was what I would expect from a touring theatre company. If you like shows you will enjoy them, the singers could sing and the dancers could dance. It was all a bit cheesy for my liking but some people love that. The 2 show lounges Havana and The Tamarind Club were very similar, we watched a couple of jazz bands in the Tamarind Lounge, they were poor, professional musicians should be able to play in time and in tune and with some life. The singer and guitarist in the Exchange were also poor, they occasionally played in Metropolis too but I found the standard very amateur. Non of these people were bad but I would have expected the standard to be a lot higher as you can see much better acts who play for free in places like the Bedford or Regal Rooms in London. Also the volume and sound quality in the exchange was not good, too loud so you could not talk and very harsh, the sound should have been much softer. The comedians were all excellent. The late night shows in Havana were a little on the rude side, it did not bother me at all and I found the comedians very funny. The comedy shows in the theatre were just about family friend and were again of a good quality. The guy in the theatre who did the mind reading was also very good, I could work out how he did most of the tricks but the last one was almost unbelievable. It was fantastic entertainment. We always went to the 7.30pm show in the theatre most nights it's was not even half full and easy to get a seat. We went to one 11pm show and it was not full you could get a seat. The clubs were also very busy after dinner, when the comics were on it was standing room only. The club style lounges were always more popular than the theatre. Metropolis is a bar on the top deck to the rear of the ship, we used it a couple of times, and it's quieter than the lounges probably because it's a bit out of the way. We found the entertainment in their poor as it was either the singer or a disco. The exchange featured game show style quiz shows most night too. One night there were some young children running round the pub which was a little annoying as it was 11pm and their parents did not seem to be able to control them. IMO children of that age (6-8sih) should not been in a pub at that time of night. This was the only case of its kind though. Ok out on deck and the pools: The deck space is large and the designers have done a very good job getting the maximum out of the space available. There are lots of sun beds and they are close together as other people have reported, this did not bother me at all really as I would rather have more sun beds than more space. On a sea day is was extremely difficult to find a sun bed unless you went up on deck early and put your towel on one. On sea days there was not a problem at all. It was obvious people were complaining about sun bed reserving as everyday in the paper it said P&O don't police sun bed reserving but we think this practice is rude and would advise passengers that if a sun bed is unattended for 30 minutes they are to assume it is unavailable. Well P&O you're going to have to start policing sun beds or have a section people can reserve in advance. Personally I think you should be able to reserve a sun bed for ½ a day in advance, if this was the case there would be plenty for everyone, half the people could use them in the morning and half in the afternoon. The thing that really annoyed me is on our last day in port, I had put a book and towel on my sun bed and gone to get a drink. There were 100's of beds available as it was a port day but when I returned not more than 10 minutes later my towel was gone but my book was still their. A lady told me one of the crew had taken the towel????? This annoyed me because A) there were lots of beds available and B) why did they not do this sort of thing on sea days when it is busy. One good thing about 2 of the pools was a large stepped area you could sit on. This was great because if you wanted to swim but did not want to fight to find a sun bed you could put your towel and clothes on the steps and see them while you were in the pool, you could then dry off in that area. This was a good design feature which I have not seen on other ships. We did not use the pool on sea days it was just too busy. On port days we mainly used the Oasis pool which is at the front of the ship, its well shaded and adults only. The pools were all nice, not many kids around them really and the ones who were were well behaved. The hot tubs round the pool were good and its difficult to get out of them once you're in the temperature was so pleasant. The staff round the pool were very good and you did not have to wait long for a drink. With the sunbeds being so close the only slight problem was having somewhere to put a drink down once you had it. The gym is very well equipped and I used it regularly. It lacks some heavier weights and there are not many free weights. You will be able to keep in shape but many have to vary you routine a little. I found the gym a little hot the air-con could have done with being cooler. In fact I thought the whole ship was a little on the warm side and I always had to take my jacket off at dinner. We went on just 2 excursions organized by P&O. I would recommend you book your excursions early as we missed out on a few things we would have liked to have done because we did not book up in time. The excursions we went on were excellent and I would recommend you book directly with P&O rather than with the touts at the ports, it's more expensive but much better value for money. Also be warned if you're going to St Lucia and you want to visit the sulpher springs, waterfalls and pitons it's a long drive. It looks short on the map but takes almost 2 hours each way because of the windy roads up and down mountains. It's not that impressive either and is something I could have missed. If you do want to go there I would recommend a boat trip there rather than a taxi. In summery I think P&O have tried to make Ventura a ship which is everything to everyone and they have got quite close. For people with an open mind who are tolerant of things which are not there thing this is a fantastic ship. It really will have almost everything you want but also things you don't want. If your looking for problems you will find them, if you look hard enough, but do people really go on holiday to find problems and complain? I wanted the following from the ship: A casino with blackjack and poker 1/2 Gluten free food 1/1 Fine dinning with a dress code 2/2 A well equipped gym 1/1 A bar which showed the football 1/1 A ship which was steady in rough weather 1/1 To not be ill 1/1 Movies under the stars 0/1 Friendly people and a good atmosphere 2/2 Friendly staff who put the customer first 2/2 Child free pools 1/1 Good live bands and comedians 1/2 Afternoon Tea 1/1 So as you can see I got almost everything I wanted and I think this would be the same for everyone and there is loads more I have not mentioned which I did not take part in. Improvements: I would say movies under the stars is a must, they have the space to do it so why not? I cannot believe it would be expensive for P&O to fit a jumbotron screen and mini line array in the covered pool area? It could be used in good and bad weather. The Casino as mentioned above could have been run much more efficiently and the casino dealers were the only people who let the staff down IMO. Immigration at Barbados: On the 2nd last day you must go to Havana bar and go though Barbados immigration. If your on an excursion you have to go early and everyone is given a staggered time. I got up at 7.15 our allotted time was 7.30 which is when we joined the queue. The queue stretched almost the length of the ship. It seems talking to the staff this is common. The immigration staff are on Barbados time which means they are always 30 minutes late. The other problem was most people had turned up early and not at their allotted time. This meant by the time the immigration staff arrived the queue doubled back on itself and was 2 ship lengths long with what looked like every passenger in the queue. I would say P&O need to have a think of a better way of doing this, once the queue started moving it was fine but we had a very rushed breakfast in order to make it to our excursion on time. The same people who decided to turn up early for the immigration queue and cause a jam on deck 7, were probably the same people who decided when they called rows 1-14 on the aircraft it did not mean rows 1-14, but everyone. So again we all queued for the buss to get to the aircraft and then queue again to actually get on the plane. This is not P&O's fault but some customer must realize they give you a time for a reason just like they call rows at a time on the aircraft for a reason. Live bands: some better live music, I think a good covers band who play popular 60's, 70's and 80's music would go down very well, it would be much better than a DJ or the singers performing to backing music. You should be able to book your seat on the flight IMO. If your spending a lot of money on a holiday you want to be relaxed when you arrive. As a nervous flyer this part of the holiday was very stressful for me. Also I really think P&O should use a carrier who can provide business class and/or even first class seats. I could not afford it at the moment but surely if your playing £15,000.00 for a suite on the ship you would not mind paying for a business class seat on the plane. It also struck me a lot more people would be interested in paying for premium economy. P&O if your reading this its all more money in the bank for you, you should know airlines make more money from their premium and business class seats. Positives: The comics were great fantastic entertainment. The dining room, great waiters at dinner, they were amazing and worked tirelessly. Superb pools and deck layout made the most of the deck space. Lots going on, never a moment to get bored the entertainments team provided something for everyone. Steady ship, it moved a bit in bad weather but generally I found it very stable Friendly people everywhere, a good atmosphere and lots of people who wanted to make conversation and meet others. Well organized tenders, we did not have to wait once Well designed pools Great excursions Good interactive TV which gave you lots of information Ships paper horizon was superb and gave all the info you needed. Cabins were large and had nice balconies, the walk in wardrobe was very useful. The rooms are well equipped with tea, coffee, biscuits, hair dryer etc... Cheap drinks, no automatically added gratuities on the drinks and they were all priced reasonably Dress code was adhered to by almost everyone and the majority of people even made an effort on the casual nights. Afternoon tea Embarkation, Disembarkation was easy To sum up: If your booked on Ventura, your going to have a great time, go with an open mind and with the mind set to enjoy yourself and you most certainly will. If your thinking of booking you can't go far wrong with this ship. If you want a mix of traditional British cruising with a modern twist this is the ship for you, it has something for everyone young and old. I hope this have come across as a balanced review I have tried to mention both positives and negatives as well as our experience of the ship. The bottom line is we had a great holiday and we will be cruising again some time very soon. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2009
This ship was much larger but did not feel as crowded as Navigator and there was a more sedate atmosphere. However, there were plenty of people in their 20s and thirties aboard and several weddings. There were only about 60 children and we ... Read More
This ship was much larger but did not feel as crowded as Navigator and there was a more sedate atmosphere. However, there were plenty of people in their 20s and thirties aboard and several weddings. There were only about 60 children and we sailed out of school holidays, so I appreciate it is different in those periods.The cabins are clean and spacious with good facilities. All still looking new and nice touches such as the tea service and fridge. The bathrooms are small but the hanging space instead of wardrobes, is a good idea. We had a balcony for the first time and would recommend if the price is right. We had a last minute upgrade so only paid £100 more than an inside. The cabin steward was very efficient although rarely seen. The ship has many bars and cabaret areas. Our favourites were the Ramblas and the Metropolis. The dining venues were great and we tried all the restaurants except the white room which was always booked. A great asset was the Freedom Dining option. We enjoyed being able to eat at any time from 6-9.30 and having a table size of our choice. There were no queues and the food was excellent. The gym and spa area were well utilized and we booked the thermal spa package for the fortnight. The pool areas were clean but I would agree that the sun beds were rather packed together. However finding a bed was not a problem for us. The areas near the Oasis pool were usually less crowded and there is also plenty of shade behind the sports court. The islands are all very enjoyable and it is easy to book an island tour with one of the many local taxi drivers who congegrate at the port. Most offer 2 or 3 hour tours for about $25 and often have minibuses. They usually wait until about 8-10 passengers are available and then set off. We only took one ship tour which was in St Vincent. It would probably be possible to book your own there, but it was a Sunday and our first port, so we pre booked.St Marten was our favourite with Antigua coming a close second. The flights to Barbados and back were all with First Choice. We were lucky that they were on time and there is reasonable leg room and good in flight entertainment. Free drinks were offered and the transfers were all very smooth. I would not hesitate to recommend this ship and company. However, the entertainment did let down the overall experience and there was also a lack of activities, lectures, concerts etc which we have experienced on other ships. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2015
This was our first P& O cruise and it was a near hit , but had too many misses! We booked a deluxe superior balcony cabin. We were promised little extras such as a bottle of champagne, dressing gown, canapés, fruit basket and flower ... Read More
This was our first P& O cruise and it was a near hit , but had too many misses! We booked a deluxe superior balcony cabin. We were promised little extras such as a bottle of champagne, dressing gown, canapés, fruit basket and flower display. The flight down was fabulous from Gatwick a Dreamliner ands embarkation onto the ship faultless. We got our luggage in under 1 hour as well. The cabin was fine, E720 on deck 8 aft, not huge and the balcony was in permanent shade as the floor above extends to the balcony rail. The champagne was in the fridge, not on ice. No fruit, a box of chocolates was on the coffe table, no canapés or fruit bowl. It took 3 days to get the fruit bowl. 1 Apple, 1 orange. 1 bannana and 6 individual grapes.  Then saucer of 5 revolting canapés. The flowered didn't ever materialise. The ship is beautiful with lovely facilities, however she is abysmally let down by dreadful customer service at many levels. Freedom dining is a problem. Although it's good to have the freedom it means that Gala nights are a waste of time and absolute let down. As nothing is put on for them. There are not any special presentation . Ice or fruit carvings - no songs or ceremony. You put on your finery, eat as normal and that's it. The waiters on the whole were extremely rude, unpleasant and poorly trained. They lean across you in front of you. The service in Saffron was chaotic and hit and miss. Yes there were a few who were lovely but on the main it wasnt a good experience. It's clear that P& O have taken the majority of their best staff for Brittania and left the dross behind on Ventura The room service menu, is tiny and you have to pay extra for many items. The bar prices are good. The White room is excellent. The entertainment was good, if you could Eve get a seat.  P&O have waiters galore selling booze, but can't invest in stewards to look after passages on the sun decks, theatres or have a customer relation desks, staffed by senior managers, who have first hand In depth knowledge and experience of the standards offered to and expected by British & American passengers at 4&5* resorts and cruises. It would seem unfair to expect us a fare paying passengers to put up with such shoddy and laughable service for a premium fare!   Also this cruise had 8 sea days, with the exception of a quiz, lectures on murders and the occasional free film, nearly every additional leisure activity such as painting had tone paid for! The TV is a disgrace - sky news, bbc news Sky sportthsts it. Previous passengers were saying last year they had 48 free handles. The chi late buffet is no more.  Most of the buffets have curry.  In fact it's hard to get things without curry! I love curry but from time to time. The afternoon tea sandwiches were weird combinatiins as well. All in all we had fantastic weather, a comfortable cabin and a relaxing g time. But if P&O want to retain a decent reputation they need to listen and learn some customer relations lessons from their bosses at Carnival or even better celebrity &princess Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2015
Great ports but found the Caribean all a bit overcrowded with so many cruise ships around ! The ship was very nice but also too crowded for us particularly on the sun deck. On sea days it was extremely difficult to find a sun bed and it if ... Read More
Great ports but found the Caribean all a bit overcrowded with so many cruise ships around ! The ship was very nice but also too crowded for us particularly on the sun deck. On sea days it was extremely difficult to find a sun bed and it if you were able to it was jammed in between others. Not a pleasant experience. We spent a lot of time on our balcony , however this was overlooked by cabins and decks above as it protruded from the ship. Nice balcony but did compromise our privacy. Food all good and anytime dining worked well for us. Did not have to wait too long for a table for 2. Entertainment overall was good. Embarkation was handled very well at the cruise terminal rather than the airport. The overnight stay in Barbados before coming home was brilliant. Overall a good cruise but this ship is not for us. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2014
If this had been our first cruise we would probably never cruised again. The title of this review, P & Queue, is an overall impression of this cruise, it appeared that every couple of days we had to queue. Manchester Airport Arrived ... Read More
If this had been our first cruise we would probably never cruised again. The title of this review, P & Queue, is an overall impression of this cruise, it appeared that every couple of days we had to queue. Manchester Airport Arrived early after stopping over night at an airport hotel, had to queue for 2 and a half hours to check in, only one check in desk manned, the P&O representative said there should have been 7 and blamed Thompsons, but our contract was with P&O and they should have seen that the agreement they had with Thompsons was enforced. Flight OK, old plane very ordinary meals and service. Barbados Check in. We queued for 1 and half hours to register and then 1 hour to get through security. (Only 2 scanners for about 1500 passengers??) Bags did not arrive at our cabin until after 10.30pm, we landed at 5.15pm. Booking Gala Meals Booking for Christmas Day and New Years Eve meals was a farce, we queued for 2 and a half hours for the second sitting, people booking for the first sitting had to wait longer, also people "missed" breakfast due to the time they had to wait. One lady, a solo passenger, told us she had to queue for 4 hours and when she got to the front was told "as a solo she didn't have to queue as they could have slotted her in anywhere". Flight Back to Manchester 2 Thompson fights leaving at the same time from the same gate, very confusing and more queuing. Some of the restaurant staff on board ship were rude and hurried us out of the restaurants after breakfast and lunch as they were in a hurry to prepare tables for the following meal. (Not enough staff??) Our last cruise with P&O was in 2009, every thing went like clockwork, staff were excellent and all the service we received on board was perfect, following this we recommended P&O to our friends, never again, we have now booked another cruise with another Company, we never looked at P&O alternatives. Very disappointed Passenger, now booking with other Company's.   Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2014
Just returned from the Christmas cruise aboard Ventura. I'll will try to summarise my thoughts .... The service from the steward and dining room staff (early sitting) was excellent. The dinning room food in the evening was largely ... Read More
Just returned from the Christmas cruise aboard Ventura. I'll will try to summarise my thoughts .... The service from the steward and dining room staff (early sitting) was excellent. The dinning room food in the evening was largely good with just a few disappointments but in nearly all cases the meat portion was too small. Our D deck cabin was very average with no internet access when the ship was moving, poor maintainance in the bathroom, a faded settee, questionable AC and ridiculous noise from the tender launching process at 7am (!) in Tortola . To add to this the balcony was not at all private with virtually every cabin above it having a birds eye view of us. The balcony was often littered with cigarette butts which I assume came from the rooms above . The guest entertainers were typically good but the production shows were over ambitious given the singers available and their lack of talent . It's takes a brave girl of any description to offer a "tribute" to Karen Carpenter but if they cannot sing well its just not practical and how 3 white guys can try to mimic the Drifters is beyond my comprehension - they must be able to both sing and dance and do both at the same time! The Calypso band that played in various venues was quite good but the rock band much worse. There was a constant problem with the lack of sun beds . This is down to bad deck design or even ship design and poor management - given though P&O can cure this but they have to want to do it. Similarly the show lounge is too small and requires a 3rd nightly show. P&O employ "minders" around the swimming pool whose sole purpose appears to be annoy the kids who are jumping in and out and enjoying themselves. These pool minders even kick out adults in the pool if the appear to jump in, even though they weren't. Making these people redundant would offer a serious cost saving . They could be re employed as traffic wardens where they could irritate a larger number of people and not damage the cruise's reputation. For some reason the hot tubs were often closed for cleaning - even on Christmas Day - is there no planning or consideration given to the days on which this happens? Ship maintenance, such as refreshing of paint, occurred during day hours. Why? Wouldn't it be easier to do this at 5am or when passengers are sleeping rather than make paying passengers move this lounge chair during the day to accommodate ship repairs? The kindergarten now operates a nonsensical process for signing the kids in and out and this needs to be looked at. As it stands a cruise card with a kids club sticker on it is "worth" a child and a signature the same as the one on that card is the only thing required to release the child. If there really is such a problem a picture of the parents maybe more worthwhile. I suspect the process was engineered by someone at a desk with a pen but little or no practical experience. The itinerary worked well except from Christmas Eve in Dominica. As you may know it rains there a lot so to organise Santa's arrival on the open deck as we left was frankly stupid, it was always going to rain and of course the entire event, witnessed by hundreds of families, was a complete wash out. Clearly a different port or venue or time was needed. At Tortola the dock is being rebuilt and is closed for the duration. The itinerary suggested it was a "possible tender" port. It's a definite tender and those on deck 9 should have been warned of the very loud noise and shuddering vibration a 7am when the tenders are launched. To be fair the tender process seemed to worked ok but there is no need to go there at all until the dock is built - there are lots of other islands. There were too many formal nights - 4 in total. This was way too many and should be re thought on family cruises. Given the fact we all had to fly in with the accompanying baggage problems, a clear dress code itinerary would have been useful ahead of the cruise, sadly it's not provided. The passengers were an eclectic mix of pensioners, couples and families with older and or younger children, some of whom were well heeled educated types and many others who could be described as "tattooed wonders", some of the later may perhaps be better served at a guest house in Blackpool or Butlins. I realise P&O is not going to conduct IQ tests on the passengers at the pier prior to boarding but I recommend they think of something before the entire cruise resembles a remand centre. There were too many smokers onboard and now may be the time to ban smoking completely. This would discourage those who need budget fares and relieve non smokers of ash, smell, and dirty ash trays which ruin otherwise useful deck areas. I noticed on a number of occasions that "housekeeping" was not as it could be with abandoned coffee cups left in halls for many hours and festering nappies in lifts. Some of this will be as result of the passenger mix but P&O should know who they sold the cruise to and prepare accordingly. Throughout the cruise the air conditioning did don't seem to work too well. Cruise ships in my experience are typically really quite cool inside but the Ventura was always warm. Even with the AC set to minimum in the cabin it was often too warm to sleep and other passengers who commented on the issue suggested it was a cost cutting measure..... P&O offer what amounts to late check out of the cabin to those who wish to pay for it. The process for this defies belief - as after paying £85 you have to leave the room you've had to the last fortnight together with your hand luggage at 9am and come back an hour later to room a few doors along the hall. If a good hotel offers late check out they let you have the room you are in - it saves preparing it again - and often they do not charge either. On this cruise all the passengers arrive on flights in the later afternoon and those going home need to leave before that. The only explanation for devising such a scheme is to collect cash and generate work for the stewards, it really is that silly. The additional cost restaurants are multiplying - and getting pricey. We went to the "Beach House" where even the burger is £2 extra - over and above the £6 you've just already agreed to. The place is ok but really you should stay with the dining room. Many of the other dining places are much more money and where often empty. Breakfast in the dining room was a slow a prescriptive saga and I see no reason to go there. The buffet arrangement upstairs seems better with plentiful if rather average food but often a shortage of tables unless you go out on the deck and sit in the cigarette smoke and ashtrays. P&O now serve Costa coffee which is big improvement on the liquid served in the buffet. Given their quest to charge for everything they can they should serve it at all the bars and for breakfast at a "nominal charge" of course. The buffet lunches were a bit tedious with the menu only changing a little each day and offering some bizarre choices for a Carribean cruise including faggots and a hotpot! On deck they serve burgers and hotdogs which are quite good but again the lack of tables either with or without smokers is an issue. The reception desk staff were typically polite but often could not answer many questions sensibly and they also had a habit of not answering the phone at all. P&O want you to buy a "wine" package for dinner but while this appears to offer some value the chosen wines are not good and the wine list selection is a better bet albeit at extra cost The beauty parlour prices where laughably high and it's hard to imagine anybody paying them. The return flights on Thomas Cook were only just about acceptable and only because we paid extra for Premium seats. The economy looked too cramped for an 8 hour flight and the food and drink are extra back there too. To add to this if you want to sit together as a family you have to pay another £15 each - each way - £90 for a family of 3!. This is a rip off and those concerned should be ashamed of such fees on families who have, in some cases, already paid £8000+. The gratuity policy appears now to involve charging every adult £55 (for the 2 week cruise) to there account and this covers the gratuities, however what is less clear is who gets the money, how much of it and what happens if you choose to opt out of the £55 deal. I asked for the money to be credited back to the account and it was and I gave cash to the room steward and dining room waiter and his assistant, but if more than those 3 were about to receive from me did they do without and in any event who were they and what is it they did for me? As with so many other silly fees in this world P&O should scrap the gratuity like they have with the one on the bar bill and pay their, largely excellent, service staff a sensible wage. As Ryan Air will tell you making people mad will not generate repeat passengers and P&O should take a good look at what they are doing before the policies get any worse..... I expect I will sail with P&O again - we are booked already but the Ventura will not be on my shortlist and P&O need to sort themselves out if I am to stay a loyal passenger. I am hoping the issues only relate to the Ventura but I am not hopeful.   Read Less
Sail Date: November 2014
We booked this cruise just over a year before departure, choosing P&O as we had not cruised with them before, and the itinerary took us to 7 islands which we had never previously visited. The idea of checking luggage in at the UK ... Read More
We booked this cruise just over a year before departure, choosing P&O as we had not cruised with them before, and the itinerary took us to 7 islands which we had never previously visited. The idea of checking luggage in at the UK airport, and having them delivered direct to your cabin was a great innovation, and no security to go through at Bridgetown airport was another. The only problems with the flight were the fact we were sat on the aircraft for nearly three hours at Manchester airport before we departed! Problems with a piece of “cargo”, that we later discovered was a spare part for a stricken Thomas Cook aircraft at our destination. Then we were sat on the coach on the tarmac at Bridgetown for 45minutes before the final passengers were boarded before our 45 minute journey to Ventura, only to find there was then another 40 minute process to check in and get on-board. We finally got to our cabin at 6:25pm (dinner at 6:30), having been on the 9:00am flight out of Manchester. Thirteen and a half hours from scheduled departure to arrival was not a great start. At least we weren’t on the Saturday flight that didn’t even arrive! One thing we can say on the positive side is, the Cabin and Cabin Steward (Virag), were excellent. The layout and cleanliness were excellent, with the “dressing area” outside the bathroom much better than other layouts. No problem found with the shower size or curtain as read in previous reviews. Meals on board were OK. We had “Traditional” dining at the early seating, and found the menu varied, although the vegetables at times were a little tasteless. We took our breakfasts in the Waterside/Beach House areas, and on certain days (sea days) found these to be very crowded at times. One thing we did discover during our cruise was that the Muster Drill that everyone has to attend (by law), was not attended by some passengers. There was no check on who had attended or not by any of the crew, no “head-count”, no checking that passengers were out of their cabins at Muster. Other cruise companies have a head count as you enter the Muster Station, and crew check that all cabins are vacated of passengers. As this is a lawful requirement to attend, surely P&O are required to ensure that everyone is attending, and in case of an actual emergency, that all are at their dedicated Muster? Getting a sunbed was a nightmare. It was obvious (when at times we found some), that passengers were putting towels on them to “reserve” them and leaving them there for hours. Very annoying, and something that P&O should clamp down on. The best pool area we found was the Spa pool. Although this got more crowded as the cruise progressed. Now the “Down” sides. The atmosphere of the Bar and Deck staff on-board was very staid. There was no liveliness in them, almost like there was some unhappiness amongst them. They did their jobs ok, took drink orders, served them (very slowly at times) but that was all. There was no sense of enjoyment from them, like they were enjoying their work. There was no “fun” atmosphere. And as for the Cruise/Entertainments director, or whatever his title was, he would have been more suited to “Butlins”. Where on earth did they get him from? The layout on the ship seemed awkward. There appeared to be no “flow” through the ship. It was well into the second week before we could figure out what routes, up/down/forward/aft, we had to take to get between locations on-board. Overall we enjoyed the holiday, with some great new places visited. But as for P&O and Ventura, we’ve been spoilt by other companies. It’ll be back to Royal Caribbean for us definitely.   Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: February 2014
This was our first trip to the Caribbean and our first on Ventura although we are experienced cruisers in other locations and on other ships, including Azura. Ventura itself is a nice ship, nothing special and it seems to fall in the gap ... Read More
This was our first trip to the Caribbean and our first on Ventura although we are experienced cruisers in other locations and on other ships, including Azura. Ventura itself is a nice ship, nothing special and it seems to fall in the gap of not managing to quite cater for anybody specifically. In terms of the evening entertainment if musical theatre and lounge music is your thing then you will be well catered for, otherwise forget it. It's all well and good advertising as being family friendly but P&O seem to forget that most families have a dad and there is very little about the P&O on board experience suited to your average 30-40 something man. In the same way because everything is a little more relaxed the older guests aren't exactly happy either. You do get the odd bit of general entertainment, we had Manuel Martinez, a mind reader and a ventriloquist over our 2 week cruise but these are few and far between compared to the 3-4 times a night solo/lounge singing onslaught. They are also packed out 30-40 minutes before they start due to people looking for something different. We enjoyed the food on Ventura and chose to eat in our allocated main dining room most nights. In the past we were firm favourites of the buffets on other ships but the table limitations on Ventura made the whole buffet experience a bit of a pain, especially if you wanted to eat together. And that isn't even going in to the rudeness of some of the other guests on board, I'll save that for later. Generally speaking all the waiting on staff were superb and the drinks waiters in the various public areas did a good job of getting to you when you wanted a drink. In each location we'd built a reputation where staff new what we wanted without us needing to ask, you can't fault that level of service. I can see why some people could get annoyed by being asked if they wanted a drink but then again we don't go on holiday to sit nursing the same glass of water for 3 hours whilst we wait for the next free bit of entertainment. By far the best bit of this holiday for us was the ports, all delivered more than we expected. For the most part we'd arranged our own trips to avoid the cattle truck trips organised by P&O although we did slip up and I had to order a last minute P&O trip in Grenada. It was the only bad experience we had ashore during the whole holiday (90 minutes each way up mountain paths on a fold out chair). Highlights included snorkelling around Klein Bonair (on the Woodwind, a nice sailing boat) and our island trip around St Lucia with Spencer Ambrose tours. You can't compare the trips offered on board to organising a private trip for both value and experience. Don't be fooled by the "miss the ship" scare tactics, in all the cruises we've done we've never found a local operator that wasn't extremely conscious of when your ship was leaving and making extra sure to get you back in good time. At this point it was a solid 4 out of 5 cruise but what knocked it back and the reason I wouldn't step foot on another P&O cruise ship if I was paid to was the other guests. Despite the family friendly/relaxed cruising marketing that P&O is trying to establish their ships are still rammed with a generation of cruise guests that the sooner they are gone the better. Just some highlights, we witnessed guests clicking their fingers at staff in the dining room, addressing staff as "you boy", a talk on Concorde we walked past included the gem "you can't trust foreign johnnies" to much laughter and applause from the gathered geriatrics. We saw other adults being asked to leave the endless pool so that older guests could doggy paddle in peace. Children being shouted at by older guests in the main pools. Waiters completely ignored when greeting people for dinner. People running into lifts with some sort of over inflated sense of entitlement in front of the people who had called the lift. Then there were the ladies of a certain age at the buffet who seemed to have their elbows permanently out and have no concept of waiting in line. We aren't snobs by any stretch of the imagination but the total lack of basic manners and to a certain degree racism shown was appalling. Not so much Butlins at Sea as Ignorant Old People Who Think They Have Paid For The Right To Abuse People At Sea. There wasn't a day that passed where we didn't wonder exactly what we had let ourselves in for. Traditional British cruising you say? That's why we'll not be going back. My understanding is that the Ventura and Azura were designed to be affordable in a way of attracting new cruise customers, from my experience on both ships it seems that all they've done is attract the worst of the bargain hunting older generation who just can't help themselves in feeling entitled to something better whilst walking around like they have bought the ship. We will be going back to the Caribbean sooner rather than later, but not with P&O.   Read Less
Sail Date: January 2014
I decided to take mum away as last year was pretty grotty and having been onboard Ventura before and to Caribbean once this cruise suited. The 8 hour flight was bearable followed by quick transfer to bus for 40 min trip to ship followed ... Read More
I decided to take mum away as last year was pretty grotty and having been onboard Ventura before and to Caribbean once this cruise suited. The 8 hour flight was bearable followed by quick transfer to bus for 40 min trip to ship followed by our luggage. The luggage arrived abour 530 and the safety briefing was at 6pm so we didnt have time to unpack , in fact straight after the briefing we had to go to dinner as we opted for 1st sitting. This was all too rushed in our opinion and the best option by far would be getting on the day earlier as a lot did and then disembarking the day the ship arrives back in barbados. We found the itinery of 9 ports in 14 days ideal , 3 ports then sea day is perfect and the docking position Ventura has was fantastic in all ports. We did notice a definate smaller portion size in meals compared to last time onboard. The entertainment was good , with quizzes in the exchange and on top deck entertaining. We only booked 2 excursions , beach trip in Curacao and the Rhum Runner in Grenada and thought they were both excellent value for money , £25 & £40. One thing i did notice was staff trying to sell you East and The White Room as " They quickly sell out" but after a couple of days offers were available of a free bottle of wine at both venues if dining before 7 Read Less
Sail Date: December 2013
OK, arrived for flight with plenty of time to spare, checked in and was then informed there was a 1 hour delay! We boarded the flight to the new time, and almost when ready, the baggage handlers noticed some damage to the baggage door of ... Read More
OK, arrived for flight with plenty of time to spare, checked in and was then informed there was a 1 hour delay! We boarded the flight to the new time, and almost when ready, the baggage handlers noticed some damage to the baggage door of the aircraft. This resulted in an on aircraft delay of another hour. Safety 1st though, no need to take chances. Arrived in Barbados, the transfer of passengers is very efficient without immigrating. The check-in process was smoother than I've had before. Our allocated cabin was E506. On entering, the room was substandard for cleanliness, to say the least. I believe the cabin had been vacant for some time. There was dust everywhere, and the hem of the shower curtain was filthy. We rang for housekeeping, as the toilet also didn't flush. There was sediment in the bowl, but that seemed to appear in all the bowls around the ship!!! The room steward arrived and gave the room a thorough clean, and maintenance arrived to attend to the toilet flush. This took about an hour, and totally ruined our arrival, and negated any chance of enjoying the early arrival opportunities. As we readied for dinner, it was darkening outside and we put the lights on. Well, the ones that worked anyway. Another visit to reception followed, and maintenance sorted the bulb issue whilst we were at dinner. Finally, a chance to unpack, and just on completion, the boom boom of music from below became overwhelming. Now, i'm in my 40's and like music, but the volume with bass tones from the Tamarind Club below was well excessive. This was now 9.30pm, again to reception i went. I was handled with my request to change cabin by Front of House manager Avi, and after a little while, was re-allocated to exact room standard E625, over the photo gallery. Nice and quiet, but is hampered by the staff service door directly across the corridor. Basically, it appears there is no check list for management to oversee new arrivals, and room standard is left to the steward. Now to the cruise itself, the ship was well undermanned with passengers. Strong rumours suggested 1000 under capacity (500 cabins), however, this meant that all the venues on board could be easily accessed without having to beat the herd that roams between shows. The shows are predominantly catered for passengers a generation older than me in my opinion. Music catered for is generally 1960s 70s. The exchange was the best all round atmosphere but could do with an artist some times to break up the monotonous thing of quizzes and bingo!! Generally, the staff try hard in what is a difficult marketplace, as the retired set can make these cruises more easily than the working man/woman. P&O need to keep better abreast of their information sourcing. The internet gave this cruise as 4 formal nights, which was reduced to 3 for some reason. There was many passengers that had booked this as a vantage fare, and were stunned at the number of passengers that had got the cruise for under £1000. Many said they would not book early again, but would wait until the last available minute they could. I will do the same. It's not pleasant to know that people booked less than a week before sailing and got balcony cabins for far less than people paid for insides. One great aspect, Ventura has for this winter season been given 2 freedom dining restaurants. If it is successful, it could be extended fully. To summarise, some shortcomings for me, late bookers getting balconies, persistent sell, sell, sell is annoying, 5pm departures when it fell around shore excursions lead to 6pm (booking info gave 6pm every day), Some positives, availabilty of drinks choice, 2 restaurants freedom dining & comfortable venues, sunbathing etc. I feel that P&O should look at introducing a drinks package. I've sailed with Costa, and at 19.5 euros a day is excellent. Something like this would keep all the venues busy most of the day. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2012
We had previously cruised with NCL, Princess and Celebrity and were really looking forward to sampling P & O but unfortunately we were rather disappointed with some aspects of this cruise. Our flight was a Thomas Cook charter to ... Read More
We had previously cruised with NCL, Princess and Celebrity and were really looking forward to sampling P & O but unfortunately we were rather disappointed with some aspects of this cruise. Our flight was a Thomas Cook charter to Barbados, and it was as good, if not better than many schedule flights, with plenty of legroom and attentive cabin crew. Ventura is a large ship, chosen by us as I do not have the best sea legs and we thought it would be good to choose a large ship as we were crossing the Atlantic. Our cabin was very nice, well equipped with a very helpful cabin steward. However, the public rooms were not as grand as we had previously encountered, no impressive atrium or quiet reading rooms. The dining room (Bay Tree) was well appointed and we were pleased to have a table for two, our two waiters were very attentive and pleasant but the food was not up to the usual cruise ship standard and the menu was not very varied. The drinks however were very reasonably prices, both the wine and the bar drinks, in some instances half the price of other cruises which was naturally a real plus. We went on three shore excursions which we thoroughly enjoyed, our first was a tour of St Kitts where our guide was very knowledgeable and made the trip a joy. We then did a snorkeling trip on Tortola with two snorkeling sites, again our guides were very professional with the snorkeling being best off 'Treasure' Norman Island. Finally, we did a tour on the Azores, which again was very good with a lovely local guide. The Azores was an unscheduled stop but a real gem and far preferable to Tenerife. Unfortunately there were two aspects of this cruise which really spoilt our holiday; the first was the attitude of the Shore Excursions and shop staff on board ship, we found they lacked any social skills and had total apathy when you expressed any interest in any port of call or any shop items. The second was the number of places on the ship where smoking was permitted. As people who like to take a stroll along the Promenade Deck you had to walk through the 'fog' every time on the Starboard side. Additionally, smoking was also permitted in one of the outside bars, near one of the pools and on the balconies, one of our neighbours was a smoker which spoilt our use of our balcony. Indeed, the smoking issue was a real down side for us, we will seriously have to consider whether we would cruise with P & O again if they continue to give preference to smokers over non smokers. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: February 2012
Flights were excellent and on time Cabin was excellent and our luggage arrived in good time We were looked after very well by Simon and Avelino The Ports visited were very good although we were disappointed there had been no changes ... Read More
Flights were excellent and on time Cabin was excellent and our luggage arrived in good time We were looked after very well by Simon and Avelino The Ports visited were very good although we were disappointed there had been no changes since last year for the Newcastle flight. But we knew this before we booked so no complaints. Overall we felt the staff were not as good as previous cruises and that is despite the fact we were extremely well looked after by Karen at breakfast in the White Room. She always made us feel so very welcome and gave us the lift to enjoy the rest of the day! There were 4 in our party as our two adult daughters were with us. The breakfast was not up to the expected standard. Apart from the Beach House the food elsewhere was certainly not up to the standard we expected and had 'gone back' considerably from the same time last year! A couple of the waiters were 'unreal'- I was a bit slow with eating my Prawn Cocktail and the waiter tried to take my dish away despite the fact that I still had my spoon in my hand. When I told him to wait, he countered that my main course had arrived. Indeed it had, but the sole was inedible! We were Saturday to Saturday bookings and on the Friday night there was no entertainment. The films on our TV's had been removed. No 'paper' on the Saturday - No puzzles (needed the answers for the Fridays crossword!). We definitely were 'not wanted"!' It was the Friday night that the waiter virtually told me to hurry up eating my prawn cocktail. I have to add that the rest of our table were amused at this. It last happened to me over 70 years ago when I was in the infants classes at School In my experience the Azura beats the Ventura by a considerable margin Read Less
Sail Date: December 2011
Have just returned from our fist ever cruise over the xmas period on the Ventura. only booked it 2 weeks before sailing, so got a very good deal. Overall the ship is fine,but there are a few things that I think PO could look into. We ... Read More
Have just returned from our fist ever cruise over the xmas period on the Ventura. only booked it 2 weeks before sailing, so got a very good deal. Overall the ship is fine,but there are a few things that I think PO could look into. We arrived in Barbados somewhat late due to the flight being delayed for over 2 hours (thomas cook). Bye the time we got to the port, it was already dark, and the checkin queue was quite long, not what you need after a 9 hour flight. The cabin was fine, but had to go and eat wearing the same clothes as we had travelled in as cases did not turn up till a few hours later.The Waterside is ok, but I think the trays are a waste of time, because if you get salad, soup and dinner all in one go, the already luke warm dinner is going to be cold time you eat it! And why do they put the soup at the end of the buffet selection? We was told on our paperwork we had freedom dining, but card in the cabin said we were on 1st sitting on a table of 8. We prefer smaller tables so after querying this at the restaurant was told freedom was full, but was given a table for 2.So that was ok. We did not find out till 2 days before the end of the cruise that the Beechhouse did waiter service evening meal, but its the same menu every night, and they only serve about 50 at a time, so you have to queue well before 6 for the 6.30 opening time to make sure of getting a seat. Only used it once, but it was good, all freshly cooked , so no complaints On the first day at sea, I did not go on deck till quite late, and could not find a sunbed in the sun anywhere, ,ended up in the shade at the back of the ship. Think you needed to put your stuff on a bed about 6am, if you wanted to be near a pool, even though they say no reserving of sunbeds, nobody takes any notice, and I never saw any staff removing items, as stated they would. The entertainment was a bit hit and miss, to much singing and dancing, and you needed to get in the Havana early to get a decent seat, or you ended up behind the walls! not being able to see much at all. Why have they got stupid partitions, or why are they not lower? Yes I do agree the staff are not as friendly as other ships ive been on, and I dont think one of our dinner waiters smiled once the whole time he served us. Also on the first 2 occasions I ordered steak, was not given a steak knive, and when I mentioned it on the 3rd occasion, Mr Grumpy said I should have asked for one! We had a day at Catalina Island, which is just a beach with a few tacky shops, but has a huge BBQ cooking area, which the ships crew are supposed to use for the lunch. But by 1pm, there was no sign of any BBQ being prepared, so if you wanted anything to eat , it was back to the ship (a tender job). We found out later that the hygeine officer had visited the cooking area before we all went ashore, and was not satisfied with it, so no BBQ! So they knew before we all went over, but there were no announcements made on the ship telling us. Would I go on the Ventura again, only if it was a bargain price, but prefer other cruise companies Read Less
Sail Date: December 2011
We flew from Gatwick to Barbados with Thomas Cook whcih was ok - flight passed quite quickly and got straight off plane at Barbados, onto coach and taken straight to ship avoiding the airport formalities entirely. Wished I had put ... Read More
We flew from Gatwick to Barbados with Thomas Cook whcih was ok - flight passed quite quickly and got straight off plane at Barbados, onto coach and taken straight to ship avoiding the airport formalities entirely. Wished I had put shorts,t shirt and flip flops into flight bag as had to stay in winter clothing for three hours until luggage delivered to cabin but should have known having cruised previously. We had an outside obstructed view cabin which looked between two lifeboats so still had a bit of a sea view. Cabin was spacious and kept clean by Bruno our cabin steward throughout the cruise. Not sure how often bed linen changed but suspect weekly at the most unlike other cruise lines which do change daily - however must think of the environment and not wash needlessly. We had second sitting dining at the Saffron on (as requested) a table for two. However the table was so close to the tables next door either side that we felt obliged to chat to neighbouring tables - might as well as had a table for six in this respect. Food I would describe as more like "pub grub" - certainly no memorable or outstanding meals in the restaurant. A couple of dishes were plain awful Didn't try the speciality restaurants whcih other cruisers described as excellent (probably more on a par with likes of Celebrity in their main restaurants. Our waiters were ok but my husband had to ask for a steak knife every time - this should be provided when steak ordered. Also tables crumbs not cleared - its these small details that put P and O down the scale of other cruise lines! We did find the lunches in the Saffron had nicer choices of food than the evenings. We ate breakfast at the saffron or outside the Beach House in the open air area and once had room sevice whcih is only continental unless you pay extra. The pizzas and burgers/hot dogs at frankies grill on deck 15 were very nice indeed. Entertainment was quite good. Headliners shows especially Reflex about the 1980's music were very good, there was a comedian called Fogwell Flax who was quite funny and also did a fantastic Sting tribute, also a "Cuban comedy/magician Manuel Martinez who was funny but I think did offend some people by his comments. Also Mercury Rising a tribute to Freddie Mercury was excellent. We enjoyed doing the quizzes but P and O a bit mean by not giving away even a keyring to the winning team (we won three and got nothing! - except the glory!) Ports of call all very nice - hot weather as to be expected and we luckily missed out on rain showers by being in the right place at the right time! We did two excursions one St Maarten by rib (inflatable speedboat) which visited Marigot, stopped for snorkelling and a beach and included rum puch/soft drinks/beer. The other was whale watching in Dominica whcih we were lucky to see both whales and dolphins. The price for these two excursions for my husband and I was £204.00. On the other islands we negotiated deals with local taxi drivers for tours and the best deal was Antigua where we got the local bus to Nelsons Dockyard return fo $3 each. A bargain and very efficient. Our main concern with the ship was the cleanliness. Ash trays were not emptied, glasses/rubbish etc not cleared away from one day to the next, grubby fingermarks on glass in lifts (and bearing in mind very few children on board to make a mess) To sum up the cruise was adequate but not special and I probably won't rush back to P and O again anytime soon. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2011
Having read some of the negative reviews that i saw once i had booked to go on this ship i was a little worried but came with an open mind. The flight with Thomas Cook out from Gatwick was well organised but the check in was very ... Read More
Having read some of the negative reviews that i saw once i had booked to go on this ship i was a little worried but came with an open mind. The flight with Thomas Cook out from Gatwick was well organised but the check in was very hard on anyone who seemed to have an ounce over in thier luggage. However leaving the airport at the other end was super; bypassing border control and straight to the ship. Priority embarkation to the ship for the suite passengers was a joke ie you just got your cruise card a bit quicker and then just joined the queue with everyone else. Once on the ship friendly staff greeted us and basically just told us the way to the stateroom. Perhaps my expectation of priority boarding for the large sum of money i had paid for this cruise was wrong. On getting to my stateroom i was quite pleased with the size of it and the layout but the much mooted butler service just did not happen -no champagne on ice waiting -no unpacking of the luggage for you as promised, no pamper pack, just stuff left in the fridge and a guy who introduced himself as the butler once he was well sure we had unpacked ourselves and told us "the room stuard does the toilet, i do the cups" the room steward was much better and more hardworking however. The light of day came the next day and all was revealed: dirty walls ,the remnants of the last couples sporting activities on the bed valance,the shabby balcony with the old weather worn furniture the stink of smoke in the room. After having the customer service manager in for a conference and laying down what i expected of service from the staff things got better but the impression was already there. The staff generally on this ship were very friendly and polite and i would have to say had more class that the ramshackle bunch that made up most of the passengers -all over tattoos-compare the beer belly competitions in the sun very bad fake designer bags - get the drift this was the real letdown of this cruise- if your idea of a good time is a working men's club or the British Legion on a Saturday night - then this is the place for you. Food on board was surprisingly good with the bay tree,white room ,east and ramblas putting on some really good food the exception however was waterside where i would eat with great caution esp poultry. Bar prices were very fair with most things at pub levels and i found my on board credit went a long way. would i cruise p and o again -yes- would i go on ventura again-not if you paid me. As a foot note my partner came down with a really bad case of food poisoning at the end of this cruise and the only time we ate off this ship was on an organised tour as i said caution is the word. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2011
I'm afraid P&O was not the ideal cruise firm we expected. The Saffron dining room staff were really good and very pleasant, as was the wine waiter, although the menu wasn't vast they did generally have something that ... Read More
I'm afraid P&O was not the ideal cruise firm we expected. The Saffron dining room staff were really good and very pleasant, as was the wine waiter, although the menu wasn't vast they did generally have something that appealed. The cabin was fine, as was the cabin steward who went the extra mile to be friendly and provide a good service. The buffet on the other hand was not good at all. There was not a good choice of food and even though you were handed a really hot plate, the food in general was tepid at best and in some cases cold. If salad was the preferred choice then this had to be put onto the very hot plates. There were 'cold plates' for salad but these were also hot when available which spoiled the whole idea of a salad. The tables were not emptied readily and the tea and coffee stations left a lot to be desired. Getting tea, coffee, milk, cups, tea spoons and hot water in the same place seemed too much to ask and staff were rude when asked for cups etc. The day we left there were no cups at any drink station and people were forced to drink tea and coffee from plastic glasses. The staff did try to keep sunbeds free on sea days and removed towels from beds that had been 'saved' and where no-one appeared for a length of time but in general you had to be up really early to get a sunbed by a pool. The chairs and tables around the pool had wooden slats and were really hard and uncomfortable. Smoking was allowed on the starboard side of decks 15 and 16 as well as the starboard side of promenade deck 7 but it was impossible to sit and have a drink and a smoke as the seating facilities were too hard to sit and relax on and generally full of grease and unclean from Frankies burger bar. The staff on these decks were not very friendly and some were rude. This was our first experience of P&O and we had been led to believe it was the best but the next cruise will definitely be back at Royal Caribbean who do their utmost to take care of their passengers. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2011
We have just returned from 2 weeks on the Ventura a beautiful ship and this being our first cruise we were very pleased with the cabin and most of our fellow passengers. I do realise that with over 3000 people on board p and O have to ... Read More
We have just returned from 2 weeks on the Ventura a beautiful ship and this being our first cruise we were very pleased with the cabin and most of our fellow passengers. I do realise that with over 3000 people on board p and O have to cater for a great number of tastes but some of the so called entertainment certainly did not appeal to us. We were quite looking forward to having a little flutter in the casino but why oh why have they put it next to the PUB, needless to say we did not bother and for most of the cruise staff in the casino looked very bored as no one was using it. We felt the shore excursions we booked were very good and well organised. Our dining arrangements were wrong as we had booked freedom dining but after a day or so this was sorted out. Would we cruise again, probably but with a lot more research as this one really was not what we were looking for and from conversations with fellow passengers this was a very common view. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2011
CONS On first sight - what a monster. First time we'd cruised on a 3,000 passenger ship, and by day 14 we were still getting lost! On arrival NO champagne reception, which we'd been used to with other cruise lines, NO-ONE ... Read More
CONS On first sight - what a monster. First time we'd cruised on a 3,000 passenger ship, and by day 14 we were still getting lost! On arrival NO champagne reception, which we'd been used to with other cruise lines, NO-ONE to show us to our cabin, heaven help anyone who's never cruised before. There was something the matter with the staff, especially the waiting on staff, they were quite sullen and obviously not happy with something, although during the cruise some of them perked up and we managed to have a laugh with them. Our balcony cabin was sufficient - except for the shower - which was triangular in shape and quite small which meant that when you bent over to do you legs you had to stick your head out of the curtain - not very nice. Signage on the ship, totally inadequate. All the signs were very dark and difficult to spot and read, needs brightening up a bit so they are easier to spot. No hot water in any of the toilets used by passengers when moving around the ship, NOT ideal for killing bacteria! Experienced a very rough passage on our last nights journey, even experienced cruisers said they had never experienced such a rough journey, hung onto bed and hoped for best. Think that LIBRARY should be in an enclosed room with comfortable seats to relax and read at leisure. Think that CASINO is one of the smallest that I have ever seen and should be totally separate from the adjoining EXCHANGE lounge and music venue. Nail polish used in spa treatments is rubbish, cheap stuff. Chips after a few days. PROS Fellow passengers very pleasant and chatty. Cabin boy very good and helpful, works extremely hard. Food available 24 hours a day, but sometimes a little 'hit & miss' in one or two venues, but you'll never go hungry. Entertainment, First Class, the Venturer Theatre Company were very professional putting on some very good shows, visiting artistes included a singer, Victor Michael, and a comedian Adrian Walsh, who both did two separate shows, Excellent! During our days at sea, attended the Oasis Spa for treatments, overall very good, but nail polish is rubbish, cheap stuff. Guest speakers very interesting, went to a few different talks, learnt a lot. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2011
Having just returned today 12/02/2011 I thought I would give my views on the trip. Bad start Thomsons flight out of Manchester should have left 9-30am was delayed until 18-15hrs we were notified the day before some passengers of course ... Read More
Having just returned today 12/02/2011 I thought I would give my views on the trip. Bad start Thomsons flight out of Manchester should have left 9-30am was delayed until 18-15hrs we were notified the day before some passengers of course travelled the day before so were not contactable. Arrived at Ship 23-00 hours Barbados time 3am GMT. No water in our cabin, safe not working not much of an complimentary upgrade. Riviera Deck 14 is far removed from its name we were kept awake in the small hors by scraping of chairs and vacume cleaning dont they make a noise thse days when they are above your beds. BEWARE Waterside and Beach House above R deck. Never again. More waiting to get a table in Baytree for Breakfast after waiting u are admitted to finf only a small section in use. Think they have cut staff? Entertainment not that good with a few minor exceptions. Food in Dining Rooms OK not as good as previous year. Met some great people but there were quite a few that you would wish to avoid. We are forever learning and enjoyed the weather which is the main reason for going for us. Staff attitude leaves a lot to desire with a few exceptions. 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
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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