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1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2010
On arrival aboard the ventura we we greeted with a cabin that was not properly cleaned and to a standard which i would not expect from a second rate youth hostel.Issues of cleanliness included:Dirty stained tea cupsCoffee stains all down a ... Read More
On arrival aboard the ventura we we greeted with a cabin that was not properly cleaned and to a standard which i would not expect from a second rate youth hostel.Issues of cleanliness included:Dirty stained tea cupsCoffee stains all down a wall on cupboard topsA dirty binDirty ashtray on balconyCarpet not well hooveredFinger marks on mirrorBathroom smellingBathroom not well cleanedBathrobe missingI contacted reception and asked for the house keeper to visit the cabin as the hygene and cleanliness was totally unacceptable,on his arrival we were requested to leave the cabin whilst these issues were attended to.not ideal after an 8 hour flight a 1 hour drive and 3 hours at manchester airport. P and O wake up and smell the roses or in this case the toilet! An offer of a complimentary drink or some form of token gesture would have been of some consolation,but not forth coming.All the above issues were dealt with to some degree and i eventually recieved asome what shabby bathrobe which I personally would have been embarresd to donate to a charity shop.Our smelling bathroom saga continued through-out the holiday dispite several matainance men attending to the issue on numerous occassions,I dont believe the issue was ever really solved we became amune to most odours due to the amount of air freshners we had crammed in the room.we found the rest of the ship to be very clean and had no other hygene issues other than with the poor cleaning standard of our cabin,dispite being a suite where we spent a lot of time especially during sea days and sharing with 3 adults ,the cabin was only hoovered at best every other day and minimal house work was done to our cabin at a very poor standard.In the main restaraunts ,primarily evening meals were of a very poor standard to a degree that if i were a paying customer onshore not only would i never return to such a restaraunt i would expect the head chef to apologise for his mismanagement of creating such poorly cooked and presented food.Often badly presented ,very rarley correctly seasoned,very small portions,A pathetic cheese board and very so so menus that would not attract a paying clientel.I found the waiters and most of the dining staff very professional,courteous and polite although reading between the lines after several weeks,i was lead to believe many staff were unhappy on the ship.The best meals in my opinion were breakfast and best be had in the restaraunt as the self service system was generally a mish mash of problems espescially at peak times (9am onwards)day after day the same issues.No cups ,tea spoons or glasses by the drink machinesDirty cups continually being put out by drink machinesLarge waiting times for speacial orders such as a boiled egg, often stood waiting for 5 mins or moreBacon very undercooked and not of a quality one would expect from any restaraunt. I could waffle on about issues with entertainment ect however appreciate that every ones taste are different and trying to appeal to all ages I am sure no one would be pleased all of the time,In fairness i personally thought the evening shows and artist were of a reasonable standard and catered a bit of everything during our 29 days.Conclusion.P and O are certainly allowing standards in all quarters to drop ,in my opinion more of a bargain bucket than an oppulent experience.I appreciate the price of cruising in real terms has probably never been so affordable however ,why do people especially P n O clentele wish to cruise?I would consider P and O to be offering a butlin on the sea experience rather than an opulent ,quality ,fine holiday experience.I have dispite my latest experience with P and O,booked again on the ventura for a simular christmas cruise,for no other reason than this ship is in the right plaice at the right time at an affordable rate to myself.however should the cabin service be of as poor quality let it be known that the captain may be a crew member missing,as for the food i will aim to live off breakfasts and hope the head chef has found his rightful position in life preferably out of a kitchen. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2010
My fiancEe and I have just returned from a 29 night 2010/11 Christmas / New Year cruise on the P&O Ventura - Caribbean / Mexico and USA. Having booked it in October 2009, we had looked forward to it for over a year, so we were very ... Read More
My fiancEe and I have just returned from a 29 night 2010/11 Christmas / New Year cruise on the P&O Ventura - Caribbean / Mexico and USA. Having booked it in October 2009, we had looked forward to it for over a year, so we were very disappointed in the final experience. Having cruised before on the Marco Polo, Sea Princess and Celebrity Summit, all being good experiences, I will however try to be objective and fair. From what we thought we knew about the P&O brand, we thought it would represent a step "Up Market", but Ventura was very much a "Down Market" experience in our opinion. If P&O don't want to damage their brand, then they should take a long hard look at Ventura or possibly market her under another brand. I say this because a significant number of fellow passengers we spoke to not only indicated they would never sail on Ventura again, but many who had no other P&O experience to compare it with, said they would never sail P&O again. Unless we can be convinced otherwise, we also fall into this second category. The ship itself was bright, modern and very clean. The Arena theatre was huge, and there were two main cabaret venues, Havana and Tamarind. There were four swimming pools and several Jacuzzis although half were cold and despite complaints were never warm enough to use. One of the larger swimming pools had a sliding roof for when the weather wasn't too good. Our cabin on C deck was clean, well equipped and had a large balcony with two reclining chairs, a foot stool (only one !) and a small drinks table. The balconies on this deck were about 10 ft x 10 ft, twice the size of most others, half covered so you could still sit out if it rained. We had a good shower room and the open plan area for hanging clothes gave us ample space for two people. We also had a TV, a fridge (un-stocked) and tea making facilities with a good supply of quality tea bags. The drinks onboard where quite reasonably priced and there was a good choice. You did have this daft system of barman needing to serve you via the waiter, but in truth we never found this to be a problem or to create much of a delay. We read many reports of there being too few sun beds, but we could always find some. Ok, they were very closely packed and as you would expect, very heavily subscribed in the pool areas but away from those areas there were plenty. Anyway, we preferred the privacy of our nice balcony. But P&O in their wisdom have marketed this ship to a different type of person from their normal customer and we felt we were not made sufficiently aware of what to expect, hence my earlier branding comments. As well as this, many passengers seemed to have gotten last minute bargain basement deals which brought on board a lot of people who might be better suited to a Butlins holiday. Sorry if this sounds a bit snobby, but it's an honest opinion and a comparison used by quite a number of other passengers. Shaven heads, tattoos and male earrings were much in evidence, as were sweatshirts and bad language. We didn't want the dress code to be too stuffy but there should be some areas of the ship where a reasonable code is enforced, such as the formal restaurants. Even on formal nights it wasn't always. You and your wife might go to a lot of trouble getting all dressed up in your dinner suit or gown, then some scruffy individual was allowed to enter the restaurant and plonk themselves down at your table dressed in polo shirt, jeans and trainers with tattoos up to their ears This was indicative of the general lack of rule enforcement. For example, on other ships there has been a strictly enforced rule about using the hand sanitizer gel before entering any restaurant, but on Ventura no one challenged you if you entered a restaurant without using the gel dispenser. That worried us as I endured a dose of Norovirus once (off ship) and I had no desire to repeat the experience. We were on Freedom Dining, and as we enjoy dinner as a social event, we looked forward to some convivial evenings with our fellow diners, as we have enjoyed on other ships. While we did meet some very pleasant and interesting people on Ventura, there were far too many evenings when we found ourselves on a table of six or eight with folk who had absolutely no conversation or social skills what so ever. Getting an intelligent conversation going could be like drawing teeth, indeed, one evening on a table for six, a couple joined us and while the wife did manage the odd sentence, during the entire meal the husband only said one word, and that was "No" when asked by the wine waiter if he would like wine with his meal. Boring and rude or what ! As far as freedom dining was concerned, we never had a problem waiting too long for a table. However, the food in the main restaurants was pretty bland and unimaginative. If meat and two veg is your thing then OK but we expected much better. There were some good dishes but not many and as for the buffet restaurant, I've had better food in a works canteen. For the alternative restaurants, Beach House was reasonable but in the East restaurant, food was not great and far from authentic Asian. It was little better in Ramblas, the Tapas bar. Here they wanted us to have just a single "starter" dish as a tapas, not a selection. When we ordered the main dish, Paella, we were offered boiled broccoli and roast potatoes as accompaniments - has anyone on the catering staff ever been to Spain or experienced proper Tapas ????? Worst of all though was the unedifying bun fight that passed as breakfast in the buffet restaurant. Never enough tables, cutlery, plates, cups, trays and not a great selection of food either. The design of the severy was so cramped and with no one-way system enforced, people where forever pushing past and over each other in the scramble to get at the food. A served breakfast could be had in two of the three formal restaurants, which was a much more civilised affair but that finished very early at 9:00am (9:30 on sea days). These could have taken some of the strain off the buffet had breakfast been extended to all three restaurants with longer hours, but it was not.. By contrast, the White Room was excellent and we had no problems booking it. We ate there on Christmas evening at a supplement of £30, but this included a quality glass of wine with each course and again on the last formal night, (supplement £20) wine excluded. Both times we opted to dine outside under the stars. However, supplements are all very well, but not if you have to upgrade just escape to poor quality elsewhere onboard. Most of the chefs were by all accounts Indian / Asian so it came as no surprise to occasionally find an excellent curry on the buffet lunch menu. So why on earth they did not make far more use of this asset and do more of it or even turn East into a truly authentic Indian venue is beyond us. With some exceptions, in general we found the staff to be a bit surly, and a few almost rude, particularly in the buffet restaurant and the bars up on deck. We think half the problem was that the remuneration system didn't serve to motivate them well enough Generally speaking the entertainment was amateurish at best and awful at worst, with a few of notable exceptions. Chris Walker and his Jazz band were very good, and several of the tribute acts were also good. There was some pretty inane daytime entertainment around the main pool but luckily you could escape this by using one of the other pools. The casino was a bit limited and unfortunately for it's adherents formed part of the Exchange bar, which was an onboard "Pub". Here the entertainment hit rock bottom. You could enjoy such delights as an evening of excruciating karaoke. The Great British Pub Night featured a sing-along evening with songs such as Knees up Mother Brown, Roll out the Barrel and My Old Man, amongst other traditional British sophistication, while red-faced guests sat around waving little Union Jack flags and swilling pints of lager. The only things missing were a Glamorous Granny competition and a Knobbly Knees contest. Hi-De-Hi !!! This event was packed out, which could mean P&O had got it right, conversely it could demonstrate the type of clientele they had succeeded in attracting. Brands are meant to stand for something definitive, that's the whole point of them. They should distil the very essence of what you are about and project that image, clear and unambiguously deep into the heart of your intended market, so that when customers buy into them, they know precisely what to expect - P&O, if you value your brand, for heaven's sake do something about Ventura Read Less
Sail Date: October 2010
As first time cruisers we weren't too sure what to expect. Not sure we would go with P & O again as on speaking to our fellow passengers they too were disappointed with several things. The evenings were great, met with some ... Read More
As first time cruisers we weren't too sure what to expect. Not sure we would go with P & O again as on speaking to our fellow passengers they too were disappointed with several things. The evenings were great, met with some very lovely people (how lucky we were). The gentleman was right about the sunbeds, not enough to go round and I understand that the shop had capacity for another 800 people, god only knows what it would have been like at sea on those days if you wanted to sit up top. The food was great but the customer service could have been improved. Didn't see much of anyone in authority walking round and the teenagers and some adults were diving, bombing etc despite warning notices. The staff when told at reception weren't interested, and there could have bneen a serious incident. As the prices on the cruise were offered at very reduced prices it made it very cheap for some undesirables who showed that they didn;t know how to behave on a luxury cruise liner. Bit disappointing if you had paid full price. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2010
First time we had been on Ventura - the cabins are great. We had a super one with an extra large balcony at the aft end of the ship - this proved to be our sanctuary. Whilst this is quite a pleasant ship it certainly lacks the wow factor ... Read More
First time we had been on Ventura - the cabins are great. We had a super one with an extra large balcony at the aft end of the ship - this proved to be our sanctuary. Whilst this is quite a pleasant ship it certainly lacks the wow factor of Celebrity Soltice and is a good deal smaller even though it carries the same number of passengers. Our main disappointment was the lack of really nice places to go for a drink, a nice club bar was needed. The large bar at the top of the ship with its big video screen was the best, but on the whole the staff were not very pleasant or helpful. The biggest disappointment was the huge pub style bar which dominated along with the casino most of the midships area. This I likened to going to darts at the Lakeside Club!! Inane quizzes and football on TV in this huge barn of a room was not for us! Where had all the interesting talks from celebrities gone - in fact anything that would expand your mind a bit! The entertainment seemed to comprise of sales opportunities for the gym and spa or else shopping. I think there was also bingo! With no dedicated cinema, films were shown in different places around the ship and unless they were actually shown in the theatre then it was pretty unsatisfactory. The food in the Saffron restaurant was mostly acceptable, apart from a dreadful gala dinner. Although we did all say that the staff did not seem to be the usual happy bunch and wondered if there was some problem behind the scenes. Our regular waiters at dinner where pleasant, but that could not be said for some of the ones at lunch and breakfast. Whites restaurant was brilliant, however, and we would thoroughly recommend this - especially dining out under the stars - magic. We also enjoyed tapas at Ramblas. We had a horrendous Thompson flight out with a stopover in Shannon - making it 14 hours door to door (and we only live 5 mins from the airport)! On arrival in our cabin it was disappointing to have a filthy loo! The steward cleaned this with apologies and then worked hard to make amends, but not a good start. It was disappointing that some of the passengers did not keep to the dress code - bare chests and tattoos in the restaurants were not remedied by the staff. Perhaps they were too scared of some of the passengers, after two passengers were thrown off for punching a waiter! We avoided the main sundecks after finding some people shouting to one another and raucous laughter at the top of their voices. We all want to have fun, but found that there were too many of the loud ones to make the sunbeds a pleasant place to relax. We actually enjoyed the shows, although there was a lot of criticism from others. I know the main singer could not sing, but he had great stage presence!! The two acrobats and the dancers were fantastic. We enjoyed a couple of the comedians, although a Billy Connolly tribute act was absolutely dire and we were boxed in and could not escape! There were some pretty awful stand alone singers too. One girl, however, had a fantastic voice, but her comedy was sooooo bad we all felt embarrassed for her. Any show held in the nightclub, Havana, seemed to be dire - it really is a very horrid room. Having said that the sound insulation is very good as our cabin was over this and we could not hear a thing!! All in all, lovely to get some sunshine, but it was not only us who thought that P & O had become Butlin's at sea. Sadly after 10 years of cruising around the world, we don't think that P & O will get our business again - they have dumbed down too far. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2009
Can't fault the transfer to/from airport - Thomson holiday, but First Choice flight from Gatwick. Food terrible, but leg room good (Row 11). Same seats on return journey so ensure you choose wisely on way out. Once baggage checked ... Read More
Can't fault the transfer to/from airport - Thomson holiday, but First Choice flight from Gatwick. Food terrible, but leg room good (Row 11). Same seats on return journey so ensure you choose wisely on way out. Once baggage checked in - that's it until you receive it at your cabin. Excellent. Ship absolutely massive - first sight from outside showed fantastic promise. Unfortunately, on entering, dirty carpets and overall impression of tiredness - bit like it's newly arrived guests! What should have happened was that we would have been given a nice refreshing drink to welcome us onboard. Such a simple and cheap gesture would have made a very good impression. Not a sniff of one however! Cabin great. Appreciated the dressing area. Bathroom v. small but adequate. Steward (Victor)fantastic. Food - plenty of places to eat and all in all, not bad. Some dodgy curries on at lunch-time in Waterside restaurant - omelette for instance, but choice enough generally for all. Spa area - great. Wait for the special offers and treat yourself. We had 5 treatments for a total of £45.00, which we found to be great value and absolutely lovely. Pools - adults only area at the Terrace Bar much appreciated. Sunbeds - suggest you become a token German as otherwise you've had it! Note to pool guys - far too closely laid out. Give people a chance to breathe. They are on holiday! Entertainment - don't get me started!!! Absolutely dire. Shoot the blonde! Take ear plugs/blindfolds/empty brain/sense of humor and v. large drink. Better still, just don't bother - they don't! The other v. annoying thing was the entertainment director, Leon prat something or other, announcing over the tannoy in the cabins some insignificant news about his stupid itinerary. Go away you imbecile. Who cares what you've got to say and if they do, they can hear you half a dozen other times around the place - just don't invade our private space. Thank you. Islands visited - forget St Vincent and Martinique. Dreadful. Filthy. Unwelcoming. Otherwise, lovely islands and great beaches. $15 for two sunbeds and an umbrella. Great shopping in St Martin. Is that it? Seems so. Oh, the weather was great! Now where's that brochure for the Far East - on ANY OTHER SHIP! Cheers. Lindsey. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2009
The flight from Manchester to Barbados (Thomson) was comfortable but the service was terrible and the food no better. The transfer to the ship and the embarkation was extremely efficient as usual in Barbados. On return we were delayed - ... Read More
The flight from Manchester to Barbados (Thomson) was comfortable but the service was terrible and the food no better. The transfer to the ship and the embarkation was extremely efficient as usual in Barbados. On return we were delayed - expected these days - but service again was really poor. Cabins are absolutely fine - bathroom very tiny but OK. Food in the Waterside was OK but the salad bar and cold buffet selection was the poorest I have ever seen. If you have been to a Pizza hut and paid £1 extra to allow you to go to the salad bar then this was it. Bowls of cherry tomatoes, sweetcorn, tasteless potato salad, chopped lettuce, pasta salad, and grated carrot - every day. You had the choice of wafer thin tasteless ham or crab sticks or a piece of smoked haddock. Never saw prawns or salmon as on other cruises. Paid extra and ate at the Marco Pierre White restaurant on 3 occasions and also East Restaurant on another 3 nights. Well worth it. Entertainment started OK with Neil Diamond look a like and a Rod Stewart look alike and then went down hill. There are no quiet bars for you to get away from the noise of everything else going on. Each bar is a thoroughfare, great for people watching but to have a nice quiet drink - no chance. No games room if anyone wanted this. Should anyone want to play bridge, whist, or join in a quiz then all these activities were done in a restaurant with the waiters setting tables around you. Sunbeds on sea days are a nightmare. They are so close together that you have to kneel on them and then turn around. One side of the ship was for non smokers but that did not stop anyone from smoking anywhere. The passengers could give the Germans a lesson on towels on sunbeds, not only did they reserve beds on one side of the ship, but on the other as well for when the sun moved. (By the way, they even reserve tables in the Waterside with the towels - I had a few moments in that restaurant). If you sat near the pool areas then ear plugs were required. The music is so loud, no chance of relaxing or reading at all. Sometimes it was not an option as there were no other sun beds. Children are unsupervised in the pools. Signs of no jumping or diving are displayed but obviously neither the children or the parents could read. We are not an old couple but this ship is just a floating Butlins catering for families. Very little concern for anyone that has come on holiday for a rest, a chance of a quiet area somewhere, nice food and decent entertainment. You sat through acts that you would never have dreamed of going to see at home. Ventura and maybe P & O not for us. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2008
Our own embarkation was swift and hassle free although the same could not be said for our luggage - which did not arrive until some 6 hours after we had originally landed! Our cabin was fantastic. Double bed was sooo comfortable, ... Read More
Our own embarkation was swift and hassle free although the same could not be said for our luggage - which did not arrive until some 6 hours after we had originally landed! Our cabin was fantastic. Double bed was sooo comfortable, beautiful pillows and linen. Excellent Cabin Steward. Pleased and relieved we opted for a cabin with sofa and balcony - at times it was necessary to opt for our 'own space' - although the balcony was overlooked by all those above it. We were dreadfully disappointed with the lack of quality and quantity of shows in the Arena. The advertising led us to believe that there would be "full floor shows every evening". There was nothing of the sort for our first 3 nights and then we were treated to an absolutely terrible rendition of Saturday Night Fever. The team did up their game considerably in the subsequent shows - but then they needed to, but only appeared every other night. One of the Comics was appearing near Skegness 25 years ago - he's still doing the same gags! Jayne Curry in the Havana Club was brilliant however. We attended several art and jewelry talks which were time well spent. We also went to a culinary display which spurred us on to eat in the East Restaurant 3 times and the White Room twice. The whole experience in both of these restaurants is difficult to describe in words, suffice to say that the food, staff, ambience and dEcor are world class and we defy anyone to want better - we doubt it would be possible. Freedom Dining in the Cinnamon was also wonderful and we were always made aware of other options should there be nothing to our taste on the menu - there always was. We always opted for a table for 2 (we go on holiday to be together and really don't feel the need to share with others - which is apparently not the idea behind cruising). We did not enjoy the cramped conditions of sun beds - so we instead sunbathed on port days when it was relatively quiet and amused ourselves away from the masses on sea days. We were both quite shocked by the rocking of the ship through the night on several occasions. We most definitely would not wish to experience less calm water if this was how the ship coped in never anymore than 'moderate' seas. Although there were a number of children on board - they never caused us any disturbance. In the main the loud and disagreeable passengers were of the much older generation. Compared to the ports, shopping on board was extremely reasonable. We did do a couple of comparison checks and the ship was cheaper both times. The Lladro is a particular bargain. Iced coffee is a must from the bar on Deck 5 in the Atrium. The Spa is excellent but expensive - wait for the Port day offers. Visit Kevin for Reflexology - at the very least attend his Workshop. Talk to the jewelry guys in 'Eternity' they will not pressure you to buy but they are happy to talk to you about how to look out for the best stones and how to clean your old ones! Browse Whitewall Galleries - they've got some amazing artwork and are very knowledgeable and personable people. We were surprised and disappointed to realize that Port days meant we were sat along side something akin to Immingham Docks. At one point the view was a coal dump next to an EDF power station. Just as well that the arrivals and departures were impressive - make the most of them. At £19.95 for an 8"x6" photograph the ships photographers should have been far better at their job. We always buy photo's. We didn't buy any. We did miss the mixed nationality feel of a holiday - "oggie! oggie! oggie!" at the sail away parties is not our idea of fun. All drinks apart from any of the wine are reasonably priced - we bought a card of 20 large soft drinks for £20 which can also be used for ice-creams. The size of the vessel is beyond explanation. However, exploring the ship after your first week because you're lost again becomes more frustrating than enjoyable. We fail to see the need to hand luggage back ready for disembarkation so early (18 hours before we were actually due to leave the ship). Also, no-one told us about this - we found out by accident - 'first timers' not generally catered for in this and other respects - you are just expected to 'know'. Will we cruise again? No thanks. It was an experience that we can tick off our list but whilst we didn't hate it - we didn't love it either and when you consider the money it cost that simply is not a good enough verdict. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2008
Travelled from Manchester on december 20th one and a half hours late. This is nothing unusual so no problem there. Arrived in Barbados 8 hours later after a pleasant flight, quite fresh and looking forward too getting on board the ship. ... Read More
Travelled from Manchester on december 20th one and a half hours late. This is nothing unusual so no problem there. Arrived in Barbados 8 hours later after a pleasant flight, quite fresh and looking forward too getting on board the ship. The embarkation process is always efficient so all good there and the ship was impressive at first glance. The atrium was a little disappointing,a little small and boring. Found our cabin very easily as we booked very early and our agent was able to tell us what number it was so we could check on P&Os web site to locate it. The cabin was as we expected,reasonably sized with good storage.The bathroom was ok but the shower was quite small. Time to get to know the ship,its massive! trouble is there seems to be locked gates everywhere so hard to get around all the public areas. Although the deck space seems plentiful,its only when the sun beds were out the next day that the problems with space became obvious. there just isn't enough space between loungers,even more of a problem on sea days and we had more than our fair share of these on this cruise. 22.12.08 First call was Antigua and an excursion(kayak and snorkel).Too big a group and all a bit rushed, nice day overall though, my brother and his wife did the same trip in the afternoon and they felt the same. The evening was uneventful and the freedom dining experience was nice if a bit slow, good food but not much choice of desserts. 23.12.08 The next day was at sea and this is were it began to go a little sour on board. people became frustrated with the lack of sun beds and those who could get one had to be up early and climb over people to get on it as they were simply crammed in.Some rows were reported and it transpired that people reserved beds on both sides of the ship so they could move in the afternoon.Nowhere near enough entertainment on deck. 24.12.08 Grand Turk,saw it but didn't get onto it.The captain made his first announcement to say the wind was too strong and it would be dangerous to dock, well he should know best! So an extra sea day and more tension over sun loungers. Again no on board entertainment apart from a christmas songs cd on repeat in every area of the ship.My wife asked one of the entertainment staff if he could put some other music on so he just turned the christmas tunes up. 25.12.08 Christmas day at sea and a rainy start so not so bad getting a sun lounger. some young lads dressed as santa and an elf walking round the ship helped to brighten things up. Poor entertainment from the staff again,yes christmas songs on repeat again until the junior entertainment officer (LITTLE KEV)came out to play and got a good afternoon underway,just as well as the day was gettin lost. The food in all the restaurants was really good and the service was quite good considering the waiters were obviously having to work really hard to keep up and some people should be ashamed at their own behavior towards the waiters. 26.12.08 Boxing day at Catalina island and a beach barbecue.Nice day,rain trying to spoil it but not bad. The ship was tied to a buoy and we were tendered to the jetty.I missed it but it seems the rope snapped and the ship began to drift away,it was soon sorted and didn't effect the day. going back to the ship was troublesome as the wind picked up and delayed the tenders. 27.12.08 Tortola,NO! too windy again and another announcement from the captain,he's making a habit of this. Another enforced sea day and again nowhere enough happening on deck besides fights over loungers. 28.12.08 St Kitts today, "Good morning ladies and gentlemen blah blah blah" he doesn't have to say any more we can't land due to wind and we're stuck at sea, I feel like fletcher christian but they probably had better deck entertainment on the Bounty! 29.12.08 St Lucia,so thats what solid ground feels like,I was beginning to forget. Did some horse back riding overland and bare back in the sea,really good fun. 30.12.08 St Maarten.We are getting spoilt.Spent the first part of the day on the beach near the port,a really nice beach with nice people along it,drinks are cheap and the area is spotless. Then for the afternoon we visited Maho beach a couple of miles away $18 in a taxi.This is where the beach is at the end of the runway,look it up on google video,its mad! 31.12.08 Dominica. Walked around the town,not much to do here if you haven't booked an excursion and none of them appealed to us. 1.1.09 Dominica.Very hot,brilliant! Stayed on board and relaxed,listened to tales of people being thrown of the ship for fighting and trashing a cabin(note to P&O,if you slash prices then you will get cheap people). The new years eve party went well without too many problems,or so we thought,seems that in the early hours a bad fight broke out and a man was cut on the face with a bottle and a couple of young lads were caught by a passenger trying to set fire to one of the bars and more boys tried to set fire to the christmas tree. Under age drinking was a problem on this cruise. but who was supplying it? A few people were put off the ship for the fighting on the previous night. 2.1.09 Barbados. Catamaran & turtles excursion, we have done this trip a few times and has always been good value, recommend the 5 hour trip though, appeared a little crowded this time with some 10 catamarans around the turtles at once. We also visited a hotel which we stayed at in 2006 (Coconut Court hotel) great beach and the sea is excellent for nervous snorkelers or 1st time snorkelers, plenty of fish to hand feed. Review of Ship: The Deck Deck space is very crowded, particularly on sea days. Too many areas closed off to passengers. Smoking appeared to be allowed anywhere on deck, not confined enough to designated areas. Havana Bar Poorly planned in terms of layout and also the barriers separating the seating areas are far to high making it very difficult to enjoy the entertainment, with trip hazards on the floor from loose lighting strips, appears to be small steps from the isles to the seating areas. Exchange Bar: This can be noisy at times due to the casino being to one side. Tamarind: This was at times like sitting in a corridor with people moving around the ship from the Havana and the Arena Theatre. Entertainment: In the theatre the entertainment was average from the theatre company. There were two very good comedians/entertainers the second week. Sludge Lee was very poor, very old jokes. Jane Curry and Paul Baker were excellent, very good voices and talented. Scott Brutton (X FACTOR) was surprising OK. Entertainment on Deck Leon di ste coix - supposedly entertainment director, should be overboard, his management of entertainment on deck was well below standards previously seen on other ships, the standard from the entertainment staff overall showed no enthusiasm to entertain unless they were showing off to other ships and THEIR passengers what a good party ship we were on. Pity they were not this enthusiastic for us, especially on sea days when people are disappointed, there was nothing put on to lift them. A lot of entertainment seemed to be below deck, with art talk, computer talks, talks on the stars, and so on. The Ship Itself: Too big for some of the un-sheltered ports even when the seas are less than moderate, seems to be quite unstable, as if the stabilizers are not working properly. The ship has a very odd way of waggling its tail. Would we travel on Ventura again? At the moment we are booked on Ventura in May 2009, lets hope things have improved! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2008
My wife,Pat and I had only ever cruised once before on the Arcadia. This was two years ago when it was then the P&O's latest vessel. Our experience was a brilliant one,leaving us looking forward to the next one but not hooked on ... Read More
My wife,Pat and I had only ever cruised once before on the Arcadia. This was two years ago when it was then the P&O's latest vessel. Our experience was a brilliant one,leaving us looking forward to the next one but not hooked on cruising to the neglect of other types of holiday abroad. Our only misgivings were that you only have a limited time ashore to explore and discover the countries visited. What it does do is give you a taste,which then encourages you to return at a future date to expand further. The food was magnificent,the entertainment was fantastic and the ship was awesome. When the offer dropped into our laps to cruise on the Ventura with upgradings at a reasonable cost we jumped at the chance as it had to be bigger and better than Arcadia ! Our first disappointment was on the second night when we went to watch the show. This was nowhere near as good as the talented group of performers on Arcadia. We thought that the performance would get better as the week progressed,but no,in fact it got worse. People were leaving before the end on most nights. This was particularly true with the second Comedian "Sludge" Lees who was awful ! The food in the Saffron was O.K. without coming up to the standard we had come to accept on Arcadia. The buffet restaurant (the Waterside) was nowhere nearly as good as on the Arcadia with poor choices available most of the time. Our experience wasn't helped by the wine-waiter throwing a glass of Chateau-neuf-du-pap over me on the second night. I'm still waiting for an apology from the lady in question and a replacement glass of wine ! They did launder my shirt and "cream" trousers however. Although we would prefer to cruise without children,the 20 or so that were on board during our cruise did not bother us and they were perfectly behaved. However the next cruise after ours had 450 children,that would have been a nightmare ! We renewed our vows whilst on board,which was a moving experience for us both. The package at £250 is not cheap,but we were glad we did it. The icing on the cake was that we had Captain Dowds to perform the ceremony as he was the Captain on the Arcadia on our first cruise. Sadly the 80 pictures taken by the onboard photographer left much to be desired and we were unable to select 24 for the album of the occasion (another £120) but luckily one of our table companions had taken some excellent photos of the occasion on our camera so we got our album at a fraction of the cost ! Ventura is big. Very big !! But we were left thinking that much has been lost in P&O's efforts to go larger. The experience hasn't put us off cruising,but we won't cruise on Ventura again. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2008
This was our 3rd cruise and our 2nd with P&O - the previous one being on Arcadia in Feb 2008. The flight to Barbados was comfortable and on time. Although it was a ThomsonFly charter,the aircraft was actually a First Choice plane. ... Read More
This was our 3rd cruise and our 2nd with P&O - the previous one being on Arcadia in Feb 2008. The flight to Barbados was comfortable and on time. Although it was a ThomsonFly charter,the aircraft was actually a First Choice plane. Even though we had booked the cruise some 18 months earlier, we could not get an upgrade but even so, the plane was very comfortable with plenty of legroom and OK food. The transfer from the airport to the ship was excellent - (P&O seem to have got this sorted really well) - straight from the plane to a coach and then straight to the check in shed at the cruise terminal. Check in there was quick and we were soon on the ship. What a monster she is. Not really a pretty sight and it would be impossible to describe Ventura as a ship in the traditional sense - more a gigantic floating hotel. We soon found our cabin on C deck. This was compact and functional, clean and well equipped with tea and coffee machine, fridge, good hairdryer, interactive TV on which you can also view your account, comfy bed and good temperature control. The one surprise was the balcony. It was huge and contained only 2 ordinary chairs - like you might find in a works canteen and a small table measuring about 15 inches square. This was on a balcony measuring about 8 feet by 9 feet. Therefore most of the balcony was a waste of space. The balcony cabins on the ship are tiered and therefore if we sat at the front of ours, people in cabins above could see us and also we could see those on the deck below us. It was also easy to overhear conversations taking place on balconies around us. So it wasn't very private. The "bathroom" was very small. We were happy with just a shower but this wasn't overly large either!! However, hot water was in abundance - full marks for this. Senim, our cabin steward kept the place spotless throughout the entire voyage. There was ample hanging and storage space. We were supposed to leave at 20.00 but an announcement told us that some people had yet to leave the ship for the UK as their flight had been delayed and so our revised sailing time was given as 23.30. We all attended the compulsory lifeboat muster but really no one knew if everyone from cabins had attended as no one took our name or cabin number on arrival at the muster station. I thought this was all a bit casual. We had something to eat in the Waterside buffet restaurant which was nice and then our cases arrived at the cabin so it was unpacking and an early night. Our first day was a sea day on the way to Antigua. This was our first encounter with the dreaded sunbed saga. As we were towards the aft of the ship we preferred to sit on deck somewhere in that vicinity. We soon found that space was at a premium and that sunbeds were so tightly packed that it would have been difficult to actually sit on one unless you climbed onto it from the front. This then meant that you were literally cheek by jowl with the person on the next bed to you. We identified an area with a little more space on deck 19 but when we tried to get up there we found our way blocked by locked doors and gates, passages which led nowhere and a lift which went to that floor but when you got out of it you could not get through the door onto the deck. Eventually this deck opened and there was a scramble for beds in that area. It turned out that deck 19 was the Cirque Ventura area where there had been bungee jumping etc and also they had 3 big trampolines. However, all that was left was the trampolines - the rest of the "cirque" had been demolished and was being given over to sunbeds. To be honest, for the number of times the trampolines were used during the trip, they could easily get rid of that as well to free up more space for people to sit. We can endorse everything others have said about the sunbed situation on this ship. You had to be up at 08.00 to get a bed with some room around it. On Christmas Day all the beds were taken at the Terrace Pool by 07.15. Everyone knew there was a no towels rule for reserving sunbeds but to be honest, you had to ignore it otherwise you would not have been able to find anywhere to sit. The first evening was the Captain's welcome party but all that happened was that he came and spoke to the assembled guests and then left. There was no moving around in the cocktail party sense like we have had before on Arcadia and the QE2. Our next port of call was Grand Turk in the Turks and Caicos Islands on Christmas Eve. Lots of people were looking forward to this and we had booked a snorkeling trip. However, on arrival, we were informed by the Captain that it was too windy to take the ship alongside the quay and therefore this visit was cancelled. There was a lot of disappointment. We got our money back for the cancelled trip but somehow we were not satisfied and somewhat suspicious as to why the ship did not berth at Grand Turk. However we were in no position to question the Captain's judgment. Christmas Day was a sea day and the following day we moored off Catalina Island, an island owned apparently by P&O. It is situated just off the south east corner of the Dominican Republic. The ship moored with an anchor and a cable from the stern to a mooring dolphin. Passengers were ferried to the island's beach by tender. We decided to remain on board and I was on deck 19 when I heard a loud bang. On looking out over the rail, there was nothing to see but all of a sudden, the mooring dolphin "exploded" with a pall of smoke and the cable to the ship tore apart and whipped back to the dolphin. The ship then began to drift away from the island. A bit scary but things were soon in hand. Given that the call at Grand Turk was cancelled due to the weather, we did not see a great deal of improvement in the weather and sea state at Catalina Island. Indeed, some passengers were left bobbing around for 45 minutes in tenders on the return journey to the ship and many were not happy. The following day we were due in Tortola, BVI. We were looking forward to this, not having been there before. We took on the pilot and then there was an announcement that the ship would not be calling there after all due to the weather so we continued on to St Kitts. By this time, passengers were not at all happy. The next day we were due at St Kitts and having arrived and almost berthed, the Captain announced that we would not be calling there after all due to the weather. A near mutiny was evident!!! We were told that the ship instead would go straight to St Lucia, arriving there late afternoon. Again, we could not see any difference in the sea state between Catalina Island and St Kitts harbor - if anything, St Kitts was a lot calmer. We were told that the winds we had experienced were unusual. However, this is just not true. There is a period of what the locals call "Christmas Winds" which affect mainly the northern islands and are not infrequent at this time of the year. The question we and a lot of others were asking was why these ports were put on the itinerary if Ventura could not berth in those conditions. Of course the Captain has the last word but P&O are responsible for putting together the itinerary and they should see that it is suitable for the ship they are using. We do know that other ships berthed at these ports. The fact is that Ventura is simply too big and unwieldy to put in at some of the smaller more exposed islands. We managed to call at all the remaining ports on the itinerary - St Lucia, St Vincent, Dominica and St Maarten. We went on organized trips in St Lucia and Dominica and felt that they were good value for money. We had opted for freedom dining. We found this worked well as we preferred to dine around 19.00 which was perhaps earlier than a lot of people. We ate in East once which was very nice and in Whites twice, including Christmas Day evening meal. Very good. The food in the main freedom dining restaurant, the Cinnamon was generally good although some steaks were a bit tough. The service was good and pleasant - better we thought than on the Arcadia. We didn't drink in all the bars but we did like the Metropolis which has a great moving mural of a city scape at night - it changes each evening ie Sydney, London, Hong Kong etc. We felt that some of the other bars were a bit public - like drinking in a corridor. We are not great people for shows but those who did go to them came away with mixed reviews. To be honest, the star performer was held out as Scott Bruton who had made the final 12 in the X Factor. We thought he was poor on that programme so this was not a great draw for us. Some people were disgusted with the comedian. In all we felt the range of entertainment in the evenings was pretty boring. The ship could do with a a good triad jazz band performing in the pub or in the Tamarind Club to get people up and dancing. On one evening in the Tamarind, the dance band struck up and played for about 30 minutes and then when people were just getting in the mood for a dance, they stopped playing and we were invited to play Mr and Mrs!!!!! The best entertainment of the whole trip was the New Year's Eve party on deck at the Laguna Pool. Excellent DJ, excellent music, excellent atmosphere. I think that people had had so many disappointments with the cancelled ports that they were determined to have a good time!! The Great British Sailaway from St Maarten was also good fun. The ship was tastefully decorated with Christmas trees etc and generally people dressed up in the evenings even when it was smart casual. There were 3,000 passengers including several hundred children. The children never bothered us and I think that the facilities for them on the ship are very good. We were not disturbed with any rowdy behavior but we did hear that 2 people had been "arrested" for violence and that one had been taken off the ship at St Vincent. Overall, we made the best of things and enjoyed the trip and we had really good weather. Would we go on Ventura again? No. And there were a lot of people saying the same. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2015
P&O first of all made a mess of our cabin choice, we booked a cabin on the back of the ship on deck C when I tried to open the cabin door it would not open so I called reception and was told that I had been upgraded which at first I ... Read More
P&O first of all made a mess of our cabin choice, we booked a cabin on the back of the ship on deck C when I tried to open the cabin door it would not open so I called reception and was told that I had been upgraded which at first I thought was good until I saw the cabin which was on the lido deck midships it was so much smaller with a much smaller balcony and very high, we were told that because it was midships it was an upgrade and no cabins where available on deck C. after a very stressful encounter with the reception team we where asked to stay in the cabin and they would look into getting us moved, at which point I asked if we could get a flight back to Manchester (which I wished we had) as we could not accept this cabin for to weeks, eventually we where given a more suitable cabin on the back of the ship. The entertainments team on the ship where so unorganised and did not inform passengers of the change of program for the evening entertainment. The waiters in the restaurant we rude and did not appear to be interested maybe because the gratuities had been paid from onboard accounts. Also the food in the restaurants on many occasions was cold having been brought so far from the kitcen. The waiters on the open decks where not interested if you only wanted water and actually turned their backs on us. We paid nearly £600 to upgrade our flights but were told that if we wanted to sit together we would have to pay a further fee to do so.The outward flight was not to bad as we where sat directly behind one another but the inbound flight we were a few rows apart. I contacted P&O on my return and complained about all this however they as usual only offered excuses and no offer of any refund which I would have expected. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2015
It's my first time with P&O with a direct charter flight from Newcastle. However, the flight, operated by Thomsons was a complete rip off. I was handed a letter at check-in advising the entertainment system didn't work. The ... Read More
It's my first time with P&O with a direct charter flight from Newcastle. However, the flight, operated by Thomsons was a complete rip off. I was handed a letter at check-in advising the entertainment system didn't work. The premium economy seat I'd paid £299 return extra for was appaling. The I was elbow to elbow with my fellow passenger and the recline offer any other comfort for such a long flight (8.5 hrs). Main meal choice consisted of Chicken Tikka or Bangers N Mash.. Even with free drinks inluded it didn't warrant the extortianate charge. I was able to change my seat for an economy seat on the return journey and received a part refund. Apart from paying for a soft a coffee, this is included with the economy meal (only 1 choice). The one toilet in the premium section was blocked on the return journey and could not be used and there was doubt as to whether or not there was enough headsets for economy passengers. An hour into the flight I was handed a set of headsets from the premium section. I booked a single inside cabin which are on deck 6. The cabin itself was spacious with a 4ft bed and tea/coffe making facilities. However what it doesn't mention in the brochure or internet is the inside single cabins back onto The Exchange Bar which has nightly entertainment from 10.30 pm until late. This started with Karaoke the second night. You also get the noise from the Atrium which has dancing to music until late. When I complained I was offerd EAR PLUGS. When I spoke to the night manager he asked why I hadn't know the cabins were in such a noisy location. This wasn't mentioned in P&O literature so I assumed that they would be properly sound-proofed. The bathroom mirror hadn't been installed properly hence marks were noticable. As this issue couldn't be resolved I was evenutally moved to another quiter cabin P205, an O/S twin, which I was advised I wouldn't be charged for. As this bathroom had cracks in the bathroom sink I should think not. I have sent a complaint via my travel agent. I was on 2nd sitting in the Baytree restaurant for dining. The table however was right underneath the Havana club and the entertainment came thumping through every night. Therefore not a quiet dining experience I'm used to. On 2nd sitting there wasn't always any seats available in any of the entertainment area. NB: If you cancel an excusion, even in good time there is a 10% charge On a positive note P&O did offer taxi's for disabled passenger's, myself included from the airport - port and return. Once you've checked in at the airport your luggage is delivered directly to your cabin and finally on the outward journey buses / taxis were waiting when on the tarmac   Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: January 2015
first of all I must mention the flights although its a Thomson flight it is chartered by p.o.Flying from Glasgow on 15th of January we were told there was a problem with our plane so had to wait for one to come from Manchester.It was so ... Read More
first of all I must mention the flights although its a Thomson flight it is chartered by p.o.Flying from Glasgow on 15th of January we were told there was a problem with our plane so had to wait for one to come from Manchester.It was so old I think they borrowed it fron the museum of flight at east fortune .There was no entertainment not even music .Coming back we were on the Dreamliner which I was told was luxury but we were crushed in the 4 seatsin the centre no room to move AND three hours late . Having said that the transfer from the plane to the ship was excellent everyone very efficient and so friendly .Our cabin on b deck with a balcony which we had to pay extra for was lovely we had everything we wanted .Plus cleaned and tidied twice a day Thanks to our hard working cabin steward Bruno .We.were shocked at having to pay £35 for 20 glasses of flat pepsi from the dash dispenser no cans .A real rip off.Very little choice of food at buffet went there for breakfast and lunch as waited too long to be served in freedom dining in restaurants plus tea and coffee cold The staff at reception were so helpful and friendly I cannot say the same of most of waiters& bar staff .When I cruise again I will go back to Thomson cruises I will get a lot more for my money.disappointed with p.o Read Less
Sail Date: January 2014
After my experience, all show and no substance. The Ship cruised beautifully, but the staff let her down, especially the restaurant staff. They lacked training and even some meals appeared that were not as described. A "Caribbean ... Read More
After my experience, all show and no substance. The Ship cruised beautifully, but the staff let her down, especially the restaurant staff. They lacked training and even some meals appeared that were not as described. A "Caribbean Pork" was actually in Hoi Sin sauce which I suspected was left over from the Duck a couple of nights before. A "fillet steak" was actually Sirloin. When we asked for cream for our coffee, we were presented with milk in a ramekin dish and assured it was cream (whipped cream). The head waiter was called and cream in a jug appeared. A stroppy waiter slammed down a jar of brown sugar after we explained to him "Canderel " was not Demerara sugar and would he please bring us brown sugar? The food was not special (on Princess you feel as though you are eating out in a nice restaurant every night, whereas on Ventura, we felt as though we were just eating food we would cook at home every night. We paid extra to eat in the Marco Pierre "White Room" on 3 occasions (£60 per couple) in order to get the food and service we wanted. The constant hard selling of drinks spoiled what should have been a relaxing holiday and even when my husband still had a drink in front of him it was "Can I get you another drink?" The staff in the restaurant did not smile, and I wondered if someone had died, so different from the wonderfully friendly and happy Princess cruises staff. I felt the staff did not respect the passengers and did not want to be there Generally, it was not a slick operation and I'll be returning to Princess where I hopefully will not be made to feel like one in a herd of cattle. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2014
My wife and I have cruised 30 + times mostly with Celebrity, RCL, Princess and Airtours when they were operating. Having read lots of good reviews we decided to try P and O. but oh dear what a mistake. How Ventura as a ship can rate ... Read More
My wife and I have cruised 30 + times mostly with Celebrity, RCL, Princess and Airtours when they were operating. Having read lots of good reviews we decided to try P and O. but oh dear what a mistake. How Ventura as a ship can rate highly in the Berlitz guide totally baffles me. We did enjoy the ports of call and the itinerary after all what's not to like in the Caribbean in January. Ship. We found the ship very poorly laid out with dead ends causing one to back track, Sun decks are poorly set out over too many levels and not enough sun beds. This is made a lot worse by people reserving them and not using them all day. Theatre. Poor sight lines throughout, difficult to find seats but the headliner shows were good. Cabin. This was well set out and spacious, I do take exception to being sold a restricted view cabin to find that it was an outside cabin with daylight but no view what so ever. My wife does like the walk in wardrobe and storage space. Restaurants. The beach house and waterside eateries are very poorly designed and the choice of food throughout the day was poor especially the breakfast buffet which did not change once . We ate in the Saffron restaurant in the evening and the menus although varied were mostly a total disappointment. E.g. Duck breast was on the menu on night on arrival I received two slices 7cm long which consisted mainly of the outside skin. The service was good but the food was only two star. Shore Excursions. We booked four shore excursions three of which were excellent and the other was a total disaster but the desk was not interested in any complaints although 8 out of 10 people on the bus complained. Bars and service. Why can't you order a drink at the Bar ? Drinks with mixers very expensive 90p for a tiny can of coke or lemonade. With the exception of the cabin stewards who were fantastic I found the crew to be indifferent to the passengers as if it were a chore Read Less
Sail Date: December 2013
My husband and myself have just returned from a very disappointing Christmas & New Year cruise on Ventura. Disappointing to the point that we also will never cruise with P & O again. This is our fourth Caribbean cruise. We ... Read More
My husband and myself have just returned from a very disappointing Christmas & New Year cruise on Ventura. Disappointing to the point that we also will never cruise with P & O again. This is our fourth Caribbean cruise. We stupidly booked through P & O and we were totally ripped off - we booked "the last cabin" (14 months ago) which unfortunately was inside and were assured that because we had booked directly with them we would certainly be upgraded. Of course it didn't happen. We were told that there were no upgrades and yet we met many people who had been upgraded without requesting it on embarkation day. So the choice of having a relaxing time watching the world go by was denied to us. The buffet lunches were very monotonous curry, curry or curry with the odd stew now and then. The self service area itself is very small and cramped. We ate in the cinnamon restaurant every night and the choice of food was ok, steaks were cooked exactly as we requested and the service was excellent. The main thing that ruined our holiday was the gangs of teenagers ( who's parents obviously couldn't care less where they were or what they were up to ) it was like being thrown onto the set of TOWIE or Made in Chelsea. Kids lying around drunk, throwing each other in the pool after one too many cocktails and gypsy wedding type girls crying because NYE was a disaster for them as they hadn't pulled ! We avoided the top decks because of all this but we still had to step over the occasional body on the stairs !! There was never any security present and I am amazed none of these out of control teens didn't end up over board to be honest. We were also disappointed with the service on deck 7 which was non-existent until disembarkation day when half a dozen crew sit in the arena chatting and popped out now and then to make sure they get the last bit of money they can from you. We certainly didn't have to fetch our own drinks that day! There was even a nice cream man - we hadn't seen him at all during the cruise ! Smokers were definitely catered for - we had a job to find anywhere to relax without having smoke blown in our faces - deck 7 at least had one side which was non smoking. We tried to go up to the oasis spa exclusive area for peace without cigarette smoke but although it was empty, we were told it was completely booked out ! We never found out what the extra cost was for peace and quiet ! Also, If you do decide to try Ventura don't expect much from the onboard shops they are truly basic and vastly overpriced. Announcements from the bridge were regular, Captain Carr is a marvelous delegator - I'm not sure he ever docked or sailed away (which always included a reference to 'winding up the big elastic band' and encouraging us all to grab a gin and tonic) but I for one always felt safe. The highlight of the whole on board experience was the Panto which the crew put on for us - absolutely fab! Unfortunately, we will be looking at other cruise companies for our next cruise - we paid for a luxury christmas cruise which fell short of our expectations on many levels. You can't beat cruising the Caribbean - the majority of the Islands are amazingly beautiful but apart from the locations We could have spent the festive season at The Blue Water Centre still surrounded by chavs and chavettes but at least the shopping choice would have been better. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2013
My family and I have not long returned from our 4th P&O Cruise on board Ventura from 21st Dec-5th Jan 2014 and unfortunately our expectations were not met and sadly we will not be back on a P&O Cruise. I would like to let you know ... Read More
My family and I have not long returned from our 4th P&O Cruise on board Ventura from 21st Dec-5th Jan 2014 and unfortunately our expectations were not met and sadly we will not be back on a P&O Cruise. I would like to let you know on how disappointed we all were and of how much the standards have dropped overall from our past visits onboard. The overall interior of the appearance of Ventura is now a bit of a let down, looking shabby, with carpets fraying and with stains and soiled marks. The service from bar and waiter staff was very poor. They were extremely slow, unenthusiastic, and clearly not enough workers to comply to the amount of passengers onboard. On one occasion we waited fifty minutes to receive our drinks, we were in the theatre this evening and got our order in sharp but clearly were last to receive our drinks after I had to complain to the bar man. He brought my husbands and two daughters drinks but forgot my wine and had to run back to the bar to get it. By this point the Headliners Theatre Group were on there last song of the show…absolutely ridiculous! On a whole the food at the Bay Tree over the two weeks cruise was average. On past cruises we have always came home and said the food was amazing, but unfortunately this was not to be this time. My family and I could really only say we enjoyed a couple of dinners throughout our two weeks. The removal of the silver service and the portion sizes were shocking, i.e six chips or two potatoes of which was one whole one but had been cut in half to serve on the plate or four sprouts etc. people with big appetites would never survive. The buffet lunches were very monotonous, salad, curry, or stew. After two to three days we ended up eating from the pizza and burger bar. Our cabin cleaner ‘Ana’ was not up to scratch either, when we went to our muster training and took down the lifejackets from the top shelf in our cabin a black dirty sock fell down from the shelf. This was clearly from a previous holiday maker. We also had to ask for a new bar of soap for washing our hands. The small bar was finished in a few days and we had nothing thereafter until I went and asked her for another one, toilet paper and tissues were also an issue. Ana definitely did not have high expectations as the standards were of something you would expect from a basic hotel, not a luxury cruise liner! My two girls registered and attended the H20 kids club while on Ventura. The workers there were really very rude and unsociable. And after several visits to the club my girls still went unrecognised, were never asked their names, or asked to take part in any activities. My girls used to love going to the kids club onboard Ventura and would talk endlessly about things they had gotten up to, however the result was the total opposite on this cruise. Both were bored to say the least! This also seems to be the case for others as gangs of teenagers were hanging about on Deck 19, being rowdy and a bit out of control as there was not anything running in the kids club. Apart from the resident Headliner Theatre Group who all work very hard and put on some spectacular shows, there was not much more of interest entertainment wise. This on a whole was very disappointing as we found ourselves in bed early most nights and we were on holiday supposed to be living it up. Christmas and New Year onboard this cruise to us was a real let down and know for sure that we would have had better celebrations if we’d been in either Benidorm or Tenerife at half the price! Finally would like to take this point to praise Nico and Michael, our two waiters from the Bay Tree restaurant. They were top class, very friendly, chatty, enthusiastic and very hard working. Made dinner time enjoyable! Read Less
Sail Date: November 2013
We sailed on the Ventura five years ago and loved it. We loved the british feeling with no brash americans being pushy, fantastic ship. Boy were we dissapointed when we went back on it again. Although we paid slightly less as we booked a ... Read More
We sailed on the Ventura five years ago and loved it. We loved the british feeling with no brash americans being pushy, fantastic ship. Boy were we dissapointed when we went back on it again. Although we paid slightly less as we booked a late booking, we found it had seriously gone downhill. Big parties of loud drunk men and and foul mouthed women were all over the ship. Possibly due to the fact the price has come down it is now encouraging people who would normally holiday in Benidorm. Although the food in the main restaurants is passable, sirloin where there once was fillet, mostly lacking taste, the Lido is nothing short of poor. Big displays have been replaced by a few odd trays here and there. If for some reason you were confined to your cabin then room service, free on this ship before and on every ship we have sailed on, is now being charged for. £4 for a burger, absolutely disgusted. The tv system used to be very good and was all free, now most films are chargeable. A tour of the ship, free again before, now costs the princely sum of £75 per person. It seems that P&O are penny pinching on silly things. Completely put us off sailing on P&O and you cannot believe that they are owned by the same people who own Cunard. There really is no comparison. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2013
As two first time cruisers, celebrating 3 special occasions in 2013, we were so excited to be heading for the Caribbean in January 2013 on the P&O Ventura. We had planned and prepared for this cruise for 18 months and it was such a big ... Read More
As two first time cruisers, celebrating 3 special occasions in 2013, we were so excited to be heading for the Caribbean in January 2013 on the P&O Ventura. We had planned and prepared for this cruise for 18 months and it was such a big disappointment. I would recommend that anyone thinking of going on their first cruise to research yourself thoroughly before you jump on board. We had gone to a specialist cruise shop in Liverpool and the advice given to us failed in the first instance as the wrong cruise company was recommended. We wanted a ship with the “wow” factor, including the wave pool, rock wall, indoor mall, but P&O ships don’t offer these services… We now know we should have chosen a Royal Caribbean ship for a number of factors. The beginning of the holiday started well as we boarded our charter at Liverpool Airport (this was a test schedule). The flight to Barbados airport was ideal and the transfer from plane to ship went smoothly bypassing Barbados customs to transfer directly to the ship. Upon boarding we didn’t experience the WOW factor and our first impression of Ventura lasted with us the whole cruise as other experiences didn’t come upto the expected standard. The general area furnishings were outdated, tired and worn and within our room (B326), the carpet was dirty, the towels threadbare and yellowed, the sheets in need of renewing as we found a hole in the duvet upon one of the changes and the balcony furniture was stained. Whilst on board we found that the ship was due for refit in March so we would it would be interested to see if passengers cruising after that refit report a significant change. Other passengers on board felt the standard against price paid was very poor. Having paid extra for a balcony and checked the brochure before hand for any restrictions, we found that our balcony was completely covered, the canopy being the floor of the balcony above. So beware of B deck balconies as this canopy stretches a good proportion of the ship. We have since raised this mis information with P&O (the fact that according to the brochure, our balcony wasn’t “restricted” in any way) and their customer service dept are not willing to accept this fact. I would recommend that if you do have a problem whilst on board then persist with the in- house team to rectify any problem, as once home, the UK based Customer Service Centre are not interested in listening to you regarding your concerns. There were four days at sea during the 15 night holiday and we expected to take full advantage of these relaxing on a sun-lounger. This was not the case as the sun-loungers filled up by 9 am with customers reserving them from sunrise. The in-house literature requested that passengers do not reserve beds and if they are moving away from their bed for half an hour then it be freed up. Policing this request was none existent as staff weren’t interested in the distress of some customers who searched the ship and were unable to obtain a sun-lounger. Some selfish customers went as far as reserving one each in the shade and one in the sun and swapped between the two periodically throughout the day. The feedback from P&O customer services reported that “they had provided the facility to sunbathe and were not obligated to find passengers a bed!!” This issue with beds has been a major problem with other passengers on Cruise Critic Sites and has been reported since 2009 and yet P&O have made no attempt to implement a procedure for the comfort of their passengers. I wonder if this is the norm with all cruise ships but it is certainly off-putting and a bad mark against P&O for their lack of interest to rectify this problem. I have some good aspects to report. The itinery with the variety of islands covered and the length of daily stay in port (normally arriving 7 am and departing 5 pm) was ideal. Booking P&O organised excursions is recommended as it alleviates the worry that you may get left behind if you are delayed. These excursions do seem expensive but the island tours give you a good overview of beach and town. The evening entertainment content was of a high standard but that did prove a disadvantage in itself as seating was unobtainable unless you left your meal early and reserved your seat in the cabaret lounge and theatre. The food was of a high quality in all of the ship restaurants and the waiting and bar staff attentive and helpful. We dined in Saffron on the first sitting and the organisation was excellent. I would recommend eating in the waiter service restaurants than fending for yourself in the buffet restaurant which at times was like a free for all at a holiday camp as some passengers chose to queue jump and many were disrespectful of the waiting staff. The bar prices were on par with UK hotels and the fact that you paid in £ Sterling was a bonus. The soft drinks and ice cream package was good value for money. Ship’s passengers are 90 % British and for us Brits that like our tea available in the room, all rooms had tea making facilities and a fridge. I believe P&O advertising is bringing in a different clientel and the traditional standards of cruising are being left behind. The Captain’s Gala on the second night was a let down as the Captain appeared for a five minute slot at the beginning of the evening and was never spotted again for the rest of the evening. There was no Captain’s table at which he was dining and he wasn’t "Meeting and Greeting" the passengers as we expected. In fact passengers wanting to approach him were queuing to have their photo taken with him to which they would then be asked to pay for this official photo. Official photographers were in abundance but the price charged was expensive and there were no offers for those wishing to purchase more than one photo. I can only guess at the amount of photos that were wasted and it surely would have been more cost effective to have reduced prices and put packages together. The “Spa” didn’t give the ambiance of privacy and restfulness expected and the prices for spa treatments and prices in the hairdressers were far too expensive. Therapists were under pressure to attract the customers themselves, however, appointments were always available when requested and the daily specials provided the best deals. Disembarkation was straightforward and smooth running. All in all this cruise didn’t give us the excitement, elegance and luxury we expected to get for a special holiday and as such it left a lot to be desired. After my experience I wouldn’t recommend a P&O as a company to cruise with. Many customers on my cruise that had travelled with P&O previously highlighted the lowering in standards they believed because P&O are attracting a different group of passengers, those cruising on a budget and choosing to travel at the lowest category available. The late deal prices are now comparable to an all inclusive resort in Benidorm. There was a wide assortment of tattoos on display and a number of passengers chose not to participate in the formal evenings and were wondering the ship in shorts and T shirts in the evening. A shame as the formal evenings were good fun and what cruising used to be about. The glamour and extras are being discarded to the detriment of those passengers wanting a traditional cruise experience.   Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2012
The holiday got off to a dissapointing start when our flight was delayed because of an outage with the baggage belt supply at Gatwick. After just over 2 hours we finally took off. The service was very slow on Thomas Cook flight. As ... Read More
The holiday got off to a dissapointing start when our flight was delayed because of an outage with the baggage belt supply at Gatwick. After just over 2 hours we finally took off. The service was very slow on Thomas Cook flight. As usual they do not regard themselves as in the service industry but are "inflight safety officers". The temperature on the aircraft was very cold to suit the cabin crew working, and not the passengers. Upon arrival at the Venturer, we were impressed with the efficency of the check in, also the transfer from the aircraft. The Venturer is a very big well kept ship. The big let down is the staff on the whole of the ship. There is one nationality which is prevalent throughout the ship and they just do not pay attention, are very slow, and walk about in pairs talking to each other. The one exeption was the cabin steward, Martin. He excelled in his work and was always happy if sometimes a little tired. The mixed fruit at breakfast always ran out quickly and was never replenished quick enough. When I asked one of the supervisors in a white uniform to do something about it his attitude was not what it should have been. The edges of the dining room in the breakfast buffet were never clean. Maybe the staff are used to living like it but the officers should inspect it better and educate them The entertainment during the day was dire. The guest speaker could send you to sleep every afternoon with his monotonous droning from a book. The quiz prizes were a joke. nothing usefull like a bottle of wine. Just silly stars like a child at primary school would receive for merit. As in other reviews, trying to get a drink in the Exchange bar was very difficult. The staff also played some dreadfull rock music which they must have liked, but could not have suited the average age group of the people using the bar. We booked freedom dining, but when we got there, we were told we HAD to got to Saffron restaurant at 18.30 as too many people wanted freedom dining. When we booked by telephone with P&O we were not told there was a possibility we would be changed. When we complained, the reception staff pointed out a very small "wl" next Freedom dining on the booking form which denoted wait listed.Because of this, were restricted to that restaurant or the buffet which was always very full. There were other venues to dine which P&O unbelievably wanted you to pay for.The food must have been the same, so you had to pay for better service. One of the venues, East, was Asian food. Now, the curries in the buffet did not seem authentic,(surprising as they were cooked by Indians) so I didnt think it would be a good idea to pay and be disappointed. On the transatlantic crossing, the ship took a detour to the Azores instead of calling at Tenerife. The captain told us this was to avoid bad weather. I rather suspect this was to save a massive amount of fuel,and of course, money. On other cruises, the majority of staff seemed to be Phillipino, who were a delightful race of people, always so happy, and more importantly, good at the job. This ship needs a complete crew change. P&O staff were not good at the job,and sometimes surly. I suggest the people running P&O try a little "undercover boss" trips on their own ships and then on other cruise lines to see where they are going wrong. I think I'll give P&O a miss in future. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2011
After a christmas cruise on the arcadia 5 years ago which was superb we decided to try P&O again and booked the christmas cruise on the Ventura. This being our 18th cruise on various cruise lines, we do know the standard to expect. ... Read More
After a christmas cruise on the arcadia 5 years ago which was superb we decided to try P&O again and booked the christmas cruise on the Ventura. This being our 18th cruise on various cruise lines, we do know the standard to expect. After a good flight all be it delayed we arrived in Barbados early evening.We were transferred immediately from the airport but had a long delay sat at the port on the coach, not what you want after a long flight. To our surprise when eventually on board we find out we have been upgraded to a balcony cabin from an inside cabin.Very nice thank you, but we found out later people had paid for 4 weeks what we had for 2 weeks as we booked 20 months in advance. The ship itself was fine although due to its different layout from other ships took a while to work out.The entertainment we found was okay although as in our previous cruise their were no well known celebrities.. The ports of call were fine but there were too many days at sea. The ship seemed to be cleaned early morning and then never again, one of the dirtiest ship's we have ever been on. Toilets not cleaned and by evening the paper hand towels were all over the floor. Trays of food left in the corridors all day. On deck the tables were not cleared quick enough. Dirty carpets all around the ship. Days at sea were very stressful as 50% of sun beds had towels left on them at 7am for most of the day which no staff ever moved' Our major problem was the food. The main restaurant was an experience you would want to forget. We had the worst Christmas dinner we have ever had. The standard of food was pub grub at best, not what you'd expect Poor quality and badly cooked. The buffet had theme nights but had very little choice, lunch or dinner but the breakfast buffet was very good if what you wanted was a traditional English breakfast.We tried the White Room and found very nice but not worth the £20 cover charge. If you travel with Celebrity or Holland and America you would get this as standard every night. We enjoyed EAST but would have liked a little more choice. This to me proved they could cook quality if you paid extra for it. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2011
We have been with P and O before but have been on an assortment of other cruise ships since. So we decided that Ventura would be a good choice for Christmas in the sun departing and returning from Barbados. I regret that we found the ... Read More
We have been with P and O before but have been on an assortment of other cruise ships since. So we decided that Ventura would be a good choice for Christmas in the sun departing and returning from Barbados. I regret that we found the ship dirty, many of the public areas were simply not cleaned often enough, the floors were not hoovered and glass work and handles not polished, some of the public toilets do not have a very good smell. We found the entertainment to be low quality although the 'Headliners' stage shows were good. Although a very nice man perhaps the cruise director need replacing with a younger one with new ideas and energy but I suspect the problem was more with the budget allocated to him. The food was okay in main restaurant but the quality had dropped drastically since we last sailed with P and O. The food in the buffet was very poor. Very little choice and mostly English type meals, cottage pie, pasty etc. One of the things we enjoy about cruising is the choice in the buffet of worldwide cuisine. This was real Butlins type food. The East Restaurant (which had a surcharge) had little choice and not very exciting food. The White Room, again an extra charge was quite good. We found the crew across the ship to be lazy and we thought that they had little interest in doing their job. The crew in the casino were the worst. We will never touch P and O again and I know that many more of the passengers on Ventura felt the same. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2011
This was our first time with P&O. Found Ventura a bit grubby. Ate in East on first nite, nothing special! We were allocating dining in the Baytree restaurant so ate there on the second nite and found hair in my food. So that put us ... Read More
This was our first time with P&O. Found Ventura a bit grubby. Ate in East on first nite, nothing special! We were allocating dining in the Baytree restaurant so ate there on the second nite and found hair in my food. So that put us off. We then ate mostly in the buffett or Waterside, the food there was very nice. On the second week we gave the Baytree another try, and guess, found hair in my food again! I was sent two letters of apology to our stateroom saying they had written to head office in Southhampton to 'investigate' how hair could have ended up in the food. Come on, it came off someones head in the kitchen. The staff on board do work very hard although there was an air of discontent, the Philopino staff are being paid in dollors and the Indian staff are getting British pounds. Not very fair. Do review your on board account frequently as we had been billed for room service we did not receive. Whilst chatting with one of the hospitality managers, I mentioned that housekeeping of public areas, ie: the pool areas, decks, toilets, casino was lacking, especially the smoking areas, ashtrays never emptied, banana and orange peels lying about for hours and staff just walking past them. Tissue paper and hand towels covered the floor of toilets. Yes the dirty, iresponsibe passengers were guilty of this but I still expect it to be cleaned for the rest of us. Found the spa very nice and used it frequently, until one day I seen 4 male crew shaving in the steam room and tapping the razors against the seats. Disgusting. We booked 3 trips, snorkling with turtles in Barbados, Bob Sleigh at Mystic mountain in Jamaica and the helicopter trip in St Lucia. Really enjoyed each. We did our own thing via local taxi's at the other stops. One took us to Hawksbill resort in Antigua, would really recommend this. For $40 you can have a day pass, including all drinks, food and water sports. Also the beach to yourself. Bonaire was a waste of time. Missed Grand Turk as the captain could not dock ship, if he had been American the ship would have docked. This meant 3 days at sea, not happy! Entertainment was so so, but I do expect this on cruise ships. Try getting the attention of the waiters for a drink, they spent most of the time watching the entertainment. The main let down on this cruise were the fellow passengers, hard faced and very rough. I had spoke with guests who had sailed on Ventura previously, some 4 times, but they agreed that standards had slipped and would not travel on her again. Was led to beleive this was a 4* ship, maybe a 3* with 2* service. Would I travel on P&O's Ventura again? No never Would I recommend P&O. No, we shall stick with Cunard or Fred Olsen Read Less
Sail Date: February 2011
Arrived in Barbados after a 9 hour flight without inflight entertainment(TOM194)out of Manchester.Everyone on the flight had blankets around them it was that cold.From airport to ship was excellent no waiting about.We checked into the ... Read More
Arrived in Barbados after a 9 hour flight without inflight entertainment(TOM194)out of Manchester.Everyone on the flight had blankets around them it was that cold.From airport to ship was excellent no waiting about.We checked into the boarding sheds very quickly and then we were held up by the bain of the whole cruise yes a PHOTOGRAPHER. Reached cabin D729 VERY NICE INDEED,there was champagne, chocolates and fruit waiting great start on board. The Ventura is a beautiful ship even though we hadn't cruised before to compare it with.The main entertainment centre was the Arena theatre which holds approx 900 and is very comfortable.Las Ramblas is a very comfortable meeting place for a drink it could be a room in any top class hotel. The Tamarind bar is a beautiful room but unfortunately is the centre for the Ballroom dancers and therefore is only fully utilized if there is entertainment on following the dancing.Nightclub Havanna is at the stern of the ship and is a very poorly shaped room so much so that there is numerous TV screens around the room in order to see the entertainment. This is also where LIBBY and her cronies entertain themselves dancing the night away when supposedly working. We were booked first sitting 6.30pm in the BAY TREE restaurant, all the food we had was of a very good standard the only drawback was that the food was not very warm when it reached our table which was the furthest from the galley.We also dined in the WHITE ROOM on two ocassions which for the extra £20pp was well worth the experience.During the day we used the Waterside restaurant the self service food was edible but on board it was known as the CANTEEN.Not only are the plates red hot but also the trays are the hottest anywhere. After our day in Barbados we set sail for BONAIRE 36 hours away.This is when we found out about the squealing screaming kids on board who are allowed by their parents and staff alike to do as they please and ruin everyone elses relaxation. If you require a nice relaxing holiday after 12 months hard graft DO NOT GO ON THE VENTURA.Not only are there young children, roaming the ship at will are teenagers who sit on stairs or anywhere they want to which is not very nice on a beautiful cruise ship. On the Islands visited I can honestly say that there is not a lot to choose between any of them they all have the same shops/sheds selling alot of junk, they all have taxi drivers trying to rip you off with island tours if you haven't been ripped off by P&O who are even dearer.The only Islands I would reccommend is ST MAARTEN and maybe GRAND TURK the latter is only 1x7 miles. On the cruise there are 4 formal nights which if your are a normal guy like me will have you heaving as the dolled up snobs who stroll round licking a--e as if they are really someone.On the first formal evening the Captain greeted his subjects like the pope by standing on a balcony in the Atrium, pass me a bucket.This is where the most annoying thing apart from the screaming kids on Ventura starts in earnest and never stops until you leave the ship THE PHOTOGRAPHERS believe me they never leave you alone whether you are walking eating drinking they are there it is pathetic, i now know why famous people hate the paparazzi they are in your face all the time. Entertainment is worse than any working mens club that i have visited.To save time i will just give examples from both ends of the spectrum, the best which both came on the last two days were Martin Daniels a comedian/magician and a Neil Diamond tribute act who was very good.At the other end for adult entertainment in the night club we had Mr Biscuit who made dogs from balloons and a so called comedian by the name of ANDY FORD who emptied the room in 15minutes flat they were an absolute disgrace. So there you have it folks don't be fooled by all the hype about cruise ships,if you want to spend a fortune on what is basically a captive holiday go, if not steer clear because for what you will pay out you could do at least 3 holidays a year al a carte virtually anywhere.Finally do not be fooled by the on board spend offered it does not last 5 minutes and we did not purchase any photographs at £15 a time.If you have booked this ship just pray that all the kids are at school if not take some big earplugs. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2010
Thank you Paul Woodman for your cruise review. My wife and I agree with almopst everything that you have said. We were on the same cruise. We didn't opt for Freedom dining. Instead we had first sitting, 6.30 p.m. on a table for ... Read More
Thank you Paul Woodman for your cruise review. My wife and I agree with almopst everything that you have said. We were on the same cruise. We didn't opt for Freedom dining. Instead we had first sitting, 6.30 p.m. on a table for six. We were most fortunate to have four interesting and interested companions.However, one couple had paid £2000 per head less than we had paid.In addition our total "on spend" money was £200, those with the cheap fare had £900 per couple.It certainly makes one think about Booking ahead. Our two waiters were excellent, both were from India and obviously took pride in their work. In the main restaurant most of the meals were just "OK". Generally very bland and no more than 2* or 3*. An exception was the alternative option each night of a steak. These were always excellent and were often ordered in lieu of the Main Menu. We were without a TV in our cabin for almost 72 hours. I reported this fault to Reception by phone and in person on at least 6 occasions. On the third day without TV I left reception with a P & O complaint form in my hand and told the Receptionist that if the set wasn't working on my return to the ship I would make a written complaint. Of course it was then fixed and only made me cross that I hadn't gone down that route earlier. A large number of passengers had taken advantage of the low fares and their dress and general behavior left much to be desired. A high number of passengers were equally disenchanted with the cruise overall and many said they would write to Head Office and complain. It's my experience that very few actually write. Finally, I think P & O are shooting themselves in the foot by offering such cheap fares. I've just read that three Cruise Lines are promising to give back the difference to any passengers if the cruise they have booked is reduced. Paul has already said how poor the entertainment was. We went almost every night thinking "tonight may be better". There were 2 or 3 good shows, best of all was comedian Tom O'Connor; so good in fact that he was asked, and did, another show. I'll conclude by saying that I will look long and hard before I book another P & O cruise. It's a shame, we have such wonderful memories of our days on the "Oceana" Read Less
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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