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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 Big displays have been replaced by a few odd trays here and there.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
Sail Date: January 2010
We have just returned from a 15 night cruise around the caribbean..its was me [26] partner [31] and daughter [3]...the flight with thomsons was great loads of leg room and had TV's in back on seats so you could choose what you wanted ... Read More
We have just returned from a 15 night cruise around the caribbean..its was me [26] partner [31] and daughter [3]...the flight with thomsons was great loads of leg room and had TV's in back on seats so you could choose what you wanted to watch or play games..flew to barbados and took about 30 mins from barbados airport to the ship...got though really quick and straight onto Ventura..the ships massive and took couple days to find way around.The only decks you can walk from one end of the boat to other is decks 7 and 15...the room was small ok just about for us [stayed inside cabin] but a family of 4 would of been tight.the cabin steward forgot to do our room twice..the cabin steward was ok didnt smile much or talk..the pools where nice but all very deep even the kids pool only had small ledge for daughter to stand..kids clubs where great but it was kids looking after kids...the drink prices where good £2.60 for pint and cocktails where around £3.50-£4.50 cocktail of the days £2.65 couldnt taste acahol tho..All the staff from servers in resurants to the ones serving drinks on deck and in bars where so misserable never smilled and where sometimes very rude...The main thing i would like to complain about Ventura is the ENTERTAINMENT or lack of it for our age group..one formal night we where all dressed up in our long dress's and dinner suits [which everyone wore on those nights] in one bar the had mr and mrs Ventura and another bar [which was supost to be the club] Deal or know deal on at 11pm..there was no discos and when DJ NEIL did come on he only played really old music my whole family [mainly my mum and dad who are in early 50's] complained to DJ NEIL and he would be very rude back saying he had to cater for everyone be he never played any modrn music until we requested a few songs they where sometimes played...This boat is good if your only going on the ship to get around to the islands...So the boats lovely,They need a pool thats shallower,better entertainment a club with modern music or live music for 18-30's,SMILING STAFF,helpful friendly staff...we enjoyed the cruise overall but i will defantly pay more and go on the american ships next years the service on them is ten to one and the service and staff on Ventura need to learn a lesson from the american ships.. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2015
This was our first P& O cruise and it was a near hit , but had too many misses! We booked a deluxe superior balcony cabin. We were promised little extras such as a bottle of champagne, dressing gown, canapés, fruit basket and flower ... Read More
This was our first P& O cruise and it was a near hit , but had too many misses! We booked a deluxe superior balcony cabin. We were promised little extras such as a bottle of champagne, dressing gown, canapés, fruit basket and flower display. The flight down was fabulous from Gatwick a Dreamliner ands embarkation onto the ship faultless. We got our luggage in under 1 hour as well. The cabin was fine, E720 on deck 8 aft, not huge and the balcony was in permanent shade as the floor above extends to the balcony rail. The champagne was in the fridge, not on ice. No fruit, a box of chocolates was on the coffe table, no canapés or fruit bowl. It took 3 days to get the fruit bowl. 1 Apple, 1 orange. 1 bannana and 6 individual grapes.  Then saucer of 5 revolting canapés. The flowered didn't ever materialise. The ship is beautiful with lovely facilities, however she is abysmally let down by dreadful customer service at many levels. Freedom dining is a problem. Although it's good to have the freedom it means that Gala nights are a waste of time and absolute let down. As nothing is put on for them. There are not any special presentation . Ice or fruit carvings - no songs or ceremony. You put on your finery, eat as normal and that's it. The waiters on the whole were extremely rude, unpleasant and poorly trained. They lean across you in front of you. The service in Saffron was chaotic and hit and miss. Yes there were a few who were lovely but on the main it wasnt a good experience. It's clear that P& O have taken the majority of their best staff for Brittania and left the dross behind on Ventura The room service menu, is tiny and you have to pay extra for many items. The bar prices are good. The White room is excellent. The entertainment was good, if you could Eve get a seat.  P&O have waiters galore selling booze, but can't invest in stewards to look after passages on the sun decks, theatres or have a customer relation desks, staffed by senior managers, who have first hand In depth knowledge and experience of the standards offered to and expected by British & American passengers at 4&5* resorts and cruises. It would seem unfair to expect us a fare paying passengers to put up with such shoddy and laughable service for a premium fare!   Also this cruise had 8 sea days, with the exception of a quiz, lectures on murders and the occasional free film, nearly every additional leisure activity such as painting had tone paid for! The TV is a disgrace - sky news, bbc news Sky sportthsts it. Previous passengers were saying last year they had 48 free handles. The chi late buffet is no more.  Most of the buffets have curry.  In fact it's hard to get things without curry! I love curry but from time to time. The afternoon tea sandwiches were weird combinatiins as well. All in all we had fantastic weather, a comfortable cabin and a relaxing g time. But if P&O want to retain a decent reputation they need to listen and learn some customer relations lessons from their bosses at Carnival or even better celebrity &princess Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2015
Great ports but found the Caribean all a bit overcrowded with so many cruise ships around ! The ship was very nice but also too crowded for us particularly on the sun deck. On sea days it was extremely difficult to find a sun bed and it if ... Read More
Great ports but found the Caribean all a bit overcrowded with so many cruise ships around ! The ship was very nice but also too crowded for us particularly on the sun deck. On sea days it was extremely difficult to find a sun bed and it if you were able to it was jammed in between others. Not a pleasant experience. We spent a lot of time on our balcony , however this was overlooked by cabins and decks above as it protruded from the ship. Nice balcony but did compromise our privacy. Food all good and anytime dining worked well for us. Did not have to wait too long for a table for 2. Entertainment overall was good. Embarkation was handled very well at the cruise terminal rather than the airport. The overnight stay in Barbados before coming home was brilliant. Overall a good cruise but this ship is not for us. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2014
If this had been our first cruise we would probably never cruised again. The title of this review, P & Queue, is an overall impression of this cruise, it appeared that every couple of days we had to queue. Manchester Airport Arrived ... Read More
If this had been our first cruise we would probably never cruised again. The title of this review, P & Queue, is an overall impression of this cruise, it appeared that every couple of days we had to queue. Manchester Airport Arrived early after stopping over night at an airport hotel, had to queue for 2 and a half hours to check in, only one check in desk manned, the P&O representative said there should have been 7 and blamed Thompsons, but our contract was with P&O and they should have seen that the agreement they had with Thompsons was enforced. Flight OK, old plane very ordinary meals and service. Barbados Check in. We queued for 1 and half hours to register and then 1 hour to get through security. (Only 2 scanners for about 1500 passengers??) Bags did not arrive at our cabin until after 10.30pm, we landed at 5.15pm. Booking Gala Meals Booking for Christmas Day and New Years Eve meals was a farce, we queued for 2 and a half hours for the second sitting, people booking for the first sitting had to wait longer, also people "missed" breakfast due to the time they had to wait. One lady, a solo passenger, told us she had to queue for 4 hours and when she got to the front was told "as a solo she didn't have to queue as they could have slotted her in anywhere". Flight Back to Manchester 2 Thompson fights leaving at the same time from the same gate, very confusing and more queuing. Some of the restaurant staff on board ship were rude and hurried us out of the restaurants after breakfast and lunch as they were in a hurry to prepare tables for the following meal. (Not enough staff??) Our last cruise with P&O was in 2009, every thing went like clockwork, staff were excellent and all the service we received on board was perfect, following this we recommended P&O to our friends, never again, we have now booked another cruise with another Company, we never looked at P&O alternatives. Very disappointed Passenger, now booking with other Company's.   Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2014
Just returned from the Christmas cruise aboard Ventura. I'll will try to summarise my thoughts .... The service from the steward and dining room staff (early sitting) was excellent. The dinning room food in the evening was largely ... Read More
Just returned from the Christmas cruise aboard Ventura. I'll will try to summarise my thoughts .... The service from the steward and dining room staff (early sitting) was excellent. The dinning room food in the evening was largely good with just a few disappointments but in nearly all cases the meat portion was too small. Our D deck cabin was very average with no internet access when the ship was moving, poor maintainance in the bathroom, a faded settee, questionable AC and ridiculous noise from the tender launching process at 7am (!) in Tortola . To add to this the balcony was not at all private with virtually every cabin above it having a birds eye view of us. The balcony was often littered with cigarette butts which I assume came from the rooms above . The guest entertainers were typically good but the production shows were over ambitious given the singers available and their lack of talent . It's takes a brave girl of any description to offer a "tribute" to Karen Carpenter but if they cannot sing well its just not practical and how 3 white guys can try to mimic the Drifters is beyond my comprehension - they must be able to both sing and dance and do both at the same time! The Calypso band that played in various venues was quite good but the rock band much worse. There was a constant problem with the lack of sun beds . This is down to bad deck design or even ship design and poor management - given though P&O can cure this but they have to want to do it. Similarly the show lounge is too small and requires a 3rd nightly show. P&O employ "minders" around the swimming pool whose sole purpose appears to be annoy the kids who are jumping in and out and enjoying themselves. These pool minders even kick out adults in the pool if the appear to jump in, even though they weren't. Making these people redundant would offer a serious cost saving . They could be re employed as traffic wardens where they could irritate a larger number of people and not damage the cruise's reputation. For some reason the hot tubs were often closed for cleaning - even on Christmas Day - is there no planning or consideration given to the days on which this happens? Ship maintenance, such as refreshing of paint, occurred during day hours. Why? Wouldn't it be easier to do this at 5am or when passengers are sleeping rather than make paying passengers move this lounge chair during the day to accommodate ship repairs? The kindergarten now operates a nonsensical process for signing the kids in and out and this needs to be looked at. As it stands a cruise card with a kids club sticker on it is "worth" a child and a signature the same as the one on that card is the only thing required to release the child. If there really is such a problem a picture of the parents maybe more worthwhile. I suspect the process was engineered by someone at a desk with a pen but little or no practical experience. The itinerary worked well except from Christmas Eve in Dominica. As you may know it rains there a lot so to organise Santa's arrival on the open deck as we left was frankly stupid, it was always going to rain and of course the entire event, witnessed by hundreds of families, was a complete wash out. Clearly a different port or venue or time was needed. At Tortola the dock is being rebuilt and is closed for the duration. The itinerary suggested it was a "possible tender" port. It's a definite tender and those on deck 9 should have been warned of the very loud noise and shuddering vibration a 7am when the tenders are launched. To be fair the tender process seemed to worked ok but there is no need to go there at all until the dock is built - there are lots of other islands. There were too many formal nights - 4 in total. This was way too many and should be re thought on family cruises. Given the fact we all had to fly in with the accompanying baggage problems, a clear dress code itinerary would have been useful ahead of the cruise, sadly it's not provided. The passengers were an eclectic mix of pensioners, couples and families with older and or younger children, some of whom were well heeled educated types and many others who could be described as "tattooed wonders", some of the later may perhaps be better served at a guest house in Blackpool or Butlins. I realise P&O is not going to conduct IQ tests on the passengers at the pier prior to boarding but I recommend they think of something before the entire cruise resembles a remand centre. There were too many smokers onboard and now may be the time to ban smoking completely. This would discourage those who need budget fares and relieve non smokers of ash, smell, and dirty ash trays which ruin otherwise useful deck areas. I noticed on a number of occasions that "housekeeping" was not as it could be with abandoned coffee cups left in halls for many hours and festering nappies in lifts. Some of this will be as result of the passenger mix but P&O should know who they sold the cruise to and prepare accordingly. Throughout the cruise the air conditioning did don't seem to work too well. Cruise ships in my experience are typically really quite cool inside but the Ventura was always warm. Even with the AC set to minimum in the cabin it was often too warm to sleep and other passengers who commented on the issue suggested it was a cost cutting measure..... P&O offer what amounts to late check out of the cabin to those who wish to pay for it. The process for this defies belief - as after paying £85 you have to leave the room you've had to the last fortnight together with your hand luggage at 9am and come back an hour later to room a few doors along the hall. If a good hotel offers late check out they let you have the room you are in - it saves preparing it again - and often they do not charge either. On this cruise all the passengers arrive on flights in the later afternoon and those going home need to leave before that. The only explanation for devising such a scheme is to collect cash and generate work for the stewards, it really is that silly. The additional cost restaurants are multiplying - and getting pricey. We went to the "Beach House" where even the burger is £2 extra - over and above the £6 you've just already agreed to. The place is ok but really you should stay with the dining room. Many of the other dining places are much more money and where often empty. Breakfast in the dining room was a slow a prescriptive saga and I see no reason to go there. The buffet arrangement upstairs seems better with plentiful if rather average food but often a shortage of tables unless you go out on the deck and sit in the cigarette smoke and ashtrays. P&O now serve Costa coffee which is big improvement on the liquid served in the buffet. Given their quest to charge for everything they can they should serve it at all the bars and for breakfast at a "nominal charge" of course. The buffet lunches were a bit tedious with the menu only changing a little each day and offering some bizarre choices for a Carribean cruise including faggots and a hotpot! On deck they serve burgers and hotdogs which are quite good but again the lack of tables either with or without smokers is an issue. The reception desk staff were typically polite but often could not answer many questions sensibly and they also had a habit of not answering the phone at all. P&O want you to buy a "wine" package for dinner but while this appears to offer some value the chosen wines are not good and the wine list selection is a better bet albeit at extra cost The beauty parlour prices where laughably high and it's hard to imagine anybody paying them. The return flights on Thomas Cook were only just about acceptable and only because we paid extra for Premium seats. The economy looked too cramped for an 8 hour flight and the food and drink are extra back there too. To add to this if you want to sit together as a family you have to pay another £15 each - each way - £90 for a family of 3!. This is a rip off and those concerned should be ashamed of such fees on families who have, in some cases, already paid £8000+. The gratuity policy appears now to involve charging every adult £55 (for the 2 week cruise) to there account and this covers the gratuities, however what is less clear is who gets the money, how much of it and what happens if you choose to opt out of the £55 deal. I asked for the money to be credited back to the account and it was and I gave cash to the room steward and dining room waiter and his assistant, but if more than those 3 were about to receive from me did they do without and in any event who were they and what is it they did for me? As with so many other silly fees in this world P&O should scrap the gratuity like they have with the one on the bar bill and pay their, largely excellent, service staff a sensible wage. As Ryan Air will tell you making people mad will not generate repeat passengers and P&O should take a good look at what they are doing before the policies get any worse..... I expect I will sail with P&O again - we are booked already but the Ventura will not be on my shortlist and P&O need to sort themselves out if I am to stay a loyal passenger. I am hoping the issues only relate to the Ventura but I am not hopeful.   Read Less
Sail Date: November 2014
We booked this cruise just over a year before departure, choosing P&O as we had not cruised with them before, and the itinerary took us to 7 islands which we had never previously visited. The idea of checking luggage in at the UK ... Read More
We booked this cruise just over a year before departure, choosing P&O as we had not cruised with them before, and the itinerary took us to 7 islands which we had never previously visited. The idea of checking luggage in at the UK airport, and having them delivered direct to your cabin was a great innovation, and no security to go through at Bridgetown airport was another. The only problems with the flight were the fact we were sat on the aircraft for nearly three hours at Manchester airport before we departed! Problems with a piece of “cargo”, that we later discovered was a spare part for a stricken Thomas Cook aircraft at our destination. Then we were sat on the coach on the tarmac at Bridgetown for 45minutes before the final passengers were boarded before our 45 minute journey to Ventura, only to find there was then another 40 minute process to check in and get on-board. We finally got to our cabin at 6:25pm (dinner at 6:30), having been on the 9:00am flight out of Manchester. Thirteen and a half hours from scheduled departure to arrival was not a great start. At least we weren’t on the Saturday flight that didn’t even arrive! One thing we can say on the positive side is, the Cabin and Cabin Steward (Virag), were excellent. The layout and cleanliness were excellent, with the “dressing area” outside the bathroom much better than other layouts. No problem found with the shower size or curtain as read in previous reviews. Meals on board were OK. We had “Traditional” dining at the early seating, and found the menu varied, although the vegetables at times were a little tasteless. We took our breakfasts in the Waterside/Beach House areas, and on certain days (sea days) found these to be very crowded at times. One thing we did discover during our cruise was that the Muster Drill that everyone has to attend (by law), was not attended by some passengers. There was no check on who had attended or not by any of the crew, no “head-count”, no checking that passengers were out of their cabins at Muster. Other cruise companies have a head count as you enter the Muster Station, and crew check that all cabins are vacated of passengers. As this is a lawful requirement to attend, surely P&O are required to ensure that everyone is attending, and in case of an actual emergency, that all are at their dedicated Muster? Getting a sunbed was a nightmare. It was obvious (when at times we found some), that passengers were putting towels on them to “reserve” them and leaving them there for hours. Very annoying, and something that P&O should clamp down on. The best pool area we found was the Spa pool. Although this got more crowded as the cruise progressed. Now the “Down” sides. The atmosphere of the Bar and Deck staff on-board was very staid. There was no liveliness in them, almost like there was some unhappiness amongst them. They did their jobs ok, took drink orders, served them (very slowly at times) but that was all. There was no sense of enjoyment from them, like they were enjoying their work. There was no “fun” atmosphere. And as for the Cruise/Entertainments director, or whatever his title was, he would have been more suited to “Butlins”. Where on earth did they get him from? The layout on the ship seemed awkward. There appeared to be no “flow” through the ship. It was well into the second week before we could figure out what routes, up/down/forward/aft, we had to take to get between locations on-board. Overall we enjoyed the holiday, with some great new places visited. But as for P&O and Ventura, we’ve been spoilt by other companies. It’ll be back to Royal Caribbean for us definitely.   Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: February 2014
This was our first trip to the Caribbean and our first on Ventura although we are experienced cruisers in other locations and on other ships, including Azura. Ventura itself is a nice ship, nothing special and it seems to fall in the gap ... Read More
This was our first trip to the Caribbean and our first on Ventura although we are experienced cruisers in other locations and on other ships, including Azura. Ventura itself is a nice ship, nothing special and it seems to fall in the gap of not managing to quite cater for anybody specifically. In terms of the evening entertainment if musical theatre and lounge music is your thing then you will be well catered for, otherwise forget it. It's all well and good advertising as being family friendly but P&O seem to forget that most families have a dad and there is very little about the P&O on board experience suited to your average 30-40 something man. In the same way because everything is a little more relaxed the older guests aren't exactly happy either. You do get the odd bit of general entertainment, we had Manuel Martinez, a mind reader and a ventriloquist over our 2 week cruise but these are few and far between compared to the 3-4 times a night solo/lounge singing onslaught. They are also packed out 30-40 minutes before they start due to people looking for something different. We enjoyed the food on Ventura and chose to eat in our allocated main dining room most nights. In the past we were firm favourites of the buffets on other ships but the table limitations on Ventura made the whole buffet experience a bit of a pain, especially if you wanted to eat together. And that isn't even going in to the rudeness of some of the other guests on board, I'll save that for later. Generally speaking all the waiting on staff were superb and the drinks waiters in the various public areas did a good job of getting to you when you wanted a drink. In each location we'd built a reputation where staff new what we wanted without us needing to ask, you can't fault that level of service. I can see why some people could get annoyed by being asked if they wanted a drink but then again we don't go on holiday to sit nursing the same glass of water for 3 hours whilst we wait for the next free bit of entertainment. By far the best bit of this holiday for us was the ports, all delivered more than we expected. For the most part we'd arranged our own trips to avoid the cattle truck trips organised by P&O although we did slip up and I had to order a last minute P&O trip in Grenada. It was the only bad experience we had ashore during the whole holiday (90 minutes each way up mountain paths on a fold out chair). Highlights included snorkelling around Klein Bonair (on the Woodwind, a nice sailing boat) and our island trip around St Lucia with Spencer Ambrose tours. You can't compare the trips offered on board to organising a private trip for both value and experience. Don't be fooled by the "miss the ship" scare tactics, in all the cruises we've done we've never found a local operator that wasn't extremely conscious of when your ship was leaving and making extra sure to get you back in good time. At this point it was a solid 4 out of 5 cruise but what knocked it back and the reason I wouldn't step foot on another P&O cruise ship if I was paid to was the other guests. Despite the family friendly/relaxed cruising marketing that P&O is trying to establish their ships are still rammed with a generation of cruise guests that the sooner they are gone the better. Just some highlights, we witnessed guests clicking their fingers at staff in the dining room, addressing staff as "you boy", a talk on Concorde we walked past included the gem "you can't trust foreign johnnies" to much laughter and applause from the gathered geriatrics. We saw other adults being asked to leave the endless pool so that older guests could doggy paddle in peace. Children being shouted at by older guests in the main pools. Waiters completely ignored when greeting people for dinner. People running into lifts with some sort of over inflated sense of entitlement in front of the people who had called the lift. Then there were the ladies of a certain age at the buffet who seemed to have their elbows permanently out and have no concept of waiting in line. We aren't snobs by any stretch of the imagination but the total lack of basic manners and to a certain degree racism shown was appalling. Not so much Butlins at Sea as Ignorant Old People Who Think They Have Paid For The Right To Abuse People At Sea. There wasn't a day that passed where we didn't wonder exactly what we had let ourselves in for. Traditional British cruising you say? That's why we'll not be going back. My understanding is that the Ventura and Azura were designed to be affordable in a way of attracting new cruise customers, from my experience on both ships it seems that all they've done is attract the worst of the bargain hunting older generation who just can't help themselves in feeling entitled to something better whilst walking around like they have bought the ship. We will be going back to the Caribbean sooner rather than later, but not with P&O.   Read Less
Sail Date: January 2014
I decided to take mum away as last year was pretty grotty and having been onboard Ventura before and to Caribbean once this cruise suited. The 8 hour flight was bearable followed by quick transfer to bus for 40 min trip to ship followed ... Read More
I decided to take mum away as last year was pretty grotty and having been onboard Ventura before and to Caribbean once this cruise suited. The 8 hour flight was bearable followed by quick transfer to bus for 40 min trip to ship followed by our luggage. The luggage arrived abour 530 and the safety briefing was at 6pm so we didnt have time to unpack , in fact straight after the briefing we had to go to dinner as we opted for 1st sitting. This was all too rushed in our opinion and the best option by far would be getting on the day earlier as a lot did and then disembarking the day the ship arrives back in barbados. We found the itinery of 9 ports in 14 days ideal , 3 ports then sea day is perfect and the docking position Ventura has was fantastic in all ports. We did notice a definate smaller portion size in meals compared to last time onboard. The entertainment was good , with quizzes in the exchange and on top deck entertaining. We only booked 2 excursions , beach trip in Curacao and the Rhum Runner in Grenada and thought they were both excellent value for money , £25 & £40. One thing i did notice was staff trying to sell you East and The White Room as " They quickly sell out" but after a couple of days offers were available of a free bottle of wine at both venues if dining before 7 Read Less
Sail Date: December 2013
OK, arrived for flight with plenty of time to spare, checked in and was then informed there was a 1 hour delay! We boarded the flight to the new time, and almost when ready, the baggage handlers noticed some damage to the baggage door of ... Read More
OK, arrived for flight with plenty of time to spare, checked in and was then informed there was a 1 hour delay! We boarded the flight to the new time, and almost when ready, the baggage handlers noticed some damage to the baggage door of the aircraft. This resulted in an on aircraft delay of another hour. Safety 1st though, no need to take chances. Arrived in Barbados, the transfer of passengers is very efficient without immigrating. The check-in process was smoother than I've had before. Our allocated cabin was E506. On entering, the room was substandard for cleanliness, to say the least. I believe the cabin had been vacant for some time. There was dust everywhere, and the hem of the shower curtain was filthy. We rang for housekeeping, as the toilet also didn't flush. There was sediment in the bowl, but that seemed to appear in all the bowls around the ship!!! The room steward arrived and gave the room a thorough clean, and maintenance arrived to attend to the toilet flush. This took about an hour, and totally ruined our arrival, and negated any chance of enjoying the early arrival opportunities. As we readied for dinner, it was darkening outside and we put the lights on. Well, the ones that worked anyway. Another visit to reception followed, and maintenance sorted the bulb issue whilst we were at dinner. Finally, a chance to unpack, and just on completion, the boom boom of music from below became overwhelming. Now, i'm in my 40's and like music, but the volume with bass tones from the Tamarind Club below was well excessive. This was now 9.30pm, again to reception i went. I was handled with my request to change cabin by Front of House manager Avi, and after a little while, was re-allocated to exact room standard E625, over the photo gallery. Nice and quiet, but is hampered by the staff service door directly across the corridor. Basically, it appears there is no check list for management to oversee new arrivals, and room standard is left to the steward. Now to the cruise itself, the ship was well undermanned with passengers. Strong rumours suggested 1000 under capacity (500 cabins), however, this meant that all the venues on board could be easily accessed without having to beat the herd that roams between shows. The shows are predominantly catered for passengers a generation older than me in my opinion. Music catered for is generally 1960s 70s. The exchange was the best all round atmosphere but could do with an artist some times to break up the monotonous thing of quizzes and bingo!! Generally, the staff try hard in what is a difficult marketplace, as the retired set can make these cruises more easily than the working man/woman. P&O need to keep better abreast of their information sourcing. The internet gave this cruise as 4 formal nights, which was reduced to 3 for some reason. There was many passengers that had booked this as a vantage fare, and were stunned at the number of passengers that had got the cruise for under £1000. Many said they would not book early again, but would wait until the last available minute they could. I will do the same. It's not pleasant to know that people booked less than a week before sailing and got balcony cabins for far less than people paid for insides. One great aspect, Ventura has for this winter season been given 2 freedom dining restaurants. If it is successful, it could be extended fully. To summarise, some shortcomings for me, late bookers getting balconies, persistent sell, sell, sell is annoying, 5pm departures when it fell around shore excursions lead to 6pm (booking info gave 6pm every day), Some positives, availabilty of drinks choice, 2 restaurants freedom dining & comfortable venues, sunbathing etc. I feel that P&O should look at introducing a drinks package. I've sailed with Costa, and at 19.5 euros a day is excellent. Something like this would keep all the venues busy most of the day. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2012
We had previously cruised with NCL, Princess and Celebrity and were really looking forward to sampling P & O but unfortunately we were rather disappointed with some aspects of this cruise. Our flight was a Thomas Cook charter to ... Read More
We had previously cruised with NCL, Princess and Celebrity and were really looking forward to sampling P & O but unfortunately we were rather disappointed with some aspects of this cruise. Our flight was a Thomas Cook charter to Barbados, and it was as good, if not better than many schedule flights, with plenty of legroom and attentive cabin crew. Ventura is a large ship, chosen by us as I do not have the best sea legs and we thought it would be good to choose a large ship as we were crossing the Atlantic. Our cabin was very nice, well equipped with a very helpful cabin steward. However, the public rooms were not as grand as we had previously encountered, no impressive atrium or quiet reading rooms. The dining room (Bay Tree) was well appointed and we were pleased to have a table for two, our two waiters were very attentive and pleasant but the food was not up to the usual cruise ship standard and the menu was not very varied. The drinks however were very reasonably prices, both the wine and the bar drinks, in some instances half the price of other cruises which was naturally a real plus. We went on three shore excursions which we thoroughly enjoyed, our first was a tour of St Kitts where our guide was very knowledgeable and made the trip a joy. We then did a snorkeling trip on Tortola with two snorkeling sites, again our guides were very professional with the snorkeling being best off 'Treasure' Norman Island. Finally, we did a tour on the Azores, which again was very good with a lovely local guide. The Azores was an unscheduled stop but a real gem and far preferable to Tenerife. Unfortunately there were two aspects of this cruise which really spoilt our holiday; the first was the attitude of the Shore Excursions and shop staff on board ship, we found they lacked any social skills and had total apathy when you expressed any interest in any port of call or any shop items. The second was the number of places on the ship where smoking was permitted. As people who like to take a stroll along the Promenade Deck you had to walk through the 'fog' every time on the Starboard side. Additionally, smoking was also permitted in one of the outside bars, near one of the pools and on the balconies, one of our neighbours was a smoker which spoilt our use of our balcony. Indeed, the smoking issue was a real down side for us, we will seriously have to consider whether we would cruise with P & O again if they continue to give preference to smokers over non smokers. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: February 2012
Flights were excellent and on time Cabin was excellent and our luggage arrived in good time We were looked after very well by Simon and Avelino The Ports visited were very good although we were disappointed there had been no changes ... Read More
Flights were excellent and on time Cabin was excellent and our luggage arrived in good time We were looked after very well by Simon and Avelino The Ports visited were very good although we were disappointed there had been no changes since last year for the Newcastle flight. But we knew this before we booked so no complaints. Overall we felt the staff were not as good as previous cruises and that is despite the fact we were extremely well looked after by Karen at breakfast in the White Room. She always made us feel so very welcome and gave us the lift to enjoy the rest of the day! There were 4 in our party as our two adult daughters were with us. The breakfast was not up to the expected standard. Apart from the Beach House the food elsewhere was certainly not up to the standard we expected and had 'gone back' considerably from the same time last year! A couple of the waiters were 'unreal'- I was a bit slow with eating my Prawn Cocktail and the waiter tried to take my dish away despite the fact that I still had my spoon in my hand. When I told him to wait, he countered that my main course had arrived. Indeed it had, but the sole was inedible! We were Saturday to Saturday bookings and on the Friday night there was no entertainment. The films on our TV's had been removed. No 'paper' on the Saturday - No puzzles (needed the answers for the Fridays crossword!). We definitely were 'not wanted"!' It was the Friday night that the waiter virtually told me to hurry up eating my prawn cocktail. I have to add that the rest of our table were amused at this. It last happened to me over 70 years ago when I was in the infants classes at School In my experience the Azura beats the Ventura by a considerable margin Read Less
Sail Date: December 2011
Have just returned from our fist ever cruise over the xmas period on the Ventura. only booked it 2 weeks before sailing, so got a very good deal. Overall the ship is fine,but there are a few things that I think PO could look into. We ... Read More
Have just returned from our fist ever cruise over the xmas period on the Ventura. only booked it 2 weeks before sailing, so got a very good deal. Overall the ship is fine,but there are a few things that I think PO could look into. We arrived in Barbados somewhat late due to the flight being delayed for over 2 hours (thomas cook). Bye the time we got to the port, it was already dark, and the checkin queue was quite long, not what you need after a 9 hour flight. The cabin was fine, but had to go and eat wearing the same clothes as we had travelled in as cases did not turn up till a few hours later.The Waterside is ok, but I think the trays are a waste of time, because if you get salad, soup and dinner all in one go, the already luke warm dinner is going to be cold time you eat it! And why do they put the soup at the end of the buffet selection? We was told on our paperwork we had freedom dining, but card in the cabin said we were on 1st sitting on a table of 8. We prefer smaller tables so after querying this at the restaurant was told freedom was full, but was given a table for 2.So that was ok. We did not find out till 2 days before the end of the cruise that the Beechhouse did waiter service evening meal, but its the same menu every night, and they only serve about 50 at a time, so you have to queue well before 6 for the 6.30 opening time to make sure of getting a seat. Only used it once, but it was good, all freshly cooked , so no complaints On the first day at sea, I did not go on deck till quite late, and could not find a sunbed in the sun anywhere, ,ended up in the shade at the back of the ship. Think you needed to put your stuff on a bed about 6am, if you wanted to be near a pool, even though they say no reserving of sunbeds, nobody takes any notice, and I never saw any staff removing items, as stated they would. The entertainment was a bit hit and miss, to much singing and dancing, and you needed to get in the Havana early to get a decent seat, or you ended up behind the walls! not being able to see much at all. Why have they got stupid partitions, or why are they not lower? Yes I do agree the staff are not as friendly as other ships ive been on, and I dont think one of our dinner waiters smiled once the whole time he served us. Also on the first 2 occasions I ordered steak, was not given a steak knive, and when I mentioned it on the 3rd occasion, Mr Grumpy said I should have asked for one! We had a day at Catalina Island, which is just a beach with a few tacky shops, but has a huge BBQ cooking area, which the ships crew are supposed to use for the lunch. But by 1pm, there was no sign of any BBQ being prepared, so if you wanted anything to eat , it was back to the ship (a tender job). We found out later that the hygeine officer had visited the cooking area before we all went ashore, and was not satisfied with it, so no BBQ! So they knew before we all went over, but there were no announcements made on the ship telling us. Would I go on the Ventura again, only if it was a bargain price, but prefer other cruise companies Read Less
Sail Date: December 2011
We flew from Gatwick to Barbados with Thomas Cook whcih was ok - flight passed quite quickly and got straight off plane at Barbados, onto coach and taken straight to ship avoiding the airport formalities entirely. Wished I had put ... Read More
We flew from Gatwick to Barbados with Thomas Cook whcih was ok - flight passed quite quickly and got straight off plane at Barbados, onto coach and taken straight to ship avoiding the airport formalities entirely. Wished I had put shorts,t shirt and flip flops into flight bag as had to stay in winter clothing for three hours until luggage delivered to cabin but should have known having cruised previously. We had an outside obstructed view cabin which looked between two lifeboats so still had a bit of a sea view. Cabin was spacious and kept clean by Bruno our cabin steward throughout the cruise. Not sure how often bed linen changed but suspect weekly at the most unlike other cruise lines which do change daily - however must think of the environment and not wash needlessly. We had second sitting dining at the Saffron on (as requested) a table for two. However the table was so close to the tables next door either side that we felt obliged to chat to neighbouring tables - might as well as had a table for six in this respect. Food I would describe as more like "pub grub" - certainly no memorable or outstanding meals in the restaurant. A couple of dishes were plain awful Didn't try the speciality restaurants whcih other cruisers described as excellent (probably more on a par with likes of Celebrity in their main restaurants. Our waiters were ok but my husband had to ask for a steak knife every time - this should be provided when steak ordered. Also tables crumbs not cleared - its these small details that put P and O down the scale of other cruise lines! We did find the lunches in the Saffron had nicer choices of food than the evenings. We ate breakfast at the saffron or outside the Beach House in the open air area and once had room sevice whcih is only continental unless you pay extra. The pizzas and burgers/hot dogs at frankies grill on deck 15 were very nice indeed. Entertainment was quite good. Headliners shows especially Reflex about the 1980's music were very good, there was a comedian called Fogwell Flax who was quite funny and also did a fantastic Sting tribute, also a "Cuban comedy/magician Manuel Martinez who was funny but I think did offend some people by his comments. Also Mercury Rising a tribute to Freddie Mercury was excellent. We enjoyed doing the quizzes but P and O a bit mean by not giving away even a keyring to the winning team (we won three and got nothing! - except the glory!) Ports of call all very nice - hot weather as to be expected and we luckily missed out on rain showers by being in the right place at the right time! We did two excursions one St Maarten by rib (inflatable speedboat) which visited Marigot, stopped for snorkelling and a beach and included rum puch/soft drinks/beer. The other was whale watching in Dominica whcih we were lucky to see both whales and dolphins. The price for these two excursions for my husband and I was £204.00. On the other islands we negotiated deals with local taxi drivers for tours and the best deal was Antigua where we got the local bus to Nelsons Dockyard return fo $3 each. A bargain and very efficient. Our main concern with the ship was the cleanliness. Ash trays were not emptied, glasses/rubbish etc not cleared away from one day to the next, grubby fingermarks on glass in lifts (and bearing in mind very few children on board to make a mess) To sum up the cruise was adequate but not special and I probably won't rush back to P and O again anytime soon. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2011
Having read some of the negative reviews that i saw once i had booked to go on this ship i was a little worried but came with an open mind. The flight with Thomas Cook out from Gatwick was well organised but the check in was very ... Read More
Having read some of the negative reviews that i saw once i had booked to go on this ship i was a little worried but came with an open mind. The flight with Thomas Cook out from Gatwick was well organised but the check in was very hard on anyone who seemed to have an ounce over in thier luggage. However leaving the airport at the other end was super; bypassing border control and straight to the ship. Priority embarkation to the ship for the suite passengers was a joke ie you just got your cruise card a bit quicker and then just joined the queue with everyone else. Once on the ship friendly staff greeted us and basically just told us the way to the stateroom. Perhaps my expectation of priority boarding for the large sum of money i had paid for this cruise was wrong. On getting to my stateroom i was quite pleased with the size of it and the layout but the much mooted butler service just did not happen -no champagne on ice waiting -no unpacking of the luggage for you as promised, no pamper pack, just stuff left in the fridge and a guy who introduced himself as the butler once he was well sure we had unpacked ourselves and told us "the room stuard does the toilet, i do the cups" the room steward was much better and more hardworking however. The light of day came the next day and all was revealed: dirty walls ,the remnants of the last couples sporting activities on the bed valance,the shabby balcony with the old weather worn furniture the stink of smoke in the room. After having the customer service manager in for a conference and laying down what i expected of service from the staff things got better but the impression was already there. The staff generally on this ship were very friendly and polite and i would have to say had more class that the ramshackle bunch that made up most of the passengers -all over tattoos-compare the beer belly competitions in the sun very bad fake designer bags - get the drift this was the real letdown of this cruise- if your idea of a good time is a working men's club or the British Legion on a Saturday night - then this is the place for you. Food on board was surprisingly good with the bay tree,white room ,east and ramblas putting on some really good food the exception however was waterside where i would eat with great caution esp poultry. Bar prices were very fair with most things at pub levels and i found my on board credit went a long way. would i cruise p and o again -yes- would i go on ventura again-not if you paid me. As a foot note my partner came down with a really bad case of food poisoning at the end of this cruise and the only time we ate off this ship was on an organised tour as i said caution is the word. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2011
I'm afraid P&O was not the ideal cruise firm we expected. The Saffron dining room staff were really good and very pleasant, as was the wine waiter, although the menu wasn't vast they did generally have something that ... Read More
I'm afraid P&O was not the ideal cruise firm we expected. The Saffron dining room staff were really good and very pleasant, as was the wine waiter, although the menu wasn't vast they did generally have something that appealed. The cabin was fine, as was the cabin steward who went the extra mile to be friendly and provide a good service. The buffet on the other hand was not good at all. There was not a good choice of food and even though you were handed a really hot plate, the food in general was tepid at best and in some cases cold. If salad was the preferred choice then this had to be put onto the very hot plates. There were 'cold plates' for salad but these were also hot when available which spoiled the whole idea of a salad. The tables were not emptied readily and the tea and coffee stations left a lot to be desired. Getting tea, coffee, milk, cups, tea spoons and hot water in the same place seemed too much to ask and staff were rude when asked for cups etc. The day we left there were no cups at any drink station and people were forced to drink tea and coffee from plastic glasses. The staff did try to keep sunbeds free on sea days and removed towels from beds that had been 'saved' and where no-one appeared for a length of time but in general you had to be up really early to get a sunbed by a pool. The chairs and tables around the pool had wooden slats and were really hard and uncomfortable. Smoking was allowed on the starboard side of decks 15 and 16 as well as the starboard side of promenade deck 7 but it was impossible to sit and have a drink and a smoke as the seating facilities were too hard to sit and relax on and generally full of grease and unclean from Frankies burger bar. The staff on these decks were not very friendly and some were rude. This was our first experience of P&O and we had been led to believe it was the best but the next cruise will definitely be back at Royal Caribbean who do their utmost to take care of their passengers. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2011
We have just returned from 2 weeks on the Ventura a beautiful ship and this being our first cruise we were very pleased with the cabin and most of our fellow passengers. I do realise that with over 3000 people on board p and O have to ... Read More
We have just returned from 2 weeks on the Ventura a beautiful ship and this being our first cruise we were very pleased with the cabin and most of our fellow passengers. I do realise that with over 3000 people on board p and O have to cater for a great number of tastes but some of the so called entertainment certainly did not appeal to us. We were quite looking forward to having a little flutter in the casino but why oh why have they put it next to the PUB, needless to say we did not bother and for most of the cruise staff in the casino looked very bored as no one was using it. We felt the shore excursions we booked were very good and well organised. Our dining arrangements were wrong as we had booked freedom dining but after a day or so this was sorted out. Would we cruise again, probably but with a lot more research as this one really was not what we were looking for and from conversations with fellow passengers this was a very common view. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2011
CONS On first sight - what a monster. First time we'd cruised on a 3,000 passenger ship, and by day 14 we were still getting lost! On arrival NO champagne reception, which we'd been used to with other cruise lines, NO-ONE ... Read More
CONS On first sight - what a monster. First time we'd cruised on a 3,000 passenger ship, and by day 14 we were still getting lost! On arrival NO champagne reception, which we'd been used to with other cruise lines, NO-ONE to show us to our cabin, heaven help anyone who's never cruised before. There was something the matter with the staff, especially the waiting on staff, they were quite sullen and obviously not happy with something, although during the cruise some of them perked up and we managed to have a laugh with them. Our balcony cabin was sufficient - except for the shower - which was triangular in shape and quite small which meant that when you bent over to do you legs you had to stick your head out of the curtain - not very nice. Signage on the ship, totally inadequate. All the signs were very dark and difficult to spot and read, needs brightening up a bit so they are easier to spot. No hot water in any of the toilets used by passengers when moving around the ship, NOT ideal for killing bacteria! Experienced a very rough passage on our last nights journey, even experienced cruisers said they had never experienced such a rough journey, hung onto bed and hoped for best. Think that LIBRARY should be in an enclosed room with comfortable seats to relax and read at leisure. Think that CASINO is one of the smallest that I have ever seen and should be totally separate from the adjoining EXCHANGE lounge and music venue. Nail polish used in spa treatments is rubbish, cheap stuff. Chips after a few days. PROS Fellow passengers very pleasant and chatty. Cabin boy very good and helpful, works extremely hard. Food available 24 hours a day, but sometimes a little 'hit & miss' in one or two venues, but you'll never go hungry. Entertainment, First Class, the Venturer Theatre Company were very professional putting on some very good shows, visiting artistes included a singer, Victor Michael, and a comedian Adrian Walsh, who both did two separate shows, Excellent! During our days at sea, attended the Oasis Spa for treatments, overall very good, but nail polish is rubbish, cheap stuff. Guest speakers very interesting, went to a few different talks, learnt a lot. Read Less
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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