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Sail Date: January 2011
Having just returned today 12/02/2011 I thought I would give my views on the trip. Bad start Thomsons flight out of Manchester should have left 9-30am was delayed until 18-15hrs we were notified the day before some passengers of course ... Read More
Having just returned today 12/02/2011 I thought I would give my views on the trip. Bad start Thomsons flight out of Manchester should have left 9-30am was delayed until 18-15hrs we were notified the day before some passengers of course travelled the day before so were not contactable. Arrived at Ship 23-00 hours Barbados time 3am GMT. No water in our cabin, safe not working not much of an complimentary upgrade. Riviera Deck 14 is far removed from its name we were kept awake in the small hors by scraping of chairs and vacume cleaning dont they make a noise thse days when they are above your beds. BEWARE Waterside and Beach House above R deck. Never again. More waiting to get a table in Baytree for Breakfast after waiting u are admitted to finf only a small section in use. Think they have cut staff? Entertainment not that good with a few minor exceptions. Food in Dining Rooms OK not as good as previous year. Met some great people but there were quite a few that you would wish to avoid. We are forever learning and enjoyed the weather which is the main reason for going for us. Staff attitude leaves a lot to desire with a few exceptions. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2011
Staff - Cabin Steward and dining waiters in the Bay Tree were excellent but cannot say the same for all staff throughout the buffet restaurants and bars. There were some cheerful, pleasant staff however there were others who definitely did ... Read More
Staff - Cabin Steward and dining waiters in the Bay Tree were excellent but cannot say the same for all staff throughout the buffet restaurants and bars. There were some cheerful, pleasant staff however there were others who definitely did not look as if they were enjoying their job and made you feel a nuisance if you asked for anything. Food,and Service - Food was ok and staff in the Bay Tree ensured that you were enjoying your meal or were quick to offer a replacement. However the Buffet Restaurants were way below expectations. We only used for breakfast three times - it was a shambles! No cups, glasses, tea spoons - the serving area was very cramped with passengers milling about with laden trays. Settled for a continental breakfast served on our balcony! Lunch time food was boring and if you asked for a cold plate for a salad you were either ignored or made to wait. Suitable plates etc should be available without having to ask? Bars/Drinks - Cocktails varied from good to undrinkable - too much lime juice and when I complained was told "used only a dash of lime" and no offer to replace!!! The Exchange Bar reminded me of a tired Wetherspoons and the very small Casino was tagged on to the side of it?? Entertainment - Mediocre acts were in half empty theatre and decent acts were in bars that could not accommodate the numbers attending. I do not want to stand for 45 minutes with a drink in hand no matter how good the entertainer. Amenities - There appeared to be a shortage of sunbeds. Sail Aways - I found these embarrassing. Why hand out Union Jack flags and sing "Rule Britannia" and "Jerusalem" particularly when there were ships of other nationalities in port?????? And not all passengers were English! Read Less
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
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2015
After a problem with my parents having to cancel britannia maiden voyage they had a huge deposit outstanding so the 4 of us ended up on Ventura if I am honest not our first choice !!! But do not be put off please ! A relaxed ship with a ... Read More
After a problem with my parents having to cancel britannia maiden voyage they had a huge deposit outstanding so the 4 of us ended up on Ventura if I am honest not our first choice !!! But do not be put off please ! A relaxed ship with a friendly crew and fab entertainment (do not miss the 2 boys from headliners doing solo set amazing ) But the most fantastic revelation was the food WOW WOW as a proper foodie we have eaten in some great restaurant s I cannot believe the quality and presentation of the food in the saffron restaurant !!!! Along with the wine package it was like eating in a 5/star hotel every night ☺ so if you want to be wowed go on ventura ..... The young lady who runs the waiters is fab wonderful unexpected cruise Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2015
Friday March 13th Left house at 5am and had good ride to airport. Checked in right away in seperate queue and security much quicker than usual. Flight premium economy. Seats roomy but a bit hard after a while. Free drinks and nice food ... Read More
Friday March 13th Left house at 5am and had good ride to airport. Checked in right away in seperate queue and security much quicker than usual. Flight premium economy. Seats roomy but a bit hard after a while. Free drinks and nice food from James Martin. Flight delayed a little due to medical emergency on incoming flight. At Barbados taken straight onto third coach which set off within seconds. At port checkin very quick as there were not many of us. No special checkin for suite passengers. Room had bottle of champagne and chocs but had to ask steward for bottle closer, so that we could drink half the champagne and save the rest.He did not know what I meant but later the butler brought one. They seem to share duties to some extent. Saturday March 14th Barbados Woke up panicking thinking it was 8am but had misread watch and it was only 7am. Breakfast in Whites. Very nice but staff a bit over-attentive. Took taxi to Bridgetown, 2 dollars per person each way. Lunch in dining room, nice but limited. Weather warm and partly overcast. Saw showat night but thought that it was poor. Choreography not very imaginative Cast good singers and dancers though but very repetitive. Theatre half empty. Sunday March 15th St Lucia. We had been here before so did not go on a trip. Breakfast in the White Room and mid-morning went ashore to find cheap wi-fi. Found a bar where if you spent 5dollars you got allday fast internet. Spent $5 on a Guiness which is 7.3% alcohol here and brewed locally. Tonight is black tie and food includes lobster. Monday March 16th St Kitts and Nevis. Boat trip to Nevis. Learnt native of Nevis is a Nevitian. We already knew that a native of St Kitts is a Kittician. Tuesday March 17th Antigua. No trip but went to shops and found internet bar. Wednesday March 18th At sea. Weather excellent and sea smooth with a little swell. Breakfast outside at White Room. Thursday March 19th Breakfast inside as White Room patio was soaking wet. Took back library book. Overheard woman complaining that if you reserve a sun lounger and go to lunch people move your stuff! She seemed quite upset! Cruise critic meeting at 10.30. About fifteen people there and had a good chat. Lunch in room. Talk on unsolved murders. Not bad Talk and forum about iPad use. Learnt how to use iMovie, but the forum was hijacked by people wanted to know how to connect their phones. Had tiramisu at dinner which was much nicer than the one at the White Room. Monday March 23rd Azores. Trip to pineapple factory and crater lakes. Very sunny and warm. Not feeling too good with sore throat and cough. Internet on board. Obviously slow but not too bad. I could download the Times and my mail in about three minutes at 7am, when it seemed to be quicker. We had bought the 100 minutes plan with 20 extra minutes for£35. By today we have 8 minutes left although they do a deal for extra minutes - 60 minutes for £15 or 30 minutes for £10.50. Paid restaurants The White Room. As suite customers we got breakfast here daily and it is well worth it if a little over-attentive. We also ate here one night and was not so impressed. I had a tiramisu which was not as good as the one that I later had in the main restaurant. The Glass Room. Excellent food although we only had the little plates and a shared sundae. East Seems to get heavily booked so had to book a couple of days ahead. The food was nice but by then I had developed a cough and cold so could only manage a tiny amount. My wife enjoyed it though and we could have had an intended bonus as they forgot to charge us for a bottle of champagne, but we pointed it out to them and they added it on with a brief thanks. Other passengers Despite dire warnings on this forum we found everyone we met to be very nice. Obviously there is the sun lounger issue and it would be easy for me to criticise but then we had a huge balcony to ourselves and did not need to compete for space. Entertainment Obviously very subjective. The ship's entertainers seem talented and enthusiastic but I thought that most of the dance routines lacked imagination and need more set chenges. When we left the Azores Tom O'Connor joined the ship and his act had the theatre packed to the gunwales (note the nautical reference!). Was this because his performance was brilliant or were we just desperate for a good act? We saw tthee films on board. The first time that we looked in on a film showing in the Havana Club it was almost finished and what was obviously a widescreen film was showing in 3:4 aspect so the whole picture was squashed. The first film that we actually saw was in the Tamarind Club and we all sat waiting for it to start but a waitress said that nobody knew how to stop the backgound music in the club playing and start the film. After over fifteen minutes they managed to get assistance. We then saw the film "Belle" in the Arena Theatre. As befits a full-time theatre it has by far the biggest screen. I could not make out the model of the projector, other than it was a Sanyo but i would say, and I do the projection for a local video society, that the picture quality was about VHS standard although luckily the sound was good. There was very little fine detail and dark areas exhibited considerably blocking. The last film that we saw was "Interstellar" which I had been looking forward to. Again the picture quality was poor and after about half an hour the picture started moving upwards until it had disppeared off the top of the screen. After what seemed like a long wait a "technical" person could be seen moving around and the picture descended again. I am assuming that they had not been watching the film as they then rewound it fifteen minutes so we had to watch part of the film twice! Crossing the Atlantic We had crossed the Bay of Biscay before in terrible weather so knew what to expect but no, the weather was sunny and the sea was calm. People were swimming in the pool the day before we arrived at Southampton and on arrival day there was hardly a cloud in the sky. Coach transfer. Full marks to P&O for providing these although they are not well publicised. On the coach to Manchester, which took about five and a half hours for the journey, including a 45 minute stop some passengers had been given totally unrealistic timings for onward flights. Motorway journeys always take way longer than you expect. We had parked at Manchester Airport short stay car park and getting from where the bus left us at the drop-off point to the car park took almost an hour. Would I go with P&O again? Probably not. Although the ship was fine and the beer was cheap I found the entertainment boring and the extras for suite passengers very poor. Next January we are booked on the Norwegian Getaway and I hope to find that a bit more exciting. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: January 2015
We have travelled several times with P and O and have always enjoyed it . The Ventura is a large ship with lots of separate areas . Our cabin was on C deck which has extra large balconies . This is really useful in the Caribbean heat as ... Read More
We have travelled several times with P and O and have always enjoyed it . The Ventura is a large ship with lots of separate areas . Our cabin was on C deck which has extra large balconies . This is really useful in the Caribbean heat as it gives an area of shade and it's possible to stretch out comfortably . All the staff on P and O work tirelessly and are very polite and welcoming . Each cabin has normal plug settings so there is no need to take any adapters . A good tip however is to take an electrical strip if you have lots of things that need charging . There are white products , shampoo and shower gel available in the cabin in small bottles so these can add to your supplies . We travel in premium seats on long journeys due to medical problems and the extra that this costs is well worth it especially as you get a 28 kg luggage allowance. The extra on board credit covered most of our costs this year and this was excellent as you don't want an extra large bill after a holiday . P and O has always been one of our favourite cruise lines but from a personal opinion we were a bit dissapointed with a few aspects . The time to put suitcases out on the last evening at 11pm is very early especially if you are on the late dinner sitting . This would be much better if it was extended to 1.00am . We were very compliant with trying to keep our hand luggage on the return journey to the recommended 5 kegs but then watched in amazement as other passengers had two to three large bags and even largish suitcases that were way over the allowance . . If you don't need to keep to the limit then this should be very clear or somone should monitor it . Meals in the main dining room were not delivered with silver service but came plated up and the portions . were quite large . This can be too much at times and seems wasteful . P And O also seems to be stuck in using their tried and tested format . This might be fine for first time cruisers or those who don't like change but we were dissapointed that you could predict the day time and evening entertainment . We can't understand why this always has to be the same , the same type of talks, shows , comedians etc . No one offering an entertainment service on shore would get away with reproducing the same material and artists year on year especially when there is such a variety to choose from . P and O need to just make sure that there are a few new aspects to each cruise to keep everyone's interest or like us we will be tempted to look at other cruise lines so that we do get a different experience . This would be shame as everything else is very good Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2014
We have returned from the Christmas cruise and we both feel rather disappointed with this trip compared to last year's trip. Our plane was delayed at Gatwick due to a problem with the captain's pass and when we arrived at the ... Read More
We have returned from the Christmas cruise and we both feel rather disappointed with this trip compared to last year's trip. Our plane was delayed at Gatwick due to a problem with the captain's pass and when we arrived at the ship it took approximately 2 hours before we got our passes. We then had a further queue for another 30 minutes to get through xray and onto the ship. How much longer will it take to board Britannia next Christmas as its capacity is larger. We felt there had been cut backs especially with the entertainment which was repetitive and the quality of acts were poor. We very much enjoyed the evening pantomime last year as it was the best and funniest show we saw and we were looking forward to this year's performance but it was only performed during an afternoon. The showing was at 3.00 pm on a sea day and most people were up on deck and did not want to get ready to go down to the theatre and miss the afternoon sun. Last year it was at 20.30 and the theatre was packed with many children also attending. Apparently this year we were told that the theatre was not as full and the performance not as good. We watched many shows in Havana and on some occasions people got up and walked out before the act had finished. The Robbie Williams show was the best entertainment of the whole cruise. The worst part of the cruise was the fact that in Havana it was extremely cold and we asked at reception if the temperature could be changed and was told that nothing could be done. The entertainment team last year which was run by Benny was extremely good especially on the sailaways as they performed a dance routine on stage and everyone joined in which made a great atmosphere. This year the entertainment team hardly did any sailaways and for the majority of time there was a group performing which did not give us the same atmosphere. We were very pleased with our cabin and steward and any requests were met immediately. The cabin was kept spotless and our steward was friendly and polite. Again this year the food was of good quality but portions varied in size. Some of the waiters appeared extremely miserable but others were very friendly and helpful. The amount of time wasted queuing for Christmas and New Year dining was horrendous, some people waited up to 4 hours. We queued for 2 hours, surely there is a better system P&O could use. We are booked for this year's Christmas cruise on the Britannia and we are very much looking forward to seeing how this year's cruise compares to the one we have just returned from. We are really hoping that the entertainment is of far better quality and we will write a review accordingly. Yes we did overall enjoy the cruise but not as much as last year. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2014
Mixed feelings regarding our Christmas cruise to the Caribbean. The flight form Gatwick, chartered to Thompson was refreshingly pleasant as we booked in premiere and were treated very well indeed with complimentary drinks and very ... Read More
Mixed feelings regarding our Christmas cruise to the Caribbean. The flight form Gatwick, chartered to Thompson was refreshingly pleasant as we booked in premiere and were treated very well indeed with complimentary drinks and very comfortable seating, the interactive entertainment menu again very good. Arriving in Barbados again was a nice surprise not having to go through airport customs but being "ordered" on to a very old and tired small coach. Reaching the dock was not too bad but the check in procedure was awful we were herded like cattle in a pen without facility for refreshment for the best part of 45 minutes in very hot and humid conditions without any explanation as to how long this procedure would take "More information from P&O" would have been nice. The cabin was pleasant and clean and the cabin steward was friendly and informative. We opted for freedom dining which was a good choice as the 'sail away' party was just another excuse to join a long queue for average food. Breakfast is normally overcrowded and our party of 6 struggled to get a table most mornings having to circumnavigate both venues before being able to breakfast as a family. The breakfast & dinner on the whole was excellent especially our visit to the White Room. Having a "Costa" in the atrium was a pleasant surprise and we used this facility most afternoons but the service on 10 times out of 13 was nothing short of disgusting sometimes waiting up to 25 minutes for someone to take our order when at most there were two or three tables awaiting service. We used the Spa facilities once (on a special offer) and were induced to buying overpriced products whilst we were in a totally relaxed and near sleep condition, almost ready to agree to anything. (We were told that the therapists are trained to hard sell to their clients after the massage which I must say was excellent) I got off light after buying some Gell and oil for £70 but my wife ended up being sold creams for £195 this is on top of the treatment price - a bit over the top, a 10% gratuity was also added, this was not too bad as the treatment was on special offer. The entertainment was every enjoyable and refreshing and the appearance of Roy Walker was a nice bonus. These entertainers work very hard and the production team are to be applauded. Trying to get a Sun lounger when we had our "at sea" days proved to be something of a challenge, so we did not bother as the only areas that we could sit were very loud with lots of children running around. Yes we did try the adult area and again the only place to sit was the bench style seating next to the swimming pool. the hot tubs were very good though one always seemed to be cordoned off. Overall the Islands we visited were as expected with gorgeous beaches but St. Vincent was a little bit of a let down. Most items on board if not on special offer were a bit pricy but I suppose P&O have a policy of trying to extract every last pound from their passengers. It would be nice to know how exactly the amount added for gratuities was divided, as the staff manning the Ice cream machine & Pizza ovens on the whole thought they were doing you a great favour by serving you. Attitude of staff on Sun decks really could have been a lot better, as this was not a cheap cruise. I have to say that I had different expectations and the overall experience is not one I would wish to repeat.   Read Less
Sail Date: November 2014
We have just returned from our first P & O Ventura cruise after being told by numerous friend that we had to try it! On the whole we enjoyed the experience , from embarkation which is surprisingly run like clockwork to leaving your ... Read More
We have just returned from our first P & O Ventura cruise after being told by numerous friend that we had to try it! On the whole we enjoyed the experience , from embarkation which is surprisingly run like clockwork to leaving your bags at check in at the airport then the next time you see them is in your room - excellent . We had a deluxe cabin with balcony which is a good size , comfy bed , good shower , really nice cabin steward who couldn,t do enough for us . Against this , the TV with constant sky news as the only decent channel will eventually drive you mad , sports channel for premiership football was good , and thats about it for TV. Although the cruise price seemed good value , its only good value if you resist all the other ways P & O have of trying to part you from your money > Wi Fi at £15 - £20 per hour is ridiculous in this day and age , trips , gym sessions , massage , photos of you at every opportunity , getting on , getting off , dining , drinking , you name it , a camera was there . We enjoyed the food tremendously , the service was good , sometimes too good , plate removed as soon as my knife & fork touched the plate ! Buffet food equally as good just a shame you have to try and hunt down a table as it was so busy. Entertainment - first class , some excellent shows ! The main thing that lets this ship down is the fact that P & O are too relaxed about the dress code , the formal nights most people do make an effort, but the rest of the time ,  baseball caps worn in the restaurant, men in sleeveless shirts and singlet type vests in the buffet , women walking through the buffet restaurant in their swimming costumes , not a pretty sight ! I think that due to the cheap starter price of the cruise this holiday is replacing the Benidorm/Torremelinos all inclusive holiday and hence the drop in standards - a real pity . P & O need to get their act together , even if it means raising the price and cutting down on the numbers ! My opinion for what its worth ! Read Less
Sail Date: November 2014
We booked for our first Caribbean Cruise over a year before the sail date and we were so looking forward to it. One of the things we liked was that we booked our cases in at the airport and they were delivered to our cabin, one of the ... Read More
We booked for our first Caribbean Cruise over a year before the sail date and we were so looking forward to it. One of the things we liked was that we booked our cases in at the airport and they were delivered to our cabin, one of the things we found out that we didn't like was the length of time it takes to book everyone on board. We were in a hot and sweaty shed on the quayside in a long line and it took a good couple hours. The ship met up with our expectations, great food, lovely staff who were very friendly and tendered to our every need. The entertainment in the evenings was outstanding (Except for the Ventriloquist who was poor) in every venue. There was bars you could just sit and relax and enjoy a drink and there was bars where you could dance the night away something for everyone. But As with every holiday there are parts that doesn't come up to scratch and the Ventura is no exception. Firstly we felt like we were in a 2 Star all inclusive holiday in Spain as the sun beds were reserved very early in the morning with towels left on the beds while the holiday makers were nowhere to be seen, we thought it would be more classy than that. In fact we were told that people were reserving beds as early as 5:30 in the morning in order to get the prime spots. P&O policy states that no sunbed reservations are to be made but we witnessed two incidents of 'Bed Rage' Secondly, we assumed (wrongly) that the evening dress code would be smart casual mixed with a number of Black Tie events. What we found was that quite a number of people did not conform to the dress code and even to the point of wearing football shirts with shorts which tainted the experience. Overall, the cruise was fantastic and what we experienced would not put us off booking another.   Read Less
Sail Date: March 2014
Just arrived home from our first cruise. 1-14th March. We stayed on the Ventura. Being first timers we really didn't know what to expect. We flew from Gatwick to Barbados on Thomson Dreamliner and were very impressed with the amount ... Read More
Just arrived home from our first cruise. 1-14th March. We stayed on the Ventura. Being first timers we really didn't know what to expect. We flew from Gatwick to Barbados on Thomson Dreamliner and were very impressed with the amount of legroom. I assume long haul flights always have personal tv's for entertainment? On arrival in the port in Barbados we were amazed by the cheerfulness of the security staff and those dealing with our ID cards, I asked the guy dealing with mine if I should smile for my photo and he said "Oh yes SMILE, it's good to smile"!. I fully agree with the continuous use of anti bacterial hand gel used before you step on board and in all the dining rooms, such a pity many people ignore it. I wish airlines would use it too! We found our way (eventually) to our cabin (C422) and were very pleasantly surprised with our large balcony whilst below us had half the size and the ones above were even smaller, their cabins were probably much bigger but we had ample space so were very happy!! The rooms are kept immaculately clean by the stewards, mostly boys who do an amazing job and work extremely hard 7 days a week, rooms are serviced twice a day and it's a lovely gesture to find little squares of chocolate on your bed at night. Towels are changed each day and personal flannels are replaced morning and night. Tea, coffee, biscuits etc replenished twice daily. We had a set table in the Bay Tree Restaurant. The menu wasn't particularly amazing but it was better not to have too much to choose from and the food was beautifully presented and very filling. Wine was very reasonably priced as was most of the drinks on board. The waiters were extremely efficient and very pleasant and I cannot fault the service in any way. Entertainment wasn't really to our taste but this is not a criticism. We read a review about sunbeds but although there wasn't supposed to be a shortage, on days at sea we couldn't find two together and it was very much 'sardines in a can', this part of the cruise we didn't like, also there were no sunshades with the sunbeds. We booked a trip for each island we stopped at as we didn't want to just wander aimlessly, each trip also gave us free time to look around the shops in the ports. It was really good to arrive in a different place (nearly) every day. Regarding tipping, we opted out of the compulsory tip charge because we wanted to know EXACTLY where our money was going. Ask at reception for a form if you wish to opt out. We always tip generously, but like to tip those we choose to tip. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2014
So this was my second time cruising with p&o but my first time in the carribbean.The flights to and from the cruise were faultless and the embarkation was quick and easy. Entertainment- There was some form of entertainment on most ... Read More
So this was my second time cruising with p&o but my first time in the carribbean.The flights to and from the cruise were faultless and the embarkation was quick and easy. Entertainment- There was some form of entertainment on most nights and i have to admit they were mostly amazing however during the day there isnt alot going on which i was a bit disapointed in.there wasnt any entertainment around the pools apart from at the sailaway parties at which the deck was too crowded to enjoy it. service- All the bar staff were excellent and friendly apart from one who seemed to be fine to me but was always blunt and rude to my 14 year old daughter(who wasnt loud or rowdy) which i thought was a bit of a let down to an overall good service.However the same cannot be said about my cabin steward(dulce) who was useless.There were 3 of us in my cabin and yet she only supplied us with 2 towels, therefore we asked for another to be in there however in the end we had to go out to her trolley and go get one ourselves every morning because she never gave us one. port-The shore excursions arranged by p&o were amazing and ran smoothly, i would highly reccomend the two reef turtle snorkel as the staff and the excursion itself was exceptionally good. dining- i went to the resturant twice and was not amazed, the food just never seemed to appeal to me and so we ended up going to the buffet most of the time where there was a much better selection of food which was good except for the lack of fruit during lunch and dinner. childrens clubs- My 14 year old daughter used the teens club every day and was definately not dissapointed. on the first night there were only 2 other children in the kids club which were both 5 years younger than her but the youthie working at the time(sam) made a big effort to make her feel welcome.on the second day my daughter went to see if any more children of her age had come to the kids club yet and there were a few more children but not any of her age, however sarah(one of the youthies) who had never met lauren before came over and knew lauren by name and age already and really made her feel welcome and comfortable and assured her that some children of her age would turn up soon. when 2 boys her age turned up sarah made an effort to introduce lauren to them and from then on lauren became good friends with them and spent every spare minute in the kids club.The youthies are all really friendly and caring but arent bossy or patronising, they would joke around with the kids and tease them like they were one of them. We were really pleased with all the youth staff she encountered and i would like to give them all credit: Sam,Abi,Sarah,Lynne,,Danii,Laura, Vicky and Denise, you were all amzing and made laurens cruise experience 100x better. overall this cruise was amazing and am definately going to go on it again. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2014
Just got home from our 3rd P & O cruise, had a fantastic time but I do feel P & O is slipping behind it's competitors, we have already picked our next cruise and it will be Princess again. Our cabin on the Ventura was fine but ... Read More
Just got home from our 3rd P & O cruise, had a fantastic time but I do feel P & O is slipping behind it's competitors, we have already picked our next cruise and it will be Princess again. Our cabin on the Ventura was fine but smaller than Princess, our cabin steward was top notch, couldn't fault his service. However I was enraged to find out from him that we could not have a toweling robe in our cabin. Even on Princess you have to ask for one but you do get it. How penny pinching is this!!! Likewise the food, it was lovely, well cooked and served but no little luxuries like Lobster, caviar and other delights which Princess do so well. We thought the entertainment was good on this ship, enjoyed several of the theatre shows and entertainers but missed a nightclub/disco on board, there was a Dj in the Havana bar but always really late in the evening. Shops were a total disappointment, expensive stuff, Harrods range, mega expensive handbags, not a patch on Princess. Frustrated to find no waiter service in the buffets, self service tea and self service wine dispensers!!! Swimming pools were freezing, didn't use them at all, we waited for the beach. Plus side - drinks were really cheap, £3.50 for a pint of John Smiths and £13 for a bottle of red, saved us a fortune. Also the cost of the cruise is cheaper overall but we would rather pay extra for the little luxuries. We flew Premium class Thomas Cook, worth every penny extra for more leg room and great service. So P & O pull your socks up a bit and stop all the little economies because when we cruise we are looking for luxury. Our next ship will be Ruby Princess, looking forward to comparing!! Read Less
Sail Date: January 2014
We have just arrived home last week from caribbean cruise on ventura,and after reading many good and bad reviews on this ship,and having sailed with P&O 4 times before,once on ventura 3 years ago,I have to conclude that things are not ... Read More
We have just arrived home last week from caribbean cruise on ventura,and after reading many good and bad reviews on this ship,and having sailed with P&O 4 times before,once on ventura 3 years ago,I have to conclude that things are not the same,standards seem to be slipping, the food and entertainment are not on the same level as many other cruise companies,and the type of passengers seems to have changed. You could say "you get what u pay for",we only booked two weeks before and got a lovely balcony cabin for a reduced priced,but I would not have been happy if I had paid full price,as I know a lot of passengers had,but a lot of people we spoke to had got a cheap holiday in the caribbean sunshine and were quite happy! So to sum, up if you can get a reduced price, cabin, from your local airport its dam good value for money. BULLET POINTS. Regional flights,easy check in,no hassle with luggage,good quick transfers to ship Flight with First Choice a bit slap dash,food terrible,paid £2.50 for 1 cup of tea in 8 hours(free bar gone now). Good size cabin,but needed a good clean.Cabin attendant helpful and attentive. Have always liked tea and coffee and biscuits in cabin and free laundry facillities. WATERSIDE/BUFFETS REST. Just ok,never very.hot. ok if u like salads or curries (well there are a lot of indian chefs,but all the currys were good currys,if you love curry) Good English breakfast,but toast always rock hard ,Plenty of other choices too. Serveries just not wide enough,people go the wrong way when they forget some thing, so it ended up like a bun fight. Then you carnt find a seat as people dont move and sit drinking cups of tea BAY TREE REST. Freedom dinning very good,Food and Menus good and varied, for all meals, although meals plated now. Service Good, waiters very pleasant. Most passengers respected dress codes. OTHER SELECT DINNING. I believe was very good but did not use ourselves.Seems an excellent option and very popular for special occasions. ENTERTAINMENT. We found very poor comparing to all previous cruises(about 20 to date).3 comedians in the first week which were just ok.We had seen all the HEADLINERS shows before,3 years ago.Other lookie like,Elton John,Neil Dimond and Cliff Richard,nothing special The Havana Venue is not big enough and not fit for purpose,a lot of people standing,and u couldnt see the small stage although there are small TV screens you can watch the show on. Plenty of other entertainment/music/bands in different venues,depending on taste.t We went to bed early most nights, Television channels minimal in cabin,and have to pay now for any decent film. Entertainment on deck minimal,No organised games around the pool which can be fun when at sea. Entertainment Team on deck at sailaways akin to Butlins singing the same songs every time,month after month,Although THE GREAT BRITISH SAILAWAY is unique and never to be missed,a memory which is never forgotten on a PO cruise. Organised Trips. Good selection,well organised but expensive. You can venture out on your own or with others cheaper in local taxis and buses. SUNBEDS like sardines on sea days ,which was only 3 single days,but there are no germans,so you can find a bed eventually.Better not sit around the pool if carnt stand loud mouthed Brits eating pizzas all day,or dont like TOWIE or Embarassing Bodies. CREW always friendly,polite and helpfull You can take your own alcohol aboard,which most ships dont allow,We saw loads of older ladies with little bottles of spirits in their handbags. I expect they will put a stop to that soon. Drinks reasonable prices,nice cocktails,waiters not pushy with the hard. sell as on american ships. So to sum up, as I could go on for ever,we had a good holiday,met some nice people and ate some lovely food,BUT alot of the competing cruise ships are on another level now,in the decor ,venues,entertainment,food and service and standards. Unfortunately we will be looking else -where for our next cruise,PO you may have just lost another few loyal British cruisers Read Less
Sail Date: January 2014
This was our first time in the Caribbean and also with P and O. The good. The P and O charter flight both to and from Barbados were faultless, flights on time both ways, you put your bags on at the airport and do not see them again until ... Read More
This was our first time in the Caribbean and also with P and O. The good. The P and O charter flight both to and from Barbados were faultless, flights on time both ways, you put your bags on at the airport and do not see them again until in your cabin, on the return, you put your bags out of the cabin before 11pm the night before departure and pick them up again at the home airport. When you arrive in Barbados, you get off the plane and straight onto a coach for the ship, this is followed by a very quick and efficient check in process, overall superb. Cabin steward, Raju, one of the nicest we have ever had on a cruise, extremely polite, efficient and totally un obtrusive. The standard of food was good overall. The majority of the staff did not appear very happy and some of the bar and waiters certainly appeared overworked with a constant stream of superiors checking on them. The ports of call are superb, very friendly people and safe to get around. It is easy to book tours through the ship, but also easy to get tours off the ship without feeling conned. If you are in St Lucia, I would certainly recommend Cosol Tours, absolutely fabulous. The bad This is not an old ship, yet is already showing signs of wear and tear, dirty carpets in hallways etc. It is the first time we have seen basic maintenance being carried out on sea days in public areas, necessitating the closure of public areas. Closing the Beach hut buffet area at lunchtimes on sea days, which only added to the queues in the adjacent main buffet area. Given the size of the ship, the main theatre is too small, if you want a seat you have to be in place at least 30 - 40 minutes before the show starts. The few shows we did see were nothing more than OK, one of the resident bands were very good but only put on a silly times and in the smaller venues. As above in the good, the majority of the staff are lovely, but I was surprised as to how some of them were treated by fellow passengers. Do not get me wrong, if anyone has a cause for concern, they are perfectly entitled to complain, but we personally witnessed some staff being spoken to in a simply appalling manner, The ugly We are from Scotland and I like a drink as much as the next person, but I have never seen sights like it on a cruise. P and O should warn people going on booze cruises or Rum Runner trips about the dangers of very strong alcohol in unusual heat. Sitting on deck 15 just before a sail away we saw ( which turned out to be perfectly healthy people ) collapsing quayside and being wheel chaired on board by uniformed and medical staff purely through drink. On the same night, we were next to a table where a man passed out over dinner, he had been on a booze cruise, none of these people were youngsters. We will certainly return to the Caribbean as it is gorgeous, however, it will more than likely not be with P and O, not because of the staff. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2013
My Husband, myself, our daughter and 82 mum in law were on the Ventura for 2 weeks in the caribbean. Loved just checking in our luggage at Birmingham, and not seeing until we arrived in our cabin in Barbados. We had 2 balcony cabins on ... Read More
My Husband, myself, our daughter and 82 mum in law were on the Ventura for 2 weeks in the caribbean. Loved just checking in our luggage at Birmingham, and not seeing until we arrived in our cabin in Barbados. We had 2 balcony cabins on deck 14, loved waking up every morning and going out on our balcony and seeing coming into every port. First time a balcony cabin, cabin numbers R242 & R246, sorry inside cabin no more. The only thing that spoilt our enjoyed were the people in the next cabin smoking, and then coughing their guts up. Not for much longer I know this is being stopped, but didn't help us at the time. Sandy our room attendant was great, everything perfect including the towel dog. First time my mum in law had cruised, she was well looked after. Dining was fabulous, food was great everyday. The entertainment team of headliners were fantastic, and the guest singers Jane Curry and Peter Grant were brilliant. We had been on the Azura twice before and thought that the Glass House was much better on Azura. The retreat we thought was a waste of space, not many passengers using it. Didn't like the pool with the roof over, we thought that Azura was much better and bigger space with the cinema. Mum in Law had to use the medical centre, only took a weeks worth of medication, the doctor was brilliant, he telephoned the surgery in England to find out the medication she took. Couldn't fault at all. The only thing that leaves a bitter sweet taste is the way that p&o have treated early bookers. We booked this cruise 16 months ago, and upto a few weeks before sailing, p&o selling a balcony cabin for 1/2 the price we paid. I wrote to p&o but they didn't want to know. Shame on you p&o, seriously get your act together with your price policy. Treat your past passengers much better or we will go elsewhere. Read Less
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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