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1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2015
This was our first P& O cruise and it was a near hit , but had too many misses! We booked a deluxe superior balcony cabin. We were promised little extras such as a bottle of champagne, dressing gown, canapés, fruit basket and flower ... Read More
This was our first P& O cruise and it was a near hit , but had too many misses! We booked a deluxe superior balcony cabin. We were promised little extras such as a bottle of champagne, dressing gown, canapés, fruit basket and flower display. The flight down was fabulous from Gatwick a Dreamliner ands embarkation onto the ship faultless. We got our luggage in under 1 hour as well. The cabin was fine, E720 on deck 8 aft, not huge and the balcony was in permanent shade as the floor above extends to the balcony rail. The champagne was in the fridge, not on ice. No fruit, a box of chocolates was on the coffe table, no canapés or fruit bowl. It took 3 days to get the fruit bowl. 1 Apple, 1 orange. 1 bannana and 6 individual grapes.  Then saucer of 5 revolting canapés. The flowered didn't ever materialise. The ship is beautiful with lovely facilities, however she is abysmally let down by dreadful customer service at many levels. Freedom dining is a problem. Although it's good to have the freedom it means that Gala nights are a waste of time and absolute let down. As nothing is put on for them. There are not any special presentation . Ice or fruit carvings - no songs or ceremony. You put on your finery, eat as normal and that's it. The waiters on the whole were extremely rude, unpleasant and poorly trained. They lean across you in front of you. The service in Saffron was chaotic and hit and miss. Yes there were a few who were lovely but on the main it wasnt a good experience. It's clear that P& O have taken the majority of their best staff for Brittania and left the dross behind on Ventura The room service menu, is tiny and you have to pay extra for many items. The bar prices are good. The White room is excellent. The entertainment was good, if you could Eve get a seat.  P&O have waiters galore selling booze, but can't invest in stewards to look after passages on the sun decks, theatres or have a customer relation desks, staffed by senior managers, who have first hand In depth knowledge and experience of the standards offered to and expected by British & American passengers at 4&5* resorts and cruises. It would seem unfair to expect us a fare paying passengers to put up with such shoddy and laughable service for a premium fare!   Also this cruise had 8 sea days, with the exception of a quiz, lectures on murders and the occasional free film, nearly every additional leisure activity such as painting had tone paid for! The TV is a disgrace - sky news, bbc news Sky sportthsts it. Previous passengers were saying last year they had 48 free handles. The chi late buffet is no more.  Most of the buffets have curry.  In fact it's hard to get things without curry! I love curry but from time to time. The afternoon tea sandwiches were weird combinatiins as well. All in all we had fantastic weather, a comfortable cabin and a relaxing g time. But if P&O want to retain a decent reputation they need to listen and learn some customer relations lessons from their bosses at Carnival or even better celebrity &princess Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2015
Great ports but found the Caribean all a bit overcrowded with so many cruise ships around ! The ship was very nice but also too crowded for us particularly on the sun deck. On sea days it was extremely difficult to find a sun bed and it if ... Read More
Great ports but found the Caribean all a bit overcrowded with so many cruise ships around ! The ship was very nice but also too crowded for us particularly on the sun deck. On sea days it was extremely difficult to find a sun bed and it if you were able to it was jammed in between others. Not a pleasant experience. We spent a lot of time on our balcony , however this was overlooked by cabins and decks above as it protruded from the ship. Nice balcony but did compromise our privacy. Food all good and anytime dining worked well for us. Did not have to wait too long for a table for 2. Entertainment overall was good. Embarkation was handled very well at the cruise terminal rather than the airport. The overnight stay in Barbados before coming home was brilliant. Overall a good cruise but this ship is not for us. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2014
If this had been our first cruise we would probably never cruised again. The title of this review, P & Queue, is an overall impression of this cruise, it appeared that every couple of days we had to queue. Manchester Airport Arrived ... Read More
If this had been our first cruise we would probably never cruised again. The title of this review, P & Queue, is an overall impression of this cruise, it appeared that every couple of days we had to queue. Manchester Airport Arrived early after stopping over night at an airport hotel, had to queue for 2 and a half hours to check in, only one check in desk manned, the P&O representative said there should have been 7 and blamed Thompsons, but our contract was with P&O and they should have seen that the agreement they had with Thompsons was enforced. Flight OK, old plane very ordinary meals and service. Barbados Check in. We queued for 1 and half hours to register and then 1 hour to get through security. (Only 2 scanners for about 1500 passengers??) Bags did not arrive at our cabin until after 10.30pm, we landed at 5.15pm. Booking Gala Meals Booking for Christmas Day and New Years Eve meals was a farce, we queued for 2 and a half hours for the second sitting, people booking for the first sitting had to wait longer, also people "missed" breakfast due to the time they had to wait. One lady, a solo passenger, told us she had to queue for 4 hours and when she got to the front was told "as a solo she didn't have to queue as they could have slotted her in anywhere". Flight Back to Manchester 2 Thompson fights leaving at the same time from the same gate, very confusing and more queuing. Some of the restaurant staff on board ship were rude and hurried us out of the restaurants after breakfast and lunch as they were in a hurry to prepare tables for the following meal. (Not enough staff??) Our last cruise with P&O was in 2009, every thing went like clockwork, staff were excellent and all the service we received on board was perfect, following this we recommended P&O to our friends, never again, we have now booked another cruise with another Company, we never looked at P&O alternatives. Very disappointed Passenger, now booking with other Company's.   Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2014
Just returned from the Christmas cruise aboard Ventura. I'll will try to summarise my thoughts .... The service from the steward and dining room staff (early sitting) was excellent. The dinning room food in the evening was largely ... Read More
Just returned from the Christmas cruise aboard Ventura. I'll will try to summarise my thoughts .... The service from the steward and dining room staff (early sitting) was excellent. The dinning room food in the evening was largely good with just a few disappointments but in nearly all cases the meat portion was too small. Our D deck cabin was very average with no internet access when the ship was moving, poor maintainance in the bathroom, a faded settee, questionable AC and ridiculous noise from the tender launching process at 7am (!) in Tortola . To add to this the balcony was not at all private with virtually every cabin above it having a birds eye view of us. The balcony was often littered with cigarette butts which I assume came from the rooms above . The guest entertainers were typically good but the production shows were over ambitious given the singers available and their lack of talent . It's takes a brave girl of any description to offer a "tribute" to Karen Carpenter but if they cannot sing well its just not practical and how 3 white guys can try to mimic the Drifters is beyond my comprehension - they must be able to both sing and dance and do both at the same time! The Calypso band that played in various venues was quite good but the rock band much worse. There was a constant problem with the lack of sun beds . This is down to bad deck design or even ship design and poor management - given though P&O can cure this but they have to want to do it. Similarly the show lounge is too small and requires a 3rd nightly show. P&O employ "minders" around the swimming pool whose sole purpose appears to be annoy the kids who are jumping in and out and enjoying themselves. These pool minders even kick out adults in the pool if the appear to jump in, even though they weren't. Making these people redundant would offer a serious cost saving . They could be re employed as traffic wardens where they could irritate a larger number of people and not damage the cruise's reputation. For some reason the hot tubs were often closed for cleaning - even on Christmas Day - is there no planning or consideration given to the days on which this happens? Ship maintenance, such as refreshing of paint, occurred during day hours. Why? Wouldn't it be easier to do this at 5am or when passengers are sleeping rather than make paying passengers move this lounge chair during the day to accommodate ship repairs? The kindergarten now operates a nonsensical process for signing the kids in and out and this needs to be looked at. As it stands a cruise card with a kids club sticker on it is "worth" a child and a signature the same as the one on that card is the only thing required to release the child. If there really is such a problem a picture of the parents maybe more worthwhile. I suspect the process was engineered by someone at a desk with a pen but little or no practical experience. The itinerary worked well except from Christmas Eve in Dominica. As you may know it rains there a lot so to organise Santa's arrival on the open deck as we left was frankly stupid, it was always going to rain and of course the entire event, witnessed by hundreds of families, was a complete wash out. Clearly a different port or venue or time was needed. At Tortola the dock is being rebuilt and is closed for the duration. The itinerary suggested it was a "possible tender" port. It's a definite tender and those on deck 9 should have been warned of the very loud noise and shuddering vibration a 7am when the tenders are launched. To be fair the tender process seemed to worked ok but there is no need to go there at all until the dock is built - there are lots of other islands. There were too many formal nights - 4 in total. This was way too many and should be re thought on family cruises. Given the fact we all had to fly in with the accompanying baggage problems, a clear dress code itinerary would have been useful ahead of the cruise, sadly it's not provided. The passengers were an eclectic mix of pensioners, couples and families with older and or younger children, some of whom were well heeled educated types and many others who could be described as "tattooed wonders", some of the later may perhaps be better served at a guest house in Blackpool or Butlins. I realise P&O is not going to conduct IQ tests on the passengers at the pier prior to boarding but I recommend they think of something before the entire cruise resembles a remand centre. There were too many smokers onboard and now may be the time to ban smoking completely. This would discourage those who need budget fares and relieve non smokers of ash, smell, and dirty ash trays which ruin otherwise useful deck areas. I noticed on a number of occasions that "housekeeping" was not as it could be with abandoned coffee cups left in halls for many hours and festering nappies in lifts. Some of this will be as result of the passenger mix but P&O should know who they sold the cruise to and prepare accordingly. Throughout the cruise the air conditioning did don't seem to work too well. Cruise ships in my experience are typically really quite cool inside but the Ventura was always warm. Even with the AC set to minimum in the cabin it was often too warm to sleep and other passengers who commented on the issue suggested it was a cost cutting measure..... P&O offer what amounts to late check out of the cabin to those who wish to pay for it. The process for this defies belief - as after paying £85 you have to leave the room you've had to the last fortnight together with your hand luggage at 9am and come back an hour later to room a few doors along the hall. If a good hotel offers late check out they let you have the room you are in - it saves preparing it again - and often they do not charge either. On this cruise all the passengers arrive on flights in the later afternoon and those going home need to leave before that. The only explanation for devising such a scheme is to collect cash and generate work for the stewards, it really is that silly. The additional cost restaurants are multiplying - and getting pricey. We went to the "Beach House" where even the burger is £2 extra - over and above the £6 you've just already agreed to. The place is ok but really you should stay with the dining room. Many of the other dining places are much more money and where often empty. Breakfast in the dining room was a slow a prescriptive saga and I see no reason to go there. The buffet arrangement upstairs seems better with plentiful if rather average food but often a shortage of tables unless you go out on the deck and sit in the cigarette smoke and ashtrays. P&O now serve Costa coffee which is big improvement on the liquid served in the buffet. Given their quest to charge for everything they can they should serve it at all the bars and for breakfast at a "nominal charge" of course. The buffet lunches were a bit tedious with the menu only changing a little each day and offering some bizarre choices for a Carribean cruise including faggots and a hotpot! On deck they serve burgers and hotdogs which are quite good but again the lack of tables either with or without smokers is an issue. The reception desk staff were typically polite but often could not answer many questions sensibly and they also had a habit of not answering the phone at all. P&O want you to buy a "wine" package for dinner but while this appears to offer some value the chosen wines are not good and the wine list selection is a better bet albeit at extra cost The beauty parlour prices where laughably high and it's hard to imagine anybody paying them. The return flights on Thomas Cook were only just about acceptable and only because we paid extra for Premium seats. The economy looked too cramped for an 8 hour flight and the food and drink are extra back there too. To add to this if you want to sit together as a family you have to pay another £15 each - each way - £90 for a family of 3!. This is a rip off and those concerned should be ashamed of such fees on families who have, in some cases, already paid £8000+. The gratuity policy appears now to involve charging every adult £55 (for the 2 week cruise) to there account and this covers the gratuities, however what is less clear is who gets the money, how much of it and what happens if you choose to opt out of the £55 deal. I asked for the money to be credited back to the account and it was and I gave cash to the room steward and dining room waiter and his assistant, but if more than those 3 were about to receive from me did they do without and in any event who were they and what is it they did for me? As with so many other silly fees in this world P&O should scrap the gratuity like they have with the one on the bar bill and pay their, largely excellent, service staff a sensible wage. As Ryan Air will tell you making people mad will not generate repeat passengers and P&O should take a good look at what they are doing before the policies get any worse..... I expect I will sail with P&O again - we are booked already but the Ventura will not be on my shortlist and P&O need to sort themselves out if I am to stay a loyal passenger. I am hoping the issues only relate to the Ventura but I am not hopeful.   Read Less
Sail Date: November 2014
We booked this cruise just over a year before departure, choosing P&O as we had not cruised with them before, and the itinerary took us to 7 islands which we had never previously visited. The idea of checking luggage in at the UK ... Read More
We booked this cruise just over a year before departure, choosing P&O as we had not cruised with them before, and the itinerary took us to 7 islands which we had never previously visited. The idea of checking luggage in at the UK airport, and having them delivered direct to your cabin was a great innovation, and no security to go through at Bridgetown airport was another. The only problems with the flight were the fact we were sat on the aircraft for nearly three hours at Manchester airport before we departed! Problems with a piece of “cargo”, that we later discovered was a spare part for a stricken Thomas Cook aircraft at our destination. Then we were sat on the coach on the tarmac at Bridgetown for 45minutes before the final passengers were boarded before our 45 minute journey to Ventura, only to find there was then another 40 minute process to check in and get on-board. We finally got to our cabin at 6:25pm (dinner at 6:30), having been on the 9:00am flight out of Manchester. Thirteen and a half hours from scheduled departure to arrival was not a great start. At least we weren’t on the Saturday flight that didn’t even arrive! One thing we can say on the positive side is, the Cabin and Cabin Steward (Virag), were excellent. The layout and cleanliness were excellent, with the “dressing area” outside the bathroom much better than other layouts. No problem found with the shower size or curtain as read in previous reviews. Meals on board were OK. We had “Traditional” dining at the early seating, and found the menu varied, although the vegetables at times were a little tasteless. We took our breakfasts in the Waterside/Beach House areas, and on certain days (sea days) found these to be very crowded at times. One thing we did discover during our cruise was that the Muster Drill that everyone has to attend (by law), was not attended by some passengers. There was no check on who had attended or not by any of the crew, no “head-count”, no checking that passengers were out of their cabins at Muster. Other cruise companies have a head count as you enter the Muster Station, and crew check that all cabins are vacated of passengers. As this is a lawful requirement to attend, surely P&O are required to ensure that everyone is attending, and in case of an actual emergency, that all are at their dedicated Muster? Getting a sunbed was a nightmare. It was obvious (when at times we found some), that passengers were putting towels on them to “reserve” them and leaving them there for hours. Very annoying, and something that P&O should clamp down on. The best pool area we found was the Spa pool. Although this got more crowded as the cruise progressed. Now the “Down” sides. The atmosphere of the Bar and Deck staff on-board was very staid. There was no liveliness in them, almost like there was some unhappiness amongst them. They did their jobs ok, took drink orders, served them (very slowly at times) but that was all. There was no sense of enjoyment from them, like they were enjoying their work. There was no “fun” atmosphere. And as for the Cruise/Entertainments director, or whatever his title was, he would have been more suited to “Butlins”. Where on earth did they get him from? The layout on the ship seemed awkward. There appeared to be no “flow” through the ship. It was well into the second week before we could figure out what routes, up/down/forward/aft, we had to take to get between locations on-board. Overall we enjoyed the holiday, with some great new places visited. But as for P&O and Ventura, we’ve been spoilt by other companies. It’ll be back to Royal Caribbean for us definitely.   Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: February 2014
This was our first trip to the Caribbean and our first on Ventura although we are experienced cruisers in other locations and on other ships, including Azura. Ventura itself is a nice ship, nothing special and it seems to fall in the gap ... Read More
This was our first trip to the Caribbean and our first on Ventura although we are experienced cruisers in other locations and on other ships, including Azura. Ventura itself is a nice ship, nothing special and it seems to fall in the gap of not managing to quite cater for anybody specifically. In terms of the evening entertainment if musical theatre and lounge music is your thing then you will be well catered for, otherwise forget it. It's all well and good advertising as being family friendly but P&O seem to forget that most families have a dad and there is very little about the P&O on board experience suited to your average 30-40 something man. In the same way because everything is a little more relaxed the older guests aren't exactly happy either. You do get the odd bit of general entertainment, we had Manuel Martinez, a mind reader and a ventriloquist over our 2 week cruise but these are few and far between compared to the 3-4 times a night solo/lounge singing onslaught. They are also packed out 30-40 minutes before they start due to people looking for something different. We enjoyed the food on Ventura and chose to eat in our allocated main dining room most nights. In the past we were firm favourites of the buffets on other ships but the table limitations on Ventura made the whole buffet experience a bit of a pain, especially if you wanted to eat together. And that isn't even going in to the rudeness of some of the other guests on board, I'll save that for later. Generally speaking all the waiting on staff were superb and the drinks waiters in the various public areas did a good job of getting to you when you wanted a drink. In each location we'd built a reputation where staff new what we wanted without us needing to ask, you can't fault that level of service. I can see why some people could get annoyed by being asked if they wanted a drink but then again we don't go on holiday to sit nursing the same glass of water for 3 hours whilst we wait for the next free bit of entertainment. By far the best bit of this holiday for us was the ports, all delivered more than we expected. For the most part we'd arranged our own trips to avoid the cattle truck trips organised by P&O although we did slip up and I had to order a last minute P&O trip in Grenada. It was the only bad experience we had ashore during the whole holiday (90 minutes each way up mountain paths on a fold out chair). Highlights included snorkelling around Klein Bonair (on the Woodwind, a nice sailing boat) and our island trip around St Lucia with Spencer Ambrose tours. You can't compare the trips offered on board to organising a private trip for both value and experience. Don't be fooled by the "miss the ship" scare tactics, in all the cruises we've done we've never found a local operator that wasn't extremely conscious of when your ship was leaving and making extra sure to get you back in good time. At this point it was a solid 4 out of 5 cruise but what knocked it back and the reason I wouldn't step foot on another P&O cruise ship if I was paid to was the other guests. Despite the family friendly/relaxed cruising marketing that P&O is trying to establish their ships are still rammed with a generation of cruise guests that the sooner they are gone the better. Just some highlights, we witnessed guests clicking their fingers at staff in the dining room, addressing staff as "you boy", a talk on Concorde we walked past included the gem "you can't trust foreign johnnies" to much laughter and applause from the gathered geriatrics. We saw other adults being asked to leave the endless pool so that older guests could doggy paddle in peace. Children being shouted at by older guests in the main pools. Waiters completely ignored when greeting people for dinner. People running into lifts with some sort of over inflated sense of entitlement in front of the people who had called the lift. Then there were the ladies of a certain age at the buffet who seemed to have their elbows permanently out and have no concept of waiting in line. We aren't snobs by any stretch of the imagination but the total lack of basic manners and to a certain degree racism shown was appalling. Not so much Butlins at Sea as Ignorant Old People Who Think They Have Paid For The Right To Abuse People At Sea. There wasn't a day that passed where we didn't wonder exactly what we had let ourselves in for. Traditional British cruising you say? That's why we'll not be going back. My understanding is that the Ventura and Azura were designed to be affordable in a way of attracting new cruise customers, from my experience on both ships it seems that all they've done is attract the worst of the bargain hunting older generation who just can't help themselves in feeling entitled to something better whilst walking around like they have bought the ship. We will be going back to the Caribbean sooner rather than later, but not with P&O.   Read Less
Sail Date: January 2014
I decided to take mum away as last year was pretty grotty and having been onboard Ventura before and to Caribbean once this cruise suited. The 8 hour flight was bearable followed by quick transfer to bus for 40 min trip to ship followed ... Read More
I decided to take mum away as last year was pretty grotty and having been onboard Ventura before and to Caribbean once this cruise suited. The 8 hour flight was bearable followed by quick transfer to bus for 40 min trip to ship followed by our luggage. The luggage arrived abour 530 and the safety briefing was at 6pm so we didnt have time to unpack , in fact straight after the briefing we had to go to dinner as we opted for 1st sitting. This was all too rushed in our opinion and the best option by far would be getting on the day earlier as a lot did and then disembarking the day the ship arrives back in barbados. We found the itinery of 9 ports in 14 days ideal , 3 ports then sea day is perfect and the docking position Ventura has was fantastic in all ports. We did notice a definate smaller portion size in meals compared to last time onboard. The entertainment was good , with quizzes in the exchange and on top deck entertaining. We only booked 2 excursions , beach trip in Curacao and the Rhum Runner in Grenada and thought they were both excellent value for money , £25 & £40. One thing i did notice was staff trying to sell you East and The White Room as " They quickly sell out" but after a couple of days offers were available of a free bottle of wine at both venues if dining before 7 Read Less
Sail Date: December 2013
OK, arrived for flight with plenty of time to spare, checked in and was then informed there was a 1 hour delay! We boarded the flight to the new time, and almost when ready, the baggage handlers noticed some damage to the baggage door of ... Read More
OK, arrived for flight with plenty of time to spare, checked in and was then informed there was a 1 hour delay! We boarded the flight to the new time, and almost when ready, the baggage handlers noticed some damage to the baggage door of the aircraft. This resulted in an on aircraft delay of another hour. Safety 1st though, no need to take chances. Arrived in Barbados, the transfer of passengers is very efficient without immigrating. The check-in process was smoother than I've had before. Our allocated cabin was E506. On entering, the room was substandard for cleanliness, to say the least. I believe the cabin had been vacant for some time. There was dust everywhere, and the hem of the shower curtain was filthy. We rang for housekeeping, as the toilet also didn't flush. There was sediment in the bowl, but that seemed to appear in all the bowls around the ship!!! The room steward arrived and gave the room a thorough clean, and maintenance arrived to attend to the toilet flush. This took about an hour, and totally ruined our arrival, and negated any chance of enjoying the early arrival opportunities. As we readied for dinner, it was darkening outside and we put the lights on. Well, the ones that worked anyway. Another visit to reception followed, and maintenance sorted the bulb issue whilst we were at dinner. Finally, a chance to unpack, and just on completion, the boom boom of music from below became overwhelming. Now, i'm in my 40's and like music, but the volume with bass tones from the Tamarind Club below was well excessive. This was now 9.30pm, again to reception i went. I was handled with my request to change cabin by Front of House manager Avi, and after a little while, was re-allocated to exact room standard E625, over the photo gallery. Nice and quiet, but is hampered by the staff service door directly across the corridor. Basically, it appears there is no check list for management to oversee new arrivals, and room standard is left to the steward. Now to the cruise itself, the ship was well undermanned with passengers. Strong rumours suggested 1000 under capacity (500 cabins), however, this meant that all the venues on board could be easily accessed without having to beat the herd that roams between shows. The shows are predominantly catered for passengers a generation older than me in my opinion. Music catered for is generally 1960s 70s. The exchange was the best all round atmosphere but could do with an artist some times to break up the monotonous thing of quizzes and bingo!! Generally, the staff try hard in what is a difficult marketplace, as the retired set can make these cruises more easily than the working man/woman. P&O need to keep better abreast of their information sourcing. The internet gave this cruise as 4 formal nights, which was reduced to 3 for some reason. There was many passengers that had booked this as a vantage fare, and were stunned at the number of passengers that had got the cruise for under £1000. Many said they would not book early again, but would wait until the last available minute they could. I will do the same. It's not pleasant to know that people booked less than a week before sailing and got balcony cabins for far less than people paid for insides. One great aspect, Ventura has for this winter season been given 2 freedom dining restaurants. If it is successful, it could be extended fully. To summarise, some shortcomings for me, late bookers getting balconies, persistent sell, sell, sell is annoying, 5pm departures when it fell around shore excursions lead to 6pm (booking info gave 6pm every day), Some positives, availabilty of drinks choice, 2 restaurants freedom dining & comfortable venues, sunbathing etc. I feel that P&O should look at introducing a drinks package. I've sailed with Costa, and at 19.5 euros a day is excellent. Something like this would keep all the venues busy most of the day. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2012
We had previously cruised with NCL, Princess and Celebrity and were really looking forward to sampling P & O but unfortunately we were rather disappointed with some aspects of this cruise. Our flight was a Thomas Cook charter to ... Read More
We had previously cruised with NCL, Princess and Celebrity and were really looking forward to sampling P & O but unfortunately we were rather disappointed with some aspects of this cruise. Our flight was a Thomas Cook charter to Barbados, and it was as good, if not better than many schedule flights, with plenty of legroom and attentive cabin crew. Ventura is a large ship, chosen by us as I do not have the best sea legs and we thought it would be good to choose a large ship as we were crossing the Atlantic. Our cabin was very nice, well equipped with a very helpful cabin steward. However, the public rooms were not as grand as we had previously encountered, no impressive atrium or quiet reading rooms. The dining room (Bay Tree) was well appointed and we were pleased to have a table for two, our two waiters were very attentive and pleasant but the food was not up to the usual cruise ship standard and the menu was not very varied. The drinks however were very reasonably prices, both the wine and the bar drinks, in some instances half the price of other cruises which was naturally a real plus. We went on three shore excursions which we thoroughly enjoyed, our first was a tour of St Kitts where our guide was very knowledgeable and made the trip a joy. We then did a snorkeling trip on Tortola with two snorkeling sites, again our guides were very professional with the snorkeling being best off 'Treasure' Norman Island. Finally, we did a tour on the Azores, which again was very good with a lovely local guide. The Azores was an unscheduled stop but a real gem and far preferable to Tenerife. Unfortunately there were two aspects of this cruise which really spoilt our holiday; the first was the attitude of the Shore Excursions and shop staff on board ship, we found they lacked any social skills and had total apathy when you expressed any interest in any port of call or any shop items. The second was the number of places on the ship where smoking was permitted. As people who like to take a stroll along the Promenade Deck you had to walk through the 'fog' every time on the Starboard side. Additionally, smoking was also permitted in one of the outside bars, near one of the pools and on the balconies, one of our neighbours was a smoker which spoilt our use of our balcony. Indeed, the smoking issue was a real down side for us, we will seriously have to consider whether we would cruise with P & O again if they continue to give preference to smokers over non smokers. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: February 2012
Flights were excellent and on time Cabin was excellent and our luggage arrived in good time We were looked after very well by Simon and Avelino The Ports visited were very good although we were disappointed there had been no changes ... Read More
Flights were excellent and on time Cabin was excellent and our luggage arrived in good time We were looked after very well by Simon and Avelino The Ports visited were very good although we were disappointed there had been no changes since last year for the Newcastle flight. But we knew this before we booked so no complaints. Overall we felt the staff were not as good as previous cruises and that is despite the fact we were extremely well looked after by Karen at breakfast in the White Room. She always made us feel so very welcome and gave us the lift to enjoy the rest of the day! There were 4 in our party as our two adult daughters were with us. The breakfast was not up to the expected standard. Apart from the Beach House the food elsewhere was certainly not up to the standard we expected and had 'gone back' considerably from the same time last year! A couple of the waiters were 'unreal'- I was a bit slow with eating my Prawn Cocktail and the waiter tried to take my dish away despite the fact that I still had my spoon in my hand. When I told him to wait, he countered that my main course had arrived. Indeed it had, but the sole was inedible! We were Saturday to Saturday bookings and on the Friday night there was no entertainment. The films on our TV's had been removed. No 'paper' on the Saturday - No puzzles (needed the answers for the Fridays crossword!). We definitely were 'not wanted"!' It was the Friday night that the waiter virtually told me to hurry up eating my prawn cocktail. I have to add that the rest of our table were amused at this. It last happened to me over 70 years ago when I was in the infants classes at School In my experience the Azura beats the Ventura by a considerable margin Read Less
Sail Date: December 2011
Have just returned from our fist ever cruise over the xmas period on the Ventura. only booked it 2 weeks before sailing, so got a very good deal. Overall the ship is fine,but there are a few things that I think PO could look into. We ... Read More
Have just returned from our fist ever cruise over the xmas period on the Ventura. only booked it 2 weeks before sailing, so got a very good deal. Overall the ship is fine,but there are a few things that I think PO could look into. We arrived in Barbados somewhat late due to the flight being delayed for over 2 hours (thomas cook). Bye the time we got to the port, it was already dark, and the checkin queue was quite long, not what you need after a 9 hour flight. The cabin was fine, but had to go and eat wearing the same clothes as we had travelled in as cases did not turn up till a few hours later.The Waterside is ok, but I think the trays are a waste of time, because if you get salad, soup and dinner all in one go, the already luke warm dinner is going to be cold time you eat it! And why do they put the soup at the end of the buffet selection? We was told on our paperwork we had freedom dining, but card in the cabin said we were on 1st sitting on a table of 8. We prefer smaller tables so after querying this at the restaurant was told freedom was full, but was given a table for 2.So that was ok. We did not find out till 2 days before the end of the cruise that the Beechhouse did waiter service evening meal, but its the same menu every night, and they only serve about 50 at a time, so you have to queue well before 6 for the 6.30 opening time to make sure of getting a seat. Only used it once, but it was good, all freshly cooked , so no complaints On the first day at sea, I did not go on deck till quite late, and could not find a sunbed in the sun anywhere, ,ended up in the shade at the back of the ship. Think you needed to put your stuff on a bed about 6am, if you wanted to be near a pool, even though they say no reserving of sunbeds, nobody takes any notice, and I never saw any staff removing items, as stated they would. The entertainment was a bit hit and miss, to much singing and dancing, and you needed to get in the Havana early to get a decent seat, or you ended up behind the walls! not being able to see much at all. Why have they got stupid partitions, or why are they not lower? Yes I do agree the staff are not as friendly as other ships ive been on, and I dont think one of our dinner waiters smiled once the whole time he served us. Also on the first 2 occasions I ordered steak, was not given a steak knive, and when I mentioned it on the 3rd occasion, Mr Grumpy said I should have asked for one! We had a day at Catalina Island, which is just a beach with a few tacky shops, but has a huge BBQ cooking area, which the ships crew are supposed to use for the lunch. But by 1pm, there was no sign of any BBQ being prepared, so if you wanted anything to eat , it was back to the ship (a tender job). We found out later that the hygeine officer had visited the cooking area before we all went ashore, and was not satisfied with it, so no BBQ! So they knew before we all went over, but there were no announcements made on the ship telling us. Would I go on the Ventura again, only if it was a bargain price, but prefer other cruise companies Read Less
Sail Date: December 2011
We flew from Gatwick to Barbados with Thomas Cook whcih was ok - flight passed quite quickly and got straight off plane at Barbados, onto coach and taken straight to ship avoiding the airport formalities entirely. Wished I had put ... Read More
We flew from Gatwick to Barbados with Thomas Cook whcih was ok - flight passed quite quickly and got straight off plane at Barbados, onto coach and taken straight to ship avoiding the airport formalities entirely. Wished I had put shorts,t shirt and flip flops into flight bag as had to stay in winter clothing for three hours until luggage delivered to cabin but should have known having cruised previously. We had an outside obstructed view cabin which looked between two lifeboats so still had a bit of a sea view. Cabin was spacious and kept clean by Bruno our cabin steward throughout the cruise. Not sure how often bed linen changed but suspect weekly at the most unlike other cruise lines which do change daily - however must think of the environment and not wash needlessly. We had second sitting dining at the Saffron on (as requested) a table for two. However the table was so close to the tables next door either side that we felt obliged to chat to neighbouring tables - might as well as had a table for six in this respect. Food I would describe as more like "pub grub" - certainly no memorable or outstanding meals in the restaurant. A couple of dishes were plain awful Didn't try the speciality restaurants whcih other cruisers described as excellent (probably more on a par with likes of Celebrity in their main restaurants. Our waiters were ok but my husband had to ask for a steak knife every time - this should be provided when steak ordered. Also tables crumbs not cleared - its these small details that put P and O down the scale of other cruise lines! We did find the lunches in the Saffron had nicer choices of food than the evenings. We ate breakfast at the saffron or outside the Beach House in the open air area and once had room sevice whcih is only continental unless you pay extra. The pizzas and burgers/hot dogs at frankies grill on deck 15 were very nice indeed. Entertainment was quite good. Headliners shows especially Reflex about the 1980's music were very good, there was a comedian called Fogwell Flax who was quite funny and also did a fantastic Sting tribute, also a "Cuban comedy/magician Manuel Martinez who was funny but I think did offend some people by his comments. Also Mercury Rising a tribute to Freddie Mercury was excellent. We enjoyed doing the quizzes but P and O a bit mean by not giving away even a keyring to the winning team (we won three and got nothing! - except the glory!) Ports of call all very nice - hot weather as to be expected and we luckily missed out on rain showers by being in the right place at the right time! We did two excursions one St Maarten by rib (inflatable speedboat) which visited Marigot, stopped for snorkelling and a beach and included rum puch/soft drinks/beer. The other was whale watching in Dominica whcih we were lucky to see both whales and dolphins. The price for these two excursions for my husband and I was £204.00. On the other islands we negotiated deals with local taxi drivers for tours and the best deal was Antigua where we got the local bus to Nelsons Dockyard return fo $3 each. A bargain and very efficient. Our main concern with the ship was the cleanliness. Ash trays were not emptied, glasses/rubbish etc not cleared away from one day to the next, grubby fingermarks on glass in lifts (and bearing in mind very few children on board to make a mess) To sum up the cruise was adequate but not special and I probably won't rush back to P and O again anytime soon. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2011
Having read some of the negative reviews that i saw once i had booked to go on this ship i was a little worried but came with an open mind. The flight with Thomas Cook out from Gatwick was well organised but the check in was very ... Read More
Having read some of the negative reviews that i saw once i had booked to go on this ship i was a little worried but came with an open mind. The flight with Thomas Cook out from Gatwick was well organised but the check in was very hard on anyone who seemed to have an ounce over in thier luggage. However leaving the airport at the other end was super; bypassing border control and straight to the ship. Priority embarkation to the ship for the suite passengers was a joke ie you just got your cruise card a bit quicker and then just joined the queue with everyone else. Once on the ship friendly staff greeted us and basically just told us the way to the stateroom. Perhaps my expectation of priority boarding for the large sum of money i had paid for this cruise was wrong. On getting to my stateroom i was quite pleased with the size of it and the layout but the much mooted butler service just did not happen -no champagne on ice waiting -no unpacking of the luggage for you as promised, no pamper pack, just stuff left in the fridge and a guy who introduced himself as the butler once he was well sure we had unpacked ourselves and told us "the room stuard does the toilet, i do the cups" the room steward was much better and more hardworking however. The light of day came the next day and all was revealed: dirty walls ,the remnants of the last couples sporting activities on the bed valance,the shabby balcony with the old weather worn furniture the stink of smoke in the room. After having the customer service manager in for a conference and laying down what i expected of service from the staff things got better but the impression was already there. The staff generally on this ship were very friendly and polite and i would have to say had more class that the ramshackle bunch that made up most of the passengers -all over tattoos-compare the beer belly competitions in the sun very bad fake designer bags - get the drift this was the real letdown of this cruise- if your idea of a good time is a working men's club or the British Legion on a Saturday night - then this is the place for you. Food on board was surprisingly good with the bay tree,white room ,east and ramblas putting on some really good food the exception however was waterside where i would eat with great caution esp poultry. Bar prices were very fair with most things at pub levels and i found my on board credit went a long way. would i cruise p and o again -yes- would i go on ventura again-not if you paid me. As a foot note my partner came down with a really bad case of food poisoning at the end of this cruise and the only time we ate off this ship was on an organised tour as i said caution is the word. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2011
I'm afraid P&O was not the ideal cruise firm we expected. The Saffron dining room staff were really good and very pleasant, as was the wine waiter, although the menu wasn't vast they did generally have something that ... Read More
I'm afraid P&O was not the ideal cruise firm we expected. The Saffron dining room staff were really good and very pleasant, as was the wine waiter, although the menu wasn't vast they did generally have something that appealed. The cabin was fine, as was the cabin steward who went the extra mile to be friendly and provide a good service. The buffet on the other hand was not good at all. There was not a good choice of food and even though you were handed a really hot plate, the food in general was tepid at best and in some cases cold. If salad was the preferred choice then this had to be put onto the very hot plates. There were 'cold plates' for salad but these were also hot when available which spoiled the whole idea of a salad. The tables were not emptied readily and the tea and coffee stations left a lot to be desired. Getting tea, coffee, milk, cups, tea spoons and hot water in the same place seemed too much to ask and staff were rude when asked for cups etc. The day we left there were no cups at any drink station and people were forced to drink tea and coffee from plastic glasses. The staff did try to keep sunbeds free on sea days and removed towels from beds that had been 'saved' and where no-one appeared for a length of time but in general you had to be up really early to get a sunbed by a pool. The chairs and tables around the pool had wooden slats and were really hard and uncomfortable. Smoking was allowed on the starboard side of decks 15 and 16 as well as the starboard side of promenade deck 7 but it was impossible to sit and have a drink and a smoke as the seating facilities were too hard to sit and relax on and generally full of grease and unclean from Frankies burger bar. The staff on these decks were not very friendly and some were rude. This was our first experience of P&O and we had been led to believe it was the best but the next cruise will definitely be back at Royal Caribbean who do their utmost to take care of their passengers. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2011
We have just returned from 2 weeks on the Ventura a beautiful ship and this being our first cruise we were very pleased with the cabin and most of our fellow passengers. I do realise that with over 3000 people on board p and O have to ... Read More
We have just returned from 2 weeks on the Ventura a beautiful ship and this being our first cruise we were very pleased with the cabin and most of our fellow passengers. I do realise that with over 3000 people on board p and O have to cater for a great number of tastes but some of the so called entertainment certainly did not appeal to us. We were quite looking forward to having a little flutter in the casino but why oh why have they put it next to the PUB, needless to say we did not bother and for most of the cruise staff in the casino looked very bored as no one was using it. We felt the shore excursions we booked were very good and well organised. Our dining arrangements were wrong as we had booked freedom dining but after a day or so this was sorted out. Would we cruise again, probably but with a lot more research as this one really was not what we were looking for and from conversations with fellow passengers this was a very common view. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2011
CONS On first sight - what a monster. First time we'd cruised on a 3,000 passenger ship, and by day 14 we were still getting lost! On arrival NO champagne reception, which we'd been used to with other cruise lines, NO-ONE ... Read More
CONS On first sight - what a monster. First time we'd cruised on a 3,000 passenger ship, and by day 14 we were still getting lost! On arrival NO champagne reception, which we'd been used to with other cruise lines, NO-ONE to show us to our cabin, heaven help anyone who's never cruised before. There was something the matter with the staff, especially the waiting on staff, they were quite sullen and obviously not happy with something, although during the cruise some of them perked up and we managed to have a laugh with them. Our balcony cabin was sufficient - except for the shower - which was triangular in shape and quite small which meant that when you bent over to do you legs you had to stick your head out of the curtain - not very nice. Signage on the ship, totally inadequate. All the signs were very dark and difficult to spot and read, needs brightening up a bit so they are easier to spot. No hot water in any of the toilets used by passengers when moving around the ship, NOT ideal for killing bacteria! Experienced a very rough passage on our last nights journey, even experienced cruisers said they had never experienced such a rough journey, hung onto bed and hoped for best. Think that LIBRARY should be in an enclosed room with comfortable seats to relax and read at leisure. Think that CASINO is one of the smallest that I have ever seen and should be totally separate from the adjoining EXCHANGE lounge and music venue. Nail polish used in spa treatments is rubbish, cheap stuff. Chips after a few days. PROS Fellow passengers very pleasant and chatty. Cabin boy very good and helpful, works extremely hard. Food available 24 hours a day, but sometimes a little 'hit & miss' in one or two venues, but you'll never go hungry. Entertainment, First Class, the Venturer Theatre Company were very professional putting on some very good shows, visiting artistes included a singer, Victor Michael, and a comedian Adrian Walsh, who both did two separate shows, Excellent! During our days at sea, attended the Oasis Spa for treatments, overall very good, but nail polish is rubbish, cheap stuff. Guest speakers very interesting, went to a few different talks, learnt a lot. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2011
Having just returned today 12/02/2011 I thought I would give my views on the trip. Bad start Thomsons flight out of Manchester should have left 9-30am was delayed until 18-15hrs we were notified the day before some passengers of course ... Read More
Having just returned today 12/02/2011 I thought I would give my views on the trip. Bad start Thomsons flight out of Manchester should have left 9-30am was delayed until 18-15hrs we were notified the day before some passengers of course travelled the day before so were not contactable. Arrived at Ship 23-00 hours Barbados time 3am GMT. No water in our cabin, safe not working not much of an complimentary upgrade. Riviera Deck 14 is far removed from its name we were kept awake in the small hors by scraping of chairs and vacume cleaning dont they make a noise thse days when they are above your beds. BEWARE Waterside and Beach House above R deck. Never again. More waiting to get a table in Baytree for Breakfast after waiting u are admitted to finf only a small section in use. Think they have cut staff? Entertainment not that good with a few minor exceptions. Food in Dining Rooms OK not as good as previous year. Met some great people but there were quite a few that you would wish to avoid. We are forever learning and enjoyed the weather which is the main reason for going for us. Staff attitude leaves a lot to desire with a few exceptions. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2011
Staff - Cabin Steward and dining waiters in the Bay Tree were excellent but cannot say the same for all staff throughout the buffet restaurants and bars. There were some cheerful, pleasant staff however there were others who definitely did ... Read More
Staff - Cabin Steward and dining waiters in the Bay Tree were excellent but cannot say the same for all staff throughout the buffet restaurants and bars. There were some cheerful, pleasant staff however there were others who definitely did not look as if they were enjoying their job and made you feel a nuisance if you asked for anything. Food,and Service - Food was ok and staff in the Bay Tree ensured that you were enjoying your meal or were quick to offer a replacement. However the Buffet Restaurants were way below expectations. We only used for breakfast three times - it was a shambles! No cups, glasses, tea spoons - the serving area was very cramped with passengers milling about with laden trays. Settled for a continental breakfast served on our balcony! Lunch time food was boring and if you asked for a cold plate for a salad you were either ignored or made to wait. Suitable plates etc should be available without having to ask? Bars/Drinks - Cocktails varied from good to undrinkable - too much lime juice and when I complained was told "used only a dash of lime" and no offer to replace!!! The Exchange Bar reminded me of a tired Wetherspoons and the very small Casino was tagged on to the side of it?? Entertainment - Mediocre acts were in half empty theatre and decent acts were in bars that could not accommodate the numbers attending. I do not want to stand for 45 minutes with a drink in hand no matter how good the entertainer. Amenities - There appeared to be a shortage of sunbeds. Sail Aways - I found these embarrassing. Why hand out Union Jack flags and sing "Rule Britannia" and "Jerusalem" particularly when there were ships of other nationalities in port?????? And not all passengers were English! Read Less
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
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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