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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: February 2015
We arrived at Glasgow Airport with some anticipation as a fortnight before our cruise date we were informed of a change of aircraft for our outbound flight to Barbados from a Boeing 767 -300ER to a Boeing 787 Dreamliner. We had previously ... Read More
We arrived at Glasgow Airport with some anticipation as a fortnight before our cruise date we were informed of a change of aircraft for our outbound flight to Barbados from a Boeing 767 -300ER to a Boeing 787 Dreamliner. We had previously booked our seats 18a and b. While sitting in the departure lounge we were quite disconcerted when we noticed our parked aircraft suddenly surrounded by Airport Fire Service Appliances with all emergency equipment in operation, after an extensive examination of the aircraft all emergency staff stood down and boarding of the aircraft began. First impressions of the aircraft were good, appeared to be very light, spacious and roomy. Once seated, I was next to the window which was bigger than on previous aircraft and offered a better view I noticed the seat was only slightly narrower but had much better legroom ( I am 6' 1" ) the seatbelt was longer, ventilation was much improved. Having pre booked seats in the 2-3-2 layout of the 767 aircraft we were seated in a row of 3 seats on the 787 no other passenger was seated beside us which was good as it gave us some extra space, this applied to our return flight as well. Once airborne I found the aircraft to be somewhat quieter than usual, the flight crew were very pleasant and cheery and looked after us better than our last long haul flight on BA.Only thing I did not like was the fact there is now no choice of food in economy class, oh sorry there is "Take it or Leave it"' I appreciate costs have to be kept down but it is a long flight to endure without something to eat if you do not like what is offered, in this case Pasta Bake . After a relatively quick flight time of 7 hours 45 minutes we arrived at Barbados alighting from the aircraft I felt quite refreshed and bright, we experienced P&Os usual seamless transfer to the port and took approx 20 minutes to check in and board the ship. We had booked cabin C102 (Port side just below the ships Bridge) but prior to departure found we had been upgraded to A430 (Port Side Midships adjacent to Lifts), while losing out on the large C Deck Balcony we found our new cabin to ideally situated for all of the ships amenities.We have occupied this type of cabin before so it was no suprise to use , the cabin was clean, showing some signs of age( the ship has been in service for 7 years), such as the balcony handrail needing revarnishing but certainly nothing worth complaining about. Our cabin steward Harak introduced himself to us, he was very friendly and only to happy to comply with our request for ice and lemon to be provided on a daily basis. I also requested a feather pillow as I do not like foam pillows. Throughout our cruise Harak was very attentive without being obtrusive, our cabin was kept spotless and on some evenings we returned to find an additional occupant in the form of a towel animal. Our luggage was delivered to the cabin within 4 hours of boarding. Thereafter we called at our usual port of call Breakers Bar for something refreshing to quench our thirst, only to be disappointed to find P&O no longer have draught "Banks" lager on board, however our disappointment did not last long as we were offered Draught "Peroni" lager which fitted the bill perfectly. After freshening up we attended "Emergency Drill" and thereafter had an enjoyable meal in the Beachouse Buffet. Dining: We had chosen Freedom dining and were allocated Cinammon Restaurant although after the first night we could have chosen to dine in either Cinammon or Saffron dining rooms. While not deaf I find it difficult to hear table conversation if seated in the centre of the dining room and therefore always request a table near to a wall or in one of the alcove areas, this request was met by Arun the restaurant manager and we were seated at table 111 attended to by Monal and Raj, and wine waiter Jack, the service provided by these three Gentlemen was in my opinion excellent. We had met a former colleague and his wife who were on their first cruise at the airport, and had invited them to join us at dinner which they did, on the first formal night we had a table for four and one of the main course choices was Lobster, I knew from previous experience that the portion could be on the small side and I asked Monal if I could have two portions my request was met and thereafter every night we ate in Cinammon Monal offered myself and our fellow diners an additional portion of their main course choice. All food served was piping hot, very tasty and most enjoyable, however I did overhear other passengers commenting that some of the food was bland and tastless, possably depends on what they had chosen. I personally like strongly flavoured, spiced food but as I have said found all my food to be tasty. We also made use of the Glasshouse, Waterside Buffet, Beachouse(Waiter Service), and East for Evening Meals. Glasshouse: We attended a "Taster" Dining night in the Glasshouse at a cost of £30 per person. The meal is limited to approx 20-30 people and has to be booked in advance as it is popular and is held two or three times per 14 night cruise. It is a four course meal including a large fillet steak, each course is accompanied by a selected glass of wine to comlement the food. This meal is excellent value for money. Waterside Buffet: The main buffet restaurant hosts various theme nights throughout the cruise such as Caribbean Night, Tandoori Night, Great British Menu Night,etc,we chose to attend on Tandoori night and had an excellent meal although not as highly spiced as I like, but they have to cater for all passengers not just me. Beachouse(WaiterService): This is part of the buffet situated at the aft end of the ship on the starboard side and is turned into a waiter service restaurant in the evening(non book able), there is cover charge of £5.00 per person and a very small charge on some of the menu choices EG: £2.50 for a lava rock cooked fillet steak. They used to charge £7.50 for this prior to the introduction of the £5.00 cover charge for entry. East: I never had the inclination to use this restaurant on previous cruises as I didn't think it was my idea of an Asian Restaurant, but as we had a large amount of OBC, the boss decided we would give it a try. What a revelation the food was superb to such an extent I felt I had to have a second visit which was even better . We had excellent table companions in Graeme and Carol,Pat and Keith, Gordon and Jean we met up most evenings and were allocated a table in the sector covered by Monal and Raj. On the last Formal night our table companions had all elected to dine at other venues and we therefore elected to share with other passengers within our usual area, we were most surprised to be joined for our evening meal by The Venturas Captain Simon Terry, he was an excellent table companion.On all of our cruises with P&O this is the first time we have ever seen the Captain dining in one of the MDRs. Breakfast: This was always taken in the Beachouse about 8.00am before the busy time, varied selection of food through cold meats, cheese, fresh fruit, cereals, full English , with poached eggs/Omellettes, black pudding/ waffles/ pancakes on request, I always found breakfast a tasty start to the day. Lunch: Lunch was a very tasty Pizza from the deck 15 Pizzaria, the chef Jayghill was only to happy to make me a Pizza of my choice from the available ingredients , the Pizza Menu only lists a selection of 5, but as long as they are not to busy(such as Sea Days) Jayghill and RJ(Assistant Chef) would make passengers their choice per ingredients. Ports Of Call: We have been in all of the Ports before and as the boss is prone to car sickness if not driving we tend not to do excursions , however on this cruise we decided while calling at Tortola we would do the excursion to Jost Van Dyke an Island off the North Coast of Tortola. Jost Van Dyke is reached after a ferry trip of appox 1 hour and is a fairly underdeveloped island, on arrival in a small bay you are transported by road a short distance to another bay where there is a beautiful white beach with a few small beach bars including the famous "Soggy Dollar Bar" the home of the "Painkiller" Cocktail. All Sunloungers/sun Brollies are free of charge for those on the excursion and a barbecue Lunch and one free drink provided,additional drinks are at a small charge(Rum Punch $2.00). The beach is quite popular with the sailing fraternity and throughout the day we were joined by a number of large and small yachts . Entertainment: Having cruised a number ot times we are well used to P&Os Entertainment but we still enjoyed the Headliners shows as each troupe puts their own mark on the shows, I thought this years group gelled very well and complimented each other's individual contribution. I am not a fan of comedians but attended both shows by Roy Walker which I found very entertaining, no swearing, no outright smut but a wee bit risqué , and no running about the stage shouting at the top of voice like a madman .(Perhaps a sign of me reaching old age). Bars: During the day we usually made use of the open deck areas near to Breakers Bar, where we were served by Edwin who within a day or two new our names and our order off by heart, we found the waiters attentive but not in our face, in my opinion the waiters can't win some people complain they are subjected to hard sell, others that they cannot get service. I have always found a polite No thanks suffices,after all they are only doing their job. Prices were on par with a busy town centre pub. In the evenings we always had our nightcap in the Glasshouse where we were well looked after by Stephen and AJ. All the Glasshouse staff were very friendly and prepared to spend a couple of minutes in conversation, however this is a popular bar and can be busy. Staff: Throughout our cruise we found all staff we had dealings with to be friendly, efficient and helpful, we have read reviews on this site stating that staff on Ventura were surly, unhappy and not prepared to interact with passengers, well they must have had a complete crew change as we had no experience of that type of behaviour. Some of the crew have an excellent command of English while others have not and this may give some passengers the impression of rudeness, I have always found if you take the time to speak to crew members they will do their best to reciprocate. However some of my fellow passengers(a minority) have obviously forgotton how to say Please and Thank You. Weather: Having cruised in the Caribbean since 2005 mostly in February/March we found the weather this year to be erratic in that we had rain every day of the first week, not a lot but unusual and strong winds throughout both weeks. This did not affect our overall enjoyment of the cruise however. Overall impression of ship: Ventura has now been in service for seven years with one refit in that time, she is showing some signs of wear such as dents and scrapes within the lifts, carpets showing wear, balcony handrails needing varnished etc but nothing that can't be dealt with by ongoing shipboard maintenance. After all she does carry approx three thousand passengers every fortnight none of whom ever drop anything on the carpets, bang into things or accidentally damage fittings. To finish we had a great cruise overall, nothing to cause complaint and we met some very nice people including those who we chose to dine with and others such as Jacquie and Ian Ramage. While onboard we took the opportunity to book next years Caribbean Cruise which will be taken aboard Azura as Ventura is not venturing to the Caribbean. Disembarkation When disembarking at Barbados we had to vacate the cabin by 0900 however you are allowed to remain on the ship and use all facilities until your flight is called, thereafter you disembark and board buses which take you to the airport and then are fast tracked through emigration and security and into the departure lounge. Your luggage is transported direct from the ship and the next time you see it is on the baggage carousel at your home airport. P&O have this procedure well organised. To round off the cruise we flew home on the Dreamliner and it's the best sleep I have ever experienced on an aircraft.   Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: February 2015
Although the title may give it away I am going to try & give a fair assessment of our holiday as well as address some of the negative comments a minority of travelers - reviewers seem compelled to make. We have cruised the Caribbean in ... Read More
Although the title may give it away I am going to try & give a fair assessment of our holiday as well as address some of the negative comments a minority of travelers - reviewers seem compelled to make. We have cruised the Caribbean in Feb for the last 6 years as 2 couples on ocean village, Thompson, princess & the last 3 years with P&O Azura & twice on the Ventura. Between the 4 of us we have also sailed with Royal Caribbean, Holland America & even the Island Escape. What some companies lack in catering they make up for in entertainment say & on the more luxurious ships the drinks are expensive & so on but they all have their merits, we have always enjoyed our cruise holiday & since our first one we have taken no other type of vacation. We travelled to manchester on the 12th feb from the northeast & stayed at the raddison for the night before our early morning flight on Friday. I like this hotel, although pricey you can comfortably walk along the skyway to check in, a lot better than shuttle busses. It would be nice to have more Newcastle flights though. We were on the Thomas Cook flight in the premium cabin which was fine, good seats, free drinks & good movies. After the 8 hour flight 40mins later we were at the Barbados port check in, 1/2 an hour after that we were on board enjoying a beer at Breakers Bar having dropped our hand luggage at our immaculate cabin. There really is nothing to complain about with this process & don't forget you check you're luggage in at departure & then it is at the state room on the ship, on what other type of holiday would that happen? With our flight being on the 1st day of the 2 day check in we spent our 1st days holiday on the beach at sandy lane in glorious sunshine while the rest of the flights checked in (these holiday makers have their day in Barbados on the return) Moving on quickly to the 1st sea day on Ventura which is where the next area of cotroversy arises, the sun bed saga! Yes young families like to have the beds next to the kids' pool so there' up earl,y other people like shade, others have their preferences, one thing for sure you're never going to get a lounger of you're choice wandering the decks at 10-30 am after a leisurely breakfast! We've never had a problem getting 4 beds together so honestly nothing to moan about here. I have to admit that just for a change we booked the retreat this time at £350 per couple for the trip & made good use of it & we perhaps trimmed a bit off our usual on board spend to justify that, you will all have worked out by now that we don't fill empty bottles at the water stations or smuggle gin & vodka back on board in water bottles, some people still do! Moving onto the islands in general & addressing what to do on shore days, you either go it alone, stay on the ship or have a P&O organized trip, the latter is mentioned in various reviews as being overly expensive, however everybody we have spoken to about their trips results in positivity, we've always enjoyed the rare organized trips we have been on. The alternative to this is a tour or journey by local taxi services, dependent on the wealth of the island in question the trip can be a 'hairy' ride in a van that wouldn't pass an M O T test in this country, to an ok ride in a mini bus, the choice is yours. Basically you get what you pay for. Food on this floating 5 star hotel attracts various forms of comment, all I can say is, every boat I have been on from so called 3 star to 5 has been in my opinion of a very high standard, putting a very high percentage of onshore establishments too total shame, the Ventura is no exception, this trip we enjoyed freedom dining in the cinnamon restaurant for dinner, also the glass house & white room, great service & meals, the buffets on deck 15 more than adequate, I find the whole dining logistics for 3,000 guests totally fascinating, how people can find fault with any of this is staggering. I have to say at this point that as 2 couples we are proud to each have up & coming young chefs as sons, both have worked in Michelin star kitchens & this year one made the final stages of professional master chef, take my word for it, the catering is just fine! We enjoyed the entertainment on board, good comedian Paul Eastwood, the ventriloquist Gareth Oliver, magician & Tom O'Connor ( a bit past it but hey, it's only an hour out of your evening!) In general, life on board the ventura is all you would want for a great vacation, predominantly British tourists from all walks of life, a good mix of young couples, families, teenagers, middle aged & elderly all getting along with one another, this trip I thought was especially sociable, all the bars busy & bustling just ideal, again some people can find fault with this, reading other reviews about 'undesirables' & paying more to avoid this, come on! There is no doubt that when chatting to some 'seasoned' cruisers you get the impression of missing the old days, ways & traditions, but times & passengers have changed thankfully, plus the fact the modern ships are bigger, better equipped & cope with the rigures of the oceans far better, (stabilizers, thrusters etc.) No matter which modern day ship you are on you would never know you were in the company of 3, 5 or now even 7,000 passengers. I have to say the final sail away from St Maartin was classic Brit nostalgia, moored next to the gigantic Oasis of the Seas, the entertainment crew did an amazing job as we sailed off, fab. Yet previous reviewers compare this to Butlins, honestly! Personally I have to say you will never see more of the world other than by cruising, I couldn't spend 2 weeks on any Caribbean island, a day is enough. We would never have been able to go to all the amazing capital cities of Europe if we had not done it by cruise ship, so all in all a most marvelous way to holiday & is it so wrong that it is becoming more available to more & more people? Of course not, you can't go wrong with this type of vacation, give it a go you won't regret it. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: February 2015
Starting with the chartered flight from Gatwick. Boarding very painless, fairly quick and no delays. Plane ok, seats don't recline, which is fine for a daytime flight, but not good on an overnight home with no sleep and having to ... Read More
Starting with the chartered flight from Gatwick. Boarding very painless, fairly quick and no delays. Plane ok, seats don't recline, which is fine for a daytime flight, but not good on an overnight home with no sleep and having to drive 4 hours when you land! Only a very limited choice of free films, the rest you have to pay for £4, which if you are on a Thompson or BA flight are free. Drinks also charged for, food disgusting. Normally i can tolerate airline food, this was the worst ever and i'm not a fussy eater! Boarding at Barbados was chaotic. Standing in a line for half an hour in a boiling hot warehouse shed waiting to get our seacards. More check in stations needed at busy times. Once on board everything was fine, cabin ready and nice and clean. The ship was already very busy and the signs at reception said there were no upgrades available as the ship was full. The library is very small all the popular books had already been checked out, luckilly i took a couple with me, there were no book swaps available either. We had been allocated freedom dining, but a quick visit to the restaurant manager soon changed it to second dining in the MDR. First night we did the deck buffet, food was very nice with a good choice, but unfortunately a bit cold. We had an early night due to the travelling which was when we discovered that cabin E205 (outside) is right above the theatre, and you could hear everything. This is fine if you don't want an early night any time during the cruise, as the last show is 10.30 and finishes at 11.30pm. A visit to reception the next day was successful as they changed us to a cabin further down the corridor which was nice and quiet E410. The only problem was that someone was coming into that cabin on the Friday and we left on the Saturday so would have to go back to our original cabin, this was not a problem for us. Entertainment was very good, the headliners theatre company are very professional and would give a west end show a good run for their money! Tom O'Conner was guest comedian, not our cup of tea but very good. Had to get to the theatre early to get a seat, unfortunately people who had been to first sitting and seen the show earlier also went again for the second show which didn't leave a lot of seats for those coming out of second sitting around 10.15. Food was very good, perhaps not as much choice as there has been in the past, but very tasty and enough choice for us. We didn't pay for any of the optional dining places, I didn't see the point when we had already paid for food. We also ate in the Waterfront Buffet some evenings, this was fairly quiet and the choices were very good, we had a tandori, seafood and asian nights. Entertainment staff were good fun, the sailaway parties were enjoyable and they made an event out of them. The excursions were fairly pricey, we did most ports on our own for a fraction of the cost, everywhere was easy to get around, but the two we did through the ship were very good, these were a snorklelling trip in St Martin and the Farewell to Barbados on the last day which dropped us off at the airport. Again another long wait to leave the airport. We had a slight issue on the last Thursday when we went to swap back to our original cabin, they had out someone in it, so we moved to deck 12, unfortunately it was an inside and we didnt realise till 11.30pm when we went to bed! So back to reception next day where the staff once again were very helpful and moved us to a balcony for the last night, so I have 4 cabin reviews to do! Overall, personally i prefer Royal Caribbean, but would not rule out another cruise on Ventura. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2015
There is absolutely nothing ‘Special’ about a P&O Cruise anymore. Standards have plummeted to ‘lows’ that are unacceptable in view of the claims made in P&O Cruise Brochures. For a company that sells its cruises on ‘The ... Read More
There is absolutely nothing ‘Special’ about a P&O Cruise anymore. Standards have plummeted to ‘lows’ that are unacceptable in view of the claims made in P&O Cruise Brochures. For a company that sells its cruises on ‘The Fine Dining’ experience. Silver Service has gone, but they won’t tell you. – You have to find out for yourself. – Wine waiters have an impossible work load, not leaving their previous duty until they are already required for Dinner Service and then too many tables. – It’s blatantly obvious then that most tables are not even going to get their wine order taken until after they have started eating and most will not get their wine until they have started main course. – This is far from ‘Fine Dining’ and nothing like the claims made in the brochure about “attention to detail to the whole food and beverage experience.” Dress Codes are now ignored with people without shirts regularly ignored by Crew in Self Service Restaurants. – Has anybody considered that a dress code requiring a shirt in a restaurant might actually have something to do with hygiene? – I don’t suppose for a minute that chefs are excused ‘whites’ in the kitchens and are therefore allowed to drip sweat over food. – Why then should a customer be allowed to visit the buffets without a shirt? Claims in the brochure about Ventura “having places where you can find peace and relaxation” are simply untrue unless you retreat to your cabin. Firstly ‘Agadoo’ type Music is played all day on the top decks at such a high volume that it is difficult to talk and impossible to ignore. Secondly, you are hounded by ‘upselling’ as soon as you sit down. – Previously, the Restaurants that require a supplement to be paid, were only sold by crew outside of these restaurants, now crew are ‘patrolling’ the decks all day approaching customers that are attempting to relax quietly. On top of this drinks stewards are noticeably more pro-active sometimes approaching you before your empty glass even touches the table, and photographers approaching you three times as you leave the ship in port, within hearing of when you politely refused their colleague. – Yes, you could simply say “no,” but we go on holiday to relax and the brochure does claim that this is possible. – Well it isn’t! This is just a small part of a lengthy complaint that has been sent to P&O.   Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2015
Flight with Thomson much improved on past experience with the Deamliner and a great flight crew. We flew premium economy which is worth every penny especially with the extra luggage allowance. We were a little concerned about the cruise ... Read More
Flight with Thomson much improved on past experience with the Deamliner and a great flight crew. We flew premium economy which is worth every penny especially with the extra luggage allowance. We were a little concerned about the cruise given some pretty adverse reviews we had read with references to things not being as good as they used to be. We cruised on the Ventura 3 years ago and had a great time. We were not disappointed this time either! We had a fabulous break. We did have a fabulous suite that gave us access to the White Room for a very civilised breakfast with staff tuning into our preference for decaf coffee and hot milk by day two. Every staff member we met, even those cleaning the glass panels on the stairs were friendly and always smiling. I do think that those who report staff as being unhelpful or unfriendly should do a bit of self reflection to see if it is their demeanour that prompts that behaviour. Food on the first evening in the Bay Tree restaurant was poor but thankfully from night two menus provided lots of choice, portion sizes were fine and quality on the whole pretty good. Our waiters Christopher and Amit were keen to serve us well and Christopher provided each lady with a rose made from a napkin as a gift. Of the few downsides the sun lounger problem has yet to be cracked by P&O. People reserved sun beds from 6am and then did not appear to use them for hours. On sea days this meant all beds gone by 9.30.am. Not good. P&0 do need to police this as I fear they may loose custom as a result. It was the one constant negative we heard when chatting with others who generally had no other adverse comments about the cruise. The Metroplis is a lovely venue for a quiet drink and the duo who were the regular guests artists added an extra dimension to this venue since our last cruise on the Ventura. The Ventura provides the opportunity for a variety of holidays within one ship. You can have a sun based holiday , eat masses all day via the Buffets, hit the pub and karaoke or have a balcony cabin to help avoid the sun bed issue, a more formal dining experience in the Bay Tree and select dining restaurants , entertainment in the Arena and quiet drinks in the Metroplis or Red Bar. Something for everyone. We were impressed with the facilities for the children who seemed to have a great time away from the adults as much as possible! The night nursery was a godsend for some young parents we chatted too. We are booked on a world cruise with P & 0 so that should provide some reassurance to those reading negative reviews which we feel are a little unfair. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: January 2015
We have just returned from cruising with Ventura and it has been the best one ever, done 9 before, first with P&O, but this one was amazing. Flights with Thompson Dreamliner were good, only flew economy but the leg room was good. ... Read More
We have just returned from cruising with Ventura and it has been the best one ever, done 9 before, first with P&O, but this one was amazing. Flights with Thompson Dreamliner were good, only flew economy but the leg room was good. Flight attendants were superb and couldnt do enough to make the journey comfortable. Check in on embarkations was quick and painless. We visited Grenada, St Lucia, Dominica, St Kitts, St Maarten, Tortola, Curacao, Bonaire and of course Barbados. The food was excellent, served hot and with fabulous waiters. Drinks on board were reasonable but they do let you purchase alcohol from their shops to drink in your cabin and do not take shore purchases to be returned on disembarkation, not like any other cruise company we have sailed with before. Entertainment was first class, had two tribute singers, Robbie Williams and Freddy Mercury, fabulous comedians and Opera boys (like Il Divo) were exceptional. Headliners, ships dance troupe were really talented along with the singers. The speaker David Prebus was one of the most interested speakers I have ever listened to, we actually had the pleasure of having dinner with him My only compaint was trying to fit it all in :-( Well done MV Ventura, captain Charlie Carr all the staff on board. Anyone reading this, do yourself a favour and book, we cant wait to come back Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2015
Great cruise , the transfer after arrival at Barbados Airport was perfect as we went from the plane straight on to buses parked on the Tarmac and a 40 minute journey to the ship. Once off the bus we went into a large shed at the port and ... Read More
Great cruise , the transfer after arrival at Barbados Airport was perfect as we went from the plane straight on to buses parked on the Tarmac and a 40 minute journey to the ship. Once off the bus we went into a large shed at the port and had a photo taken ,credit card details done and passports checked , all very efficient and reasonably quick. We then boarded the ship and made our way to our cabin after our boarding picture was taken. The cabin was good and clean , bed was comfortable and we had a balcony which was a good size. Food and entertainment were very good and shows were well worth going to every evening.Wine in the restuarant was approx £15 a bottle and bar prices were very reasonable with no surcharge on them , so prices cheaper than most city centre bars. All ports were interesting and trips available at good rates when purchased from local tours, which gave you plenty of time to enjoy and to return to the ship. On day of departure we were out of cabin for 9 am but hand luggage is stored for you in the Arena theatre ,allowing you to go in to Barbados for a few hours before returning to ship for your Airport transfer . All in all any negative reviews I read did not match my experience except I would prefer less smoking areas on board. Also tips per person per day are £3.95 which is very reasonable compared to other cruise lines , so all things taken into consideration I would certainly cruise with P & O again . Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2015
It's my first time with P&O with a direct charter flight from Newcastle. However, the flight, operated by Thomsons was a complete rip off. I was handed a letter at check-in advising the entertainment system didn't work. The ... Read More
It's my first time with P&O with a direct charter flight from Newcastle. However, the flight, operated by Thomsons was a complete rip off. I was handed a letter at check-in advising the entertainment system didn't work. The premium economy seat I'd paid £299 return extra for was appaling. The I was elbow to elbow with my fellow passenger and the recline offer any other comfort for such a long flight (8.5 hrs). Main meal choice consisted of Chicken Tikka or Bangers N Mash.. Even with free drinks inluded it didn't warrant the extortianate charge. I was able to change my seat for an economy seat on the return journey and received a part refund. Apart from paying for a soft a coffee, this is included with the economy meal (only 1 choice). The one toilet in the premium section was blocked on the return journey and could not be used and there was doubt as to whether or not there was enough headsets for economy passengers. An hour into the flight I was handed a set of headsets from the premium section. I booked a single inside cabin which are on deck 6. The cabin itself was spacious with a 4ft bed and tea/coffe making facilities. However what it doesn't mention in the brochure or internet is the inside single cabins back onto The Exchange Bar which has nightly entertainment from 10.30 pm until late. This started with Karaoke the second night. You also get the noise from the Atrium which has dancing to music until late. When I complained I was offerd EAR PLUGS. When I spoke to the night manager he asked why I hadn't know the cabins were in such a noisy location. This wasn't mentioned in P&O literature so I assumed that they would be properly sound-proofed. The bathroom mirror hadn't been installed properly hence marks were noticable. As this issue couldn't be resolved I was evenutally moved to another quiter cabin P205, an O/S twin, which I was advised I wouldn't be charged for. As this bathroom had cracks in the bathroom sink I should think not. I have sent a complaint via my travel agent. I was on 2nd sitting in the Baytree restaurant for dining. The table however was right underneath the Havana club and the entertainment came thumping through every night. Therefore not a quiet dining experience I'm used to. On 2nd sitting there wasn't always any seats available in any of the entertainment area. NB: If you cancel an excusion, even in good time there is a 10% charge On a positive note P&O did offer taxi's for disabled passenger's, myself included from the airport - port and return. Once you've checked in at the airport your luggage is delivered directly to your cabin and finally on the outward journey buses / taxis were waiting when on the tarmac   Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: January 2015
We booked our cruise 2 months ago so did not have a choice of cabins but our Riviera deck 14 balcony cabin was just what we wanted so we had no complaints there. We were near the forward stairs and lifts but never heard any noise from ... Read More
We booked our cruise 2 months ago so did not have a choice of cabins but our Riviera deck 14 balcony cabin was just what we wanted so we had no complaints there. We were near the forward stairs and lifts but never heard any noise from adjoining cabins or corridors. We flew on a new Thomas Cook plane which has wider seats and much more leg room and was very comfortable on the outward journey but as the seats don't recline it was difficult to sleep on the return. You also have to pay for all your drinks apart from tea, coffee and squash, and the TV films are limited unless you pay for a film upgrade. The films are the same for the return journey too so make sure you save something to watch on the return home. Embarkation was quick and easy and we were on the ship in minutes. The entertainment on the ship was the usual production shows plus cabaret entertainers. We've seen all the shows and some of the entertainers so many times we feel we are word perfect. Why can't the shows be changed more often or each ship have their own shows? We saw all of them on the Arcadia last year. and on other ships. If P&O are going to keep employing the same comedians they should at least insist that they change their jokes. It's very lazy to keep using the same material. Even the crossword puzzles in the library were the same as the Arcadia. We were on Freedom dining and usually ate at 6.30pm so never had any problem getting a table of our choice. We never saw any queues at any time. We always managed to get a sunbed by the Beachcomber pool if there by 9am but the open decks were crowded and the sunbeds laid out like sardines. Although there were quite a few children on board we never found this a problem and enjoyed the age range of the passengers. Although we've cruised with P&O many times we feel we'd like a change of entertainment, new menus, would like to feel that a cruise is special not just a run of the mill holiday so think we might have to look at other cruise lines in future. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: January 2015
first of all I must mention the flights although its a Thomson flight it is chartered by p.o.Flying from Glasgow on 15th of January we were told there was a problem with our plane so had to wait for one to come from Manchester.It was so ... Read More
first of all I must mention the flights although its a Thomson flight it is chartered by p.o.Flying from Glasgow on 15th of January we were told there was a problem with our plane so had to wait for one to come from Manchester.It was so old I think they borrowed it fron the museum of flight at east fortune .There was no entertainment not even music .Coming back we were on the Dreamliner which I was told was luxury but we were crushed in the 4 seatsin the centre no room to move AND three hours late . Having said that the transfer from the plane to the ship was excellent everyone very efficient and so friendly .Our cabin on b deck with a balcony which we had to pay extra for was lovely we had everything we wanted .Plus cleaned and tidied twice a day Thanks to our hard working cabin steward Bruno .We.were shocked at having to pay £35 for 20 glasses of flat pepsi from the dash dispenser no cans .A real rip off.Very little choice of food at buffet went there for breakfast and lunch as waited too long to be served in freedom dining in restaurants plus tea and coffee cold The staff at reception were so helpful and friendly I cannot say the same of most of waiters& bar staff .When I cruise again I will go back to Thomson cruises I will get a lot more for my money.disappointed with p.o Read Less
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
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2014
My family consist of my husband and myself , two boys ages nearly 10 & 17 and my father. We had an effortless flight from Manchester to Barbados. I must say I dislike having to pay for soft drinks on such a long flight. Food was ... Read More
My family consist of my husband and myself , two boys ages nearly 10 & 17 and my father. We had an effortless flight from Manchester to Barbados. I must say I dislike having to pay for soft drinks on such a long flight. Food was edible enough. On arrival at Barbados we were promptly escorted on to a A/C bus and driven to the cruise terminal. this usually takes about 45Mins, our driver decided to take the back roads and we arrived within 20 mins. Check in at the cruise terminal is my only bug bear, there must be a simplier system and I feel all passengers should be offered refreshments whilst we wait in line. especially after such a long journey. I really hate been asked to have a photo taken as we board the ship for the first time.! Who wants a picture taken after travelling so long. As we had been on Ventura several times before, we were able to locate our cabins very quickly. Cabins were clean and tidy and adequate foe all our needs A202,A206 balcony cabins deck 12. Cabin boy quickly introduced himself. we noticed our beds had been set up incorrectly, this was mentioned and was sorted upon our return several hours later. Cases arrived very quickly. Within an hour of arriving my youngest was ready to sign up to the Kids clubs. I was happy to be advised that the 9-12 yrs now had to be signed in and out { this wasnt the case previous years and i was a little dubious) I for one would not want my nearly 10 yr old wandering out around the boat whenever he felt he wanted to. I wasnt really impressed with the stickers attached to our cruise cards as they allowed only us to pick up our child. My older son is nearly 17 and I would have like to have been able to send him to pick up the younger one on the odd occasion. As usual the kids club staff were fantastic, i struggle to get my son to spend time with us on the cruise as he loves kids club so much. These staff do a brilliant job with them. I get a little fed up with some reviewers moaning about kids splashing in the pool and wandering around the ship. My kids are very well behaved and in all honesty never saw any unruly kids, but it's there holiday too its a xmas cruise, if you don't like kids dont' go on a family friendly ship. There are plenty of adult only cruises to choose from. I wasn't impressed with the pool attendants this year , they were like the naughty police and really were not needed. They just spoilt the fun for everyone. We had Freedom dining, got a table everytime. Food was adequate but not great. Enjoyed all of the specialised eateries, The white room, east and the glass house. I was disappointed that a surcharge had been added to eat at the beach hut. A little too greedy P & O. The way passengers have to queue to be allocated at table for Christmas day and new years eve, is disgusting. I personally queued for 2.5 hours, other up to 4 hours. The have immigration to a tee why can't they do the same for the tables for special days ???? Entertainment was ok. Really enjoyed Paul Eastwood the comedian and Robbie Williams tribute. A little disappointed with everything else. There is so much talent out there, why are P & O not finding it. We had excursions from the ship but we also did some of our own trips, all thoroughly enjoyed. Enjoyed all the Islands. My only other complaint is the films on the interactive TV, Jaws is over 20 years old we should'nt have to be paying for films at all after what we pay for the cruise in the first place. We are booked to go on the Xmas cruise on Brittannia I hope P & O are taking notes of everyone's concerns as certain things do need revampling. Other than a few hiccups we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves on this cruise. I certainly would rather be on the lively Ventura than the boring block of high rise flats docked at the side of us on St Maarten.   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
This was our 4th festive cruise on Ventura around the Caribbean islands. The usual efficient P&O system of dealing with flights and luggage soon had us in the holiday mood. This time we were on a Dreamliner from Manchester. We were ... Read More
This was our 4th festive cruise on Ventura around the Caribbean islands. The usual efficient P&O system of dealing with flights and luggage soon had us in the holiday mood. This time we were on a Dreamliner from Manchester. We were happy with our balcony cabin on B deck and this was kept immaculate by our Steward Edward. Overall this was one of the best cruises we have done with wall to wall sunshine for the whole trip. We thought the quality and quantity of the food and also the quality of service had improved since the previous Christmas and also the standard of dress of the passengers was very high. Many ladies and girls opted for long dresses or cocktail wear even on the non-formal nights. Also on formal nights there were more men in evening dress than previously. So we were well happy. In the evenings we drank mainly in the Glasshouse or Tamarind. Prices seem to have held since the previous year both for drinks and meals in the speciality restaurants although they have introduced a cover charge for the Beach House restaurant in the evenings. This clearly had the effect of reducing the once mandatory queuing to zero and on the evening we ate there, hardly any other diners. The one blot on the proceedings was the requirement to queue to reserve your dining times for Christmas Day and New Year's Eve. I was near the front of the queue and it still took 1.5 hours for me to be seen to. Some people were queuing for up to 4.5 hours. This is appalling and P&O need to find another way of addressing this matter for example by using Cruise Personaliser. Like many others we will not be on Ventura for Christmas 2015 as we will all be on the Britannia. All in all an excellent cruise on the home from home Ventura . 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
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2014
I have just returned from a P&O Christmas Cruise of the Caribbean, and also read a review by KevinML who appears to have cruised the same. I would concur with much of his comments but disagree with others. Briefly, the dining room ... Read More
I have just returned from a P&O Christmas Cruise of the Caribbean, and also read a review by KevinML who appears to have cruised the same. I would concur with much of his comments but disagree with others. Briefly, the dining room staff, as always, were excellent; the only problems I witnessed were rude guests who treat these hard working people very poorly. Dinner, I agree, now appears to be of a lower standard. Plate service rather than silver service. Portions are smaller, no doubt to save cost and waste, and they will also serve you more/extra if you so request. No one goes hungry on a cruise! Formal nights: for me 4 is not enough, I would do formal nearly every night. The number of formal/casual nights are disclosed well in advance and can be found on your own cruise personaliser Smoking: ban it, as simple as that. The smoking "area" I observed got larger everyday as the mobile chesty coffers simply moved the ash trays to different tabels. By the end of the cruise the "side area" had expanded to half way across the deck. Ban Smoking, full stop. Prior to my first cruise many years ago, I saw this event as a holiday for the elite. How wrong and naïve was I ? This latest cruise reflected it all the more. There were hundreds of "undesirables" aboard. But, that is a result of economies of scale. When a ship so large is put into service, it needs bums on seats, and so must charge a low enough cost to do so. You get what you pay for. If you want exclusivity you must pay for it. We have paid more than double the cost of this cruise in the past, and got the quality we expected. Entertainment: poor. Venues: they were good enough. Christmas Santa: P&O cant be blamed for the late shower, it was a bit of a shame but a good time was still had by all none the less. You can get rain at any time anywhere in the Caribbean. Islands: all great, but get a little repetitive. Tortola tenders, a bit of an inconvenience, but no major issue. Next time we will have the luxury of a brand new port. Tortola is a great island, lots to see and great beaches, why miss it? Many people criticised Dominica: what a shame it's a fantastic island with much to see and do. Just walking around the market was an eye opener and great entertainment in itself, and it was free!!! Flights: again you get what you pay for, on a chartered flight. If you want better service fly direct! If you must have a specific seat on a plane then you have to pay for that pleasure/luxury. This is 2015. If the cost of booking a seat was included in the initial price, ie the cost was £90 higher, you wouldn't bat an eye lid. My biggest gripe is the noise in the cabin. As with KevinML, I have experienced D level standard cabins previously, and again I got what I paid for, no complaints there. This time we had a suite. The benefits and luxury was fantastic, but it was noisy beyond belief. Never again. DO NOT GET A SUITE MIDSHIPS ON LEVEL 14. NOISE 24/7. That is not an exaggeration. Tips: well that is the same old chest nut, do you don't you. If you cancel the automatic deduction, my understanding is, the waiters and cabin staff who look after you miss out on a chunk from the "main pot". So you MUST tip them. Secondly, the automatic rate now charged is far more realistic than it once was and acceptable. Third: what is needed is for everyone to opt out of the American disease of tipping everything that moves. If no one tipped, which is used to supplement poor paid workers, then the cruise liners would be forced to pay a decent wage to these hard working people. Of course, then the cost of the cruise would increase. heyHo! That's it, great cruise, great ship, if somewhat too big, great holiday but extremely noisy suites. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2014
Went on our first cruise on P&O Ventura .What a disappointment! The Entertainment very poor . After sailing for two nights and one day we were due to land at Grand Turk but the captain said it was to dangerous to land,nobody could ... Read More
Went on our first cruise on P&O Ventura .What a disappointment! The Entertainment very poor . After sailing for two nights and one day we were due to land at Grand Turk but the captain said it was to dangerous to land,nobody could understand why he didn't take us somewhere else away from the bad weather or to another island instead of just cruising around for another two days and two nights! I booked the cruise 18months before we went and was told by Thomson that the cruise would sell out very quick and we wouldn't get a better price.  We were then very surprised to see the same cruise being advertised for nearly £1800 cheaper 3 weeks before we sailed. Thought it would be a scam, but loads of Regular cruisers on board said they always leave it to approx 3 weeks before P&O sail and you will always get a better deal!.   Read Less
Sail Date: November 2014
i agree with most things the last reviewer wrote, apart from the two hour wait to get on board we were on within 30 minutes, cabin kept spotless thank you Vincent,food first class and entertainment excellent, didn't see the ... Read More
i agree with most things the last reviewer wrote, apart from the two hour wait to get on board we were on within 30 minutes, cabin kept spotless thank you Vincent,food first class and entertainment excellent, didn't see the ventriloquist but was told it was rubbish, must see the 4tunes outstanding. As for the black tie nights sometimes we felt over dressed, on the black and white night the supposed most formal, allot of ladies were wearing colourful dresses.this is by no means a posh cruise so ordinary people wouldn't feel out of place, this was what we were concerned about, but what i will say you did get a few pompous people ie in the metropolis bar, but don't let that put you off going in there its great, but you did get some on the other end of the scale to. we booked very early, being novices we thought we would get a good deal, but soon found out this was not the case, you had people booking still six months ahead and getting better prices and also more spending money, ( a lesson learnt). Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: November 2014
We went on the Ventura on 8th November, there were 8 people in our party, one of which were wheelchair bound. Some of us had cruised before (Carnival Valor and Thomson Destiny) but the majority of the party were cruise virgins. Myself and ... Read More
We went on the Ventura on 8th November, there were 8 people in our party, one of which were wheelchair bound. Some of us had cruised before (Carnival Valor and Thomson Destiny) but the majority of the party were cruise virgins. Myself and the other half went on Carnival last year for our honeymoon which we thoroughly enjoyed so we were excited to cruise again and to see how a different company compared. My top tip would be to book as late as possible, we booked 16 months in advance thinking we were getting a good deal but it was reduced by around £500 per passenger around 6 weeks before departure which was sickening. STAFF The majority of the staff on the ship were Indian which we didn’t expect, I knew there would be some different ethnicities but 95% were Asian males. The majority were friendly with the odd exception. From certain members of staff we received fantastic service, in the restaurants and bars to the salon staff. Credit to P&O. (Joel Manning Head waiter, Melissa on bar, Gracey the bar steward, Krystina the croupier). DINING Breakfast was nice, buffet style was always plentiful and cooked nicely. Formal breakfast was nice too but toast was always cold. Lunch we missed most days but made it back for the afternoon which doesn’t really make sense to me, I would have preferred a ham/chicken salad at 4pm when you have had a day lazing by the beach rather than pie/curry, sandwiches and scones. Staff were less than forthcoming when we asked for a salad which is unfortunate considering the amount of money we handed over. Our evening seating time was 8.30pm which we chose as we thought 6.30pm was too early but due to the amount of people in our party we would struggle to make it to the 10.30 show so we changed to freedom dining in the second week which we wished we had done sooner. Freedom dining is the way forward. Food was average to very good in the main restaurant, there was a starter, soup, main, dessert and cheeseboard every night. We dined in the “surcharge” restaurants after a few days as the food was starting to get slightly repetitive in the main restaurant. East was £15 each but if you book while on board they offer a bottle of house wine between two on certain nights, effectively bringing the price down to £7.50 each. Same with the White Room which we paid £25 each for, with a bottle of wine between two we thought it was well worth it. The only restaurant (excluding the buffet) were you can dine outdoor which was fantastic. Beach House (daytime buffet restaurant which converts in to sit down restaurant of an evening) was £5 per person and you had the option to upgrade from there, ie. If you wanted king prawns to start you would need to pay an extra £1.50 and if you wanted steak on a stone it was an extra £2.95 but the food was very nice. Drinks were not too expensive, glass of wine approx £4 for small and £5.50 for large, spirit and mixer around £5 and cocktails from around a fiver. Range of wines available, bottles of house went down well at £14.95. Selection of diet drinks available which was a massive plus, diet coke, 7up free and diet Tango all available. ENTERTAINMENT/ACTIVITIES Gym had good machines but very little free classes. It opened at 8am until 8pm which was a bit awkward as we were awake at 6.30pm some days which we would have normally shot up to the gym ready to get off the boat once docked at 8am. This was very strict as there are cabins below the gym. Only way of getting in before this was to do a stretch and relax class at 7.30am which didn’t look like it would be worth walking to the lifts for, looked more like lie down and sleep. Shame they charged £7 odd for the spinning class too and there weren’t more aerobic classes available for free. Other than that it was fine, lots of equipment, busy in the morning with everybody standing at the front doors at 8am ready to get their preferred machine. Pools were fine though were majorly busy are what I would imagine a typical Benidorm holiday would be like, definitely wasn’t what we expected. At 5pm they would do a sail away party were the entertainment staff would come out and do sing along and arm waving that was fit for a 10 year olds party. We weren’t pleased but the other 2000 passengers seemed happy with it! (Bah humbugs!). Some days there were ice sculpting which was interesting, deck BBQs and as I said some parties when departing the island. Evening entertainment was fantastic thanks to the Headliners Theatre Group, such amazing singers and dancers who kept us entertained with 4 different shows while on-board. There were also two comedians, a Tom Jones and Gary Barlow tribute and a fantastic 4 piece Michael Buble style band who were amazing too. SHORE EXCURSIONS If there is something that you really want to do, ie whale watching/boat trips/river rafting, I would recommend booking through P&O as these wont be available to book on the day. For beach trips and island tours it was massively cheaper to book on arrival at the port. There are many street vendors over 50% cheaper than P&O. DISABLED FRIENDLY The disabled friendly room was fab. It was a great size and had excellent facilities throughout, the shower room was the same size as our cabin, the mother in law was made up! Getting on and off the ship was easy enough too as there would be a steward to help out at every port. The only port she was unable to get off was Tortola as we had to use a tender from the boat to the port. She didn’t miss much to say the least! All in all the cruise was fab, I would recommend P&O for both families and couples as there was something for everyone. 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: March 2014
We have just returned on the Ventura going round the Caribbean. After reading previous reviews before we went we were a bit apprehensive, but there was no need to worry, we do not understand where these reviews came from. Have been on 4 ... Read More
We have just returned on the Ventura going round the Caribbean. After reading previous reviews before we went we were a bit apprehensive, but there was no need to worry, we do not understand where these reviews came from. Have been on 4 previous cruises with Thomsons which we have thoroughly enjoyed. Didn't fancy paying the gratuities, which we didn't. If you go to reception they will give you a form to fill in and you just say that you do not want to pay the £3.50p each per day and that you would tip yourself where you thought it was necessary which we did. Our cabin steward was excellent, very friendly and approachable, kept the cabin spotlessly clean. We had an outside obstructed view on the 8th floor which was very nice. We found all the staff very pleasant, we spoke to quite a few different people who were different age groups on the cruise and everyone we spoke to were enjoying it, the only thing they did not like was the different prices people had paid. We paid £1,079 each for the 2 weeks where somebody else had paid £1,799 for a inside cabin. Somebody else who was in a balcony had paid £3,000 each and they found out that someone who had the same cabin as them had only paid £1,400 each, such a big difference in price. We found the breakfast excellent, also the afternoon teas were excellent. The evening meal was not as good not as much to choose from. You never got ice cream for any puddings which we found very strange, if you wanted an ice cream you had to pay for them. Some of the entertainment was very good, we saw two very good comedians, and a mind reader. The dances in the Headliners were also very good. Some of the other entertainment was not to our liking it was based more for older people, but I suppose you cannot please everyone's taste. The excursions were very expensive we did our own thing when we got off the ship. There are lots of taxis, and open sided buses to go on which work out a lot cheaper. We did two open sided bus trips which took three and a half hours for 20 dollars each, and one of them gave you complimentary drinks all the time, and even took us to a beach and left us there for one hour, and came back later to pick us up. Do not worry about getting back to the ship on time they will always ask you what time does your ship leave, and they will get you back on time, don't worry. The only other thing I will say that previous people had written about which we found to be true is you have to get up early on the day's that you are at sea to get a sun lounger, and some people put the towels on their beds and don't come back for a long time. Next to where we were laid the towels were on when we got there, so we do not know how long they had been there, and they did not return for three hours later. We would definitely go with P&O again but we are a bit limited because we only like fly cruises we wouldn't want to go from Southampton, and as they only go to the Caribbean and the Mediterranean starting this year so we have not got much choice. Looking forward to seeing you again sometime P&O Read Less
20 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2014
I am surprised when I read reviews of cruises by certain P&O passengers, some of which seem to be excessively hypercritical, compared to those by people who have cruised with Celebrity, most of which are gushing with praise. I have to ... Read More
I am surprised when I read reviews of cruises by certain P&O passengers, some of which seem to be excessively hypercritical, compared to those by people who have cruised with Celebrity, most of which are gushing with praise. I have to say that in my opinion P&O are far superior in many respects to Celebrity and indeed most other large cruise lines and I will set out my reasons for saying so in this review. My partner Barbara and I have cruised with P&O on twelve occasions, most recently earlier this month in the Caribbean on Ventura. We have also travelled on Celebrity’s Equinox and Eclipse in recent years as well as on Royal Caribbean, Celebrity’s sister company, Princess and Cunard. Whilst I realise that a lot of people will have been on even more cruises than we have, nevertheless I think that my breadth of experience of cruising with several different companies enables me to provide an informed, and I hope reasonably objective, opinion on their relative merits. Most of the modern ships built for the large cruise companies I mentioned are broadly similar in structure and design and are very well fitted out and equipped to cater to the demands of today’s discerning cruise clientele. All of the above companies have launched several brand new ships in recent years and this trend seems set to continue .Where the differences arise is in the details of the overall product and service offered to passengers and this is the area in which I believe P&O have the edge. First, Celebrity’s new Solstice class ships are generally very impressive in their design and decor, but, unlike P&O’s ships, they do not have a proper promenade deck for passengers to walk around and sit on. Promenade decks have always been a traditional and stylish feature of ocean liners and cruise ships and add to the glamour of cruising in my opinion. Instead, Celebrity have a short jogging track on one of the upper decks on their new ships, but this is a poor substitute. Secondly, the entertainment on Celebrity’s ships is nowhere near as good or as extensive as that provided by P&O. On our cruises on the Equinox and Eclipse there were only three full production shows by the ship’s resident theatre company in two weeks as opposed to the seven regularly performed by P&O’s Headliners theatre company during the same length of cruise. Moreover there was only one show per night on Celebrity {obviously repeated for each of the two formal dinner sittings} varying between the production show and other cabaret artists, whereas on P&O there are three or four different shows every evening, again repeated for each of the dinner sittings. The shows performed by the Headliners on P&O are superb and are of real West End quality. In fact, most of the artists in the company have actual experience of appearing in the West End and/or on television. By comparison, Celebrity’s shows and those of the other cruise lines we have seen were of average quality. Even the production and technical aspects of the P&O shows are better. For example, on one occasion on Cunard, one of the few shows scheduled had to be cancelled because one of the lead singers had a sore throat. If this happens on P&O they have back-up recordings of all the singers so that they can mime to these and the show can go on as normal. Admittedly, Celebrity do have various musicians and bands performing live each evening around the ship as well ,but so do P&O. This last comment brings me to another criticism I have of Celebrity. Every evening in the atrium there was very loud blaring music played. The design of the new Solstice class ships is for the whole of the centre of the ship, from the bottom of the atrium up to the top decks even up to the library, to be open, which is visually very impressive ,but this means that it is difficult if not impossible to relax or carry on a conversation in any of the bars and lounges around the various decks in the centre of the ship. Even upon request they will not lower the volume. Apart from the evening entertainment in the theatres and lounges, P&O also have a lot of quizzes every day during the cruise which are very popular and which I personally enjoy very much. They also have guest speakers throughout the cruise, dancing classes , craft classes etc. I know that the other cruise companies have some of these features , but not as many and they are not as well organised. Another issue is the price of drinks on ships .On Celebrity, as is the case with most of the American cruise lines , {including unfortunately these days Cunard as well on whose ships Carnival ,their American owners, have chosen the US dollar as the on board currency}, prices are comparable to what you would pay in expensive hotels, but they also add on an automatic 15% service charge and they then rub salt in the wound by leaving a note and space at the foot of the bill for an additional gratuity. We are not big drinkers, but I know that all of this annoys many passengers. P&O by contrast charge what can be described as reasonable pub prices for drinks and they do not add any service charge.{ P&O’s general service charge for the cruise overall is also set at a much more reasonable level than Celebrity’s}. Furthermore P&O will let passengers bring on to the ship bottles of wine and spirits purchased ashore to drink in their cabins, whereas Celebrity and Royal Caribbean and I believe most of the other cruise lines will confiscate these and do not return them until the end of the cruise, presumably so that passengers will carry on paying their exorbitant prices for drinks on board. One simple area where P&O provide a thoughtful touch is in providing tea and coffee making facilities in your cabin so that you can have a hot drink whenever it suits you. Celebrity will of course like most cruise lines bring you such drinks via room service free of charge, but this can take some time and the drinks when they arrive are never as hot or fresh as if you had made them yourself. P&O also provide room service, but they know that passengers like to have the option to make their own hot drinks when they want them. Celebrity have now introduced kettles and tea and coffee on their cruises from the UK, but not elsewhere in the world. P&O also provide free launderettes with ironing facilities on each deck on board all their ships so that passengers can wash, iron and press clothes if they wish to, which is very helpful on fly cruises where there are flight luggage restrictions so that passengers who have kept their clothes to a minimum can do a wash half way through the cruise. Celebrity do not do this, and so passengers have to pay their laundry or pressing charges. Another area where P&O excel is in their service in getting passengers to the Caribbean in the winter months where their two large ships Azura and Ventura are stationed. They organize dedicated charter flights from several UK airports which fly straight to Barbados. The process of getting from the plane to the ship is seamless. You do not have to go through any formalities at the airport in Barbados. Instead, you are whisked from the plane straight on to a coach to the ship and you are usually on board and in your cabin within an hour. You do not have to collect your luggage from the airport since this is delivered direct to your cabin. Contrast this with all the other cruise lines where you have to fly, often indirectly, to Florida, go through all the hassle of American immigration, retrieve your own luggage, stay in a hotel overnight and then finally transfer to the ship the next day. There is no comparison. The quality and variety of the food provided by all of the major cruise lines are broadly similar, but most of them now have specialist a la carte restaurants in addition to the main dining rooms and buffet restaurants, which offer menus prepared by, or restaurants named after, famous chefs. These specialist restaurants have a separate cover charge, but again we have found that the American cruise lines generally charge more than P&O, who again offer better value. To be fair there are certain features on the other cruise lines which P&O do not have. For example, on Celebrity, the lawn club areas with real grass on the top deck, on Cunard the very traditional afternoon tea dances, on Royal Caribbean the ice dancing rink and ice shows and on Princess the mini golf putting course. However, the preponderance of areas where P&O excel and are superior to the others is telling. These various matters when considered together do in my opinion make a big difference and I think go quite some way in explaining why I think P&O, while far from being without fault, are still nevertheless the best cruise company to travel with. As with a lot of cruise companies, regular passengers have noticed certain areas where they have cut back on some details and services to save costs ,but this is probably as a result of the competitive pricing they have had to adopt to market and sell the cruises given today’s economic climate .However, I think that they still offer the best overall cruise experience. The combination of formal and informal themed evenings on their cruises is just right and their sailaway parties are the best. I know that they are owned by Carnival, like Princess, Cunard and some other brands, but to their credit Carnival seem intent on maintaining P&O’s unique and traditionally British style of cruising. I am looking forward to travelling on P&O’s new superliner Britannia next year which promises to raise the bar for standards still further. To summarise, I do hope that people who have cruised with P&O and who sometimes like to have a little moan, as we all do from time to time, will reflect on the issues I have raised and realise that P&O are not so bad after all. If you are reading this as a regular traveller with Celebrity or another cruise line, then why not give P&O a try.   Read Less
Sail Date: February 2014
When myself and Husband and two friends had booked our cruise with the fantastic "Getaway" price, but remember this was non - refundable - I think some disgruntled cruisers may forget or not know this - so you do take a risk. we ... Read More
When myself and Husband and two friends had booked our cruise with the fantastic "Getaway" price, but remember this was non - refundable - I think some disgruntled cruisers may forget or not know this - so you do take a risk. we were concerned about the negative reviews, I now wonder if they were all on a different ship to us. we had wonderfully clean, bright cabins with a balcony, champagne, chocolates, flowers and of course the gown and slippers and excellent toiletries The White Company. Pleasant and helpful cabin girl, who could not do enough and remarkably never forgot our names. We, all four, must have been guests from heaven for her, not messy, untidy or demanding, respectful of her culture and human sacrifice of being away from her family for many months and years, we noted many cabins with doors open and "jumble sales" going on inside!! Unless you are with children or a smoker, the main pools are to be avoided like the plague. Noisy, with loud music. Hence the need for your own balcony, if this is not your idea of a good time, for some it is, I just wish they were on a different cruise.  That is my only complaint, except the lack of sunbeds, when at sea. The food was really good, our waiters charming and chatty, and friendly when on other duties during the daytime and you saw them, two lovely boys. Breakfast in the main restaurant is a very nice start to the day, lunch or high tea in the self service area after a day on shore "perfect" The evening entertainment was more than adequate for our different tastes, we particularly enjoyed the Kenny Rogers impersonator and the Tamarind Bar, the shows in the theatre were most enjoyable. Finally walking around the deck late in the evening with the warm Caribbean breeze "wonderful " The islands are a delight, take the tours waiting at the cruise terminal, much cheaper and they are the people who need the money. In all a wonderful, cruise, which will be repeated. I have cruised before with Royal Caribbean and much prefer P&O. Barbados airport was a complete nightmare, no organization, our plane The Dreamliner, on the way out was a perfect flight, plenty of leg room, most comfortable seats I have ever had on a flight. In Barbados it was grounded for some reason, so, our boarding passes issued on board the ship (good idea) where all incorrect and had to be re issued with different seats, even when, as we had, booked and paid for seatin g of our choice. This was not broadcast over the tanoy, no one walked the queue explaining the problem and re issuing - nightmare. The cabin crew were dreadful, rude, unhelpful, we are still waiting for coffee/tea with our breakfast. They were missing for the first 1 1/2 hours of the flight. But the cruise readers, was fabulous.   Read Less
Ventura Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 0.0
Dining 4.0 0.0
Entertainment 4.0 0.0
Public Rooms 4.0 0.0
Fitness Recreation 4.0 0.0
Family 4.0 0.0
Shore Excursion 4.0 0.0
Enrichment 3.0 0.0
Service 4.0 0.0
Value For Money 4.0 0.0
Rates 3.0 0.0

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