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Sail Date: February 2015
Good flight out on dreamliner, quick efficient service to ship, lovely cabin superior delux d218 only drawback first nite not much sleep as directly above lifeboats and noisy where maybe a rope or something was loose and made banging ... Read More
Good flight out on dreamliner, quick efficient service to ship, lovely cabin superior delux d218 only drawback first nite not much sleep as directly above lifeboats and noisy where maybe a rope or something was loose and made banging noise, but was sorted next morning, visit lovely islands our favourite was Grenada, food good chose freedom dining in the Saffron restarant, charming young boys as waiters, new lots about the food being served, entatainment quite good but could not always get a seat, all staff went out of their way to help you, looking to book another cruise for my husbands 70thtaking our daughter who has special needs so will need to choose the right cabin. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2014
Having cruised twice before in the Med with Thomson and having enjoyed my experience thoroughly as a special treat I decided to book a surprise cruise to the carribean for my wife's 50th Birthday. We booked a week prior to travel and ... Read More
Having cruised twice before in the Med with Thomson and having enjoyed my experience thoroughly as a special treat I decided to book a surprise cruise to the carribean for my wife's 50th Birthday. We booked a week prior to travel and flew out from Manchester T1 early on the 6/12/2014. The chartered flights with Thomas Cook airlines went very smoothly, good quality food and service and the fact that this was chartered by P&O which meant we loaded the cases in Manchester and then didn't touch them again until they arrived at our cabin door on the ship made the flying experience really great. We arrived in Barbados to gorgeous warm sunshine and where then off loaded by P&O directly onto the transfer coach and taken directly to the port, no hassle with customs etc. on arrival at the ship we then went through a short process to take our photographs, present our credit card and be issued with our boarding cards. Again this was very swift and professional. The ship as an awesome site, biggest that we have been on. The cabin allocation again was swift but we did encounter a problem in the cabin with the set out of sleeping arrangements, we had requested a double room but where allocated a twin and unfortunately this couldn't be changed to a double due to the configuration of the lamps attached to the bedside tables, this was the main weak area of the service we received as INfeltvthat P&O didn't do enough to rectify the fault.. The facilities on board are great, choice of 4 swimming pools, plenty of sun beds, great waiter service, brilliant gym, sauna, spa and plenty of places where you could escape and relax. Food on board was good, plenty of choice and most of it served 24/7. We also used the Beech House for a small surcharge which was good, the MarconPierre and Athol Cuutcher restaraunts also seemed nice. We had early dining in the Bay Tree restaraunt at 6:30 which we found too early. Service again was outstanding but portions where a little small. Evening entertainment was good, we did the theatre after dinner then onto an internal bar such as Havanah, Tamarind or Metropolis and finish off the night with a few drinks on deck. The Headliners theatre company who performed in the theatre are a must to see, as is a comedian by the name of John Martin. Beer pric scare not bad but be aware that some of the bars do not serve draft beer, only from cans or bottles. We did feel that entertainment on board overall wasn't as good in some areas as on the Thomson ships. We where also a little disappointed by the formal evenings which didn't seem to be a celebration of a special event unlike the Thomson ships. The ship overall is neat and tidy, consistently cleaned, quite spacious and modern. The ports we visited on our Itinerary where good although some are up and coming ports which do need further development, the nicest places where St Maarten, Tortola, Curaçao, Bonaire and of course Barbados. I do still struggle to understand why the ships sail so early ( 5pm ) from some ports when the next port is only a short distance, we would have loved to stay ashore at places like St Marrten and Curaçao to get a taste of the nightlife. Same withnthe 2 days at sea on the return journey to Barbados, we could've called at one more stop on the way. All of the islands accept the US dollar but be aware that a couple of places have their own dollar so some change could be given in this currency which can only be spent on that Island. In Barbados also most prices are quoted in Barbados dollars to which there are 2 to every US dollar, make sure you ask when buying something or quoting a price for a taxi. You also need to try the flying fish in Barbados, yummy. The people in the Carribean can't do enough for you, very friendly and eager to help. Taxis are positioned at each port as well as numerous tours etc which are priced reasonably, the Beaches are stunning, the water is just as you imagine in a brochure and the climate is a steady 27 to 28 day and night, the humidity takes a bit of getting used too as does the 4 hour time difference.. Overall our first experience with P&O was good although we did feel that it could have been better, we do love the Carribean and will re visit. We would recommend P&O cruises to others and will be cruising again with them   Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2014
Mixed feelings regarding our Christmas cruise to the Caribbean. The flight form Gatwick, chartered to Thompson was refreshingly pleasant as we booked in premiere and were treated very well indeed with complimentary drinks and very ... Read More
Mixed feelings regarding our Christmas cruise to the Caribbean. The flight form Gatwick, chartered to Thompson was refreshingly pleasant as we booked in premiere and were treated very well indeed with complimentary drinks and very comfortable seating, the interactive entertainment menu again very good. Arriving in Barbados again was a nice surprise not having to go through airport customs but being "ordered" on to a very old and tired small coach. Reaching the dock was not too bad but the check in procedure was awful we were herded like cattle in a pen without facility for refreshment for the best part of 45 minutes in very hot and humid conditions without any explanation as to how long this procedure would take "More information from P&O" would have been nice. The cabin was pleasant and clean and the cabin steward was friendly and informative. We opted for freedom dining which was a good choice as the 'sail away' party was just another excuse to join a long queue for average food. Breakfast is normally overcrowded and our party of 6 struggled to get a table most mornings having to circumnavigate both venues before being able to breakfast as a family. The breakfast & dinner on the whole was excellent especially our visit to the White Room. Having a "Costa" in the atrium was a pleasant surprise and we used this facility most afternoons but the service on 10 times out of 13 was nothing short of disgusting sometimes waiting up to 25 minutes for someone to take our order when at most there were two or three tables awaiting service. We used the Spa facilities once (on a special offer) and were induced to buying overpriced products whilst we were in a totally relaxed and near sleep condition, almost ready to agree to anything. (We were told that the therapists are trained to hard sell to their clients after the massage which I must say was excellent) I got off light after buying some Gell and oil for £70 but my wife ended up being sold creams for £195 this is on top of the treatment price - a bit over the top, a 10% gratuity was also added, this was not too bad as the treatment was on special offer. The entertainment was every enjoyable and refreshing and the appearance of Roy Walker was a nice bonus. These entertainers work very hard and the production team are to be applauded. Trying to get a Sun lounger when we had our "at sea" days proved to be something of a challenge, so we did not bother as the only areas that we could sit were very loud with lots of children running around. Yes we did try the adult area and again the only place to sit was the bench style seating next to the swimming pool. the hot tubs were very good though one always seemed to be cordoned off. Overall the Islands we visited were as expected with gorgeous beaches but St. Vincent was a little bit of a let down. Most items on board if not on special offer were a bit pricy but I suppose P&O have a policy of trying to extract every last pound from their passengers. It would be nice to know how exactly the amount added for gratuities was divided, as the staff manning the Ice cream machine & Pizza ovens on the whole thought they were doing you a great favour by serving you. Attitude of staff on Sun decks really could have been a lot better, as this was not a cheap cruise. I have to say that I had different expectations and the overall experience is not one I would wish to repeat.   Read Less
Sail Date: December 2014
Once again a great pre xmas break. A good Dreamliner flight out from Manchester, very easy transfer to the ship, bags arrived in no time. We were given cabin C518 with the extended balcony, couldn't fault the cabin , the location or ... Read More
Once again a great pre xmas break. A good Dreamliner flight out from Manchester, very easy transfer to the ship, bags arrived in no time. We were given cabin C518 with the extended balcony, couldn't fault the cabin , the location or our steward Merton. 9 islands visited with only Dominica not impressing. Bonaire was particularly good with the snorkelling and diving a must for the active. The food on the ship has improved from last year. The entertainment was good from the majority of the acts, Clem Cutis was superb, but the on board P&O team were poor and appeared disinterested. The great British Sail Away, which should be a feature of any cruise, was a big disappointment with the P&O entertainment team mumbling and miming there way through most of the songs. The tales of not being able to get sunbeds are untrue it's just that some people want to congregate in the same area, the ship is vast and there are always beds to be had if you move away from the popular areas. That said there are still the selfish people who snag the beds with their towels not to return for hours. P&O have to address this issue or stop pretending there are rules. Overall great value for money, a good crowd onboard, roll on next year. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2014
We had a wonderful first cruise, with P&O on the Ventura, to the Caribbean. The cabin was wonderful (D327, Superior Cabin with Balcony), the food good and plentiful, and the cleanliness superb. We scheduled our trip to be during a time ... Read More
We had a wonderful first cruise, with P&O on the Ventura, to the Caribbean. The cabin was wonderful (D327, Superior Cabin with Balcony), the food good and plentiful, and the cleanliness superb. We scheduled our trip to be during a time when there wouldn't be many children (whom we love, but we needed some quiet time), and there were only a few onboard. The staff was very friendly and helpful, responding so positively to all our requests that we felt very pampered. We wish there had been better lectures, particularly about the history (including slavery, trade and social/political developments) of the region. We loved being on the Freedom dining plan, which meant we could dine when we wanted to, without table assignment. All the logistics were great - embarkation and then leaving the ship, luggage transfer, room assignment, etc. And the spa was fantastic! Have as many services as you can, particularly the seaweed wrap and massage and the facials! They will spoil you rotten there, which is a major reason for taking a cruise, no? The entertainment was spotty - we didn't like the comedian's sense of humour in particular, but that's not to discourage anyone. The singers were good as were the orchestra and dancers in the large Arena. Contrary to other reviews, although the ship was full, we didn't find any problem with locating sun beds to lie on. We wish we could have danced more in the Atrium, but it seemed to be allocated to structured dances for those who took lessons onboard. We also wish the Black Tie evenings were made more special than by just putting on fancy clothes. In sum, we had a great time with only minor things we would have changed if we ruled the world! Read Less
Sail Date: November 2014
We have just returned from our first P & O Ventura cruise after being told by numerous friend that we had to try it! On the whole we enjoyed the experience , from embarkation which is surprisingly run like clockwork to leaving your ... Read More
We have just returned from our first P & O Ventura cruise after being told by numerous friend that we had to try it! On the whole we enjoyed the experience , from embarkation which is surprisingly run like clockwork to leaving your bags at check in at the airport then the next time you see them is in your room - excellent . We had a deluxe cabin with balcony which is a good size , comfy bed , good shower , really nice cabin steward who couldn,t do enough for us . Against this , the TV with constant sky news as the only decent channel will eventually drive you mad , sports channel for premiership football was good , and thats about it for TV. Although the cruise price seemed good value , its only good value if you resist all the other ways P & O have of trying to part you from your money > Wi Fi at £15 - £20 per hour is ridiculous in this day and age , trips , gym sessions , massage , photos of you at every opportunity , getting on , getting off , dining , drinking , you name it , a camera was there . We enjoyed the food tremendously , the service was good , sometimes too good , plate removed as soon as my knife & fork touched the plate ! Buffet food equally as good just a shame you have to try and hunt down a table as it was so busy. Entertainment - first class , some excellent shows ! The main thing that lets this ship down is the fact that P & O are too relaxed about the dress code , the formal nights most people do make an effort, but the rest of the time ,  baseball caps worn in the restaurant, men in sleeveless shirts and singlet type vests in the buffet , women walking through the buffet restaurant in their swimming costumes , not a pretty sight ! I think that due to the cheap starter price of the cruise this holiday is replacing the Benidorm/Torremelinos all inclusive holiday and hence the drop in standards - a real pity . P & O need to get their act together , even if it means raising the price and cutting down on the numbers ! My opinion for what its worth ! Read Less
Sail Date: November 2014
We booked this cruise just over a year before departure, choosing P&O as we had not cruised with them before, and the itinerary took us to 7 islands which we had never previously visited. The idea of checking luggage in at the UK ... Read More
We booked this cruise just over a year before departure, choosing P&O as we had not cruised with them before, and the itinerary took us to 7 islands which we had never previously visited. The idea of checking luggage in at the UK airport, and having them delivered direct to your cabin was a great innovation, and no security to go through at Bridgetown airport was another. The only problems with the flight were the fact we were sat on the aircraft for nearly three hours at Manchester airport before we departed! Problems with a piece of “cargo”, that we later discovered was a spare part for a stricken Thomas Cook aircraft at our destination. Then we were sat on the coach on the tarmac at Bridgetown for 45minutes before the final passengers were boarded before our 45 minute journey to Ventura, only to find there was then another 40 minute process to check in and get on-board. We finally got to our cabin at 6:25pm (dinner at 6:30), having been on the 9:00am flight out of Manchester. Thirteen and a half hours from scheduled departure to arrival was not a great start. At least we weren’t on the Saturday flight that didn’t even arrive! One thing we can say on the positive side is, the Cabin and Cabin Steward (Virag), were excellent. The layout and cleanliness were excellent, with the “dressing area” outside the bathroom much better than other layouts. No problem found with the shower size or curtain as read in previous reviews. Meals on board were OK. We had “Traditional” dining at the early seating, and found the menu varied, although the vegetables at times were a little tasteless. We took our breakfasts in the Waterside/Beach House areas, and on certain days (sea days) found these to be very crowded at times. One thing we did discover during our cruise was that the Muster Drill that everyone has to attend (by law), was not attended by some passengers. There was no check on who had attended or not by any of the crew, no “head-count”, no checking that passengers were out of their cabins at Muster. Other cruise companies have a head count as you enter the Muster Station, and crew check that all cabins are vacated of passengers. As this is a lawful requirement to attend, surely P&O are required to ensure that everyone is attending, and in case of an actual emergency, that all are at their dedicated Muster? Getting a sunbed was a nightmare. It was obvious (when at times we found some), that passengers were putting towels on them to “reserve” them and leaving them there for hours. Very annoying, and something that P&O should clamp down on. The best pool area we found was the Spa pool. Although this got more crowded as the cruise progressed. Now the “Down” sides. The atmosphere of the Bar and Deck staff on-board was very staid. There was no liveliness in them, almost like there was some unhappiness amongst them. They did their jobs ok, took drink orders, served them (very slowly at times) but that was all. There was no sense of enjoyment from them, like they were enjoying their work. There was no “fun” atmosphere. And as for the Cruise/Entertainments director, or whatever his title was, he would have been more suited to “Butlins”. Where on earth did they get him from? The layout on the ship seemed awkward. There appeared to be no “flow” through the ship. It was well into the second week before we could figure out what routes, up/down/forward/aft, we had to take to get between locations on-board. Overall we enjoyed the holiday, with some great new places visited. But as for P&O and Ventura, we’ve been spoilt by other companies. It’ll be back to Royal Caribbean for us definitely.   Read Less
Sail Date: January 2014
Just returned from a lovely relaxing fortnight in the sun. Ventura was as we remembered from a previous Med cruise 2 and a half years ago, no better and no worse. If you travel on this ship you will get good( not gastro) food, friendly ... Read More
Just returned from a lovely relaxing fortnight in the sun. Ventura was as we remembered from a previous Med cruise 2 and a half years ago, no better and no worse. If you travel on this ship you will get good( not gastro) food, friendly staff who do a super job of looking after you (in the allocated time) and do their very best to make the mediocre feel special, cabins with good storage and comfy beds(not deep cleaned for the OCD brigade but reasonably clean)with nicely fitted bathrooms, but most of all (unless you are one of the uptight brigade with truly unreasonable expectations) you will get to relax and be spoilt for a very realistic price. Ventura is not a ship for the picky but if you like down to earth good fun (not yobbishness) this is the place to find it. We didn`t use all the facilities during our fortnight but I will give a brief resume of those we did. Room service. We used this for breakfast every morning and for occasional afternoon snacks and drinks.Nice food (I agree about the toast, it could be better),pleasant service and speedy delivery. cinnamon restaurant on freedom dining dinner. Made friends with the maître de asap and secured a nice table for 2 in our preferred area. Had generally lovely food and ate far too much most nights. The waiting staff were brilliant, simply could not have done more to keep us happy. Found a nice dry white at £13.95 a bottle !! and thoroughly enjoyed every evening. Theatre Headline theatre company were superb and The Opera Boys fantastic. We saw 5 shows and enjoyed them all. Havana caberet bar. We didn`t think much to the 2 tribute acts we saw here, Cliff Richard and Tom Jones but wer`e not fans of either of these artists so maybe our judgement was coloured by this. It was also difficult to get seats where you could see unless you were willing to spend half the night there hogging seats. Waterside buffet. Only used once because we are not keen on buffets but the fish and chips we had were not bad. Beach house (evening restaurant) We used this once and had super food and great service. If we hadn`t enjoyed Cinnamon so much we probably would have come here more. Lovely menu. Shore excursions. In our opinion, overpriced and poor value. My partner went on the ATV trip in St Lucia and said it was OK but was annoyed that P&O wouldn`t let him take me as a pillion only to discover people on the trip who had booked through other means and were carrying pillions. Shops Not a huge problem to us but overpriced and poorly stocked. More reasonably priced resort wear and particularly T Shirts and kids present ideas and we`d have spent a lot more. Breakaway bar (deck 16 ) Lovely place to while away an hour or 2 in the sun with a long cool drink. Spa. Had a good cut and blow dry for £45 (a tadge steep) but the price of other packages even on special offer put us off. The grill on deck 15. Num num, lovely cheeseburgers fish gougons and fries. Naughty naughty (diet needed now). Ports of call. We enjoyed most but weren`t keen on Bonaire. We should have done more independent beach visits as we had a great time in grenada and Barbados swimming in the sea and relaxing on the sand. In conclusion we found everything in this cruise that we needed and more. It would be easy to pick a few faults but why waste our hard earned holiday doing that?. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2014
After my experience, all show and no substance. The Ship cruised beautifully, but the staff let her down, especially the restaurant staff. They lacked training and even some meals appeared that were not as described. A "Caribbean ... Read More
After my experience, all show and no substance. The Ship cruised beautifully, but the staff let her down, especially the restaurant staff. They lacked training and even some meals appeared that were not as described. A "Caribbean Pork" was actually in Hoi Sin sauce which I suspected was left over from the Duck a couple of nights before. A "fillet steak" was actually Sirloin. When we asked for cream for our coffee, we were presented with milk in a ramekin dish and assured it was cream (whipped cream). The head waiter was called and cream in a jug appeared. A stroppy waiter slammed down a jar of brown sugar after we explained to him "Canderel " was not Demerara sugar and would he please bring us brown sugar? The food was not special (on Princess you feel as though you are eating out in a nice restaurant every night, whereas on Ventura, we felt as though we were just eating food we would cook at home every night. We paid extra to eat in the Marco Pierre "White Room" on 3 occasions (£60 per couple) in order to get the food and service we wanted. The constant hard selling of drinks spoiled what should have been a relaxing holiday and even when my husband still had a drink in front of him it was "Can I get you another drink?" The staff in the restaurant did not smile, and I wondered if someone had died, so different from the wonderfully friendly and happy Princess cruises staff. I felt the staff did not respect the passengers and did not want to be there Generally, it was not a slick operation and I'll be returning to Princess where I hopefully will not be made to feel like one in a herd of cattle. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2014
My wife and I have cruised 30 + times mostly with Celebrity, RCL, Princess and Airtours when they were operating. Having read lots of good reviews we decided to try P and O. but oh dear what a mistake. How Ventura as a ship can rate ... Read More
My wife and I have cruised 30 + times mostly with Celebrity, RCL, Princess and Airtours when they were operating. Having read lots of good reviews we decided to try P and O. but oh dear what a mistake. How Ventura as a ship can rate highly in the Berlitz guide totally baffles me. We did enjoy the ports of call and the itinerary after all what's not to like in the Caribbean in January. Ship. We found the ship very poorly laid out with dead ends causing one to back track, Sun decks are poorly set out over too many levels and not enough sun beds. This is made a lot worse by people reserving them and not using them all day. Theatre. Poor sight lines throughout, difficult to find seats but the headliner shows were good. Cabin. This was well set out and spacious, I do take exception to being sold a restricted view cabin to find that it was an outside cabin with daylight but no view what so ever. My wife does like the walk in wardrobe and storage space. Restaurants. The beach house and waterside eateries are very poorly designed and the choice of food throughout the day was poor especially the breakfast buffet which did not change once . We ate in the Saffron restaurant in the evening and the menus although varied were mostly a total disappointment. E.g. Duck breast was on the menu on night on arrival I received two slices 7cm long which consisted mainly of the outside skin. The service was good but the food was only two star. Shore Excursions. We booked four shore excursions three of which were excellent and the other was a total disaster but the desk was not interested in any complaints although 8 out of 10 people on the bus complained. Bars and service. Why can't you order a drink at the Bar ? Drinks with mixers very expensive 90p for a tiny can of coke or lemonade. With the exception of the cabin stewards who were fantastic I found the crew to be indifferent to the passengers as if it were a chore Read Less
Sail Date: December 2013
My husband and myself have just returned from a very disappointing Christmas & New Year cruise on Ventura. Disappointing to the point that we also will never cruise with P & O again. This is our fourth Caribbean cruise. We ... Read More
My husband and myself have just returned from a very disappointing Christmas & New Year cruise on Ventura. Disappointing to the point that we also will never cruise with P & O again. This is our fourth Caribbean cruise. We stupidly booked through P & O and we were totally ripped off - we booked "the last cabin" (14 months ago) which unfortunately was inside and were assured that because we had booked directly with them we would certainly be upgraded. Of course it didn't happen. We were told that there were no upgrades and yet we met many people who had been upgraded without requesting it on embarkation day. So the choice of having a relaxing time watching the world go by was denied to us. The buffet lunches were very monotonous curry, curry or curry with the odd stew now and then. The self service area itself is very small and cramped. We ate in the cinnamon restaurant every night and the choice of food was ok, steaks were cooked exactly as we requested and the service was excellent. The main thing that ruined our holiday was the gangs of teenagers ( who's parents obviously couldn't care less where they were or what they were up to ) it was like being thrown onto the set of TOWIE or Made in Chelsea. Kids lying around drunk, throwing each other in the pool after one too many cocktails and gypsy wedding type girls crying because NYE was a disaster for them as they hadn't pulled ! We avoided the top decks because of all this but we still had to step over the occasional body on the stairs !! There was never any security present and I am amazed none of these out of control teens didn't end up over board to be honest. We were also disappointed with the service on deck 7 which was non-existent until disembarkation day when half a dozen crew sit in the arena chatting and popped out now and then to make sure they get the last bit of money they can from you. We certainly didn't have to fetch our own drinks that day! There was even a nice cream man - we hadn't seen him at all during the cruise ! Smokers were definitely catered for - we had a job to find anywhere to relax without having smoke blown in our faces - deck 7 at least had one side which was non smoking. We tried to go up to the oasis spa exclusive area for peace without cigarette smoke but although it was empty, we were told it was completely booked out ! We never found out what the extra cost was for peace and quiet ! Also, If you do decide to try Ventura don't expect much from the onboard shops they are truly basic and vastly overpriced. Announcements from the bridge were regular, Captain Carr is a marvelous delegator - I'm not sure he ever docked or sailed away (which always included a reference to 'winding up the big elastic band' and encouraging us all to grab a gin and tonic) but I for one always felt safe. The highlight of the whole on board experience was the Panto which the crew put on for us - absolutely fab! Unfortunately, we will be looking at other cruise companies for our next cruise - we paid for a luxury christmas cruise which fell short of our expectations on many levels. You can't beat cruising the Caribbean - the majority of the Islands are amazingly beautiful but apart from the locations We could have spent the festive season at The Blue Water Centre still surrounded by chavs and chavettes but at least the shopping choice would have been better. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2013
I have been on an excellent two week Southern Caribbean Cruise on the Ventura with P&O Cruises. P&O Cruises Ventura is 116,000 tonnes first entered service in 2008 and was refurbished in 2013. The ship has a capacity of 3,078 ... Read More
I have been on an excellent two week Southern Caribbean Cruise on the Ventura with P&O Cruises. P&O Cruises Ventura is 116,000 tonnes first entered service in 2008 and was refurbished in 2013. The ship has a capacity of 3,078 passengers with 1,205 crew. In the refurbishment The Ramblas has been replaced by The Glass House by Olly Smith. The two week Caribbean Cruise visited the ports of St Vincent, Dominica, St Lucia, Antigua, St Kitts, Grand Turk, Tortola, St Maarten and Barbados. Embarkation The embarkation process was smooth and efficient. At Barbados airport a coach was waiting to take you straight to the ship and you luggage was taken from the plane to your ship and into your cabin. This is the most impressive embarkation on to a cruise ship with a long haul flight I have every experienced. Usually after a long haul flight you have to queue at Passport Control for half an hour to an hour before collecting your luggage to take to a transfer coach or taxi. Ports St Vincent It rained when we were there. Not much to see at Kingstown the capital of St Vincent as it is not set up for cruise ships. If the weather is good I would recommend an excursion to Mustique. Dominica The capital is Roseau where the ship docks. I went for a walk from the ship to the capital. The capital was full of tourist shops but the streets had some open sewers and were very smelly. There was a lot of poverty in Roseau and I was approached by several beggars. St Lucia I went zip lining which was excellent with eight runs. Ideal if you are looking for something different. For first timers I would recommend the Land and Seat Tour of the island. Castries the capital of the island of St Lucia is excellent for shopping. Antigua In Antigua I went to the Coconut Grove Beach which is a picture postcard Caribbean Beach. Antigua is famous for it's beaches with one for every day of the year so in Antigua it would be rude not to go to the beach. For history buffs and culture vultures P&O Cruises offered an island tour. The ship docks in St Johns right in the heart of the Capital. It is a good town for shopping and felt like one the safest islands in the Caribbean. St Kitts The ships docks in Basseterre the capital of St Kitts and has excellent shopping facilities. I took an excursion on the train around St Kitts running on the line that was used to transport sugar cane. Sugar Cane production was stopped in 2004 after it became unprofitable. The train takes you in the heart of St Kitts to give you a feel for the island. Grand Turk The ship docks in a purpose built pier and terminal at the south of the island. Grand Turk is a small island with salt ponds and white coral sand beaches. The beaches here are some of the best in the Caribbean. Grand Turk feels like the Bahamas but with warmer weather. Grand Turk is an island paradise. Tortola The ship docks at the edge of Road Town the capital of Tortola and the British Virgin Islands. Road Town is very small with a few basic amenities a few tourist shops. I went on an excursion to Virgin Gorda and to Devils Bay beach. The beach at Devils Bay is one of the best in the world and is how I would imagine a beach in the Seychelles. The beach at Devils Bay was one of the highlights of the cruise and my only disappointment with the P&O Cruises excursion is that we got 45 minutes at the beach, when 2 - 3 hours would have been better. We caught the 12:30pm ferry back from Virgin Gorda to Tortola whereas a ferry at 2.30pm - 3.30pm would have been much better. St Maarten The ship docks at Phillipsburg, St Maarten which is one of the best capital cities in the Caribbean. The duty free shopping in Phillipsburg, St Maarten is amazing with extremely low prices on tobacco products and alcohol. If you are going to buy duty free loose tobacco, cigarettes or alcohol Phillipsburg, St Maarten is the place to buy it. It did a snorkeling excursion by catamaran which was excellent and they kept the rum punch flowing. In the Caribbean Rum Punch is the national drink similar to Vodka in Russia and Pints of Beer in Britain. Barbados The ship docks at the industrial port at the edge of Bridgetown, Barbados. As Barbados is a former British Island they are very welcoming to British tourists. Although the currency they prefer is US Dollars not British Pounds. I would recommend the US Dollar as the currency to take to the Caribbean Islands. I did an excursion to swim with Turtles which is great, snorkeling over a shipwreck with lots of fish and coral in Carlisle Bay and then off to a beach for a while. Dining I opted for Club Dining on the Ventura and chose second sitting at 8:30pm on a table for 10 in the excellent Baytree Restaurant. The decor was classic P&O with dark browns and badges. The service from our two waiters was superb and when you made a special request they would get you what you wanted if it was possible to do so. There were three formal nights when you had to wear a dinner jacket or tuxedo for men or an evening gown for ladies and eleven smart casual nights. The dress code was strictly enforced. For breakfast I went to the Waterside Buffet which had a superb choice of cereals, fresh fruits, yoghurts and a full English Breakfast as well. There was also an area for Omlette's. The only downside was that there were no hash browns but fried potatoes were available. For those that prefer Waiter Service the Saffron Restaurant was available from 7.00am - 9.00am every morning. For lunch I usually dined at the Waterside Buffet which had a good choice of hot and cold food. Everything needed for a salad was available. If you prefer something hot there was usually a choice of two meats and vegtables, Fish Pies, Lasagne, Mousaka, rice and occasionally Curries. For lunch if you didn't want to go to the Waterside Buffet Hot Dogs and Burgers were available at Frankies Grill. Pizza's and Ice Cream at Frankies Pizzeria. The Cinnamon Restaurant was open from 12:00pm - 1:30pm for those that prefer Waiter Service. The Select Dining Venues are the White Room Marco Pierre's Restaurant and Atul Kochhars East. The White Room is a five star restaurant which charges £25pp for an enhanced menu. The White Room offers dining similar to the Celebrity Chef restaurants in London at a fraction of the price. The equivalent Gordon Ramsay London Restaurant meals start at £80pp. East is the Asian Fusion Restaurant designed by Atul Kochhar and charges £15pp. I didn't dine at these restaurants but fellow passengers on my table did and they were impressed with the quality of food in the White Room and the variety on offer in East. I also dined at the Beach House which is a section of the Waterside Buffet which offers Waiter Service at night. The service in the Beach House was good but not as personal as that received in the Baytree Restaurant. The quality of food in the Beach House was as good as the Baytree Restaurant. Drinks The drinks on Ventura are the lowest prices I have seen on a cruise ship. They were much lower than Royal Caribbean, NCL, Costa Cruises and MSC Cruises. Plus they don't charge a 15% tip on every drinks purchase. The drinks service on board the ship was very good with attentive waiters. You could get pints of beer in the Exchange and watch the football if you wanted to. This area was particularly popular on sea days. The price of a pint of beer was less than a small bottle of 330ml on Royal Caribbean. With Royal Caribbean for the price of one small bottle of beer you get two bottles of beer with P&O Cruises when you add the 15% gratuity to the bill with Royal Caribbean. A pint of beer costs £4.75 at the exchange bottles ranged from about £3.50 - £4.50. Spirit mixer drinks were good value at under £4. There are lots of venues to drink on board Ventura. The night club Havana was a popular place to drink after midnight as it was the last place going late at night. Metropolis on Deck 16 at the rear of the ship has a video wall with a different city a night and was a popular spot for a drink and music with a live band. They also had good value wine packages, coke packages and ice cream packages which you could buy on the ship. If you like drinking lots of wine, coke or eat lots of ice cream I would recommend purchasing a package on board the ship. Entertainment I watched most of the 10:30pm in the superb two deck Arena Theatre. The theatre was grand without being ostentatious, understated in a rather British way. The singing and dancing shows by the Headliners were great and the best I have seen on a Cruise Ship. The Comedian Mark Walker was very good and his impressions of Billy Connolly and Liam Gallagher were spot on. He could be the new Alistair McGowan. I was impressed that after the second sitting there was a show in the Arena Theatre at 10:30pm every night. Whereas on some other Cruise Lines the Show is a 7:15pm before the Second Sitting. This is particularly annoying on formal and black tie nights when you have to get dressed up for dinner. From 11:30pm there was always a singer at the Tamarind Club on Deck 7. Although the singer was always singing music from the 1950's, 1960's and 1970's. The ships nightclub the Cuban Themed Havana was a popular for dancing after midnight. From 10:30pm comedians, singers and quizzes often took place at Havana. Disembarkation The disembarkation process was very efficient by P&O Cruises. I disembarked on a Saturday and you had to fill out a form and complete the process at 7:00am on Friday morning. On Saturday morning you had to disembark your cabin by 9:00am and you were allowed to stay on the ship until 1:00pm when the coach left for the airport. Between 9:00am and 1:00pm the Arena Theatre was used to leave your luggage so you didn't have to carry it around. Gripes You had to pay for the Mr Whippy Ice Cream onboard the ship at Frankies Pizzeria. On other cruise ships I have been on Mr Whippy Ice Cream is included in the price and a self service machine is provided in the Buffet Restaurant. The Hot Dogs and Burgers at Frankies Grill were located so you would buy a drink with if from one of the bars nearby. On other ships the Hot Dogs and Burgers were available in the Buffet Restaurant. Tazzine the ships Coffee Shop located on Deck 5 only had items available for purchase. If you wanted a large biscuit or a cup cake you had to purchase a branded coffee or branded tea. On other cruise ships opposite the Coffee Shop there was a self service tea and coffee machine and you could get large biscuit of a cup cake for free. The title of the menu's in the Baytree Restaurant were in French. P&O Cruises caters mainly for British Passengers whose first language and often only language is English. If I cruised on a French Ship I would be surprised if the menu was in English. American ships have menu's in English, Italian Ships in Italian why P&O Cruises didn't have menu's in English I don't know. Nearly every night I had to ask the waiter to explain the menu as it was in French and get an English translation. Some nights the Menu might as well have been in Egyptian Hieroglyphs, Mandarin Chinese or Swahili. An example was Sachertorte, I did not have the foggiest what this was. The waiter told me it was Chocolate Cake. Why P&O could have called it Chocolate Cake to make it easier to understand I just don't know. A lot of the excursion were only for 3 - 4 hours and left at 8:00am - 9:00am in the morning leaving you with the rest of the afternoon to find something to do. Summary The P&O Cruises Ship Ventura is one of the best ships I have ever been on along with Royal Caribbean's Liberty Of The Seas. The Superior Deluxe Balcony Cabin was superb and is the best cabin I have ever had on a cruise ship. The facilities on board the ship are excellent and you will never be bored on Ventura. The drinks on Ventura are the lowest prices I have ever seen on a cruise ship. The entertainment was the best I have ever had on a cruise ship. Both the dancers, singers and comedians were superb. It is certainly geared up well for British Passengers. I was impressed with P&O Cruises that there was no old fashioned bingo advertised or Mr & Mrs quiz that takes place on Royal Caribbean, NCL, Costa and MSC Cruises. Plus there was minimal selling of art, the casino, drinks, excursions, shopping, etc which can drive you mad on cruise ships. The soft sell of P&O Cruises is appreciated by its passengers unlike the hard sell that you get on other cruise lines. The Caribbean is the best place in the world to go cruising as the islands are set up perfectly for cruise ships.   Read Less
Sail Date: December 2013
Our Christmas and New Year cruise was brilliant and we have recommended the cruise to friends and family. I have no links or allegiance to P&O although it is the only cruise line that we have experienced. We are a family of ... Read More
Our Christmas and New Year cruise was brilliant and we have recommended the cruise to friends and family. I have no links or allegiance to P&O although it is the only cruise line that we have experienced. We are a family of 'foodies' who like the occasional glass of wine and I think we are representative of most working families in the UK. With regards to the food, which appears to be a common thread for some complaints, I think that there are a multitude of options available to suit everybody at lunchtime. Yes, there is always a curry, or two, but these are extremely popular with most passengers and are on the menu because of customer demand. Alternatives are the extremely popular and good quality salad bar, a range of cheeses and biscuits as well as fresh bread buns, a BBQ grill, pizzeria and silver service dining. The silver service restaurants on an evening offer two menus; a 'classic menu' which contains old favourites such as prawn cocktail, tomato soup and other options to start with, followed by a salmon dish, steak or chicken. In addition there was a menu of the day which changed daily. We ate venison, guinea fowl, goose and a good range of fish dishes. Not once did we have a poor meal. The meals on Christmas night and New Years Eve were excellent. I genuinely fail to see how people are disappointed with the food. Our only misgiving is the fact that P&O have introduced the concept of pre-plated meals in the dining rooms so your meal comes with the vegetables already on the plate, as does the cheeseboard. This does make the dining experience slightly less special as it isn't conducive to 'fine dining'. We always sat on deck 7 beside the Beachcomber pool and there were always plenty of staff from whom to order drinks. There were always a high number of drinks staff on duty on the poolside and in the bars and restaurants. There was a high number of children and teenagers on the cruise. Some parents clearly had no idea where their offspring were or what they were doing. We did see a rowdy group in the swimming pool but they were stopped by an officer within a few minutes. We did see groups of teenagers sprawled on the floor in the buffet restaurant on one occasion late at night and commented that they should have been told to sit at a table. On previous cruises we have been aware of youth security officers patrolling the ship whose job it is to monitor groups of youths but we didn't see any on this cruise. That said, I regularly saw youth staff clearing groups of kids away from the stairs and lifts. Overall it is a family cruise during a school holiday and there are always going to be a number of passengers under the age of 18 and the majority were well behaved and polite. There were 12 lifts on board and one was out of service but that left 11 remaining. Having had many conversations with other passengers all but two said that they had had a fabulous time and loved every facet of their cruise (apart from Dominica). The two dissenters gave me the impression that they would have found always something to complain about. The staff were excellent and attentive but not to the point of being obsequious. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2013
My family and I have not long returned from our 4th P&O Cruise on board Ventura from 21st Dec-5th Jan 2014 and unfortunately our expectations were not met and sadly we will not be back on a P&O Cruise. I would like to let you know ... Read More
My family and I have not long returned from our 4th P&O Cruise on board Ventura from 21st Dec-5th Jan 2014 and unfortunately our expectations were not met and sadly we will not be back on a P&O Cruise. I would like to let you know on how disappointed we all were and of how much the standards have dropped overall from our past visits onboard. The overall interior of the appearance of Ventura is now a bit of a let down, looking shabby, with carpets fraying and with stains and soiled marks. The service from bar and waiter staff was very poor. They were extremely slow, unenthusiastic, and clearly not enough workers to comply to the amount of passengers onboard. On one occasion we waited fifty minutes to receive our drinks, we were in the theatre this evening and got our order in sharp but clearly were last to receive our drinks after I had to complain to the bar man. He brought my husbands and two daughters drinks but forgot my wine and had to run back to the bar to get it. By this point the Headliners Theatre Group were on there last song of the show…absolutely ridiculous! On a whole the food at the Bay Tree over the two weeks cruise was average. On past cruises we have always came home and said the food was amazing, but unfortunately this was not to be this time. My family and I could really only say we enjoyed a couple of dinners throughout our two weeks. The removal of the silver service and the portion sizes were shocking, i.e six chips or two potatoes of which was one whole one but had been cut in half to serve on the plate or four sprouts etc. people with big appetites would never survive. The buffet lunches were very monotonous, salad, curry, or stew. After two to three days we ended up eating from the pizza and burger bar. Our cabin cleaner ‘Ana’ was not up to scratch either, when we went to our muster training and took down the lifejackets from the top shelf in our cabin a black dirty sock fell down from the shelf. This was clearly from a previous holiday maker. We also had to ask for a new bar of soap for washing our hands. The small bar was finished in a few days and we had nothing thereafter until I went and asked her for another one, toilet paper and tissues were also an issue. Ana definitely did not have high expectations as the standards were of something you would expect from a basic hotel, not a luxury cruise liner! My two girls registered and attended the H20 kids club while on Ventura. The workers there were really very rude and unsociable. And after several visits to the club my girls still went unrecognised, were never asked their names, or asked to take part in any activities. My girls used to love going to the kids club onboard Ventura and would talk endlessly about things they had gotten up to, however the result was the total opposite on this cruise. Both were bored to say the least! This also seems to be the case for others as gangs of teenagers were hanging about on Deck 19, being rowdy and a bit out of control as there was not anything running in the kids club. Apart from the resident Headliner Theatre Group who all work very hard and put on some spectacular shows, there was not much more of interest entertainment wise. This on a whole was very disappointing as we found ourselves in bed early most nights and we were on holiday supposed to be living it up. Christmas and New Year onboard this cruise to us was a real let down and know for sure that we would have had better celebrations if we’d been in either Benidorm or Tenerife at half the price! Finally would like to take this point to praise Nico and Michael, our two waiters from the Bay Tree restaurant. They were top class, very friendly, chatty, enthusiastic and very hard working. Made dinner time enjoyable! Read Less
Sail Date: December 2013
This was our first Christmas P&O Caribbean cruise and we were very impressed with the organisation at the airport once we arrived in Barbados on the 20th December. We were taken by minibus directly from the plane to check-in at the ... Read More
This was our first Christmas P&O Caribbean cruise and we were very impressed with the organisation at the airport once we arrived in Barbados on the 20th December. We were taken by minibus directly from the plane to check-in at the ship and this was efficient but a little slow. We were on E deck with a restricted cabin view. Our cabin was comfortable and kept clean by Dennis, our steward. Our overall impression of the Ventura was good, offering excellent entertainment and the entertainment team did their utmost to ensure everyone enjoyed themselves. One of the best nights was the pantomime, it was a great laugh and even the staff enjoyed doing it. Overall the restaurant staff were very friendly and the food quality and menu choices were excellent. Only one little criticism was that the waiters should all be trained in the same way to ensure that the female orders are taken before the male orders and that the food should be served from the side rather than across people. We enjoyed freedom dining as it gave us greater flexibility. We did feel that the price of the professional photographs at £9.95 were rather expensive and unfortunately some of the ones we liked were slightly blurred and not worth the money. We also were happy with the prices of drinks on board and the offer of soda packages and would have welcomed a draft beer package! and it was good to see everything priced in pounds. We returned from Bonaire to Barbados in one day instead of two due to a medical emergency and we do hope that the person involved makes a speedy recovery. We thoroughly enjoyed the combination of ports we visited and since we have returned we have already made a booking for December 2014 on Ventura for the same dates so this proves it was a good holiday and we look forward to meeting up with people from this cruise. Overall a great atmosphere on board for Christmas and New Year with a very Great British sail away from Bonaire. We are both nearing our 60s and were amazed that people have complained about the younger generation being loud and drunk. We feel this comment was not fully justifiable as we only came across a couple of younger drunk people late on New Year's Eve. Considering this was a Christmas cruise we felt the young people should allowed to enojoy themselves and they caused us any problems.   Read Less
Sail Date: December 2013
Just returned from Christmas Cruise on Ventura. First with P&O and will be last. Flight and check in was fine and embarkation excellent as no immigration. As we boarded the ship via the Atrium we were all expecting the wow factor. ... Read More
Just returned from Christmas Cruise on Ventura. First with P&O and will be last. Flight and check in was fine and embarkation excellent as no immigration. As we boarded the ship via the Atrium we were all expecting the wow factor. How disappointing is was. Very small and plain and non descript really. We had booked a superior deluxe balcony cabin which was quite expensive. On arrival cabin was tatty bath was very chipped which had gone black and there was black mould on the tiles above the bath. Bedding was worn with holes in and voiles on patio window were torn. Carpet was stained and soiled. I complained but to no avail as ship was full. Housekeeper was promised to cpme and look at cabin but this never happened. Then I learned that some people had been upgraded to a cabin equivalent to ours without extra charge What a joke. Food in dining room each evening was good and the service was excellent and waiters really friendly and professionall.Food at lunchtime in buffet was poor repetitive andToo many curries every day especially as we were in the Caribbean. Cottage Pie nearlyevery day and stew which was then a cobblers pie the day after.It was certainly not luxurious cruise food more like canteen food. We had to pay for ice cream which I have never done before on any ship I have been on and queued for 20 minutes each time as only one person serving. Entertainment was good overall. The clientel left a lot to be desired and the behaviour of some of the guests was unacceptable. We were told by returning passengers that the standards had really dropped. Two toilets on the outer decks for 3,000 passengers were inadequate for a ship of that size and on sea days and New years eve the sea became a toilet for the men due to the lengthy queues. There were teenagers lying around really drunk on New Years Eve with no parental control. Having said that some teenagers just hung around in groups and did no harm to no one. They were just young people having a good time. On disembarkation day we decided to go on the Farewell to Barbados excursion as we would be dropped off at the airport at 2.30pm. The excursion included lunch which was disgraceful and following lunch we were taken straight to the airport and dropped off at 1.00pm. We then had a five hour wait in the airport before our 5.55pm flight home. To summarise this cruise is an overpriced Butlins at Sea experience. I shall stick to Princess and Royal Caribbean for future cruises as both are far superior to P&O. Just because we are British doesn't mean we have to stay British on holiday.   Read Less
Sail Date: November 2013
2nd time cruiser and was totally disappointed in level of service , but what got me more than anything was that some people payed less than half of what we paid for a balcony cabin.... We had booked everything so we could have the ... Read More
2nd time cruiser and was totally disappointed in level of service , but what got me more than anything was that some people payed less than half of what we paid for a balcony cabin.... We had booked everything so we could have the 'holiday of a lifetime' and to be honest, we would have been better going back to Egypt to our favourite resort - we could have been there 5 times for what we paid. Food not so good, got food poisoning, the only good thing about this ship was the weather and the people we met....fantastic and 6 out of 8 ports were superb,but never again will I cruise a British cruise line. As a nation we really do have a lower expectation than the Americans. I spoke to other on board who were shocked , discussed and disappointed who said that they could only use the experience to never cruise P&O again, but highly recommend Princess cruises and Royal Carrbean. Totally agree - I went on Royal Carribean before and spent £2k less for 2 wks and was in a similar sized tom, but the food, people and the ship were absolutely 1st class, staff were excellent.....if only we could turn the clock back...so very disappointed in this holiday. Would never recommend this cruise to anyone - use another cruise line........ Read Less
Sail Date: November 2013
2nd time cruiser and was totally disappointed in level of service , but what got me more than anything was that some people payed less than half of what we paid for a balcony cabin.... We had booked everything so we could have the ... Read More
2nd time cruiser and was totally disappointed in level of service , but what got me more than anything was that some people payed less than half of what we paid for a balcony cabin.... We had booked everything so we could have the 'holiday of a lifetime' and to be honest, we would have been better going back to Egypt to our favourite resort - we could have been there 5 times for what we paid. Food not so good, got food poisoning, the only good thing about this ship was the weather and the people we met....fantastic and 6 out of 8 ports were superb,but never again will I cruise a British cruise line. As a nation we really do have a lower expectation than the Americans. I spoke to other on board who were shocked , discussed and disappointed who said that they could only use the experience to never cruise P&O again, but highly recommend Princess cruises and Royal Carrbean. Totally agree - I went on Royal Carribean before and spent £2k less for 2 wks and was in a similar sized tom, but the food, people and the ship were absolutely 1st class, staff were excellent.....if only we could turn the clock back...so very disappointed in this holiday. Would never recommend this cruise to anyone - use another cruise line........ Read Less
Sail Date: December 2011
We have been with P and O before but have been on an assortment of other cruise ships since. So we decided that Ventura would be a good choice for Christmas in the sun departing and returning from Barbados. I regret that we found the ... Read More
We have been with P and O before but have been on an assortment of other cruise ships since. So we decided that Ventura would be a good choice for Christmas in the sun departing and returning from Barbados. I regret that we found the ship dirty, many of the public areas were simply not cleaned often enough, the floors were not hoovered and glass work and handles not polished, some of the public toilets do not have a very good smell. We found the entertainment to be low quality although the 'Headliners' stage shows were good. Although a very nice man perhaps the cruise director need replacing with a younger one with new ideas and energy but I suspect the problem was more with the budget allocated to him. The food was okay in main restaurant but the quality had dropped drastically since we last sailed with P and O. The food in the buffet was very poor. Very little choice and mostly English type meals, cottage pie, pasty etc. One of the things we enjoy about cruising is the choice in the buffet of worldwide cuisine. This was real Butlins type food. The East Restaurant (which had a surcharge) had little choice and not very exciting food. The White Room, again an extra charge was quite good. We found the crew across the ship to be lazy and we thought that they had little interest in doing their job. The crew in the casino were the worst. We will never touch P and O again and I know that many more of the passengers on Ventura felt the same. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2011
We flew out to Ventura on the 31st Dec in time for New Years Eve. We were on her previously last Christmas and also in May 2011. We had yet another very enjoyable cruise. We were a couple of 45 and 50 with my sister of 50 and my Mum of 76. ... Read More
We flew out to Ventura on the 31st Dec in time for New Years Eve. We were on her previously last Christmas and also in May 2011. We had yet another very enjoyable cruise. We were a couple of 45 and 50 with my sister of 50 and my Mum of 76. Overall we had a superb cruise. Ventura does most things well. Its a reliable cruise experience and is relatively good value. We booked at only 1 months notice and got a great deal. The ports were mostly great. We didnt take any excursions as Mum need a wheelchair where walking distances is required but still enojoyed our jaunts ashore. Our favourites were St Maartin and Grenada. Having been on here three times in 13 months we did notice some differences. None of these spoilt the cruise but for regular passengers on her it may be worth nothing the following: Showtimes On previous trips on Ventura and Azura, the evening show in the main theatre usually had three performances at approx 7pm, 8.30pm and 10.30pm. This allowed a choice of performance for any club sitting passengers. Those on first sitting could choose the 8.30 or 10.30 show and those on second sitting could choose the 7 or 10.30 show. You could also coordinate it to fit in the a performance in Havanna or Tamerind. However, things had changed on this trip. The theatre only had two performances, 8.30 and 10.30. This doesnt affect those on first sitting so much but if you are on second sitting you only have the option of the last showtime. It also means you cannot get to fit in a performance in Havanna as well as the start times clash with those in the main theatre. Its a bit of a double whammy for second sitters and also meant those on freedom dining may have needed to be more selective in their choice of dining times in order to fit in performances. Also as there was one less theatre show per evening the others were much busier. One one evening, we finished our second sitting meal at 9.50, went straight to Havanna for a 10.30 act and there were no seats left. We walked though to the theatre and again could not get in so no entertainment for us that night. We chose second sitting based on our previous experiences so we could see an early show, have dinner and then take in an act in Havanna or Tamerind alas this was not possible on this trip. As we had seen many of the shows and acts previously this did not impact on us as greatly as it may impact on others but it is a major change to the way in which the evening entertainment is scheduled and I overheard others complaining. I did get to speak to one of the entertainment team about this and they advised that as this 2 week cruise included a lot of people who had opted to take the 1 month cruise they decided they would not need three shows per night for our 2 weeks. I pointed out how it affected us and others particularly those on 2nd sitting and she advised she had just come off Azura and had found the 7 o'clock show to be quiet and therefore it was better to concentrate people into two shows per evening. I hope this is not permanent change they implement. The theatre holds 700 for a ship of 3000+ passengers and therefore only two performances isnt good enough. Feedback from the forum seems to suggest P&O have done this before on Azura which is a little worrying. Drinks prices Some prices have risen. For example in Dec 2010 a pint of Stella was $2.95. It is now $3.50, a rise of 18%. You could previously buy a litre caraffe of house wine in the MDR for $11.95. This has now gone and house wine is in 75cl bottles at $12.95. Thats a rise of 50%. Other drink prices have also risen incl some cocktails but these are the prices I noticed as they are the ones we have previously partaken of. Bottled water too has risen in price. Now P&O still have good value drink prices however such sharp price rises appear to be more than simply reflecting inflation and may hint at a subtle change in direction for P&O onboard pricing. Menus This was the first time we have experienced the new menus in the MDR. The changes are not enourmous. As has already been reported the 'always available' Chicken, Salmon and Steak options have gone. As has the prawn cocktail, unpublished, but always available starter. We found the choice of starters a little more difficult than previously. Many were simply trying to be too fancy and we did find we were trying them but leaving our choices more than previously.The soups however were extremely good and better than before. There is extra choice in the mains sections which now usually features a from the grill section and/or local produce option dependant on your port of call. Also the veg served seperately has been reduced from three to two options but this is still plenty. Fish appears much more frequently, in fact on one evening fish formed 3 of the 7 options. Two of our party love fish so this pleased them however it has to be said the fish portions were very small but nicely cooked. For those who dont like fish their choices have been reduced. We did crave a simple steak or piece of salmon from the always available section on occassion and it is a shame this has been dropped (we did find out half way through that the chicken option remains always available but I am unsure why given that its not mentioned anywhere and only offered when we enquired). This was the first time we had moved from freedom dining to club dining and our views of the service we had previously received in freedom dining have been reinforced. The service in club was far better: much more personable, friendly and attentive and at the end of the two weeks we definately thought they had earned their tips. We had a great rapport with our waiters and they got to know our preferences. Our previous views of the service in freedom dining have been that it was mostly functional but hardly warm and friendly and had been occassionally disorganised with widely varying meal durations. We had tried it on Azura once and twice on Ventura and had the same experience each time and having now had the comparison of the service levels in club dining it is clear that the waiters in club work for their tips. It will be interesting to see if standards in club slip once the tips start being automatically added to passengers onboard accounts this year. Our waiter in Club had actually been our waiter in Freedom dining twice in May last year and the difference in his level of service was so visible. I have to mention that for the second time in a year we experienced Huey Taylor as Cruise Director. I hate to pick someone out personally but this role has a huge impact on passenger enjoyment and on how they view the connection between the cruise company and themselves and unfortunately Huey just doesnt suit Ventura at all. He was uttely invisiable apart from daily lacklustre announcements reading out the contents of Horizon. He appears to delegate everything to his team (who are excellent) and I really cannot understand why he is in this role on this size of vessel. A CD needs to inject enthusiasm but he lacks any connection with passengers. What is it with P&O and cruise director role? Surely there are better in the ranks who would jump at the chance to bring some enthusiasm to this job? Anyway, despite the differences noticed between this and previous cruises, we loved out New Year cruise and would not hesitate to chose Ventura again. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2011
Starting with the positives: All Ports of call made up for the short falls of P & O. St.Marten take water taxi to beach great shops typical port duty free. Grand Turk dune buggy excursion great but island small so don't waste ... Read More
Starting with the positives: All Ports of call made up for the short falls of P & O. St.Marten take water taxi to beach great shops typical port duty free. Grand Turk dune buggy excursion great but island small so don't waste money on any island tours, beach great but take to right of quay for seclusion. Shops good. Tortola 16$ pp gets a shared taxi to Great cane beach or Brewster's beach if you want less crowds be careful of crashing waves a few sore faces and a very bad injury to a fellow cruiser sadly. St Kitts railway not to be missed very popular so book early rum punch on board train very strong pina colada bliss. Antigua treated ourselves to helicopter ride to Montserrat to view volcano and abandoned villages glad we didn't miss this holiday highlight. St Lucia went in shared taxi to waterfalls and volcanic spring also good views of Pitons quite a bit of travelling wish we had taken boat trip to view Pitons instead roads very winding. Dominica went on excursion with PO to TiTou gorge (pirates of caribbean two shot here)and hot springs escape fantastic and if you land lucky and get Elephant and Cammy as guides they may tell you some jokes too blue for general airing but great fun.St Vincent got taxi to wallibou beach scene of pirates of Caribbean one, our driver also took us to wallibou falls, botanical gardens and Port Charlotte thanks Vivienne and it cost just 20$ pp bargain. Then sadly to Barbados at end of cruise went to Harrison's caves the 8Th wonder of the world but a tad too commercial. Negatives now: Cabin L255 at great location on lido deck and you wake up to great views most mornings. You also get good view to crows nest. We were on second dining at 830pm waiters never even introduced themselves!! company at table was exceptional and we made great friends. Unfortunately if you choose second sitting on night of shows at 8pm and 1030 there is no chance you can view them standing room only so a bit of a raw deal here. General buffet breakfast and lunch hard to get seats and waiters too slow to clear tables very seldom smile and cleanliness poor hardly clean tables between guests. Very British plain fare served, you definitely wont starve but repetitive.Cereal bowls always hot!! Sun beds impossible to get even though you are not allowed to reserve them selfish cruisers do there was even a proper fight between guests about this not very good PO should do something about this to save future disputes IE attendants? decks always had empty plates glasses lying around for ages with staff walking past them !!Also we were leaving on Saturday and we had to attend immigration at 7am on Friday, again no shows on Friday only entertainment worth seeing was on LIDO deck at 10pm we don't finish diner till after 10 so missed that! ship like ghost ship on Friday night no atmosphere on what should have been a fun last evening we were lucky to have good friends to enjoy socialising with on last night. Also had to vacate cabin at 9am on departure day and didn't get picked up till 2pm so last two days of holiday not so relaxing. Having said all that still managed to have lovely holiday but it was more down to ports of call, fantastic weather and a lovely circle of friends. If P&O want to keep customers returning they need to step up there service. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2011
As first time cruisers we were fortunate enough to experience the Carribbean for my partners 60th/retirement celebrations. We decided that as we often visit the Med, that we wanted something special.And.....special it was!! However it ... Read More
As first time cruisers we were fortunate enough to experience the Carribbean for my partners 60th/retirement celebrations. We decided that as we often visit the Med, that we wanted something special.And.....special it was!! However it would have been equally special if we had sailed around in circles!!The ship definately made the holiday, what a fantastic experience. The size of the ship was the first shock, nothing could have prepared us for how vast it is. Secondly the security/organisation/and speed of boarding etc was amazing for almost 3500 passengers. No amout of reviews or photographs could prepare you for the facilities on board and the excellent staff who assisted our every need. The web site will tell you of all the restaurants/ bars/ entertainment available so I will just try to elaborate with some of our experiences. we had a super deluxe cabin which was far more somfortable than some expensive hotels we have stayed in. To sit on the balcony wearing our complimentary bathrobes, sipping complimentary champagne, overlooking the most fantastic sunsets I have seen conributed to the most relaxing holiday we have experienced. We chose to pre book 6 trips with P and O and were relly glad that we did. Yes, we could have had excursions in port that were cheaper , or taken local taxi's to a local beach etc, but I defy anyone to prove that they would provide such good value. We took one local trip with another group of people and had to agree that you need to be very careful about confirming what is included in the price. We specifically wanted to visit the live volcano in St Lucia...which we went to with the tour guide.However he omitted to inform us that the entrance fee for that and a botanical garden were not included!!!! So unless you merely want to visit a beach I would be wary. Our trips included swimming with Turtles and Stingrays which was a fantastic opportunity and experience, tubing down the Pagua river which was really good fun,a fantastice scenic trip on the Sugar Train,and a cycling trip around St Maarten which was probably the only trip we thought was overpriced. The onboard entertainment was amazing and our daily newspaper helped us to plan the day to suit ourselves.We usually opted for the early showing in the theatre before dinner, so that we could also manage to visit Havana for one of the tribute singers/ comedy acts. Each to their own but being bored was never an option. The restaurants are exceptional, and we personally preferred the buffet restaurants for breakfast or lunch only as the fine dining restaurants made the holiday even more special. The White room is a MUST to visit and East was a lovely change with beautifully presented food. My only criticism was that the 'towels on sunbed malarky' still existed and it was often very difficult to get near to the swimming pools. It is a good idea to enjoy the peace and quiet on 'Port ' days. I could go on and on about how fantastic it was but if I simply said that we very reluctantly left our cabin at the end of the trip vowing to return ASAP!! Read Less
Sail Date: February 2011
Arrived in Barbados after a 9 hour flight without inflight entertainment(TOM194)out of Manchester.Everyone on the flight had blankets around them it was that cold.From airport to ship was excellent no waiting about.We checked into the ... Read More
Arrived in Barbados after a 9 hour flight without inflight entertainment(TOM194)out of Manchester.Everyone on the flight had blankets around them it was that cold.From airport to ship was excellent no waiting about.We checked into the boarding sheds very quickly and then we were held up by the bain of the whole cruise yes a PHOTOGRAPHER. Reached cabin D729 VERY NICE INDEED,there was champagne, chocolates and fruit waiting great start on board. The Ventura is a beautiful ship even though we hadn't cruised before to compare it with.The main entertainment centre was the Arena theatre which holds approx 900 and is very comfortable.Las Ramblas is a very comfortable meeting place for a drink it could be a room in any top class hotel. The Tamarind bar is a beautiful room but unfortunately is the centre for the Ballroom dancers and therefore is only fully utilized if there is entertainment on following the dancing.Nightclub Havanna is at the stern of the ship and is a very poorly shaped room so much so that there is numerous TV screens around the room in order to see the entertainment. This is also where LIBBY and her cronies entertain themselves dancing the night away when supposedly working. We were booked first sitting 6.30pm in the BAY TREE restaurant, all the food we had was of a very good standard the only drawback was that the food was not very warm when it reached our table which was the furthest from the galley.We also dined in the WHITE ROOM on two ocassions which for the extra £20pp was well worth the experience.During the day we used the Waterside restaurant the self service food was edible but on board it was known as the CANTEEN.Not only are the plates red hot but also the trays are the hottest anywhere. After our day in Barbados we set sail for BONAIRE 36 hours away.This is when we found out about the squealing screaming kids on board who are allowed by their parents and staff alike to do as they please and ruin everyone elses relaxation. If you require a nice relaxing holiday after 12 months hard graft DO NOT GO ON THE VENTURA.Not only are there young children, roaming the ship at will are teenagers who sit on stairs or anywhere they want to which is not very nice on a beautiful cruise ship. On the Islands visited I can honestly say that there is not a lot to choose between any of them they all have the same shops/sheds selling alot of junk, they all have taxi drivers trying to rip you off with island tours if you haven't been ripped off by P&O who are even dearer.The only Islands I would reccommend is ST MAARTEN and maybe GRAND TURK the latter is only 1x7 miles. On the cruise there are 4 formal nights which if your are a normal guy like me will have you heaving as the dolled up snobs who stroll round licking a--e as if they are really someone.On the first formal evening the Captain greeted his subjects like the pope by standing on a balcony in the Atrium, pass me a bucket.This is where the most annoying thing apart from the screaming kids on Ventura starts in earnest and never stops until you leave the ship THE PHOTOGRAPHERS believe me they never leave you alone whether you are walking eating drinking they are there it is pathetic, i now know why famous people hate the paparazzi they are in your face all the time. Entertainment is worse than any working mens club that i have visited.To save time i will just give examples from both ends of the spectrum, the best which both came on the last two days were Martin Daniels a comedian/magician and a Neil Diamond tribute act who was very good.At the other end for adult entertainment in the night club we had Mr Biscuit who made dogs from balloons and a so called comedian by the name of ANDY FORD who emptied the room in 15minutes flat they were an absolute disgrace. So there you have it folks don't be fooled by all the hype about cruise ships,if you want to spend a fortune on what is basically a captive holiday go, if not steer clear because for what you will pay out you could do at least 3 holidays a year al a carte virtually anywhere.Finally do not be fooled by the on board spend offered it does not last 5 minutes and we did not purchase any photographs at £15 a time.If you have booked this ship just pray that all the kids are at school if not take some big earplugs. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2011
CONS On first sight - what a monster. First time we'd cruised on a 3,000 passenger ship, and by day 14 we were still getting lost! On arrival NO champagne reception, which we'd been used to with other cruise lines, NO-ONE ... Read More
CONS On first sight - what a monster. First time we'd cruised on a 3,000 passenger ship, and by day 14 we were still getting lost! On arrival NO champagne reception, which we'd been used to with other cruise lines, NO-ONE to show us to our cabin, heaven help anyone who's never cruised before. There was something the matter with the staff, especially the waiting on staff, they were quite sullen and obviously not happy with something, although during the cruise some of them perked up and we managed to have a laugh with them. Our balcony cabin was sufficient - except for the shower - which was triangular in shape and quite small which meant that when you bent over to do you legs you had to stick your head out of the curtain - not very nice. Signage on the ship, totally inadequate. All the signs were very dark and difficult to spot and read, needs brightening up a bit so they are easier to spot. No hot water in any of the toilets used by passengers when moving around the ship, NOT ideal for killing bacteria! Experienced a very rough passage on our last nights journey, even experienced cruisers said they had never experienced such a rough journey, hung onto bed and hoped for best. Think that LIBRARY should be in an enclosed room with comfortable seats to relax and read at leisure. Think that CASINO is one of the smallest that I have ever seen and should be totally separate from the adjoining EXCHANGE lounge and music venue. Nail polish used in spa treatments is rubbish, cheap stuff. Chips after a few days. PROS Fellow passengers very pleasant and chatty. Cabin boy very good and helpful, works extremely hard. Food available 24 hours a day, but sometimes a little 'hit & miss' in one or two venues, but you'll never go hungry. Entertainment, First Class, the Venturer Theatre Company were very professional putting on some very good shows, visiting artistes included a singer, Victor Michael, and a comedian Adrian Walsh, who both did two separate shows, Excellent! During our days at sea, attended the Oasis Spa for treatments, overall very good, but nail polish is rubbish, cheap stuff. Guest speakers very interesting, went to a few different talks, learnt a lot. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2011
Just returned from a fantastic fourteen day cruise around the Caribbean. What a way to start your holiday, straight off the plane and on to awaiting coaches avoiding the hassle at the airport and enjoying a drink on the ship less than an ... Read More
Just returned from a fantastic fourteen day cruise around the Caribbean. What a way to start your holiday, straight off the plane and on to awaiting coaches avoiding the hassle at the airport and enjoying a drink on the ship less than an hour after landing. We opted for freedom dining and the staff in the Cinnamon restaurant were very attentive and pleasant at all times. We only had to wait twice for a table and the most we waited was 10 minutes. Excellent spa facilities. Had a Elemis facial, Swedish massage and fourteen day pedicure which still hasn't chipped 18 days later. We dined in The White Room twice, and on one occasion we dined under the stars on our way to Jamaica. We also dined in East once, each time the food and service was exceptional and exceeded any service we have experienced in England. We pre booked the Celebration Package which included champagne, chocolates and flowers on arrival in our cabin, a champagne breakfast in bed, two spa treatments and a portrait photograph for £145 which was exceptional value. The champagne breakfast was so good we decided to book another one during our second week. The entertainment team work very hard, and the sail away parties are not to be missed. A couple of nights there was some movement on the ship, but nothing to worry about. Our favourite bar was The Metropolis (deck 18) where we enjoyed pre and after dinner drinks. It was so relaxing. Overall we has a wonderful holiday, we could not fault P & O cruises and are already looking for next years cruise. 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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