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Sail Date: July 2019
As first family crew chose p and o. Buffet food was average and bland especially at dinner time.Very difficult to find a table at buy times. Staff in buffet restaurant not particularly friendly. Believe other worked. Restaurants included ... Read More
As first family crew chose p and o. Buffet food was average and bland especially at dinner time.Very difficult to find a table at buy times. Staff in buffet restaurant not particularly friendly. Believe other worked. Restaurants included in price Cinnamon and Saffron. Had lovely food and very good service. We paid for food one night in the glasshouse (tapas) that was amazing. Beach house food which you had to pay extra for was average. My food had a hair in it yuk. Put me off. Our steward was excellent very friendly. Most of the other staff were not very smiley and seemed disinterested. Reception staff not very friendly or smiley either. Swimming pools were good but sometimes full of screaming kids. Entertainment was good. We3 - vocal group were amazing. Adele impersonator very good. Metropolis bar was very classy with good views and a guy playing piano. I used the gym. It’s very good with up to date equipment and nice views into the sea. Overall good. But customer service standards could be better. Maybe staff not getting tips anymore is having an affect. We are thinking of trying another cruise company next time to get a better standard of customer service and friendlessness. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2019
This was our second cruise with P and O, the first being last year on Britannia, which was disappointing. We have cruised with different companies previously so do have some idea of expectations! We returned from a cruise to Norway on ... Read More
This was our second cruise with P and O, the first being last year on Britannia, which was disappointing. We have cruised with different companies previously so do have some idea of expectations! We returned from a cruise to Norway on Ventura yesterday we were disappointed to find that there was a lack of activities during the cruise. The tables in some of the bars and on the tables on deck 15 were not cleaned after use. There didn't seem to be enough staff to serve guests in any of the bars and we were not the only ones who failed to be served in the exchange or on deck 15. Some staff we found to be rude. This was not what we expected. We ate in the restaurant and in the Glass house. The Glass house was excellent, it is a shame that the same can not be said for the main restaurant, we were either rushed through courses and left with the menu for desserts for a cknsiderable period, on some occasions we were asked if we wanted cheese and coffee and others not and felt that although we were asked, we shouldnt have said yes we wanted both, there didnt seem any consistency within the restaurants Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2019
What an amazing experience overall with very little to fault! Embarkation was swift, we used CP Parking and had priority boarding through our suite booking. It took us less than 20 minutes from arrival at the dock in our car to ... Read More
What an amazing experience overall with very little to fault! Embarkation was swift, we used CP Parking and had priority boarding through our suite booking. It took us less than 20 minutes from arrival at the dock in our car to stepping on board the ship - couldn't have been any easier! Once on board we did find that there was no assistance/help for those new to cruising to know where we should go or what to do! I felt this was the one element of the cruise that was a little bit of a let down. Safe to say we walked aimlessly around for a while before working out where to go. All meals and food were fantastic. We had a mix of breakfasts at the Epicurian, the waterside buffet, the bay tree restaurant and on our balcony. All were wonderful. Lunches were taken at the waterside buffet or the poolside grill / pizzeria. Good choice and plenty available. We had select dining at the 6.30pm slot in the bay tree restaurant where we had the same table for 4 by the window each night. Our waiters Wilson and Suresh were exceptional and brilliant with the children showing them new drawings and tricks each night and serving up the odd extra chocolate treats! Ports visited: Stavenger - we did our own thing here and just took a long walk around the different areas of the town, plenty to see and keep the children busy Olden - amazing sail down the fjord - simply stunning. In Olden we did the beautiful Stryn exursion which was a lovely coach drive through the mountains stopping off at various points for photographs etc. It also included a stop at the national park centre for traditional pancakes, tea and a chance for the children to play at the small beach by the lake. definately our stand out day. Alesund - we did our own thing in the morning climbing the 416 steps to the viewpoint high above the town. Stunning views but be aware it costs once you get up there to enter the viewpoint area with the cafe/toilets etc. In the afternoon we did the exursion to the Atlantic Sea Park - much nicer than the sea life centres in the Uk, but we did find that the 3 hours allocated was a little long - we were done in 2 hours and had to wait for the coach to return. Bergen - biggest port of call and very busy with numerous cruise ships all in dock at the same time. Again we did our own thing and took in the sights of the old shopping quarter the park and lake and the fish/traditional food market. Both children attended the Reef childrens' clubs in the evening - surfers and scubas and had an amazing time, meeting lots of new friends onboard. this enabled us to have time in the evening to relax and take in some of the entertainment on offer. The Beatles experience were fantastic as was the Astonishing magic show. Spice Girls tribute and comedian also good fun! We felt the cleanliness of the ship and attentiveness of staff was excellent throughout. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2019
We have sailed on a dozen occasions with P&O including three previous cruises on Ventura. We previously enjoyed our cruises on Ventura several years ago and wanted to cruise on the ship again. We have been regular cruisers several ... Read More
We have sailed on a dozen occasions with P&O including three previous cruises on Ventura. We previously enjoyed our cruises on Ventura several years ago and wanted to cruise on the ship again. We have been regular cruisers several times each year for 15 years and aware of the standards of service to be expected and normally provided. We noticed a significant fall in standards in the dining room compared with our earlier Ventura cruises. Table clothes were often dirty and stained and not changed between diners. Butter dishes were left between consecutive diners with visible signs of part use and contamination. Cutlery was left on the tables between consecutive diners. On two occasions we asked for some items of cutlery to be replaced as these appeared to have already been used. On another occasion, the waiter openly removed a fork from my starter plate and replaced it on the table to be used for the next course. On day three, we arrived at “Amsterdam” - the port had been changed since our booking was made to somewhere an hours coach journey from Amsterdam. We were informed that Amsterdam had introduced a new passenger charge for the original port which P&O had decided not to pay. The result was an extra two hours of inconvenient coach travel for passengers to get to and from the destination. Far worse, was that when we finally reached the places we wished to visit, entrance tickets for the whole day had been sold out. We returned to the shuttle bus stop early afternoon to find a queue 203 passengers (I had time to count them) and no sign of coaches. When coaches finally began to arrive (after approaching an hour queuing) it was clear that no planning had gone in to managing loading passengers. The hour wait meant the queue now had 400 passengers in a queue. Many passengers had arrived during the wait who had disability challenges. Six empty coaches arrived together and staff concentrated on first loading those with disabilities on all six coaches before loading passengers from the queue on to any of the coaches. This was completely illogical given that once wheelchair users had boarded the first coach other passengers could have boarded and the coach made its way and so on. We waited an hour and 44 minutes in the queue before leaving on the coach. Having to stand (unnecessarily) for such a period led to my knee being injured and I’m certain caused harm to others. We had been looking forward to the cruise itinerary of “two days overnight” stay in Amsterdam” but the next day my wife had to obtain a wheelchair for me as I could not walk and, like many others would not have wished to repeat the shuttle debacle of the previous day. I complained about the shuttle arrangements at the excursions desk. I was told that this was a new arrangement and it was being trialled by them to see if it worked! No apology was offered by P&O staff to the many customers unknowingly submitted to this disastrous experiment. After three days of using a wheelchair ( I’ve never previously had mobility difficulties), my wife explained to the excursions desk that we could not do the excursion we had booked. The staff member informed us there would not be a refund unless I obtained a certificate from the ships doctor (at an equivalent cost of the tour we had booked)! We paid an additional charge to use the Oasis quiet area and steam rooms to relax. Steam rooms were out of order (being painted). Infusers in the relaxation area were not topped up and working and... the disabled toilet facilities had visible faeces present for two days! The Oasis quiet area did not have its no mobile phones rule enforced by staff who stood by whilst an element shouted at their phones using Skype. The theatre entertainment and other performers also held little to write home about and were considerably poorer quality than the high standards we’ve seen before on P&O. Our many previous cruises with P&O spread over five of their ships have been enjoyable but this one was simply awful. Customer service, cleanliness and standards are extremely low on Ventura and I would not recommend this ship which fails miserably to live up to the standards which are expected of P&O . We have booked a suite on Iona in 2020 with roughly the same itinerary which hopefully, will restore our faith in P&O. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
Firstly embarkation was a breeze. Turned up early and no hanging about. A porter came over collected our cases and off we went. But if you take a suit bag you have to carry this on yourself. Straight onto the ship, the bars where open the ... Read More
Firstly embarkation was a breeze. Turned up early and no hanging about. A porter came over collected our cases and off we went. But if you take a suit bag you have to carry this on yourself. Straight onto the ship, the bars where open the holiday was well under way, and didn't have to wait ages for the cases to arrive at our cabin. The cabin had plenty of hanging space, coat hangers and comfy a lot of mirrors! I ordered my wife flowers before we got onto the ship and they where there and they have now come home with us and still perfect. Our cabin assistant was called Ana and she is amazing, you could ask her anything and she knows. She works really hard So if your cabin assistant is as good give them some extra they deserve it. Dining. We went for freedom dining, which meant we could go to the Saffron any time between 18.30 and 21.30. If you want a table for 2 be prepared to wait. Otherwise you sit with 6 other people and not the same people.If you are a big eater you will lose weight and it takes 2 hours to eat a 3 course meal. You can however have what you like, so if you opt for the pan fried chicken you can add a steak which I found out on the Friday.I found some waiters little snatchey towards the men, and not too intent on watching butter levels, it was like if its gone its gone. Waterside. Utter chaos little selection and poorly set out. Breakfast was Luke warm and limp. Pastries dry and hard. Lunch very similar BUT go to the beach house the buffet there amazing!!!!Still disorganised but worth it.We had lunch in the Saffron one day which took over an hour and if you order a plate from the menu i.e the cold meat plate that is all you get so don't forget to order your sides. We didn't eat in the specials. when an Indian couple tell you that the Indian restaurant was poor you guess they should know. Drinks Pub prices pints £4,30 wine £5.00 ish Costa coffee £2.60 when you order a drink be prepared to wait it takes a while to get it, usually about 15 minutes although we did wait longer than that when it's busy. We opted for the soft drink pack and consider we saved but everyone is different.If you go for the soft drinks package and order a alcoholic one be prepared for the comment "this is for soft drinks" and you have to explain you know we have to pay for a alcoholic drink. Ice cream Ridiculous price £3.45 for 2 golf ball sized scopes. Burgers and hotdogs from the poolside great Big and juicy cooked fresh and not dripping in grease. condiments though in a large pump vat. Entertainment. We saw 2 good comedians and the Astonish Show which was good. I am not a lover of cruise ship singers so can't judge as it would be unfair. Didn't have much to do with the day time events either. We paid for the use of the Retreat. Adults only a waiter lunch bought up to you afternoon tea of sorts. But be careful as the price isn't fixed and a couple the next day paid £75.00 less and got more thrown in. Overall our expectations of the Ventura was good here are some rough points We had a photo shoot at the same time as another couple, then a private viewing of our photos If we wanted them the price was £1500.00 I can not make this figure look anymore ridiculous the other couple £450 for the same package! Figure that out? Other passengers I am not a snob, How ever I am able to conduct myself in an acceptable manner You will need at times a high tolerance level to endure them from both sides of the coin, and I must point out that the Ventura is a wheelchair friendly ship which although liberating can at times turn into a destruction Darby. Thus paid for the retreat, The attendant in the downstairs perfumery is possibly the most unhelpful person on the ship. All the staff apart from the fore mentioned did work hard and long hours, and sometimes you had to double take as they had changed from working pool side to the restaurants. You could talk to the officers and they interact with ease and it's not a chore, and the Captain is witty. Excursions!!!!! Our experience and others We paid for 2 excursions On 1 we had the misfortune of having someone sit behind us who had been before and wasn't interested. I paid to hear the guide. I have come home not knowing anything about what I saw, but know her family intimately and so does the rest of the coach. Before we set off I noticed that our trip finished at 18.30 but so was the boarding time. I questioned this and was told that there was plenty of time. when we got back to the ship we where thrown on our bags launch onto the X-ray and spoken to like idiots regardless of mobility. If you want to complain the shore excursion desk closes at 18.30!Our second was really nice the coach drivers are highly skilled. Watch the pricing I know you pay to guarantee getting back on board but to be charged to take a child under 6 on the train in Flaam is a bit rich when children under 6 actually travel for free. Other points P and O do black tie nights. Get involved and enjoy then spend the evening people watching many giggles were had.If you don't you can only eat in the Waterfront as widely stated, don't bore others the next day moaning that it was your only option. The scenery is stunning get up early though as you sail through around 4am Sunsets are out of this world. Is it value for money? only you will know. We paid for extras because we wanted to. Their guidelines are their guidelines. the choice stops with you. Norway is expensive. A coffee and a waffle for 2 £13.00(130.00kr)a bottle of coke from £3.00(30kr) Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: June 2019
Lovely itinerary to Faroes, Iceland, Scotland and Northern Ireland. Embarkation was easy with pre arranged assistance. Food was much better than our previous cruise on Ventura, we ate most of the time in the MDR for breakfast, lunch ... Read More
Lovely itinerary to Faroes, Iceland, Scotland and Northern Ireland. Embarkation was easy with pre arranged assistance. Food was much better than our previous cruise on Ventura, we ate most of the time in the MDR for breakfast, lunch and dinner as we find the buffet difficult with a wheelchair although staff are always willing to help. A couple of times my partner got us a bacon roll from the buffet and brought it to the room when we had early morning starts. We also ate lunch at the deck bars a few times..We had freedom dining with some lovely and interesting table companions; and a few strange ones, which makes life entertaining. Didn’t see as much entertainment as usual, Havana and Tamarind were always packed so difficult to find seats. However the Arena was easier, as long as you arrived early, with reserved seats for wheelchair users, which many able bodied people selfishly occupied. No staff on hand to police this. Entertainers that stood out were the gentleman talking about space which the layman could understand; Pulse in the Metropolis, great variety of music delivered with humour. Last but not least, Graffiti, four talented young people playing violins, singing, comedy etc. Wow what a wonderful show. On embarkation we ate in the Glasshouse to avoid the buffet, very good. Early on in the cruise we had dinner in the Epicurian with a free bottle of house wine, acceptable and a superb meal delivered with their usual first class service and drama. Well worth the extra fee. There were very few children on this cruise, mostly little ones, several foreign nationals. Most passengers were in their 50s or above. Our favourite bar was the Metropolis with one barman (sorry don’t know his name) standing out as especially helpful and friendly. Ports were very interesting. We booked most excursions privately, which were all well organised. One with P and O on the Faroes, very good. What a beautiful and peaceful place, my favourite. In Isofordur we had to use a tender. It was an extremely difficult transfer for passengers and crew due to the high winds, but we all survived. The weather was kind to us and although it was cold the sun came out every afternoon with only a tiny bit of drizzle in Scotland. On our last sea day on deck I got a bit sunburnt as I didn’t realise how hot it was. We booked another cruise while we were on board on the new Iona as we couldn’t resist the low deposit. Hope we haven’t made a mistake as we think Ventura is pretty large. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
This was a family cruise around the Fjiords with frequent cruisers. The boarding was very efficient and our cabin (Superior Deluxe Balcony) could not be faulted when we first arrived. However, the food across the board was below ... Read More
This was a family cruise around the Fjiords with frequent cruisers. The boarding was very efficient and our cabin (Superior Deluxe Balcony) could not be faulted when we first arrived. However, the food across the board was below average. It was below average in general, not just in comparison to the normal standard of cruise food. The buffet was small, cramped and disorganised with limited selection. We ate breakfast in the buffet and restaurant. The selection in the restaurant was very disappointing as each day there was a special which could not be ordered on any other day. i.e. Eggs Benedict could only be ordered on a Monday etc. We ate in the Cinnamon Restaurant every evening and were able to have the same table seating all of us every night. The poor staff are run off their feet from clear staff cuts and do not have enough time for the usual niceties let alone to take orders and serve the food. The food in the restaurant was bland and disappointing on almost every occasion. The desserts were diabolical. The pastry was always uncooked, the panna cotta contained far too much gelatine and had less flavour than a piece of paper. Our cabin was very noisy. Being near an engine room there was a constant rattling. We did complain and were offered to move to an indoor cabin! When we refused to downgrade we were offered ear plugs. However, we were impressed with the size of the cabin and canapes on the Captain's night were a nice touch. Our cabin stewardess was lovely and really looked after us. The entertainment was average and if anything on the tacky side. They could do with more seating in the bar/lounge areas. On the positive, drinks were very reasonably priced in comparison to other cruises we have been on as were the spa treatments. We will not be cruising with P & O again.Yeah Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
We went on the Ventura specifically for the Strictly Come Dancing themed cruise from Southampton around the Mediterranean on 2nd June. We thoroughly enjoyed all the Strictly shows and meeting the Strictly dancers including Oti Mabuse, ... Read More
We went on the Ventura specifically for the Strictly Come Dancing themed cruise from Southampton around the Mediterranean on 2nd June. We thoroughly enjoyed all the Strictly shows and meeting the Strictly dancers including Oti Mabuse, Graziano, Alijaz and Janette and head judge Shirley Ballas. The entertainment was very good indeed and if you didn't want to immerse yourself in the Strictly theme there was always something going on in other areas. Our cabin was good for an inside cabin and it felt larger because of the clever positioning of mirrors however I would definitely choose an outside cabin if going again because that way you can sit outside. Our cabin steward Lourdes was so lovely nothing was too much trouble for her even getting me some extra hangers. We mainly ate in the buffet restaurant and there was a good selection of different food every evening but we did get a bit fed up of the same four types of English cheese on offer every night! The main restaurant was nice but we found the waiters abit brusque so we didn't go there very often. There was a varied itinerary of some nice places to visit including Gibraltar Cartagena Barcelona Marseille Monaco Corsica and Cadiz. We took two excursions one in Marseille which unfortunately wasn't very good it was a beach excursion with a quick stop in Marseille. It was a very hot day and the guide kept us on the coach for fifteen minutes in the heat while telling us about the history of Marseille instead of giving us that extra time in Marseille as we only had twenty minutes left. When we got to the beach we had one and a half hours but it was absolutely crowded and wouldn't be suitable for anybody with a walking disabilities to venture on as it was very hard to get in and out of the sea as the shingle dropped down. When I mentioned this to the excursion sales person on the ship he told me that I shouldn't be going on any beach with a walking disability! I was very offended and really think he should have been taught a tactful way of suggesting his paying customer might have been better to perhaps not go on the beach. I only wanted them to note that they should advise of this as no way in the shore excursion guide does it say it isn't suitable for people who have disabilities. The content of this particular excursion was not good and several people complained on return. However the tour of Monaco and Montecarlo was excellent and we were taken to the major attractions with a brilliant French lady who made the tour fun and interesting. Now for the terrifying part! We had been taken ashore on tender boats in the morning so after waiting 45 minutes in the boiling hot sun with no shade and nowhere to sit we eventually got on our tender boat to return to the ship and we we left the port the tender started to roll all over the place as the wind picked up and the sea was going right over the front of the tender, it gradually got worse and worse and one poor man became very seasick he was told to sit down as it was so dangerous on the boat and was passed a lot of bags. By this time people were panicking and one lady nearly passed out while another was being seasick. I was really frightened because the boat was rocking so much I could see even the tender pilot looked worried. We were stuck on the tender for an hour rocking and rolling and when they tried to bring it along side the ship it kept smashing into the platform where you get off. It took three strong men to help each person off by literally hauling them o to the ship incase they fell into the sea. Ours was once of the last tenders to actually make it to the ship after that the Captain halted the rest and left over a thousand guests on the shore in Monaco! Luckily later that evening we were able to put down ancho in Villefranche which had a calmer bay and all the rest of the guests got on tenders after being coached there and finally onto the ship late into the evening. People were exhausted and some had missed their medicine which was on the ship. This has completely put us off of ever going on a tender boat again. I don't often get freighted but that was very scary indeed! The overall view of the ship is that it offered a good variety of bars cafes theatre and restaurants and had good areas on deck to sit out on. The swimming pools were nice and big with one covered if it was cooler like when we left Southampton. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
A 7 day trip to Norway fiords. Very enjoyable apart from the weather which unfortunately we can’t order. This ship is big but well organised with plenty to do, good shows with choice and excellent dining in restaurants. Self service not ... Read More
A 7 day trip to Norway fiords. Very enjoyable apart from the weather which unfortunately we can’t order. This ship is big but well organised with plenty to do, good shows with choice and excellent dining in restaurants. Self service not so good, very repetitive. We were well looked after in our cabin by our friendly smiley Steward. The ship was full as it was half term but we enjoyed being with a large mix of ages and families. A change from the usual oldies like us. It was a pity a lot of the scenic cruising up the fiords took place in the early morning about 4am onwards. Afraid that’s too early for us. Also there were only 4 stops, the last one being Bergen where there is plenty to do but we had to be back on board for 2pm which spoilt it. The whole experience has been soured since we arrived home as I found I had left my keys on board in the bedside drawer. I phoned as soon as I got home about 12.30pm thinking as the ship didn’t sail again until that evening the keys could be brought ashore and posted to me. I was so wrong! All you get is an e mail telling you that if you haven’t heard within 21 days they haven’t been found. How unhelpful is that? This wasn’t just a bag of make up, this was a very expensive remote controlled car key and house keys. P.O. just treat everything the same no matter what items you have left aboard. In other words they make no effort to locate lost property. I haven’t heard anything. I put in a formal complaint. After two and half weeks somebody finally phoned to address it. The usual platitudes about their procedures and how much lost property they have to deal with. All about them not about their poor customers.We had to pay £160 to replace the car keys. I know, should be more careful etc. Agreed. However you have to be out of your cabin by 8am and it is such a rush to get out get breakfast before all eating places close that you end up in too much of a rush. We have been given money off our next booking with P.O. but that doesn’t really make up for all the stress and time taken up trying to get P.O. to take this seriously and the trauma of obtaining new remote keys, not something that happens quickly, they have to be ordered and then programmed. All because nobody was willing to make a simple phone call to the ship while it was still in port at Southampton. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
We'd only been on one cruise before, and that was with Royal Caribbean on their Vision Of The Seas ship, which is about 80% of the size of this one, I think. This was a cheap cruise, so we decided to (despite the not fantastic ... Read More
We'd only been on one cruise before, and that was with Royal Caribbean on their Vision Of The Seas ship, which is about 80% of the size of this one, I think. This was a cheap cruise, so we decided to (despite the not fantastic reviews) plump for it and see how it went. We didn't have elevated expectations and unfortunately we were right to have had that attitude! I was absolutely blown away by the difference in service levels. Ventura is full of staff who simply do their job. Too many of them have forgotten that they are only there because the customers need them to be - and that people go on holiday to have fun and enjoy a little bit of luxury. Don't get me wrong, none were rude, but none had any real spark, minus a guy in Metropolis. --Bay Tree restaurant-- To begin, our dinner in the Bay Tree restaurant on the first night, blimey. Steak and chips, fish and chips, ham egg and - yep - chips were three of about 7 main options. The others weren't interesting either; I'm not just excluding them to make the review look poor! One was pie I think. The menus every night were just not exciting. After a day of being at sea, or on a black tie evening, it's nice to be wowed by a fantastic menu - not just be "fed". The staff in this restaurant were amongst the least interested in great customer experience I think I've ever experienced! Their main aim, it seemed, was to get their job done in the easiest way possible - so for example serving my wife and I alongside the three tables of two around us, at the same time. So we all got our orders taken at the same time, all got our food at the same time and waited for each other to finish before we could order the next course. We had to flag someone down to order a drink other than the (really chlorinated) water we were already given. When I ordered a glass of red, I was sent the "wine waiter" - a lady turned up who didn't offer any knowledge on wine, just wanted me to tell her what I'd like. She couldn't take payment either, that was the first guy's job. Cheese and biscuits? Bizarre! We were first given a side plate each and a knife. Then our waiter turned up with a large slate of cheeses, but not to leave it with us - he wanted my wife and I to select each cheese, bit by bit, and how much of each we wanted. Then, after this process was complete, he returned to get us to do the same with the biscuits! I had to explain to him that the idea of cheese and biscuits is that the choice is made as you're eating it! Also, having to beg for five minutes before eating is frustrating and unnecessary. As for breakfast in this restaurant, it's even worse! Lots of staff serving (/cleaning) empty tables instead of the guests sat down already, means you have to forever catch someones eye. The toast was never anything but stone cold and solid (even when we asked for it to be warm). There's no going off the menu in terms of options. I wanted (on the Monday morning) some smoked salmon with my scrambled eggs - the chap told me that wasn't on until Sunday. So once in the week we were allowed smoked salmon (and by the way when Sunday came, it was mixed in and therefore cooked, with the scrambled eggs). I'm not a greedy person but am used to being able to have a certain level of creative licence with breakfast! I don't know why they can't just offer a buffet system - they appear to be withholding any ability for the guest to just have a good breakfast, and with it, being really slack on service. --The ship-- We found the layout really annoying. The absolute main reason for this is that there's no one route around the whole ship - meaning after dinner when you fancy a walk, you can't do this without either worming through the interior spaces of one of the decks (7 I think), cutting through bars and restaurants, or going out on deck and walking through sports areas and using stairs to complete a circuit. It doesn't sound like a big problem until it's a sea day and all you want to do is get a few steps done! A weird feeling of cabin fever when you can't just go for a walk. The atrium isn't very big, meaning there's no real reason for it being there - on Vision (RC) last year, the atrium was constantly used for nice evening celebrations and displays. There isn't therefore one large, spectacular area on the ship for people to all be in, on for example a black tie evening reception. We found it strange that there wasn't a common area for people to begin their evening. --Things to do-- There was loads to do, as long as you're either with a child, or you're a child. We were travelling as a couple and basically there's only one place with any level of atmosphere that's laid back and slightly classier, which is Metropolis Bar. Every other space for "lounging" either has no music on (and is therefore just an area for people to sit looking at each other, waiting for their next meal) or is full of kids. They were all very quiet, abandoned spaces during the day. And because there's no one large open area in the ship for people to gravitate towards, everywhere felt deserted. Exchange bar was nice enough, but treads too much on the Butlins method of holidaying - people drinking Fosters and playing bingo or watching the football. We avoid places like this at home so didn't use it on the boat. We consequently found sea days pretty boring without our own things to do - books etc. We never found this on RC's Vision. Their public spaces were all vibrant and well laid out; nice enough to spend time in just watching the world go by. --The great things-- We loved Metropolis. Only complaint really would be that it kept being booked out for private events, meaning that the one decent bar was pretty much out of action for these times. It's also (as mentioned above) the only classy, atmospheric bar on the ship, so got really busy in the evenings, so much so people were jostling for tables. (Tamarind was nice in the evenings too, but no view as it's low down in the ship and the curtains were shut!). Sindhu, absolutely incredible. A fantastic way to spend an evening, away from the crowds. Food was top notch and the service was great too. The show - Paradise City - was great. Not the longest show, but absolutely perfectly put together! --The cabin-- We had an interior cabin, to test the theory for our summer cruise which we hadn't booked at the time of sailing. It was absolutely fine - a little strange not knowing what was happening in the world outside but that's normal for an interior cabin. I liked the layout, of the dressing area by the bathroom, with the bedroom as its own separate area. Nicely equipped too, with a kettle and fridge. Could have done with more hangars and a bigger telly. Also somewhere to sit would have been nice! Not sure if it's normal for interior cabins to be so small. --The destinations-- If I'm honest, I'm a bit simple with culture. Not really a museum-goer, so a wander around the town is good enough for me. The destinations were nice - but one of them was on a bank holiday day, so nothing was happening (and the city wasn't particularly pretty anyway) - this could have been scheduled a little better I think. The excursions were really fairly priced - and I heard good things about them. --Summary-- I think basically, 7 days is the maximum time I could spend on this ship. It's a little too poorly designed and there's not enough to do, without making your own entertainment. Also, it was value for money given what we'd paid. Had I paid lots of money for a summer holiday on this boat, I would be very disappointed. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: May 2019
I'd never fancied a cruise - this was a friend's choice for a "girly weekend away" for us 2 older ladies. I expected to hate every minute - but actually really enjoyed it. Our cabin was spotless and the beds were ... Read More
I'd never fancied a cruise - this was a friend's choice for a "girly weekend away" for us 2 older ladies. I expected to hate every minute - but actually really enjoyed it. Our cabin was spotless and the beds were really comfortable. The whole experience was so good that we have booked another cruise for the Autumn. I simply don't understand the poor reviews given by some people regarding the staff/food/bars, etc. All the staff were fantastic: always helpful and cheerful. There were a number of bars, all with different atmospheres. If you don't want karaoke, then there's a lot more to choose from! (We liked The Red Bar, which was quiet and uncrowded.) The food was amazing, considering they were catering for 3,000 people! High-quality food in the restaurant at dinner. The Waterside buffet was busy at peak times, but what do people expect? We did joke that you could probably eat yourself to death if you wanted to - and some people seemed to be trying. We had a late lunch and watched one family finish their (huge) lunches and then go straight on to afternoon tea with mounds of sandwiches and platefuls of cakes! There was one hen-party group on board who were a bit of a pain during the emergency drill, but we never saw them again and we were told that hen parties weren't being accepted in future. Overall, we thought we got excellent value for money and would certainly recommend. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
this was our 9th. cruise cruise having tried fred olson and r.c.i. we felt r.c.i. where getting to be to pushy so thought we would give P&O a go .our embarkation was good and we found our cabin to be 1st class on deck d extra large ... Read More
this was our 9th. cruise cruise having tried fred olson and r.c.i. we felt r.c.i. where getting to be to pushy so thought we would give P&O a go .our embarkation was good and we found our cabin to be 1st class on deck d extra large balconey very nice The ship was just the right size no problems getting about we booked 1830hrs meals in M.D.R. all very nice allways good choice and plenty of good food, service also very good some of the shows where not to our liking however we allways found somewhere to go. Frankie Gliksman was a realy talented entertianer and realy made up for any short falls on the show side staff where very help full in partcular the young lady on recieption who found a small screw driver to fix my glasses we did shore trips at every port with P&O all where very good in fact we hade such a good time we have booked P&O agian for next year book early for good on board spend money and to make sure you get the cabin you want Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
Wanted to cruise and wanted to see Norway, what a super experience for my first Cruise. Ventura is a well appointed, spotlessly clean. Staff lovely, nothing too much trouble. Food in Bay Tree Restaurant exceptional, waiters lovely, ... Read More
Wanted to cruise and wanted to see Norway, what a super experience for my first Cruise. Ventura is a well appointed, spotlessly clean. Staff lovely, nothing too much trouble. Food in Bay Tree Restaurant exceptional, waiters lovely, service excellent. Plenty of choice, can honestly say enjoyed everything I ate. Buffet good for breakfast and lunch, great choices, tea and coffee always available. Entertainment was really good, shows very professional, comedian very funny. Cabin very comfortable, staff lovely, thank you.Bed made up and towels changed, nothing at all to complain about. Had wonderful company on table 23, hard to say goodbye. All in all recommend it to anyone, I was a solo traveller, felt special, would go again in a flash, have to start saving up. Norway Fjiords were stunning,just as expected, scenery out of this world. Saw glaciers, snow capped mountains, museums, you will have njoy it very much, believe me. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
We are veterans of twenty cruises and this was our first time with P&O, we chose a seven night trip to the Norwegian Fjords leaving from Southampton. Parking was superb, boarding efficient our bags were outside our cabin by the ... Read More
We are veterans of twenty cruises and this was our first time with P&O, we chose a seven night trip to the Norwegian Fjords leaving from Southampton. Parking was superb, boarding efficient our bags were outside our cabin by the time we got there, room attendant excellent and beyond reproach. The ship itself was just dull, no wow factors at all everything Brown and beige. The shops were likewise dull with low end products nothing exciting on show. Food in the main dining room just not good same menu every day with a couple of changes not well presented and everything was just bland. The waiters were indifferent to rude, never introduced themselves just took orders and slapped the food in front of you. The buffet option was so small and cramped to be a joke the food simply dreadful. The late night snack options a joke. Entertainment was a mixed bag, one funny comedian one that should have been sent home. A couple of good tribute bands and an excellent rock headliner show. Day time offerings poor. Drink prices very attractive compared with RCL and Celebrity around £5 to £6 for a cocktail. Staff generally just not helpful or up to the standard we have learned to expect. We heard to of them chatting about passengers and laughing at them, to my mind totally unacceptable. Our first and last trip with P&O Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
Seemed like a good idea at the time, first day we were greeted by a pedal bin in the toilet full of tissues and a used tampon smiling at us, reported it and all we got was a grunted apology whereas friends of ours got a fifty pound extra ... Read More
Seemed like a good idea at the time, first day we were greeted by a pedal bin in the toilet full of tissues and a used tampon smiling at us, reported it and all we got was a grunted apology whereas friends of ours got a fifty pound extra spend because some noise was heard early one morning.Although not P&O,s fault the ship was overun with wheelchairs, zimmer frames and mobility scooters.Technical faults ensued throughout and rudely awoken at 4.20 one morning with chairs etc being moved above us, when complained was virtually called a liar as no one goes above deck until 7.00 am to move stuff ,haunted ship I suppose. I dont think I've seen so many vastly overweight people in one place before, food ok but nothing wonderfull but most staff ok with some of the younger girls very smiley and chatty. One waiter virtually threw the food at us and seemed like he would rather be elsewhere . Two P&O cruises and four Princess and will go back to Princess in future , shame really as we would rather support home grown. Freddy Mercury tribute was awful if you were a queen fan and on a last note ive never seen food consumed in such large ammounts by people in their 80s as on this trip, no wonder it cost so much in care homes, lovely bunch though. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
First p&O cruise , we have always gone with tui (Thomson) before but wanted to see what it was like going from Southampton, we got there earlier than are allocated time and must say went through the embarkation procedure very ... Read More
First p&O cruise , we have always gone with tui (Thomson) before but wanted to see what it was like going from Southampton, we got there earlier than are allocated time and must say went through the embarkation procedure very smoothly, I had read previous reviews about the ship some good some bad , although some areas looked a bit tired overall the ship was fine, the cabin was no better than what we have had on Thomson ships. We found the afternoon tea was very limited (the same things on all the food areas ) Our breakfasts and evening meals were taken in the baytree restaurant and we found them excellent a good choice at every sitting, our waiters were very friendly and attentive (jam and dominic) table 109. Did not think the entertainment was that brilliant some acts were good (but not the shows like we have seen on Thomson) Our cabin steward was very good cabin always spotless. Went to Madiera for the first stop and on the cable car and toboggan ( this was a great experience , our last stop was in Lisbon and we went on the amphibious duck what a great laugh that was our guide Gonzales was brilliant. Would go again but did find drinks quite expensive you can get a drinks package but at £39.95 each a day and you must both have it think its a bit much. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
Not impressed with the food. Had breakfast in the main restaurant. Bacon was very fatty. toast was cold, and hard. Also not very much choice of daily dinner choices in the main restaurant. Four items were always on the menu. Had eggs ... Read More
Not impressed with the food. Had breakfast in the main restaurant. Bacon was very fatty. toast was cold, and hard. Also not very much choice of daily dinner choices in the main restaurant. Four items were always on the menu. Had eggs benedict one morning in the buffet restaurant, the muffin was very hard and dry. Had to pay extra in The Beach House for our evening meal to get food that you usually get on a cruise ship. Attitude of some of the staff where not what you normally get a on a cruise. Bit rude, and not very helpful. Not very much going on at the day at sea. Was looking forward to hear one of the guest speakers. Which we have experienced on previous P & O cruises. That did not happen. The entertainment was very good. We were very disappointed. Will not be cruising with P & O again Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
Family getaway over the Easter hols. Boarding was OK and smooth. Cabin was ok (inside twin with 2 bunks) but too small for four people. Service for food and drink was painfully slow, no fault of the staff, just not enough of them ... Read More
Family getaway over the Easter hols. Boarding was OK and smooth. Cabin was ok (inside twin with 2 bunks) but too small for four people. Service for food and drink was painfully slow, no fault of the staff, just not enough of them for the amount of passengers, of which there were far too many; one couldn't move in any of the swimming pools! We ate in the buffett restaurant, Saffron and cinnamon restaurants and the poolside grill. All food was OK but nothing really stood out, not even on the formal nights; A cheese board consists of 2 tiny bits of cheese and a couple of jacobs crackers! The ship is generally clean and tidy and in a good state of repair. P&O are the Ryannair of the ocean...EVERYTHING is extra! P&O need to stop being so greedy and bring the luxury back to cruising or they wont be around for much longer. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
I would of given 4 stars as an overall rating as everything else except the cabin was very good . Embarkation was speedy as was disembarkation. The food was great in the dining room and the buffet . The waiters were all polite and helpful. ... Read More
I would of given 4 stars as an overall rating as everything else except the cabin was very good . Embarkation was speedy as was disembarkation. The food was great in the dining room and the buffet . The waiters were all polite and helpful. The excursion from Zeebrugge was excellent. I learnt more about Belgium from our guide than I ever knew before ! We went to a small village, a castle come Manor House and finished at a chocolate factory. We were disappointed that the ship couldn’t stop at Peter Port yet again. I feel it’s time to find another port in northern France that would make it easier to disembark passengers safely. I’ve suggested on previous questionnaires that a dedicated cinema would be great with films on at times you can watch them!! Nobody has paid attention yet ! All in all apart from the cabin we had a great time and have booked a 2 week cruise to the Baltic’s next year. Excellent value. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
Had good responses from people using P & O. Having had Cruises with Royal Caribbean & Cunard, we thought we would see how they compared. Firstly, the boarding chaos was never explained by any P & O official. (It took over ... Read More
Had good responses from people using P & O. Having had Cruises with Royal Caribbean & Cunard, we thought we would see how they compared. Firstly, the boarding chaos was never explained by any P & O official. (It took over one hour & 30 mins TO check in). You were left in your car outside the dock for 45 mins WITH NO EXPLANATION before being herded into a chaotic receiving hall where we were given Numbers & told to take a seat (There were none) until your number was called. Cabin & Steward was excellent, & kept spotless during the voyage. Dining was very good in the Saffron Restaurant & waiters were brilliant. We also used the Self-service dining areas which were pleasant & fairly spacious & well staffed; However, the buffet area was quite small & crowded. There are activities but they are fairly low key & mostly appealing to children. One activity in the main Atrium was a display of how to make a Bed in under 2. 30 secs?! This actual drew a sizeable crowd, I think primarily because of disbelief that this could be a judged an 'activity.' People on holiday actually took part! The trips/excursions were a shambles. Oporto was called off because of rough seas, with the Captain sounding less than sympathetic! Spending an extra day in Lisbon. Then two full days at sea?! Until Our visit to Guernsey!! Where to begin... 21/2 hours queue to get a ticket to get into the 'Actual' queue for the Tender. 3hrs.20 mins set foot on Guernsey! Then, a 3-hour queue to come back. You couldn't invent it! The Ventura left 2 Hours later than the original 'back to the boat' They have no concept of how to organize any large gathering & Officers are nowhere to be seen. Finally, 2 hours to disembark! I shall leave the tale of Two ships there. Good Cabins & Good food vs laughable organization skills. I leave you with final Bon-Mot. An Illusionist was booked for the Area theater but couldn't be found? Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
Embarkation. A bit chaotic, to say the least. We were due to check in at 15:30 but were still queuing to park the car at that time. Apparently there were issues with the airbridge connecting the ship to the terminal, although we were never ... Read More
Embarkation. A bit chaotic, to say the least. We were due to check in at 15:30 but were still queuing to park the car at that time. Apparently there were issues with the airbridge connecting the ship to the terminal, although we were never told officially. We eventually boarded at around 17:00, just in time to get to the emergency drill. Ship & cabin. It was our fifth time on the Ventura and the ship & cabin were spotless. She's a good ship with plenty of room and public spaces. Dining. Definitely gone downhill. First night's meal in the MDR was what I'd expect to be served in prison. It got better but not as good as it used to be. The food at the Sindhu was excellent, however, and well worth the £20 surcharge. The buffet is a bit of a bunfight; too much pushing and shoving in the queues and not enough seating. Entertainment. Singing and dancing is not our cup of tea but there’s plenty of it if you like that sort of thing. The comedian/magician was a bit amateurish and bordering on racist and didn’t get many laughs. The quizzes are good, though, and there’s a good atmosphere in the pub/bar (The Exchange). The Great British Sailaway was jingoistic and cringe-worthy. Ports. Vigo is not the most exciting port in Europe but we had a nice walk to the top of the hill and had a couple of drinks, getting back on board just before the heavens opened. Lisbon is a great city. We walked to the castle and had a good stroll around the squares. Sadly Porto had to be cancelled due to the rough seas. The captain was apologetic but one or two people were heard moaning. They’d have moaned even more if the ship had run into difficulties getting into port. Guernsey is a tender port and we decided to skip breakfast and get on an early tender. Luckily there was not much of a wait. A different story coming back, though. Some choppy seas slowed the tendering process down and we waited for 45 minutes to get back to our ship; a lot quicker than some people from what I heard. Disembarkation. A total shambles. We elected to self-disembark but so did half the ship apparently. They were totally unprepared and the queues were ridiculous. Took over an hour to get off of the ship. Nobody seemed to be organising anything and the crew just seemed to be helpless observers. Overall a good cruise but P&O are not what they used to be. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
This was our first cruise with P&O and we had both good and bad experiences. We would try P&O again but I think the experience we had this time was not the best. Positives Ship was excellent, really good condition. We loved ... Read More
This was our first cruise with P&O and we had both good and bad experiences. We would try P&O again but I think the experience we had this time was not the best. Positives Ship was excellent, really good condition. We loved the Metropolis and Tamarind bars. Evening dining was good considering the number of people they have to serve. Service was efficient but not particularly friendly. Cabins were good, well appointed and clean. Entertainment was of good quality (although sometimes not for us). Decent drinks prices. Negatives Both Embarkation and disembarkation were delayed. We missed Oporto so had our excursion cancelled. Evening and daytime entertainment were swapped around, cancelled and delayed (to be fair this was partly due to weather conditions). The Retreat & Oasis pool were unavailable for the whole cruise even though other pools were in use. As a couple of adults this was a disappointment. Buffet wasn't great... Dried food and plastic desserts. Bars were often crowded and loud and we had difficulty getting a seat. Theatre shows in the evening were also very busy. Outstanding We thought the on board comedy magician was naughty but great fun! Our room steward and our table waiters were also excellent, friendly and efficient. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
We have taken over 35 cruises and this was the worst ever. We ate in the main dining room on a table of 8 at the 8.30 sitting. Waiters were friendly but rushed off their feet. Food was ok but lacked any sparkle. Gone are the days ... Read More
We have taken over 35 cruises and this was the worst ever. We ate in the main dining room on a table of 8 at the 8.30 sitting. Waiters were friendly but rushed off their feet. Food was ok but lacked any sparkle. Gone are the days when you would have lobster or a nice steak on the black tie nights- pretty standard fare. The evening shows were generally good with the runaround kids and the magic show being by far the best. Watched a few films during sea days- good choice. Waited over an hour to park the car at portside and a further one hour 20 mins to board ( we later found out that there were delays in disembarkation causing delays in boarding) no communication- it was a shambles Once on board we settled into our cabin - a superior delux balcony with a bath- which combined with our cabin stewardess was excellent. Visited the buffet once - pretty standard food with no imagination. We had coffee and some lovely cakes ( at a cost of £2.50 a cup) at the Costa bar. Service there was always polite although my wife was told that she couldn't have a cake or sandwich if she didn't buy a coffee , despite no signs advising us of this fact being present. Not handled by well by waitress - Very rude. First port was Vigo - took a Santiago de Castella on your own tour ie coach picked you up at port dropped you off and collected you £40 per person - what a rip off. 50 passengers at £40 gave P&O £2000 to hire a coach for 5 hours Next port was Lisbon. P&O provided a shuttle bus at £4 each way. We walked into the center square - took us around 20 minutes in a leasurely stroll and had a coffee / custard tart - lovely. Our call at Porto was cancelled due to "high swell" so we stayed in Lisbon for a further half day. Leaving for our next port at Guernsey early afternoon. Woken early on the Thursday morning by the noisy motors lowering the tender boats to go into St Peter Port. P&O kindly provided us with a detailed sheet on the tendering process and pointed out that there was an early morning rush to get off ( what a surprise) and if guests waited until 11.30 any wait would be small. We duly arrived at 11.30 to catch the tender to be met with chaos. Very upset Passengers who had been waiting, staff who didn't have a clue what was going on and no communication / apology from the bridge. Only 3 tender boats running although someone said they were trying to increase the number. We waited for 3 hours to get to the tender (2.30) and in the end didn't go as the last tender back was 5pm. Spoke to several passengers who said they had waited hours to return to the ship. Next problem was due to the late return of the tenders we left Guernsey late and hence returned to Southampton late. We always walk off early with our own cases. But instead of 7.15 ( when everything is quiet ) it was past 8 when all the lifts were full. Gangway was on same deck as breakfast que it was chaos , again angry passengers fed up of being pushed around by staff, and staff who just had no idea of how to communicate or organise - it was shameful. Finally got off the ship and picked up the car with no problem. P&O need to do a lot better - it's a very competitive cruise market with lots of choice. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2019
This was the first cruise for our daughter and son in law with two children age nine and six. We as grandparents have been on Ventura before. Our daughter was impressed with how smart the ship was and we, since our last trip. have been ... Read More
This was the first cruise for our daughter and son in law with two children age nine and six. We as grandparents have been on Ventura before. Our daughter was impressed with how smart the ship was and we, since our last trip. have been with Royal Caribbean, Princess and Celebrity and agree the ship is not a let down. The family chose an extra large balcony cabin on Deck 9 (D728) and that was great for four people. We had a regular balcony on the same deck (D734) and we faced aft. We gained an extra large balcony, mostly shaded, but when ship was at sea the noise from the wake was loud. We had some moderately rough weather and did feel movement and vibration but nothing outrageous. Cabin service was good, our steward cleared the fridge for our bottles and made regular deliveries of ice and lemon. Breakfasts were delivered on time and accurately when we asked. We mostly ate in the main dining room and food was generally very good, only two or three dishes would have been sent back if we were paying by the dish!! The first formal night, with Captain's reception offering a choice of drinks (not just cheap fizz!!) and a special menu, was as as good as any gala night at sea in seven cruises. The disappointment came when the second black tie event did not have any extras and we chose uninspiring dishes from a rather ordinary menu. Our grandchildren appreciated the children's buffet but our daughter and son in law did not enjoy the atmosphere in the main buffet. Following our experience on the American lines the buffet choice is very limited with three counters of the same offering where as others have much greater variety, including free ice cream. Tables were cleared promptly and it felt clean. Entertainment around the ship was varied and generally of good quality. The entertainment manager took a low profile and we appreciated how this avoided a "holiday camp" atmosphere. Astonishing, the new magic and illusion show is brilliant and definitely as good as anything we have seen. The other acts in the main theatre, however, were aimed at the older age group which was a shame on what was intended to be a family cruise during the school holidays with more passengers under 50 that we have ever seen before. The company production of Burt Bacharach songs was well done, but the other four nights we had two shows from a Rock and Roll Band and two shows from a Tina Turner tribute act (All these dating back to the 1950/60s!!). We were not enthusiastic and our children did not even bother after the first night. There were disruptions from weather and other factors which were handled exceptionally poorly. We had an hour long queue in the car to drop off luggage- never known that before. Then, as ship was late in port and there were gangway problems, everyone was boarding at least an hour late. We were however well informed at this stage and seating was available. In Lisbon we were told the weather was too bad to get into Porto so we were staying another day in Lisbon. That second day we left at 11:30 in the morning and this was very limiting as we knew from the first day nothing was fully open before 10am. We reached Guernsey which we knew was a tendered port but the waits to get off ship were horrendous. It was suggested we join the queue late but it took from 10:45 to 1pm to get ashore. We were watching the queue to get back on the ship from about 3 pm and it was never shorter than an estimated two hours. We joined the last tender and got back to the ship 1h15 after it was due to leave. We spent more time waiting than exploring St Peter Port. We did hear there was an extra tender boat for hire but if this could not be used then there should have been a booking system,even a ballot for the popular times. The port arrangements at Vigo and Lisbon were fine both within walking distance of town. Returning to Southampton there was a delay notified the day before but we still had to vacate cabins by 8am and breakfast finished at 9am. We could not get ashore until ten to eleven but Anthony from the ents staff kept us informed as we waited in a restaurant. Our grandchildren really loved the children's clubs and children's entertainer Josh was excellent, but we would have enjoyed more enrichment for the adults to enjoy the free time. We found the drinks very good value and a meal at Sindhu was excellent. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
We have done 15 previous cruises with a variety of lines but felt if the opportunity arose we should try P&O as departing from Southampton was very convenient. This opportunity came with a short break we were planning to Lisbon and ... Read More
We have done 15 previous cruises with a variety of lines but felt if the opportunity arose we should try P&O as departing from Southampton was very convenient. This opportunity came with a short break we were planning to Lisbon and Porto and we discovered that Ventura was doing a 7 day cruise with these two ports on the itinerary plus Vigo and Guernsey and it would work out roughly about the same cost as a land based trip We had ‘parking’ included in our fare and arrived at the port at 12.30 pm, only to be held in a queue gazing at the ship for 45 mins until we could start the drop off process for the car and our luggage. Apparently this was due to the late clearing of the ship from the previous cruise. When we made it into the cruise terminal an hour or so later it was heaving with people; it appeared no-one had actually been boarded yet. The culprit of this delay turned out to be a malfunctioning air bridge and eventually after much time spent trying to fix the problem unsuccessfully, boarding commenced via the key side gangplank. Fortuitously, we had been given a blue card which meant that we were amongst the first to board. We found the layout of the Ventura very familiar to other similar class ships we had sailed on and so were very comfortable with our surroundings, we were also pleased to find that although now quite old by cruise industry standards, and a bit dated, she was in good conditional overall. We had booked an ocean view cabin, figuring that we wouldn’t have much use of a balcony crossing the bay of Biscay in April (good call as it turned out) but had to settle for an ‘obstructed view’, this also turned out better than we had hoped as the obstruction was a white life raft container which only blocked half the window vertically so we had an uninterrupted view from the other half. Our steward dropped by to introduce himself and to remind about muster drill at 4.30 pm and to ‘remember to take our life jackets’ (slightly disappointing as other lines no longer require you to take along your life jacket, sensibly deciding that passengers trailing straps caused greater H&S hazards). Our steward was efficient, pleasant and unobtrusive, so full marks there. We headed to the Waterside buffet for something to eat, expecting it to be busy but it was surprisingly quiet. Our first meal was a little uninspiring – limited choice and quite bland, but our expectations of buffet food are never high. We followed this up with coffee and cake at the Costa outlet – whats this? Only ‘one treat’ supplied with each drink purchased!!! We tried not to make comparisons with the International Café on Princess ships where you can gorge yourself on as much as you can eat 24/7 and so many tempting choices. At 4.20 we thought we should get ourselves prepared for muster drill and set off to try and get a seat at our muster station. We did this very easily – there was no-one about apart from a few passengers wandering aimlessly with their life jackets and a bored looking ‘Muster’ crew member perched on a window ledge studying his phone. 4.30 came and went and only one or two people appeared for the drill so we waited, and then just before 5.00 pm it was announced that due to the late boarding of many of the passengers, muster drill had been put back until 5.30 pm grrrrr.. We were on flexible dining and headed off to eat at about 7.00 pm and as we were happy to share we were seated quite quickly with some pleasant table mates. Bread rolls were offered and these were of the soggy dough variety. My husband and I both ordered prawn cocktail for starters and both vowed never to order it again – it was vile. We then both had steak which was passable. My desert was a mango and passion fruit pavlova; its presentation caused much interest around the table and could best be described as a ‘deconstructed pavlova’ – seems someone has been watching too much Master Chef! Next day was sea day. Breakfast in the buffet – what can I say, standard canteen fare and if you chose hot food it was cold by the time you came to eat it. On the plus side though there was no problem finding seating if you headed to the back of the ship. We passed the day exploring the ship and taking part in some trivia and were thrilled that we were able to watch the Grand National live in the Exchange bar. We liked the ambiance of the Exchange bar and took part in several rounds of trivia there and played on a few on the limited slot machines. It was also ‘formal night’ and it appeared that my husband had brought the wrong colour suit. We were firmly told that unless it was a dark coloured suit we wouldn’t be allowed in certain venues so we opted to eat in The Beach House and had a very good meal there – well worth the additional cost. We were somewhat miffed however to see other gentlemen passengers in formal attire that was anything but ‘dark’. We ate at The Beach house again on the next formal night and also tried ‘Sindhu’ which we felt was ‘nice’ but more style than substance. Entertainment was hit and miss. We very much enjoyed the Tina Turner Tribute act. There was a singer scheduled in the Havanna club one evening just after the ‘family disco’ finished. The small kids were so ‘hyped up’ by then that they continued to run around on the dance floor whilst this poor girl was trying to perform and behind us a group of single mums chattered away oblivious to her performance – we felt so embarrassed for her. Later in the cruise we got chatting to a couple who were first time cruisers; the wife was a retired nursery nurse at Butlins and even she was horrified that the children on the cruise were allowed so much freedom; she said even in Butlins they weren’t allowed in the venues after 9.00 pm, and their experience this time made them question whether they would cruise again. The weather was too chilly to use the pool decks much and the entertainment team seemed to struggle to come up with indoor activities to fill the void; who would guess that ‘how to make a bed properly’ had so much potential to be a spectator sport! Our first port was Vigo. We realised that being Sunday there would be very little open so we were not disappointed. So after a pleasant stroll around the town and up to the fort we returned to the ship. Hubby fancied a burger so we headed up to deck 15. I took one look at the offering and headed back into the buffet for a cheese roll! Hubby bravely went for burger, hot dog and chips and even he (who will eat most fast food) had to admit that the pre-cooked items wrapped in paper, was not an experience he wished to repeat. We then hit Lisbon, which for us was the highlight of the trip and we were not at all disappointed. We enjoyed the best weather of the trip which for the most part was very disappointing. The Captain had already announced that we would be missing Porto due to the weather and sea conditions but the bonus was that we were to overnight in Lisbon allowing us a few additional hours ashore next morning. Our final stop was Guernsey, a tender port, and we received a notification in our cabin the day before that ‘demand for tenders was expected to be very busy up until about 11.30 am but after that we would probably be able to breeze on to a tender as we wished’. It appeared that most of the ship had headed this advice and as we headed for the departure lounge at about 11.20 we found a queue which snaked from one side of the atrium through the art gallery and up to other side of the atrium before even reaching the point where the tender tickets were being issued. We had a trip booked for 1.30 pm and had planned to have a few hours exploring St Peter Port and a spot of lunch before the tour. We started to panic at about 12.15 when we were still queuing for tickets and mentioned that we were booked on a tour so were fast tracked through – even then we didn’t make it onto shore until 1.20. Guernsey was delightful – we were on a mini bus tour of the island with a final stop for ‘gin tasting’ – the samples were very generous and having missed lunch we quickly got quite light headed. We were taken back to port for 4.30 pm (last tender was supposed to be 5.00 pm) and found that the queue to get back on the ship was already snaking half way round the port! So another hour or so queuing was awaiting us. We eventually made it back to the ship for 6.00 pm. Nobody could explain exactly what caused the delay, there were suggestions of adverse sea conditions, insufficient numbers of tenders being used and an unexpected arrival of a ferry which stopped the tender process. Someone in the queue worked out that they had queued for 5 hours to get on and off for an 8 hour port stop! The Captain’s evening update included the phrase ‘I understand some of you had a ‘bit of a wait’ for the tender!’ You can’t help but wonder how other lines with the much larger ships manage apparently to operate their tender process much more smoothly and surely P&O have sufficient previous experience to avoid such chaos. We were so hungry when we got back on ship that we hot footed it to the buffet and as they had just opened for evening service we had a surprisingly good turkey carvery. So our last night and the Captain announced that we would be docking back in Southampton during the early hours when most of us would probably still be asleep. Our disembarkation information told us that we had to vacate our cabins by 8.00 am and that we would be due to leave the ship by 10.00 am. Later that evening, the Captain announced that there was a chance of plan and that due to orders from port maritime officers in Southampton, we now couldn’t dock until 7.00 am – no mention that this might cause a knock on effect on the disembarkation process. We took breakfast in the restaurant after clearing our cabin at 8.00 am and enjoyed a leisurely breakfast (don’t order the ‘healthy poached eggs on wholemeal toast’ option – the healthy toast appeared to be very small rounds of something akin to polystyrene). Leisurely chatting with our tablemates we were ‘thrown out’ as they needed to clear the dining room. We then waited at our disembarkation point – The Havanna Club, and being at the back of the ship, we were the last to be called, some 75 mins later than the scheduled time. Never have we been more pleased to get off a ship! Our overall impression of our P&O cruise was mixed, some good, some bad. We enjoyed the port stops and met some nice people, and the crew were lovely. The queuing to get on and off the ship was frustrating and so bad that it was almost entertaining - it certainly sparked the pioneer spirit amongst the passengers. We agreed that it wasn’t one of our best cruising experiences and had it been our first time, I am not sure whether we would be tempted to cruise again. Read Less
Ventura Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.2
Dining 4.0 3.9
Entertainment 4.0 3.7
Public Rooms 4.0 4.0
Fitness Recreation 4.0 3.9
Family 4.0 3.9
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.5
Enrichment 3.0 3.3
Service 4.0 4.0
Value For Money 4.0 3.6
Rates 3.0 3.9

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