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3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2018
Embarkation was quick and we were able to go on the ship straight away, the atrium was decorated with a large tree. Despite very poor weather on the run down to Madeira for 2 and half days, the captain changed some of the evening ... Read More
Embarkation was quick and we were able to go on the ship straight away, the atrium was decorated with a large tree. Despite very poor weather on the run down to Madeira for 2 and half days, the captain changed some of the evening activities. We enjoyed the cruise and ports of call and had booked 2 excursions unfortunately the deep sea fishing was cancelled due to lack of numbers, but was able to book a different excursion. A new excursion was trekking in Lanzarote which was well guided a small group of 11 took part. Our cabin was clean and serviced to a consistent standard, indeed we rarely saw Jay at all. We had booked freedom and as a group of 3 got the same table every night. The waiters were excellent and nothing was to much trouble if you wanted more you just had to ask. Entertainment was the usual mix of headliners and guest stars as seasoned P&O cruisers did not watch many as seen most before. Dancing in the Atrium is a little small and there was always a lack of seating, the hosts were very good and did a good mix of ballroom and sequence dances. The gym has some new equipment installed and was busy at times but there is enough so you can find free kit to use. During the cruise the rear staircase carpet was being replaced, we had no problem with this as it was phased and only 1 side was done at a time, we were also told that the tv system was being upgraded. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2018
Just back from a cruise to The Canaries, rough seas at the beginning but then the sun came out in Madeira and the Canaries. We did freedom dining and could never fault a meal, always hot and served efficiently, the waiters were ... Read More
Just back from a cruise to The Canaries, rough seas at the beginning but then the sun came out in Madeira and the Canaries. We did freedom dining and could never fault a meal, always hot and served efficiently, the waiters were extremely kind and friendly. We also dined in Sindhu and the Epicurean, again both lovely dining venues. Shows onboard the ship were excellent and well produced. Our cabin steward worked tirelessly as did all of the staff on the ship. I am writing this review as whe we were leaving there was one lady complaining very loudly about the cruise, nobody around her was agreeing with her but she still kept complaining, finally saying she was going to Fred Olsen, I loved the cruise for many reasons and so did many other passengers. We already have another 3 cruises booked and can’t wait for them. We really enjoyed the dancing classes with Graham and Margaret, we also met some lovely people Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2018
we don't fly so cruise from a UK port overall we had a great cruise , only 2 snags, 1 they seved gluten to my wife, also went to Indian and she was ill, but apart from those 2 incidents we had a geat cruise, ship was full and it ... Read More
we don't fly so cruise from a UK port overall we had a great cruise , only 2 snags, 1 they seved gluten to my wife, also went to Indian and she was ill, but apart from those 2 incidents we had a geat cruise, ship was full and it was difficult to get into some venues unless you turned up an hour early also films where put on mostly at 1pm when we where having a sit down lunch drink prices where good and they didn't add a service charge ,would have liked draught beer in restuarant . Best ship yet for choice of gluten free food, waiters need to be trained better on allergies , my wife ordered a meat plate at lunch it came with a slice of pork pie on, she sent it back and all they did was cut the crust off and brought it back, one speck of gluten can make her ill she is very sensitive and a coeliac the head waiter appologised and we know mistakes can happen but this was just wrong cabin staff could not have been better nothinng 2 much trouble will use P & O again Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2018
So nice to have a classic cruise instead of the hard sell, glitzy, quantity over quality that other companies seem to be providing now. Embarkation was seemless and from leaving our hotel to sitting in the buffet on board took just 45 ... Read More
So nice to have a classic cruise instead of the hard sell, glitzy, quantity over quality that other companies seem to be providing now. Embarkation was seemless and from leaving our hotel to sitting in the buffet on board took just 45 minutes . Ventura is comfortable, clean with great food and lovely staff. We enjoyed the ships excursions we took in Gibraltar and Valencia although the guide in Valencia had poor English. We thought they were reasonably priced. The buffet was probably our only disappointment on the Ventura. It is far too small and cramped with little choice but there are always other options. The food in the main dining room was excellent. Always hot and delicious and served with a smile. The extra charge meal in Epicurean was on another level. Well worth the small extra cost. The cabins were clean and comfortable. The beds were great and we slept well. Not too keen on the old fashioned shower curtain in the bathroom but the toiletries provided were good quality . Overall we had an excellent cruise on a lovely ship. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2018
This was our second P & O Cruise of 2018 and also our second on Ventura, the last being in June 2017. We selected an 11 night cruise down the West coast of Europe and just into the Mediterranean. As normal we chose to drive to ... Read More
This was our second P & O Cruise of 2018 and also our second on Ventura, the last being in June 2017. We selected an 11 night cruise down the West coast of Europe and just into the Mediterranean. As normal we chose to drive to Southampton from home in Lancashire and set off very early being as it was a Monday sailing expecting heavy traffic. Traffic and conditions were favourable so we had a great trip and having left at 3:45 we arrived in Southampton at 8:30 and this was the only place we met heavy traffic. A walk around the Southampton shopping centre occupied us until we ventured to the terminal at noon and we were soon on board and venturing to the buffet for a welcome lunch after our early start. Cabins were announced as being ready so we made our way to deck 11 and B714 on the port side towards the rear. The cabin was average in size but very comfortable with a small but efficient bathroom. We met Jessica, our cabin stewardess who was excellent in the way she took care of everything brilliantly yes was hardly noticed at all. Once unpacked we decided to check out the ship and look for the recent changes from its partial refit. There was nothing major but all very clean, several new carpets and looking smart and refreshed and almost a copy of the Azura that we had sailed on in June. We had our favoured dining option of freedom dining so generally went for evening G & T’s followed by dinner between 7:45 and 8:30 in the Saffron Restaurant. The food was markedly better than our last trip on Ventura and all of a good standard with reasonable choice. We really prefer to be on a table for two and achieved this every night, we had a few short waits but nothing major. We ate all bar two dinners in Saffron, the other two we opted for the buffet, more for a change than anything else. We breakfasted in Saffron most days and this was always good and very hot. Lunches were taken in a mixture of buffet and Saffron and were all nice. The buffet could be a bit of a scramble sometimes with the ship being full but they kept up well from the kitchens but I must say the set out and lay out of Celebrity ship buffets is better than P & O ships. This time we did not visit and of the ‘pay for’ restaurants as we enjoyed the main dining room so much. We enjoyed all ports, Lisbon where we have visited before was again an excellent choice, the second port was Valencia, a new port for us that was OK, Cartagena was our Sunday port and a really nice city that I would be very happy to return to. The port is just walking distance from town so a very nice change from many port stops. Gibraltar was the next port and the only rainy day of the trip so we did our duty free shopping and decided against a trip up the rock. The final stop was Cadiz but we had pre-booked a ships trip to Seville and we really enjoyed this as one of the nicest cities we have been to in Spain and a host of photos full of memories. We had a sea day for the final day en-route back to Southampton and a gentle sea as we crossed the Bay of Biscay. We availed ourselves of most bars over the cruise but as we are not big drinkers so it was more for a change of scenery than anything else. We enjoyed all the production shows that the Headliners cast put on and were of a great standard. In fact I would go as far as to say this Headliners cast were probably the best we have seen on a P & O ship to date. Bernie Flint still had the audience laughing. In other lounges the entertainment was good but the Cruise Director was a little bland and for me could have been more outgoing without but without the Butlin's style. That said his team worked hard and deserve praise. Normally we book about two months out from a cruise but this time we booked on board to come back to Ventura for a Canaries cruise in November 2019 with the offer of decent on board credit. We did our usual of carrying our own luggage off so we did not have the hassle of sitting around waiting so were off quickly and back home in Chorley for 1pm after a good trouble free drive home. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2018
We had a good cruise to Jersey with Aurora in June 2018, so booked again for Brugges with Ventura in November. The orginsation is good, luggage taken even before the entry hall and it arrives at your cabin door before you do. We had a ... Read More
We had a good cruise to Jersey with Aurora in June 2018, so booked again for Brugges with Ventura in November. The orginsation is good, luggage taken even before the entry hall and it arrives at your cabin door before you do. We had a balcony cabin which was really great. As we were on a two night cruise we didn't see much of the sea, none-the-less good to have. The ship was great in terms of communal spaces and decor, a real feeling of deluxe. The most disappointing part was the food, not the same standard as the Aurora, two meals of dried up fish, tasteless chicken stuffed with quail. The waiter couldn't tell me the names of cheeses offered. Brugges is 20 mins away from the dock gates by coach. This isn't for anyone with any sort of mobility problem as you are left at a bus stop about 1 mile walking from the centre. I didn't see anywhere this was explained in advance. Later came back on board early afternoon and went to the Glasshouse buffet on Deck 16. The salads for starters were all good, The main meals were not very appealingly presented. We eventually chose fish & chips, but the fish was dry and inededible, Something needs to be done about the help yourself chip tongs which produce about 3 chips a time with a long queue of people waiting behind you. We would have liked to go to the cinema as with Aurora, but told no cinema on board. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
Booked this cruise as a way of seeing Bruges, fat chance! This was a weekend two night cruise with one port of call Zeebrugge from which we could visit Bruges. On the morning we were due to dock in Zeebrugge announcement was made saying ... Read More
Booked this cruise as a way of seeing Bruges, fat chance! This was a weekend two night cruise with one port of call Zeebrugge from which we could visit Bruges. On the morning we were due to dock in Zeebrugge announcement was made saying it was too windy to dock and we would spend the day at sea! The sea was not rough and there was no movement on the ship. The announcement was very low key in fact 2 hours later at 9.05am there were still a lot of people having breakfast who were still unaware we were not going to dock! I feel we were treated very badly, with very little communication about the situation. The entertainment on board was very average. There were long waits to get a table in the restaurants in the evening but I'm sure P&O are very happy with the extra revenue they made by having everyone onboard all day! We have cruised with P&O several times but certainly won't be booking with them any time soon! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
The embarkation process was very efficient and worked well. Our cabin was clean & comfortable, the food excellent, entertainment poor, communication by newsletter or PA not very helpful. There was no information about the Saturday ... Read More
The embarkation process was very efficient and worked well. Our cabin was clean & comfortable, the food excellent, entertainment poor, communication by newsletter or PA not very helpful. There was no information about the Saturday activities, only for the Sunday. We had wanted to to visit Brugge again but no such luck. At the last minute at 7am Sunday morning it was announced that ' too windy to dock at Zeeburgge ' the whole point of the trip! There was no rocking and rolling to be felt so we were very surprised! We just meandered along the English Channel by the White Cliffs of Dover all day and returned to Southampton. P&O must have made a packet!! If each passenger spent £50 on drinks or in the shops on board they would have made £150,000! When I cancelled the taxi I booked the taxi driver said it definitely not too windy. Wouldn't travel with P&O again after this experience. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
We normally sail for around two weeks, and we were worried that 7 days would be too short to enjoy our holiday, however the Ventura did us well. Embarkation was extremely quick with little to no waiting, we were on the ship within 20 ... Read More
We normally sail for around two weeks, and we were worried that 7 days would be too short to enjoy our holiday, however the Ventura did us well. Embarkation was extremely quick with little to no waiting, we were on the ship within 20 minutes or so. The ship is lovely, felt warm and cosy without seeming old or dated, plenty of areas to relax and it never felt crowded in the public areas. The outside pool areas were nice, the pool at the back is very quite and relaxing, and the inside pool (although it got loud during the day) provided shelter when cold and was a nice area. Dining was overall good, but there is room for improvement. The MDR was always up to a great standard, heavy on seafood but pleanty of other choices and some options that always remained the same. Service was good and attentive, and we always left feeling well fed. We ate there 2 times for dinner. We ate there twice also for breakfast, menu was a good size offering plenty and is a good alternative to the buffet (more on that later). We didn’t eat in there for lunch. We ate in the Epicurian twice for dinner, Sindu once and the Beach House once. All were amazing and well worth the extra charge. Sindu was our favourite, meals were unique and creative but tasty and familiar enough to not seem crazy or over the top. Service was incredible and it is a shame we only ate in there once. The Epicurian was also very good, providing a nice fine dining experience. If your looking for a slow, relaxed meal that doesn’t leave you feeling over-indulged then this is the place for you. Food was very creative and tasty which left everyone satisfied with their meal. However as said, service is slow (they cook everything to order) and took around 2 hours, so leave plenty of time. The Beach House was our least favourite (but still very good) and were satisfied eating only once. Portions were huge and very indulgent, so not the right spot if you’re looking for a light meal. Entertainment was repetitive, but what we did see was good and enjoyable. Comedians, shows and live music were the main entertainment. Service was generally good, waiters were happy and friendly (even in the buffet) very attentive (you don’t have to wait long for a drink) and the entertainment crew were funny and enjoyable. Our cabin steward was good, didn’t see much of him but did a very good job and was friendly. We traveled with our teenage child, the activities were good and he made friends, the staff were very lovely and really enjoyed working there. Overall a good cruise, and would possible cruise again. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2018
The embarkation process was smooth, arrived and checked in within 30 mins. Our cabin was indoor, c366 and was as expected. Not a huge amount of hanging space/storage but for a short cruise was adequate. It was a port intensive ... Read More
The embarkation process was smooth, arrived and checked in within 30 mins. Our cabin was indoor, c366 and was as expected. Not a huge amount of hanging space/storage but for a short cruise was adequate. It was a port intensive cruise. We visited Gijon, it was meant to be la coruna but due to poor conditions the port was changed. A nice coastal resort worth walking to park and headland opposite old town. Bilbao we didn’t do an excursion we got the shuttle to town. Did an independent walking tour, took the funicular up for views. Took the metro to areeta, walked back via there to ship 3.5 km - nicer than central Bilbao. La Rochelle was lovely. €9 to enter all 3 towers. Loads of eating choices. No need for excursion if forecast is good. Cherbourg we went to mount st Michael. Our guide was rather eccentric and got only an hours free time after excusing ourselves of his company. Journey was 5 hours. Organised ship excursion and the most disappointing Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
We chose this cruise for a 3 night break. Never cruised with p and o before and we were very impressed with the whole experience. We chose a balcony cabin which was kept immaculate by jay our steward with plenty of hanging and storage ... Read More
We chose this cruise for a 3 night break. Never cruised with p and o before and we were very impressed with the whole experience. We chose a balcony cabin which was kept immaculate by jay our steward with plenty of hanging and storage space . The restaurants offered a varied selection of food which was always hot or cold depending on your choice. Hand cleanser was compulsory on entering especially in self service. Entertainment was of high quality. Bar prices where the same as hotel prices with a large selection of drinks. Embarkation and disembarktion were incredilbly easy . We visited the historic town of Bruges with its cobbled streets and canals. Plenty of bars and chocolate shops to occupy your time with a horse drawn carriage ride to take you to exquisite small areas is really a must. A fantastic time and ready to book another 3 night break..or longer........! Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
It had been a long held dream to sail to Santorini ................ Unfortunately we did not get to see Santorini or Mykonos on this cruise (the whole reason why we booked the cruise) and of course no one can argue with the forces of ... Read More
It had been a long held dream to sail to Santorini ................ Unfortunately we did not get to see Santorini or Mykonos on this cruise (the whole reason why we booked the cruise) and of course no one can argue with the forces of nature that were blowing through the Greek Islands at that time - but there was no comparable alternative offered. Just an extra day at sea (in the safe knowledge people would spend even more money in the shops/bars etc) Followed by a visit to Sardinian port, on a Sunday, which to all intents and purposes was closed. The half day visit to Gibraltar could have been extended I’m sure but that wasn’t to be. From the moment we came out of hiding in Piraeus, it seemed to be ‘full steam home’. The Captain could have been more communicative throughout this time, although P&O will say that’s NOT what passengers want! We paid five thousand pounds for a very disappointing cruise and for the money P&O must have saved by cancelling three ports and having an extra day at sea, the insult of ‘ a free drink 'with the Captain' in compensation is truly shameful. Entertainment was poor with the exception of a Gary Barlow tribute act. During the day there were all sorts of lectures and seminars which didn’t have universal appeal. Bizarrely, on one occasion, you could have your tongue examined for free in the Spa, along with the usual overpriced ‘treatments’. Unfortunately, P&O appear to have an archaic pseudo class system in place. We paid for our balcony at a higher price than they sell to their preferred 'loyalty' guest and yet because we chose to eat every night in either the Waterfront or Beach House, something as simple as blue cheese was not available unless we were prepared to eat in the Cinnamon which is cramped, noisy and to be honest when we visited The Cinnamon (just the once) the food was tasteless and lukewarm. By comparison, the food at the Waterfront was lovely, always hot and enough choice. The chefs were friendly and approachable and the waiting staff at both venues are absolutely 1st Class - fabulous. If P&O do not have a critical look at themselves and NOT move forward with the times, we feel they could be left with the same reputation as SAGA once had as the 'cruise line for the elderly cruise snobs' because that's exactly the kind of cruise we feel we have just experienced. We are absolutely sure that the time we took to answer their survey following the cruise will have been for nothing. Although P&O seem to have a monopoly on sailings from Southampton, we would think seriously about booking with P&O again. They need to bring their cruises into the 21st century - look at Royal Caribbean and yes even NCL & Marella on which we have had much better experiences. They won't of course, because they probably prefer their elitist, pretentious customer base, of which we are not. We are both professionals and wear uniforms daily and, along with many other passengers, we chose not to dress up in the P & O uniform of black tie on the formal evenings. Subsequently we were ostracized to the Waterfront, which suited us just fine. Everyone we ate with in the Waterfront and Beach House were dressed beautifully for dinner. Not once did we see anyone looking 'under-dressed' or 'scruffy' but the attitude of some of the old regulars towards 'dress code' is incredibly supercilious and snobbish. One ‘gentleman’ ordered a fillet steak on a lava rock – (which you cook yourself) he sent back to the kitchen as he didn’t like the way it was cooked !!! I don’t know how the wonderful staff put up with people like that. We overheard terrible comments being made about guests who chose not to wear black tie - I wonder if those same snobs would be particular if a paramedic and nurse who were not in formal dress might need to attend to them in an emergency ? Shame on P&O for encouraging this archaic attitude. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
P+O have certainly dropped their standards no doubt in search of greater profits that come at the expense of their passengers. We have been on several P+O cruises before and was always reasonably satisfied but this one was bad from ... Read More
P+O have certainly dropped their standards no doubt in search of greater profits that come at the expense of their passengers. We have been on several P+O cruises before and was always reasonably satisfied but this one was bad from start to finish. We missed three ports out of the seven scheduled stops and had only half a day instead of a full day in Zante, I appreciate that the weather was bad but my complaint is that P+O didn't tell us untill onboard and at the very last minute, plus inspite of the very substanial and additional savings they must have made, offered only a glass of wine as compensation stating repeatedly that we had signed their terms and conditions and health and safety as excuses. When I say their standards have dropped I really do mean it, this was very expensive cruise by P+O standards and we were expecting a little bit more than usual but almost emediately we could see the changes and shortfalls. 1 Large flying/crawling insects all over the ship 2 Dirty and greasey tide marks around the pools 3 Slashed seating and stained dining chairs 4 No cushions on the outside wicker chairs or glass tops on wicker tables 5 Theadbare carpets in various areas 6 No proper wine waiter / waiter service at meal times was well below previous standards 7 Dirty smelly cigarette/ash bins in smoking areas 8 Room service now charged for Plus many more We have comlained to P+O has did many more of the passengers but apart from a standard acknowledgement we havent had any other reply. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
The embarkation was reasonably quick after being kept waiting in our car for 15min by a lack of baggage porters. Once on board lifts were a problem due to one on each floor aft end out of order causing unacceptable wait times. The ... Read More
The embarkation was reasonably quick after being kept waiting in our car for 15min by a lack of baggage porters. Once on board lifts were a problem due to one on each floor aft end out of order causing unacceptable wait times. The cabin c631 was clean and tidy although a little drab colour wise, our steward was friendly and helpful. The Baytree restaurant the food was imo predictable nothing to really get you excited , the waiters were very busy indeed often having to run ! around the restaurant . The waterside deck 16 the food at times could only be classed as canteen quality! Drinks onboard were reasonably priced The pool area was very pleasant was always possible to find a sun bed For three nights at £900 for 2 would we book anther Ventura cruise No This was our 3 Ventura cruise after a a gap of 8 yrs standards have dropped . Read Less
12 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
Good itinerary inc. Rome/Naples/Sardinia, and whilst we are not anti-kids this was the first one outside the school holidays. Usually take a suite but prices were crazy, typically double what we normally pay, and P&O were still ... Read More
Good itinerary inc. Rome/Naples/Sardinia, and whilst we are not anti-kids this was the first one outside the school holidays. Usually take a suite but prices were crazy, typically double what we normally pay, and P&O were still offering a suite at top price on the morning we sailed. Opted for E730 Superior Deluxe and it was great with the big end/corner balcony, and none of the horror stories about noise from the nightclub below or engine vibrations - there must be some very picky light sleepers who find this cabin a problem. Lots of familiar friendly faces in the crew who remembered us from previous cruises and were genuinely pleased to see us and chat and update us on the families, lovely. Food was generally good in MDR and Buffet at lunch, and lots of veg. choice, not all green beans as some so often point out. Galley tour and Brunch was good. Buffet not as frenetic as it can be and far less table reserving whilst one goes to the Buffet and one stays holding table - which takes too much time if tables are busy. MDR menu cycles are a bit repetitive, same cycle for a number of years, but with ten main course choices at dinner not an issue. Epicurean continues to be a delight, and on day one excellent value at £17 per person. Did three shows all good, "Phantom" singer, comedy pianist, and Astonish which was amazing, OK you can work out some of the illusions but not all, and I'm still trying to work out the 4 card trick you all take part in! WW2 talks are same/similar as in all previous cruises over the years, and are getting a bit long in the tooth, you will be c90 now to have been in service in WW2. Some new topics perhaps, still military, what about Falklands, and current armed forces? Dancing is not my love although the Leader of the Opposition loves it and I can get round the dance floor. Goran and Roanna who we have been with before are excellent, and with Roanna even I thought I could Cha Cha. Met some nice fellow dancers and "watchers". Wheelchair/scooters not as many as can be sometimes, and none were demanding special service/queue/lift jumping. Second time on Ventura this year and 6/7 times overall. Been on other P&O ships and all good but we like Ventura and Azura best - big enough to have everything but not too big, mind you we will give Iona a try. Booked two cruises on Board - best value. Took one P&O excursion to Amalfi coast and Pompeii excellent, two through Cruise Excursions Barcelona Gaudi and Rome under our own steam - dropped off at the Colosseum and picked up at St Peters, easy and Rome done leisurely. Captain was quite visible around the ship and approachable. Rescued three migrants halfway between Africa/Spain, an increasing issue I suspect, well done to passengers and Bridge spotting them. Embarkation and disembarkation seemed to be further tweaked and improved, very little waiting around or big queues. An excellent cruise as ever. Martin Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
Always use Penguin Parking, their service is outstanding. From our luggage being taken at the quay, we were on the ship in 10 minutes, and enjoying coffee and cake in the Waterside buffet. This was our fourth Ventura cruise and our 7th ... Read More
Always use Penguin Parking, their service is outstanding. From our luggage being taken at the quay, we were on the ship in 10 minutes, and enjoying coffee and cake in the Waterside buffet. This was our fourth Ventura cruise and our 7th P&O ( Oceana & Britannia previously. Chose an inside cabin forward, on deck 12 (A) very quiet, new carpets and throughout the ship too on it's re-fit last spring. The bathroom had had a makeover too, new shower curtain-as Ventura is 10 years old don't expect the glass screen , ship design has come a long way since then, so it you want it up to date choose a newer ship. Cabin steward Malou worked tirelessly, pure delight, always had great service on P&O. Freedom dining is always our choice ( the Iona will be that throughout ) hope all the other ships can be changed too. Food in the Saffron was excellent, always a choice, the Glass house is also good - a small cover charge- amazing fish and chips there. Waterside buffet, again good, tended to go there for lunch, just a salad as so easy to over eat on a cruise !!!. Preferred breakfast in the Saffron. As the cruise was outside the school holidays, it was virtually adults only. Entertainment was good , The Headliners shows are well put together, their new show is '' Astonishing ''' and it really was, I will not give anything away, but DO DO the card trick exactly as directed. X factor winner Sam Bailey was excellent. Just had a slight question mark on the ' Hi Tones ' a 60's tribute band- it may have been a hic-up with the sound, but the lead was maybe slightly off key. There were more than enough sunbeds, just one or two passengers did the ' towel syndrome ' !!! Captain Marcin Banach was informative, the best one we have had so far, he dealt with the two problems professionally and courteously, picking up three young guys on a stranded jet ski !!! and a medical emergency. Ports :- Barcelona - Did the Nou Camp tour- a brilliant guide - amazing tour even if you are not into football. Naples - Did the Capri tour - Capri on your own - and did the boat trip round the island, it was busy as a saints day - that Sunday... Civitavecchia - Did Lake Marta... and the winery, superb views all the way but the wine was not to our taste - too acidic. Monte Carlo- As were were delayed due to the emergency, out tour had to be cancelled so be just wondered up to the Cathedral in Monte Carlo... harbour full of the most expensive yachts you could ever see. Cagliari- Dis our own thing exploring the town, do climb up to the to near the Cathedral for the views . Gibraltar - really just main street for real duty free shopping !!!!, the rock was in cloud so we have the cable car a miss.( not particularly attractive the town ) Disembarkation was quick and efficient, and Penguin Parking there in minutes. A cruise from Southampton beats any waiting in an airport!!!!, we booked Iona whilst on board- and can transfer the booking to ones own travel agent - also two further cruises booked, Britannia & Azura. Yes I feel P& O get things right, and the bar prices are not overboard. Dining experience excellent, yes you will get the moaners, but they should book a different cruise line !!!! Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
I had read some reviews after booking and was a bit concerned that we had made a mistake but we cannot fault the service we had or the quality of the food. We used the coach service and were on board very quickly. We had an outside cabin ... Read More
I had read some reviews after booking and was a bit concerned that we had made a mistake but we cannot fault the service we had or the quality of the food. We used the coach service and were on board very quickly. We had an outside cabin which was very clean on level 8. The soundproofing was better than I expected as I didn't hear other people and I am a light sleeper. We opted for second sitting and ate in The Bay Tree where the service was excellent. We also ate at the same restaurant for breakfast. All the food we ate was lovely and my husband is a picky eater but they made everything that he requested. The entertainment was not really to my taste, but I don't have mainstream music taste. There were plenty of bars to choose from so somewhere for everyone. The pool area wasn't somewhere I spent much time, too many noisy kids but it was school holidays so at other times it would be quieter. We had mixed weather, not what we expected for the time of year but you cannot do anything about that. My husband doesn't like flying so we gave it ago, but we won't rush to book another. I think we prefer the Eurostar with longer on land. Too much sea time for us. If you like cruising I have nothing negative to say. I thought the ship was kept spotless and the carpets looked clean everywhere. All the staff worked very hard. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
Having never been on a cruise before we found a 2 night mini-cruise on the P&O Ventura over the August Bank Holiday weekend (Southampton to Guernsey and back). My first point would be that if P&O run this mini-cruise again they ... Read More
Having never been on a cruise before we found a 2 night mini-cruise on the P&O Ventura over the August Bank Holiday weekend (Southampton to Guernsey and back). My first point would be that if P&O run this mini-cruise again they should probably consider making it 3 nights and try and include Jersey as a port of call, it would have just been a slightly better length than 2 nights, which was perhaps a bit to short to fully appreciate the cruise experience (and also its nice to see multiple places). As it happened, having been to St Peter Port fairly recently, we didn't actually disembark, so stayed on the ship all day, hoping to take advantage of the reduced crowds...sadly most places seemed closed, so this plan wasn't quite as smart as we thought! Anyway, lets go back to the beginning...in terms of pre-journey information, that was okay, but I feel they could do better and give a 1 page idiots guide to arrival and embarkation. The process was actually seamless, but for example there is no-where on the P&O website that mentions liquids in your luggage. It may be obvious to regular cruisers, but to airline travellers its a valid concern, we had no idea whether we could take full sized shampoo for example or not (albeit google came to our assistance and re-assured us that if we really wanted to, we could). Physically getting on the ship was far quicker than expected, we got given a fastrack card on arrival at the terminal, no idea if that was just luck or not, but our boarding process was very quick, it felt under 30 minutes...until we got on the ship. One point that is worth making, is that as this was a mini-cruise we only had 1 suitcase, which we could have carried ourselves, however the brochure made it sound like you had to check it in. Again its unclear whether this was required, or merely suggested, clarity would be better here. So when stepping on-board it was a bit crowded, but not ridiculously so, we had a welcome photo and then walked towards the lifts (there were plenty of staff to direct people). However the lifts themselves were atrocious. I have never been in any building with such poor lifts and I can't really see why merely being on a ship they should be so bad, at least one was out of action the entire time and two at some points. They appeared to randomly skip floors (or perhaps in reality the display was just not updating quickly enough) and took forever to arrive. Most people gave up and just walked. Whilst I appreciate things can get crowded on embarkation and disembarkation, when I say these lifts were bad, I mean the whole time, even at seemingly quiet times. I feel they need an overhaul. So then we went into the cabin, met the friendly cabin steward and went for a walk around (the cabin was okay, although very dated looking, especially the bath room, I won't say more as I've written a section on the cabin below). We explored the top decks initially and people were already getting into the swing of things, with some already in the pool (quite how they managed that so quickly I have no idea)! The pool's themselves however were very small, much smaller than I'd imagined them to be (even having seen pictures), the whole pool side areas felt quite crowded and more for the hen parties on board than quiet couples, so we never went in, but the water did feel quite cold when I tested it, so I don't feel we missed much! The pool side bars felt a bit rowdy, but nothing over the top, we never saw any trouble (despite mentions of fights and so on, on this ship in previous cruise reviews we found)! This is when we got our first taste of the excellent service, we were just standing by a railing and managed to end up with a couple of very reasonably priced cocktails within minutes. Overall I must commend the staff, the service was excellent, everyone was very helpful, polite and incredibly efficient too, we did tip on top of the standard included tips at dinner, but now I feel slightly bad we didn't tip for drinks too (which being British we wouldn't normally do, but we recently saw a documentary on the wages of cruise ship employees which made us feel bad). Now onto dining…our first taste of the food, was the Waterside buffet, which had a constantly replenished array of snacks and main dishes. It was okay, not spectacular, but then I don’t think it was meant to be, acting more of a quick and easy place to grab something. There was only a minimal queue and reasonable variety, although finding a window table was rarely possible, generally by going into the second room it was possible to find a table (the only exception being upon disembarkation, where everyone had to vacate their cabin’s before breakfast, which created a huge bottleneck). For the first night, for dinner we booked the Epicurian, which is one of the ‘Select Dining’ options available and frankly we were impressed. I popped down a bit early to request a dairy free option (and pre-ordered to make life easier for the chef) and in all honesty it surpassed my expectations. The food (and the service) were both excellent, with very reasonably priced wine to accompany the meal too. The second night we ended up opting to upgrade to Sindu (an Indian themed Select Dining option) and again we were not disappointed, once again the food and service were excellent. The main disappointment with dining was the regular options, which we didn’t try for dinner, purely because the menu just looked a bit rubbish. One thing I noticed, was that (if I recall correctly) every single menu option had dairy in, which isn’t a big deal for many, but in the modern world of allergies and dietary requirements creates an unnecessary headache, surely it wouldn’t kill anyone to create at least one dairy free option (I’m sure the same could be said for gluten, so why not kill two birds with one stone). All that said, of course as I mentioned previously in the restaurants we went to the chef’s did an amazing job of creating special options for me! Aside from the restaurants I’ve already mentioned, there was the poolside grill, which did basic burgers, hot dogs etc. and were pretty much as expected (think university canteen rather than steakhouse burgers). Oh and breakfast too had the usual hot and cold options as expected, it was nice enough and other than the last morning was not too crowded. In terms of bar’s we tried the Tamarind Club, which had a very impressive band called Serious Sounds. They were a group from Barbados and had impressive vocals, with the Keyboard player even outshining the lead singer on occasions! As with everywhere on the ship, the drinks service here was very attentive and quick. We had some cocktails at a bar by the pool and again the service was very rapid, the cocktails were nice too, not watery and reasonably priced (generally sub £6 for a large cocktail, which at least compared to London prices is cheap). Wine was around £20 a bottle, which again felt very good value and a beer was (I think) around £4/£5, which is the same as a cheaper London pub. The other bar I remember, was the British pub themed one called the Exchange, by the Casino, this was showing the football, much to my wife’s horror, however we sat quietly in the corner and had a go on the slot machines as the Casino wasn’t actually open during the day (which was very surprising and a bit odd). We did actually go to one more place, which was a bar / restaurant called the Glass House, this was very wine focused and offered sets of 3 x 100ml sample glasses for around £10 each, which was a nice way to try a few different wines (they also offered standard bottles or glasses of course). Now as I mentioned, we didn’t actually disembark in Guernsey, as we thought with the reduced crowds, it would be a great time to explore the ship, however disappointingly we found the entertainment options pretty limited, with many places closed (such as the Casino, which seems a bit short-sighted). There were some shows on at the Arena theatre and a screen showing children’s films in the Tamarind club, but overall it felt like there wasn’t much left for those who stayed on-board (yet somehow the pools were still crowded)!! In the evening, the entertainment was perhaps more interesting, but after a large dinner, we didn’t really feel like a show, preferring to have a drink or two. It would have been nice if the shows were repeated on different days (perhaps they are on longer cruises), as we had pre-booked dinner before boarding on the first night, which clashed with the only show we really wanted to watch. One thing that was a bit strange is that the entertainment options were not shown in advance, which was a bit annoying, as we would have planned things a bit differently if we had known what was on in advance. We asked to have a look around the children’s clubs (as we do have a small child, although she didn’t come with us on this trip) and to be fair they looked pretty good. The only criticism is that they are rigid about the age range, so a 5 year old can not play in the 2-4 year old play room, which is perhaps a bit unfair as it means children who are days apart in age can’t play together (and there seemed to be more in the smaller children’s room, with the older one still good, but geared more towards the much older kids). The SPA we visited briefly and there is a small pool there, which is adults only, they did also suggest there was a bar there, but oddly we couldn’t find it! The shops were very limited, surprisingly so, I would have thought they would have packed more in, I could imagine on a longer cruise you’d really struggle to find things you needed and would be very bored quickly of looking around the very limited range on offer. I can’t think of much else, so onto Disembarkation. We discovered that we had to vacate our cabin by 8 am and were not impressed by this, perhaps that’s normal with P&O, but having spoken to plenty of older cruisers (including both sets of parents) this is apparently abnormally early. Additionally we were not told this until on-board, which was very frustrating as we had made plans based on our assumption of a later disembarkation. Ignoring the fact that it was annoyingly early, surely P&O know the expected arrival time in advance and could let you know when booking (the same for embarking, although at least we found this out before boarding)!!! For people that have to book a train, especially those coming from further afield, how can they possibly plan ahead??? Very poor communication in my opinion. The other problem with disembarkation was that it didn’t seem to be staggered (I think technically it was, but only in 15 minute slots, which is sort of pointless with circa 3,000 in a confined space), this meant that obviously once again the lifts were an impossibility, but worse still, everyone crowded into the buffet breakfast space, meaning the queues were horrendous and it was impossible to get a table (we managed to find some bar stools outside by a closed bar, but others weren’t so lucky). So overall, the drinks were good value for money, the Select dining was excellent, but the normal dining looked disappointing. The buffet was okay, but unexciting and very poorly co-ordinated on the last morning. Overall the ship just felt very dated and in need of an overhaul, I was surprised to read it was only around 10 years old and has already been refurbished once! It felt as if the décor / facilities were probably older than that. The cabin was okay, but not spectacular (more details in the review below) and overall I guess the value for money was okay. It wasn’t a cheap weekend by any means, but considering how much cruises can cost I don’t think it was ridiculous. Now I do want to mention the staff again, as they were all excellent and deserve to be recognised for their impeccable service. So, would we go again? Well I think we would probably try a cruise again, almost certainly with our little one, as I think she’d really like it, however sadly P&O did not create a great impression so not only would we not go on Ventura again, but would probably be inclined to opt for another operator next time. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
I’m a well seasoned cruise traveller with over 25 completed to date ranging from Princess, RCI, Celebrity and P&O. I’ve never felt compelled to write a review until now. Having cruised similar with P&O, my partner and I, ... Read More
I’m a well seasoned cruise traveller with over 25 completed to date ranging from Princess, RCI, Celebrity and P&O. I’ve never felt compelled to write a review until now. Having cruised similar with P&O, my partner and I, along with two other friends booked a weekend cruise on Ventura to Guernsey over August Bank Holiday. We sailed on Ventura previously to Brugges, and as Platinum club members with Princess we know the layout of Ventura and Azura mirror their ships, so we were well aware of the ship and what lay ahead – or so we had thought. Firstly upon arrival at Southampton I have to say this was the worst I have experienced to date. Complete chaos. Guests were called in sequence order A-Z depending on what you are given when you arrive at the top of the stairs of the terminal. Waited for approximately 1.5hours to check in (1pm arrival). Terrible. Once onboard we were impressed with the ship layout and how bright and clean it appeared. We had an inside cabin, which was very clean, and enough room for two adults sharing. The bed was probably one of the most comfortable of all liners we have sailed on. The cleanliness is evident throughout from the bars to the pool area, and restaurants. However, in the evenings the majority of toilets throughout the ship smelt really badly – urine quite evident on the floors of several, and also quite a few blockages with no toilet attendant/cleaners in sight (few and far between). On the first evening in the MDR, we had a lovely table for 4. With no introductions or personal welcomes from the waiting staff, we were presented with the main menu - the waiter returned very promptly (in space of 5 minutes) to take the orders. I ordered a lamb shank for my main course and asked the waiter if it was possible to have some mash potato – to which he said he would ask the chef. No drinks, or wine on offer and within 5 minutes our starters arrived. My partner at this point asked was it possible to see a wine list as we felt it was more appropriate to take a drinks order before going full steam ahead and presenting us with our starters! It did feel like a conveyor belt, they wanted us “fed watered and out” with minimal interaction. The bread rolls were dire. Soft rolls, think tesco value on a small scale with zero choice, and put on the side plate with no second offerings. My lamb shank arrived and the waiter took off. I waited whilst my 3 companions tucked into their mains; I assumed the waiter was going to get my potato for the lamb. Again within 5 minutes he returned to clear the plates at which point I asked him did he get the mash as I hadn’t even started to my main yet. He was quick to inform me “no sir there is no mash”. I wasn't happy and I asked why hadn’t he told me this when he presented the plate to begin with. He said he was sorry he had just checked – this itself was a lie as I could see him directly in front of me fiddling with cutlery and the likes. If mash is offered in the buffet, and various other potatoes offered to top that, I didn't quite understand. I again repeated the question you’re telling me there is no mash available, to which he said “sorry no”. I then asked him to fetch me the Maitre’D. when he arrived I asked him if it was possible to have mash – his reply “anything is possible sir”. I told him I was informed mash wasn't available – he seemed surprised. I went on to explain I wasn't very happy at all nor were the others in my party. The lack of wanting to serve us, no drinks menu, orders etc”. I actually handed my main course, untouched, back as I was disappointed by the whole episode. I would like to add to this “Yes this might be a weekend cruise, but you should not treat all guests as first timers on a weekend break whom you assume will probably never return”. We were appalled by the lack of interaction and the lack of personal touch from the MDR waiting staff, their behaviour was definitely the lowest I’ve witnessed. It was quite the contrary in the buffet. Food in the buffet area was lovely, plenty of choice this is one area where the company excel. There were a few hen parties on board who were enjoying themselves Port of Call Guernsey: Tender required. What can I say…….. we docked at 8am – all guests required back on ship for 5pm. We had breakfast and went downstairs to the tender around 11am thinking it will be straight forward as we have tendering numerous times before at other locations worldwide. No - how wrong where we. We were told to join a queue for a ticket to join the tenders. The queue for this alone wrapped around the foyer area back to the art gallery – we waited in line for 1 hour and given tickets to tender. We were then moved into the restaurant, where we waited a further 1.5 hours. With 6 tenders operating, we felt this would have been quicker and should have been better managed. We spoke briefly to the lady (I use loosely as she was abrupt) this was taking forever, she replied by saying “no this is normal”. If this is normal for P&O I would be sacking the management in charge of this process. It was awful. We have experienced several tenders over the years with OTHER liners and never waited longer than 15 mins to disembark the ship, and that also involved a ticket and call by number! Perhaps the ship is too big for tendering to the port, but you've definitely got this so wrong P&O. Guernsey is beautiful, a lovely little place full of charm and very walkable. We had an afternoon tea and stroll, however we felt we should return to the ship around 3 (after just 1 hour on land) to avoid a possible mayhem like the disembarkation to tender earlier . Walking downhill towards the port and tendering area at 3pm, we could see a queue as long as anything with people waiting around. It took us 1 hour 10 mins to board and get back on ship. The whole experience is quite exhausting and not one I will repeat with P&O again. In conclusion, I feel P&O should use smaller ships for the weekend breaks and clearly advertise it involve tendering. Also, other cruise critic members do mention tendering by P&O at Guernsey being the worst experiences witnessed – trust me these people are not telling lies. I for one will NEVER return to P&O on a mini cruise again that involves tendering unless they drastically change their ways - not to mention their manner. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
I thought cruises were meant to be classy but this one was full of chavs with football shirts and tattoos! I was very surprised. Also I wasn’t expecting to find a hen do on board. Maybe I picked the wrong cruise! It’s very low ... Read More
I thought cruises were meant to be classy but this one was full of chavs with football shirts and tattoos! I was very surprised. Also I wasn’t expecting to find a hen do on board. Maybe I picked the wrong cruise! It’s very low brow! The room is ok, the balcony is very nice. Shame we were next door to a rowdy bunch though! I know people will think I’m being moany but so far this is not what I was expecting from a cruise. I can imagine by 9pm the whole ship will be smashed and balconing! (Just so you get an idea of what I mean). I hope someone can recommend a more old fashioned and classy cruise, I would very much appreciate it. I’m actually now quite glad this is only a 2 night stay. Anyway hope it somehow gets better. May end up just staying in the cabin. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
Was a on a 2 night Cruise from Southampton on P&O Ventura . Ship embark and debark procedures were smooth and polished. Once on board the ship the bars and public area lounges were nicely appointed bar staff was wonderful and ... Read More
Was a on a 2 night Cruise from Southampton on P&O Ventura . Ship embark and debark procedures were smooth and polished. Once on board the ship the bars and public area lounges were nicely appointed bar staff was wonderful and service was excellent . Our balcony cabin was lovely and had most everything we needed except enough regular ( with caffeine) coffee sachets for 2 people. there was only one. However the Dining Room experience was a far different matter , The late seating dinner at 2030 dining staff was unorganised and dinner was chaotic. We had a table to 7 and a vegetarian customer. The Dinner menu was not exciting and the fish that I had was overcooked and dry. The portion size was smaller than expected. I left the dinner not very amazed by the experience. But I did take into account it was only a 2 night cruise, so my expectations were not as high as if I had been on a 7 day cruise. In cabin Dining Breakfast ordering on Phone to kitchen at 7am We should have had an in room breakfast menu in our cabin, which we did not. We called to order in cabin breakfast and had to spend 20 min on phone speaking to 2 people. It seemed like they did not have a menu check list to fill in for our order and were struggling to know what was offered for Breakfast for in room dining. it was a very painful process to order breakfast on the phone. In the end we got our breakfast but no regular ( with caffeine coffee sachets) On the second dinner it only got worse. Our vegetarian was only given a choice between a Goats cheese appetiser and a Goats cheese main course dinner. Why did the chef only only offer goats cheese for a vegetarian? When we asked for something else they brought a plate of penne pasta with canned tinned tomatoes on top, a children's dinner , which were sent back to kitchen. This was unacceptable. Then only later did the waiter bring a Curry cauliflower and lentils, which made up for the insult of the children's pasta dinner. Please make accommodation for vegetarian guests and have your dining staff more organised to make the evening More seamless. Bar staff was excellent Embark Debark and security staff excellent Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
So this is the first P&O cruise that we've been on (Others include NCL, RCI, MSC, Princess, HAL and Costa) so we weren't sure what to expect. Plus it was a 2night cruise during school holidays. In short it was a great ... Read More
So this is the first P&O cruise that we've been on (Others include NCL, RCI, MSC, Princess, HAL and Costa) so we weren't sure what to expect. Plus it was a 2night cruise during school holidays. In short it was a great cruise, everything went well and would 100% cruise with P&O again! So the cruise itself: - Identical ship to the Sapphire Princess which we've been on before, just slightly understated. - Great pools and hot tubs (more than normal cruise ships) - It was perfectly clean, well kept and plenty to do - Loads of bars and plenty of places to eat - Evening meals at the Cinnamon restaurant were perfect! Good food and good choice, plus great service - Buffet was good quality, but lacked choice compared to NCL and Princess and wasn't well arranged - We watched the Whitney tribute act which was fantastic. Better than any other singer I've seen on a cruise before. - Service and staff were great - Tender service to Guernsey was efficient and we didn't have to wait long. I would say it was a cross between HAL and Princess, but maybe not quite as good quality. But we will definitely sail with them again! Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
Fjords Fantastic, Wheelchair friendly ship and ports. Staff very helpful getting on off ship with wheelchair. Many regular P&O Cruisers reported this being the worst ship they had ever been on. Cruise ship disappointing. This was ... Read More
Fjords Fantastic, Wheelchair friendly ship and ports. Staff very helpful getting on off ship with wheelchair. Many regular P&O Cruisers reported this being the worst ship they had ever been on. Cruise ship disappointing. This was our first cruise, however my parents have done several cruises. Cabins were lovely and our Stewart was brilliant. Dinning Buffet meal good for breakfast, just avoid the Eggs Benedict it was cold & no crispy bacon, omelets lovely, cooked to order. Afternoon tea in buffet good. Formal Restaurant service very slow 2 - 2hrs 45 mins, our quickest service was 1hr 45mins because we didn’t stay for desert, however meals were lovely. Entertainment poor 3 good guest acts, the rest was dire, singers out of tune (and I am tonne deaf). Couple of in house bands were good. Entertainment timings didn’t work in well with Restaurant eating. Shore excursions very expensive far better to research things to do and organise yourself - P&O charging over £48 for an activity that is a 10 min walk from ship and costs £10 to go onto. In saying that the Helecopter over the glazier worth every penny. Bar service good but if you drink a lot it can get expensive. Some reception staff could be a bit abrupt at time My Mum got a 5min lecture on how to look after her room key correctly when it stopped working. Seating around indoor swimming pool, floors often running with water and was very rarely mopped. I would do the Fjords again in a heart beat. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
Our family party booked a seven-night cruise of the Norwegian fjords: Southampton - Stavanger - Alesund - Olden/Louen - Bergen - Southampton. Embarkation Brisk and efficient as one would expect with a cruise. We were processed and on ... Read More
Our family party booked a seven-night cruise of the Norwegian fjords: Southampton - Stavanger - Alesund - Olden/Louen - Bergen - Southampton. Embarkation Brisk and efficient as one would expect with a cruise. We were processed and on board the ship within half an hour of arriving at the Mayflower Terminal in a taxi. Ship environment Ventura is a nice ship that is spotlessly clean and obviously very well maintained. However, it's a ten-year old ship and looks a bit tired in places. There is a general inconsistency between areas that have clearly been refurbished and those that haven't had a facelift. The atrium in most cruise ships usually has a bit of a wow factor but the central area of the Ventura is a bit poky and unimpressive. The ship's layout is a tad confusing and finding one's way around was a challenge because you can't walk through parts of certain decks. My overall impression of the ship is that it seemed very crowded with seats difficult to find for entertainment activities and sunbeds hard to secure on the open and sun decks. Food and dining The food and service for dinner in the main Bay Tree restaurant was generally excellent, with only a couple of disappointing dishes served during our stay. The menu completely changed daily and offered a wide choice of starters, main courses and desserts. You could also opt for a choice of soups and salads instead of, or in addition to, the starters and main courses, plus cheese and biscuits at the end of the meal, so it was possible to have a six course meal if you so desired. I personally didn't enjoy or rate the Marco Pierre White menu served on the first black-tie evening (and therefore avoided it on the second formal dress night). The desserts on all menus were a little lacklustre compared to the standards I have seen on other cruises. These are small criticisms though and, overall, the standard of the food was top-notch. Two of our party opted to eat in one of the select restaurants, The Epicuran, on one night and they said the food and service there was excellent. On most days we took breakfast in the Waterside buffet and the food here was very good although the choice was quite narrow compared to other cruises. Some of the serving areas are very limited for space and the layout of dishes was illogical (who on earth puts the fried bread and toast after the eggs?!) resulting in a bit of a scrum at busy times as people tried to dart in and out of different areas to assemble their breakfasts. I liked that the toast was prepared for you so you didn't have to faff about with one of those self-service machines. We got a table without too much effort on each day, even though the breakfast service was very busy. If on board, we usually took lunch or high tea in one of the buffet restaurants. Although the quality of the food was ok, the choice was very limited compared to other cruises and it was all really rather bland and uninteresting. I struggled to find something I fancied on more than one occasion, which was a cruise first for me. There is a poolside grill serving burgers, hot dogs, pizza but it isn't very obvious or well advertised and we didn't actually discover it until the final day. A major downer in the buffet restaurants is that only tea, coffee and water is available at lunch and tea with the juice/soft drink machines deactivated. Presumably this is to encourage people to buy soft drinks from the bar, but it seemed very penny-pinching of P&O. All in all the lunch and tea buffet service was significantly below the standards I expect from a premier cruise line. Drinks The bar areas are generally plush with excellent service, although they could get very busy before dinner. We enjoyed pre- or post-dinner drinks in The Metropolis at the top of the ship with stunning views, the Tamarind, Havannah and the Red Bar at various times. All nice environments for a snifter. Drinks on board were expensive but not outrageously so, and there were plenty of waiters around to take your order wherever you were on the ship. P&O didn't offer any all-in drinks packages (other than to buy a package of a few bottles of wine for dinner) which is another big mark against them in my book. Entertainment / activities I found the entertainment on offer good, both in terms of the shows staged by the in-house performers and the guest acts. In fact, the in-house shows were not far off the standards of a West End show. Guest acts I enjoyed included a comic ventriloquist and Nya King, a brilliant Whitney Houston tribute act. Unfortunately, the main theatre suffered intermittent but persistent technical problems with the stage equipment during our stay, which led to the interruption or cancellation of some shows. There was also a packed programme of activities during the day with plenty of talks, demos, sports, bingo and quizzes. My only criticisim of the entertainment is lack of seating in the main theatre and that the timing of some activities clashed with dinner sittings (why not time some events for 10pm rather than 9.30pm or 9.45pm so that dinner second sitters can go to them?). Pools and swimming The indoor pool on the lido deck was freezing and the jacuzzi hot tubs were tiny with brackish and unappealing looking water. I wish they would reserve a couple of the hot tubs in the main pool areas for adults only as you can't really use them when there are other people's unaccompanied children in them. The outdoor pool on the lido deck and end terrace pool were warmer but very deep for young children. There is an adults only pool by the spa but clearly this is suitable only for parties with no children at all, and it was hardly used by anyone from what I could see. No towels are available at the poolside, but blue bathing towels are provided in the room for use at the swimming pools. No blankets available, either, for the loungers, which I thought was unusual on a cruise ship. Ports and shore excursions We mostly did our own thing as the ship docked close to the main downtown areas of each port. We did one shore excursion, the Loen Skylift, which was superb. We would have booked more shore excursions through P&O but we like to book a day or two before rather than weeks in advance and so trips were either fully booked or had been cancelled due to low numbers. We have never had a problem doing it this way with other cruise lines, but it seemed too difficult for P&O. The shore excursion staff member we spoke to was rather dismissive and was more interested in getting away at the end of his two hour desk duty than to sell us anything. I was amazed as presumably there is a good profit in it for them! Generally, port facilties and embarkation were smooth and we did not encounter any problems. Again, though, P&O is without those nice little touches that you get from other cruise operators, such as a welcome back on ship with ice water and a hot flannel or wet wipe to freshen up, or whatever. Conclusion Overall we enjoyed the cruise very much but I am not sure that P&O will ever be our first choice of cruise line. I just felt that there was too much penny-pinching across the board and, although all these niggles were quite small individually, together they added up to an inferior overall experience when compared to Celebrity, Cunard or Royal Caribbean. A cruise is meant to be something really special, but there were too many areas where P&O don't make you feel particularly special at all. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
As suite passengers,embarkation is always smooth,taken almost immediately and then in to the priority lounge where you get complimentary teas,coffees and snacks. Then onto ship and through to champagne lunch,which we always love. Our ... Read More
As suite passengers,embarkation is always smooth,taken almost immediately and then in to the priority lounge where you get complimentary teas,coffees and snacks. Then onto ship and through to champagne lunch,which we always love. Our cabin was always clean and tidy thanks to the wonderful Umesh,our butler Andrew was also always helpful. Unfortunately,this cruise line are now cutting back on things a little too much and we have cancelled our next 3 cruises with them,such a shame as we have only ever sailed with P&O and usually twice a year and always enjoyed it. Firstly,going into Stavanger on a Sunday,I dare say this is cheaper for P&O as the place is closed,no shops open at all,we found a small bakery open where we had a lovely coffee and croissant but then just walked around waiting for the bars and cafes to open.The other port albeit it was chucking it down was Bergen,back on board by 2.30pm,what a disgrace,never in our cruises to Norway has this happened before and again I'm guessing it has something to do with port fees. On to the dress code,where the majority of people seem to like getting dressed up there are still the usual characters who still chose to slum it in joggers or shorts,even at the captains gala,they also got served their free bubbly,which should not have happened,It may seem trivial but why do these people come on cruises?why not just go to Skegness for a weekend then you can choose to dress as you like(sorry Skeggy) I think P&O are losing the way,trying to cater for all but failing miserably. At Christmas there was a rather nasty case of the noro virus but even after all the advice about using the hand sanitisers there seemed to be hardly any and where there were some,people just ignoring them and staff not telling them,we even heard one woman as we were going into dinner telling her husband she wasn't using it as she washed her hands earlier!!!! These are selfish people who don't seem to realise the noro virus spreads like wild fire and is really nasty Next is the room service,which now has a charge,as a suite passenger I find this appalling,we pay rather a lot more money for a suite and it's benefits so don't expect to pay for room service,we're not eating in the dining room so surely free food in our cabin should be allowed.when it did come my husbands pizza was black round the edges and my brie sandwich had a tiny slither of brie in it. The service as always is second to none and the waiting and cabin staff are just brilliant,always get such a laugh with them. Glass house food is still superb,you may have to wait for it but it's always fab. We are going on Ventura again over Xmas and New year but sadly that is our last with them,giving Cunard a go,they seem to be sticking to what cruising is all about. We are not snobs in any shape way or fashion and I love that EVERYONE can now enjoy cruising but some just don't know how to behave,I'm sure most of you know the type I mean and the cutbacks are just becoming a little too noticable Read Less
Ventura Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.2
Dining 4.0 3.9
Entertainment 4.0 3.7
Public Rooms 4.0 4.0
Fitness Recreation 4.0 3.9
Family 4.0 3.9
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.5
Enrichment 3.0 3.4
Service 4.0 4.0
Value For Money 4.0 3.7
Rates 3.0 3.9

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