1. Home
  2. Cruise Lines
  3. P&O Cruises
  4. Ventura Review
  5. Ventura Cruise Reviews
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
6 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
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
We are regular P&O cruisers and had a party of 12 for a much and long awaited cruise with family. Embarkation was great and we were excited about the widely reported refurbishment - couldn't find anything different I have to say!! ... Read More
We are regular P&O cruisers and had a party of 12 for a much and long awaited cruise with family. Embarkation was great and we were excited about the widely reported refurbishment - couldn't find anything different I have to say!! Started to unpack and found a used sanitary towel in a bed side drawer - that was awful !!!!!!!. The toilet smelt strongly of urine and so did our daughters cabin on another floor - so this wasnt an isolated issue. The showers overflowed every time we used it and the dreaded awful shower curtains remained - the plastic panelling was also cracked in the shower which cant be hygienic. The cabin steward wasnt friendly nor did he clean the bathroom well each day. The toilet often didnt flush and we difinately hadnt put anything down them we shouldn't. The entertainment was awful at times - a duo - the girl just cant sing - heard better buskers - she was totally disinterested and its an insult to field such poor acts. Pulse was also poor - lead singer. Comedian was poor and we saw the same shows as we have done in the past 2 years - so we missed a few this cruise as we have seen them several times before. The Astonishing Show was great - very professional. Serious sounds were fanbtastic as they have been for the last 2 years - didnt tire of hearing the same act for the 3rd year running !! Entertainment Team unprofessional - had a total disregard for their passengers and seemed to be constantly having in jokes with themselves during their evenings with us - not particularly great to listen to and it got tedious. P and O and definately losing it - their focus is on selling Specialist restaurants and trips on board - if only their energies could be spent on getting the basics right. Having people on Reception who can actually help or communicate effectively once a complaint / issue had been raised. The queue for photos last night was over an hour wait and then when we got to the front desk finally they told us they hadnt managed to sort our order out and to come back later!! Not a great way to have to spend your last night - absolutely no customer care or valuing the passengers what so ever. Very rushed at times at breakfast times - Baytree Restaurant - Toast hard as rock and stone cold. When are they going to sort the milk jugs out the milk spilt all over EVERYTIME they were used. My husband paid £80 to see Marco Pierre White yesterday to watch him cook and to sample his dishes - everyone was fish based (no prior warning) and my husband hates fish so he couldnt try any of Marco's food - which was a massive shame and an expensive 2 hours ! I am so sad that P and O wont be the cruise of choice next time, we feel we cant recommend them to anyone again - we will retry Celebrity / Royal Carribean or Princess cruise liners next time in the hope their focus on the customer care and high standards have remained.. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2018
this was my first and last cruise with p and o drinks very expensive the draft beer tasted discusting ... Read More
this was my first and last cruise with p and o drinks very expensive the draft beer tasted discusting this was like butlins at sea and the bars and public areas were uncomfatable i bought a pint of peronni and it tasted like dish water in the bar in the casino on formal nights there was karioke on as i said this was like butlins at sea. we did set dinning every night and when you came out you was still hungry as the posions were very pitaful the cheese board only had a selection of four cheeses and most times did not contain blue cheese. there were no extra touches on a night in the cabin like you get on other cruise lines. on a afternoon at 5pm you could not get anything to eat as they shut the full area for childrens tea there was three children in there. i would never go with p and o again and i would not recomment them to anyone Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2018
This was a last minute booking which had to take place during school holidays,my daughter works in a school, There were many families with children of all ages but we saw no bad behaviour at any time and some of them were charming. The ... Read More
This was a last minute booking which had to take place during school holidays,my daughter works in a school, There were many families with children of all ages but we saw no bad behaviour at any time and some of them were charming. The ship was clean and very well looked after and our cabin (outside double) was spotless and attended to twice a day. So what was the problem? Food, breakfast very good lunch very good, evening meal served in Bay-Tree very poor, usually cold undercooked veg, fish, my favourite had it three times each time 2/10 so did not choose it again, fillet steak unable to cut it others on our table had the same problems, a waste of good food. However the waiters were 1st class, we also enjoyed some good which was reasonably priced. My main gripe is the entertainment - line dance classes which could be heared on the main decks all over the ship each day Films we watched The Darkest Hour - one of our favourite films - although we had seen it twice before - Shows what shows !! A ventriloquist who had an obsession with “farting” I have been on many cruises in the past and this one is the worst. The main reason we booked a cruise was for the evening entertainment a big failure on my part. However we had very good company at dinner and have some good memories. Shirley and Pam. Read Less
Ventura Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 0.0
Dining 4.0 0.0
Entertainment 4.0 0.0
Public Rooms 4.0 0.0
Fitness Recreation 4.0 0.0
Family 4.0 0.0
Shore Excursion 4.0 0.0
Enrichment 3.0 0.0
Service 4.0 0.0
Value For Money 4.0 0.0
Rates 3.0 0.0

Find a Cruise

Email me when prices drop