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4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2015
As avid cruisers, this was our first cruise in the winter for New Year and it ended up a choice between Cunards Queen Victoria and POs Ventura, both offering similar itineraries from Southampton to Amsterdam for New Year and as we've ... Read More
As avid cruisers, this was our first cruise in the winter for New Year and it ended up a choice between Cunards Queen Victoria and POs Ventura, both offering similar itineraries from Southampton to Amsterdam for New Year and as we've sailed with PO before, we decided to trust the brand we know, big mistake. "Discover the best of Bruges and celebrate the New Year in Amsterdam" is what the brochure said......... What it failed to add is that you're highly unlikely to get there in the winter unless the weather is perfect and the seas are calm, why..... the Ventura only has a 5 metre tolerance to maneuver up the narrow canals to Amsterdam and does not have the same type of thrusters as the Queen Victoria (who made it), least that's what we were told by the captain as the we approached Amsterdam in the early hours of New Years eve, then turned around! This was a cruise with an advertised itinerary of Southampton, Bruges, Amsterdam, Amsterdam, Southampton, which turned out to be Bruges with 3 days at sea! As a consequence we spent 2 days over the New Year drifting in the North Sea on an over crowded ship with very little entertainment or things to do. To cap it all off, the final evening after dinner we thought we'd try our luck in the casino only to find signs on all the tables and machines saying it was closed, presumably because we'd came home early to Southampton and we were no longer in international waters! Knowing what we know now, we would never have booked the Ventura for this cruise and why PO would plan this ship and itinerary is a mystery. Apparently this same New Year cruise was on the smaller Oceana last year, maybe they got greedy and took a risk on the bigger ship, who knows. Overall, apart from Bruges which is a beautiful city any time of the year, this cruise was a disaster and we would certainly not recommend it to fellow passengers. PO had no 'plan B' despite the obvious indications that we would not make Amsterdam, they offered a lukewarm apology at best from the captain and no compensation whatsoever, not even a free drink, despite what I would consider a major change on the itinerary advertised. We will certainly not be returning to any PO cruise ships in the future. Embarkation / Disembarkation An excellent start to the holiday, early arrival, small queues and on board within 45 minutes so no complaints there. Just as swift a departure, called at 9.15am and in the car by 10.00am. Accommodation We had a balcony cabin on R deck (14), the cabins are a decent size and well laid out with plenty of storage although they are starting to look rather tired and dated. This deck is just under the main pool deck and food hall and we had read reviews about noise from sunbeds, but we thought as it was winter this would be ok, we were wrong, the noise from dragging chairs and tables was constant from around 7am until late in the evening. Dining My previous experiences with PO dining has always been very positive however this was by far the worst dining we'd experienced on any cruise ship in the main dining room. We were on freedom dining and allocated to the Saffron restaurant, overall the experience was slow with poor service, bland food and really small portions, like Gammon, egg, few peas 4 chips! Although this was freedom dining, New Years was changed to a set dining time and this should have been the highlight of the cruise. Wrong again, the whole evening spoilt by the fact that we sat at 8.45pm, asked 4 times for a waiter to serve us drinks which we eventually received when we were being served our dessert around an hour later. I seen some people walking out of the restaurant to go and collect drinks themselves from the red bar nearby, not what I would call a fine dining experience! Entertainment The usual combination of live bands and tribute acts, overall standard was average. Other than a few movies there was very little on offer during the day, however this is probably because we not supposed to be on the ship! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2015
We first cruised on Ventura in 2011 and had such a pleasant experience. This time we decided to go on a family cruise for half term in October 2015. We booked 3 deluxe rooms and although it was expensive at around 7,000 pounds for the ... Read More
We first cruised on Ventura in 2011 and had such a pleasant experience. This time we decided to go on a family cruise for half term in October 2015. We booked 3 deluxe rooms and although it was expensive at around 7,000 pounds for the accommodation and meals, we thought it would be worth it. What a mistake! Starting with the extremely rude check-in lady before we even boarded, the whole weeks experience was very poor. The room although good for size and with a very nice comfortable bed, was very tired. We had a cracked and broken toilet seat in the bathroom. The champagne and chocolates on arrival were of dubious origin (cheap and nasty) the food in the self service restaurant was worse than a UK service station. The "fine dining" restaurant was beautifully set up with very good service but again the food although not quite as bad as the self service was not good. The room service was worse that both the alternatives with stale sandwiches and powdered soup with the powder still stuck to the bottom of the bowl! The only decent food we ate was on land at our various stops. Even the canapes (part of the deluxe room service) were stale mini pastry cases, 5 or 6 of them all filled with the same cream cheese and served on a plate, cling filmed, and thrown into your room on an evening of their choice. When we saw them all we could do was laugh! I'm afraid this was extreme cost cutting and we wouldn't dream of cruising with P&O again. Just to add insult to injury, we filled out an on board form as well as an online form as well as speaking to 3 customer service representatives asking to speak to someone in authority and instead they offered us a bottle of champagne on our next cruise when I thanked them but refused their offer, they then upped it to £100. When I again thanked them for their offer but said no thank you I would really like to speak to someone in authority instead. I was then told there was nothing else they could do and I was then advised to go to ABTA and given the phone number! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: September 2015
I chose this 2 night cruise because I wanted to try a different cruise line other than my usual NCL. Big mistake! Whilst the ship was large it was so badly designed it was very difficult to get around. There are 4 pools on board, oasis at ... Read More
I chose this 2 night cruise because I wanted to try a different cruise line other than my usual NCL. Big mistake! Whilst the ship was large it was so badly designed it was very difficult to get around. There are 4 pools on board, oasis at the front, pool terrace aft, an indoor pool and another outdoor pool in the middle of the deck. Oasis is adults only I believe. I was surprised to see that I had to take a ticket and wait to be called for check-in and the woman at check-in gave me no information whatsoever. I had no clue why she had taken my credit card, she did not explain anything to em about the auto gratuity that was added. A fellow passenger told me that I did not have to pay this and should have been given the option upon check-in. After I checked in it was then to go through security and striaght onto the ship which all went smoothly. The staff in general were a miserable lot with one or two looking a little happy every now and again. My single cabin F328 was located next to the Exchange Bar. Karaoke went on here until late and so it was impossible to sleep until this had finished. I was offered no sympathy from either the cruiseline itself via the phone nor the reception staff and there was no offer of compensation. I was actually told that when it was time for me to go to sleep for me to go to reception and ask them to turn down the bass. I am firmly of the opinion that these cabins shoud not have been built because they are subpar. I will say this however, the cabins are far bigger than NCL, although as you are not in it much apart from sleeping this isn't the be all and end all for me. A good night's sleep is. The food was hit and miss. The buffet was a joke it was so small with ropes cordoning off certain parts and it was very difficult to find seating due to the sheer number of passengers. Fajitas with tortillas were advertised and I had to stand there and ask for the fajita as it was not there and for the tortillas. I was provided with a warm fajita to place the chilli in myself but no tortilla. Everythign seemed too much for the staff at the buffet. Thankfully, the evening meal improved with lobster thermidor which I thoroughly enjoyed, althoug the mushroom soup was of such a bizarre consistency I could not eat it. i finished my meal with pached strawberries but there were no strawberries on my plate whatsoever just some ridiculous coulis amde from strawberries. Dinner the following night was mediocre. The best food by far on the ship were the small homemade pizzas with 4 types to choose from as well as a daily special. I thoroughly enjoyed these. The drinks could've been better priced (£6.50-£8.50) and are cheaper with NCL. Beers are mainly British. The entertainment was laughable. the comedian on the first night was so bad I would've left but I was stuck in the middle of a row and wouldn't have been able to get out without some comment from the imbecilic man. There was also a Take That tribute band which was pathetic. If I coudl have got off the ship that night I would gladly have gone. The tender service to Guernsey the next day operated well and it only took me 25 minutes to get onto the tender. Disembarkation was also fine, however I feel being made to leave the cabins at 8am is asking a bit much. We had to queue to get to breakfast which was annoying as only one restaurant was open. In short this was my first and last cruise with P&O as it is well below the standards I am used to. Never again. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2015
I have just come back from a trip on Ventura, sail date 13 September 2015 down to the Canary Islands from Southampton and back again. I have done a lot of cruises with other companies before but I am planning a round the world cruise ... Read More
I have just come back from a trip on Ventura, sail date 13 September 2015 down to the Canary Islands from Southampton and back again. I have done a lot of cruises with other companies before but I am planning a round the world cruise and P&O go round the world. My mother advised me to do a short cruise with P&O before booking a long one to see what I thought of them. I’m so pleased I did. There is no way on earth I would ever choose to do another cruise with this company. It started off OK, embarkation was really smooth and my cabin, although small was perfectly adequate. I’d booked late in the day so the best I could get was a balcony cabin which is smaller than I’d usually book but it was perfectly manageable. What was shocking, right from the start, was the attitude of the staff. You can’t get into your cabin until 2 and I’d had a long drive down so I found somewhere on deck to sit and got some lunch. Right from the start I got staff asking me where my husband was. It was like I’d gone back in time. When I told them I was travelling alone I got raised eyebrows and a smirk. It was seriously unsettling. I then had the ongoing problem during the trip of people wandering into my cabin. They’d knock quickly and before I had a chance to say “no” they’d waltz in. I ended up putting up the “do not disturb” sign every time I went back to my cabin, but it didn’t stop them – they’d just knock twice and waltz in. I began to think they were having some sort of bet as to who could catch me naked first. I went and complained to reception and got the response “What do you want us to do, post a guard outside your door?”. The ship is desperately over crowded. Going up for breakfast there is a very poor choice of canteen style food that is greasy and unappetising. It is really difficult to get a table, especially travelling on your own as you have no-one to save your place and if you leave your food for a moment it will be whisked away and someone else will be seated there. There is juice, but only at breakfast and its nasty reconstituted stuff. The canteen is way too small for the number of people on the ship and it’s crowded with people bumping into each other. Room service is pathetic. You can’t get cooked breakfast to your room and there is a very limited range during the day. The night menu actually looked better, if you can wait until after 11 pm to order something. I was freedom dining which was actually OK, as a single person I got added to a table and quickly seated. The problem was the menu was so dull that most evenings I couldn’t be bothered to get dressed up to go down and eat it. Very school dinners. Steaks that had obviously been frozen and thawed too quickly. The biggest problem was the lack of anything to do. The “talks” are all just trying to flog you things, like acupuncture or other treatments. The spa is ridiculously expensive although the therapists are very competent and friendly. The biggest mistake I made was paying to use “The Sanctuary”. This turned out to be a separate area with slightly more comfortable sun loungers. They made it sound like we were going to be fed and waited on, but this never materialised. The shows were a joke. I’ve seen much better school productions and one of the singers in particular was horrifically flat. I struggled not to laugh through the whole thing at just how preposterous it was. The TV has news channels and some sport and that is it and it often doesn’t work at all. They have a selection of a few old films. They show films in the theatre but they repeat them and when I went it was so out of focus it was hard to actually watch it. I have been on a lot of cruises, I have never been so bored in my entire life. I felt like I was stuck on a very bad ferry and ended up counting the hours until I could go home. When we were in port the choice of excursions seemed to be either something where you needed to be uber fit and able to walk for hours on end, or, something where you sat on coach and got driven round but didn’t really get to actually get out and do anything. There isn’t time when you only have a few hours in a port to make your own arrangements if you want to be sure of not missing the ship but the choice was so poor I usually just ended up getting off and walking around a bit. The very, very worst things though were problems with the ship itself. We started off crossing Biscay in a very bad storm. They locked the balconies and shut the decks. I’ve crossed Biscay in a storm many times before but this was the first time I’ve actually been scared. I didn’t feel the ship was up to it. Various members of the crew told me later that they’d been scared too and they’d been living on the ship for more than a year. There was a serious problem with the lifts which kept breaking down. This is really not good when you’re on a ship with that many floors and you need to keep getting up and down. Just as a note, I became very aware of what a huge problem the lifts were for the number of wheel chair users on the ship who often ended up missing things. There are very few public toilets and even fewer disabled ones and the disabled ones don’t have automatic door openers so there is no way of travelling on this ship as a wheel chair user unless you have a companion. On the last day the lights failed. So the lifts were working but you needed to travel down in pitch dark. There was no lights in the toilets, or water for that matter, so no way to wash your hands. The entire cruise was just one annoying event after another. My card kept failing, so I’d battle the lift queue up to my cabin only to get a red light when I tried to open it, and then have to play lift roulette to go back to reception to get my card replaced. Eventually when I phoned and made a huge fuss they said I didn’t need to go down again as they could reset my door from there and hey presto, suddenly my key worked. There were times when I felt I was getting a “hazing”, that the staff were deliberately going out of their way to make my experience miserable. I am not sure that a lot of the male staff in particular approve of a woman travelling alone without a male chaperone, or at least that is the definite impression I got. I didn’t do anything that warranted the way I was treated. I think if I was a man, or even if I was travelling with another woman I might have had a better experience, but I really felt an underlying hostility to a lone female passenger. I have always loved going on cruises but I never want to experience something like this again. It was just no way up to the standard I am used to. It would call it Butlins on Sea but I think that would be unfair to Butlins. I have never been so happy to get back to England and disembark. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2015
We stupidly believed the Thompson reps who assured us "if you enjoyed Royal Caribbean Independence of the Seas you'll enjoy P&O Ventura" - please learn from our mistake; Royal Caribbean beats P&O at every level: ... Read More
We stupidly believed the Thompson reps who assured us "if you enjoyed Royal Caribbean Independence of the Seas you'll enjoy P&O Ventura" - please learn from our mistake; Royal Caribbean beats P&O at every level: The whole ship seemed in need of a full refit. Entertainment wasn't worth seeing - Karaoke had better singers! Walls in fine dining were covered in dust and grease. Where was the hand-gel? Even the lifeboat muster was more theory than practice - don't know how they get away with that. P&O have spoiled the idea of cruising for us - boring and old fashioned - poorly trained crew, completely overworked! Felt sorry for them really. No idea of service or even hygiene. P&O seem to rely on a faithful customer base who seem too embarrassed to admit they might get a better deal elsewhere. Couldn't believe some of the things they were prepared to put up with because; "well, we've sailed with P&O for years and we get a good deal" - it seemed quite sad really. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2015
P & O apparently have rules that state that there won't be any noise from the upper deck between 12 and 7am .... but they don't stick to it and the duty managers don't seem to have the requisite authority to enforce ... Read More
P & O apparently have rules that state that there won't be any noise from the upper deck between 12 and 7am .... but they don't stick to it and the duty managers don't seem to have the requisite authority to enforce them. You know that there are smokers up on deck, but can forgive the intermittent chair scraping. The rest of the noise is intolerable - and I have ear plugs!! We were woken almost every day by rumbling trolleys between 6 and 7am. We were woken every night (12am-1am) and again every morning (approx 7am) by deck stewards scraping sun loungers. The deck party was so noisy that it took 3 complaints to finally have this turned down by 12.30pm. Then we had another 30 mins of deck hands clearing up. On another occasion (after midnight) the bar staff were throwing the tables and chairs around as they tried to clean the deck. P&O roped off the deck area, but we were woken after midnight by scheduled deck cleaning and again in the mornings. It wasn't really possible to catch up on sleep during the afternoons. I will never book or be upgraded to a suite on any P & O ship. Not only do they not have enough insulation, but P&O don't observe their own rules. I go on holiday to enjoy myself, not spend endless hours having to raise noise issues especially when quiet was promised by a senior officer. Shows - fairly good - as good as Princess and better than Celebrity! Several things go wrong and so quite entertaining. Lots of backing music and vocals on the shows and the lack of lip sync is quite funny. The sound engineer must have hearing problems. Sound at the front is much better than at the back but several singers struggling to be heard over the music. Food in main restaurant is poor - fair. Very unappealing menu. Beach Hut - Very good, tasty sizzlers and steaks; excellent service Sindhu - Sometimes good, sometimes very poor. Poppadoms are pathetic. Seafood platter isn't cooked well. Curries in the buffet are far superior - and even at the local takeaway. If you like curries and have them fairly often, you will probably be disappointed. Glass House - very good on the whole; excellent service. Allergies food advisor in the Saffron freedom dining on deck 6 was absolutely useless. When asked questions her responses included for example: "I don't cook, I don't really know who to ask, I am not really sure what the things are on the menu" An absolute disgrace. Seems to blame everyone else when she gets things wrong. Doesn't understand "medium rare". When steaks are over cooked, she stupidly asks if you want it with "more blood" ... doesn't seem to understand that the red liquid in a steak is actually myoglobin. I agree with many of the waiters who said she really should stick to washing dishes. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2015
I am writing this review because I wish that I had read something like this before I booked my trip. I literally read 100’s of reviews and gave negative reviews the benefit of the doubt… thinking they were just written by picky ... Read More
I am writing this review because I wish that I had read something like this before I booked my trip. I literally read 100’s of reviews and gave negative reviews the benefit of the doubt… thinking they were just written by picky people. A little bit about me and my travel experience: I grew up in the United States but currently live in central London. I am a woman in my mid 30’s who travelled with my husband, 2 year old daughter, and parents. I was drawn to this cruise because it sailed out of Southampton (convenient), had a night nursery for my daughter, and went to ports that sounded interesting. I have been on 10 cruises over the past 10 years with Royal Caribbean, Princess, Carnival, and Celebrity Cruise lines. I have also stayed at various all-inclusive resorts such as Sandals, Secrets, and other smaller companies in Europe. I travel 5-6 times per year and have experienced many hotels ranging between 2-5+ stars. Overall impression: I was very disappointed and will not be sailing with P&O ever again. Considering that the company is owned by Carnival Co., I assumed that the experience would be a British version of Carnival and Princess cruise lines… which would have been great! However, it was not a “British” version, it was a simply a BAD version. I live in London and LOVE British culture and British people. I think Great Britain is beautiful with fabulous restaurants. This cruise line is NOT a representation of British culture. What really shocks me is that the cruise line is expensive! It doesn't make any sense. PORTS: The bad: -Didn’t get to go to Guernsey because of “bad weather.” -When visiting ports, on other cruise lines, as we exit the ship, we always receive a port map with clear documentation of where our ship is docked. When I didn’t see any on the way out, I went to reception to ask for one, and was informed that they did not exit. This is a major problem that can make finding the ship (in cities with multiple docks) at the end of the day challenging. Maybe this is done on purpose, to make exploring on your own (versus buying a ship excursion) more difficult? The Good: -Porto: The ship provided a very convenient shuttle to Porto. We did a tour and port tasting at Graham’s lodge- amazing experience…. also enjoyed a GREAT lunch at Dourum Restaurante, overlooking the river and town. -La Coruna: We took a taxi to the train station and then train to Santiago de Compostela- it was such a beautiful place and we had a fabulous lunch at Petiscos do Cardeal. -Lisbon: We took a taxi (metered) to Belem tower, tried a famous pastry at Pasteis de Belem, walked to the Discoveries Monument and Jerónimos Monastery. We took a taxi to Castelo St jorge (amazing views!!) and then walked around the Alfama. We finished our day by taking another taxi to Praca do commerce and walked around that area and then back to the ship. We tried the great local drink- ginjinha at a street cart, overlooking the bridge. It was an amazing day. FOOD: The bad: -The selection was awful. Mostly everything was over salted and bland. -Breakfast: No french toast, no smoked salmon, no eggs Benedict… I could go on and on… -Lunch: No sandwich/panini stations, terrible salad options (no spinach or any leafy greens.. just iceberg/romaine), no iced tea or lemonade like other cruise lines… again, could go on and on -Dinner: No french onion soup, no filet mignon (even formal night), the “shrimp cocktail appetizer” was a joke… the shrimp were the smallest that I’ve ever seen… about 1 cm each. -They don’t advertise or tell you everything… 2 examples: At breakfast, pancakes are available but no one knows about it because you have to request them at the hidden omelet making station. Similarly, at the main restaurants, you can request complimentary cappuccino and espresso but it’s not on the menu and the waiter will not offer it. When you ask for it, they seem annoyed. -Juice and milk came from a dispenser, not cartons… you don’t know what you’re getting… nothing seemed natural or fresh. Certainly not 100% juice. The good: -About one out of every five dishes was good…. good, not great. -Great tea selection. -We really enjoyed the wine tasting at the Glass House, 15 pound surcharge, came with food pairing (small bites), educational and tasty. -High chairs available everywhere. SHIP: The bad: -As others have commented, the public areas are not big enough to fit all of the passengers. We arrived to the Arena theater for the “special” nightly performance, as soon as we got out of dinner, 5 minutes prior to the performance start time and all of the AISLES were full of standing people because all of the seats were taken. This is unacceptable. Same with breakfast at the buffet, no where to sit. -In general, the decor is hideous. There is no excuse for this. The ship was built in 2008, not 1997. -The layout seems like it was all a big mistake… it makes no sense! Multiple times throughout one day, you will have to take lifts or stairs up/down, then walk across the ship to other lifts or stairs, and have to go up/down again to get where you need to be. There are road blocks everywhere. -The interactive TV system in the cabins is SO slow! It will take 10 minutes to check the balance on 3 cruise cards for 3 passengers. The good: -The beds are comfortable and our grade HD balcony cabin was a good size with nice balcony furniture. -The kids program is GREAT! The Reef staff are very sweet. CONCLUSION: Perhaps if I hadn’t sailed with other companies, I wouldn’t be as disappointed. This ship/cruise was FINE, but it just wasn’t nearly as good as other options that are priced the same! I just want to urge those that haven’t tried other cruise lines, to please do so. I think you just don’t know what you’re missing. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2015
This was booked as a short family cruise, when we found there was no Cunard alternative for our dates. Thank God it was short! The ship is only about 20% bigger than the Queen Elizabeth, but has TWICE the passengers crammed on board ... Read More
This was booked as a short family cruise, when we found there was no Cunard alternative for our dates. Thank God it was short! The ship is only about 20% bigger than the Queen Elizabeth, but has TWICE the passengers crammed on board - and half the crew/staff. OK, Cunard are in a different league but even so, we did not expect 'Butlins' on the water. EVERYTHING about the ship and the cruise screams 'cheap' and 'cut-back'. You even have to PAY for a glass of water in any of the bars! The cabins (there's no way you can call them State rooms) are absolutely miniscule. Our 'family' room for four, was a standard twin room with two extra beds crammed in. Within 20 minutes of being on board, I asked for a better room and was told there WERE no better rooms... I asked for a refund, and to be allowed to get off. Clearly this could not happen. The entertainments were low-grade social club acts, a DIRE comedienne who made NOBODY laugh, but everyone cringe. Even the duo in the so-called 'adults' Metropolis bar - it had loads of kids in it - were just a karaoke act - not even very good. The main ship dance floor is the size of the average lounge at home, and even that was just CD's being operated by disgruntled staff. There were FAR too many people on the ship and it couldn't cope. Restaurant waiting times were up to an hour, getting a drink at any bar was an evening event in itself and the 300 seat theatre was a joke - 3000+ passengers. We did not get to see ONE show. A family cruise? Yes, lots of kids. That's fine - we have two. We didn't expect the open-to-all cinema to be showing 15 and even R rated movies at 11.00 in the morning. Complaints were made about the EXTREMELY loud 'F' words coming from a particularly violent film every other word. Nothing was done about it. Daytime activities? Quizzes and bingo. Service? Extremely slow, sometimes completely ignored or orders forgotten, or wrongly made. Several of the crew and ents. staff openly said it was the WORST ship they have ever worked on and admitted that when the cruises are for families, the quality and costs are cut way back. It showed. Conclusion? DON'T ever travel on the Ventura unless you are happy with a floating cheap holiday camp. It costs a fair bit more, but we will be going back to Cunard from now on. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2015
The Ventura from Southampton, arrived at Port, with high hopes but quickly felt like I had stepped into Butlins from the 1960s - not classy at all. Tacky Entertainment, Ship had no atmosphere, the ship was so crowded you had no where to ... Read More
The Ventura from Southampton, arrived at Port, with high hopes but quickly felt like I had stepped into Butlins from the 1960s - not classy at all. Tacky Entertainment, Ship had no atmosphere, the ship was so crowded you had no where to escape, packed like sardines upstairs on fresh air decks where the stench of smoke stuck to your clothes or you were nose to tail with people drinking all day long. We walked around endlessly looking for a table in the small crowded buffet area, gave up and orded room service for breakfast most days. The sailaway parties are a total joke and the entertainment team is so tacky and amateur , with football lounges, pubs, tacky quizes, its skin crawling, beer swilling , football 'lads' culture. Having cruised with RCCL and Celebrity, I was really shocked. They automatically add gratuity charges of £35 per person over 12yrs before you start and you have to pay for the so called free shuttle buses. They offer seminars on various aspects of health, I attended one called How to Re-alkaline your body. That was meant to be an hour, it was over in 15 minutes becuase non of us wanted to pay £30 for test..so the guy stopped it right there, so we didnt hear most of the information. He was curt and treated us like fools. We all got up and left feeling very uncomfortable. The acupuncture talk was interesting, and we had our tongues analysed. I was told I needed chinese medicine, at a cost of £180 ...of course only available on the ship. Our first shore excursions was a disaster , 39 pounds each , and the boat was so congested, we couldnt get off...so we missed it ...by about two minutes..surely they must have had a list of names and they could have waited ....there was a nice chap who chased the bus down the road and stopped it so eventually we got it..the aquarium was about 7 minutes drive away and a family ticket to was 36 euros, max and this was 2 adults 2 children, the guide said my son was a child and needed a child ticket yet P & O said he was an adult. So we had paid 39 pounds each to P & O to spend 7 minutes on a bus and get a ticket into the Aquarium which didnt even allow access to the temporary exhibition...then we got picked up at 12.45 for a 50 minute drive around the city...the boat didnt leave till 4 pm so why on earth did we get taken back at 1:35. Total rip off. Kids clubs was chaos, they wouldnt let my 13 year old sign up on the first night so he felt he missed the chance to do the introductory stuff and wouldnt go again. Deck 9 cabin was kept very clean & tidy twice a day by a lovely housekeeper. We chose Freedom dining, you can please yourself time wise & sit with others or alone if you choose, we ate in the Cinnamon Restaurant some nights, some staff lovely, some couldnt speak English but dining was very very rushed. As one course finished another arrived sometimes not even waiting for all on your table to finish the first one.First night my chair was pulled out for me, I sat down, seat had had an entire bottle of wine poured on it and my white trouser ruined. The White company complimentary products in your cabin are a nice touch you need to ask if you need more, one small container of shampoo and conditioner wasnt enough for three for a week. Weather was terrible, had about 2 hours of sun all week, boat creaked, thrashed about, groaned, in no rush to do that again ! Ive never heard a boat arrive at port and ive cruised three times before this, I heard evey clang on this boat. Entertainment was horrific apart the Octaves singing group were good. Atol's restaurant Sindhu was amazing but added another 80 to our bill. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2015
After cruising more than 15 times I like to think that I can judge what's good and what's bad. Almost every aspect of this cruise was awful. The check in at Southampton was slow and manned by rude miserable sour face staff. I was ... Read More
After cruising more than 15 times I like to think that I can judge what's good and what's bad. Almost every aspect of this cruise was awful. The check in at Southampton was slow and manned by rude miserable sour face staff. I was not very happy at the way they spoke to group member who booked this cruise. Lets just say if it had been me she barked at she would have got more than an earful from me in return. If these "staff" are so unhappy with the job then leave and give someone else a chance to shine. Things did not get any better when we got on the ship with female crew barking at us after they overheard us say that we would just go and drop our bags in our stateroom. Yet again if this is an example of P & O at its "best" then its no surprise that more and more people choose more American Cruise lines. The buffet food was rather bland and was never hot. We disliked the way that they had closed most of the buffet down and were only letting one person in at a time. We do not like to stand in line to get some food so we decided to opt for room service. We were shocked to find a large selection of items on the menu had prices next to them We have never had this on any cruise we have done before and we found that this was the theme all over this ship where anything they could get away with charging for they did. Felt more like a cash cow than a passenger. As we were in a group of 8 we had a single table at first seating well lets just say we wish we had opted for anytime as our waiter stank of BO. This carried on every night of the cruise despite a complaint being made to the reception staff. Bar service was painfully slow in fact on the second night we ordered drinks in the Theatre and the time from the first drink arriving till the last drink arriving at our seats spanned a time of over 40 minutes it took so long the show was over before the last drink arrived. The food in the restaurant was rather bland and seemed to be of poor quality. Steaks were very thin cut and most food lacked any form of seasoning. I did try the buffet one lunch time for a salad and decided against any dressing as you had to move the skin out of the way to get the dressing. Again this seemed to be an on-going theme in the buffet with hot food not very hot and cold items not very cold. The one show that we did watch was an experience not to be repeated as it was that "singers and dancers" last show together. That will be a blessing for any future passengers on this ship. I will say than one of them could sing and dance and he did look like Neil Patrick Harris. Found the dress code to be rather out of date when you could not drink in the piano bar without full evening wear on. We were actually refused service even when another member of the group went up to order drinks for us he was told that if the drinks were for us he would not be served. I asked to speak to the Hotel Manager and the bar staff did not even bother to do this. I did notice that this ship is looking tatty and uncared for in some areas with ripped carpets and rust stains. The only shining star on this short cruise was our cabin steward. Our room was cleaned within 10 minutes of us leaving the room even for a quick coffee and Danish for breakfast. In fact he is the only member of the crew that we did tip and I was so annoyed at the poor slow service I had all auto tips removed. Would we cruise P & O again NEVER. Would I recommend P & O to anyone NO WAY as there in no-one I dislike that much. I would go as far to say that P & O should maybe rethink some of their attitudes as more and more people want informal "fun" cruising Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2015
There is absolutely nothing ‘Special’ about a P&O Cruise anymore. Standards have plummeted to ‘lows’ that are unacceptable in view of the claims made in P&O Cruise Brochures. For a company that sells its cruises on ‘The ... Read More
There is absolutely nothing ‘Special’ about a P&O Cruise anymore. Standards have plummeted to ‘lows’ that are unacceptable in view of the claims made in P&O Cruise Brochures. For a company that sells its cruises on ‘The Fine Dining’ experience. Silver Service has gone, but they won’t tell you. – You have to find out for yourself. – Wine waiters have an impossible work load, not leaving their previous duty until they are already required for Dinner Service and then too many tables. – It’s blatantly obvious then that most tables are not even going to get their wine order taken until after they have started eating and most will not get their wine until they have started main course. – This is far from ‘Fine Dining’ and nothing like the claims made in the brochure about “attention to detail to the whole food and beverage experience.” Dress Codes are now ignored with people without shirts regularly ignored by Crew in Self Service Restaurants. – Has anybody considered that a dress code requiring a shirt in a restaurant might actually have something to do with hygiene? – I don’t suppose for a minute that chefs are excused ‘whites’ in the kitchens and are therefore allowed to drip sweat over food. – Why then should a customer be allowed to visit the buffets without a shirt? Claims in the brochure about Ventura “having places where you can find peace and relaxation” are simply untrue unless you retreat to your cabin. Firstly ‘Agadoo’ type Music is played all day on the top decks at such a high volume that it is difficult to talk and impossible to ignore. Secondly, you are hounded by ‘upselling’ as soon as you sit down. – Previously, the Restaurants that require a supplement to be paid, were only sold by crew outside of these restaurants, now crew are ‘patrolling’ the decks all day approaching customers that are attempting to relax quietly. On top of this drinks stewards are noticeably more pro-active sometimes approaching you before your empty glass even touches the table, and photographers approaching you three times as you leave the ship in port, within hearing of when you politely refused their colleague. – Yes, you could simply say “no,” but we go on holiday to relax and the brochure does claim that this is possible. – Well it isn’t! This is just a small part of a lengthy complaint that has been sent to P&O.   Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: January 2015
Just returned from a Ventura cruise and was hugely disappointed. The staff are delightful and very caring but the standards have dropped rock bottom. No silver service in the dining rooms which we were not aware of until we were on board, ... Read More
Just returned from a Ventura cruise and was hugely disappointed. The staff are delightful and very caring but the standards have dropped rock bottom. No silver service in the dining rooms which we were not aware of until we were on board, no mention of this in the brochure. Bay Tree restaurant the food was awful we only ate there three times out of the whole cruise. Self service was okay but people walking in with bathing costumes and no shirts is not acceptable. Where were the staff to stop them? People pushing and shoving to get food was terrible. The children on board during term time was amazing and their behaviour was awful the parents didn't seem to worry about them. Jacuzzi was full of very young children without supervision could have been a nasty accident but no crew to bring order to the situation, children jumping and splashing in the pools which is not supposed to be allowed. Entertainment same old same old tribute acts awful. Should have kept Ocean Village or turn Ventura into an Ocean Village. We have cruised many times with P.O but I feel this was the last time. Move like a floating Butlins Read Less
Sail Date: November 2014
Went on our first cruise on P&O Ventura .What a disappointment! The Entertainment very poor . After sailing for two nights and one day we were due to land at Grand Turk but the captain said it was to dangerous to land,nobody could ... Read More
Went on our first cruise on P&O Ventura .What a disappointment! The Entertainment very poor . After sailing for two nights and one day we were due to land at Grand Turk but the captain said it was to dangerous to land,nobody could understand why he didn't take us somewhere else away from the bad weather or to another island instead of just cruising around for another two days and two nights! I booked the cruise 18months before we went and was told by Thomson that the cruise would sell out very quick and we wouldn't get a better price.  We were then very surprised to see the same cruise being advertised for nearly £1800 cheaper 3 weeks before we sailed. Thought it would be a scam, but loads of Regular cruisers on board said they always leave it to approx 3 weeks before P&O sail and you will always get a better deal!.   Read Less
Sail Date: June 2014
I am very disappointed in this, my first (and last) Cruise. I was mistakenly confident, when booking my cruise with P&O, that I would spend a peaceful and relaxing time on board Ventura. My friend and I booked 2 separate cabins, and ... Read More
I am very disappointed in this, my first (and last) Cruise. I was mistakenly confident, when booking my cruise with P&O, that I would spend a peaceful and relaxing time on board Ventura. My friend and I booked 2 separate cabins, and spent the first 2 days jostling the crowds, unable to obtain a table for breakfast, lunch or afternoon tea. We spent a long time carrying heavy trays, walking through the 24 hour restaurant and surrounding decks, searching for a table. Upon asking for assistance in finding a table, were told by deck staff "It is difficult - you have to share". After this experience, I spent the remainder of the holiday taking breakfast alone in my cabin, which I did not want to do. (Our evening meals were prebooked at Bayside Restaurant, with the same table with no problems, and served by excellent staff, Jose and Arun). During our 2 days spent at sea, we were hoping to relax on sun loungers, but other passengers had placed their blue P&O towels out early on the loungers in order to "book" them, so there were none free until late afternoon. Many of the sun loungers are so tightly crammed together, there is no space to walk around them. After quite some time searching and walking the many decks, we eventually found assistance from the ship staff, who directed us to the only remaining two sun loungers, tightly packed in a mass of bodies (with no view of the sea). To get on them, we had to climb up the loungers from the bottom. My friend has recently had a shoulder operation, so this was not easy. Our days spent on board Ventura were stressful and not relaxing, similar to spending time in a busy Airport Terminal !! If I book a holiday in a hotel, and experience difficulty in finding a table to dine at, or request a sun lounger, a hotel will be quick to provide me with the service I pay for. I am shocked and upset that P&O cannot cater for the 3000 plus passengers they have on board. There is a serious shortage of 2 seat tables, and they do not provide adequate sun loungers. If you are looking for a relaxing peaceful cruise, then think carefully, because this is a glorified "Butlins" - with plenty of entertainment, activities and endless food, but please bear in mind that the Ventura carries over 3000 people all looking for the same things, within a confined space. Therefore, very poor value for money.   Read Less
Sail Date: May 2014
Last year we fancied a change and despite reservations enjoyed two cruises with P&O having previously cruised with Princess and Royal Caribbean. We had the time of our lives and decided to book onto a 7 day Med cruise on board Ventura. ... Read More
Last year we fancied a change and despite reservations enjoyed two cruises with P&O having previously cruised with Princess and Royal Caribbean. We had the time of our lives and decided to book onto a 7 day Med cruise on board Ventura. We like the larger ships as they offer more choice so it appeared perfect. The ship herself is fine, we prefer Azura but that's personal preference still plenty of choice of bars and restaurants. The shows were excellent and we cannot fault the range of entertainment. Perhaps things might have improved if the entertainment team had shown their faces with more than two sailaways and the odd occasion when they appeared to turn the increasingly loud music around the pool up yet again. Again no complaints regarding the food which was plentiful and of a good quality. We did three excursions with P&O Florence and Pisa from Livorno was an extremely long day, Sorrento and Pompeii were fantastic and we thoroughly enjoyed Venice. We made our way in Dubrovnik which was the most pleasant surprise we've had in a long time. What a beautiful place with lovely friendly people. The cabin, we had booked an inside as we plan two cruises later this year. The cabin itself was fine, nice layout plenty of room and storage but absolutely filthy. There was dust on every surface and the toilet had a tide mark...urgh. The room steward was surly and unhelpful only wanting to sell us overpriced water. Whilst preparing for a day in Naples the toilet broke and wouldn't stop flushing. As water gushed out onto the bathroom floor my wife ran to get the steward. Who on arrival immediately accused us of stuffing too much paper down the toilet. If the toilet had been flushed once and overflown he may have had a point but it wouldn't stop flushing and couldn't drain. I certainly didn't expect to be accused and spoken to in such a rude manner. Later that evening he spluttered it wasn't our fault. Gee thanks. Hoping it was a case of everybody has a bad day we left it. Now on the final morning we had misread the information telling us to be out of the room at 0700. 07.00!!!!!!! at 07.50 he burst into the room waking us. Now yes we were at fault but instead of listening to any apologies or requests to return in twenty minutes he began a rant, shouting that we had to get out now!!!!! hold on a minute. These things happen you work in a service industry. I do not pay good money to be spoken to like a dog. Next thing his supervisor is on the phone same attitude. We quickly showered, gathered our things and left within 15 minutes. We went to reception where the standard of customer service continued. You should have been out of the room blah, blah, blah. An official complaint I'll pretend I didn't hear that on three occasions. As a result I cancelled all tips. I have called P&O customer services, where surprisingly enough I got a lecture about being out of the room on time. Yes I understand we were in the wrong but that doesn't excuse appalling service and rudeness. P&O's whole attitude comes across as we have had your money now. They are right they have had my money but they won't get anymore. In summary We were really happy when we discovered P&O for ourselves, we didn't want to cruise with anyone else again. We still think the ships, food and entertainment are excellent but all this has been ruined by appalling customer service. The current pricing structure reduces any value for money we may have felt. Having booked ten months in advance we spoke with people who had paid £280 less for two weeks than we had for a week. The whole approach has been short sighted and have turned loyal customers into never again. No doubt Princess and NCL are quite happy with P&O's appalling service. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: January 2014
Booked this for my husbands 50th birthday first time with P and O , not impressed , Done 6 Cunard voyages in different ships including QE2 and Thomson Celebration once which was better than expected . But very disappointed with Ventura the ... Read More
Booked this for my husbands 50th birthday first time with P and O , not impressed , Done 6 Cunard voyages in different ships including QE2 and Thomson Celebration once which was better than expected . But very disappointed with Ventura the ship was shabby , service was slow , trips was very expensive , Food was average nothing special in the Waterside if you don't like variety then ok but got boring having same things day after day , main restaurant was a little better , the cabin was dusty and am sure the carpet was not hovered in the two weeks we was on board ,as we spilt some sugar on the first day and it was still there on our last day , bedding was changed only three times in fourteen days , we ordered room service which took 30 minutes and put the tray outside our cabin on the hallway floor as you do for collection at 4pm and it was still there at midnight , also beer prices was enough at £3.75 for pint of lager , husband drinks lager with lemonade top P and O charge 50p for an eggcup of lemonade in a pint of larger which seemed short of a pint anyway , wine very expensive £6.75 for a small glass of cheap rose , spa treatments expensive with hidden service charge on top , Told P and O at time of booking this was a special event husbands 50th birthday , he got money of offer letter from spa and jewellery stores but not a lot but did not even get a 50p card from P and 0 , had to pay £10 for a birthday cake 6 inch sponge which was nothing special and got told could only put happy birthday so even the cake was not special , overall very disappointed a £5,000 holiday been saving for two years , not worth the money expected more from P and O , I do not rate them being a top rate cruise liner , I don't even think the captain knew how to use the stabilizers as the ship was rocking badly and we even experienced a power cut with complete engine failure and was drifting for an hour in open waters , and was assured there was nothing to worry about , sorry but felt ripped off my money is with cunard any time or Thomson ships , Best part was flying on Thomson Dreamliner very impressive , would not go with P and O again as they should stick to ferry crossings only Read Less
Sail Date: January 2014
We flew out from Gatwick on a Thompson dream liner plane,dont know what dream was as my wife had her foot trod on by the steward,no apology and then had her seat yanked forward because she did not push the button quick enough,when we ... Read More
We flew out from Gatwick on a Thompson dream liner plane,dont know what dream was as my wife had her foot trod on by the steward,no apology and then had her seat yanked forward because she did not push the button quick enough,when we complained were told our names were being taken,for what we do not know,you had an excuse of a meal and a cup of t or coffee ,no refills and one hour before touch down received a roll and further cup of t or coffee,if you wanted any thing else you had to pay for it,great on a long houl flight,on reaching Barbados and checking in boarded the ship and went to our cabins,no f414,it was clean and tidy,was in port overnight and then set sail,while at sea the entertainment was a quiz,hello,is this Butlins,during the two weeks we had three comedians the one from Cuba was ok but the other two people were getting up and waliking out then we had to suffer them a second time so did not bother,the headliners did a show that was good,my doughter had her dress stolen from the laundry and when we reported it were told it was lost property,I wanted a theft report but only got a lost property one,terrible service for the money. Most mornings at breakfast they ran out of cups and glasses and you were queing for 15 minutes waiting for them to arrive,then the glasses were hot to put cold drinks in. I have been on this ship before and the standards have droped to what they were,even the food was not what it used to be,. The ports and countrys we visited were great but sadly let down by the VENTURA,P&O have contacted me and offered me £50 each person to come off the next cruise and £69 for my doughters dress to come off the next cruise,big deal for a ruined cruise,many we spoke to were not happy with things. In finishing I can say I will not be back. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2013
Just returned from Christmas Cruise on Ventura. First with P&O and will be last. Flight and check in was fine and embarkation excellent as no immigration. As we boarded the ship via the Atrium we were all expecting the wow factor. ... Read More
Just returned from Christmas Cruise on Ventura. First with P&O and will be last. Flight and check in was fine and embarkation excellent as no immigration. As we boarded the ship via the Atrium we were all expecting the wow factor. How disappointing is was. Very small and plain and non descript really. We had booked a superior deluxe balcony cabin which was quite expensive. On arrival cabin was tatty bath was very chipped which had gone black and there was black mould on the tiles above the bath. Bedding was worn with holes in and voiles on patio window were torn. Carpet was stained and soiled. I complained but to no avail as ship was full. Housekeeper was promised to cpme and look at cabin but this never happened. Then I learned that some people had been upgraded to a cabin equivalent to ours without extra charge What a joke. Food in dining room each evening was good and the service was excellent and waiters really friendly and professionall.Food at lunchtime in buffet was poor repetitive andToo many curries every day especially as we were in the Caribbean. Cottage Pie nearlyevery day and stew which was then a cobblers pie the day after.It was certainly not luxurious cruise food more like canteen food. We had to pay for ice cream which I have never done before on any ship I have been on and queued for 20 minutes each time as only one person serving. Entertainment was good overall. The clientel left a lot to be desired and the behaviour of some of the guests was unacceptable. We were told by returning passengers that the standards had really dropped. Two toilets on the outer decks for 3,000 passengers were inadequate for a ship of that size and on sea days and New years eve the sea became a toilet for the men due to the lengthy queues. There were teenagers lying around really drunk on New Years Eve with no parental control. Having said that some teenagers just hung around in groups and did no harm to no one. They were just young people having a good time. On disembarkation day we decided to go on the Farewell to Barbados excursion as we would be dropped off at the airport at 2.30pm. The excursion included lunch which was disgraceful and following lunch we were taken straight to the airport and dropped off at 1.00pm. We then had a five hour wait in the airport before our 5.55pm flight home. To summarise this cruise is an overpriced Butlins at Sea experience. I shall stick to Princess and Royal Caribbean for future cruises as both are far superior to P&O. Just because we are British doesn't mean we have to stay British on holiday.   Read Less
Sail Date: November 2013
1st time cruise and expected the holiday of a life time. Sadly didn't get that. Booking a year in advance it cost me and my wife just shy of £5000 for a super deluxe balcony cabin on deck D. First sea day and we had to contend with ... Read More
1st time cruise and expected the holiday of a life time. Sadly didn't get that. Booking a year in advance it cost me and my wife just shy of £5000 for a super deluxe balcony cabin on deck D. First sea day and we had to contend with trying to squeeze 3500 (approx.) passengers on the deck - scrammed in like sardines whilst having to put up the larger louts who thought they could be as loud and obnoxious as they wanted without a care for anyone else. So we paid our £300 pounds to use the Retreat. That's where we discovered that some people had only paid £999 for the same holiday in the same cabin level. Now I don't mind someone getting a bargain but a £3000 price comparison is not really acceptable. Went to collect our pre brought wine from the restaurant - only to be told that they hadn't stocked that wine for the last season. - don't even start about the price alterations and argument I had with the customer services department on purchasing this. The food, was very repetitive in the Bay Tree but reasonably good, I can however recommend the Glass House and East - both very good. Wifi - is free locally in many a port and we had no problem contacting home - However P&O try to charge you £35 for the use of wifi on board. Staff on board - generally excellent, friendly, helpful - low paid, under valued and P&O should be ashamed to treat them so poorly. On our return to the UK - put a wee complaint in to P&O in writing and via email. Even though they acknowledged receipt of the email, they haven't replied to it. No one wants to know, they've had your money and now dismiss you and your opinions. Sadly having spoken to many people on board ship, the common trend does appear to be that standards are getting lower and lower, many people have been put ever cruising again with P&O. Cant see at this rate how they're going to fill Britannia in a couple of years time - mind way they're going they'll probably be in administration by then. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2013
2nd time cruiser and was totally disappointed in level of service , but what got me more than anything was that some people payed less than half of what we paid for a balcony cabin.... We had booked everything so we could have the ... Read More
2nd time cruiser and was totally disappointed in level of service , but what got me more than anything was that some people payed less than half of what we paid for a balcony cabin.... We had booked everything so we could have the 'holiday of a lifetime' and to be honest, we would have been better going back to Egypt to our favourite resort - we could have been there 5 times for what we paid. Food not so good, got food poisoning, the only good thing about this ship was the weather and the people we met....fantastic and 6 out of 8 ports were superb,but never again will I cruise a British cruise line. As a nation we really do have a lower expectation than the Americans. I spoke to other on board who were shocked , discussed and disappointed who said that they could only use the experience to never cruise P&O again, but highly recommend Princess cruises and Royal Carrbean. Totally agree - I went on Royal Carribean before and spent £2k less for 2 wks and was in a similar sized tom, but the food, people and the ship were absolutely 1st class, staff were excellent.....if only we could turn the clock back...so very disappointed in this holiday. Would never recommend this cruise to anyone - use another cruise line........ Read Less
Sail Date: November 2013
2nd time cruiser and was totally disappointed in level of service , but what got me more than anything was that some people payed less than half of what we paid for a balcony cabin.... We had booked everything so we could have the ... Read More
2nd time cruiser and was totally disappointed in level of service , but what got me more than anything was that some people payed less than half of what we paid for a balcony cabin.... We had booked everything so we could have the 'holiday of a lifetime' and to be honest, we would have been better going back to Egypt to our favourite resort - we could have been there 5 times for what we paid. Food not so good, got food poisoning, the only good thing about this ship was the weather and the people we met....fantastic and 6 out of 8 ports were superb,but never again will I cruise a British cruise line. As a nation we really do have a lower expectation than the Americans. I spoke to other on board who were shocked , discussed and disappointed who said that they could only use the experience to never cruise P&O again, but highly recommend Princess cruises and Royal Carrbean. Totally agree - I went on Royal Carribean before and spent £2k less for 2 wks and was in a similar sized tom, but the food, people and the ship were absolutely 1st class, staff were excellent.....if only we could turn the clock back...so very disappointed in this holiday. Would never recommend this cruise to anyone - use another cruise line........ Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2012
As holidays go this has got to be the worst value for money ever! Having spent nearly £10,000 on 2 cabins one for us and one for our 3 teenage boys. We expected to be fed and watered for 9 days - how wrong we were! The cabins were ok ... Read More
As holidays go this has got to be the worst value for money ever! Having spent nearly £10,000 on 2 cabins one for us and one for our 3 teenage boys. We expected to be fed and watered for 9 days - how wrong we were! The cabins were ok and when you consider we had a suite it should have been more than ok - the promise of the butler delivering your case and unpacking for you is no more than a myth! I had to go find our cases and after a long game of hide and seek I eventually found them and dragged them all the way to our cabin - (still marked priority lol). The cost of drinks for the boys was outrageous -coke £2.50! we expected at least soft drinks to be in with the price! Oh you could get water all day but try giving that to a teenage boy! The food - well yea the food was ok in the restaurant but the breakfast and lunches....queue after queue after queue, most days we didn't even bother. If you want to go for a curry of tapas then would you believe they charge extra! The entertainment is nothing short of blue/red coat lets all dance the birdie song or very bad comedians that try to sing!?? There is even a morning address from the entertainment manager akin to hi-de-hi! If you like tattoos there are plenty on show too! The jeep safari we booked (also outrageously expensive) was a 5 our ride in a jeep mainly on the motorway! The trip to Casablanca still leaves me asking why? I really could go on and on but I am sure you get the picture. Right the good stuff - The staff in the main are lovely but they are charging an unreasonable sum to your bill every day for the service. Advice to anyone - do not stay in cabin number L107 is is a suite below te gym and the treadmills are directly above your bed - people are on them at all hours in the night (staff I think) I ended up banging on the ceiling with an umbrella! I don't usually write reviews but on this occasion I have made an exception because I think cruising is like the Emperor's new clothes - no one says how awful it actually is! NEVER,NEVER AGAIN! Read Less
Sail Date: July 2012
We were a group of 6 celebrating a 40th birthday, we have cruised with NCL, P and O and Celebrity before. I can't stress enough how disappointed I was with P@O and Ventura. While the ship from the outside looks impressive the ... Read More
We were a group of 6 celebrating a 40th birthday, we have cruised with NCL, P and O and Celebrity before. I can't stress enough how disappointed I was with P@O and Ventura. While the ship from the outside looks impressive the interior is dated and 80's style, I find it hard to believe it was only launched in 2008. As with most cruises the vast majority of the staff are foreign and of all the cruises I've been on so far the staff were the least engaging and generally of a poor standard. Food was just not up to scratch in all areas, the buffet was chaotic, second class quality and the food poorly displayed. It was a horrible experience to be completely frank. Food on evening dinner service was more or less thrown at us, the waiting staff were more interested in talking amongst themselves rather than engaging with the diners. I was shocked by how bad the service was. The staterooms are dated and poorly maintained. The shower has a shower curtain and all of cabins we occupied had a damp musty smell to them. The main positive about the room was plenty of storage. Where P@O seem to excel is on their entertainment, all of the entertainment staff were of excellent quality. Our favorite line is Celebrity, the difference for the same price is vast between the 2 companies, if you're considering which company to choose there is no comparison in my opinion. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2011
We did the same Ventura repositionong cruise in March 2010 and been highly satisfied and accordingly booked the same cruise for 2011, whilst on board. We again flew to Barbados to cruise the Caribbean and return to Southampton.What a great ... Read More
We did the same Ventura repositionong cruise in March 2010 and been highly satisfied and accordingly booked the same cruise for 2011, whilst on board. We again flew to Barbados to cruise the Caribbean and return to Southampton.What a great disappointment this turned out to be! Standards had greatly dropped.We had opted for Freedom dining - which worked well, and the food was of a good standard. Some staff generally lacked training, with indifferent and sullen table service. We are angry that P&O had drastically reduced cabin prices to sell off cabins. By adopting the present pricing policy P&O will lose the loyalty of long-standing passengers who still wish their cruises to be of a high standard and special event. By booking early, we ourselves had paid nearly £1000 more than the latest sell-off price. We understand that P&O must be profit making but the cabin sell off attracted the wrong type of passenger and those that we would not wish to associate with and many passengers expressed these views. Tattoos,body piercings and drunken behaviour seemed to be quite the norm.Parents had obviously taken children off school - for the free kids' places, and on some afternoons these older children took over the swimming pools - jumping in and diving - albeit supervised by P&O staff, who took no regard to the pool rules. Obviously quick profits are more important to P&O than long term customer loyalty.In view of the above we feel that our future cruises will not be with P&O. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2010
After thoroughly enjoying a month long Christmas and New Year cruise last year on Oceana we decided to book the similar cruise on Ventura this year. What a huge mistake that proved to be. After only a couple of days it seemed as though the ... Read More
After thoroughly enjoying a month long Christmas and New Year cruise last year on Oceana we decided to book the similar cruise on Ventura this year. What a huge mistake that proved to be. After only a couple of days it seemed as though the ship was being run by an entirely different cruise line. Yes, the ship is large and we expected that. What we did not expect was that many parts of the sip were downright grubby - dirty marks on carpeting, really dirty tiled areas in the Waterside buffet and on one occasion chips were left lying on a staircase in the Beachcombers pool area for over 2 weeks. In the same Beachcombers pool area some birds had defaecated on sun loungers whilst the roof was open in port during the first week of the cruise and these were never cleaned during the remainder of the cruise. There are inadequate toilet facilities on the pool decks. In fact there are only 2 ladies cubicles and 1 disabled between the Laguna and Beachcomber pools and these have to be reached by walking in the smoking area and consequently they reek of cigarette smoke. The only other toilets are situated between the Beach House and Waterside buffet areas. One of our main complaints was the quality and choice of food. In the Waterside and Beach House buffets, the layout is very poor and it is necessary to wander with a laden tray to negotiate various foodstuffs. There does not seem to be a logical pattern to where the various food is located. Often the trays, bowls and plates were too hot to handle but this was obviously to help warm up the mediocre, often barely warm food. At breakfast fresh fried eggs were put out and I found that they were cold. Presumably they then have to warm up under the lights. During the second half of the cruise American type streaky bacon was provided but unfortunately not served in the American style i.e. crispy so it turned out to be greasy. The toast resembled re-cycled cardboard. The choice of fresh fruit at breakfast was very limited and repetitive. The even sliced the grapefruit into thin slices to make it go further! Bananas, when they appeared were of a quality that would not even have been sold as seconds in a supermarket. By the second week the honey in the little containers had solidified. It was almost as though they had not prepared for the fact that this cruise was of a month's duration and not the usual two weeks. Steak, which is usually on the always available part of the menu appeared most nights on the main menu. There was no way anyone could opt for a healthy eating option as many of the vegetables served were of the frozen variety. We endured the freedom dining on only 4 occasions as each time the service was extremely slow and when the food finally arrived it was not piping hot. The waiters had a tendency to try to get all the tables they were saving to catch up so that they could serve each table with the main course simultaneously. The quality of the meat and vegetables was second rate. The Christmas dinner was one of the worst I have ever had on a cruise ship - the turkey tasted more like something that had been artificially produced, sprouts as hard as bullets, roasted potatoes that my have 'visited' an oven briefly to give them some colour but no crispness. Dry Christmas pudding to follow with a brandy sauce that seemed to be alcohol free! We gave the New Years Eve dinner a miss and used room service! The only redeeming factor regarding the food was that there was a Beach House diner open every evening except Christmas Day and New Years Eve (unfortunately). Here there was a limited menu but the food was cooked to order and was excellent in comparison to the rest of the ship. It was interesting to note that as the cruise progressed the queues for this facility started earlier each night and there were many regulars using it, who like ourselves had given up on their regular dining room for similar reasons to ourselves. There was obviously some form of respiratory virus going round the ship as included on the usual letter about Norwalk virus it also included coughs and colds and requested people contact the medical centre if they were suffering from these. Everywhere you went on the ship people were coughing and full of colds. It was not surprising as this started on the outbound flight where someone behind us coughed constantly for the whole 9 hour flight! To make matters worse, the public rooms in the ship were extremely cold. It is the first time on a Caribbean cruise ( and we have done over 30 of these) when we have had to turn the air conditioning in our cabin up from the lowest setting. The only time the ship's interior felt comfortable was during the last two days in Barbados when normal Caribbean temperatures resumed. The first week of the cruise the weather was cool and cloudy in the Caribbean and then we headed north towards New Orleans, which was a further ordeal. P and O provided all passengers with the green immigration forms to complete (which have not been used for almost 2 years) only for the immigration officers to throw them away! The immigration ordeal started at 7.15 a.m. and only finished just after 6 p.m. as there were only 8 booths operating on the quayside. Interestingly though, the crew seemed to complete all their immigration procedures in order to start their crew drills and coast guard inspection by 10.30 a.m. Passengers who were only on the 2 week cruse hardly saw anything of New Orleans as they left early the next day for their return flights. Again it is not the first time P and O have been to New Orleans - in fact Azura was there the previous week so why wasn't there communication between the two ships as they must have encountered the same problem. We have been there on Oriana and it took til 2 p.m. for the ship to be cleared then and they only had half the number of passengers. St. Thomas, too, was a disappointment as we docked at Crown Bay which has very little in the way of facilities as the one at Havensight. In fact one shop owner remarked it was the first time they had had such a large ship in there before. It is obviously a cheaper option in the way of port charges etc. for P and O. It was impossible to walk into Charlotte Amalie and the open 'taxis' were charging $8 per person for the return trip. P and O provided shuttle buses in Port Everglades and Port Canaveral but nothing in St. Thomas. The entertainment was the usual mix of shows, comedians and tribute acts although we did have Tom O Connor appearing in the second half of the cruise. Cabin TV was showing the usual range of Christmas films the first two weeks but did not replace these with any additional films for the second two weeks. In fact the interactive TV was quite annoying as it took time to load and you had to get the remote in a certain position to operate it only to find that most of the films on offer were pay per view (not mentioned in any of the brochures). We did not even get a cruise log for the first two weeks and when we asked at Reception we were told that one had not been issued. Untrue as we had seen them in other pigeon holes. Likewise we did not receive any disembarkation information and were told we should have had one. There was no cruise overview issued for the second two weeks and the excuse given was that the entertainment had not yet been finalised! Were they working on a day to day basis and hoping that it would be 'alright on the night' and that passengers would not notice that some of the shows were repeated from the first half of the cruise. Many of the entertainment venues were not suitable especially the Tamarind where they had the classical artistes performing. There is a thoroughfare through this venue and we had to endure the kids club with their supervisors marching through and other passengers having quite loud conversations whilst walking through which is very distracting when trying to listen to classical music. The Exchange Bar and Casino were other walk through areas and there were often queues in the former waiting for the second performance in the Arena Theatre. There were very few quiet areas on the ship to sit and have a drink as there seems to be a necessity to have bands in most public areas. The library was quite small for the size of ship and had a very poor selection of fiction. Many of the books were old and in need of repair/replacing. It was almost as though all the other ships belonging to P and O had donated their oldest and tattiest books to Ventura.The librarian was not always at her post at the times stipulated which meant people left their returned books lying on her desk and others then picked them up without having to have them recorded. It just seemed pointless having the cabinets locked and specific opening times for the library when it could not be supervised adequately. Despite the fact that the Captain, Hamish Reid is quite a character and was on last year's Oceana cruise, he did not appear to be enjoying his sojourn on Ventura. We never saw him walking round the decks. He also seemed to be taking on the role of Cruise Director announcing all the evening entertainment and the shopping events when he was informing passengers that we were due to leave port. He also did not seem to be able to operate the public address system as most mornings in port we were woken by his voice in the cabin announcing that we had docked in such and such a port. He might just as well have started with "Hi de hi cruisers" to reflect the kind of ship he was running. There has obviously been a lot of cost cutting, changes and directives from Head Office since last year and standards have certainly dropped. I wonder, too, why there was a P and O director on board in Barbados on the last Friday? My advice to discerning cruisers avoid Ventura at all costs unless you want to experience how a cruise ship should not be run. Read Less
Ventura Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.2
Dining 4.0 3.9
Entertainment 4.0 3.7
Public Rooms 4.0 4.0
Fitness Recreation 4.0 3.9
Family 4.0 3.9
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.5
Enrichment 3.0 3.3
Service 4.0 4.0
Value For Money 4.0 3.6
Rates 3.0 3.9

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