Ventura Cruise Review by Cruzallday
- Sail Date: July 2019
- Destination: British Isles & Western Europe
- Cabin Type: Junior Mini Suite with Balcony and Bath/Shower
We have been regular cruisers several times each year for 15 years and aware of the standards of service to be expected and normally provided.
We noticed a significant fall in standards in the dining room compared with our earlier Ventura cruises. Table clothes were often dirty and stained and not changed between diners. Butter dishes were left between consecutive diners with visible signs of part use and contamination. Cutlery was left on the tables between consecutive diners. On two occasions we asked for some items of cutlery to be replaced as these appeared to have already been used. On another occasion, the waiter openly removed a fork from my starter plate and replaced it on the table to be used for the next course.
On day three, we arrived at “Amsterdam” - the port had been changed since our booking was made to somewhere an hours coach journey from Amsterdam. We were informed that Amsterdam had introduced a new passenger charge for the original port which P&O had decided not to pay. The result was an extra two hours of inconvenient coach travel for passengers to get to and from the destination. Far worse, was that when we finally reached the places we wished to visit, entrance tickets for the whole day had been sold out.
We returned to the shuttle bus stop early afternoon to find a queue 203 passengers (I had time to count them) and no sign of coaches. When coaches finally began to arrive (after approaching an hour queuing) it was clear that no planning had gone in to managing loading passengers. The hour wait meant the queue now had 400 passengers in a queue. Many passengers had arrived during the wait who had disability challenges. Six empty coaches arrived together and staff concentrated on first loading those with disabilities on all six coaches before loading passengers from the queue on to any of the coaches. This was completely illogical given that once wheelchair users had boarded the first coach other passengers could have boarded and the coach made its way and so on.
We waited an hour and 44 minutes in the queue before leaving on the coach. Having to stand (unnecessarily) for such a period led to my knee being injured and I’m certain caused harm to others. We had been looking forward to the cruise itinerary of “two days overnight” stay in Amsterdam” but the next day my wife had to obtain a wheelchair for me as I could not walk and, like many others would not have wished to repeat the shuttle debacle of the previous day.
I complained about the shuttle arrangements at the excursions desk. I was told that this was a new arrangement and it was being trialled by them to see if it worked! No apology was offered by P&O staff to the many customers unknowingly submitted to this disastrous experiment.
After three days of using a wheelchair ( I’ve never previously had mobility difficulties), my wife explained to the excursions desk that we could not do the excursion we had booked. The staff member informed us there would not be a refund unless I obtained a certificate from the ships doctor (at an equivalent cost of the tour we had booked)!
We paid an additional charge to use the Oasis quiet area and steam rooms to relax. Steam rooms were out of order (being painted). Infusers in the relaxation area were not topped up and working and... the disabled toilet facilities had visible faeces present for two days!
The Oasis quiet area did not have its no mobile phones rule enforced by staff who stood by whilst an element shouted at their phones using Skype.
The theatre entertainment and other performers also held little to write home about and were considerably poorer quality than the high standards we’ve seen before on P&O.
Our many previous cruises with P&O spread over five of their ships have been enjoyable but this one was simply awful. Customer service, cleanliness and standards are extremely low on Ventura and I would not recommend this ship which fails miserably to live up to the standards which are expected of P&O .
We have booked a suite on Iona in 2020 with roughly the same itinerary which hopefully, will restore our faith in P&O.
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Although we had chosen the cabin due to its larger balcony we did not venture onto it for the entire voyage. Peering past the window dabs we could see worn out balcony furniture coated with accumulated bird droppings and rusty ironwork and dirty worn matting.
We quietly invited the Steward to our cabin and very politely explained our concerns. We were told that cabins were only subject to a “quick (minimal) clean between occupants but assured, in response to our complaint that, a more thorough clean would then be done.
When we returned to our cabin there was no noticeable improvement.
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