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1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2018
The embarkation process was smooth, arrived and checked in within 30 mins. Our cabin was indoor, c366 and was as expected. Not a huge amount of hanging space/storage but for a short cruise was adequate. It was a port intensive ... Read More
The embarkation process was smooth, arrived and checked in within 30 mins. Our cabin was indoor, c366 and was as expected. Not a huge amount of hanging space/storage but for a short cruise was adequate. It was a port intensive cruise. We visited Gijon, it was meant to be la coruna but due to poor conditions the port was changed. A nice coastal resort worth walking to park and headland opposite old town. Bilbao we didn’t do an excursion we got the shuttle to town. Did an independent walking tour, took the funicular up for views. Took the metro to areeta, walked back via there to ship 3.5 km - nicer than central Bilbao. La Rochelle was lovely. €9 to enter all 3 towers. Loads of eating choices. No need for excursion if forecast is good. Cherbourg we went to mount st Michael. Our guide was rather eccentric and got only an hours free time after excusing ourselves of his company. Journey was 5 hours. Organised ship excursion and the most disappointing Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2018
We chose this cruise for my wife's 60th having used P&O before on a number of occasions, sadly things are not what they used to be. The dining experience is now average in terms of product and service, green beans with everything, ... Read More
We chose this cruise for my wife's 60th having used P&O before on a number of occasions, sadly things are not what they used to be. The dining experience is now average in terms of product and service, green beans with everything, if they could serve them as a dessert I think they would! Waiters have had cutbacks and are overworked resulting in a poorer service which is not their fault. The dining room ceiling leaked form the air conditioning unit and we had this problem on 3 nights, eventually being moved table. The food was passable and you will not go hungry on the ship as there is always a buffet open somwhere on the ship. The ship is in need of the refurbishment it is currently getting in Brest,France. Our cabin was spacious as it was a deluxe cabin and it was also a bit tired, the grouting around the bath was black and carpets needed replaced. There was a leak in our balcony door which soaked the carpet. However saying all that the bed was very comfortable and cabin steward excellent always ensuring we had everything we need for a comfortable stay. The entertainment was of a good standard, other activities where geared for P&Os elderly clientele and was standard fair, is shuffledeck,table tennis, quizes, bridge clubs and not to mention the ballroom dancing classes in the atrium. The Atrium could be put to better use as it is the hub of the ship and we would have liked to see more live music in this area as it would have helped the atmosphere on the 3 floors which it serves. The Arena theatre is the main area for twice night shows and was very busy on our cruise as the ship was full, (in fact you needed to get to your seat 30 minutes before most shows to ensure a seat). The Havana lounge at the opposite end is a terrible venue and was known as the Meerkat lounge due to the high backed seats (the comedian mentioned he could only see the heads of the audience popping up and down like meerkats). The ports of call were good and excursions offered quite good but certainly not cheap. They do look after your safety though and tend to go a bit overboard sometimes, that was not a pun! Overall we did enjoy our cruise however would avoid going back on the Ventura even after the current refit it is undergoing. The ship is just not to our liking, the Arena's seats are to tight, Havana lounge enough said, no separate Cinema which should be a given on such a large ship. Carnival have striped bare much of the niceties of a P&O cruise and not replaced them with anything. We will try other lines in future to see if there is better value for money to be had. Read Less
17 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2016
We are back from our first ever cruise on Ventura. We would definitely recommend Ventura for first timers. We had a really good time. We were apprehensive but needn't have worried. We chose Ventura as it seemed to have everything we ... Read More
We are back from our first ever cruise on Ventura. We would definitely recommend Ventura for first timers. We had a really good time. We were apprehensive but needn't have worried. We chose Ventura as it seemed to have everything we needed. We didn't want to go on a really big ship with other cruise lines. We didn't want to be overwhelmed. When we arrived at the terminal in Southampton everything went so smoothly. There were lots of people waiting to take our luggage, which they loaded on to trolleys immediately and efficiently. As we entered the terminal, there were people telling us where to go to check in. We were given a big coloured letter and told when the letter was called we would be able to check in. Lots of seats in the terminal and very busy. Our check in time was 15 30. No sooner had we completed the health declaration our letter was called to check in. It was only 13 30! We checked in which took about 5 seconds,and went through security in about 10 minutes and then onto the ship! It was so smooth. No problems whatsoever. No hassle, no discomfort. S well organized. As soon as we got on the ship we were welcomed by a very friendly, smiling crew member who directed us which way to the buffet and our cabins, which we found eventually, which was fun! Very impressed with the buffet. I had read that on embarkation days the buffet is always a mad rush, but it wasn't! It was very civilized. The food was very good as were all our meals all through the cruise. Our meals in the Bay Tree restaurant were excellent every single time and the service was always first class. We had club dining which was fine as there was four of us and we had our own table for four which I preferred. Our time was 18 30, which we felt was a little early for us. We may try freedom dining on our next cruise. Our cabin was a balcony cabin. The balcony was quite large. The cabin was surprisingly spacious and the bed was very comfortable. There was plenty of storage space. Bathroom and shower was small but adequate. We explored the ship which was big with plenty of bars and restaurants. Our favourite bars were Metropolis and the Terrace. The atrium was lovely with plenty of seats, Costa Coffee, library and Explorers where we booked an excursion very easily and quickly. Our excursion to The Heart of La Palma was excellent and very well organised, but expensive. The entertainment was very good. We went to the Havana Bar and the Arena a few times. We did find that it was sometimes a bit of a rush to get from our evening meal to the venues in time to get a good seat, but we managed it ok We went to the gym and to a few lectures which were good. We also used the spa which was a little overpriced, but very nice. We thought the daytime activities were good, but a bit repetitive towards the end of the cruise. You can only have so many quizzes! Disembarkation was quite smooth. We thought we were in for a long wait but we were kept informed as to what was happening. We all had our own area to wait to disembark and it was all quite orderly. We collected our luggage fairly easily. All in all we had a wonderful time and we are looking to book our next cruise very soon Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2013
We're a young(ish) active couple in our early 40s who booked a week on Ventura cruising the Norwegian Fjords as our first cruise. We didn't want to spend a fortune or go for more than a week in case cruising wasn't for us. ... Read More
We're a young(ish) active couple in our early 40s who booked a week on Ventura cruising the Norwegian Fjords as our first cruise. We didn't want to spend a fortune or go for more than a week in case cruising wasn't for us. My husband hates flying so a cruise from Southampton seemed ideal. We normally holiday in the UK and enjoy walks, photography, good food and in my husband's case, a pint of two of real ale. This cruise appealed because is was sure to be scenic and seemed like a good introduction to holidaying at sea. We travelled by train from Nottingham to Southampton to avoid the stress of driving and the expense of parking. It was easier than getting to the pick up point for the coach. As soon as we got out of the taxi at the Mayflower Pier our cases were immediately whisked away and we joined the line for check in. The queue moved fairly swiftly and within about 30 mins we were on board. We felt a bit lost and not sure what to do but were handed a map of the ship and wandered off to find our cabin. On our way we came across our cases which were waiting on the corridor and wheeled them the rest of the way down to our cabin towards the aft end of the C deck. We'd decided on aft to save £100 each and had read that C deck cabins have the best balconies. This is true. Our cabin had everything we needed, was well tastefully decorated, comfortable and a reasonable size. Our cabin steward, Grazie, introduced herself almost as soon as we'd moved in. She told us where to find our muster station and made sure we were happy with our cabin. She did a great job keeping our home for the week clean and tidy and was always smiling and chirpy. After unpacking (and yes there was plenty of room for our stuff, our cases and enough hangers) we went for a wander and afternoon tea. Then it was time for the safety talk at the muster station (Havana). This didn't take long and was straight forward. We spent the first afternoon exploring although we still managed to get lost a few times, even towards the end of the week! The floors are a bit confusing as some areas don't seem to link up from all 3 staircases but we had some extra exercise finding our way round. We'd opted for freedom dining and ate in the Cinnamon restaurant each evening, We didn't see the point of paying extra to eat in the "select" restaurants as the food and service were very good in our allocated restaurant. We elected not to share tables and never had to wait long for a table for 2. We ate close to 6pm most evenings and were shown a window seat several times. We have no complaints about the food. There was plenty of choice and it was possible to request items that weren't on the menu if you're especially fussy. The service from the waiters was prompt and efficient. Some were more smiley and friendly than others but they were all good at their jobs. We sampled most of the bars on board and preferred the Metropolis bar over all due to the relaxed atmosphere and great views. We also liked the Red Bar as it was comfortable. The drink prices were reasonable and the service was attentive without being pushy. Even in busy venues, such as the theatre and Havana bar the staff did a great job in getting to you when you needed a refill and remembering who ordered what. I don't know how they do it! Hubby was happy with the range of real ales and I enjoyed working my way through the cocktail list and sampling the occasional liquor. We went to some of the shows in the theatre. The Headliners singers and dancers were very good and their shows were professional and entertaining. The comedians were ok but we didn't see any of them for a second time. The Neil Diamond and Tom Jones tribute acts were very good. The older ladies in the audience especially enjoyed the banter from the Tom Jones act! We didn't partake in the entertainment every evening. We were happy just to sit in the Metropolis bar with a drink, enjoying the sunsets and chilled out music. There was a fairly comprehensive programme of daytime activities but most of it wasn't really our cup of tea. We did use the gym which was very well equipped. The classes were a bit expensive but the free "fab abs" class was good. The treadmills and cardio equipment are arranged to give a great view out to sea at the front of the ship. Who needs MTV! There are plenty of swimming pools on Ventura but only a few brave souls made use of them. It was rather nippy in April! If you want to do "proper" swimming you'll find them a bit small. The endless pool wasn't working most of the time but it was too cold to use it anyway. The temperature around the only covered pool was reasonable and if that had been bigger or "endless" we might have used it. Ventura is a family ship so this area was a bit noisy for us although most of the time we didn't really notice many children elsewhere on board as it was term time. You can always get something to eat on the ship without having to pay extra for it. The 24hr buffet had a good choice of food. Breakfast, lunch and afternoon tea were fairly varied and of good quality. Seating was rather limited and at times we walked circuits around both sides of Waterfront and Beach house to find a table. It probably would be less congested in warmer climates when you could make use of the exterior seating. On our cruise we had 2 sea days and visited ports on 4 days. The excursions were very expensive. We only booked one - the Flam railway trip. This was also pricey but we don't regret booking it. There wasn't a lot to do in the ports other than enjoy the scenery. This was enough for us. Flam and Bergen are covered below. We also visited Stavanger and Olden. Both were interesting and pleasant to wander around. We liked the old town in Stavanger but it felt as though Ventura and its passengers took over the town in a rather imposing and intrusive way. It seemed as though it wasn't quite ready for the tourist season as not everywhere was open and quite a lot of work was being done in the port. Olden has some shops geared towards tourists. We didn't buy anything but lots of people did - they were packed! We found the old wooden church which was worth the short walk to find. Again, some of the shops were closed - they missed a trick there! The prettiest area can be found by turning left and walking down the road back along the Fjord. There's a wooden pier by some conifer trees where we took some lovely photos which look like paintings. There is something surreal about the colours of the landscape and the snow-capped mountains reflected in the water. Yes, Norway is expensive but cruising is a cheaper way to visit as there is no need to pay for food and drinks - you can get them on the ship! We only wandered around in the ports for a few hours between breakfast and lunch so didn't need to get on and off too many times. This was a good thing as queuing to get through security was a bit of a chore, albeit necessary and understandable. We had been a bit nervous before our holiday about rough seas. One night was quite bad although the staff were reassuring, especially the captain who had warned us that there would be a big swell and some noise from the bow slapping down on the sea (gulp!) We wore our anti sea sickness bands and didn't feel ill, just a little anxious. We propped ourselves up in bed and watched the TV most of the night to distract us from the noise and motion. There was some vibration from the stabilisers which i understand was worse on the lower decks. The rest of the time we were lucky to have fairly smooth seas and good weather. We knew it would be cold and packed accordingly. Disembarkation was swift and well organised but no drinks were offered wile we waited to be led off the ship. We would have happily paid for a cuppa in the bar as we'd had to vacate our room by 8am and were not due to leave until after 10am. We could have left earlier, taking our bags off ourselves but we'd have had a long wait at Southampton station. We were expecting the buffet breakfast to be rammed on disembarkation but we beat the crowds by eating before 7am. It was the quietest we'd seen it all week! We would definitely recommend P&O and Ventura and the Norwegian Fjords. In fact I've been missing the ship since we came home! It would be interesting to see how different the experience would be in warm weather when you could sit on deck and enjoy the pools. Maybe next time... Read Less
Sail Date: September 2011
My husband and I sailed on Ventura in September to the Med. We cannot understand some of the reviews that have been put on this site, only that these people were on a different cruise to us! The food on this cruise was amazing - how ... Read More
My husband and I sailed on Ventura in September to the Med. We cannot understand some of the reviews that have been put on this site, only that these people were on a different cruise to us! The food on this cruise was amazing - how anyone can say the portions were small is beyond me - the food in the restaurants excellent and if you wanted more, you only had to ask! From what I saw on some peoples plates, not many people went hungry!! The service in the restaurant - we used Saffron - was also excellent - thanks to our waiter Newby who was always one step ahead when filling our glasses, etc. The cabin was lovely, cleaned and tidied twice a day by our cabin attendant, Orlando, who always had a smile and a kind word. It was always fully stocked with tea, coffee and biscuits, with a chocolate at night! We only went on one excursion - we did our own thing at other ports - but this again, was well organised, with a knowledgeable guide - the cost of the excursions was also a lot cheaper than other cruise lines. I do not normally write reviews on holidays, but really felt I had to put forward a realistic view. Why go on a lovely cruise and then come home and moan .............. some people will never be happy! Read Less
Ventura Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.2
Dining 4.0 3.9
Entertainment 4.0 3.7
Public Rooms 4.0 4.0
Fitness Recreation 4.0 3.9
Family 4.0 3.9
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.5
Enrichment 3.0 3.4
Service 4.0 4.0
Value For Money 4.0 3.7
Rates 3.0 3.9

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