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3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
this was our 9th. cruise cruise having tried fred olson and r.c.i. we felt r.c.i. where getting to be to pushy so thought we would give P&O a go .our embarkation was good and we found our cabin to be 1st class on deck d extra large ... Read More
this was our 9th. cruise cruise having tried fred olson and r.c.i. we felt r.c.i. where getting to be to pushy so thought we would give P&O a go .our embarkation was good and we found our cabin to be 1st class on deck d extra large balconey very nice The ship was just the right size no problems getting about we booked 1830hrs meals in M.D.R. all very nice allways good choice and plenty of good food, service also very good some of the shows where not to our liking however we allways found somewhere to go. Frankie Gliksman was a realy talented entertianer and realy made up for any short falls on the show side staff where very help full in partcular the young lady on recieption who found a small screw driver to fix my glasses we did shore trips at every port with P&O all where very good in fact we hade such a good time we have booked P&O agian for next year book early for good on board spend money and to make sure you get the cabin you want Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
This was a 60th Birthday Cruise. I contacted P&O prior to sailing to arrange a few items and sure enough they were in the cabin waiting for us when we arrived. From Curbside to cabin took less than 10 minutes. Excellent Job. ... Read More
This was a 60th Birthday Cruise. I contacted P&O prior to sailing to arrange a few items and sure enough they were in the cabin waiting for us when we arrived. From Curbside to cabin took less than 10 minutes. Excellent Job. Luggage beat us to the cabin. The muster drill was very well organized and the crew did an exceptional job with the Guests. We were able to watch the sail away from our cabin in time. Jason our cabin steward was top notch. The ship was clean and we could see the hard wording staff cleaning and polishing every day and disinfecting all common areas. We ate at all the specialty Restaurants and each and everyone was very nice. The service throughout the ship for the entire journey was perfect. We couldn't fault one member of staff. The entertainment staff and the Cruise Director were visible the entire trip. Disembarking in all ports of call were seamless. With the exception of our return to Southampton. The jetty was not functioning so we waited in the Havana Lounge for 3 hours before disembarking at 11:30 on Friday Morning. The only constructive suggestion would be maybe to designate two or 3 elevators to those with mobility scooters/walkers etc. As this took up most of the elevator space all over the ship. The only other issue we would mention is how miserable the majority of the older guests were especially to the hard working crew. There should be signage saying no abuse will be tolerated at anytime to any member of staff. They work too hard and long hours. We would sail P&O for sure but no longer than 7 days. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
Embarkation as always was good,as priority passengers we arrived early and sat in departures and had our complimentary coffee and biscuits,on ship by midday and straight through to champagne lunch,really is a fantastic start to the ... Read More
Embarkation as always was good,as priority passengers we arrived early and sat in departures and had our complimentary coffee and biscuits,on ship by midday and straight through to champagne lunch,really is a fantastic start to the cruise. We were in suite at back of ship,we always choose this as it's lovely sitting out in the huge balcony. The cabin is nice but 5*? no,not really,quite dirty looking,though that is nothing to do with our lovely cabin stewardess Rose,just years of build up dirt I suppose. I have to mention our butler Dinesh,we have sailed many times with P&O and he was by far the best butler we've ever had,he really couldn't do enough for us.An absolute credit to the company. Can't comment on entertainment as we've never really liked it and don't go to the shows etc. Service,yet again,second to none,I really really can't understand some reviews when they say the waiters are rude and surly,we have NEVER come across this at all,we always have the best laughs with them.The drinks waitress in the dining room came to serve us and when she took our name,she looked at us and said "Weren't you on this cruise last year" could not believe she remembered us.They are amazing,each and every one of them. Unfortunately though,we will not be sailing with P&O in the near future,after numerous cruises with them over the years,their standards are slipping,the food for me (vegetarian) was absolutely awful and it pains me to say it,as it used to be delicious in years gone by,last year I noticed it had gone down a notch but this year,was almost inedible,so my husband and I dined at the speciality restaurants most of the time,which you have to pay extra for but was worth it I have to agree with the other reviewer re the captain,he was fantastic,he should be a stand up comedian,he had the whole ship in hysterics,with his antics,Andrew Willard if I remember rightly,captain of Oceana usually All in all,we did enjoy ourselves but that is because we disappear into our suite half the time and enjoy our balcony and of course the destinations,especially Madeira We have decided to give Cunard a go,I go on a cruise to enjoy the specialness (is that a word)of it but alas these days it's all trainers and jogging bottoms,and people moaning that they have to get dressed up,for gods sake,it's only 4 times in the whole 14 day cruise. Also the rudeness of some people,also mentioned by other reviewers,PLEASE,why do you choose cruising,go for a booze up at Blackpool,where you don't need to dress up. P&O has lost it's way unfortunately,it needs to decide who it's catering for,is it the cheap holiday brigade,who eat more food than their body actually needs or is it the cruisers who enjoy the occasion.Anyway,not for us anymore.Such a shame Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2018
So nice to have a classic cruise instead of the hard sell, glitzy, quantity over quality that other companies seem to be providing now. Embarkation was seemless and from leaving our hotel to sitting in the buffet on board took just 45 ... Read More
So nice to have a classic cruise instead of the hard sell, glitzy, quantity over quality that other companies seem to be providing now. Embarkation was seemless and from leaving our hotel to sitting in the buffet on board took just 45 minutes . Ventura is comfortable, clean with great food and lovely staff. We enjoyed the ships excursions we took in Gibraltar and Valencia although the guide in Valencia had poor English. We thought they were reasonably priced. The buffet was probably our only disappointment on the Ventura. It is far too small and cramped with little choice but there are always other options. The food in the main dining room was excellent. Always hot and delicious and served with a smile. The extra charge meal in Epicurean was on another level. Well worth the small extra cost. The cabins were clean and comfortable. The beds were great and we slept well. Not too keen on the old fashioned shower curtain in the bathroom but the toiletries provided were good quality . Overall we had an excellent cruise on a lovely ship. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
I’m a well seasoned cruise traveller with over 25 completed to date ranging from Princess, RCI, Celebrity and P&O. I’ve never felt compelled to write a review until now. Having cruised similar with P&O, my partner and I, ... Read More
I’m a well seasoned cruise traveller with over 25 completed to date ranging from Princess, RCI, Celebrity and P&O. I’ve never felt compelled to write a review until now. Having cruised similar with P&O, my partner and I, along with two other friends booked a weekend cruise on Ventura to Guernsey over August Bank Holiday. We sailed on Ventura previously to Brugges, and as Platinum club members with Princess we know the layout of Ventura and Azura mirror their ships, so we were well aware of the ship and what lay ahead – or so we had thought. Firstly upon arrival at Southampton I have to say this was the worst I have experienced to date. Complete chaos. Guests were called in sequence order A-Z depending on what you are given when you arrive at the top of the stairs of the terminal. Waited for approximately 1.5hours to check in (1pm arrival). Terrible. Once onboard we were impressed with the ship layout and how bright and clean it appeared. We had an inside cabin, which was very clean, and enough room for two adults sharing. The bed was probably one of the most comfortable of all liners we have sailed on. The cleanliness is evident throughout from the bars to the pool area, and restaurants. However, in the evenings the majority of toilets throughout the ship smelt really badly – urine quite evident on the floors of several, and also quite a few blockages with no toilet attendant/cleaners in sight (few and far between). On the first evening in the MDR, we had a lovely table for 4. With no introductions or personal welcomes from the waiting staff, we were presented with the main menu - the waiter returned very promptly (in space of 5 minutes) to take the orders. I ordered a lamb shank for my main course and asked the waiter if it was possible to have some mash potato – to which he said he would ask the chef. No drinks, or wine on offer and within 5 minutes our starters arrived. My partner at this point asked was it possible to see a wine list as we felt it was more appropriate to take a drinks order before going full steam ahead and presenting us with our starters! It did feel like a conveyor belt, they wanted us “fed watered and out” with minimal interaction. The bread rolls were dire. Soft rolls, think tesco value on a small scale with zero choice, and put on the side plate with no second offerings. My lamb shank arrived and the waiter took off. I waited whilst my 3 companions tucked into their mains; I assumed the waiter was going to get my potato for the lamb. Again within 5 minutes he returned to clear the plates at which point I asked him did he get the mash as I hadn’t even started to my main yet. He was quick to inform me “no sir there is no mash”. I wasn't happy and I asked why hadn’t he told me this when he presented the plate to begin with. He said he was sorry he had just checked – this itself was a lie as I could see him directly in front of me fiddling with cutlery and the likes. If mash is offered in the buffet, and various other potatoes offered to top that, I didn't quite understand. I again repeated the question you’re telling me there is no mash available, to which he said “sorry no”. I then asked him to fetch me the Maitre’D. when he arrived I asked him if it was possible to have mash – his reply “anything is possible sir”. I told him I was informed mash wasn't available – he seemed surprised. I went on to explain I wasn't very happy at all nor were the others in my party. The lack of wanting to serve us, no drinks menu, orders etc”. I actually handed my main course, untouched, back as I was disappointed by the whole episode. I would like to add to this “Yes this might be a weekend cruise, but you should not treat all guests as first timers on a weekend break whom you assume will probably never return”. We were appalled by the lack of interaction and the lack of personal touch from the MDR waiting staff, their behaviour was definitely the lowest I’ve witnessed. It was quite the contrary in the buffet. Food in the buffet area was lovely, plenty of choice this is one area where the company excel. There were a few hen parties on board who were enjoying themselves Port of Call Guernsey: Tender required. What can I say…….. we docked at 8am – all guests required back on ship for 5pm. We had breakfast and went downstairs to the tender around 11am thinking it will be straight forward as we have tendering numerous times before at other locations worldwide. No - how wrong where we. We were told to join a queue for a ticket to join the tenders. The queue for this alone wrapped around the foyer area back to the art gallery – we waited in line for 1 hour and given tickets to tender. We were then moved into the restaurant, where we waited a further 1.5 hours. With 6 tenders operating, we felt this would have been quicker and should have been better managed. We spoke briefly to the lady (I use loosely as she was abrupt) this was taking forever, she replied by saying “no this is normal”. If this is normal for P&O I would be sacking the management in charge of this process. It was awful. We have experienced several tenders over the years with OTHER liners and never waited longer than 15 mins to disembark the ship, and that also involved a ticket and call by number! Perhaps the ship is too big for tendering to the port, but you've definitely got this so wrong P&O. Guernsey is beautiful, a lovely little place full of charm and very walkable. We had an afternoon tea and stroll, however we felt we should return to the ship around 3 (after just 1 hour on land) to avoid a possible mayhem like the disembarkation to tender earlier . Walking downhill towards the port and tendering area at 3pm, we could see a queue as long as anything with people waiting around. It took us 1 hour 10 mins to board and get back on ship. The whole experience is quite exhausting and not one I will repeat with P&O again. In conclusion, I feel P&O should use smaller ships for the weekend breaks and clearly advertise it involve tendering. Also, other cruise critic members do mention tendering by P&O at Guernsey being the worst experiences witnessed – trust me these people are not telling lies. I for one will NEVER return to P&O on a mini cruise again that involves tendering unless they drastically change their ways - not to mention their manner. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
I thought cruises were meant to be classy but this one was full of chavs with football shirts and tattoos! I was very surprised. Also I wasn’t expecting to find a hen do on board. Maybe I picked the wrong cruise! It’s very low ... Read More
I thought cruises were meant to be classy but this one was full of chavs with football shirts and tattoos! I was very surprised. Also I wasn’t expecting to find a hen do on board. Maybe I picked the wrong cruise! It’s very low brow! The room is ok, the balcony is very nice. Shame we were next door to a rowdy bunch though! I know people will think I’m being moany but so far this is not what I was expecting from a cruise. I can imagine by 9pm the whole ship will be smashed and balconing! (Just so you get an idea of what I mean). I hope someone can recommend a more old fashioned and classy cruise, I would very much appreciate it. I’m actually now quite glad this is only a 2 night stay. Anyway hope it somehow gets better. May end up just staying in the cabin. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
Having never been on a cruise before we found a 2 night mini-cruise on the P&O Ventura over the August Bank Holiday weekend (Southampton to Guernsey and back). My first point would be that if P&O run this mini-cruise again they ... Read More
Having never been on a cruise before we found a 2 night mini-cruise on the P&O Ventura over the August Bank Holiday weekend (Southampton to Guernsey and back). My first point would be that if P&O run this mini-cruise again they should probably consider making it 3 nights and try and include Jersey as a port of call, it would have just been a slightly better length than 2 nights, which was perhaps a bit to short to fully appreciate the cruise experience (and also its nice to see multiple places). As it happened, having been to St Peter Port fairly recently, we didn't actually disembark, so stayed on the ship all day, hoping to take advantage of the reduced crowds...sadly most places seemed closed, so this plan wasn't quite as smart as we thought! Anyway, lets go back to the beginning...in terms of pre-journey information, that was okay, but I feel they could do better and give a 1 page idiots guide to arrival and embarkation. The process was actually seamless, but for example there is no-where on the P&O website that mentions liquids in your luggage. It may be obvious to regular cruisers, but to airline travellers its a valid concern, we had no idea whether we could take full sized shampoo for example or not (albeit google came to our assistance and re-assured us that if we really wanted to, we could). Physically getting on the ship was far quicker than expected, we got given a fastrack card on arrival at the terminal, no idea if that was just luck or not, but our boarding process was very quick, it felt under 30 minutes...until we got on the ship. One point that is worth making, is that as this was a mini-cruise we only had 1 suitcase, which we could have carried ourselves, however the brochure made it sound like you had to check it in. Again its unclear whether this was required, or merely suggested, clarity would be better here. So when stepping on-board it was a bit crowded, but not ridiculously so, we had a welcome photo and then walked towards the lifts (there were plenty of staff to direct people). However the lifts themselves were atrocious. I have never been in any building with such poor lifts and I can't really see why merely being on a ship they should be so bad, at least one was out of action the entire time and two at some points. They appeared to randomly skip floors (or perhaps in reality the display was just not updating quickly enough) and took forever to arrive. Most people gave up and just walked. Whilst I appreciate things can get crowded on embarkation and disembarkation, when I say these lifts were bad, I mean the whole time, even at seemingly quiet times. I feel they need an overhaul. So then we went into the cabin, met the friendly cabin steward and went for a walk around (the cabin was okay, although very dated looking, especially the bath room, I won't say more as I've written a section on the cabin below). We explored the top decks initially and people were already getting into the swing of things, with some already in the pool (quite how they managed that so quickly I have no idea)! The pool's themselves however were very small, much smaller than I'd imagined them to be (even having seen pictures), the whole pool side areas felt quite crowded and more for the hen parties on board than quiet couples, so we never went in, but the water did feel quite cold when I tested it, so I don't feel we missed much! The pool side bars felt a bit rowdy, but nothing over the top, we never saw any trouble (despite mentions of fights and so on, on this ship in previous cruise reviews we found)! This is when we got our first taste of the excellent service, we were just standing by a railing and managed to end up with a couple of very reasonably priced cocktails within minutes. Overall I must commend the staff, the service was excellent, everyone was very helpful, polite and incredibly efficient too, we did tip on top of the standard included tips at dinner, but now I feel slightly bad we didn't tip for drinks too (which being British we wouldn't normally do, but we recently saw a documentary on the wages of cruise ship employees which made us feel bad). Now onto dining…our first taste of the food, was the Waterside buffet, which had a constantly replenished array of snacks and main dishes. It was okay, not spectacular, but then I don’t think it was meant to be, acting more of a quick and easy place to grab something. There was only a minimal queue and reasonable variety, although finding a window table was rarely possible, generally by going into the second room it was possible to find a table (the only exception being upon disembarkation, where everyone had to vacate their cabin’s before breakfast, which created a huge bottleneck). For the first night, for dinner we booked the Epicurian, which is one of the ‘Select Dining’ options available and frankly we were impressed. I popped down a bit early to request a dairy free option (and pre-ordered to make life easier for the chef) and in all honesty it surpassed my expectations. The food (and the service) were both excellent, with very reasonably priced wine to accompany the meal too. The second night we ended up opting to upgrade to Sindu (an Indian themed Select Dining option) and again we were not disappointed, once again the food and service were excellent. The main disappointment with dining was the regular options, which we didn’t try for dinner, purely because the menu just looked a bit rubbish. One thing I noticed, was that (if I recall correctly) every single menu option had dairy in, which isn’t a big deal for many, but in the modern world of allergies and dietary requirements creates an unnecessary headache, surely it wouldn’t kill anyone to create at least one dairy free option (I’m sure the same could be said for gluten, so why not kill two birds with one stone). All that said, of course as I mentioned previously in the restaurants we went to the chef’s did an amazing job of creating special options for me! Aside from the restaurants I’ve already mentioned, there was the poolside grill, which did basic burgers, hot dogs etc. and were pretty much as expected (think university canteen rather than steakhouse burgers). Oh and breakfast too had the usual hot and cold options as expected, it was nice enough and other than the last morning was not too crowded. In terms of bar’s we tried the Tamarind Club, which had a very impressive band called Serious Sounds. They were a group from Barbados and had impressive vocals, with the Keyboard player even outshining the lead singer on occasions! As with everywhere on the ship, the drinks service here was very attentive and quick. We had some cocktails at a bar by the pool and again the service was very rapid, the cocktails were nice too, not watery and reasonably priced (generally sub £6 for a large cocktail, which at least compared to London prices is cheap). Wine was around £20 a bottle, which again felt very good value and a beer was (I think) around £4/£5, which is the same as a cheaper London pub. The other bar I remember, was the British pub themed one called the Exchange, by the Casino, this was showing the football, much to my wife’s horror, however we sat quietly in the corner and had a go on the slot machines as the Casino wasn’t actually open during the day (which was very surprising and a bit odd). We did actually go to one more place, which was a bar / restaurant called the Glass House, this was very wine focused and offered sets of 3 x 100ml sample glasses for around £10 each, which was a nice way to try a few different wines (they also offered standard bottles or glasses of course). Now as I mentioned, we didn’t actually disembark in Guernsey, as we thought with the reduced crowds, it would be a great time to explore the ship, however disappointingly we found the entertainment options pretty limited, with many places closed (such as the Casino, which seems a bit short-sighted). There were some shows on at the Arena theatre and a screen showing children’s films in the Tamarind club, but overall it felt like there wasn’t much left for those who stayed on-board (yet somehow the pools were still crowded)!! In the evening, the entertainment was perhaps more interesting, but after a large dinner, we didn’t really feel like a show, preferring to have a drink or two. It would have been nice if the shows were repeated on different days (perhaps they are on longer cruises), as we had pre-booked dinner before boarding on the first night, which clashed with the only show we really wanted to watch. One thing that was a bit strange is that the entertainment options were not shown in advance, which was a bit annoying, as we would have planned things a bit differently if we had known what was on in advance. We asked to have a look around the children’s clubs (as we do have a small child, although she didn’t come with us on this trip) and to be fair they looked pretty good. The only criticism is that they are rigid about the age range, so a 5 year old can not play in the 2-4 year old play room, which is perhaps a bit unfair as it means children who are days apart in age can’t play together (and there seemed to be more in the smaller children’s room, with the older one still good, but geared more towards the much older kids). The SPA we visited briefly and there is a small pool there, which is adults only, they did also suggest there was a bar there, but oddly we couldn’t find it! The shops were very limited, surprisingly so, I would have thought they would have packed more in, I could imagine on a longer cruise you’d really struggle to find things you needed and would be very bored quickly of looking around the very limited range on offer. I can’t think of much else, so onto Disembarkation. We discovered that we had to vacate our cabin by 8 am and were not impressed by this, perhaps that’s normal with P&O, but having spoken to plenty of older cruisers (including both sets of parents) this is apparently abnormally early. Additionally we were not told this until on-board, which was very frustrating as we had made plans based on our assumption of a later disembarkation. Ignoring the fact that it was annoyingly early, surely P&O know the expected arrival time in advance and could let you know when booking (the same for embarking, although at least we found this out before boarding)!!! For people that have to book a train, especially those coming from further afield, how can they possibly plan ahead??? Very poor communication in my opinion. The other problem with disembarkation was that it didn’t seem to be staggered (I think technically it was, but only in 15 minute slots, which is sort of pointless with circa 3,000 in a confined space), this meant that obviously once again the lifts were an impossibility, but worse still, everyone crowded into the buffet breakfast space, meaning the queues were horrendous and it was impossible to get a table (we managed to find some bar stools outside by a closed bar, but others weren’t so lucky). So overall, the drinks were good value for money, the Select dining was excellent, but the normal dining looked disappointing. The buffet was okay, but unexciting and very poorly co-ordinated on the last morning. Overall the ship just felt very dated and in need of an overhaul, I was surprised to read it was only around 10 years old and has already been refurbished once! It felt as if the décor / facilities were probably older than that. The cabin was okay, but not spectacular (more details in the review below) and overall I guess the value for money was okay. It wasn’t a cheap weekend by any means, but considering how much cruises can cost I don’t think it was ridiculous. Now I do want to mention the staff again, as they were all excellent and deserve to be recognised for their impeccable service. So, would we go again? Well I think we would probably try a cruise again, almost certainly with our little one, as I think she’d really like it, however sadly P&O did not create a great impression so not only would we not go on Ventura again, but would probably be inclined to opt for another operator next time. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2018
We choose this cruise, because of the Itinerary? I can’t fly, we have been on 8 previous cruises, once before on the Ventura, we vowed not to go with P&O again,? But the itinerary swayed us? Let me start with the main problem??? If ... Read More
We choose this cruise, because of the Itinerary? I can’t fly, we have been on 8 previous cruises, once before on the Ventura, we vowed not to go with P&O again,? But the itinerary swayed us? Let me start with the main problem??? If you board the Ventura and they give you room C403? RUN!! Do not take it!! It’s by the lift shaft,? And all through the night, we were kept awake by a constant, very loud banging noise! This room is fit for storage purposes only!! We asked to be moved the second day,? But it was full, so we had to endure 12 nights of hell! The food was okay,? My husband and I enjoy curries? Which is just as well? As they were served daily? But we’re good. The entertainment at night was very good, but during the day,? We could either attend a knitting club, a craft club a model boat building club, or a talk on engines? My husband attended this s, but fell asleep 10 minuets after it started?? I had to go find him, after he still hadn’t returned after 2 hours,? He was the only one left in the arena, snoring his head off! I’m sure it was through lack of sleep, and not bordum?? We certainly aunty will be sticking with RCI or NCL in future,? Read Less
Sail Date: May 2018
I am amazed with a history of technical difficulties even limping into port on our day of sailing P&O decide to put nearly 3,000 souls to sea on a craft with historical mechanical problems, and this time being a malfunction with the ... Read More
I am amazed with a history of technical difficulties even limping into port on our day of sailing P&O decide to put nearly 3,000 souls to sea on a craft with historical mechanical problems, and this time being a malfunction with the ability to steer properly. Shocking. Positives. Staff as usual were very good, although on a few occasions I was taken aback when I was referred to directly as Gareth and (Believe it or not) on two occasions as 'thanks handsome' and my partner being referred to as 'hi Beautiful '. Negatives. Any issues were responded to by reception staff as 'well it's in the small print'. Late return from P&O booked excursion meant missed first sitting of dinner so went to Freedom dining. Told as we were not booked as Freedom dining we could not dine there. Arena theatre patrons seen openly keeping seats for latecomers where others had to stand or sit on the steps. Sat in Red Bar and saw a lady in designer jeans being refused service due to wearing jeans even though men were sat there in 'ordinary' jeans. The Strictly Come Dancing Theme was not part of the cruise but completely overtook everything. Limited shows in the theatre, stairs in the Atrium roped off while dance classes conducted. (Many aged and I firmed then had to battle for lifts to get to the lower floor) Overall not a very nice cruise. Ventura may be a sister hip of Azura but is way behind in all aspects of customer service. With the the continual ongoing technical difficulties of the Venture, should there be a serious incident (especially at sea) would the passengers be told to read the small print. I'll not cruise with Ventura again. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2018
Pool was closed for all but one day of the holiday. Understaffed. Ran out of most drinks on board. So much was broken, lifts, toilets, etc. Activities scheduled on deck, knowing there was bad weather - massive cop out. Staff were so ... Read More
Pool was closed for all but one day of the holiday. Understaffed. Ran out of most drinks on board. So much was broken, lifts, toilets, etc. Activities scheduled on deck, knowing there was bad weather - massive cop out. Staff were so unhappy - you could see it throughout the ship. Numerous staff were criticizing P&O, telling us how tight they are and disgusting how they dont even give customers correct reasons for problems. The captain rarely made any announcements on board about the journey, weather etc. Reception queues for over an hour. and wa sonly way to get a bill. (Just what you want to do on your holiday!). Some entertainment was like watching a school play! Having cruised 10+ times, it is back to RC we go! We have never had problems with the American service. Was offered a part-refund for part of our holiday, to be told one day before we left the ship that it would be given as onboard credit, once again lied to and fobbed off by them. Gym equipment was broke. Computer systems were down for last three days, so we couldn't access our bills. High level management are protected by low level staff. PLEASE NOTE: Not one customer (I spoke to close to 100) was happy with this cruise!!! This cruise was a reflection of where P&O is going, ie, eventually nowhere! STEER CLEAR! SPEND YOUR HARD EARNED MONEY SOMEWHERE ELSE!!! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: January 2018
Advised by P & O night before Cruise the Ship would be late arriving so if possible delay arriving by3 hours . This was impossible but Food and Drink would be provided , What they didn't say was they would be putting us in a ... Read More
Advised by P & O night before Cruise the Ship would be late arriving so if possible delay arriving by3 hours . This was impossible but Food and Drink would be provided , What they didn't say was they would be putting us in a derelict shed , Dock 101 for 6 hours with no Heating or Food , draughts and doors wide open and small coffees and 1 biscuit provided No information at all until 6 pm when busses were provided to talk us to Embarkation . This took 1 hour due to intermittent electric supply and 30 minutes trying to get authorised Debit Card , due to P & O being off line with electric problems . Eventually 8 hours after arriving , please board to get something to eat. Apologies everyone , Air Bridge has broken so we cannot let anyone on ship until repaired 40 minutes later we board get changed and go for Food , only to be told Muster is in 30 minutes so we had a starter , then they closed restaurant and didn't re open after Muster , P & O disaster Rest or Cruise was OK except we had 20 hours of " Essential Maintenance " on a Lifeboat which consisted of 2 men with Lump Hammers knocking old paint of it for 6 hours a day , I have 4 recordings which I will sent to a VP of Carnival Line to see if he would caa this essential maintenance. Food in Restaurant on Ventura where you pay extra were exceptional Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2018
We love the Caribbean in Jan/ Feb to escape the UK winter. Ventura was late arriving in Southampton due to bad weather, thank goodness we weren’t on that cruise! P&O gave us all £15pp extra onboard spend to cover lunch on the way ... Read More
We love the Caribbean in Jan/ Feb to escape the UK winter. Ventura was late arriving in Southampton due to bad weather, thank goodness we weren’t on that cruise! P&O gave us all £15pp extra onboard spend to cover lunch on the way as we were advised to arrive later in the day to allow disembarkation. There was free tea and coffee at the terminal and we didn’t wait too long to be transferred to the ship. The sea was choppy for the first 2days at sea but soon improved ( or maybe we just found our sea legs quickly). Madeira was nice and sunny. Went to the gym on sea days to offset the extra food and actually rather enjoyed it! There was always something going on on board but same list most days. The talks are usually interesting. Did lots of sunbathing and actually used our sun beds for hours. We saw loads of beds though which were reserved for hours with no one on them. P &O need to take the bull by the horns and sort out this problem which causes so much anger. The entertainment was mostly good and especially ‘The Runaround Kids’ who got a standing ovation both nights. Metropolis was a nice place in the evenings and much quieter than other venues where the microphones were a bit too loud. Havana is the most ridiculous design and needs a complete overhaul. The half walls are too high, there are posts where they obstruct too much of the view and what on earth the two high tables are for at the front I can’t imagine. We didn’t come on holiday to have to watch acts on the tv screen! The staff were great as usual and cabin stewards very friendly. We had a few problems this cruise with excessive noise in cabin late at night (don’t book around inside cabin R717 ) and after being moved we had a water leak. We were unlucky because this was our 18th cruise with P&O and our first problematic one. The islands were great as normal and the people who moaned about the port of Guadeloupe should have done their research and travelled outside the port area. We had a lovely trip there to the beach and the nicest swimming conditions ever. All in all another successful cruise. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2017
Fantastic cruise yet again from P & O.Unfortunately this ship had been struck with the noro virus,which I suppose can happen to any cruise liner,just one of the hazzards,so we were somewhat delayed on getting onboard but we had been ... Read More
Fantastic cruise yet again from P & O.Unfortunately this ship had been struck with the noro virus,which I suppose can happen to any cruise liner,just one of the hazzards,so we were somewhat delayed on getting onboard but we had been pre warned of this via email but we were still allowed to arrive at our allotted time and sit and have a coffee and read papers etc,so no real upset. We embarked and were shown through to the champagne lunch reception which is such a nice touch and were immediately impressed again by the politeness of all the staff,they are second to none,don't believe some reviews telling you they stand and talk to one another and ignore you,utter rubbish!!!! Treat these hard working men and women with respect and you will get it returned. This was our first time on Ventura,previously sailing on Oceana and Azura,she is almost identical to the latter.I could not find any dirty areas,rust or tiredness which I had read about. Our cabin was spotless and I can't praise our steward Hadi high enough,he made the start of our day with a cheery "Hello" and always joking,what a star.Our butler Simon was fantastic also,nothing was too much trouble The food was of high standard also,although maybe just one more veggie option on the menu would be good,as one evening it was goats cheese for starter and main and I'm not a huge fan but we just went to the glass house and had a fab meal there at a very reasonable price. Not really into the ships entertainment,not our thing so can't comment There were only two niggles on this cruise,one was that we had to take a tender in Madeira which meant we had to be back on board very early and felt miffed that our day was cut short and I did feel so sorry for the disabled passengers who could not get ashore,hopefully they were compensated in some way.The other was that after passengers being told several times about hygiene due to the noro virus outbreak,we could still see them coming aboard and walking right past the had sanitizers,how selfish these people are but the staff were not enforcing it at the gangway,so we mentioned this to reception and they said they would pass on our information but nothing seemed to be done and folk were still ignoring the hand wash All ports were fantastic not as warm in past cruises but still nice enough to sit out and enjoy a beer or two or maybe four,can't remember. Well done P&O see you soon Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2017
Having loved last years Cruise so much (our first) we decided to go again this year. Its a lovely ship but interestingly its surprising how much more critical one becomes second time round. Having said that our rating is still "Very ... Read More
Having loved last years Cruise so much (our first) we decided to go again this year. Its a lovely ship but interestingly its surprising how much more critical one becomes second time round. Having said that our rating is still "Very Good". At embarkation I already knew things would be different. A fellow passenger sitting beside us ripped open his prepacked sandwich with his teeth, guzzled it down and scattered crumbs everywhere. It set me wondering if this was the sort of pleasantries in store for us on the voyage to come. Boarding was a breeze and finding the Cabin was as difficult as ever (that never changed during our entire trip). The room was clean but the carpet looked shabby in areas. Otherwise no complaints. The room steward was fantastic and I should mention at this point that all the staff we had dealings with were excellent too. The Norovirus warning letter that we were presented with at the beginning of the cruise did raise some alarm bells and the subsequent letter confirming an outbreak of Norovirus during the Cruise was a worry. Thankfully we didn't succumb but looking at the unhygienic behaviors of passengers in the Buffet its not unsurprising there was an outbreak. Apart from people coughing and sneezing as the walked around the food areas (already mentioned in another Ventura review) I actually saw several passengers nip in through the central exit of the Buffet in order to avoid the hand washing. One elderly gentleman strode around picking buns and croissants without using the tongs, piled them up on his chest and strode out again. In order to avoid the above we used fine dining every night and sat with 4 lovely individuals with impeccable manners. I would recommend this choice to anyone as the food was generally excellent and you can avoid for the best part the unpleasantries of the Buffet. I know you need to dress up particularly on the formal nights but its great fun. Sadly on this trip some formal nights were missed out and the casual dress code did lead to some shocking sights (never with the ladies I hasten to add). For example as we left the Bay Tree one evening I walked behind a fellow diner. His shirt was a mess of wrinkles and hanging outside his trousers. Luckily the tail wasnt autographed. His trousers were about 9 inches too long and hung over a tatty pair of shoes. He reminded me of a farmer on his way to assist a pig farrowing rather than a fellow passenger just leaving fine dining. Conversation at our table was often hilarious usually reflecting on some of the "sights " we had seen on the ship the detail of which I wont go into but if you were there you will know what I mean. There was one incident where two of our companions had chosen the Buffet for dinner only to tell us "never again". They recounted trying to strike up a conversation with shall we say a "rather large" gentleman at their table. His response was "sorry no time to chat, i'm eating". They said that if he had a garden shovel as opposed to a knife and fork he would have used it. Sadly you will see this all too often in the Buffet areas an although you may have to endure it for breakfast I would suggest you head for the fine dining every evening and of course the Saffron for lunch. My final bugbear is that I do wish some people would bring a bar of soap with them or at least use the shower gel and toiletries provided. On a cruise I shower at least twice a day. This is not for all I guess but I did encounter several people in the lifts and other confined spaces that had not made the acquaintance of a bar of soap for some months or years even. Several times I had to hold my breath and make a hasty exit. This wasnt confined to the lifts in fact queuing for dinner at the Bay Tree some nights was equally unpleasant. What was good. Well the Ventura is a lovely ship. It has plenty of venues and you can tour around to your hearts content. The food at times was fantastic particularly when you consider how reasonably priced the Cruise is. Entertainment, well my Wife loved it so I am not going to say much more this. I dutifully went along to each show and endured o the offerings. Performance wise everything seemed a little more slick and polished than last year and I actually enjoyed some of it. The guest speaker was particularly enjoyable with his take on those high profile murder cases. We met lots of really nice people which is a great thing about cruising. I am forever indebted to the lady who who told me how handsome she thought I was much to my Wifes chagrin. Thats a first for me, perhaps she needed glasses. The ports of call were "same old same old" but the walks were always worth it and a pleasant and healthy change from being on board. Its funny but you can always differentiate passengers from locals whilst walking around town. The locals are the fit and healthy looking ones and passengers tend to be as round as they are tall and wobble along the cobble streets in their droves. I am surprised no one has mentioned the storm in the Bay of Biscay in more detail. There were several injuries on board and we did see one elderly gentleman lying prostrate on the Buffet floor with staff in attendance. I did hear that passengers at the head of the table during the second sitting were showered with everyone else cutlery dinner plates and wine glasses as the ship listed whilst turning into he wind. We did not hear any warning that this manouvre was about to be undertaken so as we left our cabin we were flung towards our neighbors door opposite. They had opened theirs to see what was going on and we almost ended up in their cabin. There was a tannoy broadcast apparently but it was not audible in our cabin. Rather shocking really. So would we go again. Absolutely. Pound for pound these Cruises are absolute bargains. They are mostly stress free and the standard of service is excellent. Has the standard dropped...Well absolutely even in terms of what I can see. Some reviews are now referring to "the Butlins mob". Its a bit like Air travel which was only for the privileged before the budget carriers came along. The only thing I would say here is that people should not be so keen to let the side down. Invest in a Tuxedo and bar of soap and try and be on your best manners. Read Less
12 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2017
We have cruised before with Royal Caribbean, Carnival and Cunard. We wanted a Southampton sailing, to a warm location, to coincide with our November wedding anniversary so this cruise fitted the bill. We were travelling without our ... Read More
We have cruised before with Royal Caribbean, Carnival and Cunard. We wanted a Southampton sailing, to a warm location, to coincide with our November wedding anniversary so this cruise fitted the bill. We were travelling without our children and are pre-disposed to be optimistic and generally expect to enjoy our holidays. We’d done a lot of research and thoroughly enjoyed this cruise. We used Parking4Cruises which were great value and very efficient. Embarkation at Mayflower was smooth although facilities are pretty basic we felt. We had a 3pm embarkation time and we were called at exactly 3pm. We went straight to our cabin, where we unpacked as cases had arrived. We opted for Freedom dining and were assigned Saffron. People we met said we could use Cinnamon as well. If so, this wasn’t made clear to us officially and we aren’t sure why you would want to anyway, as the menu is identical. We shared a table of 6 or 8 each night and met interesting people. Food was of a good, if not great, quality with about 6 choices of starter, main and dessert. There was an option for salad or soup too and we usually had coffee and cheese/biscuits too. Service was never rushed, one night it took over 2.5hrs but generally the meal was served at a sensible pace and we never had to wait for our wine for long. On the formal nights, the menu included a set menu option – although we later found out you could actually swap dishes around which would have been good to know before! We only used Waterside for the odd midnight snack – usually the cheese board had been decimated by then but there were hot options – pizza, sausage roll etc. Breakfast via Room Service was included in price (all other room service items carry a charge). It was always on time, sometimes 10 mins early in fact! Food was good quality although options are more limited than in the main dining rooms and did become a little restrictive – not enough to make us get up and go out for breakfast though :-) The tables for 2 in the main dining rooms were very close together so rather than dine alone when you aren’t really alone, we chose to dine in Epicurian, Glasshouse and Beach House. The food in these was of a better quality, more tasty with friendlier, more engaged service as clearly they have more time to spare. We also did the Paired menu in Glasshouse which we enjoyed. Be sure to book early in your cruise as places are limited to about 24 people and it only seems to happen about once a week. Our other Glasshouse dinner was tapas style and we enjoyed that greatly, though tempura batter was rather soggy. The wine flights served in the Glasshouse were fun to try too. The food in Saffron would have been fine for the whole 12 nights but we enjoyed all the other venues we tried. Prices for the Select Dining we felt to be towards the top of acceptable range except for the Pairing menu which was better value, at £30 each, as it included 5 small glasses of wine. One meal that exceeded our expectations bizarrely was afternoon tea in Saffron – which we think was available most, if not all, days. Proper clotted cream, mini scones, absolutely delicious tea cakes, fresh sandwiches and lots of hot tea made this a real highlight on the days we could manage it! It did not have the queue we remember from afternoon tea on Cunard (albeit there are no white gloves on P&O) and was nicer than Carnival or Royal Caribbean. On a negative note, we were not aware free icecream/cone was available – this is something we have enjoyed on previous cruises but P&O seem of offer a premium product at an additional charge only, or keep the free icecream hidden from our, admittedly not very diligent, search! We don’t think the ship was full, and it was not overly sunny on this cruise either, although it was warm, but we did not have issue finding a sun bed mid afternoon. Another thing we really liked was the dancing lessons. It might be that we had more opportunity to attend, as we were not travelling with our children this time, but it certainly felt like there were more classes offered. Seas days had line-dancing, two sessions with the dance instructors on a new dance each day and a daily session, with two of the Headliner dancers, on Salsa. We thoroughly enjoyed every session although the Headliners seemed much happier with everyone’s progress than the dance instructors! Only issue is that the Atrium floor is rather small for the number of people who wanted to join in the lessons. Many evenings, the dance instructors also offered dancing in the Atrium where they would tell you the dance for a piece of music and sometimes accompany someone without a partner. It was fun to watch and a good opportunity, for the brave, to practice the dances you’d been taught. In general, there were more activities offered than we could attend – partially because we were at the dancing lessons, but also because there seemed to be lots on offer that we were interested in – films, talks, quizzes, art, exercise classes, deck games and on top of all that, obviously the gym, eating, shopping, watching the shows/entertainers, drinking, reading, walking all the way round the ship on Deck 7 (Fabulous!), watching the ocean and afternoon napping! The evening entertainment and shows offered were so plentiful, that we often had to make a choice and usually it was a hard decision, as everything appealed. P&O’s own theatre company, the Headliners, were all talented dancers or singers who worked hard every show to give a West End worth performance. The guest entertainers were singers, impersonators, comedians and we enjoyed them all, along with the ship’s band – Serious Sounds – and the Ventura’s Orchestra too! However, we met people who did not like the entertainment. We think this must just be personal preference, or perhaps they have cruised a lot more than we have, as we often had an early dinner in order to make two of the shows each night (8.30 and 10.30) – they were that good! As previously said, we don’t think the ship was full and we could get seats in practically all the shows if we arrived 10 mins in advance – arriving 20 mins beforehand allowed us a choice of seats. We did not use the library but it was pleasant room with a good selection of books, certainly better than some of our previous cruises. The ship provided a brief, daily news update along with a crossword/Suduko. These can be collect from Deck 6 near the shops and a silent quiz (where the answers are on the back of the sheet, so you are only competing against yourself) could be found each day on the piano in the Red Bar. Generally, we found the service to be efficient but not overly friendly. Staff seemed content and helpful but did not naturally smile as we moved around the ship. There were exceptions – the Headliners /dance instructors always smiled at us, staff in the shops were friendly and we found the staff in Tazzine quite unhelpful – possibly as they were having to work with a silly system requiring us to order coffee from a waiter/waitress but queue up to order cake! This cruise occurred outside school holidays but there were some children on board – both pre-school and those we estimated to be of school age. They caused no issues to our cruise – indeed we were rarely even aware they were on board, except in the Beach House, which is directly under the children’s club and we could hear the stamping and running of small feet above us as we dined. The Captain (Simon Terry) seemed very personable and I enjoyed his occasional tannoy briefings. The ship suffered two power failures during our cruise – once late afternoon for about 30 mins and then on another morning so only continental breakfast was available for a couple of hours. I appreciated that the Captain gave the tannoy updates – we felt it showed he took responsibility and he was clear they were trying to find the source of the problem, as they did not know what the issue was, though my husband thought he apologised too heartily – though we thought that may well be because he knows how quickly some of his passengers will complain! We had been aware the Bay of Biscay (BOB) can be very unpleasant – all our previous cruises have been blessed with calm seas (and avoided BOB) but fortunately, the Bay was calm for both our crossings this time. There was some rolling along the west coast of Spain and Portugal both ways. The Captain did indicate that the seas were expected to be a little rougher, so that if you were prone to sickness you had fair warning to take a tablet. I took Sturgeon, and my husband decided to take nothing, and we were both fine. Disembarkation was fairly smooth though there were no seats left in our designated lounge when we arrived 30 mins before the stated time. We got up at 7, finished packing, breakfasted with our hand luggage at 8 in Bay Tree (where a full breakfast service was offered), went to our designated lounge at 8.50 and started disembarkation at 9.10 finally getting off ship at 9.30. Parking4cruises had automatically been aware we were returning to a different terminal from embarkation, so once our cases had been swiftly retrieved from Ocean terminal (there were plenty of free trolleys), we walked the short distance to pick up our car from the short-term carpark. Despite lots of research we list below the things it would have been good to know: • Set menus in the main dining rooms – are not fixed. You can swap dishes for other menu options if you want. • Carpet on the stairs is brown at the front of ship, red in middle and grey at back – that really helped! • Winning a quiz or activity earns you a stamp which can then be exchanged for a gift at the end of the cruise. Our one win earned a nice pen and key ring so, in our estimation, the prizes on P&O are better than other lines have offered us. • Shampoo, conditioner and body lotions (all 100ml) weren’t replaced. Bring extra unless the higher prices, and very limited selection, in the on board shops are acceptable. • Photos taken by the ship’s photographers can be viewed on the terminals under “Portraits”. However, you do need to know where your photo taken and it might not be obvious – for example Gold 5. So be sure to ask your photographer the name of your location each time you have a photo taken. Alternatively, there is a option once you locate one picture for the system to retrieve related images – using, no doubt, some very clever facial recognition software. However, if you take this option, we found any side on photos were missed – presumably because the half faces did not bear enough resemblance to the original photo!! We also heard, but have no personal experience that: 1. The Waterside buffet restaurant got very busy, with jostling and some difficulty in finding seats. 2. The spa passes on this ship gave you access to very limited facilities, i.e. no pool and the steam room/sauna that were available to spa pass holders only, were out of service for a number of days. Certainly the lady we spoke to felt it was not worth buying spa passes on Ventura (although if the ship was full, and getting sunbeds was an issue, then the pass might be more worthwhile but certainly not for the facilities offered otherwise.) Ports: Lisbon – berthed at Santa Apolonia which was a very short walk into the main area. We took a “free” walking tour with Lisbon Chill Out Tours. It was a good, and fun, introduction to this pretty, hilly city. Tenerife – berthed in Santa Cruz port – it’s quite a walk to get out of the port (10-15 mins) but you are then in town. A shuttle was provided. We wandered taking in this pretty city, visiting Jardin Garcia Sanabria, along the lovely tree lined streets (for example Las Ramblas) finishing up with a very enjoyable visit to the Palmetum and a walk back along the seafront to the ship. We did not depart until 10pm and it was lovely to watch the lights twinkle and disappear as we sailed away. Gran Canaria – berthed right in Santa Cruz again with an easy walk to the new part of town. Did not make it far as the old town, which was perhaps a shame as the new town has little to recommend it beyond bars and shops, though it does have a nice beach if that is your thing. La Palma – took a ship excursion to drive buggies in the centre of this steep, green island. We thoroughly enjoyed it - if I found it a little nerve-wracking, my husband loved it. There was plenty of time on our return to walk into the main town which was the prettiest of all 3 Canary Islands we visited. Much was closed as it was Sunday but we still spent a very pleasant hour wandering. Madeira – possibly our favourite port as we visited 20 years ago, and it was nice to reminisce. There are lots of things to do very close to the port. We visited Blandy’s for Madeira wine tasting, followed by a visit to the Story Centre and then a walk literally down memory lane. In summary - Our research indicated the some people felt Ventura was tired and food/entertainment was poor. Clearly if you have been cruising for a long time, things may well be getting worse but from our fairly new point of view, this was a wonderful, memorable holiday. We would certainly sail with P&O again.....though I suspect we will try another new line next time – it seems to be our theme! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2017
This was our first ever cruise and we really had no idea what to expect. Reading some of the reviews; I was fairly concerned, particularly about the food. Our embarkation couldn't have been easier. We queued for ages in traffic ... Read More
This was our first ever cruise and we really had no idea what to expect. Reading some of the reviews; I was fairly concerned, particularly about the food. Our embarkation couldn't have been easier. We queued for ages in traffic coming through Southampton assuming it was because Ventura was in dock; the queues ended up being for IKEA, so we will circumnavigate this on our next drive in. We turned into the dock and instantly saw a member of the car parking valet team; it really couldn't have been easier. We unloaded our 65kgs of luggage out onto the pavement, handed ver the keys and unbelievably... we were on board inside 20 minutes. We arrived inside the Terminal at our Embarkation time and were fast-tracked all the way through. Once on board it took us maybe 10 minutes to get our bearings; but a member of the team told us our cabin was available so we went there straight away - our luggage was already waiting outside. We were stunned by how easy and smooth it was. Ventura is a large ship, particularly for first timers. We did spend most of the first week getting lost; but we loved every minute on board. It wasn't as glitzy or as glamourous as I expected; but our cabin was well appointed with tons of storage space, very clean, the bed was extremely comfortable, and there was no scuffed areas of carpet and knocks and bashes like I'd read about on reviews. The bathroom and shower is small; but it didn't cause us any problems. We only booked an inside cabin for our first cruise and we slept so well in it that we will probably always book inside cabin going forwards! Food-wise; we ate on the late sitting every night in the main dining room, apart from one night when we ate in the Epicurean. We had asked for a table of 10 booking; deciding to throw ourselves right in at the deep end with the whole cruising experience and be sociable... yet we spent the first 4 nights with that big empty table all to ourselves. After 4 nights of this; other tables had taken to feeling sorry for us and asked them to join us which we did and we enjoyed our dinners with another couple. We looked forward to our evening meals immensley and on the whole found the food to be very good. Desserts were a bit hit and miss, rather lacking in wow factor, particularly for the lady on our table who wanted a simple fruit salad and simply couldnt get one with anything other than oranges and apples in it! Breakfast and lunch we ate in the buffet; I will admit I came to hate trying to get through the narrow buffet aisles which just seemed badly designed; and particularly hated that I even had to fetch my own tea and coffee in what seemed the tiniest mugs on earth - but it didn't spoil our holiday. We also had pizza from the Pizzeria on deck 17/18? - which was alright. I did order room service on a couple of afternoons and was astonished how good it was. Far better than the buffet; although I can't fault the buffet on choice, it was always good. Entertainment; pretty good all round; we never made it into the Arena for an evening show prefering the bars and clubs on board; but everything we saw was pretty good. We did particularly enjoy late evenings upstairs in the Metropolis bar; absolutely beautiful being right at the top of the ship. The service we had throughout the whole cruise was wonderful. Nobody could do enough for us; we couldn't fault it, from the stewards to the waiters to the bar staff. Halfway through the cruise we found out that we could turn off the automatic staff gratuity; and we did this on the Reception desk, preferring to tip those that had given us good service. I will say the gentleman on the Reception desk that did this for us was fairly unsmiling and taciturn about doing so but this was the only time we encountered anything like this on board. We tended to do our on thing at each Port; apart from when we docked a journeys distance from the likes of Rome etc. Rome was one of the trips we did by coach; and the transfers worked well and it was comforting to know P&O had us booked onto the excursion and were looking after us. Each port is what you make it; oddly enough places we were immensely looking forward to visiting (Barcelona and Rome) we found to be loud, noisy, dirty - we will definitely be doing excursions to these locations next time and concentrating on one highlight such as Sagrada Familia or the Vatican rather than wandering round the streets by ourselves. Villefrance was a beautiful little place, we walked the length of the front and sat and had drinks with friends and just enjoyed the place. Cartegena and Cadiz were lovely, but in all spanish ports we found there to be alot of beggars. The formal nights were an unexpected highlight for us - i could barely persuade my husband into a black suit before we went but in the end he was not only wearing his dickie bow but really enjoying the formal nights. I would never have thought he'd have enjoyed it so much; but he was a real convert to it and even wants us to colour-coordinate on the next cruise. On our last day; we booked a cruise for 2018 on Britiannia, and shortly afterwards booked for 2019 on Azura. This is pretty much the best compliment I can give P&O. I would advise you to go with an open mind if you're a first timer; the things you don't like won't spoil your holiday, and the things you do will make it a worthwhile experience and you'll have lots of lovely memories. Tip: if you're sailing from Southampton, do not worry about your baggage. I panicked and split everything into smalller suitcases so that no bag was over the limit stated in the brochure. Apparently this is a non-issue as the baggage handlers simply stick a "heavy" baggage label on. Tip: When you're booking, pay attention to the location of the laundrettes. The machines are so easy to use and wash and dry in record time. We washed all our clothes the last day when the weather was miserable and brought home everything clean. We also did 2 washes of underwear etc during the holiday and it was super easy. Tip: If you have an inside cabin; put your tv on at night with the ships camera showing. At night when you go to bed you will have a dark screen; but when you wake in the absolute blackout; the screen gives you an idea of time - and also its' lovely to lie in bed and watch the ports get closer and closer on port days! Tip: Larger ladies need to be aware that all the dining rooms (with the exception of the epicurean) have narrow chairs with wooden sides and handles. I am a size 24/26 and i found sitting in the chairs absolute agony. I was fortunate in the main dining room that we were on a large table (these tables do not have chairs with arms) but in the buffet i could only sit on one of the bench seats. The chairs are ridiculously narrow. I hope that this is something that P&O will improve when refurbishing - it looks like Britannia is better. This is reflected in my 3/5 star marking for the dining experience. It didnt spoil my cruise but it would have done had i been seated at a smaller table. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2017
The itinerary was the main reason for choosing this cruise particularly for excursions to Florence and Rome. Embarkation was swift and well organised as was disembarkation and our excursion to Rome was enjoyable and hassle free if a little ... Read More
The itinerary was the main reason for choosing this cruise particularly for excursions to Florence and Rome. Embarkation was swift and well organised as was disembarkation and our excursion to Rome was enjoyable and hassle free if a little rushed. So to the ship itself, we were expecting it to be a little shabby in places as she is due to have a major refit but we were pleasantly surprised by the cabin which although an inside was relatively spacious and spotlessly clean . Our cabin steward did an excellent job and was able to source a mattress topper and comfortable pillows for my partner who suffered a back problem two days into the cruise. The overall service by the hard working staff was very good, both in the restaurant and the bars but unable to comment on the service in the speciality dining areas as we did not use them. We found the food was generally good in the main dining Room ( we were on freedom dining in Saffron ) but a little hit and miss in the buffet though we could always find something to eat, all be it was not always hot. Occasionally it felt like a bun fight when passengers were entering the food area from both directions and some people were acting as if it was going to be their last meal... enough said. Entertainment was varied and the Headliners were as good as always however we found the music generally not to our taste and would have appreciated more live bands and perhaps some classical musicians playing in the main Arena theatre. The Ventura orchestra should be applauded though as they helped to show off the speciality acts to their best advantage. One of the main criticisms we had was even though Ventura is a large ship, there seemed to be a lot of wasted space. Not many passengers used the Sindhu , Glass house or the Epicurean and these are large areas which we feel could be put to better use . The Atrium dance floor was used only for dance lessons and Ballroom and there was just a complete lack of atmosphere generally in the evenings around the Ship. I personally would not choose Ventura again but I can see that She has appeal for the more senior travellers. All that said, we still enjoyed the cruise and would go with P & O again in the future but perhaps on one of the smaller ships. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2017
This was my third cruise with P and O but first time on Ventura,I have to say that I am finished with P and O .The Ventura is so dated very tired looking furnishings the superior balcony was terrible 2 small televisions that you had to ... Read More
This was my third cruise with P and O but first time on Ventura,I have to say that I am finished with P and O .The Ventura is so dated very tired looking furnishings the superior balcony was terrible 2 small televisions that you had to strain your neck to seethe very poor quality films that were on offer,the deck-chairs on the so called superior balcony were a disgrace old and filthy.The cushions on the settee were flat dead, shower was good. Food in restaurant was ok nothing special Ollys Glass House was fantastic as was Sindhu.Staff were so glum especially at Pizza outlet no smiles no hellos or welcomes.Marks out of 5 Food 3 Entertainment 2 Superior cabin 1 Overall Ventura experience 1. The captain was not evident on ship ,movies on ship shown in a make shift theatre so if someone sat in front of you then its quite literally curtains. Read Less
21 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2017
Having sailed on Oceana and Britannia we decided to give Ventura a go on a 17 day cruise to the Greek Islands. We were worried before we went, having read some pretty grim reviews of the ship but came away having enjoyed our cruise ... Read More
Having sailed on Oceana and Britannia we decided to give Ventura a go on a 17 day cruise to the Greek Islands. We were worried before we went, having read some pretty grim reviews of the ship but came away having enjoyed our cruise overall. Here are the plus points and areas that we felt needed some attention. Plus points: • The staff overall were probably the friendliest bunch we have ever sailed with on any cruise line. They were happy, professional, helpful and polite bar none. • The ship, though looking tired (and ready for a refit) was kept immaculately clean and all of the public areas were fine. The cabin was looking tired, but nothing major and it was comfortable. No sign of that nasty Norovirus! • The cabin steward, Collin, was exceptional and couldn’t do enough for us. Any issues we had with the cabin t.v.s were sorted within minutes. • The superior deluxe cabin was very spacious and had a lovely sitting area and it was good to have a bath as well as a shower for once. We were right at the front and it was very quiet despite there being 680 children on the ship • The select dining areas were varied and excellent value. We had a lovely meal in the Epicurean and it was great to sit outside and watch the sunset as we ate our meal. The glass house was probably my favourite and the food faultless and excellent value for money. Sindhu’s was good too – and that was a surprise for me as I dislike spicy food. • The food in the Saffron Restaurant was very good and we enjoyed the freedom dining experience again. There were always plenty of tables for 2, though we sometimes had to wait. They told us that the peak time was between 7.30 and 8.30pm if anyone wants to avoid it. • We loved the Greek Island ports in particular and the excursions we did with P&O were superb value for money. We did ‘Ancient Corinth and the Corinth Canal’, ‘Mykonos and Wine Tasting’, ‘Olympia and a Beach Excursion’ , the transfer to Taormina and ‘Secrets of the Rock’ in Gibraltar. They were all excellent and good value. Didn’t like Mallorca much at all and were disappointed with the ‘Formentor and Pollensor’ excursion as it bore no relation to the description we were given. • We only went to one sailaway party – the Great British sailaway – and we enjoyed this as we hadn’t been for a number of years. All good fun! The children were all well behaved so credit to them and their parents. • Our fellow passengers were a mixed bunch from lots of different backgrounds. Everyone we met (bar one snooty, obnoxious lady) was great company and we made many new friends. • There seem to be more sunbeds available on this cruise than on any other cruise we have been on mid school holidays. There were small spaces everywhere and it was lovely to enjoy a dip in the adults only pool at the back. Incidentally, we never saw anyone misusing the pools – i.e. children in adult only pools as had been reported else where. • Embarkation was very good and we were on within 20 minutes – far better at the Mayflower terminal than the Ocean Terminal and the whole experience was stress free. • For anyone who enjoys a drink we would say that prices were very fair and way lower than on American cruise lines. The alcohol policy is still very generous and we took on board a box of wine and purchased some additional bottles in the various ports for use in the cabin. • We found that there was plenty to do and you could make of the cruise what you wanted. ON one evening we noticed that there were some people on top deck drinking by the pool, others in the bar / disco area, others just enjoying the ballroom dancing. There was something for everyone. • We don’t tend to go to the shows though we saw one singer (who was excellent) • The buffet food in the afternoon was more varied than on Oceana • We LOVED the wrap around promenade deck – nice to see on a larger ship • Some people moaned that there were a lot of elderly passengers on the ship. We loved the mix of ages and find this an unfair criticism. Good on the elderly for wanting to go on holiday either alone or on their families – we all get old and we met some delightful 70 / 80 somethings. • Most people dressed up for the formal nights and looked stunning – all ages and backgrounds. We had 5 formal nights and for once gave one a miss as we had 3 in just 6 nights! We ate in the buffet that night, in smart casuals so fail to see why people moan about formal nights. There are plenty of places to go if you don’t want to dress up. • The photograph package seems better value now – 10 photos for £70 which is far better than when it was £20 per photo years ago Not so good points: • Though not P&O’s fault the weather was a bit hit and miss and lots of gloomy, cloudy sea days meant that we couldn’t use our balcony as much as we had liked. Disappointed too that we hardly docked on port side (twice I think) and we were always in the shade at every port. For us this was a shame as we prefer to return from a day out and then chill in the sunshine on the balcony occasionally when returning. If you go for this cruise and like the sunshine then either book starboard or an aft cabin. • We didn’t feel that the ship handled the waves as well as Britannia or Oceana – we always sail at the very front or very back in all ships and found Ventura to be the most ‘bumpy’ even in calmer waters. If you get sea sick go for the middle. We also found that she was at a tilt a lot of the time – the crew told us that this was because of the windy weather. • We had booked a cabin on the no smoking side but discovered that the smell of smoke on our balcony on occasions was from the crew smoking room vent that was just in front of our balcony, off the promenade deck. Why they don’t make port side the smoking side we have no idea so that folk like us, who had chosen the non smoking side (port side) wouldn’t be affected. Would not have cabin D114 again for this reason. • We also found this cabin balcony very windy. The weather was windy anyway, but from talking to others it seemed worse as the balcony was more open. We also had the bridge above us so on a rare sunny day for us (our side) the bridge cast a shadow for a time. Something for any sun worshippers to take note of! • We did not find the Captain to be very obvious and, without going in to details have suggested that he takes lessons from some of the other P&O Captains who appear to value their customers / passengers more. Shame. • Disembarkation was not handled as well as in the other ships. We were sent to a theatre and a number of rude passengers jumped the queue which caused ill feeling and could have caused mayhem. They would be better using the dining rooms as on other ships. • The cabin T.V. was terrible and had a limited choice and I hope that they will be replacing this soon when she has her refurb. • This cruise was 17 days from Southampton, with 9 sea days and 7 ports. There were too many sea days for us and hated the journey back to Southampton as we just wanted to get off and get home as we knew that we were on the way home (and it was miserable weather). We will stick to fly cruising in the future for August. To be fair to P&O other folk enjoyed it and we knew what we were getting in to before we booked. We decided to give it a try though. I suppose this isn’t a negative about the cruise / ship, just something for others to think about when they book. All in all, an enjoyable cruise and, surprisingly for me, we would not hesitate to book this ship again. She is lovely and am sure will be even better when she has had her refurb. Don’t let others put you off with reviews – go and give her a chance. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2017
This was our second P&O cruise having previously sailed on Oceana. We have also sailed with Thomson and Celebrity. Embarkation was well organized: we had been allocated a time of 3pm but arrived two hours earlier as the traffic was ... Read More
This was our second P&O cruise having previously sailed on Oceana. We have also sailed with Thomson and Celebrity. Embarkation was well organized: we had been allocated a time of 3pm but arrived two hours earlier as the traffic was light. We were given a card and we settled down expecting a long wait. However, 30 minutes later we had boarded and were in our cabin. First impressions were mixed. The cabin is a reasonable size (we had C314, a balcony cabin on the port side, floor 10) but the so-called bathroom was a disappointment. It has a total area that is about the size of a phone box and this includes the shower, which had a rather dirty plastic shower curtain. Interestingly, this was replaced on the day we were disembarking! The room needs refurbishing; the carpet looked dirty and the whole room just looked run down. There is plenty of hanging space for clothes but apart from the bedside tables, no drawers. The balcony was a good size though, roughly 2.5 by 3.0 meters I would guess. We were freedom dining in the Cinnamon restaurant and I have to say that the food was as good as any I have had on a cruise. It perhaps lacked the finesse of Celebrity and endless green beans got a little repetitive but overall the food was very good. The buffet was awful as they usually are in my experience, just a fight every day to find a table at breakfast, which was the only meal we ate in there. We didn’t try any of the specialty restaurants, as the food was more than satisfactory in Cinnamon. This was in spite of constantly being given the hard sell everyday by the staff. The entertainment was excellent. The Headliners theatre group was superb, as were the Ventura entertainment team. However, it was a bit like a holiday camp up on the pool decks were you are bombarded by constant noise. Talking of the pools, we didn’t venture in, as they were full of children, including the so-called adult only pool. Also, children were constantly occupying the Jacuzzis, in spite of notices prominently displayed saying that under 16s were no allowed. This was the only time children were, for us, a problem. Apparently there were 740 children on board but they all seemed well behaved and there were no problems as far as I know. As for the rest of the ship, well, it is in need of a full refurbishment. The public areas are decidedly tacky and mostly very dark. It could be a lovely ship and probably was many years ago but it looks and feels very dated now. The itinerary was what we had signed up for so no real complaints. This was Madeira, La Palma, Gran Canaria, Lanzarote, Lisbon, Vigo and back to Southampton. My only grouch was that it took 3 long days to get to Madeira, an extra port could have been included to break this up. We heard a lot of people complaining about this. Many, many people removed or reduced their gratuities. We spoke to a lot of people over the 12 days and apart from one couple, everyone else had asked for gratuities to be removed. My only comment would be that within 2 hours of embarkation, I had been charged the full £144 in advance for service I had yet to receive. Service throughout the ship was on the whole efficient and cheerful although we did encounter some surly attitudes from some staff members but they were the minority. Finally, disembarkation was very well organized and we were able to leave the ship without a long wait or encountering any hassle. So all in all, an enjoyable cruise with some reservations regarding the décor and general state of the ship. I will cruise with P&O again, but not necessarily on Ventura. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: June 2017
The main reason for going on this cruise was the fact it was visiting Naples a port not often visited by P&O. Another attraction was a first time call at Oporto which where we took the courtesy bus into town and enjoyed a refreshing ... Read More
The main reason for going on this cruise was the fact it was visiting Naples a port not often visited by P&O. Another attraction was a first time call at Oporto which where we took the courtesy bus into town and enjoyed a refreshing beer in the city centre. We enjoyed an exhausting and extensive tour of the Vatican and an equally intensive trip to Sorrento and Pompeii. The weather was excellent and very hot in the Med. On leaving Gibraltar hundreds of Dolphins surrounded the ship giving us a great send off to Southampton. We have cruised with P&O since 2005 and the standards we have come to expect have been maintained and enhanced. The standard of food in the Cinnamon is excellent and there is a good range of choice. Our only gripe is that pre-booked excursions have to be paid in advance negating the benefit of the generous on board credit. Read Less
14 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2017
We chose this cruise as we went on a 7 day cruise for the first time last August on P & O's Britannia and we decided there and then that we would do the Mediterranean this year and as we had such excellent treatment with P & O ... Read More
We chose this cruise as we went on a 7 day cruise for the first time last August on P & O's Britannia and we decided there and then that we would do the Mediterranean this year and as we had such excellent treatment with P & O Cruises, we would use them again. Our cruise had seven ports of call and seven sea days and every part of it was wonderful, from the crew, waiters and waitresses, entertainers, chefs, cabin steward and shore excursions, the whole deal was perfect! On our arrival back at Southampton, I said that I could gladly do the same cruise again as each of the ports of call, you could visit and see something totally new the next time. It was our first visit to Italy and our excursions to Rome, Sorrento and Pompeii were stunning. Our cabin steward, Ramesh was such a happy, cheerful guy, always greeting us every morning, before starting his long day. Then again in the evening Ramesh would wish us an enjoyable evening on our way to dine at the restaurant, it was a pleasure to have him looking after us throughout the cruise. Having now done two cruises with P & O I can honestly say that the entertainment on board their fleet is second to none and the Headliners dancers, singers and musicians are extremely talented and so pleasant. The entertainments team work so hard doubling up with various tasks throughout the cruise and are helpful, polite and fun loving. From comedians, shows, speakers, illusionists, singers, etc. our entire cruise was non-stop entertainment, and it didn't cost us a penny! We dined in the Bay Tree restaurant each evening and our waiters, Rally and Mario were so much fun and so hard-working - they never stopped. Our wine waiter Johnathan was also a hard-worker, I regularly saw him working the various parts of the ship during the day, our restaurant at night and in the clubs after the restaurants had closed. The Ventura is a family friendly ship and there were young families on board, yet it didn't impact on anyone's enjoyment, well not on ours anyway, in fact there is nothing better than the sound of youngsters enjoying themselves. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2017
We chose this cruise as a taster, having wanted to go on one for a while. We went for a short break just to see what it would be like. I'm glad to say we were not disappointed. We had a fantastic time, the weather was much better than ... Read More
We chose this cruise as a taster, having wanted to go on one for a while. We went for a short break just to see what it would be like. I'm glad to say we were not disappointed. We had a fantastic time, the weather was much better than expected and Bruges was gorgeous. The ship itself even though one of the older ones (since learnt its due a refit) was great very clean, wonderful staff who couldn't do enough for you, food was fantastic as to was the entertainment. We had freedom dining which enabled us to go when we wanted and either sit on our own with a group. We decided to go for groups and met some great people of all walks of life, some seasoned cruisers and other like us first timers. One thing I must say is embarkation and disembarkation compared to flying how much more civilised and easy to do. Straight on then straight off. We were off the ship with luggage and outside the terminal within 15 - 20 mins. Overall a fantastic time was had by my wife and myself. Read Less
22 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2017
About Time We have cruised with P&O many times, it was our first trip on Ventura although we were familiar with the layout having cruised on Azura and some Princess ships. This cruise was mainly to visit Greece and some of the ... Read More
About Time We have cruised with P&O many times, it was our first trip on Ventura although we were familiar with the layout having cruised on Azura and some Princess ships. This cruise was mainly to visit Greece and some of the Greek islands, but also included Ibiza and Gibraltar. The itinerary had changed twice, Turkey was swapped for Rhodes. The order of ports was changed this meant that we had Santorini to ourselves, instead of being with another four ships, good call! Embarkation/Disembarkation The ship was using the Ocean Terminal in Southampton. The terminal works very well at getting people through as quickly as possible. Porters take your luggage from you in the drop off lanes, next time you see it is outside the cabin. The only slight hold up is having to complete the health questionnaire on arrival, why not offer it for download from the Cruise Personaliser. P&O complicate this by giving you a boarding time, ours is 15:00, it always is whatever P&O cruise we take! We decided to aim for 13:30, and only had to wait around until 14:00 before being called to check-in. We arrived at our cabin by 14:30 and our luggage was already waiting for us. Disembarkation is equally efficient. A few days before the end of the cruise there was an announcement on the back of the Horizon newspaper advising that if you were traveling independently to tell Reception what time you would like to disembark. Instructions are then dropped off at your cabin. We selected 09:00, as did another 800. Our meeting place was the Arena theatre; we duly filed in at 08:00 and filled the theatre from the front to the back, following the instructions of one of the entertainment team (she had quite a job on to retain order!). At 09:00 we left the theatre in a line from front to back, surprisingly this is very efficient if everyone does as they are told. The baggage reclaim is a big hall with the luggage located in deck order. There were plenty of trollies and staff to help find the odd misplaced bag. We were ready and waiting outside for our taxi by 09:25. Cruise Critic Roll Call Meet and Greet No M&G was organised beforehand, we knew that we would all be too busy enjoying ourselves! Dining We had opted for Freedom Dining which gives great flexibility, but it can get busy at peak times, the best strategy is to be prepared to share a table (requesting a table for two will probably result in being given a pager). We tended to eat in the Saffron Restaurant, we also used it for breakfast and lunch. The Saffron Restaurant is very big, but the service is very good. The selection of dishes each evening seemed a little limited, some nights we resorted to the always available steak or salmon. The breakfast choices in the MDR are comprehensive, but I don’t think the choice has changed in the 10 years we have been sailing with P&O. Lunch in the MDR is also pleasant, and fairly quiet with a good set of menu choices and usually an interesting curry. Other dining options that we tried were the Waterside (buffet) is a useful alternative for breakfast and lunch (we did not try it for dinner). It became congested at peak times and on sea days. People did tend to spread themselves out and hoard tables. The Poolside Grill provided a quick and hearty service of burgers and hotdogs. This was very handy when returning from trips. The Poolside Pizzeria was very good with pizzas cooked to order taking about 10 minutes. We also tried the Select dining outlets which incur an additional charge. The Epicurean provides top level dining at a modest charge; we had Chateaubriand (which we had always wanted to try). The service is attentive and personal this makes for a very special and memorable evening. Watch out for the Earlybird offers, a free bottle of house wine if you book to dine before 6:30 The Glasshouse is more relaxed, we tried the special wine pairing meal (usually once a week) the food was amazing and paired with wines that were surprising, but worked well. Each course and wine is described; again the service could not be faulted and was probably the best meal of the cruise. We also ate in the Glasshouse on another evening and again the food and service was very good. Be aware the Glasshouse tends to be where people queue to get into the theatre The Beach House is more of an American style diner, great selection of food, but you need to be hungry; once again, personal and attentive service in a relaxed pleasant environment. My Rib Combo was excellent and there was a lot of it! We did eat in Sindhu where we had an Asian lunch which was charged at £7.50 each and we thought was very good value. Beautifully prepared food with individual service. Bars Lots of bars as you would expect, some with an emphasis on gin. There is a wide selection of craft gins available in the Red Bar and Metropolis. Most drinks at pub prices, but if you want more than two glasses of wine a bottle of the house (white in our case) is an economical option at £16. The Tamarind Club could be difficult because it is also an entertainment venue it can become very crowded and difficult to get a seat, and there were people just sitting there for the live music and not having a drink. Cabin Our cabin was port rear on deck 9 (D612), it was a very good size; it is described as an superior deluxe balcony. The décor and fittings were in reasonable shape. Between the bathroom and main room is a spacious hanging area that really works well. The beds are high enough to take some pretty big suitcases underneath. There is a spacious sitting area with a sofa, chair and variable height table. The balcony does not have an overhang and can be overlooked (no topless sun bathing here!), but it is a good size. Our steward Denzil looked after us well, and was always keen to do more. This grade of cabin comes with fluffy bathrobes, binoculars, atlas and on embarkation Champagne and chocolates. This cabin was very quiet, nothing rattled, but when they test the lifeboats which are immediately under the cabin, the noise of machinery is deafening! Lifeboat tests are usually on port days and at fairly sociable times, any other time and I would be very worried! Entertainment I enjoyed the lecture series, David Russell on aspects of the Royal Navy and John Mercer talking about the First and Second World Wars and some of the personalities. Both fairly male orientated, both very good. I took the Behind The Scenes Tour this was excellent and really worth the £75, but be warned it can be as long as five hours. The most impressive area was the navigational bridge, so spacious and an amazing view, a close second was the Engine Control Room the Chief Engineer Neil Collins really knows this ship inside out. The shows in the Arena Theatre, well we saw both shows with tenor Ben Makisi and they were very good, we would have liked to see more but there was a problem with the theatre. If you didn’t have you bum on a seat at least 30mins before curtain up, forget it. Some passengers had cracked the code and were obviously prepared to eat early, queue and wait for the shows, it seemed that their objective was to get good seats in at least two shows a night. Along with the Havana lounge and Tamarind Club these were the three targeted venues. In the end we gave up and enjoyed leisurely evening meals and drinks in selected quieter bars, each to their own. A special mention for Entertainment Manager (didn’t this used to be called Cruise Director?) Leon de ste. Croix, a real trooper! He can sing dance, do stand up and lecture on astronomy. He had to cope with a lot on this cruise, theatre main projector was off line for several days, one performer failed to appear due to BA problems at Gatwick and a critical member of the dance team went sick meaning a new show had to be shelved. He also had to apologise for a misprint in the newspaper which resulted in passengers changing their clocks a day early, late breakfast was busy that day. All this he carried off, Leon did not pay me to write this!! Photography We were pleasantly surprised by the ship’s photographers and their low key approach, it worked, and we actually bought some, £8 a print is very reasonable. The photographers were also very skilled and did manage a reasonable picture of us! Gym This has to be one of the best gyms afloat that I’ve tried and I used it 10 times (still put on weight though!). The 15 weights machines give you a complete workout. Plenty of tread-mills, cross trainers, bikes and rowing machines. My only suggestion would be to add a sit-up bench. Medical Centre We did not require the services of the Medical Centre, but I was taken round it on the behind the scenes tour, the facilities are comprehensive. One thing I learned was that they are unable to diagnose and treat a stroke, to do this they would require a CT scanner. Spa My wife had a full back massage which she found to be very beneficial, £75 for nearly an hour. Her therapist Theresa was very friendly and professional, and made a follow up phone call the next day just to make sure there were no problems. Ports of Call Ibiza We had been here before, and just took the shuttle bus into town where we had a good walk around and some lunch. There was a lengthy queue for the return shuttle bus, about half an hour. There was an even longer queue to get back on the ship, not quite sure what went wrong there. Athens (Piraeus) We had booked a trip here “The Acropolis and The Plaka”, everything was going well until we arrived at the car park for the Acropolis. On leaving the car park and taking the steps to the base of the Acropolis we became separated from the guide. Although we could hear the guide on the radio she was unaware that we were no longer with the group until she came to hand out the tickets to enter the Acropolis. For our part we searched the promenade at the base of the Acropolis and asked several people if they had seen our guide with our lollipop. After waiting some time we called the ship’s agent, who was not helpful, and told us to call the ship. Reception was very helpful, and arranged for the Excursion desk to call us back. When Ruth called us back we had returned to the car park and were waiting at the bottom of the steps. Kevin from the Excursion desk also called us with updates on progress. It was two hours before the guide eventually found us, by which time another couple who had become separated from the group at the Acropolis had joined us. After a while we could start to hear the guide again, and could hear someone telling her that they had also become separated. Soon after this the guide found us at the bottom of the steps, we then rejoined the group and discovered that the coach would not be picking us up from the car park. On return to the ship we went to the Excursion desk to discuss our problem and were effectively told that the incident was our fault. After a rather heated and fruitless discussion the agent agreed to request an appointment with her manager. No appointment was received, and we returned to the Excursion Desk two days later, to be told that the matter was in hand. The next day we received a letter from the manager apologizing and advising of compensation. In light of this here are our top tips for an enjoyable tour: 1. Make sure that your guide displays their lollipop prominently. 2. Ask your guide to set up a pre-arranged meeting point. 3. Before getting off a coach ask your guide to describe the flow of the tour and where the coach would be picking up from. 4. Ask your guide to provide an emergency contact number. 5. Take the Horizon Newspaper, port guide, working mobile phone and a debit or credit card. Santorini Once the ship was anchored, shore tenders came alongside to disembark passengers; these are much bigger than the ships tenders and provide a smoother ride. New for us was that everyone had to do a step test this involved stepping across two lines 45cm (18 inches) apart to prove that you were mobile enough to get on and off the tender. In the event there were two large gentlemen on the tender who grabbed you and lifted you on! We took the Best of Santorini tour, a very good tour with an interesting guide. You get to see a lot of the island, but I’m not sure how much value the included lunch provided. The lunch was self-service in a large venue with at least another five tour parties, yes, we’ve all been there, average food and not our first choice of wine! The tour could be shortened allowing more time in Fira, and perhaps a better lunch. Rhodes The ship docks very close to the Old Town, we just walked of and took a long walk around the town and harbour, then enjoyed a leisurely lunch and some shopping. Crete, Heraklion We have already seen most of the sights of Crete and Heraklion, so we took the transfer to Aghios Nikolaos. The host on the coach, Sandra was excellent, and when we arrived at Aghios Nikolaos she walked us around to and got us orientated. We had a pleasant walk around the Voulismeni Lake, and enjoyed a relaxed lunch, so relaxed that we did not have time to go to the beach. Our host positioned herself prominently in the coach park and we had no problems finding the coach. Katakolon for Olympia We took the Olympic Spirit tour, our guide Penny was a star, well informed on the historic aspects and highly organised. She kept the party together even when we lost one member they were soon back with us. It’s a fairly uneven site, but quite compact. The museum is definitely worth a visit, though it can become very busy. Aircraft spotters would have particularly enjoyed this trip because the Greek Airforce was practicing nearby! Gibraltar We have been here many times and our call was fairly short, not enough time for lunch. Like everyone else, we got off walked into town, did some shopping, had a beer then got back on board. As we walked back towards Ventura you could hear a lot of bottles chinking around us! Anything Else? Overall, an enjoyable cruise with the exception of some selfish passengers who were totally focused on what they wanted to do, queuing in the Glasshouse to make sure that you got into the theatre is not good, neither is leaving a show early to get to the next venue. This was also the first cruise where we have had three captains: Simon Terry left us in Ibiza for urgent personal reasons Deputy captain Max Rossi took over. In Athens Marcin Banach took over All this happened totally seamlessly. All that now remains is for me to lose the six pounds that I have gained on this cruise, and plan the next one! Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2017
On arrival at the terminal you were herded by colour cards to your point of registration,as we were on our honeymoon and booked the cabin we wanted months in advance,we were shocked to be told our cabin had been changed to a cabin on the ... Read More
On arrival at the terminal you were herded by colour cards to your point of registration,as we were on our honeymoon and booked the cabin we wanted months in advance,we were shocked to be told our cabin had been changed to a cabin on the same deck,P&O staff said it was an up grade,not an upgrade to my wife who was upset at this change to a holiday she had been looking forward to.Once onboard we complained but staff did not give a reasonable explanation,later we found out P&O could move you if a person who had cruised with them on a lot of cruises and used that cabin before they could request it so first time cruise person could be moved.I was also informed that as an x serviceman I could claim £250 off the cruise price.The food at allocated dining room on this cruise was poor,potatoes were hard ,veg over and under cooked the toast at breakfast was thin and brittle fried bread was like a frisbee.The wine in the dining room was expensive you could purchase the same wine for a third of the price in a supermarket in the UK.The shops onboard where very good, but could be expensive.Shows onboard are okay if you could get a seat.Loungers around the pools where so close together it was difficult to get off them.,plus people leaving towels on bed then going of for lunch or to the bar for more than one hour so others could not relax around the two pools area.The overall cost of the cruise was not worth it,and we would not recormmend this P&O ship as it would be classed 3 star if it were a hotel.This was my wife first cruise,while I have been on a number of cruises. With my late wife. 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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