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1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2018
The embarkation process was smooth, arrived and checked in within 30 mins. Our cabin was indoor, c366 and was as expected. Not a huge amount of hanging space/storage but for a short cruise was adequate. It was a port intensive ... Read More
The embarkation process was smooth, arrived and checked in within 30 mins. Our cabin was indoor, c366 and was as expected. Not a huge amount of hanging space/storage but for a short cruise was adequate. It was a port intensive cruise. We visited Gijon, it was meant to be la coruna but due to poor conditions the port was changed. A nice coastal resort worth walking to park and headland opposite old town. Bilbao we didn’t do an excursion we got the shuttle to town. Did an independent walking tour, took the funicular up for views. Took the metro to areeta, walked back via there to ship 3.5 km - nicer than central Bilbao. La Rochelle was lovely. €9 to enter all 3 towers. Loads of eating choices. No need for excursion if forecast is good. Cherbourg we went to mount st Michael. Our guide was rather eccentric and got only an hours free time after excusing ourselves of his company. Journey was 5 hours. Organised ship excursion and the most disappointing Read Less
37 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2017
This was my 13th. cruise and my 4th. (in a row) with P&O. I travelled on Ventura in 2015 and all was well-but I'm sad to say the ship now needs some serious restoration. As with my other reviews on this site, I'll split this ... Read More
This was my 13th. cruise and my 4th. (in a row) with P&O. I travelled on Ventura in 2015 and all was well-but I'm sad to say the ship now needs some serious restoration. As with my other reviews on this site, I'll split this up into catergories starting with... Embarkation/Disembarkation. Sailing from Southampton in the UK. A complete breeze. P&O know what they're doing. Although the ship was completely booked up, there were loads of staff waiting at the terminal in Southampton. My car was taken by a local long-term parking company and I was directed to the main terminal building. Inside were (literally) hundreds of people getting their cabin keycards. But everything was perfectly smooth and I was onboard in around half an hour. Disembarkation was also a breeze. I'm a "walk off". That is somebody who can take their own luggage and leave the ship without any assistance. I was off the ship around 0730, I picked up my car and I was on the road home by 0800. Fantastic organisation. Demographics. The ship was fully booked and not exclusively British. I heard several eastern European, Asian and American accents. As it was the school Easter holidays, there were lots of families with children onboard and I estimate that the average age of the psasengers was in the forties-maybe less. There was (depending who you spoke to) around 300 to 400 children (under 12 and younger-I don't count teenagers) onboard. As I don't have kids of my own, I forgot about the Easter holidays. I'm not making a social comment, but everywhere you went during the day, there were loads of screaming kids-especially around the swimming pools. I tried to avoid this, but you couldn't get away from them. This made daytime activities difficult and I had trouble finding a nice quiet corner to relax. There was an "adults only" section of the ship, but this had a daily charge attatched and I wasn't going to pay. Talking of daily charge...P&O charge £6 per per per day on everybody's account. They call this a "hotel charge". This applies to all passengers over 12. I went to reception and asked for a form to remove this charge. P&O cannot force people to pay this it and I feel very strongly about being told when and how much (if at all) I am going to tip staff. I did tip my steward 50 Euros but that is as far as I will go. The cruise companies need to look at this as these trips are expensive enough. Food/drink. I requested first sitting in the main dining room (MDR) but I was given "freedom dining". Not for me. I like sitting down with the same people discussing the day, not with different people every night with the same questions...Where are you from/what do you do/married/kids etc. Because of this, I had my evening meals in the buffet. The food on offer was very good with themed nights..Curry night/Italian night/British pub food etc. All in all, very tasty. There are speciality restaurants on the ship-Sinhdu/Epricurean/Glass House and others. There is a cover charge on these but I have tried Sinhdu and I would highly recommend them. There won't be any screaming kids in these restaurants. As to alcohol...P&O claim that they charge "pub prices". Not where I'm from they're not. Beer was served in British Imperial pints (as opposed to the American pint which is 16 fluid ounces-British pints are 20 fluid ounces). My regular pub charges £3.05 for a pint and I could go to a Wetherspoons (to non-British readers Wetherspoons is a major UK pub chain) and pay around £1.80 for a pint, so I don't think P&O is charging pub prices. Permium beers/bottles cost even more. There was the usual spirits/wines/cocktails/champagne on offer-again at a lot more than you would pay in a pub. The ship and its staff. As I said above, I travelled on Ventura in 2015 and it had a refit in that year. I have to report that it needs another one-and soon. The carpets in the main public areas and staircases were threadbare and there was paint chips on the woodwork all over the place. Also, it seemed to me that the decor hadn't changed in the two years since I was on Ventura. P&O need to look at this with a serious update. I will say that all of the public areas/toilets/bars/restaurants were spotless all the time. The lower order of staff (bar staff/cabin stewards/cleaners) were mainly Indian and Filipino, very friendly and nothing was too much trouble. My cabin steward-Vincy-was brilliant. My cabin. I paid what P&O call an "early saver" fare. I was allocated an inside double room despite the fact that I had only paid a single fare as opposed to double for a solo traveller. The cabin was ok but as I have said above about a refit, the cabins need updating. There's loads of storage space-drawers/cupboards etc. but the shower/toilet had seen better days. Entertainment. I'm not a show person but there was the usual onboard troupe-Headliners-doing shows in the main theatre. There were resident bands and guest singers all doing MOR music. All very good. I did go and see an Elton John tribute in the Havana bar. He was very good and looked the part. He did two shows on two of the days and they were well attended. Daytime/night activities included quiz nights in the pub "The Exchange". I used to write pub quizzes as a hobby so I don't take part. There was guest lecturer talking about famous singers-Frank Sinatra/Elvis Presley-very informative. At least there wasn't any screaming kids there. Our route. We visited Vigo in Spain, Lisbon and Opporto in Portugal and Cherbourg in France. The weather could have been a little better but it was the first week in April so I didn't expect too much. We did have 32C in Lisbon and Opporto but it cooled down a bit in Cherbourg. I booked excusions with P&O before I travelled visiting the Oceanarium in Lisbon, a port vineyard in Opporto and the Bayuex Tapestry in Bayuex-about an hour's drive from Cherbourg. All very interesting. The Bayuex Tapestry was on my "Bucket List" so thats one done. I did my own thing in Vigo. And no screaming kids. Note: If you decide to do your own thing or use local tour guides in the ports of call and you miss the sailaway-tough. I will be your responsibility to get to the next port and at your own expense. The ship will not wait for you. And if you try to claim back any costs incurred on your travel insurance, they won't pay out as it was your own fault for missing the ship. If, on the other hand, you use an official P&O trip and you're late, the ship will wait for your return. Observations. This is not a social comment. I have said this on previous reviews and have been completely vilified. Going back to the kids onboard. In the buffet, kids were running about with no control from parents. This could be potentially dangerous and P&O need to sort this out. Also, at night, parents were carrying kids who were fast asleep or in buggies/pushchairs in loud, busy bars. These children were very young-some less that a year old. I know that when I was that age, I was in bed by a certain time and if I complained about it, I got smacked. I know that this isn't "politically correct" in this day and age, but I think this is wrong. I will say that during the evenings, the slightly older kids were well behaved and in complete control. But kids don't need to be in loud bars when the adults are enjoying the entertainment. One one occasion, I went to the Metropolis Bar. This is a smaller, intimate bar with a piano player, mood lighting-all very nice. Unfortunately, there were several families in the bar with around ten kids running about all over the place. This was around one o'clock in the morning and I had popped in for a nightcap before retiring for the night. Not something that is needed in what I would call an "adult bar". I won't make the mistake of booking another cruise when the kids are on holiday in the future. Conclusions. The ship...A bit threadbare and in need of a refit. Food/Drink...The buffet was very good-I can't comment on the MDR's-and the alcohol prices are still too high. The staff...Excellent. Weather..I know we can't control the weather but we did get two or three very warm days-the cruise was in the first week of April. Marks out of ten? I'll give this cruise six out of ten. I've deducted points for high beer prices, ship a bit tatty and too many screaming kids. I will recommend Ventura to first timers and seasoned cruisers-just don't book a cruise in the school holidays. Did I mention the screaming kids? Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: September 2015
I chose this 2 night cruise because I wanted to try a different cruise line other than my usual NCL. Big mistake! Whilst the ship was large it was so badly designed it was very difficult to get around. There are 4 pools on board, oasis at ... Read More
I chose this 2 night cruise because I wanted to try a different cruise line other than my usual NCL. Big mistake! Whilst the ship was large it was so badly designed it was very difficult to get around. There are 4 pools on board, oasis at the front, pool terrace aft, an indoor pool and another outdoor pool in the middle of the deck. Oasis is adults only I believe. I was surprised to see that I had to take a ticket and wait to be called for check-in and the woman at check-in gave me no information whatsoever. I had no clue why she had taken my credit card, she did not explain anything to em about the auto gratuity that was added. A fellow passenger told me that I did not have to pay this and should have been given the option upon check-in. After I checked in it was then to go through security and striaght onto the ship which all went smoothly. The staff in general were a miserable lot with one or two looking a little happy every now and again. My single cabin F328 was located next to the Exchange Bar. Karaoke went on here until late and so it was impossible to sleep until this had finished. I was offered no sympathy from either the cruiseline itself via the phone nor the reception staff and there was no offer of compensation. I was actually told that when it was time for me to go to sleep for me to go to reception and ask them to turn down the bass. I am firmly of the opinion that these cabins shoud not have been built because they are subpar. I will say this however, the cabins are far bigger than NCL, although as you are not in it much apart from sleeping this isn't the be all and end all for me. A good night's sleep is. The food was hit and miss. The buffet was a joke it was so small with ropes cordoning off certain parts and it was very difficult to find seating due to the sheer number of passengers. Fajitas with tortillas were advertised and I had to stand there and ask for the fajita as it was not there and for the tortillas. I was provided with a warm fajita to place the chilli in myself but no tortilla. Everythign seemed too much for the staff at the buffet. Thankfully, the evening meal improved with lobster thermidor which I thoroughly enjoyed, althoug the mushroom soup was of such a bizarre consistency I could not eat it. i finished my meal with pached strawberries but there were no strawberries on my plate whatsoever just some ridiculous coulis amde from strawberries. Dinner the following night was mediocre. The best food by far on the ship were the small homemade pizzas with 4 types to choose from as well as a daily special. I thoroughly enjoyed these. The drinks could've been better priced (£6.50-£8.50) and are cheaper with NCL. Beers are mainly British. The entertainment was laughable. the comedian on the first night was so bad I would've left but I was stuck in the middle of a row and wouldn't have been able to get out without some comment from the imbecilic man. There was also a Take That tribute band which was pathetic. If I coudl have got off the ship that night I would gladly have gone. The tender service to Guernsey the next day operated well and it only took me 25 minutes to get onto the tender. Disembarkation was also fine, however I feel being made to leave the cabins at 8am is asking a bit much. We had to queue to get to breakfast which was annoying as only one restaurant was open. In short this was my first and last cruise with P&O as it is well below the standards I am used to. Never again. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2015
This was my second cruise on Ventura as a single passenger. I was a little apprehensive going back as I had such a wonderful time last year but I need not have worried it was just the same and more. From my cabin steward to the bar ... Read More
This was my second cruise on Ventura as a single passenger. I was a little apprehensive going back as I had such a wonderful time last year but I need not have worried it was just the same and more. From my cabin steward to the bar staff in all of the bars, from the bow to the stern of Deck 7 (Promenade Dec) the entertainment was brilliant, from the Metropolis on the Sky Deck down to the Restaurants on Dec 6 it was amazing. Brilliant service, lovely food, extremely friendly people. A packed entertainment programme filled each day - but if you wanted to just laze on the deck that was just as amazing. Saw a school of dolphins off the port side one evening before sunset - just breath taking. I am booked on Arcadia next year I hope that this will be just as good. If you are a single/solo traveller and thinking of a cruise - book it - I very much doubt you will be disappointed. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2008
As we approached Ventura after the long but comfortable flight from London Gatwick Airport to Barbados airport, the first view of the ship gave the impression of a multistory block of flats, but this view was soon to change after we ... Read More
As we approached Ventura after the long but comfortable flight from London Gatwick Airport to Barbados airport, the first view of the ship gave the impression of a multistory block of flats, but this view was soon to change after we embarked. The one thing that P&O Cruises do exceptionally well, are their transfer arrangements in Barbados. Luggage is transferred directly from the aircraft to your cabin. Coaches meet you near the aircraft steps and swiftly convey you to the ship, similarly at the end of the cruise luggage is transferred from the ship to your final airport destination and customs and immigration formalities are completed on-board prior to disembarkation. This saves a lot of hassle at the airport both on arrival and departure. On entering the ship, we were extremely pleased to find that she was tastefully decorated in rich colors, with a feel of spaciousness. There were plenty of comfortable chairs and settees, ideal for curling up and spreading out with a book. Traditional P&O style elegance abounded. All public spaces inside were spotlessly clean and remained this way throughout the cruise. On this cruise, we had chosen a balcony cabin on deck 11, port side. The cabin was compact and comfortable. There was good storage space and the added bonus of having tea and coffee-making facilities in the room was appreciated. The bathroom was adequate with excellent toiletries provided and the large fluffy towels were changed twice daily. There was an ample supply of hot water. There is an excellent interactive television system that offers many choices- from television channels to ordering in-cabin room service and to choose free and pay movies. You can shop, gain information - look at your on-board account and many other actions from this facility. Guests should also be aware that this service also acts as your messaging system. The comfort of the bed was average; it certainly did not have the "wow" factor. The covering was a flimsy duvet, which was not large enough to be tucked in and more often than not ended up on the floor. There is a good air-conditioning system, and there is adequate lighting and a refrigerator. Bathrobes are not provided on board, except in mini-suites and above. The balcony, of adequate size was furnished with two upright chairs and a very small low-level table. There was absolutely no privacy on the balcony as owing to the construction of the ship, the majority of balconies on decks 9, 10 and 11 are tiered --be aware of this fact when booking - we could look down to those below and they could look up at us. Additionally because of the design of the ship, conversations could clearly be heard from balconies three or four cabins away. The room was maintained in an excellent condition and serviced twice daily. There are three formal dining rooms on board - two for "club dining" - 1st and 2nd seating and the third for "anytime" dining. There are also other various specialist and casual dining venues. We found the food to be consistently of a high quality in all dining venues -plenteous and varied and especially designed to the British palate in the main restaurant and casual style buffet. The only disappointment was the very limited choice of breads. In the main Restaurant, dinner was well presented and expertly served. Great care is taken to cater for guests who have dietary requirements. Unfortunately breakfast in the main restaurant lacked any presentation skills whatsoever - breakfasts looked as if they had been just thrown on a plate. Yoghurts should be served in a dish and not presented in the container itself. The ship had over 3000 guests on board and never once, even on sea days did we have to queue or wait for seats in the self-service buffet. Dishes were replenished often and hot food was hot and cold food was cold. There are no free juices, other than at breakfast time. Free tea; with lots of different blends and coffee are available here 24 hours a day. There is a full and varied programme of entertainment, outlined in the Daily Newspaper - The Horizon. There is something for everyone. We found the production shows and most of the guest entertainers to be excellent offering professional and varied programmes. For a ship of this size, the Cruise Director and his limited number of staff did a great job. They were highly visible all over the ship, a pity the same could not be said of the officers, and gave the impression of being a most happy and caring team. Even on days when ports of call were cancelled due to bad weather, within a reasonable time, additional entertainment was arranged and relayed to guests. They are to be congratulated! There are the usual on-board shops offering a good selection of goods and usually at competitive prices, do be aware that the shop selling those items that you may have forgotten to bring with you, is, if they have not run out of goods, fairly expensive. There are free launderettes on board, but you have to purchase soap powder from this outlet. They charge 50p for 2 concentrated soap tablets. There is a luxurious spa offering various treatments and therapies. They do offer specials and details of these are messaged to you through your in interactive cabin television as are shop "sales" as well as being advertised in the daily newspaper. There is a well-equipped gym. Internet facilities are available. Although expensive - take advantage of the packages available and the special offers advertised. Specials are also available for the speciality restaurants. There is an excellent and knowledgeable Shore Excursion Team and tours bought from the ship are reasonably well priced and good in content. Occasionally, some tours do not reach their expected standards and to which they have no control - they do however listen and investigate and take appropriate action. There is a Future Cruise Consultant on board, who is most anxious to sell you a future cruise. Beware! She quoted us a price for the same itinerary and on the same ship next Christmas at a cost of £8600.00. We were horrified at this cost. We went next door to the Internet centre and checked P & O`s web site and found the same cruise, although in a different grade of cabin, but in a grade on the same deck with the same facilities, and almost next door to the one that she quoted for £4300.00. We returned a few days later to her, after having again checked our facts and confronted her with our information. You can guess her embarrassment. We asked her to check again and guess what? You are right. Obviously someone who works on a commission basis? We had originally booked the Christmas and New Year Cruise on the Oceana for 2009. However after a number of months, having paid the deposit and received confirmation - P&O cancelled the 2-week cruise and extended it into a 4-week cruise. We were offered a transfer to the 4-week cruise at a supplement - but as we could not get time of work had to decline. We were offered very minimal compensation if we were to book a further cruise with P&O within a specific time frame. We asked to be transferred to the Ventura but were told that P&O would not honor the price available at the time of our original booking, even though they had the advantage of having our deposit for some 5 months. The price had risen by £1000.00 - we did however receive our deposit back in full. Gone it appears are the days of honorability. Administration on the ship and Head Office leaves a lot to be desired. We had a query re on-board credit. The ship e-mailed their Head Office on 21 December and followed the query up with further e-mails - no response was received by the time we disembarked on 2 January and thus we did not receive the credit due to us. Additionally notifications originating from the Pursers Office were In-correct - especially in respect of disembarkation - these had to be withdrawn and re-issued on a number of occasions. Likewise in respect of the 1st edition of the Port information issued in respect of St. Vincent - the information provided actually related to the Azores - what a waste of paper, time and money - more attention to detail is required in this department. The Ships`s photographers do and good job and produce fine quality photographs, together with an excellent DVD of the cruise. Individual photographs tend to be expensive, but again packages are available. This was a Christmas and New Year Cruise and the ship was discreetly and sensitively decorated. There were excellent festal activities. There were, I understand over 700 children on board. This being the case P&O are to be congratulated on their programmes and organized events for those guests as they were very seldom seen and certainly not heard - most well-behaved and a credit to their parents and staff. The facilities for kids and teenagers are outstanding. Dress Code on the ship fell into 3 categories - formal, semi -formal and smart casual. It was pleasing to not that the majority of guests adhered to the dress code especially on formal evening. Following this cruise however, the dress code for this ship and the Oceana fall into only 2 categories - Formal and Smart Casual. There are numerous bars and other venues for drinks throughout the ship. Quiet bars, energetic bars or pool bars. Drinks are well-presented or excellent quality (except at the Captains Cocktail party - where they appeared to lack in alcoholic content) and were reasonably priced. There is a comprehensive wine list again not overly priced. The currency on board is the British Pound. In keeping with the P&O tradition, gratuities are extended on the final evening of the cruise by way of cash in envelopes. Although if you opt for Anytime dining, your gratuity for the waiters in this regard is added to your on-board account. Do be sure that you bring enough sterling for these gratuities. We had planned to withdraw cash at a facility at Gatwick Airport but it was out of order. Fortunately we had enough cash to cover the gratuities, as the Pursers office do not cash personal cheques. There are 3 modest sized swimming pools (one of which is reserved for adults) on board as well as a number of Jacuzzi's. Whilst there are large deck areas with sun beds, there are insufficient sun beds or space for the number of passengers on this ship. - There is just not the amount of required space and beds are so tightly squeezed together and you have to climb on to the sun bed and then sit on it. It does not help when passengers reserve sun beds for hours with their towels and then come along and remove their towels and walk away not having even sat in them. One morning at 7.45am all sun beds were occupied by towels and yet no sun worshippers. P & O do not have a policing policy on this issue - they need to adopt one - this was one of the major factors of discontent on this cruise. A suggestion as to how this might be alleviated is that the upright chairs on balconies be removed and replaced with reclining chairs, like those on the promenade deck. Many guests occupying such cabins would quite possibly tend to spend more time relaxing there than to fight for a sun bed on the open decks. Excellent reclining chairs are provided on the promenade deck. However as the ship has a strict no-smoking policy inside the vessel - many smokers tend to congregate on the starboard side of this deck as it is within easy reach of the bars, entertainment areas, restaurants and night club for their smoke. More ashtrays are needed and those broken need to be fixed and all need to be emptied more often than they are now. This deck also needs to be cleaned more regularly. Some guests on deck 8 - starboard aft, complained about the smoke drifting up from this deck and on to their balconies. They also complained about the noise experienced from these cabins during the early hours of the morning, when smokers from the night-club gathered on this deck. Noise was a constant problem when late night revellers were returning to their cabins in various areas of the ship when the discotheque closed at around 4.00am. There were reports that there were a number of fights on board and those guests were locked up in the brig, but we never witnessed any such fights or any real drunkenness. Unfortunately on the first week of the cruise, the weather was not kind, rain, winds and high seas. This resulted in the ship not being able to dock at 3 of the ports of call. The ship handled well during these conditions whilst at sea. However, it was disappointing that we missed these important ports of calls. Obviously something to do with the size of the ship and its design as guests on other cruise ships and on those of a similar or larger size had no port cancellations. She appeared to the able to dock when in the Caribbean but not at those ports at the edge of the Atlantic. As our fare had included port taxes and charges, it will be interesting to see if P&O refund these to the passengers as they would not have had to pay them and we did not avail of these services. The foregoing are thoughts and/or suggestions and are by no means complaints. They are also designed to assist others when planning their cruise vacation, as to some things that they may wish to consider. In all, we had an excellent cruise and would certainly travel with P&O again. P & O market the ship more towards families, but we feel that the Ventura is suitable for all, couples singles as well as families. We thoroughly enjoyed the traditional P&O experience and would recommend them without reservation. Well Done to all those who made this possible. Read Less
Ventura Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.2
Dining 4.0 3.9
Entertainment 4.0 3.7
Public Rooms 4.0 4.0
Fitness Recreation 4.0 3.9
Family 4.0 3.9
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.5
Enrichment 3.0 3.3
Service 4.0 4.0
Value For Money 4.0 3.6
Rates 3.0 3.9

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