Ventura Cruise Ship, P&O Cruises
"We have cruised many times over the years, various cruise lines. We had not used P & O for 3 years and were astonished at the deterioration in standards and reduction in service. The flight was chartered solely for the cruise but any drinks you wanted on the 9 hour flight you had to pay for apart from a complimentary one with the meal.
The ship was tatty and dirty, smoking areas seemed to be everywhere and in places where as a non smoker you had to walk through to get anywhere.
Dress code was not enforced on formal nights, and men in vest tops and shorts were frequently seen in restaurants eating, women in denim shorts and skirts, with shirts and fleeces accompanied them in restaurants and clubs.
The atmosphere and many entertainments, was one of a Butlins holiday camp and not of a ship advertised as a four star rating and experience. Photographs were very poor and expensive, meals were interrupted frequently by photographers. Many jumble type sales in the atrium on a daily basis. Shops were very expensive. The gratuity was £102 for the 13 nights, only pence cheaper than the five star Cunard superb service.
The saffron restaurant was appalling service, slow and tables for 8 and 10 only ever available, it was an average of 2 hours and 20 minutes to be served a meal and several times we sent the meals back. Silver service has gone, replaced by plated meals of smaller quantities and cheaper meal components. Meaning you would miss much entertainment whilst waiting to be served. We gave up and instead ended up eating most meals in the self service,. We certainly won't ever be
using P & O again. Many passengers could be over heard saying the same thing, but whether they do or not is not for me to know."
- Holiday details: Mar 2015, Booked Independently
- Advice: Don't book one
1 reader found this review helpful. Did you? Yes
"First time on p&o and deft the last having been on over 30cruises this boat is the worse ever they charge you for everything that is free on other cruise lines even to watch a film on the telly which are over 20 years old £2 peanuts £1:50 ice cream£3 the shops are way over the top went to buy 4 mac3 razors until looked at £13 these are just snippets of the over pricing on board then our cabin steward all he done was make the bed he'd pick the dirty towels up and put them back to use truly shocking the entertainment team was truly awful there is no cruise director on board the sail always are but lines at best ,the good points were the food and the West Indian band truly a shocking ship."
- Holiday details: Mar 2015
- Advice: Take plenty of money as all the things that are free on other cruise lines you have to pay for and the shops are a complete rip off
2 readers found this review helpful. Did you? Yes
"We have just come back from our most expensive yet worst holiday we've ever had thanks to P&O Cruises! Numerous and various complaints. One of which;- Greedy P&O wanted a 'seat reservation fee' for our return flights on top of the considerable amount that we had already paid for Premium Upgrade Flights! This is contrary to Thomson (The Flight Provider's) Policy that they never ask for a seat reservation fee as they consider that if you have paid for an upgrade, you have already paid enough! As it was a P&O Charter Flight, P&O can of course do what they like and are happy to confirm both verbally and in writing that they will not consider Medical Reasons for specific seating requests unless you pay their fee! Whilst I am sure that P&O’s Legal Advisers will have dotted the i's and crossed the t's on this document, 'morally' this policy is indefensible! This holiday was intended to relax and recuperate from Carol's fight against Breast Cancer and the very specific reasons for 'needing' to sit together on the flight that were;- A) She is still having psychological counseling and prone to sudden bouts of crying. - Clearly if this happened on a Long Haul Flight back from the Caribbean, she could not cry on the shoulder of a complete stranger! B) A possible side effect of Tamoxifen is increased risk of DVT (as is a Long Haul Flight). - We wanted to remind each other to do the relevant exercises regularly during the flight as we did when we sat together on the Outbound Flight! Despite being given these very specific and extraordinary reasons for 'needing' to sit together, Venture's Flight Manager would not budge unless we had paid the fee! Interestingly at least two other couples who refused to pay the fee did not get the same seats/preferred seats as on the outbound flight despite one of the couples specifically wanting to be separated as they both wanted an aisle seat!(They were sat together). - I hasten to add that we were not traveling against Medical Advice and in fact were told to go away and try to relax and recuperate following Carol's battle against Breast Cancer and our long and hard work in organizing the recent and successful Breast Cancer Fund Raising Event! In 35 years of being together we have never sat apart once on a flight as we are the sort of people that are always in good time and so always get sat together despite there being no guarantees. - Strange that the first time that we have ever paid to upgrade (for very good reasons) we get separated for the first time on a flight all because of P&Os greed!"
- Holiday details: Feb 2015, Booked Independently
- Advice: Avoid P&O. Standards Continue to Fall Whilst P&O's Greed and Relentless Pestering with Attempts to Upsell Ruin The Holiday!
1 reader found this review helpful. Did you? Yes
"We cruised 19th December / 3rd January on the Xmas cruise to Barbados and Islands . Deck 9 Dominica , we thought we would have a superior stateroom and balcony . Stateroom looked nice except the a/ c didn't work properly , the balcony was a absolute disgrace and was no way superior , paint splashed all over the glass door , over the side screens , over the lounge chairs , birds mess over the side screens , coffee table with more rings on it than the Olympic symbol you could see the like in local charity shop . The rail all along the balcony was two tone with varnish on balcony side and stripped off sea side , the glass wall under the rail was filthy you couldn't see through it . it wasn't a case of asking the steward to wipe the glass , it needed a complete overhaul to make it look half decent . When you pay so much for the Xmas/ new year cruise you expect perfection for the price you pay , and this was certainly not fit for purpose . on the TV the films were a few old films free the ones nobody really wanted to watch and the rest were £1.99 it's not the money it's the principal of paying all that much for the stateroom and the being ripped off for films like ET from the 1980,s and Bond from the 1960,s all in all felt ripped off ."
- Holiday details: Dec 2014, booked with Thomas Cook
- Advice: Upgrade the balcony as what's the point in having a nice stateroom and crap balcony
- Good For: Beach
3 readers found this review helpful. Did you? Yes
"This is our third cruise (1st on Oceana 2011 with P&O to Caribbean Fab)but second time we have cruised on this ship. We cruised on the Ventura to the Caribbean in Feb 2013 which we enjoyed but thought the food at times left a lot to be desired in the main restaurants. We felt that there were problems in the dining rooms in Feb 2013 and staff seemed under the cosh a bit although very pleasant to guests at all times. This did not spoil our enjoyment so this time we tried the fly med cruise Genoa/Venice and the itinerary was excellent and had to cruise Ventura to get local flight.
Flew from Cardiff and as usual with P&O from check in to arrival at terminal for embarkation the whole process is top notch and the next time you see your baggage is when it arrives outside your cabin. Great in my book.
Cabin was an outside obstructed E521 which I did not realize was a Pullman cabin with bunks flat against the walls which made it difficult to get in and out of bed and I would avoid this type of cabin in future. We managed ok and the room was well kept by our cabin steward Antonio. The rooms are looking a little tired now and the carpets could do with a good steam clean or replacement but overall everything else was kept clean & tidy twice daily.
This time we noticed a big improvement in the choice and quality of food in the dining rooms compared to our our first Trip in 2013 and felt there was better atmosphere with the staff who were all friendly and very efficient. It was appreciated that they had decided to re-introduce the availability of steak, salmon or chicken if there was nothing on their evening menu that you liked as we did not have this option with them in 2013. The food in the waterside has always been of an excellent standard with plenty of choice. I agree that at times particularly sea days it is difficult to always find a table and would advise to use the dining rooms for lunch and breakfast on sea days if possible.
I have noticed that the price of drinks have risen a little but they are still a lot cheaper than other cruises and I believe the gratuities are the best of any cruise line at £3.75 per person per day and for the standard of service throughout the holiday would not dream of having them removed from my on board account as all the staff work hard for their money.
The entertainment provided was excellent and more than enough for us. Tom Jones tribute brilliant as was Jersey Boys, Neil Diamond tribute, Frank Sinatra, Phil Collins etc. The nature of our cruises means only 4 sea days so plenty to keep us occupied as off ship a lot of day. Sea days are busy for sun chairs but we always managed to find one eventually.
I do not understand the people who moan about dressing up for Black tie night. It is only 4 times in the 2 week period and is clearly advertised throughout all the literature and on their website. It is also clearly stated that for people with special diets to notify P&O and they will accommodate you and from what I have heard extremely well too.
I think that when you book a cruise it is a good idea to do a bit of research and read all the information you are supplied with then you are less likely to be disappointed.
We are cruising the Caribbean again in a few weeks back on the Ventura and then in Dec 2015 Caribbean again on the Britannia. I don't know where else you can visit so many places, be provided with such good service accommodation, good quality food and non stop entertainment at such reasonable prices.
Can't comment on other lines as flying the flag for good old P&O however never say never as we have the cruising bug."
- Holiday details: Sep 2014, Booked Independently
- Advice: Relax even if things aren't always quite right as you are on holiday. If there is a problem deal with it nicely you usually get a better result.
- Good For: Beach, City Breaks
4 readers found this review helpful. Did you? Yes
"me and my husband did a fly cruise on Ventura on 6 August -20 round the med for our 40 wedding anniversary it was a amazing trip from checking our bags at Manchester airport to embankment the ship is beautiful the food out of this world entertainment west end shows staff the most polite and friendly people i have ever meet our cabin steward ana p deck p322 was lovely kept our cabin spotless waiters in cinnamon restaurant Wilson -Ronald section 23 could not do enough for you and our little friend Raymond wine waiter helped us choose lovely wines we would definitely travel on Ventura again people who give bad reviews on this ship live to moan cant wait to go on Ventura again Caribbean next time thank you p-o cruisers."
- Holiday details: Aug 2014, booked with Thomas Cook
- Advice: enjoy take it all in
12 readers found this review helpful. Did you? Yes
"My husband and I have cruised before on the Royal Caribbean(Independence of the Seas) and Celebrity Cruises (Celebrity Solstice) and on both occasions we had a wonderful time and experienced fantastic service . We had our reservations about sailing with P&O Ventura because we had heard mixed reports. On the positive side of things, the embarkation went very well. We left our luggage at Gatwick and the next time we saw it, it was in our cabins. We felt this had been well organized.The entertainment overall was pretty good, but we had to ensure that we were seated in the theater by 10.00 pm for the start of the show at 10.30 pm or else there would be no seats available. The tea and coffee making facilities in the cabins were very welcomed. On the negative side of things, the service in all the restaurants was absolutely appalling! It was very slow and we had to put up with a lot of surly waiters. Our evening meals in the Saffron & Cinnamon restaurants was ok, we found we had limited choice. Breakfast in the Cinnamon room was a nightmare. For our entire stay, 14 days, we were served cold coffee and cold toast although we constantly complained about it.I resorted to having fruit and cereal and went back to the cabin to get a hot cup of coffee. The Ventura supposedly caters for 3000 passengers. However there is very limited outside space and as a result my husband and I had to fight our way through to try to get a table and chairs and/or sun loungers. The sun loungers were stacked together and we felt like sardines trying to sun bath. People "pre booking" their sun loungers by throwing their towels on them. Sea days were the worst days as everybody was fighting for the same small outside space. Trying to get breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea or dinner in the 24 hour restaurant Waterside, was like a bun fight. Constantly been prodded in the back with trays of food. Running out of milk and clean cups. No clean cutlery, the list is endless. Unhelpful waiters, I could just carry on and on.People that had previously cruised with P&O said that they felt that P&O have lowered their standards. Having said all of this, I ask myself whether I would cruise with P& O again - Honestly even though there were a few positives, we felt the negatives outweighed the positives and don't feel that we would like to experience that again. At times it felt like we were on a cheap all inclusive holiday resort and not a P&O ship."
7 readers found this review helpful. Did you? Yes
"Just returned from two week cruise Genoa - Venice.Not been cruising with p@o before but been with royal Caribbean. On first impressions it looked good, had a balcony. Room ok if a little small. Shower very good. Decor ok. Cleaning in rooms very poor, carpet not vacuumed every day, toilet constantly smelled. Food- extremely poor, not good quality meat, food in self service much worse, only areas where food any good was in the the supplement restaurants. Then there is the service - which we had to constantly complaining about. Taking your plates away before you have finished eating, trying to serve dessert at same time as cheese and biscuits and coffee! Rushing each course. Did not give any time between courses. Flies around the drink dispensers in the self service restaurants. ( for the full two weeks of our holiday) then there is the smoking. They allow smoking on the decks where you have no option but to walk through if you wanted to go to the pools. Smoking near the children's play area. Went on a couple of trips- went on one coach - no air conditioning in temperatures of 30 degrees!. I think p&o have really cut back on such a lot- will we book with p&o again. No way. My advice there are much better ships than Ventura."
9 readers found this review helpful. Did you? Yes
"This was our first ever cruise and we are unlikely to do another. We have just returned from a 7 day cruise Venice - Kotor - Corfu - Rome - Ajaccio - Genoa and were hugely disappointed with the experience. The boat was full - over 3000 passengers, meaning that all the facilities were crowded, particularly buffet breakfasts which were more akin to a rugby scrum. On our independent trips ashore everywhere was swamped with Ventura trippers. The entertainment was poor - OK if you like bingo, quizzes etc but really lacking if you are looking for something a little more mind stretching. Having said that the ship works like clockwork and the staff are excellent.
Other comments - there were a huge number of smokers and smoking is allowed in a number of areas which as a non-smoker you must walk through. If you decide not to do the black tie evenings (as we did) you are not allowed in most of the bars and restaurants so you feel like a second class citizen. We have never been to Butlins but we feel that the Ventura may well be a sort of 'Butlins Afloat'. We are sure many passengers enjoyed themselves but if you want a relaxing, unhurried, holiday where you can learn about the places you visit ashore with like minded travelers who are keen to explore new places then don't choose the Ventura."
12 readers found this review helpful. Did you? Yes
"Traveled many cruises Royal Caribbean, Celebrity X, NCL my first time with PO, overall experience would not travel with them again. My husband and I are strict vegetarians, only one choice offered on main menu. When complained we were offered a different menu for vegetarians quality of food much better. Also I am disabled person limited to wheelchair who needs lots of equipment to travel. We were not informed FORMAL NIGHT was enforceable. We are limited to one suitcase between us as my equipment takes up space. We were refused entry to restaurant as my husband was not wearing a jacket. He was smartly dressed. It was even suggested staff wheeled me to table and my husband also my carer waited outside. He needs to be with me at all times in case I am taken ill. Also I need to eat at regular times. As we were turned away at 8.30pm we then went to buffet (Waterside) the only vegetarian food available was dried up pasta. This was not acceptable. After complaining we were provided a dried jacket potato. Feeling very unhappy and distressed we went to find bar for a drink and again refused entry because of lack of jacket. This whole incident spoils our holiday. Next day spoke to head of restaurants and were told its COMPANY POLICY no exceptions. He could not provide us with anything in writing to state this. As stated above we are limited to what can be carried in our luggage. It was suggested we pay to go into the other restaurants but we felt why should we when we have already paid for our meals. Very dissatisfied with PO attitude towards disabled passenger."
7 readers found this review helpful. Did you? Yes
"Travel to Venice from Manchester was excellent with checked in luggage not seen again until it appeared outside the cabin and the same on return with luggage collected outside cabin by 11.00 pm and taken direct to aircraft.
We arrived in Venice around 12.00 local time had a short,smooth transfer to the terminal and the usual check in queues but on ship and in Cabin by 1.30. As sail away was not until after 7.00pm we were lucky enough to get into Venice on a P&O organized water taxi but a cost of £15 pp.
Sail away at sunset from Venice was an impressive sight.
We were on a table of 6 in the Bay Tree Restaurant on the 8.30 sitting and only went 4 out 7 nights as the menu was poor with some strange combinations, e.g. smoked salmon and chips, veg was often cold and portions were smallish which was certainly not what was expected on a P&O ship. The food in the self service restaurants was no better than canteen quality again with basic menu's lacking imagination other than a good daily curry. Only the Marco Pierre White themed White Room restaurant was up to scratch with excellent food and wine available at an additional £30 pp. Costa Coffee shop also has an additional charge.
The entertainment was pretty good apart from the first comedian who emptied the Club in minutes however the other comedians, Tribute singers and bands were much better with the Opera Boys and Tucker standing out. With the staging of the shows be prepared to move around from show bar to show bar to theater which gets a bit tedious.
I felt drinks were a tad expensive and it all stopped around midnight.
Our real issue with P&O was the quality of the staff as other than our room steward William the rest were pretty much a sour faced and unengaged bunch and I would include waiters, bar, security and reception staff.
All in all when compared to our previous cruising experiences P&O just did not reach the standards of Royal Caribbean and I get the feeling that the P&O Med Fly Cruise is done on a tight cost basis a which has resulted in a drop in quality also confirmed by many of our fellow travelers so no more P&O for us"
- Holiday details: Apr 2014, Booked Independently
- Advice: Eat in the Beach House , White Room or East restaurants
11 readers found this review helpful. Did you? Yes
"Our first fly cruise.
luggage transferred direct to cabin and on return to aircraft.
disembarkation and transfers at port destinations +++
cabin clean and excellent cabin/restaurant service
food/restaurants excellent bay tree, whites, east all +++++
ship well maintained. Always sun loungers available pools clean
entertainment diverse and of high standard.
Drink prices reasonable 14e for bottle wine
We had a stern cabin on c deck, vibration from engine/propeller
On arrival at Venice had to wait 1hr+ to board ship lots of queuing.
health spa expensive
Conclusion Would definitely recommend this cruise and ship."
- Holiday details: Apr 2014, Booked Independently
- Advice: Read daily ships newspaper for current information on activities, disembarking, etc
- Good For: , City Breaks
14 readers found this review helpful. Did you? Yes
Rating by feature
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" Book a room woth a balcony as it is worth the extra money and you don't have to worry about getting a sunbed. Also choose the freedom dining as it fits in better with your day "
by Alison Thompson
" Make sure you are aware of the Waiter service a la carte in the Beach House in the evenings...Fantastic views and service "
by G Hill
" enjoy the food,its all wonderful! "
by Jan Bradley
" Go to the Metropolis Bar, entertainment is first class. "
" keep a regular check on your on board spending at reception....3-4 times per week "
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