Ventura Cruise Ship, P&O Cruises
First and last time, cruise for me. The cost of cruises has come down . They use to be unaffordable luxury holidays for Mr average. How times have changed and it's easy to see why. I suggest anyone thinking of holidaying on the Ventura, should have a rethink. It may cost much more to travel on another ship, but well worth it. Too many low life chavs for my liking, felt like I was at a cheap holiday camp. Too busy, too noisy, long queues, drunks wearing virtually no clothes. I could go on. Not for me, would rather stick pins in my eyes and jump overboard, totally horrendous. Think Blackpool meets Benidorm, with a bit of Butlins thrown in, thanks, but no thanks. Chavs are welcome to it.
- Holiday details: Nov 2013, Booked Independently
- Advice: Don't go
14 readers found this review helpful. Did you? Yes
I've only ever done 5 cruises all with Thomson but thought they had dropped there standards so decided to o p,o. Well to start the Ventura is different class to Thomson but to be fair Thomson ships are very old.well that's were p and o end finishing on top.the staff are as miserable ad the staff were I work except the cabin lad hen going to bar you are met with rudeness and told to sit down as and will be served in reply to this one gentleman begged for forgiveness as relish he been so rude it prob cost him his job and was lucky as close to throwing him overboard.food canteen standard and nighttime meals average and most people paid to go other restaurants as boring and served in such a hurry most people had indigestion. Stops at ports so short feel like I did transatlantic cruise as left ports after 5or 6 hours obvious to get more money out of you on ship. Overall so disappointed everything on ship is about making money but most disappointed with staff and should employ Philippine staff as they different class as happy all time and never ever rude,Thomson old ships but with great welcome p and o. Money money money
- Holiday details: Aug 2013, Booked Independently
- Advice: Get rid of 70 per cent staff
13 readers found this review helpful. Did you? Yes
My friend and I have just returned from a Mediterranean Cruise in the Ventura and must admit that there have been positives and negatives about this holiday. The positives include an ideal itinerary, excellent service by our cabin steward and various personnel around the ship and the entertainment provided a full and varied selection.
Unfortunately, our cruise worked out more expensive that we had planned as we were unhappy about the food and service in the Saffron Restaurant. As a result we ate at various other establishments during the 14 days which added additional cost to our bill. The Glasshouse Restaurant was excellent and is a "must" for anyone going on the Ventura. The staff and food were first class and the supplements reasonably priced. The Ventura is a lovely ship, very clean and caters for all tastes. Future passengers should remember though that this is a family-friendly ship and there are a number of children on board. Not one for people who prefer "adult only" cruises.
If a quieter holiday is your preference on the Ventura, ask about the Retreat either before or whenever you board the ship. We would have liked to make use of this facility, despite the fact that it involved an additional cost, but numbers are limited and we were unable to access this. On the open deck, sunbeds were numerous but afforded little space - not conducive to relaxed sunbathing.
Apart from the above, everyone has their own personal preferences and we have decided that the Ventura will not be our first choice in the future.
- Holiday details: Jul 2013, Booked Independently
- Advice: Ask for details of The Retreat either before or early on the cruise.
13 readers found this review helpful. Did you? Yes
Just to warn anyone without children with them on a cruise DO NOT go on Ventura.We were mislead into thinking that this Strictly Come Dancing cruise would be for adults in the most part. Surely going out of school holidays and with ballroom dancing as the theme , most people would have thought the same. But unfortunately the Captain had other ideas. There were hundreds of children on board because apparently in Scotland and some other parts of the UK the children had started their holidays. Okay we should have done our homework, but did they really want to be there with the Strictly theme ! No they didn't they wanted to splash and jump and dive in the pools and scream and shout as loud as possible with the playleaders encouraging them to do so. So when we realised that despite having 2 very large pools for the kids the smaller one had also been taken over by them. When we complained in a very nice way to reception, we were told that the Captain had changed the policy of keeping one pool adults only and if we didn't like it we should have gone on one of their adult only ships!! Not a very nice response. It wasn't until a few days later that another passenger told us that we could use the Spa pool ( all be it tiny)even if we didn't use any other facilities. Why didn't reception tell us this?!
This was one of many complaints. The buffet food was boring and repetitive and not good quality. The main dining food was decent but not first class, you could see that corners were being cut everywhere. Small choice of rolls, only 2 days were we offered luxury food and all of it on those 2 days because they knew if lobster and fillet steak etc were on menu daily we'd all want them. So the other days were ordinary food. The service in the main restaurant was diabolical. The waiters served the food across us instead of from behind, we were not given choice of rolls, they were just plonked on our plates. We had to send 5 glasses back because they were dirty. We were not given the choice of cheese and biscuits at the end of the meal and the coffee was awful.
Room service had such a limited menu and much of it was extra charge. AND NO complimentary soft drinks or ice cream !!! Only free drinks were tea,coffee and water! We had this and so much more on Queen Victoria. There is no comparison between the 2 ships. Cunard and the Queen Vic are head and shoulders above Ventura and P&O in every single department. When you walk onto the Queen Vic you feel special and there is that Wow factor. Everything about it is better. How P&O thought they could pull off a Ballroom Cruise without a ballroom I don,t know!! Their ballroom is no bigger than a postage stamp and no seating to speak of. After 2nd sitting dinner we couldn't find seats there or almost anywhere where anything was going on. No escorts for the dancing (probably cos there was no room!)
The pluses were the Shows and Craig Revel Horwood (Really Good)and the size of our cabin and the bath and the cabin steward and the hairdresser in the Spa.But overall it was so
disappointing after 2 wonderful cruises on the Queen Victoria. BE WARNED UNLESS YOU'RE A FAMILY WITH YOUNG CHILDREN< STEER WELL CLEAR!!!!!!!!!!! I also would add that the Vantage fares are a fraud! We booked and paid full price 6 months in advance on the misapprehension that if prices went down so would ours! There were hundreds on the ship who paid much, much less than us and all requests for any refund/upgrade or any help with price at all was refused.
All in all very dissatisfactory. We will never cruise with P@O again.
26 readers found this review helpful. Did you? Yes
We are just about to go back on the ventura for the 2nd time. I have travelled with P&o cruises since I was a little girl aged 6 years when we first went on the Canberra. I am now 32 and have continued to travel with p&o with my parent/family and also my own family. We have been on most of the ships except the arcadia. I feel very protected of my cruises holidays when I hear people saying it is like butlins or Skegness!!! I mean really, what are you talking about. The only problem with p&o is the few snobs that continue to travel on the family ships like ventura and Azura and constantly moan about genuine hard working families having a hard earned break. Why dont't they pay and go on the adults only ships that p&o provide, like arcadia where they can mixed with all the other 50-90 year olds.
My family and I are a diverse range, Im a district nursing sister, my husband a baker, my parents own their own business, so we are just hard working really people. I can absolutely say that I have completely enjoyed 99% of every single cruise I have ever been on since I was a child. The food is outstanding, especially in the main restaurants, where you are served 5 courses over 2 hours plus. The ventura is a beautiful ship, very large, lots of walking around, but so much to do and see. The entertainment is always of a great standard and there is something different every night. You can really do as much or as little as you like. I is a floating, exciting and relaxing city.
My family and I are so excited about our next cruise and we are packing already. I love to dress up in the evenings and almost everyone joins in with the dress code. Those people that don't join in usually stay out of the main restaurants, but I feel that is there holiday and they are enjoying it as they wish. I don't understand why some people gets so upset and disgusted by how other people are dressed. (only the snobs gets upset and moan, Im sorry but you do and its pathetic.
P&o are an excellent cruises company and have never let us down.
What a wonderful way to enjoy your holiday than to spend 2 weeks on board the ventura and be totally pampered.
Please don't be put off by the very few snobs that sail on board these ships. This is a behaviour I have seen for many years and like I say it is the only thing I don't like about the cruise. Some people think they are a cut above the rest.
Hope you enjoy your cruise, because we always do and many friends and family of mine have enjoyed these cruises for many many years.
Just one last piece of advice! Once you start cruising, you'll get the cruises bug ha ha ha. Enjoy!!!!!!
- Holiday details: Sep 2012, Booked Independently
81 readers found this review helpful. Did you? Yes
Six weeks after leaving Ventura for her much heralded refit I was back on board to see what P&O had done to the old girl! No surprise that I couldn't find a single advantage for passengers, just more money making schemes for the company. Starting at the top, the new Retreat at the front of deck 16 replaces over 100 free sun loungers with more comfortable beds, fluffy towels and a dedicated steward - COST £25 sea days, £12 port days.
And those 100 plus ordinary beds look like they have been crammed into an already overcrowded adjacent area!
The Beach House restaurant on Deck 15 is still the most popular dining room, with limited seating. Free sirloin steak and chips and free hand battered fish and chips have vanished off the menu - turning up in the Glass House Restaurant at a COST of £7-95 and £4-75 respectively. The cover charge for the Marco Pierre White Room (he's the chap who uses Knorr stock cubes ) rises to £30.
Las Ramblas has become the Glass House (they painted the ceiling and changed the menu), while the library has been chopped in half. The popular Exchange Bar has diminished in size to make way for additional single cabins, which are alongside the Karaoke and noisy. The adjacent Casino has also been halved, and gamblers dodge people using it as a thoroughfare or sitting at tables trying to view the big screen.
Onboard shops have been revamped but still appear to sell expensive items that no one buys, or alternatively offer cheap rubbish.
Some carpets have been replaced in public areas and art work on walls is different, but cabins have mainly been untouched. Mine, a super deluxe balcony D727 on deck 9 was over the ship's thrusters and gave us a good shaking each time the ship left or entered a port. It was kept clean, but the carpet was tired and the balcony loungers had holes, and the partition was stained with sickly, yellow marks.
Onboard entertainment hadn't changed from the last cruise, and the food in the freedom dining room was mediocre - small portions of meat or fish supplemented with large helpings of vegetables.
P&O's Vantage fares - sold on board for future cruising, and pushed in brochures - are far more costly than Getaway offers, and offer poor rewards for early bookers.
As a professional Travel Writer with 30 cruises under my belt, I would say that P&O still offers good value, and is in my top three of companies. But standards are slipping as competition increases, so shop around on the web, and look for the bargains.
- Holiday details: May 2013, Booked Independently
- Advice: Don't book future cruises on board, and organise your own tours.
59 readers found this review helpful. Did you? Yes
A mystery breakdown in the South Atlantic left passengers on P&O's Ventura puzzled and angry. The "mechanical failure" on the March 2013 Transatlantic crossing from Tortola only lasted two hours, but passengers were told that the result was the ship could not make up the time in FIVE DAYS to reach Madeira! Instead it diverted to a cold, misty and rainy Azores, where it stayed for six hours, instead of the scheduled 10 hours in sunny Madeira. The plot thickened when some passengers found the trips they had pre-booked for Madeira had been refunded to their accounts BEFORE the breakdown had even occurred! Then taxi drivers in the Azores revealed that they had known the ship was going to arrive there, six weeks earlier. The three week cruise was excellent, but this deception by P&O was both cruel and unnecessary - a ploy to get the ship back to Southampton early for a scheduled refit in Germany. Some passengers joined the cruise for just two weeks and ended up with just four decent ports of call. We found the food on Ventura was OK but not brilliant, the entertainment was poor and the tours expensive. Our superior balcony cabin was clean and roomy, and worth the extra money. The charter flight from Gatwick to Barbados was long and uncomfortable, and the upgrade to Premier a waste of money. The Ventura crew were excellent though, and cruising is still good value. Onboard shopping was a bit like a jumble sale - tatty goods in the main at low prices. P&O still allow you to take booze onboard, unlike many competitors, and the gratuity charge is very reasonable, although I don't know why they cannot come clean and just add the amount onto the price of the cruise as wages. I have done 30 cruises as a travel writer and there are far worse companies out there. But beware, if you are taking your first voyage add about 50 per cent to the advertised price, plus your spending money, or you will find yourself short of funds.
- Holiday details: Mar 2013, Booked Independently
- Advice: Buy your drinks ashore and take onboard, and organise your own tours to save cash
- Good For: Beach
32 readers found this review helpful. Did you? Yes
This was our first cruise on Ventura, however, we did the Western Med on Azura the year before. This was quite a special holiday as our eldest son turned 18 whilst we were on the cruise. Although, as one would expect, it is busy on a cruise ship at this time of the year, I still think that there is plenty to do and see on a cruise. Our teenagers love the sports that are available and the 24/7 room service. As always the food was amazing with a good range of places to eat. Our boys loved the 'Beach Hut' which is a bit like an American Diner, but be warned as the holiday draws on others cotton on to it you cannot get in, so go early in the holiday. Of the 2 ships our sons prefer Ventura as it is more relaxed and there are only around 3 formal nights. Azura have formal, semi formal and casual. We were pleasantly surprised by the Canary Islands and La Palma is a lovely Island. I would thoroughly reommend a tour through fire mountain on Lanzarote- our boys were fascinated. I wished we'd plumped for a beach tour in Gran Canaria, as the city is not much to write home about. On board ship all the staff are friendly and helpful and our cabin stewards have always been wonderful. As a family holiday I cannot fault a cruise as it keeps children of all ages entertained from dawn to dusk. We thought our eldest wouldn't want to holiday with us again, but no, he was the one who suggested another cruise on Ventura. So we're of again around Spain and Portugal this year. Just a quick tip, we actually found that it was cheaper to book a balcony room and opposite inside cabin rather than a family cabin, so do check that out. the family cabin was the exact one that we ended up having to ourselves whilst our boys had an inside. also, they then get their own onboard spending money as a bonus! This year, based on their cabin last year, we have booked two inside cabins and saved ourselves over a £1000!! I read a few negative comments about the type of people you get on Ventura. Well we're all different, but from my point of view there were lots of families from all walks of life thoroughly enjoying their hard earned rest. I am a teacher and my husband is a taxi driver, so how diverse is that!?? I think if you wanted to avoid families you would be better off on an adult only cruise and they are also offered on some of P&Os ships. For an exclusive cruise without the riff-raff (she says 'tongue in cheek') you would need to look at Cunard, but I guess they would cost you an awful lot more. It is definitely not Benidorm at Sea or Butlins and believe me I've done them too, so don't be put off! Finally, we always opt for Freedom dining as with 4 of us we would never make the restaurant on time for a set sitting!! The only disadvantage to this is you cannot choose how much to tip as they cheekily put it on your bill and it is quite expensive!
- Holiday details: Aug 2012, Booked Independently
29 readers found this review helpful. Did you? Yes
Having cruised with P & O a number of times this was our first time on Ventura. We felt that the number of theTattoo brigade and scruffily dressed people was letting the usual standard down a bit.Some were more suited to The likes of Benidorm being rude and loud.Food wise it was good as usual,the entertainment was good in parts but not as good as we've seen before.Bar prices were not too bad,just above pub prices.Staff were generally helpful and we had a lovely cabin stewardess.Our balcony cabin was always clean and she looked after us.One aspect of this ship we really did not like was how loud the music was on deck around the pool,you could not hear ourselves speak.Also the disco music in Havana was very loud and sometimes there was a disco in the Havana and in the Metrpolis bar at the same time.The Metropolis was a nice adults bar with low key live music in the background,just right for a chat with friends.Sailaways were loud and more attune to 18-30 club. We will certainly not cruise on Ventura in the Caribbean again. We do hope that
Other p & o ships have not lowered their standards as seen on this cruise.The cruise was fine for families and younger adults, we are in our 60s but not old fuddy daddies by any means.
- Holiday details: Dec 2012, booked with Cruise club
- Advice: None really,it's whether it suits you
- Good For: Beach
18 readers found this review helpful. Did you? Yes
Our first cruise ever. Service was outstanding. food was amazing. Islands lovely different to each other but overall great. Trips were pricy but at least you felt safe. For two on your own best to try the official ones first and next time do it on your own. Staff were very good indeed. Our waiters were wonderful. Our cabin steward was great and nothing was too much trouble. Some passengers were just too rude for words. Their children were of the same ilk. Sail always were an excuse for p&o to just sell more drinks. Yes some people were a bit chavvy but then you find this everywhere. Just keep out of where there are. You can escape to your cabin for breakfast everyday on your balcony. Bay tree is best for set dining. Shows were very good. West end standard. Tribute shows were just great. The top billing was darios Campbell. He was spectacular. It would have been nice to have a captains table evening. You need to put in some effort on any holiday to get the best out of it. We met some really lovely people. Try a cruise when you are sixty or so. We felt we were just a bit young at 55/57. The staff made our cruise good. The service and food were all extremely good. The cabin larger than we expected and so clean.
- Holiday details: Dec 2012, Booked Independently
- Advice: Try the beaches at st Maarten.
- Good For: Beach
27 readers found this review helpful. Did you? Yes
I read with interest some of the negative comments and although agree with those on the extortionate internet charges, you can get free internet in some of the port buildings and at Barbados Airport. NWe found the Ventura a lovely experience for our first cruise and onboard wedding. Our packge cost us £12,000 (2 adults and 2 children in an Aft Suite including the wedding) and we feel we got what we paid for.
We were the couple with twins (boy and girl aged 4 years) plus our two wonderful bridesmaids.
Deck 15 - As there were only around 4 days at sea we didnt feel the need to pack ourselves like sardines around the swimming pool. We noticed with some amusement the usual towels on sunbeds and people actually lay out at 7 am one morning to secure their sunbeds.
Deck 16 AFT
One thing we did find annoying was that people without small children would plonk themselves on the sunbeds adjacent to the small child paddling and play pools directly outside the nursery thus preventing families from sitting there so they could keep an eye on their children. Quite thoughtless and selfish.
COFFEE SHOP ON P DECK
Appallingly slow service and two experiences of waitress mixing up onboard cards and losing them. Once with us and once with our friends.
Now the positives:
A huge pluspoint for a family is that once bags are checked in at UK airport you dont see them again until they arrive in your cabin. Also we arrived at Barbados Airport and got straight onto the coach and didnt go through the airport for immigration etc. Great time and stress saver after a long flight. Checking into the ship via the port building was swift and plenty of staff on hand to take your photo and organise your passes - very well done.
Barbara the ventura wedding coordinator was very good and our wedding was perfectly organised. Photography was lovely. Hairdresser and manicurist in the Spa was great. The captain was a lovely guy. The girls in the nursery and overnight room was fantastic. Our butler and steward were polite, friendly and helpful. Metropolis Bar Into The Drift and Freddie Mercury tribute show were the places to be.
We had our breakfast in the White Room (we had C749) and totally disagree with the negative comment. We also had our wedding dinner for 6 outside on the balcony. All the staff are wonderful and our two children always got extra attention every time we visited.
We had Freedom Dining in the Cinnamon Restaurant and all meals were exceptional along with the waiters, though I would agree that more effort should have been made to offer some Caribbean dishes - but I apprecite they have a cater for the majority. We dined in the White Room and the Tapas restaurant and found both of these very good and worth paying the supplement.
In all fairness we seldom had buffet breakfast or lunch or dinner mainly because this just isnt our thing, and we had a suite so the white room breakfast was included in the package.
Most of the ports had free internet access and you can arrange your own trips once you exit the ship as there are plenty of people waiting with open sided taxis to take you where you want to go. One thing we found useful was that the taxi drivers would fill up their vehicles, drop you off at the designated beach, and then say that you paid when they collected you for the journey back. The driver would give you a commentary and they were always grateful for the business that the tourists provided as most of the islands rely solely on tourism. We would rather give the locals our custom than pay the higher trip rates on board. Big thumbs up to Justice at Solomons Tours - we had a great day out.
Definitely get your duty free at St Maarten - the island is set up for shopping and the prices are considerably cheaper than the other islands- our whisky was not taken off us once we boarded even though bags went through the scanner. We wished we had used up all our duty free allowance.
I personally am very critical of food, wine, people etc. generally but on this cruise we found the majority of people we came into contact with (fellow passengers, crew, locals etc.) lovely pleasant people and this really made our holiday and wedding special. Great memories. Well done P&O.
- Holiday details: Dec 2012, booked with cruise.com
- Advice: Make a list of what you like and dislike and match that up to what is on offer on the ship
- Good For: Beach
23 readers found this review helpful. Did you? Yes
3,000 + passengers. Just ludicrous. Deck 15 consists of " The Tattoo Brigade in sleeveless vests" approx 40%+ of the passengers! This is the Sardine Deck with the pool and Sunbeds that are crammed next to each other so that you feel like 2 in a bed, but not with your partner !They eat " Burgers and Chips" direct from a tray-- no plate!! and order pints galore, and even arrive back onboard after a stay on an island absolutely blotto. They scoff buffet meals like pigs.
The entertainment is diabolical, maybe 3 good acts per week. Needs to be about 7 acts nightly to satisfy 3,000 persons.
Actually had horrendous entertainment for 3 consecutive nights. Definitely a cost saving exercise by P+O.
The best rip- off of the voyage was the INTERNET at 50p a MINUTE. This is not a misprint. ,!!!!!
P+ O.will state they have an Internet package available. ARE YOU READY-------£62 for 4 hours use--- and by the way, they inform you that the service is SLOW !!
The deluxe Marco Pierre White restaurant was RUBBISH. I actually reclaimed my surcharge fee of £50 for 2 persons !
The dining room meals were very good and the restaurant waiter service also.A very dull and tired ship.
OVERALL, A TOTAL DISASTER. Remember, other reviews maybe from the Tattoo Brigade!!
By the Way, I originate from a council estate so please don't think I am stuck up.
- Holiday details: Dec 2012, booked with Thomas Cook
- Advice: Avoid booking
26 readers found this review helpful. Did you? Yes
Traveller RatingsWrite a review
Need a hotel before or after your Ventura cruise?
Check out these recommendations in ports for upcoming itineraries
" 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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