The wedding preparations were well co-ordinated and the salon made sure that myself, my daughter and her Matron of Honour all looked our best.
The Captain conducted a lovely service and afterwards we all were escorted down to our reception room. We took our seats and waited for the happy couple to enter, which they did to enthusiastic applause only to then be taken by the photographer for photographs around the ship. So we all had our food (which was lovely) and waited and waited. By the time they came back to their reception, the guests had all eaten!! That was the only downer on the day.
The entertainment was excellent. The comedian Josh Daniels was particularly hilarious and we all enjoyed him immensely. He made the evening reception very enjoyable.
We all found the staff very polite and helpful. Our cabin steward Nevis was a really lovely man and he gave me a kiss on both cheeks when we said goodbye. Very sweet. He kept our cabin looking lovely all week.
The sailaway party from La Coruna was especially good. It was like last night of the Proms with our Union Jacks and songs from all countries of the UK.
When it was time to disembark there wasn't a dry eye amongst us. We were all so sad that our cruise had come to an end. A week was definitely not long enough and I will definitely be booking up at some time in the future (God willing) for 12 days at least.
I had read quite a lot of worrying reviews before we cruised on Ventura but I am happy to report that it was a fabulous holiday. Can't wait to go again but on a cruise that offers better ports of call.
Travel operator: P & O
Tour guide so boring in Malaga that several people tried to escape.
Tour of Venice cancelled even though we had already been issued with tickets and our on board account charged. Was this due to some unforseeable disaster -no, not enough places had been sold. Pity they didn't have the decency to tell us earlier so we could book an alternative.
Paid £65 for internet connection - down for several days due to problem with satellite and even before that had had huge problems connecting. Staff member in cybercafe rude and unhelpful. Had a fight to get our money back and even after it was agreed we had to chase it up. Took about 5 days in total.
RECEPTION STAFF WERE INCREDIBLY RUDE as were the Explorers (resort information)staff.
Very upset about a number of issues. Reception said they lost our first formal complaint (though policy is to log it immediately)and we were told after 48 hrs that our second formal complaint didn't require an answer!
Have written to head office recorded delivery receipt dated 28 June - as of 6 July no reply.
Travel operator: P&O Direct
I read a lot of these reviews before we sailed and was starting to worry as to how we as a family would find it...Well Embarkation/Disembarkation was so very well organised and not one hiccup. We had a Balcony room is was kept so spotles & clean so no faults there, we had the freedom dining and it was great food with so many choices the Cinnamon restuarant was excellent, great kids clubs for my 2 children they were occupied day and night they loved the bungee/trampolene and pools to themselves every evening as the 3100 passengers are so spread out you never meet the same person twice, so there you have it....Definately not ''Butlins at Sea''
Travel operator: Virgin
P&O have the embarkation process organised to perfection. Check cases in at Manchester and forget about them until they are delivered to your cabin approx 2 hours after you board the ship. Customs in Barbados smooth and easy.
This was the first time that we have travelled on a large ship and found that it was too big for our taste as certain aspects could not cope with the numbers e.g. there were several times when we had to wait for cups at the tea station and in 14 days there was never a tea-spoon available at these stations.
The food and restaurant choice in the evenings was brilliant , however the eating experience at lunch time was sometimes stressful. This was due to limited opening times of main restaurant ( waiter service ) making the vast majority of customers having to go to self-service which could not cope with the numbers. Long lines for food and no-where to sit when you got your food.
I would recommend people plan their day around the breakfast/lunch opening hours of the main restaurant or order cabin service and eat on balcony for sea days !!
The entertainment staff worked hard and there were some brilliant comedians/singers/musicians/cirque soleil /quizes/party's . However the Ventura Theatre group was weak . Without the circus trapeze and strong men these shows would have been dire. There was no story to what was billed as a show. The dancers were good but the routine was almost the same in each of the shows. The lead male singer was weak and one of the female singers was off key and beat .
The weather was fabulous.
We always found a sunbed but found some very selfish people who reserved beds for hours without using them. The staff did remove belongings on one of the sea days .
The islands were varied and all good in different ways.
Drink prices same as pubs at home and good variety including diet sodas. Well done P&O !!!
Travel operator: P&O
The Waterside and Beachfront restaurants at lunchtime were a nightmare. Nowhere to sit once you had collected your food and the terrible overbearing music that was played continuously. Avoid at all costs if possible. Other than that We would highly recommend this ship.
We had a balcony stateroom which was spacious and immaculately clean.The cabin boys do really work hard.
We had a fantastic meal in the Whiteroom. well worth a visit, but our meals in the Bay tree restaurant were also excellent.Thanks to Lalit, Mangesh and Sudhir for wonderful service.
We didn't go to any of the shows but did see the fantastic Andy Ford and Martin Daniels. Two great comedians well worth seeing. The Caribbean Islands are always worth a visit especially during the English winter and in my opinion there is no better way to see them than aboard the Ventura. We are off to the Med in June on the Oriana. Hope we enjoy it as much.
Travel operator: P&O
The arrival in Barbados was smooth and we joined the ship without problems but no one shows you to your cabin which on a ship as big as Ventura is very poor.
The cabin we had was large and comfortable with a large balcony, but it was a mini-suite so it should be.
The food was generally very good but the staff in Waterside were the most miserable bunch of people I have ever met, one exception was a waiter calles Minoj Kakde who was the only one with a pleasant smile and time foe everyone, he incidentally was the only waiter who wiped the tables down in the month we were on board. Now cleanliness of the crockery, every single day I found either a cup or plate which were dirty the staff explained it was the dishwasher which caused this but I cannot accept this.
The entertainment was dire apart from Tom o'Conner and the captain, forget the rest of the sorry bunch.
There are lots more I could write about like the unpainted shuffleboard courtbut i think I will leave these for the letter I am sending to the MD of P&O.
Would I sail with Ventura again? definately not! I have sailed on about 20 cruises and this I think was the worst of the bunch
Travel operator: bolsover cruise club
I shant be going into to much detail as we went on this cruise last year,shall we call it an update.
We flew from leeds and then onto manchester to top up with fuel,flew direct back to leeds on the way home.barbados's runway is long enough.
Last year we found the staff a little bit shall we say lacking in humour,this year a massive improvement all round from the bars,restaurant to the waiters,you could have a good crack with them.well done P&O.
The ship in general was spotless,food very good,beware, wear gloves on a morning if you want porridge for breakfast,hot!!!.
Drink prices were good on ship,pub prices.strong bow £2-50 pint as an example.
Sunbeds ooooh! seadays get up early if you want a prime spot 7-15am. none seadays no problem.
Entertainment,we only visited the arena 3 times it was ok.some passengers comments were a little more critical,we dont go away for the entertainment if it wasnt so good we moved on it did not spoil our day,speaking to some people you would have thought it was life or death.
We liked the bars on ventura,the metropolis bar was nice again,drinks before evening meal.Ramblas was relaxing.The tamarind lounge was enjoyable but the Havana Bar with the big post in the viewing area was a no no.
We enjoyed the islands except the people in ocho rios,jamaica,is it me or are they very pushy in jamaica ? in comparison to the rest of the islands.
Grand Turk,turn left when you walk out along the front right down to a cream coloured building before this building there is a small road which leads you to a marina,nice walk.
Overall we had a great time on and off ventura.our problem was our sunbed was to near the breakers bar on the lido deck,20 paces.in the 80's it becomes very thirsty work sunbathing.would we travell with P&O again yes we will be in sept. on the oceana.
We have now been on the ventura twice and have enjoyed the experience on both occasions.
Travel operator: P&o
2 hours to get to the ship from the aircraft, having to carry baggage though New Orleans airport. The whole thing about a fly cruise is you load your bags at the airport and next see them in your cabin. Never try to go though the immigration procedure at New Orleans, huge queue and incompetent staff. 6 attempts to scan my finger prints.
Arrive on board at 11:15 PM, a formal night, on embarkation day! My baggage didn't arrive until 1:00 AM, the restaurants closed, only the grotty waterside open. The bars understaffed as all on board celebrating new year, threatened by a drunk who failed to see I had been waiting to be served 10 minutes before he tried to pull me away from the bar to squeeze past me. So much for celebrating new year in New Orleans.
So start off with two days at sea. Good excuse to discover the ship, and quickly learn how poor the food was. Granted, my last cruises were a long time ago on the Canberra, Oriana, and QE2. I expect things to have changed, but not the quality of the food. Cheap cuts of meat, fatty paper thin bacon, excuses for sausage, no black pudding etc at breakfast. Steak tough as the soles of my shoes. chicken is now the cheapest leg cuts in the curries
Key West, a delight to explore then time wasted with Port Lauderdale and Port Canaveral. Off into the sun of the Caribbean.
Puerto Rico, a good tour and knowledgeable driver, St Thomas and the wife hits the jewellers with me and card in tow. Good sales techniques as they fancy they have a nibble at the hook and the rum is served. The more you resist, the stronger the rum.
St Martin, a beach paradise. If you overlook the dog faeces on the beach.
St Kitts, a comedian claiming to be a taxi driver, chief of police, attorney general and bishop. Even stopped at his house to get a tool for a friend, pity when he said he had air conditioning he failed to say it didn't work.
Dominica and Grenada, don't bother getting off the ship, they are not worth stopping at. Total dumps.
So back to the ship. Did I say the food was poor. OK towards the end of the cruise we had one night of delicious food (even sorbet between courses) and then whoops back it descends into the cheap/nasty. The white room was an experience. Pity the menus had just changed, we preferred the old, but the halibut was delicious.
Entertainment. What a mixed offering. From stale old has beens like Tom O'Connor who literally sent me to sleep, superfly who make up for a lack of vocal talent by volume. and don't get me started on the Butlin rejects called the entertainment officers who would be better employed cleaning the decks. Yet other acts were good, Elton John and George Michael tributes, Jimmy James without the vagabonds were enjoyable. But the best was a guy whose name I cannot remember that had such a vocal range, claims to have been the kid who sang the Toblerone advert in the 60s
The bars were generally excellent, prices not scary. But P&O need to buck their ideas up and decide if they want to offer a Butlin service at sea. Or a prestige holiday. If you listen to the many rumours people were continually being put off for fighting and assaults.
Oh and whilst I remember I cannot comment on the beach house as both time I went I was advised a 1&1/2 hour wait at 7:30 PM so I never got there.
Freedom dining was my bag, a couple of times we had to wait an hour. So not exactly the freedom to dine when you choose.
Lesson learned on this cruise.
1) Chavs cruise to, but expect to behave/dress true to form.
2) Never start a cruise in the united states.
3) Never start a cruise on new years eve.
4) P&O have cut too much to be value for money. (Poor food, poor entertainment, poor locations)
Be critical of the official photographs and don't feel forced to buy. Remember it is your holiday but when the stairs take up a full A4 and you take up 2" then perhaps they have got their framing wrong, similarly when they have you and the whole length of the ship in the photograph maybe it could be anyone!. So buy the ones they have right otherwise you will be charged a fortune for 2nd rate photographs.
Docked alongside us at one point was the Celebrity Equinox. Now that is the sort of ship I want to try next.
Travel operator: P&O
Travel operator: Thomas Cook
This was our first cruise. 6 adults went (ages 24,25,46,48,50,52).
To start off with, we were wowed with the pre-travel info, great check in at Manchester and all inclusive flight with Thomas Cook Fantastic getting off the plane in Barbados straight onto a bus then to the ship where the staff at the port were efficient and friendly.
THE SHIP & CABINS
Ventura is a huge ship that was always spotless. We had 2 inside cabins and 1 outside with restricted view. The rooms were adequate and nicely furnished. As we had 2 people in each room we found the space ok but 3 or 4 people in a room would have been very difficult. The bathrooms were small and the shower was so small that anyone 6ft would struggle. I am 5ft7 and couldn't bend over when I dropped the shampoo!
The White Company toiletries were a welcomed bonus and our cabin steward kept the room immaculate with fresh towels and beach towels daily. The stewards couldn't do enough for you and were very friendly.
We went in every dining area and restaurant. We chose freedom dining. We never had a problem getting a table even for all 6 of us. We were very impressed with the range on offer, from relaxed buffet style to formal silver service. On the first formal night after Captain's welcome we were told Cinnamon was full but were offered a table immediately at Bay Tree (exact same menu).
Good variety of bars each with a different feel, the red bar and metropolis were lovely. Drinks were very reasonably priced and a massive selection of cocktails to work through! However the amount of alcohol in the drinks is questionable, after 5 or 6 rum/vodka cocktails none of us felt slightly tiddly so we ended up sticking to wine and beers.
Waterside and beach house- huge selection of food. Everything you wanted for breakfast (full english, cereals, juices, meats and cheese, pastries, fruits, yoghurts etc etc.) The chefs would also cook you anything on request e.g. omelette, poached egg, black pudding. It was always busy but we always quickly found a table. On an evening there was a different theme e.g. caribbean, indian, fish and seafood, italian.
Beachouse bistro- a section of the beach house is sectioned off for waiter service of TGI style food (ribs, sizzlers, steaks, burgers, choc fudge cake) which was excellent. Towards the end of the holiday when word had spread it became difficult to get a table so I'd suggest getting in early to avoid it being full or a long wait (if you wait you get a buzzer that works at long range so you can go for a cocktail of the day in one of the bars!)
Cinnamon/Saffron/Bay Tree- superb food, good range of choices although staff inconsistent as sometimes waiters seemed rushed and a bit impatient. We filled a comment card in about this and found much better service the following evening.
White Room- delicious food and well worth the supplement as a treat. Nice to sit outside and was much quieter than the large dining areas which made it more intimate for a change.
Ramblas- lovely decor and feel to this section, good service. Starter tapas were very small so we needed all 12 between 4 of us!
East- the best food we had, service excellent, best attention to detail. So good we went back a second time.
Something for everyone. Those who have referred to entertainment as 'butlins' were perhaps taking themselves a bit too serious. The highlights for us were Victor Michael who did Italian opera and some more current musicals songs, Adrian Walsh who was a hilarious comedian, George Michael, Phil Collins and Tina Turner tributes, Masquerade show. The sail-away parties were great fun, everyone from 8 to 88 was joining in waving their flags and singing along as we passed other ships. It made us feel very patriotic!
The great thing was that there was so much on and so many places to go that you could do as much or as little as you wanted. If you didn't like the sail-away you could walk to another pool where you couldn't hear it. Nobody was fastening people to their seats!
ISLANDS AND EXCURSIONS
On some of the bigger islands e.g. Barbados and Jamaica we felt safer doing organized trips which turned out very good value for money. 4 of us did our own thing which we arranged when we got there which were also good.
The 4x4 jeep and Dunn's River Waterfall trip was superb.
The helicopter to Monserrat was also fab.
We did the De Palm Island trip in Aruba, which was a great facility however another 2/3 hours would have been better value for the price we paid.
Grand Turk and St Marten were our favorites.
Overall we wouldn't judge any of the islands from our one day visits. As you get off the cruise ship the locals try to make as much money as they can from you and we had to be very careful not to feel intimidated and ripped off. We were very safe but would strongly advise people to take note of the warnings and watch the videos in the cabin. P&O are not trying to scare people off and incidents do happen (we saw someone get mugged at the port in St Lucia).
Overall we felt that the number of people the ship holds exceeds its capacity. On sea days the decks around the pools felt like the Costa Del Sol the first week in August not a luxury cruise-liner. We perhaps had very high expectations and so felt let down at times.
None of the quibbles take away from what a superb holiday we had. We would definitely go on another cruise but probably chose either a smaller P&O ship with fewer passengers or a bigger American ship with more space for the people.
Travel operator: P&O
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