Review: P&O Cruises
Cruise - Ocean Cruise
Relaxing pre-Christmas cruise
Review of P&O Ventura 9th – 21st Dec 18
We booked one week before departing on 9th Dec 18 for 12 nights visiting Gibraltar, Cartagena, Ibiza, Valencia, Cadiz & Lisbon.
Our cabin was a balcony cabin on deck 10 but our balcony & balcony furniture was covered in white paint splotches. We did report this, someone came & had a look but nothing was done. We just put towels down when we sat out. A simple thing which could so easily have been avoided/sorted.
The TV was so small you couldn’t read the synopsis of the films and the channels were so limited. They used to have quite a good selection but now, it seems every time they make an improvement it is in fact NOT an improvement. You could not now review your account online and had to ask at Reception for a print out. Waste of paper. So much for helping the environment.
We had 2 days at sea and the sea was a bit lumpy but not too bad that we didn’t make dinner every night. Because we booked late, we were on 8.30pm sitting, table for 10. After 3 nights we asked to be moved as the table was too big and we usually had to leave about 10.20pm (without coffee) to make the show. We were moved to a table of 6 but only us and another couple ever turned up so we were out in plenty of time for the show.
The food was good and there was always the choice of salmon, chicken or steak if nothing on the menu took your fancy. The service was fine and the wine steward attentive. We only made the dining room once at lunchtime, I had the fish & chips, but the batter wasn’t crispy it was soggy.
Because our dining time was at 8.30pm we often went to the buffet for a scone with jam & cream. They were delicious. I can’t say the same for the sandwiches though. God knows who came up with some of the fillings e.g. falafel, hummus & guacamole. What’s wrong with chicken, tuna, egg or cheese? There was not one sandwich that took my fancy.
The shows in the theatre were excellent, especially “Astonishing” which was jointly devised by Stephen Mulhern & Jonathan Wilkes. I wasn’t expecting to enjoy it (as I hate magic) but it was good. Definitely worth a view.
Some of the movies shown onboard were weird – who wants to see a supposedly comedy film with 2 gay guys having sex on a rug? Not me. Also, Mamma Mia 2 shown twice on the same day – why? And Love Actually – we must have seen that a thousand times. But at least in the theatre you got a comfy seat. The seats in Havana have got to be the most uncomfortable seats ever (especially for women). You are forced to lean back and they are not flattering at all. Don’t they try these things out before they buy them.
We had a meal in the Glasshouse for the 1st time ever and thoroughly enjoyed it. I had the 3 small plates and my husband had the surf & turf. The food was delicious. There were 2 menus which changed half way thru the cruise (as did the menu in the Beach House) but there were similar items on both menus. We are definitely going to go back to the Glasshouse on our Venture cruise coming up in March.
We were only in Gibraltar for half a day and we caught the mini bus (£2 each way per person) to Casemates Square. You could walk it but it takes a good 25/30 mins. We strolled up the high street to the Trafalgar Cemetery & back again. The duty-free shop at the Gibraltar port is much cheaper than the shops in Gibraltar e.g. we priced up some aftershave which was £52.50 in the Gib shops and only £44.80 at the port. Onboard it was £51. The staff at the port were very aware of the P&O price match and stopped anyone from taking photos. Obviously, they want you to buy from them and not take a photo of the cheaper price then buy it onboard – possibly getting your 10% loyalty discount on top as well.
Cartagena we also did our own thing and got back just before the heavens opened. It poured it down.
In Ibiza we caught the P&O shuttle bus (£4 each way per person on saver fare but free on select fare) and walked up to the Cathedral. I don’t know how many steps there were but I wouldn’t do it again that’s for sure. We caught the port bus back to the ship which cost 2.5 Euros each. We had noticed it as we boarded the shuttle bus at the outset but were unsure about where it would drop us off. It actually picks up and drops off at the exact same place as the shuttle – so it’s a lot cheaper than the P&O shuttle bus. I was surprised it was running in December but it services people catching ferries as well so that’s the reason.
Valencia, we caught the shuttle into town. What a beautiful place. We walked to the market and bought a pan for cooking paella as Valencia was where paella originated. We only caught a glimpse of the Arts & Science buildings in the distance but they really did look fascinating. We had spent a long weekend in Valencia before so had done that area previously. Still breath-taking though.
Cadiz you could just walk off the ship and wander around to your heart’s content. Beautiful historic buildings and architecture. Again, we went to the market – I just love to see what the locals are buying and eating. It fascinates me.
We caught the shuttle bus in Lisbon but could easily have walked into the centre from where the ship docked near Santa Apolonia station. We bought the all-day travel card for 6.8 Euros each which covered the metro, trams & buses. We caught the metro up to Parque and then walked back down the Avenida da Liberdade. At the bottom we caught the metro to the Time Out market which houses 32 eating/drinking places with a more traditional market adjacent. We then caught the No. 728 bus along to the Jeronimos monastery. By this time it was pouring with rain so we went into the chapel (which was free surprisingly). You couldn’t see the other monuments across the road because of the weather so we caught the No. 728 bus back to Santa Apolonia and was dropped almost exactly at the ship. We couldn’t have got any closer (good job as it was pelting it down). There was quite a queue to get back onboard but once past security we made use of the free Wi-Fi.
It was a bit rough coming back up the coast from Lisbon but the Bay of Biscay itself was quite mild. We would consider doing the same cruise next year if available.
This review is solely based on the opinion of a Silver Travel Advisor member and not of Silver Travel Advisor Ltd.