We returned on the 13th April from Bruges after what can only be described as a fantastic 'Welcome to Ventura' weekend. At first there were a few hiccups (only to be expected). We queued for quite some time to embark & were then told once onboard that the cabins weren't ready and to go straight to the self-service restaurant - can you image 3,400 passengers all trying to find a table & help themselves to lunch!! Once given the ok to go to our cabins, we were pleasantly surprised at the quality of the cabin. We had a balconied cabin & although a little smaller than some of those we've experienced before (latterly the QM2, NCL & Princess), we were more than happy. The facilities on board were great, the staff & also the food. We returned at Easter from a Caribbean cruise on the QM2 & we enjoyed this short cruise on the Ventura as much. We would definately cruise on her again.
Eardley, Leek, Staffs. 22/04/08 .
Cruise reviews! PandO Ventura! Thats where the comments are.
Those answers are still where they originally were. If you click 'Cruise Reviews', go to bottom and select P&O, the thread was on page 2 this morning with 11 comments. As a P&O fan, with Portunis Gold membership,I am pretty neutral on this personally. But it would be nice to know whether you and Foster of France have actually contacted P&O and what their response was. Look forward to response.
It is now common practice for cruise lines to do a 'shakedown' cruise to check out all the systems & new staff procedures prior to the Maiden. It really is not a big deal to get excited about.
Yes I would like to know where my posting has gone as well. We have heard from P&O, no offer of compensation, but they did say the following.
''Whilst I can appreciate your disappointment, I would like to assure you that Ventura's 2 night Welcome Party will not be the Maiden cruise. Until Ventura has been officially named, any events held on board will be part of the inaugural celebrations.
Ventura's Welcome party has been added because we were informed that the ship will be ready to leave the shipyard earlier than originally anticipated. We therefore decided to include the 2 night welcome party so
that more passengers would be able to be included within the inaugural events prior to her being named on 16 April and prior to her Maiden cruise, which leaves Southampton on 18 April 2008.''
See you on board 'Hook'
I too am booked on Ventura's Maiden Cruise (18th April) and wrote to P&O on 22nd January expressing my concern at the recent inclusion of a 'Welcome Party' (11-13th April).
The reply, dated 19th February, expressed their sorrow at my unhappiness and attempted to reassure me that the 'extra fun items' associated with a maiden cruise would be reserved for the 18th April and that the welcome party would enable staff on board to familiarise themselves with the ship whilst at sea.
They also, cleverly (& legally?) pointed out that Ventura is not being named till the 16th April and therefore I presume, logically, it is not Ventura when it sails for the Welcome Party.
To correct some earlier posts the Welcome Party has been offered for sale on the P&O website as Cruise N802Y - and therefore it is not reserved for staff & travel agents.
Was I invited to book for the Welcome Party? - No
Am I satisfied with their answers? - No
Do I feel let down by P&O?- Yes
Am I am loyal and long standing P&O customer? - Yes
What could they have done to extricate themeselve from their self-made situation? - perhaps added a little on board credit as a sweetener.
Am I still looking forward to the Maiden Cruise? - Yes
Thanks to those who have responded to my question. I have done much research and a maiden cruise is defined to be the "first voyage of a ship after it has been handed over from the shipbuilders" - there is no mention anywhere about whether it has been officially named or not. Besides on the Southampton Port Authorities web page they believe a ship named Ventura is sailing out on 11th April - it is not referred to as a 'Ship with no Name' and so as far as I am concerned this will be Venturas maiden cruise (as this has been on sale to the general public and therefore will have paying passengers on board). At the moment I am waiting for a reply to my very long complaint letter to P&O.... However I will not give up without compensation - afterall if you bought a brand new house you wouldn't be happy if the builders had let someone else live in it for a week to make sure everything worked would you?! Anyway, it is not necessary for the facilities to be tested with a 'Welcome Party' cruise on 11th April as there is already an earlier 2 night cruise on 9th April which I assume is for staff/travel reps.
P & O have done what so many other companies are doing and combining the traditional "shake down" cruise with an advertising jolly for agents and specially invited guests. Stop getting your knickers in a twist and just enjoy the cruise and thank your lucky stars that you are able afford such a wonderful holiday, although it must be horrible to know that someone else has slept in your cot and your were not allowed to christen it. Neil’s son, Falle.
Down - I think you are mis-understood - the Welcome Party on the 11th April is for paying passengers, the cruise on the 9th April is the jolly cruise for staff. I also am lead to believe that P&O directly contacted passengers who were not booked on Ventura but who had expressed an interest in the ship with a mailing about the Welcome Party (reading between the lines possibly those who were waitlisted for the then sold out maiden cruise). Surely it would only be fair to have at least mailed those passengers who had booked 'the maiden cruise' to say an earlier cruise had been added and give them the option to change their booking...just in case, like me, the reason they booked was because they were under the impression it was the first sailing.
Hook. This issue has been done to death on Cruise critic weeks ago. Do you truly believe a ‘whizz across the channel’ to Zebrugge & back to be a Maiden Voyage or even a cruise for that matter. Most would liken it to a return ferry crossing. I have done a couple of these pre maidens in the past, not as an invited guest, but as a paying passenger. Whether you agree with it or not, this is standard industry practice & has been so for a few years now so wake up & smell the coffe.