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A Nightmare Experience On P&o's Ventura. by Barlow, Liverpool

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OVERVIEW: Venturais mainly for British families with children as well as adult couples who are looking for a big-ship environment with comfortable but unstuffy surroundings and lots of options.

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A Nightmare Experience On P&o's Ventura.

Overall Rating: 1

27 out of 54 people found this useful
Cruise Line:
P&O Cruises
Cruise Ship:

Reviewed By: on
We booked our Caribbean Cruise on board the Ventura last June to celebrate our engagement. Both my fiancé and I are amputees and cruise regularly and thought it would be nice to combine celebrating our engagement and a spot of winter sun. We really liked the look of the Ventura's run so we booked our celebratory cruise waited for it arrive. We had to complete several medical forms and declarations regarding our disabilities and wheelchair dimensions and contacted P&O on several occasions to ensure that everything was in order. Wheelchair assistance was booked at Manchester Airport and also special requests where made regarding seating on the plane due to our disabilities for us to be seated close to the toilet and the exit so that we could access them without too much disruption to fellow passengers and also for our safety. When we checked into Manchester Airport we were told that our request had been dealt with and honoured. When we boarded to the plane yes we had been seated close to the exit but there was no toilet on the side we had been seated on. The cabin crew didn't care and didn't offer any assistance or solutions. It was extremely difficult to get to the other end of the plane safely on crutches and one leg, so some kind passengers offered to allow us to cross at the mid section of the plane to the toilet so that the distance wasn't too far and much safer. We didn't abuse their kindness and only accessed the bathroom twice. On the second occasion a very rude steward came over and said "Madam if you put your leg back on the floor and stopped hiding it up your trousers you would find getting around much easier and your can't cross over a row of passengers". I couldn't believe what I had heard. I am an amputee, my leg has been amputated above the knee and it is most visible that it WASN'T hiding or tucked up inside my jeans. I pointed it out and she just shouted at me to get back to the right side of the plane. In the end the senior steward came down and apologised for her rudeness after several other passengers had complained about her comments and attitude. Had they have sat us on the right side of the plane and close to the toilet this wouldn't have happened. Both my fiancé and I wondered was this a bad omen to the start of our much awaited holiday.

When we touched down in Barbados we stayed on board the plane until all the other passengers had disembarked as we needed assistance. My wheelchair came up for me to disembark but unfortunately they had mislaid both my fiancés and another passengers. Who where then left high up in the air on an ambelift without wheelchairs and unable to get down. Both myself and the lady's husband tried to find out what was going on but we were totally ignored by the P&O airport staff and in the end it was the airport staff tried to sort it out. Apparently the wheelchairs had been mislaid somewhere in the hold or somewhere and they couldn't access them so we would have to be taken to the ship without them and assistance would be waiting at the other end. Finally when we arrived at the Port and after checking in my fiancé was put in a P&O wheelchair to board the ship and told he would have to wait in the stateroom until his wheelchair would appear if at all. Being an amputee the wheelchair was his only means of getting around so we pointed out that once they had returned his chair then we would return their chair. How else was he to get around? That didn't go down very well. Finally some 6 hours later the chair finally appeared.

On our first day at sea we went around and explored the ship. The wheelchair access wasn't stunning. We found the ramps extremely steep and narrow, the worst one being the one to the Arena - where all the shows are. It was so steep that I had to access it going up backwards. Coming down it I managed to get friction burns on my thumbs trying to stop my chair from colliding with the wall as the ramp was so steep coming down and very scary. We did ask if there was any other disabled access to the theatre and told NO.

The pool looked very inviting but with no access unless you used the hoist. So I went to the bar and asked very politely if I could access the pool using the hoist and I was told erm NO!!!!! and the barperson just walked away. We went to reception and asked could we use the hoist to access the pool and they said they would sort it out but to no avail. It wasn't until the 12th day after a long letter of complaint and concerns that a member of staff came to the stateroom and said that if we retracted our statement then they may allow us to access the pool via the hoist. Not very good and I didn't retract my statement.

We found the dining experience a nightmare. Our formal dining experience was in the Saffron Lounge. We had requested to be sat on the outer part of the restaurant and close to the exit as being in wheelchairs we wanted to be able to leave when we wanted to and also not disrupt other fellow passengers. Instead they placed us in the middle of the dining room and removed our wheelchairs so we couldn't move and we had to wait until the other passengers had finished their meals and left the restaurant before they would return our wheelchairs to allow us to leave.

Sunbathing was a nightmare around the ship. Passengers started to reserve sunbeds as early as 7am then went ashore and came back to their sunbeds. When we asked was this allowed we were told "well madam if you feel that the sunbed has been unoccupied for a period of time feel free to remove the passengers belongings and hand them in to the bar and explain to the person when they return why you have done this - we don't remove passengers belongings and have no sunbed policy". This was terrible. On top of all of this the beds where so close together we couldn't access most of them. Finally when we did get a sunbed the bar staff kept trying to remove our chairs saying that they where in the way but at no point did they do this to passengers who had small children with buggies and prams. Some of the passengers were very rude and one woman actually stamped on my leg to cross over the sunbed because she couldn't be bothered walking around the back of it. She didn't even apologise just muttered that the ship had too many disabled people on it and wheelchairs should be banned. I have been an amputee for 3 years and I have never until now been made to feel ashamed having an amputation or being in a wheelchair.

We tried to go ashore in St Lucia as it said that is was wheelchair accessible so we presented ourselves to the disembarkation point after having to cue up for over 4 hours to go ashore only to be told oh no madam you are a health and safety risk. Main question here - how do they manage in an emergency situation to get wheelchair passengers off the ship if they can't do it in a calm and relaxed environment? When we pointed this out we where wheeled to a lift and pushed in it until the tender left the ship so that we couldn't go ashore. We went to the guest relations desk and explained what happened and they just looked at us both and said well that's not our problem.

Our whole experience on board the Ventura was horrible and it really spoilt our vacation.

We booked several sightseeing excursions from the UK and had a wonderful time ashore (not booked through P&O) and there was not a problem with the wheelchairs or with our disability even getting on to huge 4x4's and jeeps, no problems at all.

We thought that the entertainment wasn't up to much, the shows very armature and not a patch on Royal Caribbean. The staff on board the Ventura on the whole we found to be very rude and unhelpful. The ship was very dated and tired and too much carpet in the public areas which meant that wheeling a wheelchair was very difficult to say the very least.

The only good thing I would say about this cruise was that.

27 out of 54 people found this useful

Times cruised before: 6-10
Sailed: January, 2013
Age: 46-55
Cabin: Outside
Occasion: Annual/regular holiday

Quality of Food
We ate salads as the food was very limited and not up to scratch

Shows were armature and repetitive. Comics not very good and tribute bands appauling

Shore Excursions
We didn't as P&O refused us access on the ones we wanted to go on

Our cabin steward and security staff where Ventura's only saving grace

Children's Facilities

Onboard Activities


Overall Rating
Review useful?
Holden -
, Liverpool - Commented about this Review
Just back from 3 weeks on Ventura. We are not disabled in any way, but could not fail to see the passengers who were, whizzing around without any apparent problems; they seemed to have no problems with the carpets. As McGregor states, didn't have any difficulties getting around the Azura, which is a sister ship to the Ventura. We saw P&O staff helping wheelchair users to get off and on the ship, just do not believe there was a queue of 4 hours. At most we waited a few minutes, sometimes being told to wait whilst the staff helped a chair user get on or off. No tenders required. Your comments seem a bit contradictory, as you state the the security staff helped you get off safely and without fuss? The ship's PA announcements told wheelchair users which deck to use. We were in Saffron and there were quite a number of wheel chairs in the restaurant, did not see any problems from the staff, indeed their attitude seemed exemplary. Couple on the table next to us, the husband was blind. Staff helped him through to his table, and were happy to cut up his food for him. Access to the arena theatre was not a problem from deck 6, and we saw plenty of chairs using the ramps OK on deck 7. You can't legislate for inconsiderate fellow passengers, so can't hold that against the cruise line.
31 Mar 13 23:09 - Reply - Was this comment useful?
McGregor -
, Edinburgh - Commented about this Review
Sorry you had such a bad experience on Ventura, Barlowe. I had nothing but praise for staff on Azura her sister ship when I was using a wheelchair. I didn't have the difficulties getting around her you had and was treated like a Princess by every member of staff I came across. I was a happy bunny! I know it's unlikely that you'll go back on P&O but I found it was best to be go to the lower level of the theatre and there was easy level access to spacious seating areas. Hope you have a better holiday next time wherever you go.
31 Mar 13 18:21 - Reply - Was this comment useful?
C -
, LARNE - Commented about this Review
Despicable treatment and P and O should know better as I am sure the Disability Discrimination Act applies in this case. As you say, what would have happened in the event of an emergency. I can commend RCI for their approach to wheelchair users. Their staff bend over backwards to assist, even carrying passenger in the chair off the gangway in our case and the same on return. As someone has stated, you should take this further, not only for your own satisfaction, but for the sake of others in the same position both onboard ship and on the flight. Lets hope your next cruise experience is a good one!
31 Mar 13 18:15 - Reply - Was this comment useful?
Mason -
, Altrincham via Brooklyn - Commented about this Review
Oy! New Jersey Boy! This is a Brooklyn Girl here who is absolutely disgusted by your remark regarding this couple's problems with P&O. I've witnessed first-hand the rudeness of some passengers towards people in wheelchairs and mobility scooters on the IOTS last year. RCI appeared to do all it could for people with disabilities and especially families with disabled children while on-board. I don't know which airline you flew on Barlow, but you should report them. I'm sure Northwest Tonight would be most interested to hear of your experience. Hope you have a better cruise next time.
31 Mar 13 16:01 - Reply - Was this comment useful?
Parkinson -
, Tyldesley - Commented about this Review
I am so sorry you had such an awful experience. We have been on numerous cruises with P & O but have never flown always sailed from Southampton so cannot comment on that. However we have had the privilege of being seated with people with disabilities in one form or another and I always felt they were treated very well, I am sorry it was not so in your case. I hope your next cruise will be more enjoyable.
31 Mar 13 11:55 - Reply - Was this comment useful?
Smith -
, Luton, - Commented about this Review
What an awful experience for you. I hope it wont put you off of cruising and I hope nasty comments from the likes of New Jersey Boy wont put you off of writing reviews.
31 Mar 13 10:13 - Reply - Was this comment useful?
Clement -
, Pawlett - Commented about this Review
Sorry to hear you had such an appalling experience.Disgusted by New Jersey boys' comments.
31 Mar 13 09:38 - Reply - Was this comment useful?
Hoare -
, BIRMINGHAM - Commented about this Review
I am sorry you had such a horrendous humiliating experience. You should sue as a group. the airline and ship under The Disability discrimination Act. Also write to the newspapers about your experience. Lets hope you can enjoy your holiday next time. regards.
30 Mar 13 23:29 - Reply - Was this comment useful?
cammish -
, beverley - Commented about a Comment by new jersey boy (30 Mar 13 23:19)
This is disgraceful. P&0 are living in the dark ages. I am astonished that you have been treated like this. Hope you get better treatment on your next holiday.
31 Mar 13 09:24 - Reply - Was this comment useful?

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