I have cruised twice before with NCL - the Epic (fabulous) and the Jade (very good). However I chose P&O this time as my 80 year old mum was coming with us and I thought the british slant on the ship would be more preferable for her. My overall comments are that going with P&O was the right choice for this reason. The passengers were mostly british and lovely, the dining room food was good, the boat was beautifully clean, absolutely loved the entertainment on stage and in the show bar (comedians especially - Peter Piper!!) and there was little to moan about. However, in my short holiday career in cruising, i know I am still up for a good time, to live it up a little, and see a bit of glitz and glam on board as well as the stop-off's. So this is where Ventura was lacking for me. It was clearly targetted towards the 'older' cruisers. The other bug-bear was the formal dining. I totally understand two of the nights were for dinner jackets and long dresses, but those who chose not to dress up were forced to eat in the buffet - which was basically a good canteen. The ship should at least put aside one dining room for those not wanting the pomp. Finally - the bar staff. They were miserable. No attempt was made to strike up any guest chit chat / relationship etc with regular customers - they just served the drinks with an 'i'm at work' face. To conclude, for the young and younger at heart, I would stick with NCL and (so I understand) RCL and Carnival. As a couple, we were just 10 - 15 years too early for P&O, but it was great for my mum at 80. However I would consider sailing with them again in the future.
The cabin was perfectly fine - everything you could possibly want, and the cabin steward wonderful - everything was spotless. Beds not quite as comfy as NCL cruisers though. Also did not like the case of water left there with a note saying £10.50 if you open the case to drink one. Water should be free in the cabins.