The basics of life on the Ventura were well organised by P and O. The essentials of cabin management, feeding and entertaining the passengers were all well organised. All facilities seemed to function well, in particular the warm clean swimming pools were much appreciated. General cleanliness around the vessel was impressive. Staff were enthusiastic and efficient in carrying out their tasks.
However the sea passage from Dubrovnik to Venice was something else.
I am amazed that my wife slept through the whole episode! I say that because she is prone to motion sickness, and if she had been awake she would almost certainly have been ill!
As far as I am concerned this started around 1.30am, when I awoke as the ship was swaying badly and pitching hard up and down into obviously a heavy sea. I guess we were lucky with a cabin close to the bow so that we did not suffer from the pronounced swaying or leaning that others have reported elsewhere. I can recall the thunderstorms and lightning we had observed before retiring the night before, but had no idea of the mayhem they would cause in the middle of the night. I tried to get out of bed and found it hard to stand up, as since we were in an inside cabin we had no reference as to what was level! I was never aware of the apparent broadcast by the Captain at about 2,30am, which has been widely reported elsewhere. I only know that my last recollection of being awake and bouncing was about 3.30am.
Although the captain toured the dining rooms the following morning to reassure passengers, his answers to my questions were largely humorous jibes which I did not find entirely helpful. AS an experienced traveller I asked him to confirm that such storms were unusual in the Mediterranean. He replied that "we certainly found one last night." I then asked if he had been on the bridge at the time? His reply was 'Not initially but I was straight after the phone rang."
I am afraid that I find the response inadequate. This captain was always full of flippant apparently humorous remarks during his broadcasts especially as we were about to leave port. His standard phrase was something like, "the chief engineer assures me that the rubber bands have been fully wound to enable us to leave port on way to 'X'." I didn't find that funny, and anything he is reported to have said in the early hours of the morning as we were bounced around like a cork, I would probably have dismissed as well.
As a retired airline pilot we were always advised don't try to be humorous with passengers during public address announcements as the passengers need to be assured that calls from the captain are responsible instructions particularly when emergency procedures may subsequently be required. I find it even more worrying that as far as I am aware there has been no official statement from P & O at all.
Other reports on the internet, confirm what I observed that night, and indeed some suggest that the Ventura was built with a shallow draught which it seems is likely to lead to instability when adverse weather strikes.
Our inside cabin was well forward on C deck and may well have contributed to the reduced effects of the storm on our cabin.