Have cruised with P&O once before (Oceana) and Ventura is certainly a more modern ship but, considering the size of the ship, the facilities are not much better. The library is very poor, shops not great, and standard of food not as good as we remembered. Like many people, I object to paying extra to eat in a "speciality" restaurant; all the food should be of an equal standard. I got tired of seeing the same salad options coming out again and again at the buffet. Waiter service was good in the restaurant but poor in the buffet and patchy in the bars (where the price of drinks has shot up since our last cruise) - I saw two serious health and safety incidents where they were slow to react and did nothing to warn passengers of potential hazards. The theatre is not able to accommodate even half the number of passengers on board, and the only way to guarantee a seat is to get there at least thirty minutes early, which usually means missing something else. Also, the sound level was way too high, with the bass reverberating through your seat.
In general, the on-board activities seemed to be less plentiful than on our previous cruise, although the Entertainment team (under-strength because of illness) worked very hard, especially Chris, and most of the performers were good - no celebrity speakers this time. I've seen lots of comments about P&O staff failing to enforce the rules about not reserving seats and sunbeds, so this has clearly been a problem for a long time and it still is a problem. On the plus side, the cabin was spacious and comfortable, although the contents of the TV channels are absolutely dire - you even have to pay extra for films. Nor do they have the radio requests show that they had on Oceana. The ports of call were fine but the excursions are still grossly overpriced. We would go on Ventura again but stay clear of school holidays.
Comfortable and spacious cabin. There was some advantage to having a restricted view, as we could still see out but no one could see in! Bed was comfortable and room was kept clean by the steward, with towels changed regularly. A pity the TV service is so poor or we would have spent more time in the cabin.
The entrance to Venice by sea was a highlight of the cruise, as the ship came up the Canale Giudecca and towered over most of the buildings, so you were looking down on the city. They played classical music over the ship's loudspeakers instead of an annoying commentary, which really added to the atmosphere. Obviously the berth is not central to the city but it is not too difficult to get to the centre, especially if you are fit and used to walking - though it can be difficult to find your way back into the port afterwards.