Having cruise previously with Island Cruises and Ocean Village we had come up with a "small" wish list for our next cruise. Namely- less casual, more traditional, better weather but still good children facilities, a great port itinerary and of course a fabulous price deal! So not much to ask for and we were lucky enough to find a cruise which for us met and surpassed nearly everyone of our requirements. We booked Ventura just a few weeks before sailing and drove down to Southampton in just a couple of hours. Having no stressful plane journey was a real treat as was the joy of not having a luggage allowance to worry about. We managed, after a bit of a Krypton Challenge and a mild panic attack to squeeze 7 large cases into our family car without having to leave behind either of the children. Arriving at Southampton within moments a porter whisked the cases away and then our car was driven away leaving us to check in. Check in was equally efficient and we were just about to step onto the Air Bridge to board when an alarm sounded to indicate that the bridge had come away from the ship. So near and yet so far! After a little confusion we were directed back to the terminal but we took this as part of the adventure and it gave us chance to begin to make friends with the other passengers. In no time we were boarded via the staff gangway and we were on the Ventura. I have to say that we immediately found the ship impressive. Its size, fittings, artwork were all even better than the brochure. We were also very pleased to find the other passengers to be friendly, articulate and polite and felt very at home as we made our way to our cabin.The staff were all very welcoming and professional. Having travelled on Ocean Village to be addressed with a smile by everyone was very appreciated and unexpected. We had decided to literally "push the boat out" on this occasion because we had been offered such a good deal, and book a mini suite or as Ventura now calls them a Deluxe Superior Balcony stateroom E729. On arrival there was bottle of Champagne chilling on the table, a box of lovely chocolates and a bowl of fresh flowers.The room surpassed our expectations with a king-size (or larger) for my husband and I. We had a nice surprise to find that contrary to all we had been told the girls did not have to share the double sofa bed as there was also a drop down pull man single berth in the ceiling. Although the sofa bed would have been fine, separate beds did prevent a lot of arguments. Our cabin steward, the excellent Rockie, prepared the room daily and advised us that all our cabin grade had this arrangement on Ecuador Deck. The room was spacious with a great bathroom with a full size bath and lots of wardrobe space which accommodated everything except my husbands shoes (which he kept under the bed.) The sofa was huge and the balcony excellent with comfortable reclining chairs and footstools. Having a covered balcony made for a very private space and we did not feel we missed any sun because of it. The balcony was a first for us and worth every penny. We loved waking up to see the port arrival and spent many leisurely mornings eating room service breakfast on the balcony whilst the children slept off their late nights. Room service was great and so easy to order over the interactive TV. Having the balcony also meant we did not feel under pressure to get out early to grab a sun bed. We preferred, due to a combination of not liking it too hot and laziness, to leave going to the sun decks until later afternoon. We then avoided the busy laguna and beachcomber pulls and headed aft to the areas above the Terrace pool which were very quiet with a lovely breeze to keep cool. Most sea days we saw little of the girls, they slept late and then headed to the pool to meet friends, grab some lunch or watch a movie. Port days they accompanied us on brief cultural sight seeing trips (always under duress, with cries of " yes its great but when can we go back to the ship?") or a more popular day on the beach at Corsica and Cannes. The exception was Gibraltar where we all greatly enjoyed the private taxi tour up the rock to see the apes which was lots of fun and excellent value for money at £56 for the four of us. The free shuttle buses into town were very well organised and we were impressed at Barcelona to find Officers waiting to help us onto the return shuttle.The only disappointing port was Alicante where we found the town beach easily, bought a lilo and hired sunbeds only to realise that the sea was filthy soup of disgusting floating debris, too offensive to describe, body temperature and slightly sticky. Not a good combination which persuaded us to abandon our sun beds and beat a hasty retreat back to the ship to hot showeres and disinfecting our swimwear.( The laundrette was very good and free to use but take your own washing powder.) We chose Freedom Dining in the Cinnamon as we were travelling with friends and this gave us the flexibility to dine together or alone as we wished. We were given a pager if a table was not available and could get a cocktail whilst waiting for a table. We found this worked perfectly for us. We loved the food and the service was excellent. Indeed we also often took breakfast and lunch in the dining rooms as we enjoyed it so much. Afternoon Tea in the Saffron was also a favourite treat. We loved the Formal Nights and wished there had been more. My only regret was that I did not go more over the top with my frocks but I shall remedy this next time! My husband loved dressing in the dinner suit he had purchased for the trip and was so glad he had. The girls loved dressing up and we all had a whale of a time on these evenings which started with a gin and tonic in our cabin with ice and lemon supplied by the wonderful Rockie every afternoon. We enjoyed the evening entertainment, going to see a variety of shows, tribute acts party nights but for us the main event was dinner which we liked to linger over with good company. Day time activities were very good with lots of variety. We joined in the quizzes and dancing but there were lots of things we did not get time to try. The Sunday church service was a lovely experience. Disembarkation was smooth and easy. We decided to enjoy breakfast in the Bay Tree for one last time before leaving and found it a lovely, calm and tasty way to end our cruise. Overall we all had an excellent time and cannot wait to go again. We are now P&O converts. Yes it is very British and maybe less glitzy than some others but it suited us perfectly. We found the service, dining, accommodation and facilities to be excellent and great value for money.

Wonderful First Time with P&O sailing on the Ventura

Ventura Cruise Review by julia mccormack

Trip Details
Having cruise previously with Island Cruises and Ocean Village we had come up with a "small" wish list for our next cruise. Namely- less casual, more traditional, better weather but still good children facilities, a great port itinerary and of course a fabulous price deal! So not much to ask for and we were lucky enough to find a cruise which for us met and surpassed nearly everyone of our requirements. We booked Ventura just a few weeks before sailing and drove down to Southampton in just a couple of hours. Having no stressful plane journey was a real treat as was the joy of not having a luggage allowance to worry about. We managed, after a bit of a Krypton Challenge and a mild panic attack to squeeze 7 large cases into our family car without having to leave behind either of the children. Arriving at Southampton within moments a porter whisked the cases away and then our car was driven away leaving us to check in. Check in was equally efficient and we were just about to step onto the Air Bridge to board when an alarm sounded to indicate that the bridge had come away from the ship. So near and yet so far! After a little confusion we were directed back to the terminal but we took this as part of the adventure and it gave us chance to begin to make friends with the other passengers. In no time we were boarded via the staff gangway and we were on the Ventura. I have to say that we immediately found the ship impressive. Its size, fittings, artwork were all even better than the brochure. We were also very pleased to find the other passengers to be friendly, articulate and polite and felt very at home as we made our way to our cabin.The staff were all very welcoming and professional. Having travelled on Ocean Village to be addressed with a smile by everyone was very appreciated and unexpected. We had decided to literally "push the boat out" on this occasion because we had been offered such a good deal, and book a mini suite or as Ventura now calls them a Deluxe Superior Balcony stateroom E729. On arrival there was bottle of Champagne chilling on the table, a box of lovely chocolates and a bowl of fresh flowers.The room surpassed our expectations with a king-size (or larger) for my husband and I. We had a nice surprise to find that contrary to all we had been told the girls did not have to share the double sofa bed as there was also a drop down pull man single berth in the ceiling. Although the sofa bed would have been fine, separate beds did prevent a lot of arguments. Our cabin steward, the excellent Rockie, prepared the room daily and advised us that all our cabin grade had this arrangement on Ecuador Deck. The room was spacious with a great bathroom with a full size bath and lots of wardrobe space which accommodated everything except my husbands shoes (which he kept under the bed.) The sofa was huge and the balcony excellent with comfortable reclining chairs and footstools. Having a covered balcony made for a very private space and we did not feel we missed any sun because of it. The balcony was a first for us and worth every penny. We loved waking up to see the port arrival and spent many leisurely mornings eating room service breakfast on the balcony whilst the children slept off their late nights. Room service was great and so easy to order over the interactive TV. Having the balcony also meant we did not feel under pressure to get out early to grab a sun bed. We preferred, due to a combination of not liking it too hot and laziness, to leave going to the sun decks until later afternoon. We then avoided the busy laguna and beachcomber pulls and headed aft to the areas above the Terrace pool which were very quiet with a lovely breeze to keep cool. Most sea days we saw little of the girls, they slept late and then headed to the pool to meet friends, grab some lunch or watch a movie. Port days they accompanied us on brief cultural sight seeing trips (always under duress, with cries of " yes its great but when can we go back to the ship?") or a more popular day on the beach at Corsica and Cannes. The exception was Gibraltar where we all greatly enjoyed the private taxi tour up the rock to see the apes which was lots of fun and excellent value for money at £56 for the four of us. The free shuttle buses into town were very well organised and we were impressed at Barcelona to find Officers waiting to help us onto the return shuttle.The only disappointing port was Alicante where we found the town beach easily, bought a lilo and hired sunbeds only to realise that the sea was filthy soup of disgusting floating debris, too offensive to describe, body temperature and slightly sticky. Not a good combination which persuaded us to abandon our sun beds and beat a hasty retreat back to the ship to hot showeres and disinfecting our swimwear.( The laundrette was very good and free to use but take your own washing powder.) We chose Freedom Dining in the Cinnamon as we were travelling with friends and this gave us the flexibility to dine together or alone as we wished. We were given a pager if a table was not available and could get a cocktail whilst waiting for a table. We found this worked perfectly for us. We loved the food and the service was excellent. Indeed we also often took breakfast and lunch in the dining rooms as we enjoyed it so much. Afternoon Tea in the Saffron was also a favourite treat. We loved the Formal Nights and wished there had been more. My only regret was that I did not go more over the top with my frocks but I shall remedy this next time! My husband loved dressing in the dinner suit he had purchased for the trip and was so glad he had. The girls loved dressing up and we all had a whale of a time on these evenings which started with a gin and tonic in our cabin with ice and lemon supplied by the wonderful Rockie every afternoon. We enjoyed the evening entertainment, going to see a variety of shows, tribute acts party nights but for us the main event was dinner which we liked to linger over with good company. Day time activities were very good with lots of variety. We joined in the quizzes and dancing but there were lots of things we did not get time to try. The Sunday church service was a lovely experience. Disembarkation was smooth and easy. We decided to enjoy breakfast in the Bay Tree for one last time before leaving and found it a lovely, calm and tasty way to end our cruise. Overall we all had an excellent time and cannot wait to go again. We are now P&O converts. Yes it is very British and maybe less glitzy than some others but it suited us perfectly. We found the service, dining, accommodation and facilities to be excellent and great value for money.
julia mccormack’s Full Rating Summary
Enrichment Activities
Value For Money
Embarkation
Dining
Public Rooms
Entertainment
Cabin
Fitness & Recreation
Shore Excursions
Rates
Ages 10 to 12
Ages 13 to 15
Service
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Cabin Review

Cabin E729
Great, quiet, private covered balcony.
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