The itinerary was the main reason for choosing this cruise particularly for excursions to Florence and Rome. Embarkation was swift and well organised as was disembarkation and our excursion to Rome was enjoyable and hassle free if a little rushed. So to the ship itself, we were expecting it to be a little shabby in places as she is due to have a major refit but we were pleasantly surprised by the cabin which although an inside was relatively spacious and spotlessly clean . Our cabin steward did an excellent job and was able to source a mattress topper and comfortable pillows for my partner who suffered a back problem two days into the cruise. The overall service by the hard working staff was very good, both in the restaurant and the bars but unable to comment on the service in the speciality dining areas as we did not use them. We found the food was generally good in the main dining Room ( we were on freedom dining in Saffron ) but a little hit and miss in the buffet though we could always find something to eat, all be it was not always hot. Occasionally it felt like a bun fight when passengers were entering the food area from both directions and some people were acting as if it was going to be their last meal... enough said.
Entertainment was varied and the Headliners were as good as always however we found the music generally not to our taste and would have appreciated more live bands and perhaps some classical musicians playing in the main Arena theatre. The Ventura orchestra should be applauded though as they helped to show off the speciality acts to their best advantage. One of the main criticisms we had was even though Ventura is a large ship, there seemed to be a lot of wasted space. Not many passengers used the Sindhu , Glass house or the Epicurean and these are large areas which we feel could be put to better use . The Atrium dance floor was used only for dance lessons and Ballroom and there was just a complete lack of atmosphere generally in the evenings around the Ship. I personally would not choose Ventura again but I can see that She has appeal for the more senior travellers. All that said, we still enjoyed the cruise and would go with P & O again in the future but perhaps on one of the smaller ships.
We were upgraded to Barbados deck from Riviera prior to boarding which was central midships and convenient for the stairs, lifts and launderette. The cabin was well equipped and very similar to the Emerald Princess ( our last cruise) therefore felt familiar. We were very comfortable which is always a bonus.
Livorno is not the best port of call although it is the gateway for Florence and Pisa, done both Florence and Pisa on previous cruises and both are stunning. Livorno however is not really worth the shuttle bus if you are paying for it.
Beautiful port of call with the added advantage of Nice in one direction and Monaco in the other . Did our own thing here and took the train into Monte Carlo, excellent day.
Again this is a really good port of call , smart city and history to boot . Explored on our own and went to the Roman Amphitheatre and climbed up to the castle. Both well worth a visit and would recommend.
Good for shopping and duty free goods , was going to go up the rock in the cable car but overcast weather would have prevented a good view. Unable to go later in the day since we had to be back on board by 2.00pm
Unable to travel into Barcelona as my partner developed Sciatica and was unable to leave the ship that day. Not a particularly attractive berth but at least you could look out to sea on the starboard side.
Cadiz is a lovely port of call and although we have been before twice , it was great to wander through the maze of streets and along the smart promenade. We have taken the Seville excursion on a previous cruise and found it to be a wonderful city ( went to the Alcazar which should not be missed ).