We had our first experience of a cruise 5 years ago with MSC, and I wasn't totally sold on cruises at all. Hence 5 years before taking this one.
We liked the idea of sailing out of Southampton without any airport faffing, so went on the 9-21 December trip to Iberian Peninsula.
Cabin:- Our inside cabin (B536) was an upgrade to mid ship & was great. Larger than I was expecting, and perfectly adequate for a 12 night cruise. Our Steward was a delight (thank you Nithesh). The only downside of an inside cabin is obviously no window, no natural light - so it's easy to sleep in (without setting an alarm), and a couple of times we'd dress, get up on deck and realise we needed another layer of clothing - but, in our opinion Inside cabins are well worth the money you save on an Outside or Balcony.
Public areas:- I can't speak highly enough of Ventura as a ship, her crew, all the staff and the areas.
A good range of bars and lounges to suit most tastes.
The theatre shows were very good. The Headliners were brilliant, as were the visiting 'cabaret' acts, only one comedian was a bit underpar in my opinion (TR), but you don't have to go, and there are plenty of other things to do and entertainment to see.
We were very fortunate to have a table for 2 at dinner in the Baytree (perferable to us, rather than being on a table for 8). We thought the meals were fantastic, with a good choice, and 4-5 star quality. Our waiting staff were lovely (thank you Willam, Rohit and Revino).
We used the Buffet a couple of times. The food was good, but it was mostly a bunfight at busy times - so to be avoided at peak times.
Gym was huge with a wonderful outlook.
We went on excursions at each of the Ports with Valencia being favourite.
Unfortunately the Cadiz tour, was death by facts and figures, and turned what looked like an interesting old town with a lot of history into a bit of a snooze fest.
My only suggestion to P&O would be to have more accessible drinking water on the ship e.g. a couple of drinking taps on board, so guests can fill their water bottles without bothering staff, or increasing plastic bottle waste. The bathroom water is apparently drinkable but was too chlorinated for me, and the only way to fill up drinking bottles is to ask a member of staff to do it for you - & even then (at Costa) they aren't allowed to just fill it up from the tap, but need to put water in a glass & then you fill up your bottle.
We met some lovely people on board, and also a few of the enevitable serial moaners (we had been warned by friends who cruise alot). It amazes me that some people, on holiday, seem to spend a large portion of their time moaning about it, then go on to tell you this is their 100th cruise and that they are already booked onto the next one. So not that bad then eh?. ;-)
Overall a fantastic trip, and we are looking at booking our next one.
Perfectly adequate room size, Queen bed in the middle with room at the sides to get in and out of bed, plus bedside cabinets.
Nice and quiet.
Lots of hanging space & hangers - but we still used the 6-8 hangers we took ourselves.
Bathroom is small but functional.
A desk, chair, TV, fridge, tea & coffee making facilities.
Safe for all your valuables.
There was a small round table in the room, which actually just got in the way in a room that size.
Trip to Murcia, then a walk around Cartagena.