Having just completed our first P&O cruise (aboard the Ventura )I thought I’d post my comparison with the Celebrity Solstice class ships, as most of the cruises we have done were aboard Celebrity, the last one being on the Silhouette this time last year.
The ships are roughly the same size in tonnage , but Ventura carries more passengers, and I believe has a higher ratio of crew to passenger. So on that score the Silhouette seems to come out on top. I would also say the Silhouette has a plusher interior, but that said the Ventura is still a nice interior just not as glitzy.
On the Ventura we had a superior deluxe balcony cabin, because it had a bath. On the Silhouette we had a standard cabin; albeit in the past we have had an Aqua Class cabin. Again the Silhouette cabin has a bit plusher feel, but doesn’t compare in size and storage to the Ventura. Without doubt the Ventura cabin wins hands down. Can’t comment on standard cabins on Ventura, other than to say a few passengers remarked on how tight the shower was.
Obviously food and drink are a big factor in any cruise. We’ve never had any complaints on a Celebrity boat about food. Quality, choice, service have always been consistently good. Unfortunately, I can’t say the same about Ventura. In the main food was ok, but never exceptional, and in a few cases quite bad. Both ships have specialty restaurants, for which you pay a premium; although quite a bit more on Celebrity. We tried them all on Ventura and found their top restaurant – The Epicurean to be passable but not memorable, but did enjoy Sindhu, the Indian themed restaurant, and the Beach House. There was, generally, a noticeable difference in the waiter service, with Ventura being very mixed, and at times not overly efficient, whilst Celebrity consistently good. If you are a foodie then, based on our experience, Ventura is not for you.
Conversely, when it came to entertainment we think Ventura was much better. The ship had an excellent entertainment team and programme. The shows in the main theatre were of a good standard, and the final show on the last night – “Astonishing” – was probably the most enjoyable production we have had on any cruise. All round the entertainment team was more engaged with passengers; even at disembarkation they were high profile and involved with folk waiting to leave the ship.
Passengers on Ventura were 99% Brits; whereas Celebrity has a more mixed nationality passenger base., but mainly American. So many features on Ventura were targeted to British taste, including prices in sterling and 3 pin plugs. Certainly the Brits made more of an effort about dressing up on formal nights; in contrast Celebrity and others appear to be moving to a more smart casual style throughout the cruise.
In summary Celebrity is a bit more upmarket, but of course quite a bit more expensive. If I had a choice between a like for like cruise, at same price, I think I’d opt Celebrity, but the lure of the Ventura cabin, with its decent size, and bath, might be hard to resist.
Best on Celebrity – the food
Best on Ventura – cabin; closely followed by excellent entrainment team.
Best balcony cabin we've had on any ship. Spacious, plenty of storage, wel laid out, good sized bathroom with shower. Only criticism is that both TVs were small and poor quality.