Ventura, which launched in 2008, and sister ship Azura (2010), aimed to break the mould for P&O ships -- bigger, contemporary and family-friendly. The idea was to transform what many people consider P&O's somewhat stuffy ambience to one more in tune with the times -- as well as making a play for the market all UK cruise lines are chasing: new to cruise. By popular consensus, they appear to have succeeded.

Firstly, Ventura (and Azura) is significantly larger -- by 30 percent -- than any other ship in the fleet (bar Britannia, the new flagship). That means there's more room for contemporary amenities -- such as expanded kids' facilities, a vast spa, numerous dining venues, and lots of recreational activities (three pools, sports court, golf nets). There is also a significant change in décor: the walls are covered in hip, contemporary art and the decor is a combination of rich burgundy carpets and cream-coloured walls: reminiscent of a five-star London hotel.

In fact, it is hard to find many signs of traditional P&O Cruises in the hardware -- no card room for example (a mainstay on the older, smaller adults-only ships), no faux fireplaces or trompe d'oeil artwork to be found anywhere, and no art auctions, just a gallery with discreetly-priced artwork. There's also a casino onboard, albeit a small one.

The passengers make up is also markedly different. Yes, there are still the over-60s that P&O is known for attracting, but also lots of families with children, especially in the school holidays.

In April 2013, the ship had a multi-million pound makeover which saw a general ship-wide spruce up including new soft furnishings in the cabins and new carpets throughout.

The refurb also saw the addition of a number of features that have proven popular on P&O's other ships. Perhaps the most significant is the adults-only area The Retreat on the forward area of Deck 16. This is a for-fee, limited-number space which is P&O's version of the 'ship-within-a-ship' concept proving popular on MSC Cruises and Norwegian Cruise Line. It seems slightly at odds with its 'family-friendly' tag to have an adults-only area, but it's proved a big success on Azura, where it was first trialled.

The 2013 refit also saw 18 new single cabins installed, 12 outside and six inside; a new dance floor in the atrium; a new perfumery has replaced the old library and there is Wi-Fi throughout the ship.

Ventura has also seen a number of culinary changes: Wine guru Olly Smith's The Glass House has replaced the Ramblas restaurant on Deck 7 (he's also chosen the wines dispensed in the new Enomatic wine dispensing systems dotted around the ship); and Michelin starred chef Atul Kochhar's pan-Asian restaurant East, has become Sindhu, the superb contemporary Indian restaurant popular across the fleet.

The 2015 mini-refit also Marco Pierre White's The White Room replaced by The Epicurean, a molecular gastronomy restaurant which debuted on Britannia.

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Ventura
4.0 / 5.0
Cruise Critic Editor Rating

By Adam Coulter
Cruise Critic UK Managing Editor

Ventura Overview

Ventura, which launched in 2008, and sister ship Azura (2010), aimed to break the mould for P&O ships -- bigger, contemporary and family-friendly. The idea was to transform what many people consider P&O's somewhat stuffy ambience to one more in tune with the times -- as well as making a play for the market all UK cruise lines are chasing: new to cruise. By popular consensus, they appear to have succeeded.

Firstly, Ventura (and Azura) is significantly larger -- by 30 percent -- than any other ship in the fleet (bar Britannia, the new flagship). That means there's more room for contemporary amenities -- such as expanded kids' facilities, a vast spa, numerous dining venues, and lots of recreational activities (three pools, sports court, golf nets). There is also a significant change in décor: the walls are covered in hip, contemporary art and the decor is a combination of rich burgundy carpets and cream-coloured walls: reminiscent of a five-star London hotel.

In fact, it is hard to find many signs of traditional P&O Cruises in the hardware -- no card room for example (a mainstay on the older, smaller adults-only ships), no faux fireplaces or trompe d'oeil artwork to be found anywhere, and no art auctions, just a gallery with discreetly-priced artwork. There's also a casino onboard, albeit a small one.

The passengers make up is also markedly different. Yes, there are still the over-60s that P&O is known for attracting, but also lots of families with children, especially in the school holidays.

In April 2013, the ship had a multi-million pound makeover which saw a general ship-wide spruce up including new soft furnishings in the cabins and new carpets throughout.

The refurb also saw the addition of a number of features that have proven popular on P&O's other ships. Perhaps the most significant is the adults-only area The Retreat on the forward area of Deck 16. This is a for-fee, limited-number space which is P&O's version of the 'ship-within-a-ship' concept proving popular on MSC Cruises and Norwegian Cruise Line. It seems slightly at odds with its 'family-friendly' tag to have an adults-only area, but it's proved a big success on Azura, where it was first trialled.

The 2013 refit also saw 18 new single cabins installed, 12 outside and six inside; a new dance floor in the atrium; a new perfumery has replaced the old library and there is Wi-Fi throughout the ship.

Ventura has also seen a number of culinary changes: Wine guru Olly Smith's The Glass House has replaced the Ramblas restaurant on Deck 7 (he's also chosen the wines dispensed in the new Enomatic wine dispensing systems dotted around the ship); and Michelin starred chef Atul Kochhar's pan-Asian restaurant East, has become Sindhu, the superb contemporary Indian restaurant popular across the fleet.

The 2015 mini-refit also Marco Pierre White's The White Room replaced by The Epicurean, a molecular gastronomy restaurant which debuted on Britannia.

Fellow Passengers

In school holidays expect a large number of families with young children with the average age hovering around the early- to mid-40s. Outside of these times and on longer cruises, the average age rises to a more traditional P&O crowd: over-60s and no kids.

Ventura is also popular with solo passengers thanks to its 18 purpose-built single cabins and activities for single travellers, including a number of solo afternoon tea parties and regular get-togethers with crew and officers for those travelling alone.

Note that passengers are almost exclusively British, with many so loyal they would not dream of cruising with another line.


P&O Ventura Dress Code

A typical two-week cruise will have four formal nights and the rest will be 'evening casual', which is defined as open necked shirt and 'tailored trousers' or smart jeans for men; dress or casual separates for women. Most passengers err on the side of smart.

Note that even though this ship is family friendly and has a more relaxed vibe -- formal still means full black tie in the public rooms. Ventura might break many of P&O Cruises' traditions, but dress code still rules -- and that also applies to older children.


P&O Ventura Gratuity

A £6 GBP per person auto gratuity is added to your bill daily (for over 12s). Other tips are at your discretion.


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Deck:
P Deck
F Deck
Promenade Deck
E Deck
D Deck
C Deck
B Deck
A Deck
Riviera Deck
Lido Deck
Sun Deck
Sports Deck
Sky Deck
Cirque Deck

Additional P&O Ventura Information

P&O Ventura Details
  • Crew: 1,220
  • Launched: 2008
  • Decks: 15
  • Passengers: 3,080
  • Registry: Bermuda
  • CDC Score: 99

P&O Cruises Fleet