P&O is a distinctly British line and their ship, the Ventura entered service in April 2008. Dame Helen Mirren along with a team of Royal Marines christened the 1,550-cabin vessel with the traditional bottle of champagne crashing against the ship’s bow.
The ship’s designers decided to commission over 7,000 pieces of art for the Ventura from 43 artists, who were either British nationals or live and work in Britain exclusively.
According to P&O Cruises former Managing Director Nigel Esdale: “The art collection has always been at the heart of that personality, illustrating what the ship stands for, as well as creating a unique look and feel. It also provides an additional dimension to our passengers experience, giving them food for thought and enhancing their enjoyment of the public spaces.”
The Ventura continues to prove that statement. However, the ship has plenty more to offer. Now with several years of service under her belt, she still maintains her “contemporary and family-friendly” theme with success.
The five categories of tastefully decorated staterooms consist of suites; deluxe balcony staterooms; balcony staterooms; outside staterooms and inside cabins. P&O boasts that out of these, 60% of the cabins contain a verandah. Balconies are large enough for dining and contain stylish teak furnishing.
Past passengers have often remarked that the cabin décor and amenities are ‘better than a hotel”.
All cabins contain flat panel TV, radio, telephone, safe, hairdryer and refrigerator as well as tea & coffee making facilities. Egyptian linens, towels and robes are in all of the cabins as well. The beds are very comfortable and come with an 8-inch Slumberland Gold Seal posture spring mattress.
All suites include a butler and plenty of other premium services such as daily canapés and a selection of daily newspapers.
There are a number of choices and themes when dining onboard the Ventura. There are three main dining rooms (‘Bay Tree’, ‘Saffron’ and ‘Cinnamon’) with two sittings for dinner held at 6.30pm and 8.30pm.
The very popular specialty dining venue, ‘White Room’ is overseen by restaurateur Marco Pierre White. This alternative restaurant is moderately priced and offers an intimate experience of fine dining. The chef has also created menus for the 24-hour buffet-style fining facilities called ‘The Beach House’. Other options for dining include the casual ‘Waterside Restaurant’ and ‘Frankie’s Grill and Pizzeria’ and ‘East’ serving Asian fusion and Pacific cuisine
For something a bit lighter, try the Barcelona-style tapas menu at Las Ramblas. A classical guitarist plays each evening whilst you taste traditional Spanish appetizers.
The Arena Theatre is large with 788 comfortable seats and excellent sight lines no matter where you sit. The entertainment is traditional with a blend of guest musicians, comedians, singers and production shows by the on-board troupe ‘Headliners’ that perform many West End show tunes.
There are other venues where the music is pumping out with styles to suit all tastes including blues, country & western, jazz, rock, pop and swing. The casino is smaller and shares its space with a public house called ‘The Exchange’. This makes it more reminiscent of a proper British Pub rather than a glimmering Vegas-style one.
Ventura has no lack of things to do. One unique feature of the ship is Cirque Ventura where guests can learn to walk a tightrope, juggle or fly on the trapeze. In keeping up with its emphasis on art, there are enrichment programs provided by the Tate Modern on some voyages.
With enhanced activities such as a 4-player Scalextric, a computer school and 3D films, all members of the family will certainly be kept busy.
For the younger ones, the kids centre is divided in three (designated by age from tots to teens) with state of the art areas and entertaining activities such as Sony PS3s. Teens can also head to the Rock School and be inspired to learn the guitar or drums.
Her Oasis Spa, salon and fully-equipped gym are available for well being of the mind and body and staying fit. Passengers can indulge in a varied menu of treatments with the ship’s skilled therapists and fitness experts.
For the duration of 2015, the Ventura offers 2, 3, 4, 7, 12, 13 and 14-day cruises in the Mediterranean.
All sailings in 2015 leave from her home port of Southampton. A 28-day Transatlantic is scheduled for the 18th of January 2016 departing Southampton and heading towards the warmer waters of the Caribbean and back again.
To view the Ventura’s Itineraries click here
Images courtesy of P&O Cruises
Written by Veronica Shine