Since my first trip with P&O Cruises a couple of years back, I’ll admit that I’ve become a bit of a cruise nerd. It’s weird as prior to that cruise I’d never even considered going on one for a holiday before but once I was I was on Britannia I was instantly in awe of its size, the beautiful interiors and the fact that we got to visit so many places within such a short space of time.
Britannia is the current flagship of the P&O Cruises fleet (the arrival of a new ship in couple of year’s time will change that) and after sailing on her I wasn’t sure if the other ships in the family would live up to my extremely high expectations that I had come to expect from a cruise ship. Last week I finally got to put that misconception to bed as I was invited down to Southampton to spend a day on their newly refurbished cruise-ship, Ventura.
Ventura is a slightly smaller ship than Britannia but standing at 14 decks high and with the capacity to accommodate over 3000 passengers it’s still a pretty large vessel. As I walked up the gangway from the cruise terminal in Southampton I found that excited that I experienced the first time I embarked Britannia rushing back. This time I wouldn’t be sailing off anywhere nice, but I was still excited at the prospect of having a nose around Ventura and sampling some of the tasty food on board.
I started my wander around the ship at the impression central atrium which is right bang in the middle of the ship. It’s here that people tend to grand a coffee during the day in the Costa, gather for a pre-dinner drink in the evenings or just spend some time relaxing. It’s also where you will find a brand-new selection of duty free shopping stores. I must say that I was impressed of the selection of goods on offer across the various stores on Ventura which offered the usual selection of fragrance, cosmetics and alcohol but also an extensive selection of luxury watches, diamond jewellery by Kallati, clothing and an essentials shop stocking snacks, books and all those little must haves. You really are spoiled for choice onboard.
Although Ventura has lots of similar facilities to those on Britannia, I found that it has lots of little USP’s of its own too. One spot in particular that I loved was the sunset pool towards the rear of the ship. It had a slightly more relaxed, private feel to it than the main lido deck and it’s definitely where I’d be spending my sea days if I was heading off on a cruise on her.
P&O Cruises are renowned for their expansive range of food and drink options on their ships and Ventura is no exception to that rule a range of select dining options to choose from as well as the main restaurants and self-service buffet. As I was just on Ventura for the day I never have the chance to try them all, but I headed down to the Glass House for a spot of lunch and was not disappointed. If you are a passionate foodie and a wine lover, then this is the place to be as the menu has been expertly curated with the help of the wine expert Olly Smith.
Sadly, the time was nearing for Ventura to set sail for the Med and I hadn’t managed to see everything but that is testament to the sheer size of the ship and the endless number of things to see and do on board. I did toy with the idea of hiding myself away somewhere on deck and joining but unfortunately, I had to disembark and catch my flight back up to Glasgow.