A Look at the P&O Ventura
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P&O Ventura

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.

CABINS

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.

Ventura Balcony Cabin

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.

DINING

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 Baytree Restaurant

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.

ENTERTAINMENT

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.

The Ventura Arena Theatre

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.

ACTIVITIES

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.

The Kids Club on Ventura

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.

ITINERARIES

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

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Focus on P&O Cruises
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The very fact that a holiday destination is described as luxurious can indicate that it may be unaffordable to most, but that paradise break in the sun or exotic destination can be a reality.

P&O Cruises are renowned for great service, modern ships and affordability. The line is the biggest in the British marketplace and offers the opportunity to visit just about any location across the world.

Fitting the ship to an individual’s personality is perhaps the most important factor in determining a fantastic cruise experience. That factor is precisely what makes P&O unique from the rest. This is one cruise company that holidaymakers should seriously consider.

FAMILY FUN

If it is a family friendly ship you are after, and then look no further than the Aurora, Azura, Oceana and Ventura. These ships offer extensive children’s programs, allowing mum and dad time on their own.

P&O’s family ships have staterooms that can accommodate a family with plenty of elbow room with inside, outside or balcony cabins or luxury suites. “Family saver” rates makes the cruise holiday affordable when children share a cabin with two adults. On occasions there may even be free child places available.

family on aurora

On P&O’s family friendly ships, children are always welcomed with special perks geared towards them such as cartoon character duvet covers, balloons, and sweets.

ADULTS ONLY

Arcadia, Oriana and the smaller and more intimate Adonia provide the traditional cruise experience and are restricted to adults only. It is ideal for those who are seeking out the more unusual parts of the world.

Arcadia in Sydney

Pull up a lounge chair on the pool deck to catch some rays or for the more active there are plenty of ways to keep fit with sports facilities and wellbeing options easily found in the first rate spas. There are cinemas and casinos for the guest’s pleasure too. This concept of adults only was exclusively first introduced by P&O.

DINING

Passengers can either attend regularly scheduled meals in the ship’s dining room or have a more casual meal at one of the buffets. High-end restaurant quality food is available 24 hours a day in the dining rooms, restaurants and buffets onboard most ships. Room service is also available free-of-charge.

Many cruise lines are bringing celebrity chefs onboard and P&O ships are no different in that respect. It is a great way for holiday makers to enjoy 5-star cuisine in speciality restaurants at reasonable cost, something they wouldn’t be able to do elsewhere.

Sindhu Restaurant on Azura

Three of the top chefs who hold Michelin stars for their dishes who have joined P&O Cruises include Atul Kochhar, Gary Rhodes and Marco Pierre White. They take extra care no matter where one dines, to present very interesting and delicious foods often influenced by different cultures.

Some ships offer a midnight buffet of rich, artistic culinary arts such as a chocolate buffet, where tables are filled with every form of chocolate delight imaginable from sculptures to mousse.

FUN & FITNESS

There are wonderful fitness, health and spa treatments on offer as well, with the revolutionary Retreat which is available on both the family style ships, the Azura and Ventura. This remains as an adult’s only area that is sure to provide some wonderful rejuvenation to the body, mind and spirit.

The Retreat on Azura

By night the ships come alive with West End style theatre performances, comedy acts and cabaret singers.

Most ships sail from Southampton from the months of April to October and some offer Caribbean trips out of Barbados during the winter months. Also available are fly cruise options with itineraries departing from Genoa and Venice.

There’s a new ship on the horizon due to be unveiled in March 2015. The state of the art and enormous ship Britannia is sure to be a hit with P&O’S loyal customers.

P&O ships have been made to order exclusively for adults and for families with children. There are many great cruise lines out there but none are more experienced with 175 years in operation than P&O. View the itineraries here

Images courtesy of P&O Cruises

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Watch the P&O Cruises Britannia Animation Video
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Carnival Corporation, owners of successful cruise line P&O, have revealed that their new ship, set to launch in February 2015, will be named Britannia. They announced the name of the ship after learning that the Queen had no objections to P&O using the name, which has been for years associated with the Royal Yacht.

P&O’s Britannia is set to be an incredible 1,082 feet long – the equivalent of more than four Airbus A380 planes. It will hold a 4,372 passengers and 1,400 crew, making it their largest ship ever, by quite some way. It will weigh 25,000 tons more than any of the other ships in P&O’s fleet.

Watch the P&O Britannia Video

P&O have stated that Britannia is set to be ‘built exclusively for Britain’, presumably in order to cater to its majority British passengers. Richmond International have been commissioned to design the new ship and it is set to ‘wow…with her striking décor and breathtaking interiors…designed to make you feel special, her rooms have been planned with imagination and flair, while bold features create a real talking point.’

The ship is set to incorporate the best features from its other ships such as Aurora and Azura, both of which are firm favourites with passengers. Britannia is also set to have more single berth cabins than any other cruise ship, in order to cater to the growing solo cruise travel market. Many of the single berth cabins are also set to have balconies, allowing their inhabitants to enjoy the same comforts as everyone else on board without paying a premium to do so.

It will have four different swimming pools on board, which will surely appeal to passengers and especially to families with children. Britannia will also have thirteen different bars for passengers to choose from, as well as thirteen restaurants and cafes for passengers to dine in.

The keel of the new Britannia has already been laid. This took place in Monfalcone shipyard in Italy on May 15th 2013. The keel consists of six different parts and weighs a phenomenal 408 tons.

The name of P&O’s latest ship was announced at around the same time as the Carnival Corporation faced yet another stumbling block. One of their ships from the Princess line, Royal Princess, lost power completely during a Mediterranean cruise between the Greek island of Mykonos and the Italian port of Naples. The cruise had to then be cut short and the ship has now been taken to Barcelona for repair.

Hopefully the announcement of the name of its latest cruise ship will mark a turning point for Carnival Corporation, who have suffered from many setbacks in the last few years. They own the Costa Cruise line, which tragically struck rocks off the Italian island of Giglio, claiming the lives of thirty two passengers and crew on board early last year.

What are your views on the size of these mega ships. Prefer something smaller?

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