Having travelled on the Azura last year, we were told that the Ventura was a better all round experience, so we decided find out more about the claims and booked a weekend to Zeebrugge on her. This coincided with my daughters twenty fifth birthday, so the scene was set and age ranges from eleven to fifty two took to sea, all seven of us in fact.
The first impression is that the décor is a little plain especially in the atrium and around the ship generally. The mix of passenger was interesting to say the least with regular cruisers being joined by large hen and stag parties, this made for a very rowdy first night in the Cinnamon restaurant.
The second night was a total transformation, back to the relative normality of what I have come to expect from a cruise dinning experience. I think this was largely due to the fact that the stag parties either didn't bring the correct attire with them or they were still in bed from the previous nights drinking.
I had no problems with service in any venue and around the ship, in fact it was only the night before I was able to arrange my daughters birthday cake and singing by the waiters to her at the table in the restaurant, which was carried out with military precision.
Entertainment, the head liner show was "blame it on the boogie" which was the usual singing and dance show and very well supported. I also used the red bar which had a pianist playing in it and metropolis bar on deck eighteen which had a very gentle and sophisticated feel to it. I think most people missed it because it was out of the way, compared to the busier bars that could be found on the main thorough fare. My son also found a great Spanish guitar player which I sadly missed.
The swimming pool was not open on the Friday we sailed which came as a great disappointment to my eleven year old but was open on the Saturday , last year P&O decided to start painting the swimming pools when we were in Italy and closing them on some of the hottest days of our Mediterranean cruise. Other cruise lines seem to have longer opening hours and no pool is closed unless the weather forces them to, for passenger safety reasons.
The cabin was the usual layout for a four berth inside, which suited us fine, as we have found our own routine and it was plenty big enough for all our needs.
Food was fine but other cruise lines provide better, having said that my daughters birthday cake was the best we have ever tasted.
We found our own way to Bruges by train and was a fantastic day out, all in all a great break and would I do it again, you bet!