MV Ventura is a Grand class cruise ship operated by P&O Cruises, which entered service in April 2008. The ship is the largest cruise ship built for Britain, accommodating 3,100 passengers. It has 1,550 cabins, of which about 60% possess private balconies. It features fourteen public decks, eight restaurants, six boutiques, five pools and three show lounges, including the largest theatre on a British ship. Passengers are also able to walk to the very front of the ship to the bow, which is not possible on other P&O ships. This is accessible on the Promenade Deck.
The ship is intended to be family friendly, offering toys and games, mp3 players, and appearances by the children's character Noddy. It will include children's play areas and two pools specifically for families.
After being handed over on the 29 March,Ventura arrived in Southampton in the morning of 6 April 2008, ahead of its first mini cruise to Belgium on 11 April, and her Maiden voyage on 18 April.
Art on Board Ventura
P&O Cruises has partnered with art experts Tate Modern to host ‘Introduction to Modern Art’ special interest cruises to be held throughout the year. These cruises will be hosted by experts from Tate Modern and give passengers the opportunity to attend seminars, presentations and practical art classes on cruises throughout the year. On board art
Ventura is to feature £1 million worth of British contemporary art with 7,000 different pieces from 55 artists decorating the ship. The cabins also take a break from the norm, with canvasses decorating the walls instead of traditional prints.
The three stairwells are to be a highlight of the art on board, with each stairwell being created by a contemporary British artist to provide passengers with perceptual experiences and visual illusions.
On Board Dining Marco Pierre White
- Paul Critchley - Paul is using more than 120 pieces of cut aluminium, which are covered with canvas and painted to create 24 multiple piece paintings of interiors, square globes, people, clothes, groups of objects. Paul’s works will adorn the aft stairwell and create ‘ten more exciting rooms for Ventura.
- Vanessa Ballard – Vanessa is creating 42 artworks from just under 90,000 digital photographs, which will be hung in the midships stairwell. Each work will have a central form that is understandable from a distance, but as you move closer it becomes apparent the image is made up of many much smaller pictures. Vanessa will travel the globe in search of the pictures that will also provide myriad hidden clues.
- Johnny Bull – The forward stairwell will be home to 42 incredible lenticular works of art. This new technology means Johnny can create land and cityscapes in layers, featuring people from photographs of the places he has visited. Each image will be made from approximately 20 plastic lenses that create an illusion of depth and movement, much like a hologram.
Ventura features two restaurants and a coffee lounge where the menu has been created by celebrity chef Marco Pierre White.
- The White Room is the larger of the two restaurants and offers alternative dining to the main restaurants on board.
- Marco Pierre White has also created a menu for the first 24 hour buffet style family restaurant - The Beach House, located on Deck 15.
- There is also Tazzine which is an Italian styled coffee lounge that sells snacks and beverages.
Ventura features three main dining rooms that require passengers to book a sitting at either 6.30pm or 8.30pm in the evening. The largest is the Bay Tree Restaurant with the Saffron and Cinnamon restaurants being two similar sized smaller restaurants. Other restaurants
Family orientated activities
- Another one of the alternative restaurants on Ventura is East, which is located on Deck 7 (aft) and serves Asian and Pacific cuisine.
- Located on Deck 15 is the Waterside Restaurant which is Ventura's main food court and is open from breakfast to late afternoon. This is an informal daytime dining venue.
- Frankie's Pizzeria is located by the Laguna Pool and is inspired by the informal restaurant chain created by Marco Pierre White and Frankie Dettori
- Finally Ramblas which is named after the historic avenue in Barcelona is a Spanish themed Tapas Bar located on Deck 7.
On the 19th deck of Ventura is 'Cirque Ventura' which is the first contemporary circus school on any superliner. It holds workshops by performers teaching such activities as tight wire, acrobalance, clowning, break dancing and juggling. It also features bungee trampolines which allow passengers to reach heights of over 100 metres above sea level. The activity is complimentary and circus shows are also planned regularly on board, that enable passengers to take part in a live performance. Scalextric at Sea
Another partnership on Ventura is with Scalextric, who have created a large digital Scalextric track, located in the Havana club. This is one of many family orientated features of Ventura. Clubs
Ventura has a large number of children's' clubs to cater for most ages. They are:
- Night Nursery - For children under 24 months old. Includes cots and a soft play area for parents and children, and has a colourful theme.
- Toybox - For 2-4 year olds. This area revolves around the fictional character Noddy and has such features as Noddy's play house, ball pool and soft play area. There is also an outdoor area with play equipment and a 'snug' area with large television which shows cartoon television and film.
- Jumping Jacks - For 5-8 year olds. This club includes arts and craft equipment, computers, lego pits and ball pools. Other activities including face painting and quizzes will take place.
- The Den - For 9 - 12 year old. This area is larger than the younger clubs and includes games consoles, TVs and an outdoor area. Activities offered include pool games and drama workshops.
- Decibels - Decibels receives less involvement from the Youth Crew and has facilities aimed at teenagers. It has a game arena, DJ decks, a rock school and an outdoor area. Discos and other evening entertainment also take place.
Ventura has six different types of cabins and 60% of these have balconies.
- The Inside Twin cabin has two beds, a bathroom with shower and a picture mirror instead of a window. Approx size: 160 square feet (15 m2)
- The Outside Twin cabin has two beds, a bathroom with shower and a picture window. Approx size: 170 square feet (16 m2).
- The Outside Twin with balcony is the most common cabin on the ship and there is more on Ventura than any other P&O vessel. Configured as Outside twin but includes a balcony. Approx size: 220–421 square feet (20.4–39.1 m2)
- The Deluxe Stateroom with Balcony is like the outside twin with balcony but it features a sofa area and bathroom with bath and shower. Approx size: 310–466 square feet (28.8–43.3 m2)
- There is also a number of large Suites which have twin/king size beds with sitting area, large bathroom and balcony. Private Butler service is also included. Approx size: 448–742 square feet (41.6–68.9 m2).
- There's also a family suite that has two bedrooms linked by a sitting area. Approx Size: 787 square feet (73.1 m2). There are only two family suites, both located on D deck.
On April 16, 2008 the British actress Dame Helen Mirren officially named Ventura and became the ship's Godmother, prior to Ventura'
s maiden cruise to the Mediterranean. In a break with tradition, instead of Dame Helen simply pressing a button to send a cradled champagne bottle towards the ship, she commanded a crack team of Royal Marine Commandos to assist her in naming Ventura in a dramatic abseil.