Ventura Pre-Grand Event Cruise

Ventura was doing a 3 night cruise on the 3oth June, arriving back with the other 6 P&O ships as part of their Grand Event. On the other side of the berth was THV Patricia, which Princess Anne will be on for that.

Ventura, THV Patricia and Shieldhall

Check in was fast and my lovely cabin steward Luis let me go in early.


On Channel 3 was wall to wall Canberra – *love*! Muster was annoyingly at 4.15pm with sailaway at 5pm, meaning Indy would go first. We were still bunkering when muster was over, Whitonia letting go shortly before the hour. Grrr! It was very windy but at least it wasn’t raining! Some of the crew from THV Patricia waved us off. Indy was miles ahead, even with a medevac as she passed Cowes.

Air sea helicopter by Indy’s helipad conducting a medevac

After turning past Calshot, I went in, fed up being sprayed! My lovely steward had already done the cabin, putting the beds together as I’d requested after the booking was changed, but not restocked my biccies. After shopping and being ignored by bar staff in the Tamarind Club, when those not on their own had drinks, I spotted Indy again having dropped the pilot.

Dinner was weird. Despite my request for a large table, I got a table for two and was put with another single lady. Well it’s better than being stuck with couples and families I suppose but that’s never happened before. Last time I was on Ventura we did the Freedom dining thing, as we had on Oceana, and I hated it. It works better on NCL because they have more eating places to cope when people want to eat at their normal times. Course back then, I didn’t have a dietary requirement, which would probably be impossible to do when you don’t sit at the same place each night. And speaking of that, P&O came up trumps again! The first time I’d done this was on Aurora last July. My feet still swelled because I didn’t know the water causes it as well as all the salt. But since I learned that, I have Coke with meals and also avoid ice. My head waiter explained how they take your order the night before, even though I told him I’d done it before. Neither he nor my waiter would believe Cunard, run by Carnival UK as well, just give you a pen with no discussion. I can avoid salt (or much) during the day but evening can be difficult and that’s how I know Cunard give me food full of it, just as I knew MSC did last week. If it was salt-free, as P&O and Celebrity do (will check Royal Caribbean soon), my feet would not balloon or become infected. As it’s a short cruise, I wouldn’t normally bother but because of going onto Oriana straight afterwards I’d like to be able to walk! So come on, Cunard, BUCK UP in time for next year’s cruise!!!! Right now P&O are putting you to shame. You pay less money on P&O for superior service and food. But back to the cruise. The show was Reflex, with lots of 80s music and brilliant. Really toe tapping stuff.

Afterwards I met friends, Aad and Nicoline to remember our mutual friend, Ben van Zeijl, Holland American Line expert, who sadly lost his battle with cancer four days before. His funeral will be the 3rd July, at the very time I’m doing a harbour tour. But Oriana and Aurora were two of his favourite non-HAL ships so it’s apt I’m on Oriana that day, though I’d give anything to be in Rotterdam to say goodbye. Ironic really, considering we’re having an overnight in Amsterdam on the 4th. None of us can go so will remember him that day in our own way.

Zeebrugge was the first port, and I was almost shaken out of bed but a loud, bone rattling vibration, which made me think Artemis had returned! Since this wasn’t my first call (or last since I’m back on the 6th on Oriana!), I couldn’t be bothered getting up until after 11am then went to get breakfast/lunch. Yummy chilli and without peppers, as it should be cooked! Far too many recipes have them just to add colour and it’s totally unnecessary. Then onto the dock for pics, wondering if security would be yelling like on Mary back on the 8th. Nope. They couldn’t be bothered!

It started to rain – bastard! But no sooner was I back in than it stopped – double bastard! Now last time I was on this ship back in 2008, I HATED it. Never wanted to come back. If it wasn’t for the Grand Event, I wouldn’t have. But second time around she’s not so bad. Still obviously a Princess rather than P&O, right down to the info channel, and I’m still not keen on the décor but if it came to it, I would cruise on her again one day if price and itin were right. Our sailaway was 6pm but they were removing the gangway about 45 mins earlier and we sailed about 5.35pm. Yet for some reason, the info channel said we sailed at 5pm. Is it on another time zone? It was pretty windy. Captain Brown (he of my Aurora 2007 New Year cruise when we had bad weather) said it would be force 4-6 but it was almost 40 flipping knots on more than one occasion! Web listed starboard quite a lot as we turned, first time I’ve known that to happen and she didn’t really recover that list by dinner!

Before second sitting, he came over the tannoy to say there’d be 30mph winds expected so we’d see about Guernsey at 8.30am, which is odd considering we’re due for 8am! I’m getting Aurora déjà vu re Lisbon 4th Jan 2008! We also had our diembarkation info and you can bet your life many people coming and going from all ships will not follow instructions.

Formal night and many women were wearing summer dresses with a bit of bling. There were two shows to choose from – The Beatles Experience in Havana or Jimmy James in the theatre. Having seen the Beatles on Balmoral in May, as well as another variation on Norwegian Epic last October, I went to the theatre. What a show! Totally electric!

Jimmy James

Now why can’t P&O/Cunard get these types of acts for longer cruises instead of the usual drivel? Makes me wonder what they’ll do on Oriana!

Guernsey or not Guernsey – not! Nothing new there. I’m not that bothered, having been to these places before, but so far each Guerney call ended up in Cherbourg, except us. We tootled around after avoiding 40 knot winds, our speed dropping at one point to 2 knots but got back up to 3.8 for a while until returning to the usual 8-9 knots.

The 3rd July was the day we’d all been waiting for! Weather was crap but it was great watching them arrive from our ship in Mayflower Terminal. Aurora was first then us, Azura, Oriana, Arcadia, Oceana and finally, earlier than scheduled, Adonia.

Oriana following Azura into Southampton


Aurora, Azura and Oriana from Ventura

Oriana docking in front of Aurora

Arcadia and Oceana arrive

Oceana and Adonia

Breakfast, disembark and the walk to City Terminal for Oriana in the rain, but had a harbour tour to do first…..

This entry was posted in Cruises, Northern Europe, P&O Cruises, Royal Caribbean, Ship Stalking, Southampton and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Ventura Pre-Grand Event Cruise

  1. Yes, NCL is awesome with Freestyle. The dietary requirement isn’t a problem for them with this – when you enter the MDR, they swipe your card. If you have pre-ordered the night before, they know exactly where to link you and your meal together. I generally prefer fixed too, but NCL was walk up any time – no queues and we loved it.

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