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Cruise around the Canary Islands on P&O Ventura

  • Cruise around the Canary Islands on P&O Ventura
  • Cruise around the Canary Islands on P&O Ventura

Cruise around the Canary Islands on P&O Ventura

In early April Debbie and I went on our first cruise on the P&O Ventura to the Canary Islands. It was a 13-night cruise, which we felt was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Neither of us has been on a cruise before.

We wanted a cruise which is outside of the main school holidays and also so we could have some Winter/Spring sunshine and we were not disappointed.

Preparation for our cruise with P&O

You may have noticed in my previous posts that I say I do a lot of homework. My homework on this occasion was about preparing for the cruise itself. What to look out for when going on a cruise. What do you need to take with you when we go on the cruise and what to leave behind?

I found YouTube to be very helpful in preparing for the cruise. Several YouTube contributors seem to spend their lives cruising and giving advice to cruise beginners and regular cruisers too.

I found the following YouTubers very helpful with tips and advice. I would suggest that if you are a first-time cruiser check out their videos. Tips for Travellers is very good. Gary Bainbridge gives tips and advice to people who are over fifty years old on how to get the most out of cruising. You will find his tips here

Another YouTuber, who also has her website is called Emma Cruises, who says in her YouTube Biography that she shares “ Videos about my adventures cruising on the Ocean and rivers…” Emma’s video tips and advice are found here

You can find many more Videos and websites by using your favourite search engine or just searching on YouTube.

What we took with us on our cruise

As we have never been on a cruise before we did buy a few extra things to take with us. Mainly to help with security when in port. One of the first was a neck wallet for me and an undercover bra wallet for Debbie. This is so we could hide money when on shore to avoid being pickpocketed. These worked well. You can buy them from Amazon or a high street travel/camping shop.

I also bought us some RFID-blocking cards that worked well. The idea of these blocking cards is that you can slip them into your wallet, and they stop thieves from skimming your credit or debit cards as they block the signal from your card.

We also took some magnetic hooks to place on the wall of our cabin so that we could hang hats or bags in the cabin. They have multiple uses on board the ship (link to Amazon)

If you want any more advice on what to take on a cruise leave me a comment on the box below this post.

Boarding the P&O Ventura (Embarkation)

We boarded the Ventura on the 7th of April 2024. Boarding the ship itself was smooth sailing if you will excuse the pun. We did arrive at the ship earlier than our boarding time. This was mainly because we didn’t know if there would be any hold-ups in Southampton as on the day our cruise was to begin a Marathon was being held and some of the roads would be closed. When we arrived at the port we had to queue up for a while to drop our car off and our luggage. This was quite quick as there were several lanes for cars.

Once we had dispatched our car and luggage, we were directed into a queue for the arrival desk. At the desk, we had to show our passports at which point we were given our boarding passes. Once we were onboard the Venture we found our cruise cards, which used like a passport for the rest of the cruise. When going ashore and returning aboard after an excursion or trip into the local town Security would check our cruise card.

One question that is asked a lot on cruise forums is how much luggage are you able to take onboard. With P&O Ventura we were allowed the maximum weight of 22kg per suitcase but we could take onboard as many cases as we needed.

For our 13-night cruise, we took two medium-sized cases weighing around 22kg and two smaller cases. That was enough to last us two weeks I found it very useful also to take packing cubes as I was able to pack my case easily and also organise my clothes by type.

We then had to go through security before boarding the ship. As we went through security, we had to place our bags, phones, belts, watches and any other metal or electrical items through the scanner, similar to an airport. This was much quicker than going through airport security and within a few minutes, we were ready to board the Ventura.

First night on board the P&O Ventura

The first thing we did after getting on board was to find our cabin, this wasn’t too difficult as we did have a plan for the ship. The only thing we didn’t know was which side of the ship our cabin was. Once we got to the cabin, we found our luggage waiting outside.

Before we unpacked and set sail, we did have to go to our muster station on deck 7 to go through the safety procedures should there be an incident. This took about 30 minutes or so with a demonstration on using the life jackets and boarding the lifeboats.

The ship set sail from Southampton around 18:00 hours (6:00 pm) and we went to the buffet for our first meal onboard.

They chose to have a balcony cabin, but we didn’t choose where it would be on the ship. We were on deck 10 of the Ventura, and we were at the front of the ship. Maybe on reflection, it wasn’t the best position to be in, but I will come to that later.

One of our concerns was about the bed, we often find it difficult to find a bed comfortable enough for us when we go away. On this occasion fortunately it was comfortable. The bed was quite firm but we did take our own pillows. To fit our pillows in a suitcase we used a vacuum bag to compress them, and they fitted nicely.

We unpacked our bags and then we went to explore a little bit of the ship.

The first full day was at sea as we crossed over the Bay of Biscay, and I must confess I was ill that day. Even after preparing well in case of seasickness, we had a very rough crossing with hurricane winds and the motion of the ship.

P&O Ventura Balcony Cabin C107

Black Tie Nights

While we were on board the P&O, they had 3 Black Tie nights. This was where passengers had the opportunity to get dressed up in their suits and dresses to attend the restaurants. There are several restaurants on the Ventura.

We decided that for our first Black Tie night we would go to the buffet, you didn’t have to dress up to go to the buffet but most of the other places to eat did require you to dress up. I did hear of some passengers being turned away from restaurants because they were not wearing suits.

Though it is called a Black-Tie night you are not required to wear a black tie or suit. On the occasions when we did go to the restaurant for a formal night, I wore a navy blue suit and a pink tie.

Entertainment on board

Entertainment aboard the Ventura is perhaps this was one of the disappointing things for me. There was no lack of entertainment on board and lots of things to do if you wanted to.

In the evening different bars have different bands and singers playing. I didn’t enjoy the entertainment on board. For me, it was like watching Butlins Blue Coats on the ocean.

The resident band that played in different venues throughout the ship we OK. The musicians were good but were let down by a male vocalist, who I felt if they were singing songs by Kings of Leon, the male singer would have been fine but was not suited to songs by Bruno Mars or George Ezra.

There were silent discos on board which was funny to watch. People were dancing and singing along to music playing on their headphones. They had a choice of two different music channels, so some were dancing to one track while the person next to them was dancing to something else.

I did enjoy watching the Formation Dancing which took place throughout the day. in the evening there would be people dancing in the Atrium until 11:00 pm. I did find the dance moves fascinating. I later discovered that a lot of the dancers were dance teachers in their own right and it did show.

P&O Ventura Atrium
P&O Ventura Atrium

People could also drink, dance, sing karaoke and even gamble in the Casino.

Night Sky on the P&O Ventura

One of the things I loved about cruising on the P&O Ventura was the views and the night sky. Onboard there is very little light pollution so the views of the skies at night were fabulous.

Orions Belt

I would love to have taken a pair of binoculars with me but I had to consider the weight limitations on taking them onboard.

new moon reflecting on the Atlantic Ocean
New Moon reflecting on the Atlantic Ocean

The sunsets were particularly beautiful in the evening. I would often go and stand on the promenade deck (deck 7) or stand on the balcony to see the colour of the sky change as it got darker.

P&O Ventura Balcony
Sunset on the P&O Ventura

Return Journey

The journey home for us was uneventful, though one passenger did have a medical emergency and we had to detour slightly to drop them off at La Coruna for hospital treatment.

We had lots to do during the journey back to Southampton. We met a lot of really interesting people during mealtimes as we often opted to share a table in the restaurants, that way you got a table quicker.

As we sailed home, we could feel the weather change and temperatures getting cooler.

  • P&O Ventura Promenade Deck 7
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Most of the days travelling back were spent eating, resting, reading, and socialising. It was a wonderful experience.

Would we sail again? It was a great experience, we saw so many places and the excursions allowed us to see more than just staying in one place. I would recommend excursions, particularly to first-time cruisers like Debbie and I.

Disembarkation day

We arrived back in Southampton early morning, and we had to disembark (get off the ship) by 9:00 am. We had to go to our muster station where other passengers were gathered. We were one of the last people to arrive but that worked well for us as we were one of the first to get off too.

We were taken to a large room where we had to look for our luggage. It was ordered by the deck passengers were on so it wasn’t to difficult to find our suitcases. I would suggest that you either buy a very colourful suitcase or tie something to it to make it easily identifiable. Many of the cases were black which would make the harder to identify

Also, make sure you have the right suitcase. After we left the P&O Ventura I saw a lot of posts on the Facebook group asking if people had taken someone else’s suitcase by mistake.

Getting off the ship we had to go through security and customs. Some people were stopped and their cases searched and some just walked through. We had nothing to declare so we walked through and on our way by 9:45 am.

More to Come

This post is about our experience onboard the P&O Ventura but I also have a post about the places we visited and the excursion we made while touring the Canary Islands so look out for that.

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