The Ventura is the latest luxury Grand Class cruise ship for P&O Cruises. At 116,000t, the Ventura is the largest purpose-built ship for the British market and will initially be used for alternate cruises between destinations in the Mediterranean, Baltic and Norway.
The Ventura is the sister ship of the Crown Princess, the Diamond Princess and the Sapphire Princess (differing only in the funnel configuration). The vessel, costing around £330m, was constructed by Fincantieri at the Trieste Monfalcone yard in Italy and was allocated to P&O in November 2005 for delivery in March 2008. Float out occurred in June 2007.
The ship carries 1,220 crew members and can serve 3,080 passengers under regular operating capacity and 3,574 passengers under maximum operating capacity. The 15-deck ship has a total of 1,546 passenger cabins, with 1,101 outside, 880 with a balcony and 445 inside.
The ship was delivered to Southampton in April 2008 where the ship was christened by Dame Helen Mirren before making maiden its voyage to the Mediterranean.
The vessel is registered in Hamilton, Bermuda, and will operate initially from Southampton. The overall length of the ship is 290m, the breadth is 36m and the height from the keel is 67.4m. The height from the waterline is 59m and the draught is 8.5m. The propulsion system is diesel electric with a conventional propeller shaft system powered by six Wartsila diesel units with a combined power rating of 42,000kW.
The ship can make 22.9kt at cruising speed. The keel of the vessel was laid in August 2006 and involved the placement in dry dock of a single section of the ship’s hull. The section was made up of six pre-manufactured blocks, weighing 650t and already fitted with all of the required piping and internal infrastructure allowing modular construction.
The Ventura offers five swimming pools (two especially for families), six Jacuzzis, an Oasis Spa, salon and gymnasium, five boutiques, ten bars, a nightclub, a casino, library/book shop, cyb@study computer school, art and photo galleries, sports court, hi-tech gym and three show lounges, including the largest two-deck theatre on a UK-based ship.
The Ventura cruise experience includes partnerships that P&O has established with several well known brands, such as The Tate Modern, which will host educational modern art-themed cruises. Art and design are some of the key themes for the ship, with over 7,000 different paintings and installations from 55 different British artists exhibited.
For families there are a number of children’s activity clubs including Night Nursery (24 months and under), Toybox featuring children’s character Noddy (2-4 year olds), Jumping Jacks (5-8 year olds), The Den (9-12 year olds) and Decibels for teenagers. Other features onboard include Cirque Ventura (a circus skills training school), rock school for teenagers and a 3D cinema.
There are nine full service restaurants onboard the Ventura. Restaurateur Marco Pierre White has overseen The White Room, a fine dining restaurant, and has also created menus for The Beach House, a 24-hour buffet-style family restaurant. The Ventura has three main dining rooms – the Bay Tree, Saffron and Cinnamon – with sittings at 6.30pm and 8.30pm. Other restaurants include East, which serves Asian fusion and Pacific cuisine on Deck 7, the Waterside Restaurant, which is the main informal dining area on Deck 15 open throughout the day, and Frankie’s Grill and Pizzeria, the brainchild of Marco Pierre White and Frankie Dettori .
The atrium is the central hub of the ship from which all public areas can be accessed. The area is designed with four imposing pillars of black Indian granite and two glass panoramic lifts. The structure, designed by Nick Munro, covers three decks and is 9.3m high, allowing a view of the ship’s activities and providing a central mustering point. The Metropolis on Deck 18 has a 20m floor-to-ceiling video wall displaying dramatic cityscapes allowing passengers a city view as they relax with a drink and listen to live music.
Designers for the Ventura include an international team. The coordinating architect Giacomo Mortola, president of GEM SRL, designed two of the restaurants – The White Room and Beach House – and also the theatre, three of the bars and the casino. PartnerShip Design coordinating with Giacomo Mortola was responsible for the pool and deck areas, two of the clubs including the main night club Havana, two restaurants, the sports areas and photo gallery. SMC Design was responsible for the atrium and surrounding shops, cafes, cyb@centre, bookshop, reception and Red Bar.