Updated June 2019
Our highly-experienced cruiser and Head of Global Supply, Simone Clark, spent a week onboard P&O Cruises' Ventura and managed to eat in all the restaurants onboard. Here's a quick overview of what's on offer.
The Main Dining Options
P&O Ventura has three main dining rooms in order to offer two set dining times and freedom dining. All three restaurants offer the same menu and during my stay I ate in the Saffron Restaurant, which is adjacent to the Atrium.
If you want a lie-in you can order room service for breakfast, which offers simple continental breakfast and cereals. There are tea and coffee making facilities in each cabin too for your convenience.
Alternatively you can choose waiter service in the main dining room - there's cereals, fruit, yogurts etc as well as a daily special such as eggs Benedict, smoked salmon or Kedgeree. For those who enjoy a full English breakfast - the P&O Cruises breakfast is second to none - with no less than 12 different items: sausages, bacon, hash browns, black pudding, kidneys, fried bread, tomato, mushrooms, potatoes, white pudding, and beans. The buffet restaurant is less formal and open later - ideal for those wanting a lie in - with similar choices to the main restaurant. I found P&O cruises coffee in the buffet to be the best basic coffee I've ever had on a cruise ship (without paying extra).
Again, you can go for waiter service in the main dining area where there is a small menu, or opt for the buffet. At lunch time there are always salads, pasta, veggies, bread, cheese and a choice of traditional hot food which generally included a delicious curry, pie, a fish dish, a freshly carved roast meal and a vegetarian choice. Alternatively, you could dine outside by the pool at the Pizzeria or the Pool Side Grill, on either freshly made pizza or hotdogs, burgers and fries - delicious and no queue either!
During the week I only ate in the main dining room on three nights, the other nights I opted for the buffet and the three specialty restaurants, so plenty to choose from. I was in Club dining, however you can opt for the flexible dining option if you book early enough. A good thing to note is that there are three shows a night, so if you are on the later sitting you can either see the show pre or post dinner (depending on whether you are up for partying or not!). The food is very traditional for the British market with six main courses to choose from (one veggie, one fish) and a further choice of three plain dishes such as steak, salmon, or chicken breast. Here's a sample menu from one of my nights onboard:
- Caesar Salad
- Duck breast with remoulade
- Battered calamari with lemon and dip
- Sweet potato & prawn chowder
- Spicy plum tomato
- Baked cod fillet with chorizo & butter bean casserole
- Carved pot roast rump of beef with bourguignon sauce, parsnips & new potatoes
- Grilled pork cutlet with onions, apples, & sage gravy
- Peppered loin of venison with neeps & haggis cake
- Roulade of turkey breast with bubble & squeak cake and Brussels sprouts
- Quorn & potato topped pie with mushy peas & roasted veg
- Sirloin steak with peppercorn sauce
- Apple & Blackberry Crumble with custard
- Lemon posset
- Strawberry shortcake with cream
- Compote of lychees with Malibu coconut liqueur
- Choice of six ice creams/sorbets
This was usually a selection of three to four British regional cheeses and continental favourites with biscuits and dried fruits.
Coffee or tea with homemade chocolates or biscuits.
You can then opt for a savoury (in this case scrambled eggs & anchovy on toast).
After eating all that it was hard to move, but you can purchase a half price liqueur to help settle your stomach!
I only ate in the buffet one night, however I learned that there is generally a choice of traditional dishes as well as themed buffets. I opted for the Indian buffet, which was extremely popular and delicious - Kingfisher lager was on offer too to compliment the cuisine. Choice (from memory) included: home made naan, chapatti, puris, bhajis, pakoras, popadams (with all the extras), Indian salads, rice, daal, veg side dishes and around six more curries including a vegetarian and fish option. A veritable feast!
As expected the dining onboard was superb, and lived up to P&O Cruises' excellent standards.