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V is for Value & Ventura

14 September 2010

P&O Ventura

I've just come back from a fabulous holiday on board Ventura with P&O Cruises for a week to the Norwegian Fjords.  I really don't feel that P&O shout out enough about what good value it is on board  so thought I'd share this secret with those of you who haven't yet travelled with P&O Cruises.

The currency is British pounds so you don't suffer with poor exchange rates for a start and you just tip the staff as much (or as little) as you like in envelopes at the end of the cruise - simple.

I ate one night in the premium restaurant, Marco Pierre-White's "The White Room".  It costs £20-£25 per person with dishes similar to his other restaurants in the UK where the main courses alone can be over £20.  We feasted on a delectable foie gras & fried egg on toasted brioche, chicken with truffles and dauphinoise potatoes and Marco's signature dish lobster spaghetti.  This was followed by the lightest tiramisu and a superb cheese board with home made biscuits and coffee & chocolates.  What a feast!  The price also included some surprise Bellini's and amuse-bouches to start with.  The whole meal, including a very nice bottle of Sancerre, cost us around £80, had we been in London it would have easily cost more than £200  for the same meal.

The bar prices are really reasonable too, with cocktails ranging from £3-£5 and a pint of lager £2.95 (it's £3.50 in my local pub in Kingston) plus there's no added service charge.  The house wine, specially blended by Ollie Smith, is very drinkable and at £13 a bottle you can afford to indulge. There's no mini bar, just an empty fridge that you can stock yourself by ordering wine, beer etc all at the same prices as the bars, and if you buy six bottles of beer one is free.  Look out for daily special offers too: daily cocktails and champagne for just over £3 a glass during sailaway; plus, each night after dinner, there's a choice of two after dinner liqueurs that are half price (around £2.60 for a double  - pass the Courvoisier).

A good cup of coffee cost just £1.20, which is a lot cheaper than my local Starbucks which is well over twice the price.

I want to make it clear, that I didn't spend my whole holiday eating and drinking, I'll update on the ship and the ports shortly. Going to the gym now to work it all off...

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