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The other day I received a leaflet from P&O giving details of planned refits to these three ships over the next 18 months or so. The first thing to say is that I was very pleased to receive this information – I think it’s good that P&O should be more transparent about its plans. Many people will already be aware of all of this, but here it is again anyway.

As for the details, here they are:-

Arcadia: she’ll get some single cabins on Deck 2. The room for these will come from the Casino and Elektra, currently the disco. This will disappear entirely, in fact: an enlarged Globe will perform that function. Globe will get better soundproofing via a new glass wall which I would have thought would have created increased noise travel, but obviously I’m wrong. The existing Ocean Grill (the renamed Arcadian Rhodes) will get a makeover, as will the shops. There’s a hint that there will be changes to the Orchid restaurant – it wouldn’t surprise me if that became another Atul Kochhar restaurant in due course. There will also be changes to the Crows Nest – refurbished seating and some rearrangement of the space – and finally many ordinary cabins will be ‘freshened up’ (it isn’t explained what means).

Oceana: The changes here will mainly be to the cabins and the night club and bar, Le Club, plus general refurbishment (by the sound of it) to a number of her public spaces. There will also be a new Marco Pierre White menu in Le Jardin in the evening, but it does’t say if there will be physical changes to that area.

Ventura: a number of changes have already been announced for Ventura. The biggest will be the creation of 18 single cabins in the area currently occupied by (part of) The Exchange, which will therefore shrink. Next, there was some surprise when the replacement of Ramblas by an Azura-style Glass House wasn’t announced previously with the cabin changes; however, the Glass House announcement has been made now. Talking of Azura features, there’s to be a Retreat on Ventura, and the atrium will get a dance floor similar to the one on Azura. Because Ventura is (or will be) widely wi-fied, there’s no longer felt to be a need for a dedicated Cyb@center, and that space will become a library with the current library will become a perfumery. Finally, there’s a comment to the effect that East will be changing – I have a feeling that this too is to become an Atul Kochhar restaurant.

I have to say that I don’t know whether to be pleased or upset about the changes to Ventura. I think the addition of the single cabins is a plus, and we’ve always thought that The Exchange is a bit of a barn so any change there is likely to be an improvement. We always enjoyed Ramblas, however – we have happy memories from all three of our Ventura cruises of tapas + Tempranillo in there – and we’ll be sorry to lose that. (As an aside, I always enjoyed the music in there, even if the tape they generally played was by a couple of Mexican musicians – Rodrigo y Gabriella –  not Spanish, whose inspiration is more heavy metal than flamenco; their twin-accoustic guitar version of Stairway to Heaven is outstanding.) But now Ramblas will disappear, and I feel a bit sad about that. However everyone says that the Glasshouse on Azura is excellent, so we’ll look forward to enjoying that when we’re on her next year.

If I’ve got mixed feeling about the replacement of Ramblas, I haven’t got any doubts about the next change: the Retreat. This just has to be a bad idea: I am completely opposed to reserving any general part of a ship to people who have paid. Bah! Humbug!! I don’t think the one on Azura has been a great success so why they’ve decided to replicate it on Ventura I don’t know. Except, of course, that it will bring in some revenue…. Finallylet me say that the switch of the Cyb@center to a library sounds like an excellent idea, and I’ll look forward to seeing that as well.

The dates for the refits & changes are as follows:-

  • Oceana – December 2012;
  • Ventura – March/April 2013;
  • Arcadia – December 2013.

17 Responses to “P&O Refits: Arcadia, Oceana and Ventura”

  1. iain1873 says:

    Not pleased at all with the changes , regardless of your feelings on the Exchange , it is a very popular bar that on some evenings was difficult to get a table / seat in , the retreat – no thanks , why should you pay extra to get a sunbed , tensions only going to rise due to less sunbeds for everyone else , Ramblas I enjoyed as well , why add what will be an over priced pretentious wine bar named after some B rate tv personality , finally don’t change East , it was the best Restaurant on the ship – Rant over !!

    • Tom says:

      Fair point on The Exchange, Iain – it was always popular whenever we’ve been on Ventura. It’s not the ‘pub’ aspect that we didn’t like, more just the amount of space. We enjoyed the one on Arcadia (the Red Lion?), but that’s divided into smaller areas – rooms, almost.

      Thanks for the rant – err, comment.

    • Shaun Gregory says:

      We went on the Oceana for the second time at Christmas 2012, just after the refit and the leclub was great, fantastic sound system, great chairs and the bar with sit up chairs was really modern.

      The cabins had new carpets, curtains and bedding, but the lift areas have been over looked and we thought they needed a face lift at least.

      The downside was the leaks, toilets in the public areas, Magums Bar was closed on Christmas day due the “waterfall” from the casino, and the public toilets outside leclub finally gave up on day 3 of our 7 day holiday.

      On Ventura next week for the second time, by chance honestly, and 36 days at sea with P and O, so far

      • Tom says:

        Thanks for the comment.

        On Ventura next week for the second time, by chance honestly, and 36 days at sea with P and O, so far

        Ah – someone on the first post-refit cruise! Well, I hope there aren’t any glitches like they seem to have been on Oceana. But I’d very much welcome a report back afterwards, Shaun, especially as you’ve been on Ventura before and will be able to compare before & after.

  2. Gary says:

    We were on Oceana 3 years ago and thought it needed a general referb then so that should be good.
    Making Ventura more like Azura though – hmmm. I like the differences between the two so I’m not sure about the changes on the whole. I do prefer the Glass House to Ramblas (though I don’t drink wine) and I agree that The Exchange is big but also that it does get full. I like the retreat on Azura but it’s too big and that’s the only pool I can get my disabled adult son into so on Ventura we could use it when we wanted to but on Azura we have to pay, grrr.
    We were on Azura in June and we’re on her in just over a month but we booked Ventura next Sept for a b2b for a change but by the sounds of it she’ll be quite like Azura by then.

  3. […] did a post a couple of months ago after P&O announced refits of three ships (Oceana, Ventura and Arcadia) between now and December 2013. Since then there hasn’t been […]

  4. Dan says:

    How do you get the leaflets that tell you this??

    Dan

    • Tom says:

      They came from P&O, and were mailings to members of P&O’s ‘Peninsular Club’ – that’s the current name for their loyalty scheme. There’s a website but I’m afraid it doesn’t have this information on it.

  5. Having read a Lot of articles, reviews etc recently in order to choose our first cruise, I had heard about the Ventura refit and am another who disagrees with putting a retreat onboard. Azura already has one and there are of course two adults-only ships in the fleet, why change another ship? Cannot believe there is the demand for it but I guess they wouldn’t be doing it unless they are happy they will sell it to people.
    I have also read that Ventura is getting an outdoor cinema screen, have you heard of this, Tom?

    • Tom says:

      I have also read that Ventura is getting an outdoor cinema screen, have you heard of this, Tom?

      This definitely won’t be happening. The sea screen would interfere with the operation of Ventura’s sliding pool roof; or to put it another way, the sliding pool roof would slice the sea screen in two when it closed!

      Ventura was quite different from the Princess sisters (Crown Princess, Ruby Princess) when she first went into service, but Azura is much more like the Princess ships. They have an open pool, a sea screen (‘MUTS’ – aka Movies under the Stars) and a Retreat (The Sanctuary), and these features are simply repeated on Azura. Maybe the differences on Ventura cost too much to incorporate a second time.

  6. Ian says:

    Just returned from 3 wks on Azura which was very enjoyable.Sad to learn about changes to Ventura,Brodies(Azura) very noisy & cramped & those big seats! cant see a thing & what a waste of space .Exchange(Ventura) much better.Why does every venue have “music” (& I use the term loosely) playing, conversation impossible at times.On the whole an enjoyable cruise; must be- we just booked another.

    • Tom says:

      Thanks for the comment, Ian. As I mentioned in the post we’ve never been fans of The Exchange on Ventura, so we had been hoping the changes might improve it. On Ventura we always preferred bars such as Ramblas, the Red Bar, and Metropolis. But we’ll go with an open mind.

      Just as a matter of interest: whereabouts in Azura are the casino tables in relation to Brodies? Are they on the side with Brodies in the middle, or is Brodies over to the side with the casino in the middle?

  7. Ann says:

    Have to echo what has already been said about Ventura. I really like Ramblas and preferred the openness of it in comparison with The Glass House, which I never visited for a meal. Also, they must be crazy to get rid of East – the best restaurant on the whole ship in my view. However, what they need to do with this venue is charge half price during the first few days to draw people in. This will then ensure greater take up during the cruise as a whole. Having a half price sale after the first week of a 2 week cruise just means no one in there for the first week to being full up during the second.

  8. Tina Jones says:

    I have been on both ships and I too prefer the Ramblas to the Glass House and I think charging to go into the adult only pool is disgusting . On a family friendly ship there should be somewhere yuan go without having to pay extra.

  9. Tina Jones says:

    I have been on both ships and I too prefer the Ramblas to the Glass House and I think charging to go into the adult only pool is disgusting . On a family friendly ship there should be somewhere you can go without having to pay extra.

  10. MrsGuns60 says:

    Maybe I’m the only one, but the improvements seem good to me. As we have to go on our cruises during school holidays, we like to book into the Retreat for a bit of peace and quiet (my daughter disappears to the Teens Club, she loves it) and my husband and I chill !!!

  11. glen says:

    i think given the ventura a retreat area is great idea and if it’s like the azura then i am all for it. If you can’t afford it don’t use it 🙂

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