Cruising with a Baby on P&O’s Ventura

Josh with Captain Charlie Carr on Ventura

Tips For Cruising With A Baby

Not only was this my first P & O cruise but it was also my first time cruising with a six-month-old baby.  As my daughter was 14 by this time, it had also been a while since I’d done the baby thing.  We were joined by my mum, so I had an extra pair of helping hands.

Pre-Cruise Planning

Before the cruise, I discovered that P & O offer more for parents with small babies than other cruise lines. You can order a baby bath, a steriliser, bottle warmer, a cot (travel cot) and baby food.  All at no extra cost.

The twin beds are the same size although the one on the left looks really skinny, it’s not.

On Arrival

We arrived in the room to find a lovely balloon tied to some sweets as a little extra touch for Joshua.  The balloon came in very handy when I was trying to distract Joshua long enough to get ready to go out.

Surprisingly the travel cot fits easily between the two beds or even at the foot of the farthest bed.  Be aware, if you have it there you obstruct the fridge which can be a bit of a pain.  I used to move it to the foot of the bed in the mornings when I was getting ready and then have it in the middle, at night.  I guess if like most people, you are travelling with the baby’s father, you will want the beds as a double.  In which case you can either have the cot at the end of the bed or around the corner.  I’ll show you further down.

Steriliser, bottle warmer, tea and coffee making facilities and UK plug sockets.

The steriliser and the bottle warmer, together with tea and coffee making facilities and a fridge.

A lovely and unusual touch to welcome young cruisers.

My daughter Lucy was booked into a twin room with my Mum so that she didn’t have to pay a single supplement.  However, once we got onboard, we asked if Lucy could join me and Josh in our room.  The ship staff were great about it and issued us with another key card for Lucy.

If you are swapping rooms it is very important to notify the ship staff!

This is because, your allocated meeting point in an emergency, depends on where your cabin is on the ship and if you go to a muster station that is not expecting you, there may not be a seat on the lifeboat should you need one. Similarly, if you are required to disembark the ship, it will appear that you are still onboard and someone may risk their life trying to save you unnecessarily.

Plenty of hanging space for clothes

This is the area outside the bathroom where you can hang your clothes.  The travel cot and bedding were already in our room for us.  You can place the cot in this area if you prefer so the baby almost has a separate bedroom area.  It’s whatever you feel most comfortable with really.  Speak to your room attendant about your needs because they will put the cot up every evening for you and then fold it away during the day.


The playroom for under 3’s is open all-day

Ventura has a playroom which is open all day for parents with under 3’s and is complimentary.  Joshua was one of only about five babies onboard.  It will depend on when you travel as to how many children are onboard your cruise.

At night, the room turns into a night nursery with cot beds and curtain dividers.  As long as your child goes to sleep without a problem, you can drop them off from 6 pm onwards so that you can go and enjoy a meal and some entertainment with peace of mind.  You are given a pager so that you can be contacted at all times.  I think the nursery is open until about 1 am, however, the latest I collected Joshua was around 11.30.  I was surprised he went straight off to sleep every night, but it gave me some time to myself.

Sunrise while docking in Dubrovnik, Croatia

Morning Stroll

I like to get up very early in the morning and luckily with Joshua, I don’t need an alarm clock.  One of my favourite things to do is get up while most people are still in bed, around 6 am, and walk around the top deck taking in the views and the sunrise.

Friendly ship staff

The staff were really friendly and loved Joshua.

Milk, yoghurts and fruit to start the day

It was a great opportunity to try Joshua with different foods.  For baby food and yoghurts you need to ask a member of staff as they are kept in a separate refrigerator for your child’s’ health and safety.

I can’t resist a cooked breakfast on a cruise
Captain Charlie Carr is more than happy to pose for a photo with Joshua.

The public areas on deck have plenty of space to move around, and there is a large covered bar and seating area.

A big hit with the kids is the poolside grill that serves pizza, burgers, hot dogs and ice cream.

Larger balconies, but not so private.

Balcony cabins on decks C and D are larger than most, however, bear in mind that you can be overlooked by those looking down from upper decks.

Ships and Champagne

Award-winning restaurant The Glasshouse

One of my favourite places onboard the Ventura is The Glasshouse.  Writer, tv presenter and sommelier Olly Smith who can be seen on Saturday Kitchen and This Morning, has developed a menu of 32 wines which can be paired with specially crafted dishes in this uniquely designed wine bar-restaurant.

Learning about wines and food pairing in The Glasshouse

I was keen to attend the wine pairing seminar, which was held on a sea day at 11.30 am.  As there is no childcare available during the day for under 3’s, I was concerned about what to do with Joshua.  The staff in the Glasshouse reassured me that I could bring him along, and if he became disruptive they would take care of him!

If only this would catch on back home

I had to take a quick photo before they handed him back to me.  The staff were lovely.

Lost? This should help.

If you are worried about getting lost, you will find one of these deck plans by the lifts and stairs on each deck.

Light lunch

Feeling indecisive about what to have from the lunchtime buffet, I decided to try a little bit of everything!

Bon Voyage Croatia

Ready to sail away from Dubrovnik with a cheeky margarita.

Dress Code

There is usually a couple of formal nights onboard, however it only compulsory to wear formal clothes if you are dining in one of the restaurants.  For those people who prefer to stay in shorts and tee shirts, there is plenty to choose from in the self-service buffet.

Marco Pierre White provides the Gala dinner menu

Formal night menu included a menu by Marco Pierre White.


Don’t forget your Towel band

There is plenty of space around the pool to be able to move the sun loungers around.  A must-have accessory is a Towel band, which keeps your towel in place and doubles up as a luggage strap.

The baby splash pool (far left) with surrounded with perspective glass for extra safety.

Nappies and Swimming

If you are cruising with a baby in nappies are not allowed in the main pools due to strict health and safety procedures that apply to cruise ships.  I believe it’s something to do with the chlorine levels allowed onboard being lower than those at public pools.  Not all ships have splash pools for babies, however, Ventura does and it is at the back of the ship next to the kids’ clubs.

Cruising into Venice along the Grand Canal

Sailing into Venice is hard to explain, but those who have done it say it is by far the best port to sail in or out of for breathtaking views.

Stunning views of Venice

Cruising along the Grand Canal while relaxing on a sun lounger or having a dip in the pool, is pretty hard to beat.

Marco Pierre White’s onboard restaurant The White Room

Mum and I spent our last night with a meal in Marco Pierre White’s onboard restaurant, while the sun set over Venice.

Quality mother and daughter time.

Recommended Reading Cruise People – Family Cruising – The Bruce-Low’s

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