I may be starting to sound like a stuck record, but I’ll say again, if I was charged with arranging a stag/hen party or a large gathering of friends, I’d be all over a short cruise on Ventura, despite previously mentioned shortcomings. One of the main reasons is that the drinks service is reasonably priced and served with a smile.
Clearly, on this short cruise on the North Sea, in the dead of winter, the poolside bars, like Beachcomber, were not of much interest to me (which isn’t to say they weren’t busy with hardier souls), but that leaves three main venues in the warmth:
There is also The Red Bar, a rather awkward space in a thoroughfare, which I photographed but never patronised.
I gave The Glasshouse a bit of a hard time over food, but it does offer a reasonably interesting wine list, all at sensible prices. It’s also never that busy - at times when The Exchange was crowded, plenty of seats were available at The Glasshouse, and they do offer a full range of beers and spirits, in addition to wine.
The Exchange, as mentioned previously, has a, rather odd, railway theme, but it’s a lively space, showing either sports or music videos on a large screen. Even when busy, the service remained excellent.
From my point of view, the best bar was Metropolis, high above the aft of the ship. Alas, it was too hard to photograph in the dark. Pre-dinner cocktails here on formal night was excellent - there were plenty of seats available and the universal adoption of Black Tie lent the place a fantastic atmosphere. On the casual night, it was busier and more boisterous.
As I said, given the captive audience, prices were reasonable (although, for strict UK measures, rather than US-style free-pour). Prices included: