We thought the price, including flight to Barbados too good to miss and booked, "on a whim."
We were not to be disappointed as our travel arrangements(even allowing for the fact that we had to start from Toulouse)were completely hassle-free. The Thomson Charter Flight was far better than expected as the highly professional cabin staff looked after our comfort very well.
What a treat it was to be met at the aircraft steps and be driven directly to the Cruise Terminal and our luggage being delivered to our cabin.
There we met our smiling Goan steward, Leslie Fernandez and spent some time reminiscing about Goa, where we have spent many happy holidays.
We found the Ventura very traditional in design and layout, very much always a SHIP, compared to NCL Epic which is a floating hotel.
We chose Freedom dining and ate in the Cinnamon Restaurant most nights where we found the food to be brilliant with plenty of choice for the pickiest of diners.
The rest of the time we ate in the Buffet Restaurants which served appetising breakfasts until noon and had themed Dinner Buffets eg.Tandoori, Thai, Mexican, etc.
We didn't try the White Restaurant as we felt that Â£50 p.p.was going a tad too far and hardly a cover charge.
We did eat in Ramblas one evening and although the food was OK and served hot I found it to be very characterless, with no attempt at a Spanish atmosphere. Where were the Spanish guitars? How difficult would it be to find a CD?
Anyway, Ramblas is being removed during the re-fit.
Sunloungers? It's all been said! No change, I'm afraid.
The Islands lived up to all expectations, the British heritage very much in evidence and English spoken everywhere.
We tried the well-equipped gym this year and had a foot and ankle massage(bliss).
Our only complaints are about the timing of the shows. You can't go directly from one show to another, like on the Epic and often we couldn't be bothered waiting till 10.30pm for the 2nd show.
Also, husband grumbled about the cost of Internet as the signal was often very weak.
To answer my question at the beginning: Yes, 21 days is too long at this time of year and coming from W.I. to UK as for the last week or so it started to get cold and sun-seeking lost it's charm.
Unfortunately we found not very much to do apart from one excellent lady explorer who gave an inspiring talk in the theatre one day. All the films I'd seen already.
All the staff work extremely hard and are polite and charming.
Would we do it again? We are still undecided as we think we prefer the more cosmopolitan atmosphere of some other cruise lines. Living in France we are used to being in the minority and found the Britishness a bit over-powering.