This was our third time on Ventura - all voyages over Christmas and NewYear in the Caribbean sailing from Barbados. The flight from Manchester was good and on time and we thought there had been an improvement in the food on the plane. The usual efficient P&O service at Barbados meant that we were soon on the ship.
We had booked a cabin on A deck at the back which was exactly where we wanted to be but a few days before leaving home we found out by chance that P&O had upgraded us to D deck very near the front. The cabin was a superior deluxe balcony cabin which was very comfortable for us two but I would imagine it could be a bit claustrophobic if there were three people in it. There was a bath with shower over. The shower head was fixed so my husband at 6 ft tall found it a bit low for him. Tons of hot water and huge bath towels. Good quality shampoo and conditioner and shower gel. The worst thing about the cabin was the balcony which is useless if it is raining as there is no overhead cover so you cannot sit out (as you can on all other balconies) and watch the rain!! Yes the balcony is overlooked by those above but this did not really bother us. The cabin was kept tidy by Veron, our stewardess although the grouting around the bath under the shower head could have done with a clean. Also the net curtain at the sliding door leading to the balcony had seen better days and was in shreds at one end.
We had some nice touches - the best being a little Christmas cake - proper fruit one, with marzipan, icing and a snowman on the top!!
The cabin was in a very quiet area. No noise from either outside or above. But for us, it just was not in a convenient location. Still I suppose all the walking from one end of the ship to the other could have shed some calories!!
We were freedom dining. The food in the MDR varied from very good to barely OK. Of course everything comes plated up which does not add to the enjoyment of your meal. Someone said that P&O had gone away from silver service for vegetables to plated up meals in response to customer demand - are they having a laugh?? We ate once in the White Room and once in East both of which were excellent. We also did a taster menu in the Glasshouse which I thought a bit overpriced. We also ate once in the evening in the Beach House which was as good as we remembered it on previous trips. Otherwise we had breakfast in the Beach House and I had some lunch in the Waterside.
We drank mainly in the Glasshouse and the staff in there were excellent. Indeed it was difficult to criticise the staff anywhere except for those on duty at the gangway who could be a bit more human and welcoming. We were more than happy with the drinks prices. Of course there is no 15% added to each bill unlike most other cruise ships there days. One tip - a cocktail costs less than a large glass of some wines.
We are not show people but reviews I heard from fellow guests suggested that the performances were very good. Instead we "people watched" from outside the Tamarind club. New Year's Eve was brilliant on deck. Everyone was beautifully dressed. In fact we thought the standard of dress thought the cruise in the evenings had gone up and we did not see many in scruffy jeans and trainers.
Apart from the day in Dominica where it rained all day, we had brilliant weather throughout. We lost one day at sea as the Captain informed us all that a passenger needed urgent specialist hospital treatment and therefore we would be sailing full steam ahead for Barbados. In fact he shaved a whole 24 hours off the journey. So we had an extra day in Barbados. The flight home was again on time and very quick as we were benefitting from the gales across the Atlantic.
We really enjoyed our holiday and have already booked the same ship for the same time in 2014. This time we have a cabin at the stern end and have not elected to accept any upgrade so we know where we will be.
So it is Good old Ventura once again for Christmas and New Year.