We have just being on a two week Caribbean cruise on P & O Venture. This being our first cruise meant we went with an open mind and few expectations. Right from the start we were very impressed with the professionalism of P & O. As on landing at Barbados, there was no waiting for our luggage and we went straight to the ship. We were processed very quickly and given assistance to our cabin. After a few hours our luggage was waiting for us outside of our cabin.
We were very pleased with the size of our cabin, (Stateroom with Balcony). It was plenty big enough for us, it was very clean and well presented. Our steward maintained the same standard throughout the criuse. The Venture is a very large ship and it took some time to get round it, and even at the end of the cruise we were still getting lost. We had paid for Freedom Dinning which lived up to expectations. As this gave us the flexibility we wanted. We were very pleased with the quality and presentation of the meals which were excellent. The waiters were very good and gave excellent attention, plus they never rushed us. The costs of the drinks was very reasonable, and compared favourably to the cost of drinks at home. We eat breakfast mainly in Shaffron Restaurant and again found this to be an excellent restaurant. We visited a lot of the bars throughout the ship and found the cost of the drinks to be very good. Even though there was sometimes a delay in receiving our drinks after ordering them.
We liked the Breakers bar in the day and in the evening used the Metropolis Bar. The only bar we didn't like much, was the Havana as the design of it was not good for watching a show, plus it got very busy on some nights, to the degree people were standing in front of the audience. P and O should look at redesigning this room, removing the barriers which would give more seating. We saw a lot of the enterainment mainly in the Arena Theatre, which was a good theatre. Some of the entertainment was excellent, this included the Venture Theatre Company, plus there were some excellent comedians. The singers were however hit and miss, even so we enjoyed the Robby Williams and Freddie Murcery Tributes acts.
There was plently going on all day and night on the ship, and in reality it is impossible to do everything. We found the daily Horison newsletter and the Island information leafletreally helpful. As these enabled us to plan what we wanted to do the next day. Most of the islands we visited were excellent, and varied enough to make each stop different. The only island I was not impressed with was St Vincent, and if we had not gone on a fast boat ride from the dock side, we would have stayed on the ship. We however loved Grand Turk as this was our idea of a desert island, Antigua was beautiful and Nelson's Dockyard was a must see. If we had more time we would have gone to a beach as well. At St Lucia we took a bus trip to see the Piton's which was a hike however it was well worth it, as the view of them was a must see. Next time if I went to St Lucia, I would go to one of beaches as Rodney Beach is excellent. St Marteen had a great beach right by where the water taxi comes in and only cost 6 dollars both ways.
On all of the islands we used US Dollars, and found most gave us change in US Dollars. On the advice of others we did not arrange any trips on the ship, and on each Island, local taxi's or minibuses were there to offer very similar trips at half the cost. However, I would advice us negotiate the cost of the trip and only pay at the end. If you want to do a particular trip such as swimming with the stingrays or going on a helicopter ride then book these with P & O. We found the Island people very helpful and informative. We had no trouble when on the islands.
When on the ship we found there was plenty of sun beds and could find one even on a busy sailing day.
Overall we have no complaints regarding our cruise which we thoroughly enjoyed. We would recommend the Venture to others, and gained the impression from speaking to others who had already being on the Venture, the initial problems appear to be addressed.