I booked this cruise after being made redundant and wanting to do something nice with the money.
When I printed the e-ticket 48 hours before we left, I found we had been upgraded to cabin D307, from L311.
We arrived at Manchester airport early to find that the check in had also opened early. We were through check in within 15 minutes and checked into the airport lounge. On arrival at Barbados we were straight off the plane and onto a bus which took us straight to the ship's embarkation sheds (like a large hangar). Although the queues were long, this took about 20 minutes and we were on board.
We found we had been upgraded to a mini suite with a king size bed, a bath and shower, a pamper pack and waiting for us was a bottle of champagne on ice, chocolates and a flower arrangement.
The only slight downside was that we had to wait 3.5 hours for our luggage to be delivered to the cabin, something we had not anticipated. But, wearing bathrobes and sipping champagne while we waited was not hard!
At St Lucia, Marco Pierre White joined the cruise, much to hubby's surprise as he thought that although there was fine dining, Marco would never actually be on the ship.
We were booked on Freedom Dining and so ate when we felt like it. The pager system used by the Cinnamon restaurant if they were full was a bonus as we could go for a drink or relax in our room until a table was ready.
We also liked the Waterside buffet, although finding a seat was not always easy.
The bar and restaurant staff were fabulous, attentive and friendly. Nothing was too much trouble for our room steward and he was so quick at sorting out our room that we joked he must hide under the bed and clean up as soon as we went out!
The ship is beautifully decorated throughout and although we got lost a few times, there were plenty of signs to redirect us. Hubby especially liked the well equipped gym.
Ventura is so large that although they were nearly at capacity, we could always find a quiet spot to sunbathe and read if we wanted to.
Some of the shows we found a little disappointing. One comedian was quite unfunny and some of the productions were slightly amateur (especially the background displays) but then again, we were not in the West end of London.
The entertainment staff were brilliant, especially Greer and Jenny who smiled all day and really engaged the passengers without being pushy.
I was really sad to leave Ventura and the Caribbean and would love to go back but we have decided to try out other P&O ships and different destinations first to see if they are as good as our first cruise.
We weren't sure if cruising was for us but now that we have tried it, I can honestly say that it's the way forward if you want better than 5 star pampering with top notch food and brilliant destinations.