Ventura Cruise Review by HBulman: A bit of a disappointment
A bit of a disappointment
We flew from Gatwick to Barbados with Thomas Cook whcih was ok - flight passed quite quickly and got straight off plane at Barbados, onto coach and taken straight to ship avoiding the airport formalities entirely. Wished I had put shorts,t shirt and flip flops into flight bag as had to stay in winter clothing for three hours until luggage delivered to cabin but should have known having cruised previously.
We had an outside obstructed view cabin which looked between two lifeboats so still had a bit of a sea view. Cabin was spacious and kept clean by Bruno our cabin steward throughout the cruise. Not sure how often bed linen changed but suspect weekly at the most unlike other cruise lines which do change daily - however must think of the environment and not wash needlessly.
We had second sitting dining at the Saffron on (as requested) a table for two. However the table was so close to the tables next door either side that we felt obliged to chat to neighbouring tables More - might as well as had a table for six in this respect.
Food I would describe as more like "pub grub" - certainly no memorable or outstanding meals in the restaurant. A couple of dishes were plain awful Didn't try the speciality restaurants whcih other cruisers described as excellent (probably more on a par with likes of Celebrity in their main restaurants.
Our waiters were ok but my husband had to ask for a steak knife every time - this should be provided when steak ordered. Also tables crumbs not cleared - its these small details that put P and O down the scale of other cruise lines!
We did find the lunches in the Saffron had nicer choices of food than the evenings.
We ate breakfast at the saffron or outside the Beach House in the open air area and once had room sevice whcih is only continental unless you pay extra.
The pizzas and burgers/hot dogs at frankies grill on deck 15 were very nice indeed.
Entertainment was quite good. Headliners shows especially Reflex about the 1980's music were very good, there was a comedian called Fogwell Flax who was quite funny and also did a fantastic Sting tribute, also a "Cuban comedy/magician Manuel Martinez who was funny but I think did offend some people by his comments. Also Mercury Rising a tribute to Freddie Mercury was excellent. We enjoyed doing the quizzes but P and O a bit mean by not giving away even a keyring to the winning team (we won three and got nothing! - except the glory!)
Ports of call all very nice - hot weather as to be expected and we luckily missed out on rain showers by being in the right place at the right time!
We did two excursions one St Maarten by rib (inflatable speedboat) which visited Marigot, stopped for snorkelling and a beach and included rum puch/soft drinks/beer. The other was whale watching in Dominica whcih we were lucky to see both whales and dolphins. The price for these two excursions for my husband and I was Â£204.00.
On the other islands we negotiated deals with local taxi drivers for tours and the best deal was Antigua where we got the local bus to Nelsons Dockyard return fo $3 each. A bargain and very efficient.
Our main concern with the ship was the cleanliness. Ash trays were not emptied, glasses/rubbish etc not cleared away from one day to the next, grubby fingermarks on glass in lifts (and bearing in mind very few children on board to make a mess)
To sum up the cruise was adequate but not special and I probably won't rush back to P and O again anytime soon. Less
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