119 Barbados First-Time Cruisers Cruise Reviews

Just back from Barbados with Ventura and excellent holiday with good company. Many good things about the ship-food ,beer ,entertainment all first class. Put on about 7 lb due to over eating and tried to miss meals out.Evening ... Read More
Just back from Barbados with Ventura and excellent holiday with good company. Many good things about the ship-food ,beer ,entertainment all first class. Put on about 7 lb due to over eating and tried to miss meals out.Evening meal was first class silver service which lasted 2 hours but on a table with good company. Drank good English real ale mostly in bottles at pub prices- Greene King IPA, Bass, Spitfire,Old Speckled hen and Boddies on draught. Saw 2 shows most nights and all but 1 very good -Adrian Walsh comedian brilliant. Opera singer also very good.Used the gym and wife did Pilates a few times. Went offshore every day on trips usually taking local mini buses sightseeing and beach later.3 trips booked via P & O or locally. No bad stomach and even drank ships water all holiday after chilling in fridge. Only bad thing was the Thomson flight very bumpy and hours late but P & O gave us another cabin for the day and all meals. One of my best holidays ever but I never have a bad one and will be booking again soon. Where next?? Read Less
Sail Date January 2011
We opted to take this cruise because we found a particularly attractive deal through an internet agency . We have previously enjoyed visiting the Caribbean twice before. However, we normally refrain from any form of package holiday, ... Read More
We opted to take this cruise because we found a particularly attractive deal through an internet agency . We have previously enjoyed visiting the Caribbean twice before. However, we normally refrain from any form of package holiday, preferring to arrange everything ourselves. We value privacy and 'doing our own thing' so taking a cruise with 3000+ other souls represented a significant departure for us. We were very impressed with the smooth arrangements from checking in at Gatwick to our arrival in our stateroom. This was very slick indeed. The flight was with Thomson and the crew worked very purposefully to ensure that we were comfortable, and they plied us with complimentary drinks. The 4 sea days were probably our least enjoyable. The clamour and reservation of sunbeds, with extended periods of conspicuous non-occupancy, led to justifiable resentment. However, we are not as keen on sunbathing as many on board. The beds are often very close together, to the extent that navigating a clear passage to another area of the ship was often something of a challenge. We found many areas to be rather lively, and it wasn't easy to find somewhere quiet to read in relative peace. We were very glad to have a balcony, where we could read, play travel games etc - this was a major boon. We enjoyed visiting all the islands, each of which had individual appeal. We are not divers and we do not snorkel, yet we still found plenty to do to keep our interest. We often took a P&O tour in the morning, returning to the Ventura for lunch. We then pottered around the nearby town in the afternoon. It was very hot, so it was always a joy to return to the air-conditioned comforts of our cabin. Dining We started by breakfasting in Waterside / Beach house. When we were there quite early (ie before 07:30) we found these restaurants to be perfectly adequate, without lengthy queues and reasonably easy to find a table. At peak times we found these restaurants to be too crowded. We had breakfast once in Baytree. Here the service was slow and we were required to share a table with 3 other couples. On port days we had room service breakfast on our balcony. All but once, the breakfast arrived punctually at the pre-organised time. It was a joy to watch our arrival at an island whilst scoffing a pain au chocolat on our balcony. Lunchtimes were taken in Waterside / Beach house. Again, these were quite busy on sea days. On port days it was always easy to have a quiet (and relatively quick) lunch before heading into town. One distasteful aspect of buffet dining was the opportunity for gluttony and wastage. We saw people taking 3 desserts, having a sample of each and leaving the rest. For our part, we were happy to have a salad, the daily variety of which was highly commendable. As we were on freedom dining, we could eat when we chose. We normally ate in the Cinnamon restaurant, arriving before 7 o'clock. This meant there was no waiting for a table for 2. These tables are set quite close to one another, so we could chat to our neighbours quite easily. The food in this restaurant was of a uniformly high standard. House wines were set at favourable prices. We normally opted to eat 3 courses although others with a more capacious appetite went for the soup and fish courses as well. On one occasion we were asked (very politely) to vacate our table as it was needed for another couple. We had finished our coffee and were chatting to our neighbours so this was entirely reasonable. On another occasion when we were equally tardy, the arrival of the new butter pats for the next diners was a more subtle way of encouraging us to move. It made us smile. We also ate at 'East' twice and 'The White Room' once during the fortnight. Both of these restaurants offered sumptuously presented, top quality meals. Service was impeccable, and the experience was entirely worth the small supplement. (We booked both restaurants almost as soon as we arrived in our cabin on the first day - a wise measure to avoid disappointment.) Entertainment We thought that the Ventura company were very versatile and we enjoyed the shows. During the fortnight, there was a wide selection of shows, each performed thrice nightly. The acrobats (ex Cirque de Soleil) were outstanding. We enjoyed one of the comedians (Ray Turner) with his adroit observational humour. Another (Fogwell Flax) worked hard but anyone who laughs at his own jokes is rather too artificial for our liking. My wife enjoyed line dancing with 'Lonestar LIbby (!!). There was plenty of other activities but Bingo, horse racing etc we can do without. Stateroom Excellent in every respect. Very comfortable bed. Quality toiletries. Slightly odd choice of TV channels, not that we wanted to spend our time watching television. Service Our cabin steward kept our cabin in a spotless condition. He was the soul of discretion, being able to work around our variable timetable with the utmost aplomb. His unfailing good humour and civility made our cruise experience all the more enjoyable. Service in the restaurants was of a very high calibre, particularly in the speciality restaurants. Read Less
Sail Date January 2011
This was our first cruise. We booked it 5 weeks before we went, as we fancied a change from resort based holidays and wanted to visit more of the Caribbean and get some winter sun. We liked the style and size of the ship - though many ... Read More
This was our first cruise. We booked it 5 weeks before we went, as we fancied a change from resort based holidays and wanted to visit more of the Caribbean and get some winter sun. We liked the style and size of the ship - though many passengers who'd cruised before grumbled to us about the size (is there some kind of competition to see who can moan the most??). We ate on the 1st sitting in Peninsular - nice food and good service, though it wasn't as fancy or tasty as I was expecting. We also ate in Glasshouse and Sindhu (both lovely food). The buffet restaurants were OK, though the cold food they served got a little repatative after a while (curry buffet night was very tasty though). Good waiter service in bars, though I'd avoid the Mojito cocktail as they can't mix them very well, tased like water & some mint and not much else!! We were very dissappointed with the entertainment on board. The main act headliners could dance but their singing left a lot to be desired. Some of the other acts were good (freddie mercury tribute act and Andrea Dickinson) - too much repetition of movies on sea screen though (chicago and sherlock holmes were on 3 - 4 times over the 2 weeks). Not all the photographers were that good at their job, some of ours had bad shadowing and colour. We did 2 shore excursions booked through the ship - trip to Virgin Gorda (nice, but didn't really live up to it's hype) and the Rhum runner in Greneda, which was excellent. Booked independent tours and taxi's to the beaches otherwise. Prices on board are reasonable and there are plenty of sales in the shops to tempt you to part with your cash. Waitress / waiter service for Costa coffee appalling slow though - they need to sort that out. Cabins spacious and well equipped (White Stuff toiletries, which I had to resport to at end of hols) Cabin steward polite & efficient. We would consider going with P&O again, if we fancied another cruise at some point, but would wait for last minute bargains again (we heard of suites going for £799 a week before trip)!! As I say it's hard to judge standards as it was first cruise so didn't know what to expect or what to compmare it to, but had a good time & was tempted to stay on board for the 4 week xmas/new year cruise for only £1,500!! Read Less
Sail Date December 2010
On arrival at Bridgetown Port for boarding the ship, the security and screening process took approximately half an hour due to the volume of passengers arriving. Our cruise had been booked 14 days beforehand so we where very satisfied ... Read More
On arrival at Bridgetown Port for boarding the ship, the security and screening process took approximately half an hour due to the volume of passengers arriving. Our cruise had been booked 14 days beforehand so we where very satisfied with our well presented inside cabin mid ship on the 9th deck(very quiet). A supportive but comfortable king size bed was provided. The cabin was well stocked on a daily basis with a good supply of tea,coffee & biscuits. Had a small but adequate shower room, although be aware if your are tall the fixed shower head is set rather low. The level of service from our cabin steward was first class throughout our stay. Our club dinning experience was generally of good standard in the Oriental restaurant, although the quality of the food served did not always live up to the menu discription.(I.E smocked loin of pork was actually served as two slices of ham!) The experience we had in the seventeen fine dinning restaurant(cover charge £20 per head)was well worth it, absolutely superb.Both service and quality of food was first class.My advice would be to book up at the beginning of your cruise to ensure table availability. The Michelin star Sindhu Indian restaurant experience was high quality tasty food, although the level of service did not match and spoilt the occasion. The self service restaurants although convenient lacked imagination and appeared repetitive for food on offer, but seemed to suit the needs of many. Bar staff where generally friendly with better than expected prices on board for alcoholic drinks. Our experience using the Costa coffee within the Atrium area was far from pleasing with inaccurate billing on two occasions and very slow service. The gym located in the spa area was well equipped, although be aware that small charge will be made if you choose to participate in some of the fitness classes on offer. My spa treatment experience was good although you pay the price for it. The immediate pool areas do become busy,especially during sea days. Although plenty of quiet sunbathing deck areas are available. The entertainment was well communicated through the daily Horizon paper that arrived each evening in your cabin for the next day. The real benefit of this type of holiday weather you are travelling as a family, couple or alone you have equal opportunity to take part or experience as much or as little as you like on board or off. Although many organised island excursions where available(of cause you will inevitably be paying a premium for this service)alternately you can always try you negotiating skills with the barrage of taxi tour operators at each port! Read Less
Sail Date December 2010
I must say I disagree with some of the previous review - a cruise like this is what you make of it. As a first-timer, my expectations were slightly different. I was glad to see a mixture of ages aboard - more younger people than normal, I ... Read More
I must say I disagree with some of the previous review - a cruise like this is what you make of it. As a first-timer, my expectations were slightly different. I was glad to see a mixture of ages aboard - more younger people than normal, I was told, which added some energy. The ship is a beautiful vessel with a maximum of 300 or so passengers - a perfect size. Pre-cruise, we stayed at Little Arches, a wonderful boutique hotel on the south coast across the mesmerising Enterprise/Miami beach, one of the most impressive stretches of white sand in Barbados. In my opinion, this is a better choice than Windstar's preferred hotel (although rooms are limited). Our first impressions of Windsurf were good. When the sails were out it was very romantic. On the first port of call to St George's Grenada, we lined up next to a big Thomson ship with capacity for 1000 passengers. Everyone was glad to be on Windsurf - a much more elegant ship. One of the strengths of Windsurf is the ports of call and excursions - many bigger ships do not offer the same interesting itineraries. We started off with a sea day which was good to get accustomed to the ship. Someone had a heart-attack through the night and another had overdosed on pills - a dramatic start to the holiday, although somewhat unusual. I was impressed with how Windsurf dealt with these incidents and simply swapped over the sea day supposed to take place later on in the cruise. Very efficient and no fuss at all. St George's, Grenada, the first port of call was a beautiful harbour and the ship offered several excursions. We chose the essential sight seeing tour which gave a superb overview of the island with some great photograph opportunities over the lush green island. We visited a cocoa making house where a man showed how cocoa was made and explained differences between spices such as nutmeg. At Fort Frederick we enjoyed paronamic views to the sound of a steel drum. Later on, we visited the dream-like white sand Grand Anse beach. The next stop was Bequia, Grenadines - a stunning island with a walkway surrounded by yachts and turquoise water, where we enjoyed lobster pizza and took another excellent excursion. Princess Margaret beach and Lower Bay were charming rustic beaches. Mayreau, Grenadines, was another highlight. We visited the sublime Salt Whistle Bay, a perfect picture postcard beach - a Caribbean hideaway. After that we took a catamaran to Tobago Cays - we thought we had died and woken up in heaven! The waters were a mixture of cyan, turquoise and marine blue. Portsmouth, Dominica was a bit of a disappointment - it was raining and we didn't get to see much of the beautiful rainforest or the rare parrots inhabiting the island. This was the only occasion that the nature trail excursion we chose fell short. Pigeon Island, St Lucia though was fantastic - a windswept beach with the Atlantic ocean bashing against rocks and an excellent barbecue. The ship also visited the magnificent pitons near soufriere. On board the ship, we made reservations at Le Marche - the outdoor restaurant serving delicious sea-food and Candles, the romantic steak restaurant. We dined at The Restaurant, the main eaterie, which was more of what you would expect of a mass market cruise experience. Degrees, the mediterranean restaurant, was much better with a good standard of food, although not matching what you would probably find on the high end luxury cruises. In terms of entertainment, there was always something going on. A special treat was a member of Kool and the Gang performing for New Year's Eve! Otherwise, the house band was not bad. Most surprisingly an excellent classical pianist was also on board. The lecture by Sir Harold Evans on the sea day on American innovators was extremely interesting - we certainly did not expect to learn anything new on our cruise. Post-cruise, we opted for the Hilton Barbados - a beautifully located hotel, although lacking in basic customer service. In summary, Windsurf is an excellent choice for a first-time cruiser. We are already contemplating our next trip to the Caribbean aboard the capable hands of Windsurf. We met many interesting well travelled people on board. The majority of passengers were American with a sprinkling of British and other European couples. Read Less
Sail Date December 2010
I have not long returned from a cruise on the Thomson Dream. Its my first cruise and I thouroughly enjoyed. I booked through my local travel agent and the Thomson staff were very helpfull and really helped me make my mind up if cruising ... Read More
I have not long returned from a cruise on the Thomson Dream. Its my first cruise and I thouroughly enjoyed. I booked through my local travel agent and the Thomson staff were very helpfull and really helped me make my mind up if cruising was for me. I was very apprehensive when my partner suggested going but they answered all my quiestions and their personal knowledge was fab. Cabin - Our cabin was nice and clean and had plenty of space for the two of us, was definitely kept cleaner than our last holiday at a 4* hotel. Food - I'm a vegitarian and my partner will eat anything, but we both enjoyed the food and liked the variety there was on offer and being able to eat in different places was fab. Entertainment - really enjoyed everything that was on offer, from the casino and the lounge to the theatre. I must say the shows on offer were brilliant though the best night was definitely the crew night - get there early to get your seat!!! The staff on board are very talented. I made the most of the excursions on offer and really enjoyed them all, just wish I had more time to do more!! I liked that Thomson look after you right from the airport to the cruise and back again. Such a fantastic time I've definitely been converted to cruises and have booked to go on the Thomson Celebration in November!! At 23 I have no complaints and am so glad I went! Read Less
Sail Date December 2010
Well as a first time cruiser i was preparing myself an my son for a holiday of a lifetime my wonderful mother was treating us to, but from the minute we boarded there were problems, the ship had an awful smell that lasted the whole ... Read More
Well as a first time cruiser i was preparing myself an my son for a holiday of a lifetime my wonderful mother was treating us to, but from the minute we boarded there were problems, the ship had an awful smell that lasted the whole holiday, we were informed later that they had sewage problems, some of the poor passengers werre telling us how they had it coming up through there cabins infesting there carpets and coming out of there toilets. As we opened our room door the smell hit us, the room was dirty, there was one double bed made up when there were 3 of us andf we had booked 3 single beds, the pillows never had pillow cases on and had nasty stains all over them, the bath looked distgusting, i complained and they sent someone to clean it, but i still had to clean it myself after. After 3 days all of us took sick one after the other with sickness an diahorea, and my son caught an infection ans tonsilitis, we were confined to cabin for the first week. As the second week began new passengers boarded, and there was a fire in the main engine, panic struck everyone, women were crying some hysterical running about trying to find there children, while staff had assembled on the upper decks in there lifejackets. After several announcments the captain told us not to panic and tyo enjoy the rest of the evening and REST IN PEACE, what a joke! The stabilisers seemed to not be working on a few occasions as i and others were falling about the ship whilst trying to get to a bar or lounge area, it got so bad i was ill again and had to lie down till the morning. As this was a carribean cruise i expected it to be more about that but it was rather english,the only bit of carribean entertainment was a carribean duo called Big Vibe who were very good, the food was very much the same the first wk as it was the second, and sorry to say that it gave me the runs!! I will take my hat off to the staff who were very friendly and had to take all the complaints on the chin, you couldnt fault them at all. Thomson have a lot to answer to, they were just looking to make money without a thought for the passengers or staff. I wil never holiday with them on this cruise again as im sure that lots of others wont, complaints galore everywhere you went. Absolutley disgusting. Read Less
Sail Date December 2010
I have seen some reviews of this ship which complain about how dull it was - with few "fun" activities on ship. That because it's aimed at "the Brits" and not the Amerians, it is dull. Well - I applaud it ... Read More
I have seen some reviews of this ship which complain about how dull it was - with few "fun" activities on ship. That because it's aimed at "the Brits" and not the Amerians, it is dull. Well - I applaud it for being so. The thought of 2 weeks of organised fun and games is what would have me running away screaming. Not that we stayed on the Ship very much except where we were forced to on the "days at sea". We did not go on any organised tours, but simply walked off the ship and found a driver in each port to either take us to a beach - or to go to some place on a mini-tour before finishing at the beach. And that approach was perfect - especially for Dunns River Falls... we got there around 9:30am and had the whole place practically to ourselves. Climbed the falls twice (the 2nd time, the organised tours had started to arrive and it isn;t nearly as much fun in a group of 30 people... believe me). This approach was far cheaper and much more relaxed (and relaxed is precisely what we were looking for... if you want "get up and have fun" then perhaps club 18-30 is what you should be looking for). Annoying things... as has been commented on... the "German" approach of grabbing sun loungers before 7am and then waltzing off to bed befor finally taking your place at 11am... Very tempted just to wander around chucking towels and books into the sea. It wasn't too bad - we would find somewhere around 8:30am on the back of the boat and stay there until we fried... Often surrounded by sun-bathing towels. And smoking.... We had a balcony and it was great to sit out in the sea breeze as we approached each island in the dawn light. Until the people in the cabin next door woke up coughing and spluttering, desperate to light the first cigarette of the day. And promptly the smoke would blow into our balcony. So much for fresh sea air. If Princess allow smoking, then they should group all the smokers together on one side of the boat and on the lower decks and let them poison each other instead of letting them involve everyone in their habit. That one really annoyed me. One of the kids (16) found lots to do when we were on the ship. The other (15) was "bored" a lot... but that's teenagers for you. We ourselves enjoyed the fact we could relax and not have to do anything unless we chose to. We found that it was advisable to book the table (we were on "eat anytime" in the Rigalettos restaraunt). Not booking meant often being in a 20 minute queue to be seating. Booking is free and meant no waiting. DO NOT think that if you have 2 kids, you can share a "double room". They do have some of these where they will fit extra beds in somehow. I cannot imagine how cramped that would be... the double was fine for two of us, but we could never have fitted the kids in there... We had them in an inside cabin (originally we were going to have them in our room but thought better of it... thank God!). Other reviews mention bad attitudes from the staff - we never saw that. Except for the Thomas Cook check-in lady in Manchester who was the most miserable and rude person I have ever met (and I travel A LOT). As the first point of contact for Princess, I think they might want to reconsider using TC ... But I got over that fairly quickly and really enjoyed the 2 weeks... How can you not enjoy all those perfect beaches, crystal clear waters and fantasticly relaxed locals? Read Less
Sail Date December 2010
Where to begin having booked our first cruise in july i should have looked forward to a trip of a lifetime over xmas with my family . Thomson agency in cleethorpes offered many bookable extras 1, book which cabin you like at a cost, 2 book ... Read More
Where to begin having booked our first cruise in july i should have looked forward to a trip of a lifetime over xmas with my family . Thomson agency in cleethorpes offered many bookable extras 1, book which cabin you like at a cost, 2 book your seats at a cost , 3 add drinks package at a cost etc.... To my dismay 3 days before due to travel the agent called to say there had been a double booking with the cabins , i was told i had to move 2 decks down , at the agent they did not even offer a refund as the manageress said they did not have the cash , to refund my cabin option booking fee . I explained i was misold a product , and found this excuse feeble as i had worked in the travel industry over 20 years. The day arrived to travel , as the weather had been bad we stayed overnight and had checked the thomson website the previous evening . Thomson had posted a re sheduled flight for barbados from 10am to 1900 hours .Thomson did not contact us and expected us to check in on time , this i found unacceptable as over 12 would be spent in airport. Eventually the flight left at 2300 hours , this lost us one day of our trip . We eventually arrived at the ship at 4am , very tired and annoyed with the treatment by thomson on this occasion . Upon our first experience things only became worse , had to queue for over 1 hour to receive correct cards for , all inclusive packagethis was needed to enable us to dis-embark the ship for the few hours we had left before sailing . The only thing that thomson could be proud was the poor underpaid and overworked , crew it employed . The waiters and cabin cleaners were obliged to please The thomson dream was like a ageing ferry not cruise ship as led to believe at the time of booking. MORE like butlins at sea than an unforgettable experience. The entertainment staff tried there best, but was average and repetative . Thank goodness we did not have to endure 2 weeks . Having arrives back into manchester on a cold wet new years eve , i feel disappointed and 10,000 pounds worse off . Dont bother with the trips on offer, overpriced and not worth the cost . . Read Less
Sail Date December 2010
A nice big new ship but that's about where it starts and stops. The beginning didn't get off to a good start as we were delayed at Gatwick for over 5hrs by Thomas Cook who were very off about things, we had to pester them for a ... Read More
A nice big new ship but that's about where it starts and stops. The beginning didn't get off to a good start as we were delayed at Gatwick for over 5hrs by Thomas Cook who were very off about things, we had to pester them for a food voucher as we had been there from 5-30am. The seats on the plane were the most uncomfortable we have ever used, When we arrived all we got was told which floor our cabin was on, no comment about our delay offer of support to help make things any easier so we had to find our own way around the ship to find food. The main restaurants were closed and the self service ones were clearing up and there were only scraps left. The ships facilities are not big enough to take the amount of people. People are like sardines around the pools. The atrium is way to small and the dance floor is ridiculously small. When sailing the shops would be open and additional stalls would be placed in the aisles which caused even more problems with the amount of people walking about as the aisles hardly coped without them being there. Like another report the dress codes were not adhered to which was very disappointing. The self service buffet areas were akin to a motorway service area, people everywhere, hardly a table to be found once you had negotiated your way around the food area so we stuck to the main dining halls, at least when we ordered hot food we knew we would get it and the waiters were brilliant always willing to do things for you. The main dining restaurants got very crowded to the point where it was difficult to hold a decent conversation as the noise reverberated the room along with the incessant drone from the air conditioning which was in every room on the ship. Also the fine dining restaurants were excellent especially the glass house and Sindhu. The attention to detail and the service was excellent The Headliners were excellent and we cannot praise them enough, they made our holiday. The supporting entertainment was also very good especially the annie Lenox tribute girl. Looked good but you need to organize movement as only one person could walk around the end of the bed at the same time and the shower room was more like a moulded cupboard. All the staff were very pleasant and courteous Read Less
Sail Date November 2010
Excitement and trepidation ran through our veins before setting off to Barbados. Never having been to the Caribbean, or on a cruise before, this was a holiday of firsts. We arrived at the embarkation point very tired and distinctly hot ... Read More
Excitement and trepidation ran through our veins before setting off to Barbados. Never having been to the Caribbean, or on a cruise before, this was a holiday of firsts. We arrived at the embarkation point very tired and distinctly hot and sweaty, only to be confronted with some minor admin hitches which did not improve tempers. In retrospect it would have been much better to fly a few days before the cruise departed to give us time to get over jetlag, and to make the most of the first day on board the magnificent Silver Spirit. As it was, we arrived on boad just as the drill was being called and we had no time to shower and change, let alone sample some of the champagne in our suite! We had a mid ship verhandah and it was spacious and well appointed with some very thoughtful details in the layout. The food was always extremely good, and the choices of restaurants were more than acceptable. We did not choose to use those that had a premium attached to them as we spent all of our on board credit on shore excursions. Menus varied pleasingly, the staff were unfailingly freindly, helpful and polite. Hot Rocks was fun and very tasty, but the menu was the only one that did not change that much at all. Shore excursions were varied and we enjoyed the more active ones - river tubing etc. This was very much more active than anyone had been led to expect, and I strongly suggest that if you do it (it is great fun), you wear shoes, and don't wear anything you are not prepared to lose. White water rapids the whole way! We are not formal people and managed to avoid the formal nights by not going to the main restaurant on the two formal nights, we ate elsewhere. How can you fault a fantastic operation like the Silver Spirit, it was simply magnificent. If I had any compaints at all then they are churlish - the fact that I really do not know what to do with a butler, lovely though he was, room service would have been fine! By the end of our 9 nights we were ready to go back to the real world and step out of all the luxury. To work out whether we could still mix our own G&Ts or carry our own plates to the table etc. 5-6 course meals, champagne, endless cocktails, butlers, deluxe chocolates, uber comfy beds, private balcony, fancy toiletries, endlessly cheerful and polite crew. Goodness, I think I need to go and pick up a bag of salad and some mineral water from Morrisons and experience the joys of the surly check out staff, get back to real life again, I am exhausted from all that indulgence! Read Less
Sail Date November 2010
This was our first cruise and we waited a long time for it to come around. We celebrated our honeymoon and we are a lot younger than typical cruisers! We expected a lot of elderly people to be on board but we were quite suprised to find ... Read More
This was our first cruise and we waited a long time for it to come around. We celebrated our honeymoon and we are a lot younger than typical cruisers! We expected a lot of elderly people to be on board but we were quite suprised to find there was a mix of ages. There were a lot of passengers who seemed to think they were better than everyone else and looked down on many people but we found a lot of people were also very friendly. Our stateroom was comfortable, altho our balcony light did not work for the whole of the cruise. I reported this to our cabin steward but nothing was done so I reported it to reception who told me they had a shortage of light bulbs. The food in the Glasshouse was amazing, although you had to pay a charge for this its well worth it. We did not eat in Seventeen or Sindhu. The buffet breakfast is very good and plenty of choice. Although lunch got a bit reptitive. The coral grill and pizzeria serves nice tasty snacks. We were on freedom dining which meant we could eat when we wanted in the Merdian restaurant. We never found this a problem, the most we had to wait was 15 mins for our table of two. The food in there was lovely and the waiters would always do what they could to accomadate you. Brodie's bar was great, the atmosphere was fantastic. All the casino dealers were lovely and friendly. Malibar is a lovely looking bar but service was usual slow even when not busy. Manhatten is great for those that want a dance late into the evening. Read Less
Sail Date November 2010
Well, from beginning to end we were treated as you would expect on the occasion of your wedding, like royalty. P&O have the mechanics of embarkation and disembarkation down to a tee. No problems. The wedding ... Read More
Well, from beginning to end we were treated as you would expect on the occasion of your wedding, like royalty. P&O have the mechanics of embarkation and disembarkation down to a tee. No problems. The wedding co-ordinator, Kat had everything we required organised and sorted and any little extra or change we asked for was quickly and efficiently dealt with. Th wedding day itself was a complete dream. The Captain, Hamish Reid conducted a fantastic ceremony; the photgraphy was artfully done in various locations around the ship (thnaks to another Kat!), with the biggest difficulty of the whole trip deciding which prints went into the album. For cocktail hour we retired to Metropolis, we the orderes canapes were waiting for all our guests. As with the whole trip, the service here was impeccable. we had then booked to eat in the White Room as a sort of on-board reception, and we would recommend all who cruise on Ventura do sample this restaurant. Our cabin was looked after superbly by Stanley, nothing but praise for him and the rest of the staff. Indeed the service on board the whole ship was second to none, whether in the restaurants, bars or pub it just can't be faulted. The islands visited are all simply beautiful, with Grand Turk and Antigua highlights for us. Jamaica (Ocho Rios) was pretty intimidating, the only downside to the cruise. As a first cruise, not to mention our wedding/honeymoon, it just couldn't be bettered. Staff, ceremony and setting all contributed to to a never-to-be forgotten experience. Read Less
Sail Date November 2010
As first time cruisers we weren't too sure what to expect. Not sure we would go with P & O again as on speaking to our fellow passengers they too were disappointed with several things. The evenings were great, met with some ... Read More
As first time cruisers we weren't too sure what to expect. Not sure we would go with P & O again as on speaking to our fellow passengers they too were disappointed with several things. The evenings were great, met with some very lovely people (how lucky we were). The gentleman was right about the sunbeds, not enough to go round and I understand that the shop had capacity for another 800 people, god only knows what it would have been like at sea on those days if you wanted to sit up top. The food was great but the customer service could have been improved. Didn't see much of anyone in authority walking round and the teenagers and some adults were diving, bombing etc despite warning notices. The staff when told at reception weren't interested, and there could have bneen a serious incident. As the prices on the cruise were offered at very reduced prices it made it very cheap for some undesirables who showed that they didn;t know how to behave on a luxury cruise liner. Bit disappointing if you had paid full price. Read Less
Sail Date October 2010
We had an excellent first time cruise. The ship, food and staff were faultless throughout. However after reading on Cruise Critic that the Marco Pierre White restaurant is often fully booked prior to embarkation we followed advice that ... Read More
We had an excellent first time cruise. The ship, food and staff were faultless throughout. However after reading on Cruise Critic that the Marco Pierre White restaurant is often fully booked prior to embarkation we followed advice that you can book in advance. The P&O office pointed out that we had to buy a £20 p.p. supplement voucher. I was then asked whether I wanted white or red wine at a cost of £16 per bottle. I queried this as it was nonsensical that I would know which wine I would choose before knowing what I was going to eat. However I was told that was the system, so I opted for white wine at a total cost of £56. Once on the ship I discovered there was plenty of availability and we chose to eat in the restaurant on the first formal evening. We chose our food and I explained that actually although I had opted for white wine I would now prefer a more appropriate red wine. It was explained by the waiter and then the restaurant manager that my original chosen wine was brought on board at Southampton and whilst I could have something else at an additional cost I had to take ownership of the one I had originally chosen. I asked to see the wine and it was brought to the table - once opened we found it was a bottle of very cheap and nasty Chardonnay. The staff in the restaurant said this procedure had caused problems several times before and they recommended I speak to P&O shoreside as they felt it was a ridiculous system. Returning home I wrote to P&O to complain and ask why they didn't just ask for a £16 payment up front to contribute to the wine, but in their response they completely missed the point and said 'for any passenger who is uncertain of what wine they would like we can only advise that they wait until they are on the ship before booking into the restaurant'. Two lessons - there was plenty of availability for the restaurant, and if you do buy a voucher for yourselves or friends tell P&O they/you do not drink alcohol and choose once on board. Read Less
Sail Date March 2010
As first time cruisers our excitement (and anxiety) was ever increasing as our sailaway date approached. Weeks (months?) earlier, we had arranged car parking at East Midlands airport and booked a night in a nearby hotel to make sure ... Read More
As first time cruisers our excitement (and anxiety) was ever increasing as our sailaway date approached. Weeks (months?) earlier, we had arranged car parking at East Midlands airport and booked a night in a nearby hotel to make sure everything went smoothly on the day. Then, with just three days to go, Princess contacted us. They had apparently 'overbooked' on our flight and were seeking volunteers to relocate to Gatwick. They immediately offered to reimburse our hotel and car parking charges, upgrade our flights to Premium Economy (both outbound and inbound) and dangled $250pp OBC before our eyes. The idea of driving to Gatwick, and particularly the drive home on our return, was daunting but the offer was too good to refuse and so we accepted. Princess' organisation was great and we were able to use our East Midlands 'Thomsonfly' tickets to board a Thomas Cook flight from Gatwick without any problems. I should add that, while the on board entertainment wasn't too good, Thomas Cook looked after us well and quickly got us into the holiday mood by plying us with complimentary drinks! We arrived in Barbados and stepped off the plane and straight onto a bus that whisked us off to the ship. We joined the fast moving queue to be checked in and were escorted aboard the Sea Princess. Just one negative here: we really don't want to be pulled aside for 'embarkation photos' when we look like we've been dragged through a hedge backward after a 9 hour flight. We were met by our cabin steward (Moises, who was great) and shown our "stateroom". The cabin was somewhat compact but it was very clean and functional with enough storage space to hold and hang everything. And we soon developed a 'passing places' system which allowed us to get from one side to the other without getting wedged against the furniture! We were keen to get cleaned up and start exploring the ship but PA announcements made it clear we wouldn't have time as we were to have muster drills 15 minutes later. Once that was over it seemed like time went into overdrive and we were soon on deck for the sailaway. A warm Caribbean evening, a glass of something cold, Barbados behind us and our first cruise ahead of us... bliss! It wasn't long before we were able to explore and were soon learned that what we called 'the pointy end' was the bow and that our cabin was on the port side and not 'on the left'. That did lead to some confusion when we were alongside in St. Lucia. I said we were facing 'to port' and my better half contradicted me to say we were facing 'out to sea'. Each evening your bed is turned back and adorned with chocolates and the 'Princess Patter', a news sheet containing information on the next day's destination and an entertainment schedule. We have read a lot of critical reviews of the entertainment on Sea Princess but we found it varies from 'average' to 'excellent'. The cruise director's staff lead some daytime activities (games and quizzes etc) and are very good at what they do. However, we found that occasionally an activity would be advertised but the staff didn't turn up for it. Perhaps they hadn't been told themselves? Obviously a communication breakdown somewhere along the line. It has to be said that daytime entertainment isn't what it could be. When you're in port and the majority of passengers are ashore then it's not a real problem but on sea days (we had two) then you can be left kicking your heels. Some people are happy to vegetate on a sun lounger all day so, if you're not quick enough in the morning, you'll never find a vacant one. The evening entertainment takes place in the Princess Theatre and the Vista Lounge. The resident singers and dance group put on a few very good shows. I'm sure these shows are repeated many times and, if you've seen them before they won't be as appealing but, to the first time cruiser at least, they provide an hour of reasonable entertainment. The guest performers included very average magicians, good comedians, very good musicians/singers and the excellent Kyle Esplin (if you ever get a chance to see him, take it!). When the show is over you can head for the Wheelhouse Bar or Crooner's Bar. Both of these feature live music from resident duos of varying quality - each to their own, I'll say no more. There is also the Monte Carlo casino, if you like that sort of thing, the Premier Cru champagne bar and the Razzmattazz night club. Like it or not, these three all have areas which allow smoking. Of course, before you take in a show, you have to eat and the Sea Princess has plenty to offer. Horizon Court offers buffet style self-service dining 24 hours a day with sea views. We had the occasional lunch here but found the food to be a bit hit and miss. It was often luke warm and not of the quality found in the main restaurants. Horizon Court is ideal for a salad or snack if you're out on deck but be warned - you may have to tolerate people in vests or swimming costumes at the next table and you run the risk of eating food others have handled! In the evening, part of the restaurant is screened off to become the Sterling Steakhouse. We planned on eating here but never actually got around to it. There is a $15pp cover charge for eating in the Sterling Steakhouse but I understand the steaks are among the best you can get and it's well worth the extra cost. Overlooking the swimming pools on deck is the Riviera Grill. I'm not entirely sure of the opening hours but this offers burgers, bratwurst, hot dogs etc. Again, it's OK for a light snack. The good thing is the food is served to you on a plate so it hasn't been touched by other passengers! At the top of the atrium is Cafe Corniche, an Italian style restaurant offering pasta dishes and pizzas. We used this for lunch a couple of times and the quality is very good. We saw people eating there at dinner time time and have no reason to think the evening quality was anything less than it was earlier in the day. The two main restaurants are the Traviata and the Rigoletto. These are identical in both appearance and menu. The only differences are the Traviata offers 'fixed seating' dining (same time, same table) and the Rigoletto offers 'Anytime' dining (eat when want to eat, sit at any table). We opted for the anytime dining in the Rigoletto and we couldn't find a single fault with the service or the food. The staff were brilliant. When the time was right they could be very chatty and entertaining but at all times they were polite, helpful, professional and efficient. First time cruisers please, please note that there is no additional charge for dining in either of these restaurants. They should be considered your first choice for dining but we have heard of people who ate every meal in the Horizon Court because they mistakenly thought there was a charge for eating in the restaurants. There isn't! With the exception of the Sterling Steakhouse there is no charge for dining on the Sea Princess. You have paid a lot of money for your cruise so sit back and let yourself be spoiled rotten at mealtimes! Another nice touch is 'afternoon tea'. At 3.30 the Traviata opens it's doors for refreshments. It's all very "British" with the string quartet playing quietly in the background and the waiters don their white gloves and serve delicate sandwiches, fancy cakes and cookies... and the most amazing scones with jam and cream! There is a charge for drinks however and a glass of wine or two with dinner each evening will soon add up. You would be best advised buying a bottle (it works out far cheaper). Even if you only have one glass from it, the staff will mark the label and put it away for you for the next night. Whether we like it or not, all drinks on the ship have an added 15% gratuity so it's easy to assume your drinks bill will quickly get out of control. In reality if you're not a big drinker and just want a few quiet drinks in the evening you'll pay around £6.50 - £7 for a couple of beers/lagers. When that's coming out of your OBC it's not a problem - but keep a regular eye on your account by asking for a statement at the purser's desk! As a side note, some people seem to believe you can't bring alcohol aboard. In fact you can't bring spirits aboard (though some do succeed in getting it on). You can bring a bottle of wine (per person) back from your shore visits so you can pick up a cheap bottle and put it in your cabin fridge - ideal for a pre-dinner drink! Those trips ashore can be expensive if you decide to buy Princess excursions in every port. We found it cheaper (and just as enjoyable) to do your own thing and pick up a tour with one of the many taxis/shuttles in port (be sure to only use the authorised taxi drivers that you find immediately at the gates and check and double check the price before you go). You'll find other passengers doing the same trip so you're never alone. Bear in mind though that this advice only really applies to 'island tour' type excursion. If you want to go diving/snorkelling/whale watching/swinging through tree tops then you probably won't find those tours being sold at the port gates and you may want to book with the ship to avoid disappointment. Princess were a little unfair when, three days before the cruise was due to end, Moises approached us to say he had been assigned to a different task and introduced us to his replacement, our new steward. We didn't catch his name but he wasn't a patch on Moises. Whereas we were greeted with a smile by Moises every day, we never saw his replacement again after that introduction and we were never happy with the standard of service over the next few days. All in all though, we found the Sea Princess to be a wonderful introduction to the world of cruising and would happily recommend her to other first timers. Read Less
Sail Date February 2010
The combination of fabulous service, really good food, a comfortable cabin, interesting ports, and fabulous weather mean that any whinges are indeed minor. It did surprise me however the number of people my wife and I chatted to on the ... Read More
The combination of fabulous service, really good food, a comfortable cabin, interesting ports, and fabulous weather mean that any whinges are indeed minor. It did surprise me however the number of people my wife and I chatted to on the ship who did just that, whinge about every minor issue. Do regular cruisers often say "the toast is better on Celebrity" and similar? If so, how sad is that, as it must spoil their enjoyment. I have listed many good points in my opening sentence, but would also add that the price of alcohol on board was very competitive. I also enjoyed the art gallery, the ambiance of the Metropolis bar (and the fabulous performances of the duo Sophistication), the exemplary organisation of embarquation and disembarquation, the friendliness of the staff and other passengers. My minor whines are as follows: The pool areas are a bit like Butlins on a bad day, very crowded and noisy. The excursions are expensive. Charging £20 a person for a photo with the captain as the only way to see the bridge. Too many "tribute acts" in the entertainment. Very few quiet areas, as musak is everywhere (I ended up sitting out on the promenade deck) All in all we had a fabulous time, the most relaxing holiday ever. Read Less
Sail Date February 2010
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 ... Read More
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. Read Less
Sail Date February 2010
We are senior citizens who also were sailors for about 40 years! We have sailed twice on the ROYAL CLIPPER - January 2005 & January 2010. We adore her! Best cruises we have ever had - no casinos, no kids on board just plain ... Read More
We are senior citizens who also were sailors for about 40 years! We have sailed twice on the ROYAL CLIPPER - January 2005 & January 2010. We adore her! Best cruises we have ever had - no casinos, no kids on board just plain "relaxation". Shore excursions during the day and sailed at night! Wonderful lectures on board, water activities ashore, sightseeing on the islands, on board entertainment by the crew & occasional steel band aboard for a few hours before our night sails! We used Star Clipper Lines to book our plane reservations so that we wouldn't have any issues with delayed flights. Actually, we flew to Miami from Providence, RI the night before we were to fly to Barbados to meet the ship just to be sure that we would bot be delayed by weather! Would sail on her again if we can! Mediterranean by way of the seasonal transatlantic repositioning crossing would be next on our list. Read Less
Sail Date January 2010

Find a Cruise

Easily compare prices from multiple sites with one click