We've been on four cruises in the last two years and to be honest until we got a great deal we considered P & O out of our price range and now it seems we've opted for quantity of holidays as opposed to quality. Last year ... Read More
We've been on four cruises in the last two years and to be honest until we got a great deal we considered P & O out of our price range and now it seems we've opted for quantity of holidays as opposed to quality. Last year (2009) we travelled on both Ocean Village ships and cruised Caribbean and the Mediterranean they were fantastic and everything we expected, but now I'm guessing had we been on a P & O ship first and then travelled with Ocean Village we would probably have felt that they're not a patch on the beauty of Ventura, its elegant decor, the overall layout, outstanding entertainment and the service and food was above all second to none. All though some of our ports of call we visited with Ventura were not as glamorous as the Caribbean and the Mediterranean, add the fact that the weather was a hit and miss affair. Ventura itself certainly more than compensated, the ship is simply a holiday destination on it's own. P & O is most certainly the way to go. Last January we travelled on the Island Escape around the Canary Islands, again the places were great, however the ship was a total disaster, I had been on it years ago, it was great back in 2002, but it was a mere shadow of it's former self, everything about it was substandard, in fact truth be told it was totally awful. So cruising on Ventura in June after Januarys cruise on the Island Escape could be compared to trading in an old Austin Allegro for a Rolls Royce!
On Ventura we opted for Freedom Dining instead of set times and had most of our meals in The Cinnamon Restaurant where the food was out of this world, we're not used to the high standard service and quality every night, on other cruise liners you'd have to pay a lot extra for this kind of service and quality. Most evenings Liston and Jessey served us, it seemed they couldn't do enough to please us. In fact all the staff on Ventura are an asset to P & O, all very friendly and extremely helpful. The free shuttle buses from the ports were a great touch as I had researched what to do in each port and I much prefer to explore and find the places of interest without being taken around by a guide. It also saves a pretty penny! The entertainment was superb, we found ourselves rushing round trying to catch two or three shows a night, usually on our past cruises there would be a couple of nights where nothing really appealed to us, in the past we've sat and read books on a balcony or watched a film in our cabin. Ventura's entertainment was action packed from start to finish we enjoyed it immensely; Martin Daniels was highly amusing we didn't expect that! George Michael isn't really my cup of tea but the guy who impersonated him was very entertaining. The musicals in the Arena were truly magnificent, though I have to say the show Flash could have had some better songs, there was a couple of duff numbers in there!
We left Southampton on the 5th of June; the 6th was a day at sea. On the 7Th we arrived at La Coruna north of Spain. We walked a straight line from the port into the town until we came out at tram track next to the sea, we walked along the sea front until we came to a little beach that was being worked on, we found a quiet little cove and then walked to the Hercules Light house which was free that day and climbed the stairs to the top had a look around. We then headed towards the main beach area, Riazor Beach and then the sky became overcast, it started to rain a little so we headed back for the ship. The 8th of June we arrived in Bilbao,in Spain's Basque Country. A free shuttle buses took us into the town. After reading reviews about the Guggenheim Museum, a modern art gallery, we decided to check it out, the exterior was a work of art itself, there's a huge spider sculpture, a dog frame covered in flowers and a tall sculpture that looked like silver balloons piled on top of one another, everything outside the museum was very impressive. Warning! Do not waste your money going inside, if you consider the works of the late American Robert Rauschenberg as art then you are just as deluded as the man who created them and about as crazy as the idiot who decided to exhibit them as modern art in the first place! It's simply pieces of metal, from cars and road signs and any other metal junk riveted and welded together to create art? Modern art? I've got our old bath down the side of our house, I lovingly filled with the bathroom debris from a complete refit, so if any gallery wants to pay me a few thousand to exhibit this as an exhibit then please feel free to contact me, it's yours for a couple of hundred pounds though if you are totally eccentric or stupid even then give me a few thousand for it. Another room in the gallery was filled with wooden pallets with mounds of clay on that resembled stacks of human faeces, and to be honest that's what we all thought of it, another room was decorated white with a slash in the wall, we've got a kitchen like that! Are you getting the feeling that we were not impressed yet? I could go on about other totally useless exhibits by other artists there, but seriously don't waste your money or time in the Guggenheim, call me uncultured all you like and straight away I'll be thinking that you are a rather sad individual that really ought to get a life! After the museum that we headed north to the Artix Funcular, a train that takes you up a steep mountain to a recreational area where you can get some great views of the city, well worth a couple of Euros. The 9th of June we arrived in Brest in Brittany France. There was two free shuttle buses, one that takes you into the old town and one that takes you to Oceanopolis a huge aquarium, I heard somewhere that it's the biggest in the world. It was raining that day so we opted for the aquarium it was ok, nothing special though we spent most of the day there, I have to say I prefer the aquariums in Genoa Italy and Long Beach California. We didn't go into town as other passengers had advised it's not one the nicest of places in Brittany and besides it was raining! June 10th we were in La Rochelle France again a free shuttle bus into this lovely old town, we walked around the shops and then the picturesque marina, lots of restaurants, we popped into one for banana chocolate crepes and coffee, then carried on walking around and up to the old towers that guard the harbour before heading back. On June 11th we were in Guernsey tender boats took us across from the ship to St Peter Port. Guernsey was easily our favourite port of call, it's a fantastic very beautiful place to visit, we plan to have a holiday there and next time visit Sark and Herm. There's plenty to see and do with miles of glorious coastline, everything about the place was wonderful. We visited our friends there and had a superb day, it started off with a little light rain and then the sun came out and transformed every view into a picturesque postcard! We arrived on June the 12th back in Southampton. Disembarkation went smoothly and we were off the ship earlier than we had anticipated and had to wait a couple of hours before our scheduled train home. All in all we had a fantastic holiday, totally recommend Ventura to anyone no matter where in the world she goes, you'll enjoy her and all it has to offer. Read Less