4 Night mini cruise beyond expectations: Ventura Cruise Review by Signing-Annie

Ventura 5
Member Since 2013

Overall Member Rating

4 Night mini cruise beyond expectations

Sail Date: May 2013
Destination: Europe - British Isles & Western
Embarkation: Southampton
On arrival at Ocean Terminal I asked for wheelchair assistance from one of the lovely helpful gentlemen, he took me directly into the terminal & booked me in to receive my cruise card. i was then taken onboard & up to the buffet area to await my friend. Incredibly efficient.
My Deluxe cabin was wonderful, even bigger than I had expected. A decent sized bathroom with bath + shower; large bath sheets, face cloth & toiletries. There was a dressing area with plenty hanging space & generous sized soft robes. There is a small safe inside the mirrored wardrobe, along with shelf space.

My suitcase arrived outside my room by about 3pm, about the same time my friend arrived, this was her first cruise & she was also delighted with the accommodation.
This is the first cruise ship I have been on with tea & coffee facilities, including mugs, just lovely touch & appreciated.

Our room steward, Morris, introduced himself to me as soon as I More arrived in the cabin & was extremely polite, friendly & helpful. I had asked for a feather pillow & an extra blanket but they were not in the room, Morris managed to provide these while we were at dinner.
We were allocated Freedom Dining in the Cinnamon restaurant, a new experience for me & we both really enjoyed dining this way, meeting new people each evening & sitting in different parts of the restaurant. There was plenty choice on the menu & food was well presented, there always seemed to be plenty staff around and they worked really hard. We were always offered a large glass of cold water as soon as we sat at the table. Wine waiters would arrive soon after we sat down & everything was well organised.

I have particular dietary issues & the ever helpful Joy, Senior Waiter, in Cinnamon, ensured that my needs were met. each evening he would provide me with the following days menu & later discuss any changes I might need. This was done very discreetly & I was never made to feel awkward.

One of the first things I did was to fill in a form at reception to withhold tips, choosing to tip staff at my choosing, this way i ended up spending more but I gave to those who made my experience better, including restaurant staff & room steward.
The ship had a lovely feel about it, a mix of traditional, stairways & lift areas but also modern, in the atrium.

Being Whitsun, there were a lot of families with children aboard & they were all well behaved. The only place one was really aware of them en masse was around the pool areas which we tended to avoid.

Not that I was hungry but I tried afternoon tea in Saffron, goodness this was a full on affair. i joined a family & we were offered plenty hot tea, selection of sandwiches, muffins, toasted teacakes, warm scones + jam & cream. In addition to all this there were tiers of cakes on a stand. The children had a bit of everything but I only managed tea & the toasted tea cake. glad to have tried it but I decided it was just too much.

We had room service breakfast once but thereafter ate upstairs from the generous buffet in the Waterfront restaurant.

Despite the ship being so big & about 3,000 guests we never felt crowded & often wondered where everyone else was.

I was disappointed with the library, it was rather small & only4 or 5 chairs to sit on. One was able to pick up a free daily crossword & sudoku from the library, a very brief daily news was also available in the atrium area near the Costa coffee bar.

There were a few shops as always. I thought the choice of daily extra sale stands offered rather a poor standard of merchandise compared to other ships I have been on (Cunard & Holland America).

We appreciated the shuttle buses as we did our own thing in ports rather than taking one of the fairly pricey organised excursions.

The local bus from Brankenburg to Brugge took about 20 mins & was only â,¬5.80 for 2 of us one way. Brugge was lovely, a sort of medieval feel to it. Large lovely old tall buildings, a large central square, plenty of cafe/bars & horse drawn carriages. We had a beer & a coffee at one of the prominent cafes in the square.

As I was short on energy we did not do Brugges justice, other guests who took a canal trip said it was good value at about â,¬9 each. We walked to the station, about 15 mins from the centre, through a park. The lovely clean double decker train only cost us â,¬6 for both of us back to Brankenburg where we got on the shuttle bus. We were back on board for a late sit down lunch in Saffron. I would like to return to Brugge.

Our sea day was a lovely relaxing excuse to do nothing, along lie & then a meander around the ship. Although there were some activities on offer none of them appealed. A craft session would have been appreciated.

I had a Fire & Ice pedicure, 60 mins. It was very pleasant & included a cooling gel, hot stones, exfoliation, massage & nails varnished. It did feel rather impersonal but the girls work a very long day. It cost 45 which was ok but I did not like that they automatically added 10% service charge - this meant I did not then leave a personal tip to my therapist.

The sea was very choppy when we arrived at Guernsey where tenders were needed to get ashore. A lot of folk were wanting ashore & the waiting area was very busy, at one stage they stopped handing out tickets for tenders as the weather took a turn for the worse. We did get on a tender, it was definitely choppy but nothing awful.

St Peter's Port was overcast, a bit cold & threatening to rain. We opted for the local bus that I had sourced pre cruise, it went all the way round the island from the town's bus station. Although buses generally only go once an hour, they put on extra buses as the cruise ship was in. 2 took us all the way around the island on a journey that took about 1 hour 20 mins - what a bargain. If you wanted to "get on get off" it cost the princely sum of 4.50.

Guernsey was rather boring but this is maybe an unfair judgement as we did not get off at any of the tourist spots - you would have needed to take a ship's tour to make the most of this 24 square mile island. Again, we were back onboard for a late lunch & relaxing aft.
Our only Formal night was on our sea day & 99% of guests made a real effort which was lovely, it made for a good atmosphere around the ship.

Disembarking was efficient although mine was done through the mobility section & not the same experience as others. My friend chose to take her own case ashore & this worked well, I met up with her in the Ocean Terminal entrance while she waited for her Eavesway coach & me for my lift. I was surprised to see people arriving to get aboard on the next short cruise while we were still getting off!

All in all a wonderful time, really relaxing, lovely escape from reality & great value. My first but not last time on P&O. Less

Published 06/08/13

Cabin review: CDD724

A Superior Deluxe Cabin that was longer than other rooms on previous ships, it was worth paying the bit extra to have the bath & shower. Loved the small dressing area & particularly the tea & coffee facilities. We received a bottle of real Rheims Champagne & a box of chocolates, nice touch. Although I asked for a blanket & a feather pillow in advance they were not there but our ever efficient steward, Morris, placed these on my bed during dinner. I would now choose to book this type of cabin again although it should be noted that if sitting on the balcony you were overlooked by all rooms above, this didn't bother us. Sound proofing is good, we knew there were families either side of us with Primary age children but only heard them when we were out on the balcony at the same time as them. Really liked the dressing area with mirrored doors on the wardrobe & plenty hanging space.Generous sized bathrobes & bath sheets, face cloths & slippers were all provided, along with toiletries.All in all this was an excellent choice & I would book the same type of cabin again.

Port and Shore Excursions

We took the free shuttle bus to Brankenburg & were dropped near the station, about a 15 min drive. One could have stayed here & wandered around but we opted for carrying on to Brugge.
We had just missed the hourly train, just after the hour but it as pointed out that the local bus was immediately in front of us. The bus was quite full & we got on, standing room only for the very cheap price of â,¬5.80 one way for both of us. Luckily we got seats after a few minutes for this 15 - 20 min drive to Brugge bus station just behind the town centre.
We walked along a lovely parade of small shops, lots of choc shops on offer & up to the main square which was delightful. A large open area bordered by old tall buildings with a medieval feel to it - just lovely.
We sat outside one of the many cafe/bars & had a coffee & a beer, â,¬8.60. From here we could watch life go by & see tourist taking the horse drawn carriage rides on the cobbled road. Not sure about public toilets but we used one in the cafe we stopped at. There was a helpful tourist information office on the far side of the square - we used it to find out the way to the railway stain, they kindly gave us a map & drew on the route.
Due to illness related weariness, we did not do a canal trip (about â,¬9) or walk anywhere other than the main square. I would definitely want to return to Brugge for longer as we did not do it justice this time.
We walked the 15 mins or so through a park to the railway station. Again we were impressed with the cheap fares. Our single trip for 2 adults cost â,¬6 & we got on a lovely clean new looking double decker train, childishly pleased as it was something different.
The queue in Brankenburg for the shuttle bus was very long but credit to P&O they soon had 4 coaches to take us back to the ship.
No hesitation in recommending a trip to Brugge( & yes it is very reminiscent of scenes in the film).

Deciding that the ship tours were a bit pricey we did our own thing. Initially we had a longer than usual wait onboard as they had to delay the tender service as the sea was too choppy for safe transfers but we got ashore after a while. A rather cool, cloudy overcast day with rain threatening.
I'd already checked out options for seeing the island, all 24 or 25 square miles of it & we headed for the town bus station, along to the left from the quay.
Buses only do the round the island once an hour & we missed the bus as it was full, Thankfully the Bus Inspector put on another bus & only 20 mins later we were of on our 1 hour 20 min trip for the total of 2 each! If you wanted the "get on, get off" option you had to part with the princely sum of 4.50.
The island is fairly flat & not really much to see. To be fair to Guernsey one would either need to go on an organised tour or hire a car to see the sites on offer. Be aware that some of the roads are incredibly narrow & windy, we would not have wanted to drive ourselves.
The centre was quite quaint with streets off streets, more interesting as not just one long thoroughfare, again, we just walked through on our way back to the ship. Just not for me, not interesting enough.

Read more Ventura cruise reviews >>
Read Cruise Critic’s Ventura Review >>
Member Since 2013
Enrichment Activities
Family & Children
Fitness & Recreation
Onboard Experience
Public Rooms
Shore Excursions
Value for Money