We have just returned from a fantastic Spring 13 night cruise on Ventura, to the Iberian coast. It was a fabulous cruise with 7 ports of call, so lots of interesting things to do. We were blessed with beautiful weather throughout our cruise.We had two late evening departures which were lovely. We will never forget dining on the outdoor terrace of the White Room whilst in Gibraltar until 11pm, with amazing views, weather, food, wine and service all coming together to create an outstanding evening.
Indeed, every meal was delicious, and consistently, the best food we can remember eating on board any ship.
This was our first cruise on Ventura, and it is now our new " favourite ship"!
So well done P&O.
We had heard that the food on Ventura was very good, and we were not disappointed. It was consistently excellent every day. The dishes were absolutely delicious, and the accompanying sauces were superb. All four Gala Marco Pierre White dinners were outstanding.
Every meal was divine, certainly no-one on our many tables ever complained or left any food on their plates! It was consistently, the best food we can remember eating on board any ship. The vegetarian choices were very imaginative and tasty, and Roby our head waiter was keen to offer me a special vegetarian menu every night.
This was our first experience of Freedom Dining, and we enjoyed it very much. It suited us to choose different times to dine, as the whim took us, and to enjoy a wide variety of fellow passengers' company which added a new dimension to our dining experience.
There were the usual range of entertainment choices on board. The casino was very well attended, as were all the shows. For the regular cruiser, it can sometimes be a challenge to find something new to do. For example, we would like a choice of guest speakers.
We found all the staff very courteous,welcoming, friendly and enjoying their jobs. Our cabin steward, Chris, was very helpful and engaging.
We had a couple of very minor issues whilst on board, and these were dealt with immediately and effectively. The service was faultless throughout the ship. Ventura has a very good vibe about her!
We had a superior de luxe balcony which was worth every penny for the extra space, and lovely for in- cabin dining on lazy evenings, plus the luxury of a bath to soak away the efforts of a long day out exploring. The cabin was very spacious, with plenty of storage. I see that the ship had a refit in 2013, including carpets throughout, but our carpet was rather stained. However, once this was pointed out to our steward, it was cleaned the next day while we were out.The bedding could be refreshed, as the duvet and sheets were rather thin. I like a soft pillow, and our steward, Chris, responded to my request very promptly. Nothing was too much trouble and he arrived every evening at 5.30pm with a fresh bucket of ice for our early evening G&Ts. The balcony was a good size, furnished with 2 reclining chairs, footstools and table, with plenty of room to move around. (We would have preferred a less exposed balcony, with an overhead cover, but none are available on D deck, with just a handful on E deck.) I would not book this cabin again due to the exposed balcony, but try for one on E deck. Also, if you are early to bed, there is some noise from the theatre drifting up from 2 decks below, but this did not bother me at all.
A very interesting half day excursion to Santiago de Compostela,to view the cathedral and explore the 4 squares. We had a very knowledgable local guide who lived in the city. It was an easy half day trip, the motorways are virtually empty, so we arrived quite quickly.
We visited the Trafalgar cemetery, closed last time we were here. Beautifully kept, the wisteria was in full bloom. Then the usual shopping, spirits still so cheap. One litre of Famous Grouse was £6.90 and Bombay Sapphire £8.95, prices did vary a little between the shops. Wifi a bit hit and miss in the garrison walls, so try a bar outside of these.
P&O now charge £4 each per shuttle bus, and a long queue, so it made sense to get a taxi up to the Castle Gib. for €15. Great views down, take photo id for OAP reductions, then walk down the pathway to the centre of town. Please don't try it the other way, it is very steep going and many folk looked worn out!
The city is beautiful, but swamped on this visit due to us, some 3000 pax plus another cruise ship with similar numbers. I booked tickets on- line to see the camera obscura in the Tevira Tower, as I was disappointed not seeing this last time here. Fab views. The market is not to be missed. A local restaurant will cook any fish you purchase.
Did the famous tram, but managed to scramble on the 28 not the 28E so it doesn't do the round trip. Actually none would have done on the day we went, as they went on a two hour strike! But caught a bus back quite easily. The custard tarts pastis denata(?) are still to die for! This is a great sail in/ out under the bridge, very spectacular. We berthed neared the city, so an easy walk in to the centre.
My home city, what can I say? Art gallery, Tudor House Museum, West Quay shopping... Nice restaurants in the Oxford Street area and down in Ocean Village. Quick links to Isle of Wight.