Ventura sailed on the 18th of January from Southampton for the Caribbean, returning to Southampton on 15th February. The itinerary took in Madeira, then a string of Caribbean Islands including Barbados, St Lucia, Martinique, St Kitts, Antigua, Tortola and Sint Maarten before crossing back via Ponta Delgada in The Azores.
Embarkation was smooth and painless at the Mayflower Terminal (a strong contrast to the chaos of our last visit to the Queen Elizabeth Terminal!) and we found our bags delivered very quickly to the cabin.
We choose to take meals in the second sitting fixed dining 'Bay Tree' restaurant and quickly made friends with our four table companions Brian and Anthea, and Mike and Tracey. The craic round the table was exceptional and most entertaining and later in the journey we took part in the quiz sessions (the eight o'clock challenge), one of many the others took part in, and made up a table team of six that proved to be almost invincible - well, eight wins out of 26 days wasn't bad going and provided wine for the table.
The cabin was an inside cabin on deck 10 which was well presented and roomy enough, with good use of mirrors to extend the virtual size somewhat. TV channels were at best average, with the truly appalling BBC World countered only by the nearly as bad Sky News channel with some sports and a lot of ship channels, though films were available through the rather slow 'interactive TV' selection. The inside cabin was a new experience for us, but in truth we have always spent very little time in our cabin except for sleeping and found it well worth the cost saving we made.
easy enough to spend time ashore wandering around
Bridgetown is a nice port to wander around, but we found a guy with a pedal tricycle (Randolph) who took us round for an hour and a half and showed us lots of local interest before arriving at a beach bar where a rum punch was on offer (on him out of his fee - which we insisted on paying for). Randolph hangs out on the pavement a little way nearer town from all the taxi touts and I have no hesitation in recommending him.
ok, but nothing exceptional
fairly expensive, but a good trip with a cruise by catamaran down to the Pitons and into Soufriere followed by a visit to a botanical garden, a live caldera, with exceptionally pungent sulphur, and a trip back along the winding coast road. Very good.
really not much to shout about! glad it has been dropped from the voyage next year!
a good town to explore
a good trip with some excellent viewpoints, especially of frigate bay and the viewpoint at the narrowest part of the island, followed by some time at the beach that was pleasant.
again, Roadtown is a good place to wander around
a super trip with Ribeira Grande proving to be an excellent and charming small town, so much so that we are seriously considering returning there for a short holiday. The viewpoint over Fire Lake obligingly appeared splendidly out of the cloud for us and was also excellent There was also a visit to a pineapple plantation which was interesting, if uninspiring
not so much a port of call as the start and finish
Philippsburg is a great town with a lovely and busy boardwalk, with shops running along front street and, obligingly, back street, parallel to the boardwalk and a very reasonably priced water taxi to the port (7 euros for all day unlimited use)