Flight 9 hrs, leg space sufficient although quite narrow. Complimentary bar throughout flight. Disembark aircraft straight onto coach then within 30 mins arrive at barbados port and first breath-taking sight of the ventura. Following security and credit card registration we were let loose on the biggest ship I've ever seen. We flew out on friday so had overnight in port then all day saturday in barbados plus half empty ship. All port reviews follow. Cabin was clean, and comfortable, with clean cotton sheets and duvet covers, the mattress was soooo comfy. Clean towels when required and of good quality and size. Food at all the standard restaurants was nice, always found much than than I needed to eat (and gained 10 pounds) Most of passengers on board appeared pleasant, courteous and enjoying themselves but in a well behaved way. I did unfortunately encounter one woman who 'hated everything and every minute' of being aboard, so gave her a wide berth! We always managed to get a sunbed 4 together most times, even on sea days, so I was happy about that famous complaint. The only few negative points of my experience are: Lack of ladies toilets, 1- unable to find them! 2- when found, always in a queue due to there only being 2 or 3. Also the entertainment, I felt terribly disappointed with the shows in the arena theatre, the dancers talent varies greatly, therefore poor co ordination with each other, also fed up with storyless type performances, it felt like a talent show most of the time. Other venues entertainment also poor, guest acts are all take off acts eg elton john, robbie williams, bee gees and some MIME! Also resident acts- appalling quality, especially a 'duo' of guys -ve personality and no audience command, singing to backing track (although could of sworn every third song was 'sweet caroline') very disappointing PO! Thank god for the comedians, but why some only get to perform in havana baffles me ???? Standing room only for foggy flax both nights. Fortunately we had and good company for this not to spoil our holiday
Central ship, quiet location
Turtle snorkel- booked through PO, AM trip of 4 hrs. Sail out of harbor on a catamaran, along the coast, very pleasant even for one member who suffers from motion sickness. The crew on board were local lads and were great fun throughout the morning. On arriving at the destination the turtles were swimming around the craft, a fantastic sight I shall treasure. After a short briefing we followed the crew into the water and watched them as the lads fed them and played with them, I even got to touch them as swam past. During the gentle sail back to port it is 'rude' not to except the free-flowing rum punch! Would definitely recommend this trip, cost £39 each.
Waterfall & coast- booked through PO, 7 hr trip. We sailed by catameran along coast, great atmosphere again on board, we had a stop to snorkel over a sunken boat, then also a stop at a deserted beach to snorkel over a coral reef. Further along the coast we disembarked to waiting mini buses to travel to the waterfall. The dark view falls, reached via a bamboo bridge are truly spectacular, the water drops 75 feet and is amazing to stand beneath, could of stayed there for hours. Following this we were taken by minibus for light buffet lunch, then return to port by minibus via many winding roads rising upwards procariously with spectacular views, a guide accompanies each bus and the journey is both scenic and educational. Thoroughly enjoyed the day, cost £69 each.
River tubing- booked through PO, 3 hrs trip. Travelled by minibus inland, up and down narrow roads, felt like a white knuckle ride at times, but the aerial views compensated for this. After arriving at the rainforest and a short debriefing we sail down the river in our tubes. I was a little disappointed at the lack of 'white water' and many people were drifting aground with staff having to drag them off but later found out the river level was low so not much force to the current. Transfer back to port takes the same 'scenic' route, cost £49 each, a little over priced I feel.
Rainforest canopy adventure- booked through PO, 4 hrs. Travel to rainforest by minibus, then get kitted out with harness, safety briefing then off to the zip wires. What a great experience, felt completely safe at all times with reassuring staff at every podium, the views over the vegetation where amazing and it rained- just as it should do! Following drinks at base station journey back by minibus. Cost £49 each, did speak to some americans from carnival ship in port, they had done it DIY by taxi and entrance fee and this worked out no cheaper.
Santa cruz, booked no excursions at this port, were planning on getting taxi to playa de las america but the town was pleasant with adequate shops, bars and street cafe's. Caught a bus to a beach just 15 mins along the coast, 1 euro each.