Ventura Cruise Review by Brynj
- Sail Date: September 2016
- Destination: British Isles & Western Europe
Embarkation - this really could not have been better. We arrived at the dock about 30 minutes before our allocated time (13:30) and were put in a small queue to await unloading our cases and the car was then taken from us for parking. In the hall we checked in and sat to await boarding but we had hardly taken a seat before we were called. On board we soon found our cabin and our bags arrived within 30 minutes - an excellent start.
Life on board - We had lovely fellow guests at our dinner table and this always makes such a big difference to the dining experience. There was plenty of choice from the menu and no-one had a bad meal all week. Breakfast, lunch etc. was taken in the 'Water front' buffet style restaurant. A reasonable selection but nothing too exciting.
The evening shows in the 'Arena' theatre were all very good with a good mix of entertainment. The same entertainers were performing in the other bars/rooms when not in the Arena. These were all very popular and you had to get to them early to get a seat - this was a problem everywhere except the main theatre.
Drinks were reasonably priced for a cruise ship. Our room and the communal areas were all very clean and well maintained, some other reviews have mentioned 'tired' looking areas but we never experienced this anyway throughout the ship.
Ports of Call - Guernsey was the only port requiring a tender and this this was very slick with minimum delay in getting off, or back on, the ship - well done to all the crew for this.
At La Rochelle the port buses were waiting and whisked us into town and although there was a long queue to get the bus back we were only waiting about 10 minutes due to the number of buses picking up.
Bilbao. Again quick and easy boarding of buses soon got us into town. Sadly we cut of visit short due to heavy rain but again there was no delay in getting a bus back.
The staff we came into contact with were all as we would expect, polite, friendly and informative.
Disembarking - Went very smoothly and we were off before our allotted time.
From all the above you would guess we had a good week on the Ventura, and we did. Sadly there was something lacking. I should say we have experienced many cruises and different cruise lines. The ship is clean with good staff and entertainment but there was just nothing special about any of it in comparison to our other holidays. The afternoon tea was just buffet style, as was the midnight meal. We have never eaten at midnight but on other ships we have stayed up just to witness the displays and effort the staff had put into them i.e. ice statues, themed events like all chocolate feast etc.
Lack of evening seating in the bars around the ship.
Word of warning - like others, P&O reserve funds on your credit/debit card during the cruise but rather than take those reserved funds at the end of the cruise they charge the full amount of your on board account. This means that you pay roughly double for about a week until the reserved funds are released.
Don't let us put you off if you are new to cruising, you will be happy. But if like us you are more experienced cruisers then maybe look elsewhere.
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