First cruise and first time on the Ventura. Absolutely fantastic ship and we had a great time on the whole.
It was all a bit mystifying initially. Embarkation was smooth but once on board it got totally confusing. Very few signs and port and starboard passageways were done in identical colours which didnt help. Some people tied ribbons at various parts of the ship as a landmark. Main signs were in grey/orange so unreadable. We had to help a few lost elderly people over the course of the trip and likewise others helped us.
Having said all that the food was fantastic particularly at fine dining. We had 4 formal nights I think and dressing up was great fun. For those worried about formal nights I can only say Tuxedos are cheap and a bow ties cost little so dont worry and enjoy the experience. The remaining nights are smart casual which I dressed up for as well. Lots of people seem to worry about this but dont and dont miss out on the fine dining.
For those that havnt been before there are washing machines,tumble dryers and ironing boards on each accommodation deck and they are free. Dont forget your washing liquid (detergent blocks x 2 for £.60 in shop).
The food was amazing. We had everything from Lobster to Beef Wellington. You can go to the Buffet on deck 15 but its plain fare (lots of it) and I avoided this as much as I could. It was obvious that many people gave the fine dining a miss so I guess its whatever you feel comfortable with. You can have lunch in the Saffron restaurant and high tea there as well. This it waiter service also and yet again the food was fantastic.
15,000 meals provided each day by 165 chefs we were informed.
The cabins are a decent size and spotless. Beds are amazingly comfortable. No need to bring toiletries as they are provided. You can buy them in Port if you run out. The cabin attendant will clean your room continuously so remember your do not disturb sign when necessary. We had a basic inside cabin. You could go for an outside but not sure its worth the cost.
Entertainment was a mixed bag but overall it was enjoyed. Most of our group enjoyed what was provided. Theres several acts on each night so you are bound to find something that floats your boat. The decor was fantastic just like any top class hotel and better than most. Bar areas were nice and the the central area of deck 6 was great for pictures. The ships photographers were annoying ++++
Our Ports of call were good but there was never enough time such as you might have if you were staying over. The excursions are expensive so we didnt book any but if you have the money they are probably a good way to see more of the places visited plus the "not to miss " sights which are invariably out of town.
Just a footnote here, the coaches to town are not worth the money in my opinion. For a 5 minute drive it was £4 each way so if your a couple thats £16. Most people walk and thats what I will be doing in future.
Drinks wise a Pint is about £3.95 but a glass of wine is around £6. P&O allow you to bring a bottle of wine per person on board. That was handy. Most other cruise dont allow any alcohol and some even confiscate water. I was advised that NCL are one of the strictest so you will never catch me travelling with them as a matter of principle. Hats off to P&O on this one. Water can be bought on board at about £10 for 6 small bottles. Oh a litre of Teachers (duty free) was £8.50 on board. It was even cheaper in Gibralter. I bought a Litre of Bombay Saphire there for £7. Claymore whiskey was £3.40 a litre just to give you an idea. A decent btl of wine about 2.9 Euros.
Our cruise did not experience any bad weather of note so most of the time it was hard to believe you were on a ship just in case you havnt been and are worried about that aspect of your trip.
Met met lots of cruise addicts who were on their 40th 50th 60th cruise. One elderly chap had managed 66. All gave us helpful tips on what to do and not do (never leave your washing or ironing unattended or they could get stolen). I was a bit gobsmacked at that one but yes its true. With about 3000 people on board anything can happen.
I should say here that fares booked in advance can be extremely cheap. This cruise was for us but others paid almost double what we did .Lastly gratuities are £5.50 per person per day. Its an awful way to be paying staff. We paid it and gave several staff tips on top. Its down to yourself as to how you want to manage that one.
All that said a fantastic experience. We have already lined up our next 2 cruises. I hope this rather lengthy message is of help to anyone who are planning to go on their first cruise or are considering one.
Not particularly interesting but nice to be able to stretch ones feet.
Very interesting place. Wish I had more time there. Managed to ride on the funicular railway which took us up a steep incline. Great views over the city. Saw some lovely churches. Coffee and cakes can be cheap but not always. 3 large and I have to say delicious ice creams in a restaurant around £25. That sounds like London prices. On the whole a very nice port of call. Others loved the trip to Fatima so you might want to consider that as an option whilst in Lisbon.
Lots of very cheap alcohol, narrow streets, a Morrisons supermarket and a Rock.
It was ok. Might have been better with excursion
What can one say. Great football team. Terminal was fine.