Absolutely excellent cruise. Went with my parents and grandma. I'm 16 and love cruising. A great way to get away from the mayhem of a modern Christmas and enjoy a traditional Christmas with grandparents and friends. The itinary was great despite the first and last days being bitterly cold in the Bay of Biscay.
We called at a number of ports: Lisbon (Xmas Eve-warning hop on hop off bus red route great (blue less so)but stops at three on Xmas Eve) , Lanzarote (we did the fire Mountains tour well worth it sutable for all ages as not much walking needed highly recommend esspecially if you have young children or are a person that wants to do something different but can't walk far), Gran Canaria ( hop on bus good but nice just to walk around the streets- old town quite away from ship so shuttle required. Going up the cathedral town is a must...alift is in side), La Palma( mountain hike tour well worth it if your like a good hike. It is down hill but the views at spectacular and there's a cafe at the bottom by a light house which serves excellent canarian potatoes), Tenerife ( went to Siam Park great day out good for all ages something for everyone from little slides to a wave machine to big slides), Madera ( despite the rain it was an excellent day rounded off with the fire works for New year's Eve which were spectacular they definitely didn't dissapoint. We had a berth in Madera so got the best views).
Despite what people say P&O still have very high standards all the staff cherry and nothing to much bother . Food excellent a d great variety but some dishes do lack a little flavor. The buffet is small,too small compared to the open plan one on Aurora and Britannia but despite this food variety was good and the afternoon tea and late night snacks good especially the roulard. Hot chocolate is on offer but needs to be asked for. Had breakfast in both venues equally good and on Christmas day they served buxfizz in the main dinner room so well worth going there on the big day. Food variety was a little samey for breakfast but generally good and always served with a smile. Didn't have lunch in the dinning room so can't comment but lunch in the buffet was always different and nice especially the deserts and meat.
Our cabin was C518 with a bunk. Excellent service from our steward Sanjo nothing too much trouble and always said hello when he saw us. One little niggle is was a bit small for two adults and a 16 year old son so a superior Dulux is worth it but the bunk was very confy. Balcony very large bigger than cabins above at same price so C deck cabins are well worth it. And extra special treat was meeting our cabin steward from a cruise 18 months ago who remembered us istantly remembering our names and talked with us for a good 40 mins. That's personal service!
Our captain was the delightful Andrew Willard whos morning announcement was fab. Over the cruise he worked through the sounds of the twelve days of Christmas and always had a thought for the day. He was obsest with his gesse whos recording kept squaking at the wrong time. Also in Madera and at the peninsula club cocktail party he sarcastically talked about Queen Victoria's Madera disaster which was very amusing as we're all his announcements. Great captain and easy to talk to as he wondered around the ship.
Ventura her self was well kept apart from a few areas her decks are nice and you can even walk round the bow on the prom when the wind isn't too high. Some parts of the deck were closed at times but after asking and officer it was for H&S as the wind was too strong to open doors safly and spray was coming on the deck. The other side was open however.
Embarking was quick wasn't on priority but were onboard with in 30 mins of arrring at the terminal the quickest emarkation we have ever had. Disembarking was a little slow but were off with in out timed slow.
Overall the cruise was great and I and my family would do it again. If you are looking for a cruise for the festive period this is a great trip with warm weather. A cruise not to be mist! And don't believe what people say about p&o they are top class we have sailed on a few other lines and p&o are top of the charts as they are truly British.
Excellent couldn't fault it but was a bit small for 3 people. Excellent balcony. And our steward Sanjo was first class
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