This was my second cruise.I did a Meditteranean cruise on Venturatoassess whether it was good for my elderly father. It was and so we booked a 28 day Caribbean cruise from Southampton and back.
My son dropped us off but no porters appeared to help with baggage but I quickly got around that. We had ordered special assistance for my dad and it was excellent, we were taken immediately to our cabin and our bags were waiting for us. The holiday began
I was familiar with the ship and had asked for a cabin near the lift shaft to cut down on walking for my dad. We had a cabin next to the midship lifts. There was no noise, it was perfect.
Our inside cabin was excellent , twin beds, spacious clothes hanging area and a small shower room, which was everything we could have wanted. John, our cabin steward was a delight, professional and conscientious.
Dining at the Bay Tree was a real treat, the range and quality of the food was superb.I loved sea days best, changing for dinner, a cocktail, then sitting on deck 7 to watch the sun go down before dinner. That is the kind of 'entertainment ' that appeals to me and so I avoided much of the shows.
The head barman in the Tamarind didn't t like me- I could never get served, he would look through me and never 'see' me. A loud 'Oi' one night had passing crew help me and a poor innocent bartender was sent to serve me. When I signed my 'autograph' I added, 'took far too long, I am complaining'. Poor man, he couldn; t serve me quickly enough when he saw me after that but it was never his fault.His boss obviously looked after big tippers and to hell with small potatoes like me ! There was none of this at any other bar, everyone was as special as everyone else/
There was a divide on board, the smokers v the non-smokers. The non-smokers won, easily, meaning the smokers were squeezed into the margins. Invariably, when the sun came out, non-smokers hogged seats in smoking areas or took the chairs away. Alas, it is not widely understood that smoking bans have resulted in a camaraderie that non-smokers and crew do not understand. Smokers are social animals, they form large social groups which P and O failed to benefit from, with often no bars open to quench their thirsts. Deck 14 was like a ghost town with very little custom at the bar now that smokers are banished.
Apparently, this issue is at the discretion of the Captain and so the cruise I booked, with a smoking area on 14 was denied me! It is time to decide, if there is to be no smoking, then own it and declare ships as non-smoking vessels. Or treat smokers with a little more consideration. It is true to say that in some ways, smokers were 2nd class citizens.
Although I was traveling with an elderly person, I was able to consider traveling alone and I am satisfied that I would easily enjoy this. It was easy to meet people, to chat and be invited into groups and it is a very safe environment.
Access to ports was effortless but whilst P and O categorize their excursions, they fail to give information as to how easy it is to get to the starting point. I noticed some had a long walk, then long queues without shade to wait for buses. It was too unknowable to risk taking my dad. Besides, local taxis and buses and excursions did a brisk trade at far lower prices.
Captain Andy Willard was very Hands On and I chatted with hm many times. He was frequently seen mingling with guests. He was a mean ballerina in the crews ' talent show too.
I would definitely do this again, just to see the saphire blue of the sea and the many vivid rainbows I have never seen on land.
My thanks to P and O, Captain, his excellent crew , fellow passengers, and the sun, sea and skies that I saw.
My cabin was everything it should have been. Pleasant, comfortable and kept in good order by John.