We chose this cruise having enjoyed a similar cruise in 2015.Same ship, same time of the year but very different. 6 of us travelled together to celebrate a significant birthday and, as a group, we could enjoy each other's company and the facilities of the ship which made this a better experience than it would have been had we been on our own. The weather was pretty rough all the way to the Canaries and back tho' we did have enough good weather to enjoy each of the destinations.Many passengers (which included a lot of first timers) were sick on the sea days which made the public areas quieter than they might have been as everyone was 'trapped' inside the ship for most of the time spent at sea. The ship was very noisy with excessive background noise all the time and musicians who behaved as entertainers rather than cocktail artistes.We raised this with the hotel management who acknowledged our comments but had no success in changing things. Fortunately the Glass House bar was reasonably quiet. We were surprised that many of the passengers were elderly and/or infirm. In the past we only noticed this on longer P&O cruises. We suspect that the very competitive pricing and the short duration of the cruise may have influenced this. But we made some lovely contacts and there was always a buzz about the ship. Check in was very fast and efficient but the first day gave us some surprises. Firstly the room stewards went off duty for the evening after we sailed. We didn't mind this at all as the room was already made up and the stewards have a very heavy day in Southampton. However we were missing some items in the bathroom and despite our calling Reception, nothing happened until the morning. In the (Freedom Dining) restaurants the waiters now have tablets to take all orders, including drinks. The 'wine waiters' were therefore reduced to running around trying to find out who had ordered what. On shore, these arrangements are pretty standard but it doesn't work well in a big, busy ship's restaurant. We were told that Ventura was trialling these arrangements for Iona. In Club dining the original arrangements applied. Presumably this is because wine waiters are very busy at the beginning of each sitting in Club (while the load is spread in Freedom) and the same applies to the load in the Club galley. However the staff throughout the ship were very competent, efficient and cheerful and Captain Willard was engaging and 'led from the front'. We fully exploited the speciality restaurants - Glass House, Beach House, Sindu and Epicurean. The latter was exquisite and well worth the high cover charge. The tours provided at each port were quite adequate and we enjoyed several. The lecturer who talked on Air Accident Investigation was very good, as was the classical pianist (altho' the amplification did distort the piano's sound sadly). The weather truncated Headliner's shows unfortunately - they were very good. The craft instructor 'missed the ship' which upset the artist in our group.
Well presented and maintained. We'd have preferred to have a bath but they are rare on Ventura