This was a 5 week cruise, having only undertaken a few shorter cruises before, unlike many well seasoned cruisers on board, we were pleasantly surprised at the quality, standard and presentation of everything.
In a nut shell: on reading reviews (after we had paid a deposit) I started to get concerned! Fortunately a very level headed well travelled friend reassured me that the Ventura was ‘lovely’. How right she was. Readers, do not be put off by some highly critical reviews here, much of which I cannot say we witnessed or experienced and leave me baffled.
The food was excellent, plentiful and exceptional choice for every palate. We tried every venue. We did not wish to put on weight and by choosing from the enormous range of fresh foods, salads and fish we came back at the same weight! The eggs had golden yolks, the fresh burgers on the deck had quality beef, the sea food kebabs in the Beach House were amazing and as for the food in the Epicurean - well wow wow wow.
We particularly enjoyed the Beach House and Epicurean where an additional sum is paid for evening meals. We had one meal at Sindu but preferred the Epicurean on occasion (Black Tie nights) where the service and food is exceptional. We also enjoyed the Cinnamon and Saffron main freedom dining restaurants meeting a variety of well travelled and P&O regular cruisers.
The 60s fancy dress night was not supported by the guests (we were tipped off about this so did not appear in our Amazon purchased 60s outfits - P&O may consider removing that one), however the Tropical and Black & White nights were. 8 Black Tie nights we found a bit much and dined in our suite on several nights for relaxation.
We found The Retreat sun deck area (light breakfast, lunch and tea included) was a good investment to ensure a more peaceful relaxation area. An additional cost but we were glad we did this on the sea days between Caribbean Islands.
Bearing in mind then age group that would be on a 5 week cruise in Feb/March the entertainment was fitting. Some of the acts were so good it was a shame they all did not have 2 nights across the venues. The Whitney Houston act was only on for one night and we were unable to get to it so missed it. Yes, you have to get to the theatre early to ensure a seat hence having acts in for 2 nights or in different venues on 2 nights would ensure everyone had a good chance to see them.
The Havana Bar is indeed the ‘meerkat lounge’ due to the high dividing panels and subject to endless complaints. Now that the ship is docked due to the global pandemic maybe something can be done to reduce the high ‘wall dividers’? The guest speakers were a bit limited in variety and none of the speakers seemed to want to stand either in the spotlight or at the front of the stage floor area in Havana so you could see them or ensure everyone could hear them properly. We missed not having a retired detective as a speaker as they are always full of amazing tales.
The staff are amazing, each and everyone of them. The rude and crass behaviour on board of some guests made us cringe. To find a lady room steward in tears was appalling and I would have enjoyed being left alone with the male guest culprit for bullying behaviour.
Some guests behaviour towards staff made us ashamed and if we could counteract it at any point we did. Sneering comments by guests on trips when we were on hurricane damaged islands, that were fighting for survival, ruined one trip for us - we apologised to our taxi driver for such moronic hurtful and thoughtless behaviour by these guests.
For what we paid we were very satisfied with what we got. For us 5 weeks was too long but it was quite an experience. The staff are amazing and it was a privilege to have met them.
We did treat ourselves to a suite and very glad we did on such a long voyage. One of the perks was breakfast in the Epicurean which was just perfect. Again, the staff were exceptional and evening meals there would knock most top 5* London restaurants into a cocked hat.
Speaking as a retired tourism inspector I was nicely surprised with it all.
Immaculate condition, spacious with excellent double sized bathroom and large glass door cubicle shower and spa bath. Room Decor somewhat mixed (orange, blue, grey, violet) not our taste in room wall art but certainly acceptable. Everything thought of and simple the most fantastic butler (both butlers we met were exceptional) and fantastic steward.
Well organised embarkation. Many on this cruise had priority boarding and many arrived well before allotted time, P& O need to firm up on designated arrival times.
We were able to walk off ship and along sea front and around the town. Bit wet so not the best of days. Good information handed out at port.
Caught local bus to Hamilton town itself. Walked around. Pleasant locals chat on the vpbus.
This port was changed to Freeport. Beach excursion, not crowded, warm sea and good weather.
This has changed so much in the last 20 years since I was last here. Mass over tourism (this will now change in light of the global pandemic no doubt). Bourbon Street felt more like a hen and stag place with hustlers on the street corners. Took the hop on hop off bus (caught it early as they did get busy). Took the walking tour with the bus pass. Main streets crowded when we were there & city felt grubby. Stopped at one of the famous beignet (donut) cafes on Bourbon St (can’t recall which one as several contenders for the title) , and staff looked really unbelievably scruffy and fed up. We were too horrified to use the loos even.
N. Took a P& O excursion bus tour which gave us a great tour of the city and levees, including one of the incredible church yards.
Very pleasant. Again over run with tourists at time we called. The further you walk away from the ship’s terminal the quieter it is.
Over run with tourists when we called in. Avoid the Big Bus. All stuffed, couldn’t get on and we bought a ticket from a shop agent who disappeared after no bus appeared and when it did it was full. Main Street frantic. One visit was enough.
Pretty main town an easy walk from ship. Found the ‘ home’ of the Pina Colada which at 10am was early to have one, but the place was quiet and cool! Soon another ship arrived and the town filled up. Enjoyed the walk to the fort and to see the shanty town and read the plaque of the history.
Vibes beach party bus. Hilarious driver, all good fun. Short tour included. Nice quiet beach, ample space.View All 171 Beach Reviews
Long drive around to get to falls which was very interesting. Short beach break included. Sad to see the hurricane damage. Only downside were sneering comments by other guests at the damaged properties with draft remarks. Glad we were able to support the local taxi driver and beach traders.View All undefined undefined Reviews
Two beaches on the party bus rum punch excursion. Great fun. Sea warm and lovely to swim in.View All 167 Beach Reviews
Missed this as ship not allowed to stop due to outbreak of pandemic. It looked lovely lush and green from the ship and we were sad not to call. Another time, I hope.