A bit of a disappointment : Ventura Cruise Review by HBulman

Ventura 3

Overall Member Rating

A bit of a disappointment

Sail Date: December 2011
Destination: Eastern Caribbean
Embarkation: Barbados
We flew from Gatwick to Barbados with Thomas Cook whcih was ok - flight passed quite quickly and got straight off plane at Barbados, onto coach and taken straight to ship avoiding the airport formalities entirely. Wished I had put shorts,t shirt and flip flops into flight bag as had to stay in winter clothing for three hours until luggage delivered to cabin but should have known having cruised previously.

We had an outside obstructed view cabin which looked between two lifeboats so still had a bit of a sea view. Cabin was spacious and kept clean by Bruno our cabin steward throughout the cruise. Not sure how often bed linen changed but suspect weekly at the most unlike other cruise lines which do change daily - however must think of the environment and not wash needlessly.

We had second sitting dining at the Saffron on (as requested) a table for two. However the table was so close to the tables next door either side that we felt obliged to chat to neighbouring tables More - might as well as had a table for six in this respect.

Food I would describe as more like "pub grub" - certainly no memorable or outstanding meals in the restaurant. A couple of dishes were plain awful Didn't try the speciality restaurants whcih other cruisers described as excellent (probably more on a par with likes of Celebrity in their main restaurants.
Our waiters were ok but my husband had to ask for a steak knife every time - this should be provided when steak ordered. Also tables crumbs not cleared - its these small details that put P and O down the scale of other cruise lines!

We did find the lunches in the Saffron had nicer choices of food than the evenings.
We ate breakfast at the saffron or outside the Beach House in the open air area and once had room sevice whcih is only continental unless you pay extra.
The pizzas and burgers/hot dogs at frankies grill on deck 15 were very nice indeed.

Entertainment was quite good. Headliners shows especially Reflex about the 1980's music were very good, there was a comedian called Fogwell Flax who was quite funny and also did a fantastic Sting tribute, also a "Cuban comedy/magician Manuel Martinez who was funny but I think did offend some people by his comments. Also Mercury Rising a tribute to Freddie Mercury was excellent. We enjoyed doing the quizzes but P and O a bit mean by not giving away even a keyring to the winning team (we won three and got nothing! - except the glory!)

Ports of call all very nice - hot weather as to be expected and we luckily missed out on rain showers by being in the right place at the right time!

We did two excursions one St Maarten by rib (inflatable speedboat) which visited Marigot, stopped for snorkelling and a beach and included rum puch/soft drinks/beer. The other was whale watching in Dominica whcih we were lucky to see both whales and dolphins. The price for these two excursions for my husband and I was £204.00.

On the other islands we negotiated deals with local taxi drivers for tours and the best deal was Antigua where we got the local bus to Nelsons Dockyard return fo $3 each. A bargain and very efficient.

Our main concern with the ship was the cleanliness. Ash trays were not emptied, glasses/rubbish etc not cleared away from one day to the next, grubby fingermarks on glass in lifts (and bearing in mind very few children on board to make a mess)

To sum up the cruise was adequate but not special and I probably won't rush back to P and O again anytime soon. Less

Published 01/10/12

Cabin review: NAE227 Outside Twin with Shower (Part-Obstucted View)

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Port and Shore Excursions

Having been to Barbados on previous cruises we just grabbed a taxi to the beach and got a deal for a drink, sunbed etc and taxi back for $24.
Read 1226 Barbados Reviews

Got a local taxi driver to take us to Salt mines/slave huts/flamingos and a stop off at the Bonaire Donkey Sanctuary where we met a lovely lady who has rescued 400 donkeys and depends entirely on donations to feed and care for them. Bonaire not a very scenic island but the diving is supposed to be the best in the caribbean,
Read 444 Bonaire Reviews

In Curacao we just had a wander, went to the museum about the slave trade - very moving to read about their stories, went to the Casino and won $10 which paid for a couple of drinks. Loads of shops to look at both local and tourist type.
Read 917 Curacao Reviews

In Dominca we went whale watching in the afternoon and in the morning we went to the Botanical gardens - a short walk from the port, wnet on "Jacks" walk whcih was more of a hike up a trail to a lovely viewpoint. The town itslef a bit on the scruffy side but the people all friendly on passing us by. A local market was set up on the port side.
Read 669 Dominica Reviews

Jamaica was a surprise. Very pretty island - again we got a taxi and had a tour of the local area including Firefly where Noel Coward lived and died - what a view from there! went to a beach for a bit of a paddle and tried jamaican Jerk chicken. Had a look at Dunns River falls as they went into the sea but not brave enought to do the climb!! Lots of shops in Ocho Rios.

Gorgeous island. Having done a tour of the south area previously we just headed off to the beach at Rodney Bay $7 in a taxi and lazed in the sun and swam in the lovely warm sea.
Read 1136 St. Lucia Reviews

St Maarten a very pretty island and a bustling port with loads going on and a really nice atmosphere. Also definetley the cheapest place for duty free on our itinery. We did the rib excursion but still had plenty of free time also as hsip sailed later than planned.
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