Well Done P & O : Ventura Cruise Review by Radcliffe

Ventura 5
Member Since 2000
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Overall Member Rating

Well Done P & O

Sail Date: December 2011
Destination: Eastern Caribbean
Embarkation: Barbados
Bonded luggage meant that we left Gatwick and didn't see luggage again until the cabin. Even taken from plane direct to port - very good. Not experienced that before. Was a little worried about the Thomas Cook flight P & O had chartered, but it was absolutely fine. We were really well looked after, and had plenty to drink. We had paid extra for extra legroom, and that was nice as we are tall.

Boarded the Ventura with ease and were shown around our cabin by our lovely friendly steward. The room was just lovely with champagne, chocolates,fresh flowers all waiting for our arrival. The tea/coffee making selection was replaced twice a day, and having that early morning cup of tea was a big bonus for me. Mind you, even if it wouldn't have been there, room service was SO efficient and always arrived bang on time. We ordered room service several times when we were on sea days and then it made it a nice leisurely start to the day. It's free, but we would give a tip to the More waiter. We usually asked our steward for the ice bucket to be ready for us on return to the cabin in the afternoons and then we could have a nice cold drink on the balcony. He was very good at remembering we wanted that.

We chose freedom dining (we always do) and that worked really well. Either we could chose to dine on a table for two, and maybe wait with a pager for a little while, or join others, and then you would normally be seated immediately. We mainly used the main waiter service restaurants, as we don't really like buffet, but food was good there on the odd occasion we ate there. We dined in the White Room on our Ruby Anniversary, and that was superb. It was a formal evening also, so everyone was dressed up, and the atmosphere was really good in that restaurant. Also we dined in Ramblas and East, and both were exceptionally good. All come with cover charge, but really worth a try for a special meal.

Wine packages were available, and we actually used our onboard spend to pay for those. It does make the wine cheaper to purchase the package, but then P&O prices are pretty good against other cruise lines. On the subject of alcohol P&O allow you to take it onboard (other cruise lines don't), which meant that as the ship sailed away, then we could sit on our balcony and have a pre dinner drink....or two!

The shows were about the best we had seen on any of our cruises. Ventura seem to have a very good song and dance team onboard. Shows were usually twice a night (sometimes three) so you could fit in your meal around them.

Unfortunately, we couldn't dock at Grand Turk. The captain tried, and circled 3 times, but wind speeds were too high to make it safe (think Easterly force 7). Having said that, we couldn't feel a thing onboard. The Ventura seemed to cope with the all that very well. Now, recently having heard about the Costa ship, maybe he made a very sensible decision.

Had a fabulous sail away from Antigua, with everyone on P&O waving union jacks at the Princess sistership opposite us, and singing all the songs like Land of Hope and Glory. From our balcony we could see that everyone on top deck had them and their voices were booming out. Not sure what the other ships thought of us, but it was one of those 'proud to be British moments'.

Well, all I can say is don't listen to people moaning, and just enjoy all that the Ventura has to offer. You certainly won't be bored. This cruise was just lovely, and we met many friendly people at the meal tables and had lots of fun.

If there is anything that is perhaps a slight negative, I would say that the Indian staff aren't anyway near so friendly as the Phillipino staff we have encountered on other cruise lines. Don't get me wrong - they all did a splendid, efficient job, but there was no laughing or joking with any of them, well except for our room steward. I think they were just too busy with their jobs.

Sadly, after a lovely cruise, we had to leave for home (had heard news of snow in UK!). Then oops! our plane developed a problem with its nose wheel, and after hours of trying to fix it, the captain gave up hope and got us off the plane. Now this is where I take my hat off to P & O again. As soon as they got their staff into position, and the terrible chaos at the airport was sorted (staff didn't realise what was happening), we were all escorted to coaches which took us to beach front hotels in Barbados, given meals, and then picked up the following day. I had visions of sleeping in the airport all night, but no. Thank you P&O - good job done. Couldn't have been easy to get 300 odd passengers sorted into hotels etc at short notice. Less

Published 01/22/12

Cabin review: CAD407 Junior Mini Suite with Balcony and Bath/Shower

Great room, superior balcony, midships and not too high, with extra room for settee, chair and table plus 2 TVs. Plenty of wardrobe space, and room under the bed for your cases. Bathroom has bath as well as shower - not that I had time for a bath! Good size balcony with foot stools, and reclining seats. Nice to have your own empty fridge for cold drinks. Also the safe in the cabin was free. Must mention free launderettes with tumble dryers and irons; lots of cruise lines seem to be omitting this very handy facility - pity!

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Port and Shore Excursions

Took the P&O island tour in Antigua, which took in Shirley Heights and Nelson's Dockyard (Nelson was Senior Naval Office of the Leeward islands). Very good tour and very interesting. This island is supposed to have 365 beaches. Excellent shopping opportunity right next to port also.
Read 1192 Antigua Reviews

Took taxi to these caves and taxi driver waited for us. Said he worked there driving the little train around the caves, some while ago. Very nice set up at Harrison's and very well run. For the brave, they do walking tours in the dark with just a headlight on.

Booked with Barbados Segway some while ahead over the internet, having read good reviews on them. We were picked up right outside the port and taken to the northern part of the island, where we rode around off the road and over grassland. Then they bring you back to the road (no cars), and you rode to a cove. They make it very clear exactly what they want you to do, how you do it, and seem very reliable. My husband absolutely loved it, but unfortunately I fell off into a muddy puddle when I probably pushed my handle the wrong way! Apart from that it was a great experience.

Not quite so impressed with this destination, and think it would probably be good if you were a scuba diver. The island seems to be set up for diving or snorkeling.
Read 444 Bonaire Reviews

Pretty place with pastel coloured buildings, and famous pontoon floating bridge. Really nice just to walk out from the ship, even if you hadn't booked a tour. We did this in the afternoon, and unfortunately then found our camera to be out of battery! Island tour good, visiting Museum, Hato Caves and Curacao distillery with lots of free samples of the different flavours.

Another good trip taken in Dominica. Rainforest Aerial tram. Not what I'd expected - even better. We were taken up through the rainforest by aerial tram. My husband decided to zip-line back down part way. The zip-line seemed cheaper to do here than other destinations, and it's something he's wanted to do. So, whilst I walked back down with the rest of our group and guide, over a rope bridge, he zip-lined over our heads. Great.

Rafting on the Martha Brae was our trip in Jamaica. Taken by coach to the destination and then put, in couples, onto 30ft long bamboo rafts on a comfortable seat. We were punted down the river and didn't have to lift a finger. It was really peaceful and relaxing. Very nice tour. Weather was just perfect. Unfortunately, wouldn't have felt safe walking out on our own. Security everywhere with their shops, and the stall holders were just SO pushy, I couldn't be bothered to look.

Did the full day land and sea tour in St Lucia, and I think they saved the best to last. They changed around the land sea, to sea land, as showers were forecast for the afternoon, so that was nice of them. We viewed the Pitons from the sea, saw the beautiful Marigot Bay where Dr Dolittle was filmed, and had a chance to swim just off a cove. Then we transferred to land, and were taken to the Botanical Gardens. These were fabulous and so much nicer than we had seen in Dominica, when our coach driver drove us through. Then onto a sugar plantation for typical Caribbean lunch, and on then to the Volcano. Here the heavens opened, as predicted, but hey ho, at least it was warm rain. Next we were taken to a fishing village, and then back to the ship. Really good tour and at £59 each thought it was good value for money.
Read 1136 St. Lucia Reviews

Have been to St Maarten before so decided to just walk to the town. We spent a really nice four hours walking around the beach area and shops. Thoroughly enjoyable. You can take the water taxi from the port across, but we walked this time, and discovered a different area, which was really nice. Stopped and had an iced cocktail before heading back to the ship.
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