Ventura Cruise Review by JCF Surrey
- Sail Date: January 2011
- Destination: Eastern Caribbean
- Cabin Type: Outside Twin with Shower (Part-obstructed View)
Their use of bonds to transfer baggage and people is very efficient, and greatly reduces the tensions associated with air travel in these fraught times. Once checked-in at Gatwick, the next time we saw our baggage was when it was delivered, in a timely fashion, to our cabin. There were no immigration and customs controls to navigate at Bridgetown; instead we stepped off the plane and into a minibus, which delivered us direct to the cruise terminal - we were in our cabin an hour and a quarter after landing. On the return journey immigration controls were cleared on the Ventura, a simple security form completed in our cabins resulted in boarding passes, baggage reclaim tags and security stickers being delivered, and again the baggage was next sighted at Gatwick. Passengers were bussed to Bridgetown Airport, where P & O had arranged a dedicated security lane, and we were airside within minutes.
Cabins were impressively kitted, with UK king-sized beds, fridges, good quality toiletries, and interactive televisions, through which it was possible to order food, drinks, excursions etc, and which kept us up to date with our spend on board.
There were restaurants to suit everyone, ranging from traditional two-sitting silver service, through freestyle eating to self service. The quality of the food was generally very good.We were first sitting in Bay Tree restaurant, where we were seated with 2 other couples. I suspect that these arrangements were made by age, and they worked - we loooked forward to their company every evening. The waiting staff were attentive, and on the first evening spotted that one of the ladies had problems with food. They summoned the head waiter, and every evening thereafter she was given the next day's menu, to make her selection at leisure. On several occasions they gladly provided items not on the menu. We ate in White's twice, and felt thoroughly spoilt. The food and service were definitely 5-star.
The gym was equipped with state-of-the-art machines, and the staff were both approachable and knowledgeable.
There was entertainment to suit all tastes, and on the couple of occasions we found ourselves in the wrong place at the wrong time, we merely moved on to another venue, to enjoy other offerings. The ship's resident show troupe included three excellent singers, a stand-out balletic trapeze artist, and two acrobats ex Cirque de Soleil. There was one show where events conspired against them, but we all enjoyed watching them ad-libbing their way through it.
Highlights of the cruise included an unscheduled meeting with our sister ship Azura in Aruba. She sailed just before us, and as we exited the harbour she steamed past us, with both liners thundering the air apart with volleys of salutes from their massive horns. That caused the hairs to stand up! The other was an organised reef snorkel and swim with sting rays off Grand Turk. The briefing given by Captain Stumpy was very thorough, and he even warned us of the predators we might encounter. However, he didn't prepare me for the five-foot barracuda, which swam out of the depths! The good captain did admit, afterwards, that they throw overboard the odd scrap to attract this beast.
Finally,as a proud Highlander I was impressed by the piping of the haggis and the Address on Burn's Night. I was rather less pleased to find that the Drink of the Day was an Irish whiskey.
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