Ventura Cruise Review by Owen Thesaints
- Sail Date: January 2011
- Destination: Eastern Caribbean
- Cabin Type: Outside Twin with Balcony and Shower
We were very impressed with the smooth arrangements from checking in at Gatwick to our arrival in our stateroom. This was very slick indeed. The flight was with Thomson and the crew worked very purposefully to ensure that we were comfortable, and they plied us with complimentary drinks.
The 4 sea days were probably our least enjoyable. The clamour and reservation of sunbeds, with extended periods of conspicuous non-occupancy, led to justifiable resentment. However, we are not as keen on sunbathing as many on board. The beds are often very close together, to the extent that navigating a clear passage to another area of the ship was often something of a challenge. We found many areas to be rather lively, and it wasn't easy to find somewhere quiet to read in relative peace. We were very glad to have a balcony, where we could read, play travel games etc - this was a major boon.
We enjoyed visiting all the islands, each of which had individual appeal. We are not divers and we do not snorkel, yet we still found plenty to do to keep our interest. We often took a P&O tour in the morning, returning to the Ventura for lunch. We then pottered around the nearby town in the afternoon. It was very hot, so it was always a joy to return to the air-conditioned comforts of our cabin.
We started by breakfasting in Waterside / Beach house. When we were there quite early (ie before 07:30) we found these restaurants to be perfectly adequate, without lengthy queues and reasonably easy to find a table. At peak times we found these restaurants to be too crowded. We had breakfast once in Baytree. Here the service was slow and we were required to share a table with 3 other couples. On port days we had room service breakfast on our balcony. All but once, the breakfast arrived punctually at the pre-organised time. It was a joy to watch our arrival at an island whilst scoffing a pain au chocolat on our balcony.
Lunchtimes were taken in Waterside / Beach house. Again, these were quite busy on sea days. On port days it was always easy to have a quiet (and relatively quick) lunch before heading into town. One distasteful aspect of buffet dining was the opportunity for gluttony and wastage. We saw people taking 3 desserts, having a sample of each and leaving the rest. For our part, we were happy to have a salad, the daily variety of which was highly commendable.
As we were on freedom dining, we could eat when we chose. We normally ate in the Cinnamon restaurant, arriving before 7 o'clock. This meant there was no waiting for a table for 2. These tables are set quite close to one another, so we could chat to our neighbours quite easily. The food in this restaurant was of a uniformly high standard. House wines were set at favourable prices. We normally opted to eat 3 courses although others with a more capacious appetite went for the soup and fish courses as well. On one occasion we were asked (very politely) to vacate our table as it was needed for another couple. We had finished our coffee and were chatting to our neighbours so this was entirely reasonable. On another occasion when we were equally tardy, the arrival of the new butter pats for the next diners was a more subtle way of encouraging us to move. It made us smile.
We also ate at 'East' twice and 'The White Room' once during the fortnight. Both of these restaurants offered sumptuously presented, top quality meals. Service was impeccable, and the experience was entirely worth the small supplement. (We booked both restaurants almost as soon as we arrived in our cabin on the first day - a wise measure to avoid disappointment.)
We thought that the Ventura company were very versatile and we enjoyed the shows. During the fortnight, there was a wide selection of shows, each performed thrice nightly. The acrobats (ex Cirque de Soleil) were outstanding. We enjoyed one of the comedians (Ray Turner) with his adroit observational humour. Another (Fogwell Flax) worked hard but anyone who laughs at his own jokes is rather too artificial for our liking.
My wife enjoyed line dancing with 'Lonestar LIbby (!!). There was plenty of other activities but Bingo, horse racing etc we can do without.
Excellent in every respect. Very comfortable bed. Quality toiletries. Slightly odd choice of TV channels, not that we wanted to spend our time watching television.
Our cabin steward kept our cabin in a spotless condition. He was the soul of discretion, being able to work around our variable timetable with the utmost aplomb. His unfailing good humour and civility made our cruise experience all the more enjoyable. Service in the restaurants was of a very high calibre, particularly in the speciality restaurants.
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