Caribbean December 2013
Douglas Ferguson | August 15, 2013 | P&O Cruises | Ventura
Along with my wife and close friends we cruised the Caribbean from December 6th 2013 for 2 weeks. This is my 3rd trip on this vessel to these parts in the last 4 years and we are already booked for 2014. Overall it was another very positive experience, great weather, great venues and Ventura is still good value.
Some points for consideration would be as follows. We paid extra for the flights, ?500, to sit in premium economy and frankly its not worth it. As a frequent global flyer with a number of airlines I would class the return crew as one of the least active I have ever come across. Not everyone wants to sleep from the minute they step on the plane and a good cabin crew would be up and down serving drink / snacks to customers, not this crew. From a very early point in the flight all curtains were closed and they were hardly seen. I do appreciate strong tail winds made for a shorter than normal return but they should have been more active.
On the ship, whilst everything was of a good standard once again, please consider the following as constructive feedback.
Dress codes are set for a reason and should be adhered to. Formal dress or smart casual for dinner in your restaurants should never constitute jeans or flip flops. If folks want to dress like that then there are many other eating places on board that can accommodate them. You really should enforce your dress code when you ask for one. The food in the evening restaurant for second sitting was quite exceptional, as was the service. We have enjoyed many superb waiters on your ship as we have on Cunard liners, Rajeev was right up there with the very best of them. The same cannot be said of the self service buffet on the 15th deck. At lunch time the hot food often wasn’t and the choices were poor. The staff here seem somewhat disengaged to me and show little enthusiasm for their role, a complete contrast to the staff in our formal restaurant.
Cabin wise it was okay. We were in D231 so a superior balcony. Our steward Bosco was excellent but the cabin was tired looking and in need of a refurbishment. The quilt cover had a hole in it, the sliding doors opened in high winds(even when locked) and the decor needs a fresh look.
When it is a sea day you have a policy about reserving sun beds, but like your dress code you fail to see it through. On some liners where towels are left for more than 30 minutes they are removed but on Ventura nothing happens. This means people are unable to get beds whilst some leave a towel on a bed for the duration of the day.
We frequented many of your bars, Red bar is still excellent, as is Metropolis, The Exchange is the one that needs to change. The addition of draft guinness is a great move! The daily quiz and the constant tuning of the TV to football when no one is watching needs reviewed. Often the quiz had very small numbers of participants, sometimes only 3 yet it still went ahead meaning all other entertainment was switched off. Often at 5 pm the bar was empty yet we could not put the tv off and have music on as only the ‘ents’ team can alter the TV / audio and generally they don’t appear until 5.45 for the quiz they run for 3 people.
The casino is now too small and the dealing staff are unprofessional. I appreciate you outsource this part so you may want to pass the feedback on to your vendor. Passing comments to a playing member in the middle of a hand of poker about how unconfident they appear is not something I would encounter is another casino. Neither is being told by a very young dealer that I appear to be very serious! These guys need training in how to act as professional croupiers.
Logistically I have no idea how these cruises are planned but it needs looked at. We spent days at sea where we just sailed past Islands we were to visit later in the cruise, seems like a waste of fuel to me and on the day we were in Sint Maarten so were 7 other ships!! That puts a strain on the local infrastructure meaning people have to leave venues early to ensure taxis / water taxis can get them back to their ship. This year the water taxi queue was 2 hours, something that can be avoided if you plan / liaise with other firms.
Please accept this all as constructive, we had a fantastic time, we are coming again next year and I would recommend Ventura to anyone who wants to cruise the Caribbean.
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