Hazel Kennedy | January 15, 2018 | P&O Cruises | Ventura
We chose a Caribbean holiday (25th Jan -9th Feb) as a special treat to celebrate our sixtieth birthdays and were amazed at how many people we met on the cruise who went there almost every year ! We couldn’t belive it had taken us so long to find this gem.
Although we have travelled a couple of times previously with P and O this was our first time on Ventura ( our previous journeys had all been on Arcadia) . Ventura is a much larger boat and at times you are more aware of the extra numbers of people on board, especially sea days when unless you were up early you struggled to find a nice spot for a sunbed- some were very crammed in and the theatre was often very full at an early time.
Our initial start of the holiday was sadly spoilt by the airline carrier Thomas Cook. We have never travelled by Thomas Cook before and doubt very much if we would choose it as an option again. We had to pay excess on our luggage as although we had the correct amount cumatively it wasn’t in the right bags. Our hand luggage was 3 kgs between us over the limit. After a hasty shuffling around of items at the boarding desk we ended up with our luggage in the hold being 3kgs over and one of our hand peices of luggage being 2kgs under . We were not given the option to change them round again but were charged over fifty pounds for the “excess luggage”. We wouldn’t have been so annoyed about this if we hadn’t later found out and observed that some people who checked in later were not having their hand baggage weighed and some people were getting onto the plane with two peices of hand luggage which must have weighed over the total allowance . Thomas Cook appears to have a very inconsistent policy which they adhere to at some times and then not at others ! We have made a formal complaint through P and O about this lack of inconsistency, even though we are not peope who normally complain but we saw many people upset by the attitude of some of the Thomas Cook staff regarding their luggage
Despite this however we had a lovely holiday . After reading several reviews prior to going on the holiday we chose a balcony cabin on Deck C . This is the deck where there are larger balconies. Half is more secluded and you can get some shade and its more private whilst the other is open and easily accessible for the sun. Having had balconies on Arcadia before the normal size the extra space makes a big difference.
The ship isn’t quite as easy to navigate as Arcadia as on several floors you can’t go straight across from the front of the ship to the back. Once you’ve navigated your pathway however ,then its fine but it isn’t as accessible for people with motability problems as on outside decks there are lots of areas accessed by steps on several levels .
As we had a cabin at the rear of the ship, always our usual choice as there seems to be less movement at the back, we tended to spend most of our time on sea days at the rear so perhaps didn’t use the front as much as we ought to have . The cabins on Ventura we felt were much nicer then on Arcadia , they are stepped back a little from the main corridor and the doors grouped in two’s seperated by colums which gave it a nice classical feel . We also thought the layout in the cabin with the bathroom and clothes area seperated by a wall from thesleeping area in the cabin was much more comfortable than Arcadia where the door to the bathroom was often in the way of the main entrance. We certainly used our cabin and the balcony much more on this cruise especially on the early evening when it was just balmy and really lovely to enjoy the sun going down with a glass of wine.
The food in the restaurant for the evening meal was lovely, excellent quality and very good service . We ate in the Bay Tree Restaurant on the second sitting and our only dissapointment was that you heard a lot of noise from the club room above which started at various times during the meal. We used the special restaurants Whites and East and felt that the East was by far the best for the price . The food was supurb . Although the food was very good in Whites a full meal with a bottle of wine and one brandy cost nearly ninty pounds which we thought was excessive when it was half of that in East . The brandy alone cost ?12 in Whites !! its a good job we didn’t want two .
We loved all the caribbean islands although the town at St Vincents didn’t cater vety much for tourists and was dissapointing . Our particular favourite was Antigia where we went in a taxi with four other people from the ship ( we met them outside on the quay) to Long bay , a beautiful beach with snortling facilities , a bar and toilet facilites . We were quite nervous at first about doing our own thing regarding trips but its totally fine to go on the locally organised tours-our tip would be to just go with a group of other passengers and allow yourselves plenty of time to get back on the ship.
The weather was lovely . We had some quite heavy showers but it didn’t last long. Altogether a fabulous time and we can’t wait to go back .
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