Ventura Canaries Cruise
Kevin Horner | December 18, 2017 | P&O Cruises | Ventura
12 Night cruise to the Canary Islands Aug 15
On arrival in our car at the docks we were put into a stacking operation, which took about 20mins to get through and be unloaded. Check in was a breeze pick up a letter when you enter the hall and then when that letter is called you go to the desks. We were on board within 30mins of arriving in the terminal.
We went for something to eat and a swim before the cabins were available, definitely something I??d recommend for Ventura with its closed roof, whilst you??re hanging around. Just remember to take your swimming gear and a towel in your carry-on luggage.
Food ?? Generally we thought the food was fantastic, good choice and variety in the buffets and main restaurants. We did have 2 issues in the Bay tree restaurant where for two days running our children??s main courses weren??t delivered with ours, and on the second occasion we??d finished ours before theirs came. The waiters were very apologetic and made sure after that it didn??t happen again. Buffets were busy around lunch time and sometimes it was difficult to find a seat for all 4 of us together but we always managed it, it was lunchtime so I guess it has to be expected.
Entertainment ?? Between Havana and the Arena there was plenty for us in the evenings to do and there was even more in other bars which we just didn??t go to. The Michael Buble tribute was fantastic and just showed how bad the Phil Collins tribute was. We saw Singers, comedians, magicians, west end style shows and all (apart from Phil Collins) we thought we??re good. Daytime wise its quizzes, deck sports, talks etc. which apart from the quizzes isn??t really our thing so we spent the majority of the time with a good book around the pool. We liked the sailaways with the almost daily will passengers x please contact reception as people were late back on board. I think we left a couple in 2 ports.
Service ?? Can??t fault the service generally, although I think our cabin steward expected a tip at the start, when he??d given us the talk about our cabin??it was a bit awkward but no tips will be given until the end.
Shopping ?? Personally we were a bit disappointed in the shops on board, not a great deal for men although the daily sales they haven around the atrium (jewellery, watches etc.) were the highlight.
Select dining ?? Ok we didn??t go to any of them as the food in the Bay tree is good enough for us, however and this is a big however????I did get a little annoyed at being asked twice a day when I was around the pool if I wanted to book a table at one of the venues. Please STOP IT P&O!!!!
Photo??s ?? They??re everywhere on every night. We bought the platinum package but they didn??t have any cruise DVD??s so we ended up with an extra photo. Not sure I??d say its good value for money but it was my wife??s 40th so bought it anyway. When we cruise again in future I wouldn??t buy them again.
Drinks packages ?? We were and still are disappointed P&O don??t have an all-inclusive drinks package, I know these are available elsewhere and it just feels they??re lagging a bit behind on this. We did buy the soda and ice cream package for our kids, which we won??t do again. The ice cream package is only a 99 ice cream without the flake, we felt a bit let down by that so be warned.
Kids Clubs ?? We had two kids in different clubs and they just loved it, it was difficult to get them to come out and the staff do a fantastic job with them. We can??t speak highly enough about what they do. My Eldest ended up doing some acting in front of passengers which she loved, and the family fete day was great. It gave me and the wife the freedom to do what we wanted, see the shows we wanted and generally relax without the two of them fighting. We didn??t think we??d put them in for the full day/night but the kids wanted to go in when it was open generally, and as it??s their holiday as well, we let them have their wish.
Ship ?? We loved Ventura, it??s our real first time cruising together as a family after I was privileged enough to go on Canberra when I was younger with my parents. Yes it??s big but that means there??s plenty to do and see. There??s plenty of sunbeds and you??re not allowed to reserve them although we saw people doing it, a couple next to us even left their stuff on one whilst they went off the boat into port and 3 hours later when we left still weren??t back! My other gripe is towards people and the lifts, there??s no need when you can walk unaided freely to use a lift to go up 1 or 2 floors, the steps aren??t steep and there??s not a lot of them. There??s plenty of bars on board and they have Sky sports in the pub (exchange) and I was pleasantly surprised at the beer choice as I like my real ales. Beers are around ?3.70 – ?4.25 with cocktails starting at around the ?6 mark.
Shore Excursions ?? We went on 2, the first to the fire mountains in Lanzarote and the second to Siam Park in Tenerife. Generally as I guess as most people say they??re expensive, but we really wanted to do those two things. I??d definitely go to Siam Park again and I??d recommend buying the fast pass as it??s definitely worth it. One point though was we felt the organisation for that trip was bad. Getting us onto the coaches was a bit of a mess, then when we got to Siam Park they only opened 1 entrance turnstile for the 4 coaches of P&O guests. They wouldn??t let us use the other turnstiles even though there was no queue. My advice for the shore excursions is to do your research, in Gran Canaria there was an excursion to take you to a beach which would have cost us ?60 just for the coach, when 10 minutes?? walk away through the town centre (and the shops) there is a 2 mile beach which is lovely.
Tipping ?? Tips are ?5 per person per day, we didn??t agree with our 12 year old having to pay, so we reworked them to remove hers and then left a tip for the waiters and cabin steward. You can amend the tips via a simple form you get from reception and hand it back in. I know tipping is the done thing on cruising, but it does feel like you??re paying them to do their job when P&O should be doing that.
Cabin ?? We had an inside 4 berth, which was comfortable and was great for what we wanted at the price. You get a safe, walk in wardrobe opposite the toilet, fridge, hairdryer, complimentary small bottles of water, TV (although the only messages you ever get are them selling stuff, don??t bother opening them). We were happy with it overall and your pool towels are in the room which you can get changed daily.
Smoking ?? We??re not smokers but you can smoke on one side of the open decks, however????On deck 15 it??s partially covered and we always found the smell really strong as you got out of the lifts as the smoke wafted its way through. I wouldn??t be happy if we had a cabin on deck 15 and had to suffer that smell.
Overall we had a fantastic time and the kids don??t want to do anything else for a summer vacation anymore but cruise, if you have a family and are thinking about doing one, you won??t regret it.
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