Embarkation went smoothly and we were in our cabin soon after. We had been on Ventura a few times before so knew the layout.
It was 3 days at sea but with the help of Avomine I was able to carry on oblivious to the pretty rough Bay of Biscay crossing. You know it’s bad when the sick bags appear on the stairwells. I quite like the days at sea, as it gives you time to unwind and realise you are on holiday and can just go with the flow. They showed a few up to date movies in the theatre but then they changed the venue to the Tamarind Club which is totally unsuitable for watching a movie. Unless you were one of the first there your view was almost totally obscured. Ridiculous.
We went to lunch in the restaurant every sea day and there was always something on the menu to tempt you. The onboard activities were the usual fare – quizzes and trying to sell you something for your own “wellbeing”.
The atrium in the Ventura is where the dancing takes place and I really enjoyed watching the line dancing which was usually followed by a dance lesson by the 2 onboard dance teachers. Both events were well attended.
I had applied for (and it had been confirmed) that we would get £60 onboard credit as a shareholder benefit but after 2 days it had still not appeared on my account on the TV. I went to Reception and luckily had proof of entitlement with me so they took a copy and said they would contact someone ashore. 3 days later it still hadn’t appeared. Spoke to Aaron on Reception who said he could see it on his computer and that it would definitely appear in the next 2 days. You guessed it, still nothing. After 2 more visits and over a week into the cruise eventually the credit appeared on my account. No explanation was given so this is a warning to everyone who has Carnival shares – check your account and take proof of entitlement with you.
Our ports of call were Palma de Mallorca, Marseille, La Spezia, Ajaccio and Gibraltar. We had been to Palma countless times before so we just did our own thing but the sight of the Cathedral with the fountains etc as you just get off the shuttle bus still takes your breath away.
Marseille was a Sunday so we caught the shuttle bus into the port area. There was a warning in the Horizon newspaper to be aware of your surroundings and as we drove in there was a large square which had groups of men hanging around in it. It may me feel unsafe so we just stuck to the port.
La Spezia we had never visited before and it was a lovely little place. We would definitely go back there.
Ajaccio was also good. There was a big police presence with streets with markets being blocked off by trucks either end which I suppose was to stop any idiot who felt like it drive into the crowd. They obviously took safety very seriously and there were police patrols on foot and in cars.
Gibraltar was only half a day stop and I was going to test P&O’s price match promise so when I was passing the Duty Free Shop just as you disembarked I was going to photograph the price of Bombay Sapphire gin. I was just lining up the shot when this guy jumped in front of me with his hand blocking my shot saying, “No photos, no photos” and pointing to a sign (which I never saw) saying “photographs not allowed”. They obviously know about the Price Promise so this was their way of trying to get you to buy from them. Also in town I noticed that most of the prices of drinks had been removed from the window so you couldn’t photograph them either. We had bought 2 bottles of Bombay Sapphire onboard for £30 and it was on offer in Gib for £9.95 a bottle. Luckily, I found a shop with a price showing. The ship price matched and £10 odd was added back to my account. The same with cigarettes. 200 Lambert & Butler was £30 onboard but in Palma Duty Free they were 27 Euros. Again, the price match kicked in. I had looked onboard for a gold charm from Pandora but the choice on the ship was not good so bought one ashore. Unfortunately, 2 passengers were left behind in Gibraltar – the Captain waited 45 mins but had to leave without them.
The Captain’s welcome aboard party was on decks 5,6 & 7 and they were pretty generous with the drinks. The luncheon was excellent and although we had dropped from Baltic to Caribbean level we had one of the doctors seated at our table – he was gorgeous. Over 6 ft tall, blonde with blue eyes and a lovely South African accent. He was the best Officer we’d ever had at any of these events. Dishy.
The repeaters party went well with the drinks flowing again. It’s lovely to go to these events and meet and hear from past passengers about their cruises past & present.
We had Freedom dining which suits us but were a bit disappointed in the number of choices on the menu. Steak, chicken & salmon were now listed which made it look like there was plenty of choice but in actual fact you only had about 2 or 3 choices. This is not an improvement as far as we are concerned.
The weather was fine the whole time we were away and some people got in a bit of sunbathing. Both pools were mostly open but because of the choppy seas both ways thru the BOB the pools were shut off.
We tried the Burger Bar on deck 15 but I had to ask for a fresh burger as the one I’d been given must have been standing around for a while and was cold. I meant to try the Pizza but run out of days. The buffet looked fine and was usually busy although we didn’t eat a meal there except for breakfast.
Ventura crew come across as a happy crew and Ventura a happy ship. It makes a difference when their positivity and eagerness to make your holiday a happy one is genuine and we hope we get back onboard Ventura in the not too distant future. A good cruise.