Having just returned from our first cruise I am eating my words. For years I’d thought that cruising was for retired folk and had avoided them like the plague, believing I was far too young.
I recently saw an itinerary that interested me and a fare that really interested my husband ! We railroaded our friends into joining us.
It was 7 nights on P & O’s Ventura, an enormous ship capable of carrying 3500 passengers, sailing around Italy with 4 stops including one in Dubrovnik.
The cruise started in Genoa. We flew to into Nice and took the train for a very pleasurable journey along the coast passing the very glamorous Monte Carlo. We spent the night before in the wonderful Grand Hotel Savoia, well placed for the station and for boarding a cruise ship. At breakfast we were able to see our home for the next 7 days from the rooftop restaurant.
On arrival at the cruise terminal we were pleasantly surprised to find that there were no queues. The boarding process was very painless and we were soon on board.
We made our way to our well equipped balcony cabin and met the lovely Bernie, the cabin steward.
Our cabin was the last but one on deck 10 and our companions was the first but one on the same deck, the travelling time between the 2 was a brisk 5 minute walk !
There were 5 swimming pools, a theatre, nightclub, several bars, restaurants, a gym, spa, boutiques and a casino.
The Ventura is a family friendly ship and it soon became apparent that there was a wide age range. Every age group is catered for, parents can relax secure in the knowledge that their children are safe but having a great holiday.
The choice of restaurants and bars was over whelming, which included Marco Pierre White’s White Room and Atul Kochar’s East.
I would compare the bar prices to those of a UK pub and there was an excellent choice of very reasonably priced wines. We had a knowledgeable sommelier who helped us choose our wines to accompany the 5 course evening meal and the same waiter each evening.
The entertainment was diverse with live singing, comedians, musical shows and regular film showings.
We also really enjoyed stopping at different ports and visiting new places. We didn’t take the organised tours, choosing to do our own thing. Only thing to remember is to be back on ship at the correct time as they don’t wait for stragglers! There was often an evening call for missing passengers.
It amazed us that although the ship was at full capacity there was always plenty of space and it never felt over crowded.
We all really enjoyed it and look forward to taking another cruise very soon !