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DamianG

Live On-Board Ventura N921

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We are off on the Baltic cruise on 12th July so shall catch up on your blog when I get home xxx

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Damien Thank-you for taking me on holiday with you. I've had a lovely time.

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1 hour ago, happy v said:

Damien Thank-you for taking me on holiday with you. I've had a lovely time.

 

What a lovely comment, thank you. It's been my pleasure.

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Friday 16th August

 

Homeward bound, long drive ahead.

 

On Wednesday my iPhone recorded 13k steps / 8.8km for the day so we allowed our son a lie-in (especially as he is still adjusting to the time zone change). We were woken at 8:15am with an announcement asking for a missing “Miss” to contact reception (can’t remember the name). I couldn’t get back to sleep but our son did and didn’t wake up until 10am! We therefore missed MDR breakfast and didn’t go up to the Waterside restaurant until around 11am for a late breakfast (with it being available until 12pm). It was incredibly busy and the choices were slightly limited with just scrambled eggs being available (no fried) and no mushrooms. I did see one lady with a poached egg which presumably she’d had cooked to order. The in-laws were also there so we pushed 2 tables together and shared breakfast with them. We then headed back to the cabin.

 

On this cruise we seem to have spent more time than ever in the cabin, principally to suit our son. My wife and I are getting a little cabin fever but nothing too dramatic. In our pre-parenting days we used to like being out and about around the ship and in particular liked sitting at the stern, especially on Oriana and Aurora. On this cruise we have used the balcony a little but it has been quite breezy most of the time so neither of us have lasted very long. I was thinking about the fact that my blog hasn’t really described many ship activities and it is simply because we have done very little in the daytime on board. If there have been sunbed wars, misbehaving kids (or adults) or discourteousness between passengers then we’ve simply not seen it (and I’m glad that we haven’t). I had read a few stories of such things particularly being prevalent on Ventura at this time of year so I did have some concerns pre-cruise but I am experienced enough to know that each individual cruise is different depending on the clientele aboard at that time and that it is better to keep an open mind about such matters. As regards the sunbeds, the pool areas always seem busy but to be honest, I wouldn’t want to sit there (squashed in with a load of others) anyway and we only go near them when our son wants to have a swim. I also find those central pool areas really noisy, especially when the roof is closed over the Beachcomber pool. There seems to be plenty of sunbeds available outdoors on the higher decks though not having tried them I don’t know if it gets a bit breezy up there or not.

 

Our cabin is D733 which is a Superior Deluxe Balcony cabin. Our main reason for booking this is that it has a sofa bed for our son and we like being aft. The other benefit of being aft is that the corridor is quieter with no through foot traffic, especially late at night. The extra-large balcony of this particular cabin is a nice bonus but was not really a factor when making our choice. We virtually always choose a port side cabin for no particular reason, but the equivalent cabin had already sold when we made our booking so starboard side it is. I particularly enjoyed the different view sailing down the Solent and the same from leaving A Coruña yesterday. We only have neighbours attached on one side and I think that we have only heard them once on the entire cruise. There are a couple of quirks for this cabin though, with the whole room shuddering when a door slams further down the corridor. We are not sure if this is from (Superior Deluxe Balcony cabin) D735 or (Suite) D737 both of which face aft. Alternatively, it could be some kind of crew door. The door slamming is not a regular occurrence, it is just really noticeable when it happens. The other oddity is that every now and then (possibly every other day) we hear gushing water like a waterfall. It is not another cabin’s bath or shower as it is too strong and the noise comes from the aft balcony side of the room. Presumably there is some kind of downpipe for emptying something higher up the ship. None of these happenings spoil the cabin, they are just things that have become noticeable throughout the cruise.

 

I pre-paid a “Browsing” internet package at a discounted cost of £105 for 12 nights pre-cruise. Although this is £15 cheaper than paying on board I still feel that it is expensive but if we hadn’t taken it I think that I would have been even more stir crazy spending so much time in the cabin. A fellow passenger advised me that I should make our son go to the kid’s club as once he was left there he would make friends and enjoy himself. I am sure that he would make friends and enjoy himself once settled but he has tried it a few times before and never did (settle) so he is adamant he will never, ever use it. Besides we’ve heard of plenty of other people with children who prefer not to use the club either so he is not the only one. He has complained of being “bored” a few times on this cruise and I think that one factor in this is the limited film choice on the in-cabin TV. I say limited, it’s not that bad but our last 4 cruises have been on Azura twice and Britannia twice. Both those ships are younger than Ventura and therefore have more sophisticated TV’s with wider choices. This never occurred to me in the slightest when booking this cruise but all things considered we probably need to avoid anything older than Azura. That’s a shame as Oceana has always been a favourite of ours and we heard that it would be returning to Southampton for 2021. We always preferred smaller ships (Oriana will always be our favourite, followed by Oceana, Aurora and not forgetting Artemis) but it looks like we will have to fall into line with P&O’s / Carnival’s policy of pushing families towards the bigger ships. I shudder at the thought of being on Iona with 5,197 other passengers but we might just have to consider it. In the meantime we have Britannia to look forward to next year, especially as our budget has stretched to a suite (thanks in the main to reduced child fares). It would be ironic if our son wants to be out and about around the ship next year when we have a suite and all its extra space to enjoy!

 

Back to yesterday and we skipped lunch for afternoon tea instead. We went up to deck 15 around 3:10pm and unfortunately it seemed like everyone else had the same idea as we encountered a 20 strong queue on the aft side of the Waterside restaurant. We switched to the forward side queue which seemed to be moving quicker and were soon handed trays and cutlery. Once inside the food station areas it was pretty chaotic, with lines of people north and south. If you stepped out of the line you’d be lucky if anyone would let you back in, and twice I was bumped in the back with trays (both times followed by sincere apologies I might add). It probably doesn’t help that afternoon tea also has leftover lunch hot choices so it wasn’t really designed for someone like me getting chips for his son and some sandwiches for himself. Throw into the mix a lady with a pushchair and someone in a wheelchair and the whole thing became a traffic jam. Not that I’m blaming that lady or the wheelchair user, more the layout which couldn’t cope. Anyway we survived and (you’ve guessed it) headed back to the cabin with the food. When I took the trays back up at 5:30pm it was a whole lot calmer. After I dropped off the trays I went to reception to pay off some of our bill in cash and the queue to get into the Cinammon restaurant stretched all the way into the Atrium past the Tazzine coffee outlet.

 

We went out to dinner as usual and were allocated table 5 again. The restaurant seemed very quiet and I had a bit of a joke with Wasim by ordering a bottle of (77) South African Sauvignon Blanc (white). The wine waiter saw the funny side as well then said “Actually, this is a very good bottle of wine” and he was right. Our son had his usual bowl of pasta and we had a very nice main of beer marinated spatchcock spring chicken. It reminded me of the chicken that we’d seen being barbecued at El Diablo restaurant in Lanzarote. After dinner we said our goodbyes and our son handed the waiters an envelope with a small extra tip. I know that tips are now included in the fare but we felt that they had gone above and beyond regular service, especially with our son. We then went to The Tamarind Club for one last time though our son was reluctant initially. Pulse were playing an 80’s set which was right up my street and even our son found himself singing along. The teenage pack appeared (presumably they’d all met via the 13-17 club) and immediately took to the dance floor. This made for a great atmosphere with a few adults also getting up and the band playing superbly as well. Considering none of them were born until the 2000’s they all seemed to know the words to every song and as before had fun in a very responsible way. It was a lovely way to end our holiday.

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Damian, this has been a great blog, thank you. I'm going to miss reading it every morning 🙂

 

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Fantastic blog Damian, I’ve particularly enjoyed it as your itinerary was almost identical to our cruise on Ventura next year so I’ll certainly be pinching some of your ideas for port visits. I hope you had a safe journey home, and it won’t be too long until your next cruise.

 

Les.

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Yes I’ve been another fan of your blog. Many thanks for the very detailed insight into a P & O cruise.  Your balanced and mostly positive review has given me much comfort for our first P & O cruise in January.

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Thanks once again for all the kind messages. Mother-in-law had booked mobility assistance for disembarkation so as I was her driver we all got to get off early together around 8:30am. Parking4Cruises were ready and waiting and we were packed up and on the road for 8:45am, at least an hour earlier than last year. The roads were pretty kind to us too (bar the torrential rain for the last 10 miles) so we arrived home around 1:35pm which is way better than I hoped for.

I have huge respect for all those who travel long distance down to Southampton for their cruises but especially anyone who lives North of us!

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Can I just add my thanks as well. Speaking as an "old fart", I enjoyed your extensive vocabulary,  correct use of punctuation (sorry,  I did say I was an old fart) and your humorous take on cruise events.  I feel as if I have got to know both yourself and your family.

We won't be on Ventura until January 2021, and your blog has only increased my anticipation.

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Thanks for the great blog - and lovely to see you using a bit of Spanish - especially the regional version!

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1 minute ago, wowzz said:

Can I just add my thanks as well. Speaking as an "old fart", I enjoyed your extensive vocabulary,  correct use of punctuation (sorry,  I did say I was an old fart) and your humorous take on cruise events.  I feel as if I have got to know both yourself and your family.

We won't be on Ventura until January 2021, and your blog has only increased my anticipation.

Less of the 'old fart' please. As you say, it was a pleasure to read something so well written, with a stylish and correct use of language and containing words of more than two syllables.

 

It's not an age thing, though - more a matter of education.

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1 minute ago, Harry Peterson said:

Less of the 'old fart' please. As you say, it was a pleasure to read something so well written, with a stylish and correct use of language and containing words of more than two syllables.

 

It's not an age thing, though - more a matter of education.

Agreed . 

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Thanks for the great reports. I shall miss reading about your adventures. 

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2 hours ago, wowzz said:

Can I just add my thanks as well. Speaking as an "old fart", I enjoyed your extensive vocabulary,  correct use of punctuation (sorry,  I did say I was an old fart) and your humorous take on cruise events.  I feel as if I have got to know both yourself and your family.

We won't be on Ventura until January 2021, and your blog has only increased my anticipation.

I would also like to endorse your comment, this has been a very well written and informative blog.  Like you Wowzz, my wife and I will be on Ventura in January 2021 and we are very much looking forward to our first time in the Caribbean.  Fortunately we have Aurora to look forward to in June next year also. 

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DamienG.

The best blog I have followed.

Totally honest.  Totally real.

You put pro bloggers to shame.

 

You have kept my wife and I entertained for the last 12 days.  We will miss it.

 

Thanks again and best wishes for the future.

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4 hours ago, Palaceman said:

I would also like to endorse your comment, this has been a very well written and informative blog.  Like you Wowzz, my wife and I will be on Ventura in January 2021 and we are very much looking forward to our first time in the Caribbean.  Fortunately we have Aurora to look forward to in June next year also. 

Hope to see you in New Orleans.  There is a group of us on this cruise in another social network, if you are interested.

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I have enjoyed the blog.   Trying to get into the feel of P and O before my first cruise on the line next year.

 

As to your son not going to kids club.  It is not for everyone.  My two never went until we went on a Baltic cruise in a group of 17 - including cousins, eldest’s best friend - and coincidentally youngest’s best friend, another family that they both knew well and a family that lived in our block.  You can imagine that they were all pretty regular in the Kid’s club on that cruise.  

 

I had the attitude that since I like my kids, I am happy to spend time with them on vacation.  

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47 minutes ago, ollienbertsmum said:

I have enjoyed the blog.   Trying to get into the feel of P and O before my first cruise on the line next year.

 

As to your son not going to kids club.  It is not for everyone.  My two never went until we went on a Baltic cruise in a group of 17 - including cousins, eldest’s best friend - and coincidentally youngest’s best friend, another family that they both knew well and a family that lived in our block.  You can imagine that they were all pretty regular in the Kid’s club on that cruise.  

 

I had the attitude that since I like my kids, I am happy to spend time with them on vacation.  

 

Thanks and I completely agree. We offer our son the opportunity to go in the kid's club every year but have never enforced it.

If we are still cruising when he turns 13 (and I really hope that we are) I could see him taking the plunge especially with the option to sign himself in and out whenever he wanted. We're the type of people who would even hide out of the way at the back of (say) The Tamarind Club so as not to "embarrass him" in front of his new friends if they were in the same venue!

 

 

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Great blog hope there will be more to come in the future.

 

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46 minutes ago, ccpm said:

Great blog hope there will be more to come in the future.

 

I agree - I too have enjoyed your trip! 

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Thank you too for your wonderful write up , it's got me excited for my cruise on Ventura  in September, like you my next cruise will be a first time in a suite  booked it 2 years ago now our children are all grown up now so a treat for us , palaceman and wowzz  I'm on the same cruise as you two but I'm not on that other web site just cc roll call , there's a few of us chatting but still quiet I'm really looking forward to new Orleans 

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