Saturday 18th January, 2014
Today I flew from London Gatwick to Bridgetown in Barbados with Thomson Airways on a chartered P&O Cruises’ flight to join the Ventura for the very exciting two-week voyage around the Caribbean.
Upon arriving into Barbados and disembarking the aircraft at around 14:00, we were directed from the airfield straight on to motor coaches which would be taking us to the port. After leaving a cold and cloudy England it was a pleasant surprise to feel the 28 degree heat and sunshine!
I was also very impressed at how easy it was since there was no need to clear customs or immigration with the authorities. In addition, because I was on a P&O Cruises’ flight, my luggage was bonded; meaning that I did not have to pick it up at the airport and it would be deliver directly to my cabin – how’s that for a stress-free start to a holiday?
The transfer from Grantley Adams International airport to the Port of Bridgetown took around about 35 minutes; and along the way it was a great first opportunity to discover more of the former British colonisation. Upon arrival at the port, it was very busy – so there was a little delay in disembarking the motor coach but it wasn’t that bad at all. Following this, we were directed into the terminal building where we checked in, receiving our cruise cards and then proceeded through the security check-point and finally on to the ship. My friend is currently working on board so he met me at the terminal which was nice. I’ve been fortunate enough to meet a number of people over the years on my previous voyages and through social media that work aboard cruise ships; it seems like a fantastic, but hard job to do and I hope to experience it for myself one day.
Soon enough I was finally stepping aboard the Ventura, my third time aboard the ship! Compared to cruises I have taken aboard other vessels; I really like the contemporary feel and vibe; plus it is nice to remember where everything is. It is quite funny really because during the afternoon a number of people actually kept stopping to ask me for directions around the ship; it is like everyone knew that I have cruised on her before! I didn’t mind and felt that I would make an excellent tour guide. 😉
I made my to my stateroom on Deck 9 (B) so I could drop off my bag and a few other bits and pieces before grabbing a spot of lunch. I’m staying in an Inside cabin in the forward section of the ship; which is a first for me – I’ve only ever stayed in a Balcony before. I was a little apprehensive to what the cabin may be like but to be perfectly honest it is not bad at all, just without the natural light. It felt quite spacious and my cabin steward is very friendly indeed and has been fantastic.
By the time I made it up to the buffet and pools on Deck 15 (Lido) it was almost 4pm and was starting to get quite busy. I found a table outside by the Laguna Pool and got myself a Chicken Burger and Fries from the Poolside Grill; which was known as Frankie’s.
Some people actually flew out to join the ship a day earlier on the 17th of January and will then fly home on the 31st – which is when we arrive back into Barbados; whilst others did the same as me and will fly home on the 1st of February. You could tell who had just flown out like I did as they all seemed tired. I thought it was a great way to stagger the embarkation and disembarkation process It’s also ideal for those who have to unfortunately go back to work as soon as they return home too!
After lunch I headed back down to my cabin where my suitcase was waiting for me, so I wasted no time at all and un-packed everything that I had brought – which may or may not contain a kitchen sink! At 18:00 all passengers who had joined the Ventura were required to attend the General Emergency Drill; which is standard on all cruise ships. After that, I was feeling tired but thought it was best to keep awake as long as possible; so I decided to go and freshen up a little before watching us set sail at 21:00. One thing I remember about sailing with P&O Cruises before is the very energetic Sail Away Parties that never fail to disappoint. The entertainment staff really do a fantastic job, and it must be fun – but also very tiring to sing and dance like crazy for 30 minutes or so every time the ship sails from port.
The departure from Barbados was very calm, and I simply had to take a photo of this stunning yacht that was berthed near us. I’d love to sail on an authentic sailing-ship one day!
By the time we made it out into the open sea I was feeling very tired but also a little bit hungry; so I headed into the Waterside Buffet to grab a couple of snacks before finally giving in and calling it a night after a very long 20-hour plus day.
Click here to read Day 2