Sunday 19th January, 2014
After a very peaceful and well-deserved sleep, I awoke at around 07:30 and decided to take my time getting ready as there was no rush – since it was a day at sea as the Ventura sailed towards St. Kitts.
For breakfast I headed up to the Waterside for a bowl of Fruit and a slice of Toast. There is really so much choice on a cruise holiday that sometimes you just have to pace yourself and take it easy. After breakfast, I found a nice table in the Tazzine Coffee Bar on Deck 5 mid-ships where I sat for a couple of hours and wrote a little bit in my diary and checked my e-mails etc. Tazzine is also where you can enjoy Costa Coffee on the high seas; and an assortment of cakes, pastries and sweet treats. The little fruit tarts are delicious!
Ventura is equipped with WiFi throughout; and although the internet packages may seem a little pricey – in the long run it isn’t actually too bad. I paid £62.50 for 250 minutes, and because I purchased this package at the start of the cruise I also get an additional twenty minutes free of charge.
After a couple of hours or so of writing and then wandering around the ship I headed up to the Lido Deck and found a space near the Beachcomber Pool where I ate my lunch. I got myself a roll and some fresh meat from the Waterside buffet and myself a Ham Roll with a Salad on the side. You could say that it is similar to what I have at home; but it was very nice.
The drinks prices on board the ship are quite reasonable. I don’t drink alcohol; but a lot of water and soft-drinks – so I took advantage of the soft-drinks package which is where you get a 20 draught Sodas for the price of £35.00 to use during the cruise, or until it is all gone – which saves you a little bit of money. My excuse is the money that I have saved I could probably use in the casino or shops!
After lunch, I was lucky enough to find a spare sun lounger on Deck 16 in the sunshine where I relaxed and listened to the music for half hour or so. The thing I love about cruising is that you can do as little or as much as you want. For example; there is always something going on around the ship from a line dancing session to the snowball jackpot bingo and an informative lecture. After my dose of Vitamin D I actually headed down to Deck 7 (Promenade) and listened in on a presentation about the various tidal patterns around the world and why these occur. It was very interesting to learn that it is not just the moon that affects the tides, but also a combination of many different factors.
By this time it was almost 4pm; so I thought I enjoy a drink in one of the many bars aboard Ventura before heading back to my cabin and getting ready for the first of four black tie nights on the voyage. As today was our first full day on board the ship; it was also the Captain’s Gala Night which is when the master of the vessel welcomes everyone on board with a speech and introduces us to some members of the ships’ company, which includes my friend. I enjoy attending these sort of events and the opportunity to chat to the officers and even Captain Paul Brown.
Before going to the Captain’s reception, I enjoyed a drink in the Metropolis bar which is located on Deck 18 at the aft of the ship. I really like this venue because it features floor to ceiling windows and also large video walls which showcase different land and cityscapes from around the world each evening. Following this, I headed downstairs to Ventura’s 3-storey atrium for the 20:15 Gala Reception, which was not-surprisingly very busy. On my journey to the atrium I had a rather interesting encounter in the elevator where two women stopped and asked me for directions to the reception; which was a co-incidence. In the end I was standing in the middle with linked arms escorting them to the atrium and it was interesting to hear their thoughts on the cruise so far.
Since everyone was dressed in their finest there were photographers literally spread out across all three decks of the atrium; perfect for capturing that perfect formal portrait. On my previous sailings I have always been lucky enough to get a photo of me and the Captain; and I succeeded on this voyage too.
Funnily enough the Captain is the same one whom I had on the Azura when I sailed on a week-long voyage to Norway in July last year. After the reception; it was time to go into the restaurant for dinner.
When booking a P&O Cruise, you are given the choice whether you would like to dine at a fixed-time of 18:00 or 20:30 each evening with the same table guests and waiting staff; or go for the flexible freedom dining option which is where you can dine at a time you wish in the restaurant between 18:00 and 21:30. I have tried both options in the past and they each have their own good and bad aspects, however at the time when I booked this cruise there was only the freedom dining option available. It must be very popular on Ventura’s cruises in the Caribbean; since two of the three main restaurants are being used for the option.
Usually with freedom dining you can go to the restaurant when you wish and they will try and seat you as soon as possible. If they cannot do this; then you are given a pager and are free to go about the rest of the ship and the device will buzz when your table is ready. This is a great way to manage the process and it seems to work very well indeed.
Tonight’s menu was a special gala-theme and included some dishes created by Marco Pierre White. I had the Beef which was accompanied by new potatoes and green beans; which was very nice. After dinner it was getting late so I decided to call it a night before exploring the wonders of St. Kitts tomorrow.
Click here to read Day Three.