Woah it feels like a lifetime since I last posted on here, as you can imagine life never stops when you work full time, exercise and have to enjoy your general life, so a break has very much been needed - but don't worry I will be back posting more regularly from now on! But as you may have guessed, I've recently been on a 2 week P&O Mediterranean cruise. There was never a moments thought about whether I would post about it or not as I love writing travel/lifestyle posts a lot! Anyway, if you've been following my blog for the last 2 years, I went on my first cruise 2 years ago, loved it and have been going on cruise holidays ever since. I have never sailed with a cruise company more than once yet as I like to see what other firms have to offer, we have been with Royal Caribbean and Celebrity cruises before which I absolutely loved, so lets see what P&O cruises had to offer...
The first time sailing with a British company was a pleasant change, we departed from Southampton on the Sunday on what was a gloomy & rainy day, rooms are usually ready from 2pm onwards so until they you unfortunately have to lug your bags and dress covers everywhere, but this is the same case on every cruise ship, as it's such a tight turnaround with the previous passengers getting off. The cruise was for 2 weeks and the port of calls were Vigo, Lisbon, Gibraltar, Monte Carlo, Corsica, Livorno (Pisa), Civitavecchia (Rome) and Cadiz. Some really great destinations, three that I hadn't been to before, so I was very excited!
This was the great British sailaway from Corsica, everyone had a Brtish flag and there were lots of famous songs to sing along too. I kinda wish we had this as we departed Southampton or Gibraltar, but nevertheless it was a fun afternoon in the sun!
I apologise for the poor quality in some of these photos before we proceed, I have a mixture between my canon, Iphone and digital camera, what a nightmare! Anyway - we had an inside cabin which means there's no windows, these are usually a lot cheaper than those with a balcony and they are a great choice if you don't mind. I barely spend any time in the room apart from sleeping so it's a no brainer really, it would be nice to sit out on the balcony in the evening though and get some air if the ships particularly rocky - luckily I wasn't sea sick this time! Anyway, the room itself was perfect, the bathroom wasn't as big as other ships but there was nice touches like a chocolate every night, biscuits, sweets (always food) and the occasional towel animal like the ones below. This type of thing is always a welcome sight after heading back from a late show!
But, the walk in wardrobe was definitely a game changer..As any girl can vouch, a walk in wardrobe is 'goals'!
The ship had 5 pools - all of similar size. To be honest I never think much of the pools on cruise ships as they really are just a pool you can dip in to cool off. They are always packed with kids too and the main laguna pool was shut most days - I guess you can imagine why when so many kids are using it every day... Being an ex lifeguard I unfortunately know the type of things that happen in pools causing them to close, so I avoided them at all costs after this.Getting a sunbed on a cruise ship is like looking for a needle in a haystack but I didn't struggle on Ventura at all, and spent quite a lot of times on the highest deck soaking up the sun and reading a book - is anything better than that? Utter bliss!
There was a spa on the ship which offered your bog standard beauty & hair treatments and massages, a nice luxurious thing to enjoy on the ship but the treatments do come at a cost!
I was really pleased with the gym facilities and it was almost always quiet, I came in here mostly on sea days to fill the time up. They had a great selection of machines and a massive mat area with everything you need for a good workout. So much food was consumed on the cruise that the gym was all but a necessity.
There were various bars around the ship that held films, talks, singers and demonstrations every day, I particularly like the tamarind club great which had Moroccan tendencies, the decor was so pretty!
They also put on a tropical night which was really fun, we had leis waiting for us in the dining room that evening and all the waiters were dressed in Hawaiian shirts. We then headed out for a deck party with lots of music and dancing!
Heading to the theatre on the ship in the evenings is my favourite thing after a late sitting at dinner. There were different shows each night, including singers comedians and their in house production theatre, it was their first time performing on our cruise and they were absolutely fantastic - I really could not fault their shows and their routines were flawless! The shows really do make the holiday that bit more special. Now we're getting to the good part...
THE FOOD! You will board the cruise as a passenger and leave as cargo, FACT! The weight gain is an added extra to your overall cruise experience and one you don't miss out on. There is food available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, there is no start or finish. You feel hungry you eat, you don't feel hungry you eat. More times than not you just force yourself to eat because it's there, I almost couldn't remember what hunger felt like by the second week but it was great! The food is always my favourite part of the cruise, after the ports of call of course... The buffet restaurant was called the waterside but there was also a slightly smaller one called the Beach house. Both buffets served the same food but I would say the beach house was like an overfill one, it was usually much quieter and so cramped when queuing up to get food that I tried to avoid it at all costs. The selection of food was always good, but the breakfasts did get repetitive, the past 2 ships I have sailed with I would say had a much better selection.
Can you believe I've never had breakfast in bed before? This had to do be done on one of the at sea days, now finally ticked off my bucket list!
The choice of cakes at lunch and afternoon tea were great, this carrot cake was a favourite! They also had a chocoholics afternoon tea where you guessed it, everything was chocolate themed and there was a massive chocolate fountain with lots of delicious fruits to dip, eyes bigger than my belly definitely springs to mind here.
There was even a costa coffee at sea! You had to pay an additional charge to eat/drink here - there was enough food on offer already so we didn't eat here.
The evening dining at Baytree was my favourite without a doubt - we opted for the late sitting at 8:30pm. This was the first year that we had to share a table with another family, full with dread at the thought of the first night, this quickly subsided and we got to make really good friends with the other family - I actually think I enjoyed it more sharing with another family, getting out of your comfort zone really just might surprise you!
A big shout out to our waiters Bijesh and Angelo - who looks like Marvin from JLS by the way! They were brilliant and looked after us like royalty, they always do on cruise ships. The choice of food was much more traditional than other ships which I liked, with a choice of 4 courses, plus tea/coffee, cheese and crackers and additional cakes/chocolates, there really was no shortage of food. I tried a lot of new foods too which I wouldn't normally do at home as I am annoyingly fussy. But the highlight had to be the desserts, how good do these look?!
R-L Meringue Swan, bakewell tart, Chocolate fondant, Baked Alaska
These were my select favourite desserts of the cruise, they were all absolutely divine though! I'm still in awe at the meringue swan - so cute!
On the last day we were given a cruise log, documenting all the port of calls, the distance travelled and a little bit about each place. It's such a lovely thing to look back on and always remember - this was a really nice touch that we didn't have on other cruises. Our waiters also handed us a similar packet filled with all of the delicious menus from the 2 weeks- a gentle reminder just how much we really had eaten on the cruise.
Home and back to work (boo!) but never forgotten! I had a really great cruise with P&O cruises despite my little niggles with the ship, but overall I really enjoyed sailing with P&O Ventura and the destinations were a great mix, as I've said before there really is nothing better than waking up in a different and exciting country each day. The possibilities with cruises are endless and I doubt it will be long until I'm back for more! Stay tuned for posts on my cruise outfits and travel diaries of all the lovely places I visited in the next couple of weeks! I hope you all have a great weekend!
Have you been on a cruise before? Would you like to go on a cruise? Are you going on holiday this year?