N914 - Second Week

Reports about cruises on Ventura
User avatar

Topic author
MicheleW
Second Officer
Second Officer
Posts: 217
Joined: January 2013
Location: Wales

N914 - Second Week

Post by MicheleW » 20 Jun 2019, 21:09

9th June – Monacao – Birthday!
Another beautiful sunny day. Sat on the balcony with a lovely and opened my cards and the couple of presents I’d brought with me. Then after my favourite breakfast of smoked salmon and scrambled egg in the Epicurean we went down to the cinnamon restaurant with our priority tender ticket and got straight on a tender. Walked the Grand Prix circuit with photo stops on Pole position on the start grid, casino square, the tunnel and the posh yachts in the harbour. Walked about half way round again and then went to press our noses against the windows of the car showrooms! At this point there was a clap of thunder and the heavens opened! Once it had stopped we went up to the old town, bought a baguette for lunch and walked down to the helipad. (As well as being a F1 fan, Billy is into anything to do with aviation). We then walked up to the Exotic Gardens. This took quite a while as there were several steps involved – of course on the way down, we found all the lifts! Anyway, the gardens were very pleasant with lovely views. We then made our way down to the port and as we were walking towards the tender point, met a huge crowd of people from the ship walking towards us. I thought it was quite late for them all to be getting off the ship but when we got to the quayside, discovered that tendering operations had been stopped due to a change in sea conditions. Apparently there were still about 1800 passengers ashore! The plan now was for Ventura to move along the coast to Villefranche and pick up everyone there. Several coaches had already taken loads of people but for the rest of us it was a walk to the station and a train ride. We got to the station to find there was just one ticket machine, so we all dutifully queued to get tickets until the P&O rep. with us said, “Don’t worry about tickets, the train is due any minute, just go onto the platform”. Well, the whole platform was jam-packed with us all, and when the train came in it was only a small one – bearing in mind it was late Sunday afternoon. So, the people at the head of the queue got on and the rest of us had to wait for the next one which we were told was in 5 minutes. It was actually in 30 minutes, so at 5.30 we managed to get on the next train, but there were still loads of people left to wait for the next one at 6.00pm! As you can imagine, as many people as possible had squeezed onto the train, meaning that at the next 3 stops no locals could get on the train! Nor probably the one after that! It was a very scenic ride along the coast and we could see Ventura sailing around the headland into the bay at Villefranche! When we got there we all walked through the town in a massive crocodile, much to the mystification of the locals, to the quayside. Here we joined on the end of the massive queue of people who had arrived by coaches and the first train. We were soon joined by people who had been on tours whose guides had been instructed to bring the coaches to Villefranche, but not until 6.00pm. Apparently one of the local boats who had been assisting with the tendering operation at Monaco also sailed to Villefranche to help get everyone back on board and this was the first boat to head out to Ventura, as she was still lowering the lifeboats after anchoring. Well, you should have heard the cheers and applause when the first lifeboat bobbed around the corner of the pier, closely followed by a second one! They had brought several crew members ashore with bottles of water and biscuits for everyone waiting. Whilst they were still getting all these unloaded and starting to get passengers on board the Monaco boat arrived back and we were fortunate to be directed to this one and got away before the 2 lifeboats. We eventually got back on board at 7.00pm and I was wondering whether I would get any of our guests for our little party or whether Billy and I would have to eat all the canapes ourselves! We both had a quick shower and changed and one couple rang and said they hadn’t been back on board long, and I told them just to come along when they were ready. I’d just put the phone down when there was a knock at the door and the other couple had come to say the same. Eventually they joined us and we were able to enjoy the champagne and nibbles and share our stories! We then went to quite a late dinner in the MDR. Apparently they had made an announcement to everyone that was on board, asking them if they could go to dinner early, regardless of what sitting they were on, so that the restaurants could accommodate all the passengers still to dine! Mum had arranged a birthday cake for me, so I had the singing waiters and then shared some of my cake with our companions! I made a very quick visit to the casino before heading for bed - a very memorable birthday!
10th June – Ajaccio
Another beautiful, sunny day as we arrived in Ajaccio. We had breakfast and then went ashore and after walking to the main square where the market is held, we walked (for miles it seemed) along the beach and promenade. We then cut inland to the Place d’Austerlitz to see the statue of Napoleon there before returning to the market for a couple of souvenirs and a nice refreshing drink at one of the bars there. We got back on board for lunch in the MDR and then went back to the balcony for birthday cake for pudding. Afterwards I went to see the film The Favourite in Tamarind – not the best venue for films. When I got back to the cabin, we had sailed from Ajaccio and the weather had changed a bit, becoming overcast with a few spots of rain. Tonight was tropical night, so decked out in our floral outfits, we went to the Glasshouse for drinks before dinner in the MDR and then afterwards to the tropical deck party which was in Tamarind due to the weather! We went along for a couple of drinks, but didn’t stay very long.
11th June – Barcelona
We awoke to grey skies and heavy rain! After breakfast, we grabbed our umbrella and got on the bus for the short journey into the city centre. We walked up La Ramblas – not very busy and didn’t see any of the “statues” which are normally everywhere. We then went on the metro to Parallel and took the funicular up to Montjuic. We then got on the cable car and went right up to the castle at the top. If it had been a nice day, the views would have been amazing – as it was, they were still pretty good! We then walked back down and took the funicular and metro and walked back to the pick-up point and got back on board for 2.15pm – rather damp! We got some lunch from the Poolside grill to have in the cabin for lunch and then watched a film in the cabin until going to the Glasshouse for an early dinner as we were going to the 8.30 Strictly Showcase. This was supposed to be featuring Oti and her husband Marius and Neil and Katya Jones, but Neil and Katya had apparently had transport problems, so we had Graziano (Whew!) and Giada instead. A really good show again and when it was over, we returned to the Glasshouse for pudding! A quick visit to the casino where I actually won for a change, followed by bed.
12th June – Sea Day
I was awoken early morning by the thrusters and on looking at my watch saw it was 4.30am. I got up and went out on the balcony to see street-lights and land. I flicked the TV on to the navigation channel to find we had stopped at Majorca – found out later it was for an medical evacuation. We were soon underway again and I next woke up at 7.45. I was thinking I might go and do a few laps around the deck and next thing I knew it was 8.45! After breakfast we sat on the balcony which had the sun on it. Just before 10.00, I rushed down to Tamarind to collect tickets for the Audience with Shirley Ballas for the following evening. Then off to the theatre for the Q&A session with the 4 Strictly professionals – another good session. Then up to the Waterside to get some lunch which we took back to the cabin and then we went up to the Sun Deck to sit in the sun and had an ice cream. Returned to cabin and made a start on a bit of packing and got ready for Black and White night. We’d got a letter from the captain apologising for the tendering situation in Monaco and inviting everyone to another drinks party in the Atrium. We went to the Glasshouse for a drink first and then went to the atrium for our freebie (which wasn’t very nice – sorry to sound ungrateful), before dinner in MDR. Went to casino and gave all my winnings back, then bed.
13th June – Cadiz
Hurray – the sun was out again! After breakfast, we went ashore and walked around to where the little boats go from and caught one to Puerto Santa Maria. This takes approximately 30-40 minutes and cost 2.75 Euros each way per person. We had a wander round and then went to a Bodega for an English Tour and tasting costing 10 Euros each. It was a very interesting tour and then we tried 6 different Sherries and a brandy along with some nibbles. We purchased a bottle and then caught the boat back to Cadiz. Back on board for lunch which we had on the balcony and then went up to the Sun Deck to sunbathe. Drinks in the Glasshouse followed by dinner and then went to an Audience with Shirley Ballas. I thought she was a little bit nervous and she didn’t seem to like talking about herself very much – unlike the Professionals!
14th June – Sea Day
Much more cloudy and a lot cooler today. Went to do some laps around the prom deck but it was closed, so went for breakfast instead! Went to the Atrium for the ‘V Factor’ – basically just the bed-making competition, but there were also a lot of the other departments on display with officers and staff you could ask about all manner of things. Went to the Fit Steps class which is a Strictly inspired exercise class which I enjoyed. Got lunch from Poolside Grill and Pizzeria and sat on balcony. Did some more packing and then just had a lazy afternoon reading, doing crosswords, etc. before the final formal night. Drinks in the Glasshouse, lovely dinner, then went to the Passengers Dance Competition in the theatre judged by the Captain, Oti and Shirley. Well, after watching some of the dancers twirling round the Atrium every evening I was expecting an entertaining show – unfortunately it didn’t live up to expectations! There were 4 couple dancing and the final couple were youngsters (aged 20 and 18) who did a brilliant jive and thoroughly deserved to win. Another quick donation to the casino before bed.
15th June – final sea day
Couldn’t do any laps around the prom deck as it was closed again! After breakfast I went to the Fit Steps class and then did the majority of the packing. We had lunch in the Glasshouse and then went up to Sundaes and had an ice cream each. It was actually quite nice, so we sat up there for a while and then I went to get tickets for the Snowball Jackpot Bingo session. It was in Tamarind and I was stood waiting for the previous event to finish along with a load of other people and a couple of ladies said to me “It’s never normally this busy”, which made me laugh! Unfortunately I didn’t win the jackpot which was £1,500! Went to the theatre for the next Strictly Fashion Show which featured the Captain throwing a few moves! Went back to cabin and sun was on balcony, so sat there until aout 7.00pm and then went for final drink in Glasshouse and then dinner. They had the chefs parade tonight. Final visit to the casino where I had a reasonable night and then back to cabin for final bit of packing and bed.
16th June – Southampton
Up at 6.15 and breakfast in Epicurean at 6.45 in readiness for self-disembarkation between 7.15-8.30am. Upon checking the bill I noticed an extra charge at the Glasshouse on the bottom, so had to go to Reception to get it taken off. They gave me a cash refund as it had already gone on my card. Then off we went. When we went through the customs hall there were about a dozen staff on duty – never seen so many before. And there were already several cartons of cigarettes in a plastic bag which they had obviously confiscated! We were on our way by 8.00am and home about 11.30. All over for another year - Oh no - I'm going in November for a weekender with my Mum and Godmother :D

A couple of comments: - I don’t like the fact that they don’t give you a receipt for drinks, etc. now unless you ask for one – something I will do every time in the future after the error on our final bill. Because of this and the fact that they have taken the facility to check your bill off the TV, I was going to reception to get print-outs of our statement far more frequently than usual – so no paper saving at the end of the day.
I really enjoyed some aspects of the suite – priority embarkation lounge and lunch, the coffee machine, breakfast in Epicurean, priority tendering, the extra space (especially storage), and a proper shower door instead of the curtain! I enjoyed most of the canapes – though some were not so good! And it was a nice touch getting the lunch and dinner menus for the next day brought to the suite along with the Britain Today and crossword every day. We didn’t get awful lot of sun on the balcony and I am looking forward to going back to a C deck balcony next year, which we seem to make much more use of. Plus we are now in the next tier, so will get the Priority embarkation anyway!
Sorry if I have gone on a bit too much!

User avatar

Kenmo1
First Officer
First Officer
Posts: 1741
Joined: January 2013

Re: N914 - Second Week

Post by Kenmo1 » 20 Jun 2019, 21:44

MicheleW wrote:
20 Jun 2019, 21:09
Sorry if I have gone on a bit too much!
No, you didn't go on a bit too much, Michele. It was very interesting as you pack a lot in to your day. I have also learned another useful piece of information about what to do in Cadiz and I think that is what a review is about -- how to find out about new things to do and see.

Pretty exciting birthday !!! Glad your party eventually got sorted.

Thanks for the review.

Maureen.

User avatar

Gill W
Senior First Officer
Senior First Officer
Posts: 2891
Joined: January 2013
Location: Kent

Re: N914 - Second Week

Post by Gill W » 20 Jun 2019, 22:26

Well, that was a birthday to remember.

Interesting that they no longer automatically give a receipt for expenditure. Up until now, ive always collected the chits to tick off when I get my statement. It wouldn’t be so bad if it could be checked onscreen.

Thanks for your report
Gill

User avatar

GillD46
Senior First Officer
Senior First Officer
Posts: 3104
Joined: January 2013
Location: Gower Peninsula, South Wales

Re: N914 - Second Week

Post by GillD46 » 21 Jun 2019, 07:00

A great read: thank you.

It certainly sounded an eventful and memorable birthday, but glad you managed to celebrate as planned.The suite life certainly adds another dimension, so I’m happy you enjoyed it.
Gill

User avatar

david63
Site Admin
Site Admin
Posts: 5944
Joined: January 2012
Location: Lancashire

Re: N914 - Second Week

Post by david63 » 21 Jun 2019, 08:11

MicheleW wrote:
20 Jun 2019, 21:09
they don’t give you a receipt for drinks
When did that start and is it just in one bar and on all ships?

I wonder if it is tied up with the drinks package?

User avatar

Topic author
MicheleW
Second Officer
Second Officer
Posts: 217
Joined: January 2013
Location: Wales

Re: N914 - Second Week

Post by MicheleW » 22 Jun 2019, 11:35

Most of the drinks orders were taken electronically. They swipe your card through their 'Ipad type thing' and enter your drinks order. It was quite amusing up on the sun deck one day, when he had to wander around to get a signal!

It's not ideal for keeping an eye on the spending or checking for errors. Some times we did get given a receipt automatically, but mostly they ask you if you want one - and I will be making sure I ask for a receipt every time from now on. I was a bit concerned over the extra charge on the last day, because as you no longer sign how can they prove who ordered it? But they refunded it without question. Bizarrely, the drinks we did have in the glasshouse at 20.01 was on Billy's card and the additional charge for exactly the same amount (which was at 21.2 when we were in the restaurant) was on my card!

There was a drinks steward at reception on disembarkation morning, entering another refund onto his 'Ipad'.

Michele

User avatar

david63
Site Admin
Site Admin
Posts: 5944
Joined: January 2012
Location: Lancashire

Re: N914 - Second Week

Post by david63 » 22 Jun 2019, 13:06

That sounds as if it is the same/similar system that they had on Ventura a couple of years ago but then the waiters also had a printer attached to the ipad which produced the "normal" paperwork. Sounds as if it may just be something on Ventura

User avatar

Lynda and David
Third Officer
Third Officer
Posts: 183
Joined: January 2013
Location: Fulham

Re: N914 - Second Week

Post by Lynda and David » 24 Jun 2019, 11:22

Thanks Michele I do enjoy reading a nice long holiday report.

We're on Arcadia in 6 weeks time and will make sure we ask for receipts when ordering drinks.

User avatar

towny44
Senior First Officer
Senior First Officer
Posts: 4744
Joined: January 2013
Location: Huddersfield

Re: N914 - Second Week

Post by towny44 » 25 Jun 2019, 08:45

Lynda and David wrote:
24 Jun 2019, 11:22
Thanks Michele I do enjoy reading a nice long holiday report.

We're on Arcadia in 6 weeks time and will make sure we ask for receipts when ordering drinks.
Receipts were still being given out on Aurora in May.
John

Trainee Pensioner since 2000

User avatar

Lynda and David
Third Officer
Third Officer
Posts: 183
Joined: January 2013
Location: Fulham

Re: N914 - Second Week

Post by Lynda and David » 25 Jun 2019, 10:28

Thanks John

User avatar

Topic author
MicheleW
Second Officer
Second Officer
Posts: 217
Joined: January 2013
Location: Wales

Re: N914 - Second Week

Post by MicheleW » 25 Jun 2019, 13:49

They did give some out automatically - other times they asked you if you wanted one or not. I will certainly be asking for one every time now.

Michele

Return to “Ventura Cruise Reports”