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It’s been a while since I posted anything to the blog – apologies to any regular readers.


A couple of things have happened in the last month or so: first, we’ve made our final payment for our cruise on Ventura. It’s still 7 weeks before embarkatio date, but it feels as if it’s finally beginning to get near: we booked this cruise in mid-May 2007, over 16 months before the cruise. Secondly, we’ve received our excursions booklet for the cruise, and have booked excursions for most of the ports of call.


Actually, we’re getting a bit nervous about Ventura. There have been a number – make that a large number – of criticisms about her. In the spring they were mainly from the P&O regulars and seemed to consist of variations on the theme “It’s not like Oriana!”. But now that summer is here, I’m hearing complains from non-regulars, possibly new cruisers attracted to cruising as a result of the considerable Ventura hype there was last year and this spring. These complaints seem to be about poor on-board systems, especially those connected with Freedom dining, and above all the general degree of crowding: long queues and waiting times (especially in the buffet), and difficulty in getting sun loungers. We’re busy telling ourselves that we’ll be OK: a) our cruise is out of the main holiday season; b) we’re definitely booked on ‘Club Dining’ (i.e. traditional dining), and c) being on C deck we have a cabin with a double-depth balcony. So if need be we’ll just hole up there, emerging only to go on our excursions and to scuttle down to our assigned table at dinner-time.


It’s certainly the case that the ship is generally full, even over-full. I’ve read accounts from people who were asked by P&O to move to less-good accommodation, and offered compensation to do so. In one case the passengers were asked to swap a C deck balcony cabin for an E deck ‘obstructed view’ non-balcony cabin, and were offered a 75% refund. It was turned down.I wonder how desperate P&O are getting….

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