Friday, 21 June 2013

Cruising The P&O Way

Guest blogger Danielle Fear, aka Cruise Miss, posts her latest report from her Mediterranean cruise aboard P&O's Ventura...

After three sea-days, we reached our first port. I love sea days; the weather wasn’t too great on the first two but it has become steadily warmer and brighter by the day. Our first port was Valencia and today we have enjoyed Barcelona.

During our time in Valencia we literally just went ashore to stretch our legs. I have been there several times and, to be honest, once you’ve seen it, you’ve seen it. But it was nice to be on land for a little while and a great chance to grab some sweets for my Godson.

Barcelona was an eye opener for me, though. I have visited several times but have usually just stuck to Las Ramblas. This time, I decided I wanted to do something else. I contemplated a visit to Montserrat but then decided I would do the typical tourist thing and try the hop-on, hop-off city sightseeing bus and I am so glad I did. Those few hours have ignited a new appreciation inside of me for this city and I can’t wait to come back and explore more. 

I opted for the tour that went around the west of the city, taking in sights like the Olympic Stadium, Camp Nou, Jardins De Miramar (which had the most incredible views) and the Gothic Cathedral, just to name a small few. It was definitely worth it and, although I didn’t have time to switch to the east tour, it gives me something to look forward to (like more Gaudi architecture, below).

So what else has been happening? Well, I am once again in love with the Beach House buffet restaurant, especially in the evening. The chicken sizzler is so good I’ve already had it
twice in four days (please, lord, let me stop!) and I was pleased to see they again add courgette (zucchini) to this yummy dish. They took it out for a while and, for me, it just wasn’t the same but it's back and better than ever. 

To start with, I tried the coconut-encrusted tiger prawns, which were incredible (and much better than the previous garlic version). If you like prawns and don’t mind the £4.95 extra charge, you should definitely try them. There have been a few other changes to the Beach House menu. Things like the fish & chips and bacon cheeseburger are gone and, in their place, you can now find a lamb wrap and plaice burger, along with several other new additions. The same goes for the starters, with the addition of nachos.

We had a funny smell in our bathroom for a day or two; it didn’t clear so we informed reception and, within hours, it was resolved and we had a sparkly new shower curtain, too. I was impressed with the speed with which it was addressed and the fact they went a step further with the curtain. So far, I can’t complain about any of the service on board. Everyone has been very and attentive, and there is one young man in particular working on the Terrace Bar who is an absolute ray of sunshine.

I will check in with you all again soon with another update and more info on the ship’s refurbishment. Until then, we wave goodbye to Barcelona and Holland America Line’s Nieuw Amsterdam, which joined us in port today