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P&O Azura & Ventura in Aruba

Two fab days in Curacoa and Aruba. Ventura and Azura had a rendevouz in Aruba, and there was a lot of love in the air!

Monday 17thJanuary 2011 – Curacoa

We are berthed port side too this morning so we got the sea view. And we have the place to ourselves. Even Captain Paul was excited about that! I’m missed my breakfast in Seventeen this morning due to work commitments. I had to make do with a bacon buttie supplied by Mr C from the cafe! He came back gloating how wonderful breakfast was in Seventeen this morning!

No surprises to discover it was dam hot outside, if a little breezy along the front. I’m not a lover of this port, mainly due to the dam lizard creatures that habitate the place. They completely freak me out, so I wasn’t best pleased when I had my first encounter with one just outside the dock gate. He wasn’t as big as I experienced on the beach last time, but he did stop my heart momentarily. I was on lizard watch from that moment on. The actual place itself is very pretty to look at with its Dutch influence and pastel coloured buildings, but the town itself does little for me and the beaches were a total no go area after my very close encounters with lizards last year. We walked over the floating bridge and into town, through the back streets and back around to the floating market. As we walked around the corner the bridge was swinging around to let a yacht in so we stood and watched that for a while and waited for it to float back so we could get back to the ship. There is a regular ferry going back and forth across the river but it wasn’t long before the bridge swung back so probably not much in it timewise. By now it was roasting hot and the deck was calling me. We were soon back onboard and settled up by Breakers. We were on a mission to drink our way through the cocktail menu, but were stopped in our tracks when the steward advised us they had no mango for a mango Collins, so that was the end of that game. We sampled cocktails at random from that point on. I did have some work to do to, so I kept nipping back down to the cabin to use the laptop. I eased the pain by sipping champagne that was open in the fridge.

Oh, Ive been to book a day cabin for our disembarkation day in Barbados on Friday. I’m going to describe it as ‘painful but amusing’. Its a good job Lynn came with me as a witness because she would never have believed it had I gone back and explained it. Not the most well thought out procedure and certainly not slick. We were educated to new heights with the in queue entertainment. Did you know that Gold members get 15% off everything! Fact!! It must be true because I heard it in the queue. And Golds get priority everything, plus breakfast in Seventeen. Cant wait to reach this level of Goldness! Anyway I got my inside day cabin sorted (eventually) for use as a day room when we arrive in Barbados. We are due to disembark at around 2.00pm so for me it was worth the £45 to have somewhere to store my hand luggage and freshen up with a shower and change of clothes. Outsides were £55, and balcony cabins £70 and superior deluxe £85.

By the time we got back on deck the deck party was in full swing. We watched some of the sailaway from this pretty port before retreating to the coolness of the cabin. Not a lot of time to get ready this evening, and I cant recall the last time I had enough time for an afternoon nap. We were invited to the Senior Officers Private Party up by Breakers bar, so we opted for pre party drinks in the Aurora Suite, complete with nibbles. Impressive service you get in these suites! We cut it a little fine for arrival at the party. It didn’t help that we had a bit of ‘lift’ wars. Lifts kept arriving, but it was full of the passenger types that are not prepared to squeeze in a little. Third time a lift arrived I decided I was getting in no matter what. The girls stepped in, but the lads decided to take the stairs. We got from deck 9 to 11 and some others got out so I called the lads in, by which time us girls were in hysterics. I could tell you why, but you had to be there. We made it as far as deck 15 and then it became apparent that my original request for deck 16 hadn’t been input by the lord of the lifts at the time. Before we knew what was happening, we were going back down, stopping at every other deck, and then all the way back up again doing much the same! Needless to say we were among the last to arrive at the party. It meant I got another kiss from Captain though. Drinks were flowing and a jolly good time was had by all. We could have stayed longer but we suddenly realised it was gone 8.45pm and we were later than late for dinner. We blame Captain Paul, he kept us chatting!

So, fast route to Oriental Restaurant was sought. We opted to cut along the top deck and cut down a deck at the SeaScreen. Just why the lads chose to suggest that we ‘shhh’d’ so loudly is beyond me. It was echoing all around the pool area. Blankets are supplied for watching the big screen during the evening and I was amazed to see some snuggled under blankets in this tropical heat. One couple had two blankets, chin to toe. It was a very balmy evening with no breeze as the ship was pottering along at a snails pace for the party later. We were having a very brisk giggly walk through the buffet area, and we were spotted by our Restaurant Manager, as he pointed to his watch. Ooops! We are late!

We slid into the restaurant backwards so that nobody knew whether we were coming or going. We apologised to Wilfred in double triplicate and we were allowed to stay. Phew! For one second there I thought we were going to have to survive more than 3 hours without food. Much hilarity and giggling followed during dinner. Im not over sure why, or what at, but it amused us at the time.

Back upto deck 16, without too much lift wars, for the Tropical Party. It was rammed. I have never seen so many people out there. Michelle made sure we were kept supplied with drinks and a good time was had by all. Our legs were getting weary with all this standing, and jiggling to the music, so we headed up the stairs to the balcony above and took up residence in some sun loungers. Mr C ceased the moment and closed his eyes and he was gone. Rodders decided to take a leaf out of Mr C’s book and opted for 40 winks! Us ladies decided to teach them a lesson for falling asleep on us and we slipped away under a cloak of darkness and left them to snore under the stars. We were tucked up in bed before they had time to realise they were alone!

Tuesday 18th January 2011 – Aruba

There was a lot of love in Aruba today.What a fab day. Ventura arrived shortly after us and she looked magnificent shining in the early morning sunshine. We went for breakfast at Seventeen and sat overlooking Ventura’s bow. The sun was blazing and not a cloud in the sky.

By the time we went ashore the crew from both ships were meeting on the dockside, and waiting for their friends to disembark. Its an understatement to say there was alot of love around. Lots of hugging and kissing all around, and beaming happy smiling faces. Ventura was practically kissing Azuras ass, and they looked amazing together. Just a pity that there wasn’t a good vantage point for a photo of both ships together.

We had to plan our day carefully today as we had a lot we wanted to fit in. Mr C wanted to do some snorkeling and I ‘needed’ to shop. We chose to get off the ship early, where were greeted by Ventura crew that recognised us from our previous cruises. It was a nightmare trying to get a cab to the beach so we walked down to the Ventura terminal where it seemed easier. All set cab fares here. We thought we wanted Eagle Beach and tried to check with our driver, but he just kept telling us all beaches were great for snorkeling in Aruba,. We didn’t seem to have been in the cab long, when I commented that the beach we were passing looked nice. Next thing I knew we were pulling into the layby and he informed us it was Eagle Beach. We knew it wasnt the beach Mr C was wanting, but as the driver said it was good for snorkeling we paid the $13 and got out. The beach was indeed stunning, soft white sand, clear blue sea lapping onto the beach and shallow to just walk into. But it became clear to Mr C it didn’t have the rocks and coral pools he was after so we were back off the beach and in another cab to Boco Catalina Beach. That cost us a further $15 but was in line with what we had read on the board back in the port. Boco Catalina is only a small little beach, very rocky and has no facilities, but it is where all the excursions go for the snorkeling as it is a fab spot. Mr C said that the fishes he saw were stunning. I lay on the beach and fried. No shade, no chance of getting into the sea because it was too rocky and he had forgotten to pack my sea shoes! We only stayed an hour so he could snorkel and then packed up and left. I would have happily got back into a cab and paid $30 to get back to the port, but the only one that passed us failed to stop for us. We knew there was a 30 min bus service but we had no idea what time it came. When he eventually arrived, some 25 mins later it was only $2.60 back to the port! A big saving but it did go in and out of the resorts all the way back down the coast so was too drawn out for me. The bus station is just opposite the port gates so we headed back to the ship to freshen up, before going back out again. Still a lot of love in the port between the two ships, and the ships company. I hope all of them got at least an hour or so off to go and see their friends.

We walked back into town and browsed the shops then headed for Iguana Joes for cooling drinks and nibbles. Mr C made the mistake of ordering a long island iced tea, which came in a carafe and nearly knocked him sideways.

Still a lot of love around, as crew from both ships were partying together. Some ended in tears though as they realised they had to say goodbye to each other again!

I got recognised in the Swarovski shop by passengers from Ventura as GoCruisewithJane. I cant recall how many times people have recognised me this cruise, but it has happened a lot. I hope the lady goes onto have a nice time on Ventura anyway. Ventura was only just starting her cruise and we were on our way back. I should have jumped ship really and gone around again.

We arrived back at the ship in time for sailaway party. It was Great British Sailaway tonight so we knew it was going to be a big one. And that it was! Much flag waving, and singing of all the Great British Sailaway songs.

Captain Paul kept us advised about departure and the plans to sail past Ventura, and I worked out I had time to get back to the cabin and get showered to observe from the balcony. My plan worked. We pulled out and sat still for her to follow us out and pass down our starboard side. Captain Paul was not best pleased to have a yellow catamaran come and sit off our starboard side, then he became concerned about the sunset. So after a chat with Captain Ventura, Captain Paul decided to turn and pass Ventura on her starboard side, so we were both starboard side too. What a truly spectacular and unforgettable sight for a twin sister ship to pass so closely and so slowly. The horn blasting was deafening, but Captain Paul did warn us. Fabulous! Loved it. Thanks Captain Paul for keeping Ventura on our starboard side. I know you wouldn’t have wanted to upset me  : )

Pre dinner Champagne in Aurora Suite again this evening, complete with sausages in a loaf, and tomato sauce. Posh canapés were also available, but sausages were far more popular.

Ive hit a wall with food now and it wouldn’t have bothered me if we hadn’t gone into dinner, I just don’t need any more food! We left dinner feeling lethargic and completely zapped by the Caribbean sunshine. We headed for Blue Bar for a quiet civilised drink, and the boys have done it again! Fallen asleep! Much to the amusement of the bar staff, especially as Mr C’s head was slowly tipping back until it reached the snapped position and then he would momentarily open his eyes before slipping back to sleep again.


  • Dave
    Posted January 20, 2011 at 5:16 pm

    Sausages in a loaf – I’m sure they had another name !

    Rip Van Chadwick is giving the blokes a bad name with all this sleeping, come on man, pull yourself together !

  • tom
    Posted January 29, 2011 at 6:05 pm

    Great reviews we are travelling on azura in march same ports any suggestions for bars to visit for a drink and bit to eat.
    We cruise twice a year and will be in touch as it would be nice to book with some one who has insight to destinations and ships.

    • Post Author
      Posted January 29, 2011 at 6:43 pm

      How did you guess that is one of my specialist subjects : )
      Tortola has to be Pussers bar without a doubt – just walk to the end of the road and take a left!
      St Lucia – if you go to Rodney Bay, there is a lovely beachside bar/restaurant called Spinakers. Not much in the town itself.
      Grenada – a few nice bars and restarants on the water edge in the harbour.
      Barbados – you are spoilt for choice really. If you want upmarket, The Crane or The Cliff, both a taxi ride away. Mullins Beach is lovely and also has a raised restaurant overlooking the sea, We have taken lunch there a couple of times. Plenty of places in Bridgetown, including some easy to find in the harbour. Dee’s place on the beach next to the Boatyard is a run down little shack, but its our tradition to go there at the end of each cruise, sit outside on the rickety tables and chairs, and drink drink rum punch on the soft white sand!
      Aruba – a bit spoilt for choice, but Iguana Joes is the most popular.
      Dominica – CocoRico. A bright yellow and blue building on the front road in town. You cant miss it. Excellent jerk chocken and fab rum punch.
      St Maarten – there are loads of places along the promenade, but the Greenhouse at the far end is very good and worth a visit
      Hope that helps : )

  • Deborah Gibbs
    Posted January 29, 2011 at 6:19 pm

    Lovely to meet you in the Swarovski shop in Aruba! Went on to have a lovely cruise, although I found that type of travelling does take some time to adjust to. Superb Sailway in Aruba and great to get up so close and personal with Azura – feeling very grey and cold now we’re back home!

    • Post Author
      Posted January 29, 2011 at 6:31 pm

      A nice surprise to meet you too : ) Welcome back to winter : ( The sailaway was just fantastic wasnt it?! I was waving from my balcony, and I was very envious of you all just starting your Caribbean cruise as we were nearing the close of ours


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