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The Retreat – An Inner Sanctuary, Outside

Ive been really looking forward to today. I was disappointed not to be able to get a reservation in The Retreat sooner in the cruise. St Kitts isn’t a port that excites me, so I was looking forward to some perfect chillin’.

Its a good start, clear blue sky and the sun is out.

We arrived at Oasis reception just before 9.00am and was checked in by the Manager and handed an info booklet on what to expect. This is what it states:

“Welcome to your day in Azura’s enticing open air spa terrace. The ultimate tranquil haven.

Think exclusive island hideaway oozing style and pampered luxury, being waited on hand and foot and enjoying indulgent massages under the shade of airy cabanas.

The spa concierge will start your journey with one of our luxury robes and access to the private outdoor terrace” – that happened, we did receive our luxury robes.

We were some of the first to arrive although I did notice some loungers with towels etc already reserving them which I thought a little odd? We chose our double sunbed and settled down. Nice and comfy, peaceful and relaxed, overlooking the pool. I was going to enjoy this day.

So what else was I to expect in this tranquil haven?

“Your Retreat stewards will be over shortly after your arrival to take care of your every whim and need, including drinks service, food orders from the menu and spa treatment bookings.

Britain Todays newspapers will be delivered to your lounger from 11.30am, hot off the ships press”

Yes we got our papers and it was earlier than the time stated so impressive!

“Breakfast –9.00am – 10.30am

Fresh Fruit platter

Smoothie of the day

Orange, apple, pineapple or Cranberry juice

Enjoy two glasses with our compliments”

The steward did come to us and offer us a juice each and we just presumed that breakfast would be along afterwards. It wasn’t long before we realised it was too late for breakfast, but I’m unclear as to how we never spotted any or were we offered any? The second drink didn’t follow either. Not a problem, we wont dehydrate, but I wonder when the “drinks service” will commence. Clearly it wasn’t going to be automatic so I got up and went and asked our ‘attentive stewards’. He looked a little shocked that I needed a drink, but soon produced a menu. I joked with him and asked was I supposed to become healthy and drink iced water all day. He followed me over and took our drinks order, but clearly a long island iced tea and Cuba Libra were not drinks he had heard mentioned before. That incy problem was soon overcome by pointing to them in the menu and assisting with spelling while he copied them down. He was back from Breakers bar in a jiffy and drinks consumed whilst settling into the sunbed. Bliss!

“Cold towels will be delivered in the morning and afternoon to help you cool down in the heat” now one of those would have been most welcome, but we never saw any handed out, or placed for collection in all the time that we were there.

“if you require a little music, we are happy to loan you an iPod, just ask the Retreat steward”

That’s a good idea, it will cut out the din from the Carnival Victory berthed alongside us. Once again, I was up from my sun lounger and in search of the steward. My request met with a vacant look and he suggested that I ask at reception. Mr C joked that he might have meant Reception Desk on deck 5 and I was beginning to wonder! I had to find my cover up and make myself presentable to go inside and ask at Oasis reception. So far Im not finding this the ultimate relaxing experience I was hoping for. An Ipod was found and I signed the necessary paperwork to say I wouldn’t do a runner with it. Mr C showed me what was what with the iPod and I selected a Showaddywaddy album and settled back down in my own little world (I know showaddywaddy sounds a tad sad, but I was happy) Under the Moon of love was fab, but I soon discovered that was all the ‘album’ consisted off. In fact nearly every album was just one off songs. Mr C suggested I put it on shuffle mode and let it do the selecting. Way to much tranquil chill music for my liking so I was soon bored of that gadget.

The stewards were back and forth with trays of lunch, so I soon started to look forward to that as the next big event. I wandered into the canopied area and could see the tables laid with knives and forks so knew it was going to happen anytime soon

“Lunch 11.30am – 3.30pm

Seafood& Avocado cocktail with bloody mary shot

Coronation chicken wrap, raita & cucumber salad

Mediterranean vegetables & sun dried tomato pesto wrap

Salad of poached pear, cranberry & roasted hazlenuts

Citrus vinaigrette

Vegetable crudities

French fries”

People were being invited to sit at tables and have lunch, so I’m up again to see if we can get a seat. Steward informs me that he will be out to take our order when it is our turn. So, we were amongst the first to arrive, but its not our turn yet? He did come straight away and take our order and advised that he would call us when he had a table free. Now is it just me but would you think it unreasonable to ask for a coronation chicken wrap with a portion of French fries? He tried to tell us that French fries was classed as a meal! So does that make citrus vinaigrette a ‘meal’? It was becoming quite an issue so to pacify he said he would give us one bowl of fries between us. He couldn’t supply anymore or he would be in trouble. Well, we didn’t want him to get in any bother, but the bowl of fries really was a side dish size portion.

 We both decided a drink would perhaps help chill us a bit. Guess who was sent in search of the steward. Mr C decided to keep it simple and asked for a beer, but my Cuba libra was still a mystery to the steward and at one point I thought he was going to ask me to write it down. No sooner was he gone with the order than he was back, so I can only presume that they are given some sort of priority at Breakers Bar. Result we can eat and are invited to a table. I was a little shocked when someone else was also seated with us too. Not exactly and exclusive experience. My wrap was very nice, but Mr C’s Seafood cocktail was no more than a few shrimps on a lettuce leaf and smaller than a prawn cocktail starter that he has at dinner. I could see he was not impressed, especially when I ate most of the fries!

We hadn’t been back at the sunbed 5 minutes when he asked ‘can we retreat, and get the hell out of here?’

I was disappointed, really, really disappointed! I felt totally let down by the whole thing. The setting is wonderful, my idea of bliss and thought I was going to want to stay there all day and be dragged out kicking and screaming. But no, 1.10pm and we were back on the deck, sat on a lounger enjoying P&O they way we know it.

As we checked out of the Retreat the girl on reception did seem a little surprised that we were leaving and not intending to come back. I quietly explained that it wasn’t the experience we were expecting. She asked in what way did we not get the experience we expected? So I started with the lack of ‘cold towels to cool you down’ I was informed there were a stack of pool towels on the shelves. Yes, I knew that, we had those, but I was waiting for the iced towel to cool me?? I ended up pointing them out to her in the welcome blurb and she said she had never heard of them? Ice cold towels? Spa? We moved onto the breakfast as mentioned in the booklet. The response to that one was that I should have asked! But I was expecting to be pampered, should I need to ask? I asked if French fries were a side order or a meal? No answer to that one. It really was just easier to smile and leave.

As I say, a disappointing experience. £12 for a port day and £20 for a sea day. I was expecting a bit of 6* service and pampering for a day, even a bit of 5* service, but it never came close.


  • iain
    Posted January 15, 2011 at 11:33 am

    Sounds a bit like a comedy of errors, not the experience you or John had been looking for. So funny when John said “let’s retreat and get the hell out of here ”

    • Post Author
      Posted January 15, 2011 at 12:37 pm

      Mr C’s first mission on exit was a bucket of bud and a burger, lol! I was really dissappointed as I had heard only good things about Retreat, and if you want somewhere quiet it is the perfect location.
      J x


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