Cruising, Travel

Mediterranean on P&O Ventura

P&O’s Ventura has a place in our hearts as it was our first ship – for Tony and I in 2012 and then for Elliot in 2016.

In October 2019 we were onboard again, this time to the Mediterranean, taking in Cadiz, Barcelona, Livorno, Civitavecchia, Cartagena and Gibraltar.

I have only just finished the video, in part because it was a cruise Dad should have been on with us and our first sea day marked the one year anniversary of his death from Pancreatic Cancer. So, while the memories are wonderful, they are equally heart-breaking.

I’ll put together some port videos, too, but in the meantime here’s a quick round up of the ports…

Cadiz was a wonderful surprise – easy to get around on foot and some fabulous places to eat. The cathedral and surrounding square is a delight, as it the fish market.

In Barcelona we didn’t plan well enough, so we didn’t really make the most of it – next time! It’s a vibrant city and the architecture is amazing, so we’ll definitely plan our day better next time.

In Livorno, it was a Sunday, so not a lot was open – it reminded me a little of Le Havre in places, probably because it also suffered from extensive bombing in World War II. We had a lovely morning walk and great coffee and donuts, before heading back for our afternoon excursion to Pisa.

For Pisa we’d booked the city train tour – mostly to keep Elliot happy! – and although it was a short excursion to a tourist hotspot it was amazing to see the famous Leaning Tower and Field of Miracles. We didn’t have time to go inside, so next time we’d perhaps try ‘Pisa On Your Own’ for a day’s excursion as there is so much to Pisa that we didn’t have chance to visit.

From Civitavecchia, Mum and I chose the ‘Classical Rome’ excursion – Mum and always wanted to visit Rome, but we knew it’s be too long and busy a day for 3 year old Elliot! So Tony and Elliot explored Civitavecchia, with its great beach, bars and ice cream (so they tell me!).

In Rome we had a very busy walking tour to see the Trevi Fountain and Colosseum (it is hard for the guide to keep such a large group together!), followed by free time in Vatican City before a tour of St Peter’s Basilica. It was a fantastic but tiring day.

Cartagena was another wonderful port – easy to walk with lovely shops and eateries, and the highlight being the Roman Theatre.

In Gibraltar we had promised ourselves a ‘pilgrimage’ to the Royal Engineers statue in memory of Dad, so we took a walk through the shops (buying rum and gin as we went!). We only had a few hours here, so didn’t have chance to explore the gardens or the nature of the rock, which is what we’d like to do next time.

This cruise was a wonderful 14-night itinerary, with a good balance of sea days – one we’d happily do again 🙂

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