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2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
Having been on the Britannia and really enjoyed the ship we thought we would give P&O another chance as we really wanted to see Venice and Dubrovnik. The ship was fine but not at the same standard as the Brittania, quite crowded, no ... Read More
Having been on the Britannia and really enjoyed the ship we thought we would give P&O another chance as we really wanted to see Venice and Dubrovnik. The ship was fine but not at the same standard as the Brittania, quite crowded, no quiet places and lack of specialist dining being the obvious differences. Dining in the main restaurant was very good with a menu whereby you could always find something to choose, sadly the Italian specialist restaurant was very forgettable, both from a location viewpoint and the standard and variety of food on offer. The self service area was badly organised and the choice on offer did not come close to matching Britannia. The ports we visited were excellent and the guided tour of Venice as a first timer was well worth it, as indeed was walking the walls of Dubrovnik. The staff on the ship were excellent, our fellow passengers were a good crowd, so why did I not give it more than 3 stars, simply because I was laid up for a day due to a dodgy piece of smoked fish I was served for breakfast, and that really should not happen. Did I report it, no way, I have heard about being confined to your cabin and I was not having that. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2018
The Cruise was everything i expected from P&O the Staff, Cleaners, catering, bar entertainment was Brilliant, The ship was always clean and tidy, the cabin was kept by the staff immaculate at all times, the dining in the restaurant was ... Read More
The Cruise was everything i expected from P&O the Staff, Cleaners, catering, bar entertainment was Brilliant, The ship was always clean and tidy, the cabin was kept by the staff immaculate at all times, the dining in the restaurant was perfect, the food sometimes did let it down, but the choices we had in the buffet and other places to eat was entirely our choice, the entertainment was good, The service all over the ship was excellent. The excursions were always on top of our list, Rome was beautiful but very full on could have done with a stop over and taken out time. I would travel again with P&O perfect way to see the world. The entertainment was probably not too much to my taste as it was very strong with song and singing orientated and could include perhaps a nice drama, or a bit more theatre. Or the latest film from the cinema could have replaced one of the singing nights. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2018
We chose this cruise because friends had been to the Adriatic with another company and had visited the same destinations. We both had always wanted to see Venice. This was our second cruise we have previously been on Magellan with Cruise ... Read More
We chose this cruise because friends had been to the Adriatic with another company and had visited the same destinations. We both had always wanted to see Venice. This was our second cruise we have previously been on Magellan with Cruise and Maritime to the Norwegian Fjords leaving from Liverpool. Oceana is a much bigger ship with a higher price tag so we were expecting this to be a more luxurious experience. Firstly travel to Malta with Tui was awful the plane was cramped with little space between the rows and my seat had a broken food tray. It was one of their older aircraft It was a better plane on the way back. Malta Airport was a complete tip with huge numbers of people trying to exit through one small pair of double doors. After a short bus journey where we once more stood in a long queue in the sun (not pleasant and seemed unnecessary, Embarkation was slow and tedious with lots of elderly passengers standing in a long queue. The cabin was of a good standard with a balcony but it was smaller than the one we had on Magellan. The dining experience was good but the food at dinner wasn't as good as we were expecting as the Menu's were supposedly designed by a top celebrity chef. The service was good. The Argentinian Malbec was excellent. The food was not as good as we had on Magellan. The lunch menus were dominated by food of an Indian Nature (curry with everything) which is ok if you like spicy food. There was always a selection of good salads but they did seem to run low on fresh fruit and it wasn't replenished fast enough. There was an excellent ice cream bar near the pool. Can't really comment on the entertainment we briefly visited the theatre one evening where a girl was having a reasonable stab at singing Adele impersonations. We don't go on cruises to spend time in gyms,theatres, bars and casinos! Our cabin steward was average and didn't seem at all on the ball. Our cases we found down the corridor outside someone else's cabin and his provision of information was tardy and in some cases inaccurate which was one criticism of the ship in general. We were often left floundering for information about excursions and on a couple of occasions were misinformed. Thankfully the bed was very comfortable. Tea and coffee making facilities were a bonus not provided on our first cruise. Room service was excellent and the mornings we chose to breakfast in our cabin were a highlight. It arrived promptly and was worth not having to push and shove and find a seat. Of the ports we visited and the excursions we booked:- 1. Dubrovnik the cable car trip was excellent with a lovely guide. 2. Split was not somewhere we would chose to visit again however the river boat trip was good apart from the lunch which was poor with wine like vinegar. Not too sure about the hygiene of the restaurant as my partner was decidedly queasy after we had eaten. 3. Venice was everything we were hoping for the boat trip we took had an excellent guide but unfortunately did not go down the Grand Canal but seemed to visit everywhere worth seeing in the lagoon. We would have loved a two day stay in Venice so we could see more of it. 4. Messina was well worth seeing just for the trip to the Cathedral and to watch the display of the clock tower at noon (not to be missed) Finally leaving Malta airport was a lot easier than arriving apart from the huge queues for the ladies toilets which wouldn't flush and stank to high heaven. To sum up we wouldn't book P&O again until it uses Liverpool as a home port as the whole flying and embarkation experience was not pleasant. Glad we chose a time when the ship wasn't full of children. Luckily those few on board were well behaved. We have another cruise booked on Magellan for later this year as we live in Liverpool embarkation without flying is just so much easier a 5 minute taxi ride away. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2018
This was my first cruise and I wanted it to be in the Mediterranean which is usually fairly smooth. The facilities on this ship were really excellent. The cabins are well kept and the staff could not be more helpful. Both embarkation ... Read More
This was my first cruise and I wanted it to be in the Mediterranean which is usually fairly smooth. The facilities on this ship were really excellent. The cabins are well kept and the staff could not be more helpful. Both embarkation and disembarkation went very smoothly. Numerous staff were on hand at London Gatwick to assist and the flights and times were part of the cruise package. I was with two friends, and we went on shore to Monte Carlo (by tender) and also Corsica and Florence. All these trips were very easy although quite expensive. The single supplement meant we all paid almost double for the cabin but we had no interest in sharing. Dining was in a most attractive room with excellent staff. The entertainment was reasonable although usually of quite short duration. There were many activities during the day. We travelled as a group of three, and we had a table to ourselves for meals. In addition to the main dining room, there is an extensive buffet on the 14th floor, where one could get snacks, tea and coffee at all times. We will definitely be arranging a trip in the near future. Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2017
We chose this cruise because of the itinerary and date that fitted in with work . This was our first time on Oceana , although we had sailed with P&O before. Our flight and embarkation went smoothly but there was a delay getting our ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of the itinerary and date that fitted in with work . This was our first time on Oceana , although we had sailed with P&O before. Our flight and embarkation went smoothly but there was a delay getting our luggage and some confusion as to why . The cabin was small and badly designed , with chest of drawers sideways on to the bed which meant it couldn't be opened and dim lighting . The wardrobe was an odd layout too , with shelves half way up in one side and pull out metal drawers the other side , giving little hanging space . It was , however , kept spotless by our steward . ( who also located some of our missing luggage ) The ship seemed to be in a constant state of repair , so a lot of areas were roped off , or out of use ( lifts and public toilets ) Communication was poor or changed at the last minuite , for instance being told a port was tendered , only to discover it wasn't , or shuttles not being offered , much to the confusion of elderly passengers . In Venice there was a long walk to the motor launch without staff to show where this was , problematic for those with mobility issues . On a positive note , food was excellent , as staff were usually friendly and hard working . The ports visited were lovely too . But I don't think I would cruise with Oceana again . Read Less
11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2017
Just back from Oceana, cruised from Southampton to Malta. The embarkation day started with a coach pick up from Manchester airport to Southampton as we would be flying back from Malta because the ship will be relocating and based there ... Read More
Just back from Oceana, cruised from Southampton to Malta. The embarkation day started with a coach pick up from Manchester airport to Southampton as we would be flying back from Malta because the ship will be relocating and based there for the summer. The first obstacle we hit was to find out that you had to book in and get a number for the coach at the airport, none of this information was given to us prior; and a lot of people were wandering around not knowing what to do. When we did get allocated a coach it was a smooth transfer and quite an efficient process at the port and we were able to use the cabin as soon as we were onboard. The cabin (A502) was clean and well presented though smaller than most other lines we have used at a similar price range. The shower room was very small as was the shower cubicle, when using the toilet your knees were up against the door; and when using the shower you had to dry off in the cabin as there was not enough room in the shower room. The bed in the room was very comfortable and there is enough space under it to store your cases. Space for clothes is adequate, though we have had better on other ships. The balcony area is quite small with two chairs that can only fit sideways and a small table, there is a bit of a overhang from the sun deck above and this does shade the balcony sometimes; but not a big problem. There is quite a lot of noise early morning from sun beds being dragged about on the deck above, and a lot of noise at sail away parties. Not sure why they need such heavy drum and base music for what are at that time of year mostly elderly people. The only real issues we had with the balcony was that the door is very hard to open, too hard for my wife to be able to manage. Ship wide there seems to be quite a serious problem with what looks like a ash tray has been emptied in the toilet, this seems to have been in every cabin where we had spoken to people and also in the public toilets. I reported the matter just in case it had just started and was given the following what I can only describe as a farfetched excuse " the black bits are coming from the ships funnels". Now I am not an expert on these things but if the ships exhaust system is connected to the water that flushed the toilet then they are in real trouble. A little mention about the drinking water on the ship, it took a full day before it was noticed that the desalination unit had broken down turning the water into raw sea water even though we had reported heavy salt content in the coffee during the morning. Though I am not one I feel having spoken to others that they should expect some heavy claims coming in. The decor in the ship is brighter than most other P and O ships due to it being built for Princess before transferring and being re-named. Having said this the ship decor is a long way short of some other lines and though a lot of people still like the dark wood it is becoming out of place in hotels and newer ships. Most of the fittings and furnishings are now looking quite old, though she is going for a re-fit later this year it will probably consist of patching up the carpets and painting over the large amounts of rust that are conspicuous all around the ship. The shops on the ship are overpriced and not really worth other than browsing on a sea day. Dining was quite disappointing, the service in the MDR was good though a little slow sometimes; but it was the food that let it down. Though you are not going to go hungry there were some occasions when there did not seem to be anything to excite your palette and ended up going for the staple steak or chicken. We did try the MDR for lunch but the menu was not very good and the service was quite poor. Food in the buffet was very repetitious, breakfast was very safe English fry up; and lunch was very poor on sea days. It was good to get off the ship and go for some nice continental food. Entertainment was well below par, the first show on the ship was three girls singing swing type songs. Though they were just about OK, they were set on an empty black open stage with a few lights behind them. The setting just about killed the act, the audience were not interacting with them and a lot of people were walking out. I did point this out to the entertainment manager but was given the excuse that it was the first night, to be honest they do not have a first night, only the day after the last cruise; so they could have left the background from the previous nights last show. Going back to trying to get in touch with the entertainment manager, I asked at reception if I could make an appointment with her at a time convenient to her; but was told it was not possible to do that. It was only when I related this to an officer on board that he got her to phone me in my cabin, but it would be better if they were approachable and able to talk to you face to face. Other shows were not much better and most shows are the staple ones that had been on P and O ships for years. One evening the show in the theatre was a film, not really what you expect for theatre entertainment. Other films were shown at strange times starting at 12 noon just when people want their lunch, the first one contained a lot of bad language and sex; this was not related beforehand just a small (r) whatever that means and it upset quite a lot of people who had gone in with children. There were some good musical groups on the ship with the exception of the jazz group who have a very limited audience. The main problem was the gaps between performances where people walked out ruining the ambience, there was only very low piped music while the band had a break. It must be to save cost on entertainers as other lined do a swap over with each act doing about 45 minutes. Some evenings there were quizzes up till 10 pm with only the musical act starting about 10:15. Two other nights were taken up with karaoke, so it would seem they are trying to save money by making guests make their own entertainment. One of the better entertainment points was the guest speaker Ken Joy who did several shows about the hay days of comedy. Another guest speaker Roy Locke who claimed to have played phantom in several countries (though he does not seem to appear in any of the official lists of either actors or understudies who have played this role). Though he did speak with some authority about the subject he was speaking well out of line when he said that "any one with cancer, especially if they wear a prosthesis; are always in rage". My wife fitting both of these cases spoke to him at the end of the show stating how upsetting she found this remark, but he just brushed it off. He needs to realise he is only talking about a mythical creature and that he has no knowledge of what real people with disfigurements feel. Moving on to the dance teachers, I can comment on this as I am a dance teacher with over 50 years experience. To put it bluntly they were a pair of bluffers who showed their limited knowledge when put on the spot with the band and asked to dance, do P and O not audition these people as the majority of dances they were teaching were wrong; though I guess the learners didn't know any different. Disembarkation went quite well though the information was a bit sparse, in particular what you need or don't need to do if you have registered a credit card. We were given air tags and boarding passes so were expecting a smooth passage through the airport but it became quite obvious when we noticed a queue outside that it was not going to go well. Though we did not have to check it the queue was to go through passport control, once inside the line went up and down the airport 4 times; and there was no representative from P and O to explain what was going on. It was only the friendly staff at Costa coffee who helped by bringing iced water to everyone, so a big thank you to them and a good bye to P and O. Would I recommend them to others and would I consider them as anything other than a last choice, well the answer is that there are other lines at the same price who will give you far better ships and service. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2017
Not sure very tired ship and over worked staff Very tired ship, the entertainment was average, the Headliners singers were appalling had to leave the show as we couldn't stand the racket ( first time ever ) good dancers tho. ... Read More
Not sure very tired ship and over worked staff Very tired ship, the entertainment was average, the Headliners singers were appalling had to leave the show as we couldn't stand the racket ( first time ever ) good dancers tho. The food was excellent so were the cabin staff. All the crew were very polite and helpful. The daytime entertainment was totalling boring. Most of the passengers were very old grumpy and rude....They should rename the company to O P cruises Old People Cruises. Overpriced to say the least, Butlins on the sea, the seating in the entertainments areas all lean forward and are very uncomfortable ( Worn Out ) if you are a smoking you are treated as a 3rd rate passenger, The water in the jacuzzi was tepid and hardly used by people. The casino management didn't like paying out winnings and made you feel like you were on a fiddle our worst casino ever. Read Less
11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2016
This was our first ever cruise and after reading reviews about the ship we were more than apprehensive about our trip.......well all that apprehension was unfounded......we had the most brilliant time, the ship is absolutely fine, bearing ... Read More
This was our first ever cruise and after reading reviews about the ship we were more than apprehensive about our trip.......well all that apprehension was unfounded......we had the most brilliant time, the ship is absolutely fine, bearing in mind that she is an older ship so bound to be tired in places but that is outshone by the wonderful attentive staff, the fabulous food and the great entertainment......the ship is spotlessly clean with staff working around the clock. What a great way to see the world, waking up to a new port almost everyday, on sea days there was more than enough going on to keep everyone entertained from the very young to the more mature passengers on board. Our cabin was and outside cabin on deck D at the back of the boat directly above the Starlight theatre, we were worried that there would be noise etc.......absolutely nothing, the theatre closed at 11.30pm each evening and we had no noise disturbance at all including from neighbours either side of us during the whole fortnight. I would have absolutely no hesitation in recommending the Oceana and this particular cruise to anyone. Well done P&O you surpassed all our expectations. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2016
We chose the cruise for the destination itinerary, but was recommended P&O by a family member. The destinations did not disappoint and we thoroughly enjoyed each day on land. Our biggest cruise disappointment was the lack of any ... Read More
We chose the cruise for the destination itinerary, but was recommended P&O by a family member. The destinations did not disappoint and we thoroughly enjoyed each day on land. Our biggest cruise disappointment was the lack of any form of imagination in the menu and the poor food quality. It was bland, overcooked and invariably small portions. It felt that P&O were definitely counting the pennies and giving as little variety and keeping costs down. The dining staff worked very hard and no fault could be levelled on them. The Plaza buffet did offer a good selection at breakfast, but the dining room served scrambled eggs with an ice cream scoop to ensure exact portions. The best thing was the fact we had tea making facilities in the cabin. The cabins were a little tired, plenty of rust patches on the balcony, with numerous problems with their sewage system. Beds very comfortable though and the cabin staff were excellent. The entertainment was generally good, variety of events through the night, with some activities during the day. The "British" sail away was like a "holiday camp" event and, for us, embarrassing, which we apologised to friends who came from South Africa and Australia. The entertainment staff worked very hard to drum up support. The entertainment manager criticised other cruise lines which was uncalled for. We had repeats of the same films on the TV for the two weeks, with very limited other channels. More of the problem as we had two days at sea, with rain and heavy winds. The ship rolled even in light swells, so with strong winds and seas of two metres, we had an interesting dance class ! We have been on other cruises with other companies, with similar size ships, with nothing like this ship's lack of stability. Perhaps next refit they need to look seriously at their stabilisers. The ship's information newsletter gave much information about activities, which was good, but their weather forecast was always optimistic ! There were no port tours at all, even though we had four days at sea and so you had to do your own homework about future ports. We did much before we embarked. All cruises overcharge for shore excursions, so too any alcohol, the same here. But you were allowed to bring on some drinks for your room consumption. A good point. One of our main reasons for cruising is to sample excellent culinary fare each evening, with a flare of international cuisine. This was really absent and an anti-climax each night, but, if you like "canteen style" British food, then this cruise could be for you. It was aimed for the British cruise patron and not an international market. Overall a disappointment. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2016
After a fabulous 2015 Christmas and New Year trip on Oceana scoring top marks in review categories we decided to go back to what was our favourite ship so far, however too much refit work going on around the ship, too many areas blocked ... Read More
After a fabulous 2015 Christmas and New Year trip on Oceana scoring top marks in review categories we decided to go back to what was our favourite ship so far, however too much refit work going on around the ship, too many areas blocked off for maintenance and deck area loungers were squashed too close together as the group of floorers started to replace all blue deck carpet throughout the ship. Lots of complaints about deck hammers, noise and inconvenience. Had to move cabin after 5 nights of blockages and foul sewerage smells, avoid all cabins around B231 as there is some serious problems here. Big disaster with the return flights which were a total mess, tickets missing, baggage lost and long queues as a result of Genoa systems crashing repeatedly. P&O flight rep and the captain of Oceana could not help. Give fly cruises a miss from now on too stressful. BUT a great cruise again not as good as the last cruise trying MSC next. Food was ok, again but not as good as Christmas, staff still very helpful more so in Café Jarden, The Beach House and surprisingly the Grill. Food choice not too good on some nights. Main dinning rooms still suffer the same issues as before (slow service) but the food was hot ! We know what to expect on the entertainment front and all was ok but special treat The Blue Jays 50s band was first class. Comedian a bit old hat. The headliners doing their same routines but still entertaining. I know we booked late and choice of cabins was greatly reduced but some basic qualities were missing with health and hygiene issues playing a big part in our moans as drains were regularly (5 days) blocked with sewage smells coming into the cabin so much that we had to wedge the cabin door open, leading us to complain after 5 nights of blockages and sewage smells. However we were moved to a new cabin but ended up next to the crew door which on disembarkation day was noisy all night as luggage was dragged around the ship and banged against the walls and door frame until the early hours. Staff service, no problems here, special thanks to the senior officers who we met on the last Oceana cruise who looked after us. 1st cabin steward a bit of a day dreamer, 2nd was ok but didn't see much of him. A little moan about the customer services desk staff who tend to apply the blame culture before listening and resolving any issues, perhaps a bit more training here? The Captain listen to our complaint about only one of us having a flight boarding card, no real explanation was given and instead of just walking through to the plane we had to queue at the British Airways desk for at least an hour with other passengers who had similar problems. One couple was so upset as they wanted a four year old child to sit on his own at the back of the plane due to the seat allocation mess which eventually delayed the flight. Having previously had a disappointing 2015 cruises on Arcadia and Britannia favouring Oceana as the flag ship following a fabulous 2015 Christmas & New Year cruise we have to say that we now understand why the reviews are so varied as we now will not be sailing on her until her refit is completed and are now off in June 2016 with MSC to Miami. Oceana is our favourite P&O ship and we are disappointed that we had to give her a poor review as we know what she and her crew are really capable of and perhaps she and the crew need a break. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2016
We sailed with P&O on the Oceana, leaving Southampton on 8th February (during storm Imogen) and returned on 14th March 2016. The ship is not too large and has reasonable facilities, with helpful staff. We had a balcony cabin on ... Read More
We sailed with P&O on the Oceana, leaving Southampton on 8th February (during storm Imogen) and returned on 14th March 2016. The ship is not too large and has reasonable facilities, with helpful staff. We had a balcony cabin on deck 11, right at the back of the ship, which is not to be recommended during stormy waters, as it moves quite a lot! We made the mistake of crossing the Atlantic in February/March, and found the crossings (3 days to Madeira and then a further 5 days to St Lucia) somewhat tedious, especially since we were unable to access the outside decks during the bad weather. On our return we had 6 days at sea to The Azores and then a further 3 days to Southampton. We decided quite early on that we would vote with our feet, and never book with P&O again! Having cruised on Oriana 3 years previously, we were amazed at the reduction of standards since our last cruise. Our first impression didn't help, when it took us 2.5 hours to check in at Southampton. Many apologies for the delay were given, but no explanations! When we eventually asked reception on the ship to tell us why we were delayed so long, they explained that it was their new system, and this was the third time they had tried it, and each time there had been delays! Having asked for a table for 2 in the dining room, we were seated at a table for 6, at which each couple had asked for a table for 2. However we were told that there were only 2 tables for 2 at each setting, and they are allocated to guests who book as soon as the new brochure is published. Perhaps P&O should look at providing more tables for 2 if there is such a demand! The choice of food in the dining room was disappointing with a lot of red meat, watery frozen vegetables, and stodgy potatoes that didn't look or taste like potatoes! Food in the Plaza was plentiful, if a bit repetitive, and of medium quality, certainly not something to look forward to each day. Seats in the theatres were often hard to come by as people made sure they had their seat at least an hour before a performance began, sitting, reading a book whilst waiting, with little conversation taking place. Getting off the ship was always a but fight, with people pushing and shoving to make sure they were first off! However the debacle of New Orleans had nothing to do with crotchety old people, but much to do with lack of forethought by ship's staff. We had been warned that it would take a while and that the process of face to face immigration in the USA is slow. When were told to collect poor passports and proceed to immigration half an hour earlier than we had been told to report, we were happy! Once we reached the area where we were to collect our passports the fun began! Hundreds of people queuing with no order, and we were told off for coming down too early, even though an announcement had been made! From being told to collect our passports to the time we exited the terminal took 1.5 hours, but other people took up to 6 hours. It would have been more sensible for us to have collected our passports the day before, during a sea day. We had been told that our overnight stay in Charleston had been cancelled due to a problem with the booking of the berth. We had a 5 day crossing to the Azores ahead of us, but the solution to the problem was to give us an extra day at sea! No understandable reason was given about this, just general mumblings from the inarticulate captain, who could not give a daily briefing without umming and erring! With an unfortunate engine problem on our last couple of days, we arrived late in Southampton and were happy to disembark, never to return! Once again this was a shambles because of the late arrival, more people were self-help disembarkation, but then the area we were told to gather in was inadequate for the number of people. Our impression was one of no proactive management and a general air of no supervision. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2015
Just finished a superb cruise aboard Oceana and was once again delighted with all round standard. Cruised on Ventura last year on same itinery but must state that the food on board Oceans was much much better. Nothing wrong with ... Read More
Just finished a superb cruise aboard Oceana and was once again delighted with all round standard. Cruised on Ventura last year on same itinery but must state that the food on board Oceans was much much better. Nothing wrong with Ventura's but Oceana provided an excellent choice of menus and standard. Beautiful public areas although cabins starting to show age. We had cabin C406 mid ships and was very clean. Balcony was smaller than Ventura's and was in need of lick of paint. Entertainment was excellent with the Tenor Boys who we saw twice and julian Smith the alto sax player who came third on Britain's got talent. Headliners quite good as well long with female vocalist Giselle Summers . this provided good variety in both ships theatres which were very comfortable. Itinery was fabulous as we had a full day in Venice before a 10 pm sailing. Kotor beautiful despite rain. Corfu as beautiful and friendly as ever . Trip to Rome canceled as we were unable to dock due to high winds. Disappointing as our first time cruising companions were looking forward to Rome. Monte Carlo is Monte Carlo. Fab. All in all a great trip with boarding and embarking very efficient. Staff friendly and helpful and table staff excellent. All In all brilliant cruise and thanks to P&O once again. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2015
We treated ourselves to a 7 day cruise from 8th April to 15th in the Med. We sailed from Venice and visited Kotor, Corfu, sailed through the Messina Straits, Rome and Monte Carlo. How would we sum up the week in one word? BRILLIANT. ... Read More
We treated ourselves to a 7 day cruise from 8th April to 15th in the Med. We sailed from Venice and visited Kotor, Corfu, sailed through the Messina Straits, Rome and Monte Carlo. How would we sum up the week in one word? BRILLIANT. Infact, it has to be one of the best cruise breaks we’ve ever had. The pros and cons are as follows: Pros: • Having never done a fly / cruise with P&O we were extremely impressed with the flight (well done Thomas Cook) and the organisation with the cases. I.e. we left them at Manchester and the next time we saw them they were sitting outside our cabin early afternoon. • The cabin was ready as soon as we boarded – 12 noon. • The cabin steward was super – a lovely lady named Mardolyn who was a credit to P&O. Thanks for a lovely cruise and clean cabin. • The cabin was B227 – a balcony cabin on the starboard side. First impressions were good and having sailed on Oceana before we knew what to expect. Ok they are on the small side, as are the balconies, but if you do your homework then you should know what to expect. It was comfortable and very quiet – we did wonder if there was anyone else on the cruise at times! Great views of the Bridge and a haven of peace on sea days when you could sit with your feet up, glass in hand as the sea went by. • Tip: For this week of the cruise we found that starboard is the side to be on as we had the sun most days and great sunsets. • The timing re the sailaway from Venice was great. We arrived at noon, had the chance to visit St Mark’s Square for 2 hours or so, return, unpack, attend muster drill, change for our meal and the hit the open decks for the 10 pm sailaway. Brilliant. In effect we felt like we gained an extra day’s holiday. • Freedom Dining works well for us and the Ligurian Restaurant was our assigned dining room. I have to admit that this was hit and miss – see below – but at its best it was great. Thanks to Peter and David who served us most night at our special request – true stars – our wine waitress and Restaurant Manager. Yes we had to wait on occasions, but we expected this as we tend to go down at about 7.30pm. We just take the pager and enjoy a cocktail in Tiffany’s. • The food was hit and miss at times to be honest – not sure if we put this in a pro or a con! I found the starters to be good and the desserts – some of the main courses lacked flavour. • As others note there is no more silver service but our Peter / David sometimes gave us additional vegetables or 2 / 3 desserts to make up for it. They made sure that hubby was well looked after and he always came away from the dining room smiling! • We enjoy the formal nights and the vast majority of passengers joined in. To be honest we thought those in shorts and t shirts wandering through looked really awkward, but their choice I suppose. • I have to say that the weather was perfect – we couldn’t believe our good fortune! It was in the late teens / mid 20s every day of the cruise and the sea was like a mill pond. The ports of call were very special – the sailaway in Kotor was excellent and one we will always remember. • Our fellow passengers were a real mix from babes in arms to elderly passengers in wheelchairs. It made for a nice mix • The toiletries in the bathroom are provided and very good • There are tea and coffee making facilities with great biscuits replenished twice a day and a nightly turndown service with pillow chocolate. • The photographers were very good. Normally we don’t buy photos, but these were particularly good and very tempting. • Disembarkation was handled well. We were allowed to stay in the cabin until 9am which is a good time and we were off and in our coaches quickly. We were home by about 2.30pm. • The transfer back to Genoa Airport was good, though the airport itself isn’t great. We didn’t have to wait long though for the flight home and P&O looked after us throughout. Very different from a fly / cruise with Celebrity when, on each occasion we have been left at Rome airport with as much as 5 hours before check in has opened….. • The excursion to Kotor and the Mountain area was excellent. The excursion - a day in Corfu was excellent value. It was lovely visiting the northern part of Corfu and the meal at the farm house midday was superb – real home cooking. • We were pleased that they did the Parade of the Chefs, but a shame that there was no napkin waving. We love the tradition • The waiter service around the pools and decks was excellent. Drinks are a decent price, not like the American cruise lines. • The staff were extremely friendly. Last year we felt they were quite miserable and it was nice to see them back at their best as on our first P&O cruise. • Finally, we have to mention the service at Tiffany’s – it was great – thank you. Cons: • Sadly the service from all waiters during Freedom Dining was not as good as Peter and David. This made the meal slow; bread was missed; they forgot to return to give hubby some wine despite us asking someone twice - third time was lucky, but he had more or less finished his meal by then. If we’d had that service all week we wouldn’t have been as happy – hence the fact that we found 2 great people and asked for them every night and were prepared to wait for the table as a result. • The selection in the buffet restaurant is limited and tends to get repetitive. Breakfast is a bit manic when busy and service for drinks in there was often very slow. • I felt that the balcony needed cleaning more. It looked worn due to rust (which I can understand) but the floor had flaky paint on it. Looking back perhaps we should have asked them to give it a clean. I do think it needs a lick of paint as well. • There don’t seem to be enough select dining options, but I suppose we could have tried Café Jardin. On our first cruise we enjoyed the meal here, but last year it was terrible so that’s put us off slightly. • It is sad that they no longer do the Champagne Fountain – a great tradition that you had to see to understand why it is a sad loss. • I do wish that P&O would have fly / cruises to the Eastern Med in the future to complement this cruise. To end, just to say that we enjoyed the week so much that once we had returned home we booked the 2 week version of the fly / cruise on Oceana next August 2016. (This was rather than do Britannia for 2 weeks or the Celebrity Reflection so she was up against tough competition). Oceana may not be the newest ship, but we are more than happy to return again as part of a fly / cruise. We did meet some ‘moaners’ at the airport, but I do find that people have unrealistic expectations and need to do their homework before they book a holiday. We had a fabulous time – thank you P&O. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2015
This was our third cruise, and the first on Oceana, which sailed from Southampton, calling at Lisbon, Cadiz, Gibraltar, Barcelona, Cannes and Livorno, flying us back to Manchester from Genoa after 10 nights on board. Food was terrific ... Read More
This was our third cruise, and the first on Oceana, which sailed from Southampton, calling at Lisbon, Cadiz, Gibraltar, Barcelona, Cannes and Livorno, flying us back to Manchester from Genoa after 10 nights on board. Food was terrific in the main restaurants - we were allocated second sitting, which meant not getting out of the restaurant until around 10-30pm, so we asked to go on the first sitting, and this was arranged after five nights. The waiters were brilliant and the "Captains" wine pack of four bottles costing £65, proved to be great value and quality wine. Entertainment was very good overall - the guest speaker talked about the murderer Dr Crippen but he was disjointed, his presentation poor, and he kept looking at his watch. The house bands were good, particularly "Superstition", a four piece doing a lot of blues numbers. We had an outside cabin with big window (D236), which had a shower (no bath) plus kettle/drinks tray and fridge, and at £606 each including coach from Manchester and flight back, the holiday was unbelievable value for money. There was a continuous leak from the ceiling in the corridor, and each day, you had to dodge a plastic bucket put there to catch the drips, but apart from that, things ran like clockwork. Tips are deducted of £3.90 per day per person, and sadly, some guests boasted of cancelling as soon as they got on board. We paid it and gave extra cash to the Cabin Steward, our two waiters and our wine waiter, as their service couldn't be faulted. Shame they charge 50p per minute for Wi-Fi, but it was available free in a lot of the ports visited. TV channels include films and BBC/Sky News and Sky Sports. The laundry is free but take some washing tablets as they are expensive from the ship shop. My wife used the spa and found it far superior than the Azurra. Most guests were in the 60+ age range, so there were plenty of shades of grey and walking sticks, but the ones we shared tables with were mostly friendly and enjoying the cruise. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2013
Having had previous experience with Fred Olsen and Royal Caribbean, we were surprised at the waiting time and lack of welcome on embarkation. The same lack of organisation and communication then applied for the rest of the cruise. We ... Read More
Having had previous experience with Fred Olsen and Royal Caribbean, we were surprised at the waiting time and lack of welcome on embarkation. The same lack of organisation and communication then applied for the rest of the cruise. We took our family (3 generations - 10 of us) on this cruise. Three of us decided to stay on board on the shore day to enjoy the facilities of the boat. Based on what we had experienced on other cruises, we expected a variety of opportunities. But in fact there was nothing in the morning (unless you want early morning running or yoga). Also, there was no port lecture the night before. Evening entertainment in the theatre was excellent. I thought that the whole ship looked a bit shabby, with carpets worn in places, so I was very surprised on connecting to this website to read that it had only just undergone a refit! Compared to RCI's Independence of the Seas, I thought this ship was decidedly uninspiring. Our inside cabin was lit in such a way as to be dull and gloomy - at least one brighter light would have helped. One of our group needed a disabled cabin, and this was very spacious with ample room to turn his wheelchair and a very good wet room. The food was good, although the selection in the Plaza could have had more variety. There was trouble with our two gluten-free members even though we had informed the company before we sailed. The waiters, however, did their best (despite seeming to be frantically rushed)and brought a vegetarian menu along and later offered gluten-free rolls. Disembarkation was another nightmare. Very little communication and consequently long queues and people mumbling and complaining under their breath. This was our first trip with P&O and may possibly be our last. We did not go on any of the shore excursions. Instead our group took the free shuttle to Blankenburg and then caught the train to Bruges. This turned out to be a much cheaper option and we were more in control of our itinerary. Bruges is a beautiful city to explore and the chocolate shops, canals and beer are all excellent. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2013
My mother hadn't been on a cruise for around 25 years and my partner had never been on a cruise at all, therefore as a birthday present I took them and my step-father on the 2 night "minicruise" to Zeebrugge (Bruges) on the ... Read More
My mother hadn't been on a cruise for around 25 years and my partner had never been on a cruise at all, therefore as a birthday present I took them and my step-father on the 2 night "minicruise" to Zeebrugge (Bruges) on the 11th April on the Oceana. With it being somewhat of a special occasion, I opted for the highest grade of suite available - and was allocated suite D750 on 8 deck. Given the type of cruise it was marketed as I know I shouldn't have expected much but some of the clientele were shocking. There were 6 hen parties on board that I counted and some of their antics including wandering around the atrium carrying a huge plastic penis. The amount of tattooed ladies I saw was also surprising - each to their own but some of them were downright ugly (the tattoos - not the people!) I overheard one group talking in the morning stating that they had got into one of the hot tubs naked and radomn strange men had joined them - I'll leave the rest to your imagination.. I'm suprised that Suite passengers aren't given priority access to their cabins? Firstly, the cabin (suite). I gather the ship has had a refit recently but the carpets looked pretty worn and on the balcony there were lots of paint stains and bits of paint that had flaked off - not just on the floor but also on the furniture as well. Having travelled with Cunard before, I was surprised and somewhat dissapointed that it was not possible to have a hot breakfast delivered to the cabin - only continental. I would have thought suite passengers would have been offered both. The butler introduced himself shortly after we first entered the cabin - but on the second afternoon when my Mother fancied a sherry he didn't show or return calls despite repeatedly trying to ring his pager number. 4 of use were sharing the suite so my partner and I used the double sofa bed - however the quilt wasn't big enough for the bed which was far from ideal. In terms of the "sailaway" there was no band seeing the ship off which I've seen on other P&O / Cunard cruises which was a shame. Also there were staff walking round with trays of champagne shouting quite loudly "Champagne, only 5.99 a glass" which felt very tacky and downmarket. On to the food / restaurants. Well, lunch was taken on the first day in the Plaza buffet which I was a bit disappointed with when compared to Cunard or indeed the Aurora with the number of choices being limited and the food not very warm. In the main restaurant (Adriatic) we had one of the hen party groups sat behind us and there was lots of loud noise / swearing etc. I'm not a prude nor am I elderly being only in my mid 30's and am used to people swearing but it wasn't nice at dinner. The service felt rushed to me with the waiter clearing plates even when some of our table hadn't finished their meals, almost felt like they wanted us out of there as quickly as possible. The menu on the formal night stated that it was a Gala meal but with the exceptioni of a few balloons above some tables it was no different to the previous night so couldn't understand what made it a "gala" The lack of any selection of premium / vintage wines was dissapointing as I do like to splash out when celebrating a special occasion. Also, I asked our "wine waiter" for a Ricard on the second night as an aperitif and he looked at me blankly and stated he didn't know what it was - nor did he know what Pernod or Pastis was either. He stated he would go and find out but then promptly forgot to bring it. The wine was served pretty late into the meal too. What kind of wine waiter doesn't know anything about Pastis? At breakfast no sauces were offered and on the day of disembarkation it was very rushed. We looked at the "Cafe Jardin" for one of the meals but given it overlooks the atrium, it would have been noisy and hardly the place for a "premium" meal - surely these restaurants should be in a more intimate location on the ship? My partner and I did partake in a massage at the Spa which I have to say was very very good. Just a shame there's no indoor pool on the ship for her voyages to northern climes. The above taken into account - we did still enjoy ourselves and came away feeling relaxed - it just seemed quite downmarket. Are my expectations too high or is this reflective of P&O in general? Read Less
Sail Date: February 2013
Judging by remarks of fellow passengers P&O will have difficulty filling OCEANA! Cabins generally tatty and smell from toilets. Indeed, frequent sewage smells throughout ship. We complained, as did others, but nothing done about it. ... Read More
Judging by remarks of fellow passengers P&O will have difficulty filling OCEANA! Cabins generally tatty and smell from toilets. Indeed, frequent sewage smells throughout ship. We complained, as did others, but nothing done about it. As could not discharge "dirty water" at Haifa and Alexandria" perhaps sewage tanks overflowed! Attitude of waiting staff was generally surly and could not wait to clear away at the end of meals even though tables were not required for other diners (late sitting)I agree with other review that choice of food not as extensive as before Entertainment varied from excellent to poor and the resident dance company was not overworked! However, orchestra were excellent and worked very hard. Enjoyed shore excursions but not good value for money. £33 each for a coach to Taormina, dropped off for a short period in the town and back to the ship! Someone is making money from full coach loads! Some ports of call, e.g. Alexandria, made DIY excursions difficult both in terms of personal security, destinations and time constraints; too many 4:30 departures. In spite of the above comments overall we did enjoy the cruise and destinations, especially Israel, and it was great value for money. But, would hesitate before going back on OCEANA unless they REALLY do a refit Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2011
BACKGROUND INFORMATIONThis was our first cruise with P&O although we have previously cruised with Princess, Royal Caribbean and Costa so we were keen to find out why so many British people stay loyal to P&O rather than trying other ... Read More
BACKGROUND INFORMATIONThis was our first cruise with P&O although we have previously cruised with Princess, Royal Caribbean and Costa so we were keen to find out why so many British people stay loyal to P&O rather than trying other cruise lines. TRAVEL TO THE PORT OF EMBARKATIONThe journey to Southampton was hassle free with motorways all the way from the M25 and the docks were clearly signposted. We used the recommended P&O parking company and the leaflet they provided was invaluable as it showed the dock numbers for the port names which was vital to follow the signage. The parking company met us at the embarkation port, took photographs of our car, then exchanged a receipt for our key before driving our car away. For the first time our embarkation and disembarkation ports were different, but as we used the valet parking this was not a problem.EMBARKATIONWe arrived at the port at 11.30am and were able to check-in straight away and collect our cruise cards. Our travel summary stated that our check-in time was 3.00pm but I phoned and they said we could check-in from midday. There were lots of empty check-in desks which were all manned. P&O provided us with two cards in a little wallet, the first was for all transactions and getting on and off the ship, the second was a cabin key card. We went through security and once in the lounge only had to wait 15 minutes before we were on board and eating lunch in the Plaza buffet.STATEROOM INFORMATIONOur outside cabin was F305 which was at the front of the ship, starboard side, on the same deck as the reception and the ground floor of the Atrium. We loved this location of the ship as we didn't have to worry about catching lifts at the ports. We were always on the same deck as the gangway apart from Le Havre where the gangway was on deck 7 due to low tide. Our stateroom was virtually opposite the laundrette but we could not hear any noise from the launderette at all in our cabin so I was astonished when I walked in to find both machines and dryers going. It was the smallest cabin we have ever stayed in (159 sq ft) with two bunks for the children for the first time rather than a sofa bed, but it had a lovely big window. I ordered the safety barriers for the bunks on the internet as they are not installed automatically. We put both the ladders at the bottom of the bunks to ensure a clear walkway and view of the window, rather than having one between the twin beds which was the layout when we arrived. Despite the size of the cabin, there was a remarkable amount of storage space which was much greater than what we have had in a balcony cabin on other cruise lines both for both hanging and drawer space, and the cabin seemed surprisingly spacious. The bathroom had a good sized shower and sufficient shelf space. Shower gel/shampoo was provided as well as a welcome pack of conditioner and moisturising lotion. Towels for the pool were located below the sink. He also turned our beds down at night and laid chocolates on the pillows.There is only one UK plug in the cabin, so I advise bringing a four bar extension in order to recharge cameras and phones. In the cabin there is a hairdryer which is very powerful and has two settings, a fridge which is empty apart from an ice bucket and a complementary bottle of water per passenger and a kettle. The kettle runs on a US socket next to the only UK socket which is something to bear in mind as this means water may be near electrical appliances. Tea, coffee and biscuits (which are delicious) are provided in your cabin and replenished daily by the steward. We brought some soft drinks and a bottle of wine onboard and it was nice not to have to get the steward to empty our fridge first before we could use it. A drinks list was provided in the cabin and a bottle of spirit was the same price that you would find in a supermarket, although the mixers were more expensive. The safe which was located on a shelf in the wardrobe, was standard size and operated with any code of your choice. Unlike some modern cabins and hotel rooms there was no automatic shut down of electricity as you left the cabin as you did not need your cabin key to operate the lights and air conditioning. Although the air conditioning only went down to 18 degrees rather than 16 degrees (too cold anyway in my opinion) it was very efficient and extremely quiet which made a pleasant change. One big negative and a first for us was that the cabins did not have Wi-Fi capabilities. We had hoped that we might be able to get Wi-Fi as we were close to the Atrium but the signal was too weak to work. However the fact we were so close to the Explorers internet cafe in the Atrium was a real bonus as we were posting a LIVE FROM thread on cruise critic with photographs and video.SHIP INFORMATIONOceana is a mid-sized family ship and before boarding we were concerned it might feel too small for us as our previous experiences were all on 940ft plus ships. We didn't need to worry at all. Oceana is a well designed and comfortable ship which would make an ideal ship for a first cruise as it is not too big and not too small. The heart of the ship is the Atrium which is open plan from decks 5 to 8 with sweeping staircases and glass lifts. This is the first part of ship you see as you embark which is very impressive. Here you will find many bars including Explorers with Wi-Fi, restaurants, reception, shops and the photographers on formal nights. The Lido deck (deck 12) was a main deck for daytime fun. It has two pools and two Jacuzzis mid-ship. The Riviera pool is 7ft deep and the Crystal pool is about 4ft deep and where you will find P&O staff organising pool games for children who are not signed into kids' club. You can buy ice-creams and lollies at Sundaes. The 99 ice-cream seemed the most popular option on our cruise. I was impressed with the number of tables and chairs available in this area in addition to the loungers which were plentiful and available both in the sun and the shade. At the aft of the Lido deck was a free 16+ area with a pool and two more Jacuzzis between the gym and the aerobics room. Deck 12 was also the location for the kids' clubs (starboard side) and the Oasis Spa and Salon (port side). There was also a splash pool on the Sky deck (deck 15). Deck 7 was a hive of activity on Oceana and the location of both theatres. Starlights theatre is aft of the ship and where the dance shows were held in the evening and dance classes (both line dancing and ballroom) were held during the day, as well as bingo and other activities. Footlights theatre, forward of the ship, was where the comedians and singers performed, and also where films were shown. Yacht and Compass near Footlights was a popular bar and a venue for quizzes. This is also the deck where the photographs are displayed in the Photo Gallery and where the art gallery was located by the Magnums champagne bar. It is also the location of the Cyb@study for internet access and the library where you can borrow books and games.Deck 7 is the Promenade deck which was very popular with walkers and joggers as you can walk right around the outside of the ship. Port side there are games of shuffle board and quoits, with the equipment always available so you could just go and help yourself. It is also the side of the ship designated as a smoking area which was unfortunate for us as non-smokers. I don't know why they don't have shuffle board on the starboard side of the Promenade deck away from the smokers? We enjoyed several games of shuffle board and counted the laps as the joggers ran past! There are three sets of lifts onboard, forward (from decks 5 to 14), mid-ship in the Atrium (from decks 5 to 8) and aft (from decks 7 to 14). Consequently, the public area decks 7 and 12 (outside) were used as a walkway to get from one end of the ship to the other if you didn't want to walk past cabins. There was also a casino on board called Monte Carlo on deck 8. On Oceana, the ladies toilets were always located on the starboard side of the ship and the gents were always on the port side. Both had disabled access.DININGMain Dining RoomsAt breakfast we normally ate at the Adriatic Restaurant (the fixed dining restaurant for dinner) which had a daily special but this was not available on disembarkation day. Daily specials included smoked salmon and scrambled egg on toast, Egg Benedict (with ham), corned beef hash, devilled kidneys and traditional kedgeree. One highlight for us was the quality of the sausages and back bacon for the traditional English breakfast and the fact that you could get real baked beans. No other cruise line has come close to this and P&O certainly served the best breakfasts. The strawberry, raspberry and blackcurrant jams, marmalade and honey were all in miniature Tiptree jars on a little silver platter on the table which again was a big improvement on little plastic tubs with peel off lids! One disappointment however was that the milk in the dining room was UHT and not fresh which we did find in the buffet. On disembarkation day the restaurant operated two sittings at 6.45am and 7.45am with the doors only being open for 15 minutes. We went at 6.50am and there was no queue. As we left, the queue for the restaurant was huge so my advice would be to go to the earlier sitting to avoid the queues.Dining on Oceana was a delight. As we were Freedom Dining, we ate our evening meals in the Ligurian Restaurant on deck 5. After our first night, which involved an hour's delay, we were able to get a table immediately if we were happy to share and only had to wait half an hour if we wanted a table for two. If a table is not ready, you are issued with a pager which flashes and vibrates when your table is ready. The pager does not work in the cabins or outside on the decks. One problem on the first night was that some diners had not collected their Freedom Dining cards from their cabins which slowed the whole process down. The quality of the food in the Main Dining Room was always excellent. We took full advantage of the 5 course meals in the evening which always offered excellent variety. There was a choice of 3 starters, 2 soups, 6 main courses plus at least two other "also available", four desserts in addition to the ice-creams and sorbets, and a cheeseboard brought to the table. I particularly enjoyed my sirloin steak which was cooked to perfection, the Beef Wellington and the lobster. The terrines which changed every day were always the best patEs we have ever tasted. Sirloin steak featured regularly at the beginning of our cruise but was then replaced with other beef dishes and is not always available unlike other cruise lines. So if you fancy a steak without paying the Horizon Grill cover charge take advantage early on and don't assume it will always appear on the menu. Drinks were not over-priced and half a litre of house wine was just £7.80 ($12.88). There is no additional service charge on drinks either unlike the American ships. There is a children's menu available in the Main Dining Room and the children are free to order from either menu. The children's menu was quite extensive and included minute steak, fish fingers and pasta dishes.The dress code on formal night is strictly followed. The gentleman in front of us in the queue was turned away as he did not have a jacket and asked to go back to his cabin to collect one. His wife was seated so she could wait for him in the restaurant. As a result everyone onboard looked lovely both formal nights and it gave the evenings a real sense of occasion. The second formal night was a Black and White night.Afternoon tea is an event on Oceana that should not be missed. The smell of toasted tea cakes is very inviting as you enter the Adriatic Restaurant and it is the best cup of tea of the day with alternative teas such as Earl Grey also available. Waiters come round with plates of fruit scones, plain scones and toasted teacakes. In addition, each table has a tiered cake stand with finger sandwiches at the top and a selection of little cakes below including choux buns, chocolate Eclairs, cream meringues and fruit cake. "Chocoholics" was a chocolate extravaganza held on one sea day instead of the afternoon tea. I have never seen so many different types of chocolate cakes in my life. Everyone was given a huge dinner plate and then we waited in line as the waiters served us with a variety of chocolate delights from the table displays. There was also a chocolate fondue with fruit and fudge. It was all a bit too sickly for my taste and looked much better than it tasted but I still appreciated the cups of tea. I recommend a slice of the gateau rather than the individual cakes which seemed quite dense, and I didn't see anyone manage to eat the chocolate doughnuts which I do not recommend. There was a huge queue for chocoholics which started forming 30 minutes before the event!Speciality restaurantsWe tried breakfast at Cafe Jardin (Marco Pierre White's restaurant) which did a superb Egg Benedict (with smoked salmon and lots of hollandaise sauce). The menu in Cafe Jardin changes about every three days, so if you see something you fancy on the menu don't leave it too late or the menu may change. Cafe Jardin is the 24 hour dining restaurant located on deck 8 in the Atrium. This is an ideal venue for a light breakfast as there are only two cooked dishes available (the other was a links sausage baguette). It is in a quiet location away from the busy restaurant and buffet. At lunch, Cafe Jardin offers a limited menu. We both ordered the Coq au Vin and there was a salad bar which made a nice starter. Cafe Jardin and the Horizon Grill are speciality restaurants with a cover charge in the evening, but are both complementary for during the day. The burgers at the Horizon Grill at lunchtime were delicious, and you could also have hotdogs, baked potatoes, chicken goujons and fish and chips. There was sometimes quite a delay to take the orders in the queue at the Horizon Grill, and some people were phoning through their orders and then collecting them, but we didn't discover this trick until the last day. The Grill is open plan so you can watch the chefs cooking which we did on our last night as we took a stroll before dinner and the steaks being cooked for the cover charge dining looked superb. Plaza BuffetThe Plaza Buffet restaurant is open for the majority of the day with a changing menu. Self serve tea, coffee and water are available throughout the day. The buffet is on the port and starboard side and if one side is closed the other side will probably be open. At 6.30am continental breakfast was available, from 7.00am full breakfast was served, and then at 10.30am it became brunch. After closing for just 15 minutes, at midday the lunch service began, and then at 2.30pm afternoon snacks were available. At 5.15pm, the Plaza served the Children's Tea, which was an opportunity for children to eat early and then enjoy the evening activities at Kids' club. A least one parent needs to remember to accompany their child to the children's buffet as the club does not close for meals. Kids club staff also ate at the Children's Tea if they were between shifts and always wore their full uniform. They enjoyed the fact they were able to eat there and sat with the children. There was a good variety of choice at the children's buffet with hot and cold options which included salad and sandwiches. The food was traditional British, with lots of meat and simple vegetables so our daughter (who has an egg allergy) could eat the mashed potato at the Children's Tea as it contained no egg unlike the main buffet where the mashed potato did contain egg. There were always plenty of desserts which often included ice-cream. Orange, pineapple and apple juice were available during the Children's Tea as well as water and chilled blackcurrant squash. The Children's Tea often seemed quite a hit with some adult cruisers! Our children opted to do the children's buffet every night apart from the two formal nights when they ate with us in the Main Dining Room. At 6.00pm-9.30pm the Plaza serves a themed buffet. I had a little taster of the Thai buffet and it was absolutely delicious I was really impressed.ACTIVITIESAs with any cruise line you can be as active or inactive as you choose on Oceana. On sea days the only problem we had was trying to choose which activity to do as there were several on at the same time. I went to the port talk on Bilbao at Footlights and was disappointed to find that no one was presenting the talk and it was either a recording or someone reading a script backstage! I decided that my time was too precious to waste and immediately found a game of Scattergories in the Yacht and Compass which was great fun. Quizzes were a regular feature in the programme of events which are outlined in Horizon, the information paper delivered to your cabin each evening. We really enjoyed the complementary waltz and quick step lessons having never danced ballroom before and I also had fun at the line dancing class. I was impressed with the multiple opportunities for taster massages (which I made the most of!) both at the spa and in the Atrium. Sports activities included fitness classes, adult social tennis, adult and family football, and a variety of competitions at the golf simulator. There were three table tennis tables on deck 12 for free play table tennis and organised activities. For enrichment opportunities, there were talks by guest speakers, art talks, and health seminars. There were also organised card games, musical entertainment and a huge selection of films to see during the cruise at the Footlights theatre including the King's Speech, the Black Swan and Yogi Bear. The entertainment team worked hard onboard and the Oceana sailaways were always very good. From Southampton, there was a band playing on the dockside and champagne was available for the bargain price of just £3. Every port had a singing and dancing sail away and at our last port we had "The Great British Sailaway", with deck 12 being decorated in Union Jacks, everyone getting a flags to wave and patriotic singing from Ireland, Scotland, Wales and England including Land of Hope and Glory and Rule Britannia.CHILDREN'S CLUBSThere was a welcome talk on embarkation day in the Starlights theatre which was a good opportunity to meet all the staff involved. Our children went to the Kids Club and were both "Surfers" (aged 5-8). The club opened at 9.00am and was non-stop until midnight with slumber time as another sign in session at 10.00pm. You can have up to four signatures for signing in and out so if you are on holiday with extended family or friends this could be quite useful. There was no need for cruise cards when signing in and out and I found P&O extremely laid back compared to other cruise lines, not even checking our signatures as they recognised our faces. Our children loved the club and complained when we picked them up! You can sign them in and out at any time during the day but must remain on the ship if they are in club. Activities were not restricted to the club rooms as they went to the sports nets in the funnel for football, Starlights Theatre for magic shows, Footlights Theatre for films and Le Club for discos and Karaoke. Each day had a separate theme and on our 7 night cruise we had: around the world day, chocolate day, wild west day, space day and pirate day. The children earned surfer dollars at club for participation and doing well in competitions and on the last day everyone was able to choose between either a lanyard or chew. The child with the most dollars got both. The fact that the club was so good meant that everyone benefitted. We were able to have to some quality time to ourselves and enjoyed the occasional dinner for two.SERVICEI would rate customer service extremely high onboard. Our cabin steward was very efficient and always greeted us with a smile in the corridor. He replenished the towels for the cabin and pool throughout the day so it always felt like we had just arrived. The staff on reception (of which there were always plenty) were always helpful and efficient and there was never a queue unlike with other cruise lines. The future cruise sales staff were equally helpful and not at all pushy. The bar staff on the Lido deck and in the bar areas were very professional, in that they were always available but not constantly bothering you if you didn't want a drink. If you did, they were with you in a second as they were very observant so you could easily catch their eye. Service on board in the restaurants was also of a high standard. On our first night we had a long wait for a table and were concerned that we would be tight on time for picking up the children from kids club. I mentioned my concerns to our waiter and he did a superb job, taking our order before other people arrived at the table and serving us quickly without ever making us feel rushed. The waiters were efficient and always remembered who had ordered which dish and remembered our children's names even though we were freedom dining. On our last night I had trouble deciding which dessert to have and our waiter brought me both with a smile! Some commented that service at afternoon tea was a little swift at times but the quality of the afternoon tea more than made up for this. ENTERTAINMENTShows on board are repeated so if you miss them the first time you have another opportunity to see the act who, if it is a comedian or singer, will change each performance so you can go more than once and still be entertained. During our cruise we went to see Rebecca Roberts a female vocalist who was good. We heard mixed reviews about the comedian but everyone we spoke to raved about dance shows. Entertainment is one area I would not rate P&O as highly as other cruise lines and there was nothing on that I felt was a must see show. Having said that with Freedom dining we were often eating at the time of the first shows and the later shows were just too late for us.PORTS OF CALLPorts of call were Le Havre in France, La Rochelle in France, Bilbao in Spain and La Coruna in Spain. P&O provided us with a guide to each port with a map on the back, although they didn't always include the key to explain what the numbers on the map actually meant. The first three ports we visited had free shuttle services provided into town. Le Havre (Honfleur)In Le Havre our shuttle bus driver had no knowledge of the town at all and got completely lost. The transfer should have taken 10 minutes but an hour later we were still on the bus! Many passengers gave up and went back to the ship. The staff at reception onboard apologised for the shuttle fiasco and gave us a complementary bottle of wine with our dinner. You can't argue with that when the service was free in the first place. We knew that much of Le Havre was closed on a Sunday so we went to the bus station and caught a bus to Honfleur and had an excellent day. (There were two P&O trips to Honfleur available but they were really expensive compared with catching the bus independently.) I would thoroughly recommend visiting Honfleur from Le Havre as is it a really picturesque little fishing town. La RochelleLa Rochelle is a medieval city with a superb indoor market and was a great port of call. The free shuttle transfer took 20 minutes and the pick-up was from the tourist office. Prices were extremely high in most of the cafes but we had a lovely lunch in a little brasserie with great views of the 14th century twin towers. BilbaoWe did not purchase any P&O excursions but were very particularly grateful for the free shuttle bus in Bilbao where the transfer was 30 minutes long which would have been a very expensive taxi ride. The drop off /pick up point was easy to find and only a 5 minute walk to the Fine Art Museum and the Guggenheim museum. The buses were not only free but very frequent, and despite joining a queue of about 150 passengers in Bilbao the buses arrived one after the other and we waited no more than 10 minutes to board a bus back to the ship. La CorunaIronically at La Coruna the town is at the heart of the port, and you should be able to just walk out, but the closest berth was taken by Independence of the Seas so we docked further away from the new terminal building. The port authority insisted that we could not walk out independently but had to wait for their bus. We arrived late to the port following engine problems so everyone wanted to get off at the same time resulting in lengthy delays. The boarding time was put back so we still had enough time in port and all but one of the P&O excursions still ran. La Coruna is an excellent port stop with a quaint little tram and the oldest working lighthouse in the world (which we climbed to the top!). There were also Sedgeways for hire at the bottom of the lighthouse hill for only 10 euros for 20 minutes.SUMMARYWe thoroughly enjoyed our first P&O cruise, so much so that we booked another cruise whilst on board. Prior to sailing we had read reports criticising the Oceana's general wear and tear. I am happy to report that what we experienced was a beautiful ship without any sticky carpets. In fact large areas of carpet where being replaced on a daily basis and the carpet to our cabin had so much spring to it we felt like we were bouncing down the corridor. Hand rails on deck were constantly being sanded and varnished, wet paint signs went up whilst in port and the crew seemed to take a real pride in their ship. We were surprised how laid back P&O were at muster as no passenger log was taken but there was a general sense of calm throughout the ship. We really appreciated the free shuttle buses, fair prices at the bar, low recommended tips and lack of service charge on drinks which all helped us decide to rebook with P&O for next Summer and put a deposit down on an additional cruise to be booked within a year to get the extra onboard credit.DISEMBARKATION We were issued with coloured labels for disembarkation which ran like clockwork. Despite a slight delay docking due to night fog we disembarked on time at 9.10am and were back in our car by 9.30 having collected our key from the booth in the adjacent car park. Normally on the last day the ship seems crowded as passengers wait to disembark but this was not the case on Oceana and I would go so far as say that it was the most hassle free disembarkation we have ever had. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2011
We travelled from South Yorkshire to Southampton by rail on the day before we were due to sail - this was an easy journey for us although it necessitated a London tube ride (it was the day of the royal wedding, and many London roads were ... Read More
We travelled from South Yorkshire to Southampton by rail on the day before we were due to sail - this was an easy journey for us although it necessitated a London tube ride (it was the day of the royal wedding, and many London roads were closed so taking a taxi was not an option). We stayed at the Novotel in Southampton which is very close to the port and we could see other cruise liners from our bedroom window. The hotel was very comfortable although food and drinks were quite expensive - next time we'll eat out or have a take-away. Embarkation was very smooth and efficient - we got to the terminal early (11.45), checked in and went through security, and then had to wait about 30 mins in the lounge before we were allowed on board. We headed straight for the Plaza restaurant and enjoyed lunch before chilling out on deck on sun-loungers. We had an inside cabin, with lots of storage space, a fridge, safe and spacious shower room; we were very satisfied with our accommodation and our room stewardess was excellent. The food was excellent with plenty of choice - we were on second sitting on a table for eight. Our table companions were great fun, and although we had planned to try the speciality restaurants, we decided that we didn't want to miss out on their company. I would recommend other first timers to choose a table for eight - its a great way to make new friends! The ships facilities were very good, we tried all the bars but our favourite was the Yacht and Compass pub. We enjoyed the evening entertainment, especially the guest speaker and comedian, but the Headliners Ships Theatre Company were also very good. Our first port of call was Stavager where we took an organised tour - sailing up the fjord to view the pulpit rock. The scenery was spectacular, steep mountain sides plunging into the deep waters of the fjord, waterfalls, small villages at the waters edge and roads clinging to the sides of the mountains. Alesund was our next stop and we explored independently, the town was rebuilt after a great fire and architecture was amazing. A climb up the 418 steps to the town mountain gave great views, and some rather special photos. Our next stop was Geirangerfjord and the pretty little village of Geiranger, probably the photographed fjord in Norway. We got up at 4am to watch the entry into the fjord, it was freezing cold (2 C) so we were glad the buffet restaurant had 24 hour tea and coffee. We were delayed at our last port of call, Bergen, by technical problems so were about 4 hours late at Southampton. Extra entertainment was provided (quizzes, films) and lunch (an extra meal). The company had contacted the coach link to let them know about the delay, and the Internet cafe was made available to rebook train journeys and send emails to relatives and friends. In short, everything was done to minimise disruption or problems for the passengers. Read Less
Oceana Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 3.0 3.6
Dining 4.0 3.8
Entertainment 3.0 3.6
Public Rooms 4.0 4.0
Fitness Recreation 3.0 3.6
Family 4.0 3.6
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.5
Enrichment 3.0 3.3
Service 4.0 4.1
Value For Money 4.0 3.6
Rates 4.0 3.9

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