Firstly I would like to state that my Port of Embarkation was Southampton not London (Southampton). Southampton is known all over the world as a famous port. Remember, the Titanic left from Southampton not London !!
This morning I arrived home after a 7 night cruise to Norway on P&O's Oceana. 18 months ago we did exactly the same ports but on Grand Princess. I had no pre conceived ideas on what to expect on board, a friend of ours really loves this ship so we were hopeful.
My wife is in a wheelchair as she was on board Grand Princess. The check in was really good and as we live in the famous port City of Southampton we were having a drink on board 70 minutes after leaving home. All check in staff were really helpful.
We got to our cabin which was an inside cabin at the rear of deck 10. It was not too small and the two of us fitted in quite well. We were greeted with a warm hand shake and a smile from our Room Steward which was nice. Unlike the Grand Princess, there was tea and coffee and a kettle in the room which was perfect as were the biscuits. The Loo and the shower were perfectly adequate for our needs. All in all the cabin was what we needed.
I took a four plug extension lead for charging the ipods etc. as there was only one UK socket in the room. The TV was a new flat screen but the choice of shows was very disappointing. We paid for the internet service on board as I had taken my laptop with me. this was adequate but not very fast. I had also downloaded a lot of programmes on BBC Iplayer onto my laptop so I had plenty to watch. Before you ask, due to my wife's disabilities we retire early in the evening.
Our first night we paid to eat at the Horizon Grill as it was our tenth Wedding Anniversary. The Food was very good as was the service. On the second night we chose to eat at the Plaza which is Buffet. I was surprised to find that each night had a theme. That night was fish. I saw at least two passengers walk away when they found out about the theme. We were able to choose some things to eat but they were only average. Due to the daily themes in the buffet we choose to take our freedom dining choice at the Ligurian Restaurant. We are so glad we did because the food was perfect on every night. The staff were wonderful helping my wife in her wheelchair every evening. The three staff that need special mention are, Sharon the Bar Stewardess, Aldrin and Saviour the waiters. All three are a credit to P&O.
We missed breakfast every day instead we opted for an early lunch. Cafe Jardine was our chosen venue for this. Breakfast was meant to end at 11am and lunch was then meant to start. This never happened. We were always waiting to be seated at 11am for lunch but the head man there always had an excuse for it not being ready. On one occasion he said breakfast was running late so come back in 20 minutes. We went back 25 minutes later and we were then told it was due to a technical issue. He was never accommodating or nice in his manner, when we were able to get in he just pointed at the table and said "there". we never saw him again during that visit. The problem is that the food in Cafe Jardin during the day was brilliant. The pizza is the best pizza I have ever had in the whole word...ever....ever ( for those who saw Brett Cave ). The Head man at Cafe Jardin stood out from the rest of the whole crew by his bad and surly attitude. I did not get his name but he was wearing the waist coat and the only Englishman there.
One of my biggest concerns before the cruise was a bad taste we had left from the cruise on Grand Princess. On Grand Princess on every occasion my wife and I pushed a button for a lift we would end up being left behind because of rude passengers barging their way in, remembering my wife is in a wheelchair. I put this down to the fact that a majority of the passengers were American. On Oceana without a word of a lie it was completely the opposite. I was overwhelmed by the kindness of other passengers holding doors, moving seats, giving us first access to lifts etc. Everybody said good morning or had a chat while queueing or in a lift. I know that the crew are being paid to be kind and helpful but, this then has a knock on effect to the passengers, it really made our holiday special knowing that good manners and kindness to strangers really does still exist.
As for Oceana herself. We had no real concerns with her, she was well maintained with little signs of rust and lots of new white paint everywhere. On strange thing was having the disabled toilets inside the normal toilets. When my wife needed a toilet because it was inside the ladies loo I could not go and give her a hand as I normally would, strange.
All shows were good as I would have expected. Brett Cave was very entertaining. My Wife had a massage in the Spa and said it was the best she ever had.
Apart from the silly little man at Cafe Jardin, We had a fantastic time