Departure As we only live 50 odd miles from Southampton our journey to the docks is fairly straightforward. We arrived around 11.30am and after a short wait our baggage was unloaded and the cars taken away. We waited a matter of minutes in the terminal before completing the formalities and going through security and on board. This was our third time on Oceana and she was our first ship we cruised on so we do have a soft spot for her. We were all in the Plaza for lunch by 12.30pm and the call came that the cabins were ready almost dead on 2.00pm.
Our cabins were on C deck with us and the in laws having a balcony and the girls an inside cabin. Our cabin was very clean and tidy although our balcony appeared slightly smaller than the decks above. The girls inside cabin was very spacious which I think was due to it being on a corner, which gave them, a bigger toilet/shower room than us! Our Steward Dominic introduced himself and nothing was too much trouble for him throughout and he kept the cabin spotless.
Unfortunately we had some problems with noise from the cabin next to our daughters. It appeared to be occupied by one teenager who on several occasions invited a number (10 or 12) to her cabin very late at night. I know we have all been young once but I did feel this was unacceptable and there should not be this number of people in a cabin and hanging about outside making considerable noise. I did complain both to the Youth security and to the young people themselves but to no avail. The youth security was next to useless and did not seem to want to upset them. Where the parents of these young people were I do not know but clearly they did not care where they were in the early hours of the morning -- a sad state of affairs.
We were on a table of 8 in the Adriatic Restaurant and had linked our booking with a couple of friends we had met on previous cruises on the Oceana. I had made a special request to P&O for a particular table, which they said they could not guarantee, but we were lucky enough to be allocated it so well done P&O. The food was as usual excellent no complaints from us. Our waiters Hamish and Roque and wine waiter Joqhim were very friendly and we insisted they called us by our first names that added to the friendly atmosphere. The service they provided was first class and we could not have asked for better (so much better than on the Auzura last year!!). We also made the effort to go to breakfast in the AR each morning and mainly had lunch in the Plaza.
A little disappointed with the entertainment. I got the impression it had been cut back a bit with films even being shown on some evenings in the main theatre -- not known that before. Some evenings there were 2 or 3 good things on and on other evenings not much at all.
The Headliners were very energetic but somewhat spoilt with the dance captain, Michael, who seem to want to be the centre of attention with his extravagant dancing! The cabaret singers and comedians were OK but nothing special. They did have a series of talks by an ex Concorde Technical Engineer, Ricky Bastin, which were very interesting and also Tony Gubba gave a talk on his commentating life at the BBC and more latterly on Dancing on Ice which was very entertaining.
The swimming pool areas were very busy, as you would expect. This year they were placing yellow cards on sun beds that had towels on them but were not being used which said the towels etc. would be removed in 30 minutes if they were still unoccupied. This upset a few but something had to be done as again people were placing towels on sun beds and disappearing for hours on end. It's a shame that a minority spoil it for everyone. It did seem to do the trick, as generally there were sun beds available even on the really hot sea days.
The problem with the main swimming pool was the behaviour of some of the teenagers who, even though there were big signs saying no jumping or diving proceeded to do just that even when the pool was busy with lots of small children in it. They did get told by staff to stop but as soon as the staff member had gone again they continued. In previous years a youth staff member has been stationed by the pool but this was not the case this year -- cut backs? I'm staggered that parents of these children either do not care about how they behave or do not know what they are up to. Absolutely no respect for anyone else.
Ports of call
We only went on one organised tour, which was to the Nou Camp in Barcelona. This was disappointing as there was some work being done which meant we could not visit the dressing rooms and it was so crowded certainly not worth the money and I would not do it again. At the other ports of call we just went ashore ourselves and had a look round.
I'm not a fan of being told what to tip so reduced our gratuity from Â£3.10pppd to Â£1.50pppd. We then gave our cabin stewards and waiters some cash at the end of the cruise as I want to reward those that have worked hard for us although accepting there are others that we don't see which should also get something hence keeping the auto gratuity at Â£1.50pppn.
We were second to last group to disembark which was fine we sat in the Starlights lounge until we were called which was about 25 minutes early. We found our cases easily and picked our car keys up and were home by 12.30pm.
Overall an excellent cruise once again with P&O with only some small issues mainly around the minority group of teenagers who were not controlled by there parents which appears to be a sad reflection of society generally.