P & O OCEANA 22nd OCTOBER 2013
We arrived by taxi at Southampton approximately 11:35. As we walked up the stairs they were already calling for people with boarding card F, this was the quickest check in we have had and we were on board just before 12:00.
Oceana is one of the smallest ships we've sailed on but first impressions were that there was ample room on board and even the first sea day there was plenty of Room and I never had a problem finding a comfortable place to sit and read.
I have to say that having sailed on bigger ships Ventura, Azura and Independence of the seas and on all three finding a seat on sea days was nigh on impossible.
The ship is clean and well presented.
One downside of the ship is the cabin size we had a balcony cabin on A deck the cabin is the smallest we've had on any ship and the balcony itself was approximately 6ft by 3 ft and was not an inviting place to sit.
There was ample storage and as usual the cabin steward did an excellent job though we didn't see him much
Shower was not spacious but adequate even for my 6 ft frame.
I did like the fact that you have an empty fridge to store your own drinks etc rather than the mini bar fridges that some ships have.
Oceana has plenty of bars catering for all tastes my favourite was the Yacht and Compass, I do like the fact that they have added another lager (Carling) it's so much better than the obligatory Stella which always gives me a headache no matter how many I drink.
P & O also seem to like selling 330 ml bottled Lager which works out at an expensive £7 or more a pint ( 500 ml cans please P & O )
The bars have various forms of music and quizzes as per most cruises and the service was mostly to a high standard.
We went for freedom dining and were in the Ligurian restaurant. On the first night we had a table for eight and we lucked out with our dining companions who were all good company We were two and a half hours eating the meal and there were long waits between courses and the service was generally slow, day two we tried a table for four again we had good company and the service was much better.
But some nights even with a table for two the service was very slow.
The food on P & O is about the same standard as RCCL but on RCCL Every night you can have the choice of roast chicken, steak or a vegetarian option plus the daily menu items also the waiters are much more attentive. This is not to say the staff on P &O are not as good it is probably likely that they have a higher Passenger to Waiter ratio. cost cutting measures no doubt.
Marco Pierre Whites Cafe Jardin
We tried this for our first breakfast on board, they don't actually do a full breakfast, I had Cumberland sausage in soft milk bread, it was nice but it is just a sausage in a bap the wife had eggs Benedict it was nice but I do like a proper breakfast so I wouldn't use it again for breakfast.
The Plaza Buffet
Very busy but excellent food, the bacon was outstanding
Not good on choice of foods for lunch, can't comment about evenings as we never used it for our evening meal. There are always horror stories about buffet mayhem but although there were at times queues we always found a table fairly easily and this was a first in 14 cruises so as ships buffet dining goes I give it a thumbs up,
The first show I saw was Steve Larkin...Mercury Rising a sort of Freddy Mercury tribute with a bit of camp comedy. The singing was good and he was funny.
Comedian Gerry Graham mediocre with tired old jokes
Heaven 17 brilliant
Paul Young his voice is shot to pieces and it was embarrassing to see him which is sad as he was excellent back in the day
Carol Decker from T'Pau brilliant
Claire Grogan from Altered Images good show
Toyah Wilcox very good show
Howard Jones good show
Jane Middleton Cher/Annie Lennox tribute Good show
OCEANA Is a lovely ship in good condition, the food is excellent and the staff work hard to ensure you have a great holiday.
The cabins and balconies are small but this is probably due to the age and size of the ship but we found them adequate for our needs.
Food was excellent the ship has both traditional sitting in the Adriatic restaurant and freedom dining in the Ligurian restaurant. The buffet can be busy at times but the food was generally good although lunch selection was repetitive. In the evenings the menu was a different theme each night, Mexican, Indian etc.
Good library facilities with someone in attendance each day, they also produced a daily crossword and newspaper.
The Promenade deck is great, you can fully walk around the ship on the Prom deck 3.2 times equals a mile. And it was fully open everyday except one port day when some work was being carried out.
Apart from the Paul Young show the entertainment was the best I have ever seen on a cruise ship.
I prefer the bigger ships but all said and done I was pleased we gave Oceana a go it was a great holiday.
PET HATE - NOT P & O's FAULT
SPANISH TAX NOW 10% Grrrrrrrrrr !
CHEESE BOARD This is a tip I found on the forum and checked for myself - if like me you like a bit of Stilton from the cheese board ask and you shall receive, but it is rarely actually on the board brought to you.
CANNED DRINKS. If you like canned fizzy drinks such as cola bring them on board they are very cheap in supermarkets but on board 150ml can of coke is 90 pence. If you think this is penny pinching imagine what you would say if you went in a shop at home and were charged £1.98 for a standard can because that's what it works out at and the savings made will actually pay for the bottles of spirits bought on board for cabin use.
GIBRALTAR. Don't buy your duty free at the first shop prices vary greatly, as an example a difference of 90 pence on a pouch of tobacco between two shops less than five minutes walk from each other