OCEANA CRUISE E906
A CARIBBEAN ODYSSEY 20TH MARCH 2009 TO 3RD APRIL 2009
We booked this cruise less than one month before sailing, this was the transatlantic bring Oceana back from the Caribbean. Barbados to Southampton 14 nights.
We checked in early for our flight on Thomas Cook Airlines, no problem getting seats together or asking for window seats. Soon we were on our way and all the negative comments about Thomas Cook Airlines were soon blown away. The flight and the service were really good. Soon we were landing at Barbados and the coaches were pulled up to the aircraft steps and we were on our way to Barbados docks. Once there the check in was so smooth, not a queue in site. We have sailed on Oceana 4 times so the WOW!! Factor is not there anymore. The ship though is kept spotlessly clean and soon we were in our cabin and meeting our Cabin Steward and very smiley young man called Xavier.
We had tried to book 2nd seating for dinner but were told that we had been allocated Freedom Dining. Never had this before and we did try to change it once onboard. Alan Carr the Maitre'd said that they had so many passengers trying to get 2nd that he thought we had no chance to change. We went along the first night, and each night after, to Freedom dining and choose which time we went we did not have to wait for a table. As long as you are willing to share then we had no problem. We eat at different times each night from 6.45pm to 8.15pm on table of 8 or 6 people. All the people we spoke to said that this was their first time on Freedom but like us they will definitely try it again.
Soon it was 9pm and we were sailing from Barbados to St. Lucia. In St. Lucia we decided to go to Marigot Bay we took a taxi to Doolittle's Hotel, this was very pleasant in that you took a small ferry to get their which was 2 dollars return. We stayed on the beach for the morning and returned to the ship around 1.30pm. We then sailed that evening to Dominica where we snorkeled at Champagne Reef. Again a very memorable day with lots to see at the reef. That evening we sailed to St. Maarten, one of our favorite islands and here we took a taxi to Little Bay, Divi Beach Resort. Last year around October this beach was hit by a large amount of water and the beach bar is no more. The staff said that the beach is now larger than before. They still allow you to have beach chairs and umbrellas for a fee. -2- We returned in the afternoon to the shops for a little retail therapy. That evening we sailed to Antigua our last Caribbean island before our transatlantic crossing. In Antigua we took a long taxi journey to Pineapple Beach resort and had some very interesting snorkeling along the two reefs. Anyone going here please remember to haggle for the chairs, they at first wanted 8 dollars per chair but we got them for 4 dollars per chair in the end. One of the good things about this beach is that it has a fabulous beach bar called Mamma Pasta, you must go and try their Rum Punch!!!!!!!!! We then had 5 sea days before our arrival in Madeira. Then another 3 sea days before our home port of Southampton.
Overall Oceana is still looking good, we found that the food had improve, in our opinion, since the last time we were on her. Café Jardin is now Marco Pierre Whites restaurant in the evening, with a supplement of £4.99, well worth the money!! We also had breakfast and lunch in here most days and found the food and service to be tip top.
I must mention The Headliners Theatre Company, in our opinion they were the best troupe of singers and dancers we have seen on any cruise ship. It is hope that P&O will renew their contracts if they so wish. The After dinner speakers were also excellent, we had George Layton, the actor, Derek Redmond for sports and Johnny Breerling on the BBC.
A very enjoyable cruise all round.