We decided last year to get married on a cruise. We had previously cruised with Royal Caribbean but they only offered symbolic marriages, so we tried P&O and it seemed reasonably priced (around £1200 + extras). We decided on Oceana as it was a mid-sized ship and the itinerary was good as we had always fancied visiting Rome and Barcelona.
Embarkation was easy, when we got to Southampton we had our car taken within half an hour and our party checked in immediately as we had priority due to getting married. Straight on to the ship and to our cabins - really quick and straight forward.
A little disappointed with our cabin, balcony was very small and furniture not in great nick, also our bathroom was very small. Generally the cabin was clean and decor was fine. As we were getting married, there was a free bottle of wine in the fridge and we had complimentary fresh fruit and canapes every couple of days. We were also given a couple of robes and slippers too :) More
Activities on ship were limited. We had 3 days at sea before our first port and the weather wasn't great. There were a few quizzes and table tennis, quoits etc, but nothing brilliant. On the first day I played Bingo which cost me and my wife £30 between us. Even thought there was over 60 people in the room, the first line was only £17 !! The profit made from the Bingo and Race Nights was very excessive. I did however play bingo again on the last day and won £365 so mustn't grumble :)
The quizzes and karaoke etc. that the entertainment staff organised were pretty poor. Everything seemed poorly organised and the James Bond quiz was a joke. The ideas were right but just not done well.
Evening entertainment was OK. Comedian Mel Mellers was very funny. The magician was OK, Headliners were very good. All the shows didn't last long enough I found - 40-50 minutes so you were left wanting a bit more. I would have liked to have seen a bit more variety, the same shows were repeated a few times.
Service was excellent - there was nothing the staff wouldn't do to help. With our wedding cake, I asked at reception if someone could go to my cabin, collect and cake and cut it and organise for 10 glasses to be delivered to the horizon deck at a certain time so we could have drinks and cake with friends. This was organised and done with no problem at all.
We were on Freedom dining. Sometimes we got a table straight away, sometimes a little wait and on 1 night this was for nearly an hour, but that's what the bars are for :) Food was fantastic. Stuart Pitcher is the exec chef and although most of the time it was great, sometimes it was a little over the top. Food and choice in the Plaza was good, although the bread seemed to get a little stale towards the end of the cruise.
All but 2 nights the service was quick in the restaurant. On the 2 slow nights, we were in the there for over 2 hours for 4 courses. Drinks were very reasonable - Pint of Stella for £3.00, cocktail of the day for £2.95.
I didn't book any excursions as I thought they were pricey - eg Rome On Your Own was around £44 each from memory. I decided to take the train instead and a ticket cost me only 9 Euros return ! 5 of us went so we saved over £150.
Most of the ports were very good. Especially liked Florence, Rome, Cannes and Alicante. A bit disappointed with Elba, although I think a tour would have been nice to do there, and a few people said they thought it was one of the best ports, so I guess it is just down to personal taste.
Our wedding day was fantastic. The asst F&B manager Simon Gammon was brilliant and saw everything went smooth. He was very friendly and accommodating. Simon also filmed the ceremony with our camera and also took some photos for us. The captain Andy Willard was very friendly and down to earth. He took us up on the bridge after the ceremony and showed us around and allowed us to take some pictures. One gripe - our buttonhole flowers died after about 1 hour of getting them.
Disembarkation wasn't great. We were given a blue card which meant we were first to be called off. The queues were long and just as we were getting to the exit, they called the next cards and all these people squeezed in from the sides and it went a bit mental ! Not well organised at all.
Overall a brilliant holiday. We are going to try the Canary Islands next time and will use P&O again. Please let me know if you have any questions and I will be happy to answer. Less