The 77,000-tonne, 2,016 passenger Oceana may not be the largest or fanciest in P&O's fleet, but its contemporary vibe is attractive to both the new-to-cruising younger set as well as veteran cruisers.
For adults, plenty of bars, restaurants, shops, lounges and a nightclub provide options for distraction. And Oceana does offer a high quality cruise -- particularly in food and wine -- for a reasonable price. Inclusive fare in the main dining room is consistently solid, and Cafe Jardin, a for-fee bistro created by celebrity chef Marco Pierre White, is a standout. Wine critic Olly Smith advises P&O on all things wine, and he has come up with an exceptional wine list -- 86 in all, including a blend made especially for P&O, Porta Palo. The wine list also features English wines -- both sparkling and still.
Oceana has four pools (two in the middle and one at either end), all open to the elements, and six whirlpools. A small sports court occupies the funnel, with a couple of golf driving ranges and basketball hoops.
Launched in 2000, the ship went into dry dock in December 2012 for a £1 million refurbishment, and three years later still looks fresh. The main changes were: Le Club, Oceana's nightclub and bar area, was given a total redesign and refit, and the Horizon Grill had new upholstery fitted. The Beach House became the ship's second fee paying restaurant, serving dinner on the Sun Deck. The spa and salon were refreshed, and an aerobics studio replaced the golf simulator near the spa. Most of the public area carpets were replaced, and selected cabins were spruced up.
The spa and salon were refreshed, and an aerobics studio replaced the golf simulator near the spa.
The passenger mix is almost exclusively British. The average age for couples is late 60s in the winter, with summer cruises attracting more families and a slightly younger crowd.
There are typically two formal nights per week; the rest of the time smart casual is the order of the day. Although this makes for a much more relaxed P&O Cruises feel than in years gone by, don't be caught slacking -- on formal nights, dinner jackets, tuxedos or the optional dark suits are the required attire for the men, and long evening or cocktail dresses for women. Children are welcome to dress up as well, but smart casual is allowed for youngsters on formal nights. Dress codes apply throughout the ship after 6 p.m.
Tips are automatically added at the rate of £5 per person (over 12 years old), per day.
Unlike on U.S. ships, there is no automatic 15% service charge added to drinks or wine bills, and cash tips are not expected by bar staff