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Sail Date: December 2013
Just returned from a 10 day cruise on the '' Oceana'', which set out from Southampton on the 19th Dec.2013, obviously taking in Christmas. We had been on the boat for about 5 hours, when both my wife and I started ... Read More
Just returned from a 10 day cruise on the '' Oceana'', which set out from Southampton on the 19th Dec.2013, obviously taking in Christmas. We had been on the boat for about 5 hours, when both my wife and I started vomiting. This lasted for about 30 hours, and was caused by the boat being unstable and rolling all over the place. During this time, the toilet packed up, and we were without a toilet for about 6 hours. Both my wife and I were not well for most of the cruise, because of the instability of the boat. In fact, on Christmas Day, my wife had nothing to eat, and I only managed to keep a half a bowl of soup down. The only time we felt O.K. was when we went ashore. I had a couple of cooked breakfasts towards the end of the cruise, and my wife had one on the last day. We had booked a couple of shore excursions, in Casablanca and Cadiz, but because my wife was ill on the day we were in Cadiz, she dare not go on the coach. I went to tell them that we would not be able to go on the trip after all, but I was told that because we hadn't given 48 hour's notice, we would forfeit the cost, £72. How we were expected to know, 48 hour's in advance that my wife was going to be ill, I'll never know. The last straw was when we couldn't get a decent cup of coffee one evening, from one of the bars, as there had been black-tie dining that evening. We were told we would be able to get one after 9.30 pm, but just then they would be serving cocktails. We have found out since returning, that the Oceana was built for the Caribbean, and not for going down the Atlantic Coast , and that the ship's bottom is too flat to go where we went. The entertainment was pretty amateurish too, and all together the whole experience of the cruise was pretty awful, and a waste of money. I doubt whether we shall ever cruise again, after this experience, but if we do, it certainly will not be with P&O!   Read Less
Sail Date: December 2013
Oceana E330. We are seasoned Thomson Cruisers, having been on 8 or 9 of their cruises, one NCL and once on the Oceana around 2 years ago, so you have an idea what we are comparing to.... The ship was very similar to how we found it 2 ... Read More
Oceana E330. We are seasoned Thomson Cruisers, having been on 8 or 9 of their cruises, one NCL and once on the Oceana around 2 years ago, so you have an idea what we are comparing to.... The ship was very similar to how we found it 2 years ago, modern and new looking compared to the Thomson ships we are used to. The food was good, nothing spectacular, but good quality and well presented. The weather was poor on the BOB crossing and to say we were in a force 9 at times the ship handled it well, it got better as we headed home. We were in cabin F229 (we did book late) which is right at the front, so some nights were sleepless. It was like being in a tumble dryer sometimes. The cabin was spotless and kept well by Joris our lovely Stewardess. The only good weather we had was in Casablanca, the rest of the ports having dull days. I would have to think hard about whether to do a similar cruise at this time of year again, the Canaries or Caribbean being a better option. This was a Christmas cruise but it was no party ship. 12.30am Christmas Day and the ship was dead, they had all gone off to bed. This doesn’t happen on a normal Thomson ship night never mind Christmas. There was no atmosphere on the ship, this probably comes down to the entertainment team, they don’t mingle with the guests and get people involved in anything. After the main shows finish there is not a lot going on, no late night cabaret from the show team that gets everyone up dancing, the disco is quiet, it’s just a hot chocolate or horlicks and bed.... The acts performing were good, Lloyd the Comedian was good, Clem Curtis (singer ex Foundations) and Matthew McGurk the magician were excellent. Howard Hughes the Children’s Magician was also excellent, great shows and he along with his wife were wonderful company on the dinner table. However the rest of the entertainment left something to be desired. The headliners company could be considered to be OK as long as you have not been spoiled by Thomson show teams in the past. These guys probably work about a quarter of the hours the Thomson teams do, hence the atmosphere on the ship.... It was however good to have real life backing Musicians to the shows, they really are professional. Having two good venues to perform in I found it strange that on some nights there would be one of the acts in one venue and a film being shown in the other, where were the show team? In general the waiting on service was slow and poor. We waited half an hour one night for a drink, and the lounge was mostly empty, this was not uncommon. It took 1.5 hours to have Lunch in the MDR one day, and a lot of the evening services took around 2 hours. Again there is no atmosphere in the MDR, too few staff waiting on, most (but not all) are miserable, no groups of waiters going around playing guitars and singing if they a spare 5 minutes (which these guys do not have). I get the impression that the staff are told not to get too friendly or interact with the guests, just do your job with a stiff upper lip. On Christmas Day the kids were all meeting Santa on his sleigh, parents were told they could not take their own pictures and were being turned on by the ship’s Photographers. Come on guys, we know you have a job to do but it’s Christmas Day for crying out loud! One excellent service was the Eavesway coach transfer, they have been dropped by P&O as they want a large upfront payment to be the “preferred” provider. If you need a coach service to Southampton I suggest you take any OBC offered instead of the P&O coach service and give Eavesway a call, it will more than likely work out cheaper for a guaranteed quality service. There was a free WiFi connection on the coach back too. Would we go back on P&O? Yes we would, as despite these little niggles we did have a good time, and a cruise is as much about the itinerary as the ship, and after all we wouldn’t get entertainment this good in a 5 star Hotel anywhere for the price we paid. Still, glad I’m back on Thomson Majesty for my next cruise ;-)   Read Less
Sail Date: December 2013
This was a Christmas cruise and as such perhaps anomalous of other experiences, but my main bugbear was a feeling that I wasn't getting value for money. My dad went on the Oceana 2 weeks prior, and paid £750 for the balcony cabin ... Read More
This was a Christmas cruise and as such perhaps anomalous of other experiences, but my main bugbear was a feeling that I wasn't getting value for money. My dad went on the Oceana 2 weeks prior, and paid £750 for the balcony cabin next door to the one we later got for £2600. At the end of his cruise he was told if he wanted to do a back to back, he could have his same cabin for another 12 days for £449. So while I appreciate that there is a premium to be paid for holiday cruises ( I am a teacher and can only travel during those times) it meant I couldn't help feeling that I was eating the same food, watching the same shows, visiting the same ports as my dad had, only for almost 4 times the price - and my cruise was 2 nights less! Still that can't be helped and I'm sure is the same for all cruise lines. I haven't sailed with P&O before, my previous 7 cruises have been on RCI (3), NCL (1), Carnival (1) Cunard (1) and Celebrity (1). The entertainment on the Oceana was great I thought - the Headliners shows were really fun and had extremely talented performers. The food was much better than I expected - always hot (we had Freedom dining and this may have been the difference) and with plenty of choice, though I do get tired of the whole fancy food thing on any cruise about halfway! I certainly disagree with a reviewer who complained about lack of choices as breakfast - we ate in Plaza buffet, dining room and Cafe Jardin for breakfast and I can't imagine what we could have wanted that wasn't available - maybe some American choices like grits I suppose, but the Continental and English breakfasts were very varied and good. I do wish there had been more choices of bread though - it was sliced white or brown, small white or brown rolls. None of the lovely fruited, grain or malted crusty loaves I remember on Celebrity, or any 'slice-your-own' baguettes etc. Still the afternoon tea was lovely, though at 4pm, too late for me to try more than once, due to proximity to dinner! I'd have happily skipped lunch and had afternoon tea instead if it was served from 2 or 3pm. The food is indeed very English, so if you like to go on holiday and eat outside your usual experience, this may be lacking in diverse cuisine. I managed to try several things I hadn't had before like pheasant and partridge though, so I was quite happy! Other positives were the staff, our waiters, barstaff and stewards were all exemplary. Cleanliness was good also and there were nice touches like bathroom amenities (The White Company) and quality coffee, tea and biscuits in staterooms, always topped up generously as soon as we made our preferences known. Now for my big criticism, and the reason I would be unlikely to pick P&O again. The nickel-and diming. The prices on P&O seem comparatively competitive, compared to other lines. I was happy to see the soda package was less than the one I always get on Royal Caribbean - until they told me it was for 20 sodas only. If I pay for a package, it's because I DON'T want to consider whether or not I am thirsty enough to order a Diet Coke during a show. I want to have the freedom to get one without considering the cost, because I've already paid for that privilege! I don't want to have to calculate and keep trackof the number of sodas and whether my package will run out with 2 days to go. Let's be honest - they are well-drinks, poured over whole glasses of ice, I doubt even I am able to consume enough Diet Coke for them to make a loss on the same unlimited packages that other lines offer. I decided against the package, and it left me feeling irritated from the get-go. Then the beauty salon. £41 for a haircut, I arranged with a spa receptionist who agreed my hair (a chin length bob) was short. That's cheaper than my salon at home, so yay! Then I turned up for the appointment and was told 'Oh no, your hair is MEDIUM length, that will be £48'. So I left. Not because £7 is a huge amount, but again, because it left a sense of being scammed. The internet packages are also cheaper than RCI, but my brother spent time almost every day in the Library trying to find out why it didn't work properly, only to be told the whole system was down, so when he disembarked he still had almost 2 unused hours on his package. I paid for laundry, and they hung a sweater up to dry so it came back to me 8 inches longer than before. I registered a muted complaint at the front desk, saying I knew I couldn't get a refund or anything as they have a disclaimer on the laundry slips, but I wanted to suggest they don't hang woollens up to dry in future so it doesn't happen to anyone else. I never heard back from them, not even an acknowledgment. The best value for money is the alcoholic drinks - I don't drink but everyone in my party and other passengers said they were commensurate with pub prices and wine at dinner was reasonable. The other extra we paid for that annoyed me was the meal at the speciality restaurant, Cafe Jardin. We always eat at least once in the speciality places on cruise ships, and I have never been told how many dishes you can order (3 - a starter, main and dessert). I asked for a seafood starter and also a salad from the appetiser section, but the waiter seemed alarmed and said he didn't think that was possible and would have to ask the chef. I was mortified - as if I had asked for 4 desserts or something, and he said perhaps I could settle for a side salad, so I agreed happily. It never came. And again, left me feeling that I was being unrealistically greedy or trying to get one over on them, when in fact it's standard practice in the steakhouse on Carnival, Chops Grille/Portofinos on RCI, Cagney's on NCL etc that you can order what you like from the menu, just as you can in the MDR. So my advice to P&O would be to nix the White Company amenities - no one but me in my party had even heard of them, and though I appreciated them, I'd rather have had an unlimited soda package, without quibbling over how many Cokes make me seem like a freeloader :) RCI don't give you a crappy square of waxy chocolate on your pillow any more, but they at least let me drink 21 Diet Cokes. They don't give us a free small bottle of water in our mini-fridge like P&O do, but at least they don't begrudge me a salad with my otherwise vegetable-free pork Milanese when I've paid a cover charge. And to be honest - I know I am moaning a bit much at this point - but a free bottle of water on Day 1 only sort of highlighted the fact that I wasn't to be given any more without paying. Lastly, this isn't a complaint as it's hardly P&O's fault, but just a warning for other would-be Xmas cruise travellers out of Southampton. I've never been on a ship that rocked this violently - the weather was poor, and the Bay of Biscay crossing can be bad in winter, but pretty much everyone I spoke to agreed this was EXTREMELY rocky, one of the ship's officers my brother spoke to in the sauna told him over 300 people had paid for a seasickness injection (£80) and I met plenty of people who spent all 4 sea days in their cabins. I could tell it was bad because of the unusual number of room service trays in corridors on those days, though I didn't experience any seasickness myself. So if you are prone to this, don't go on that route at this time of year, a piano fell over at one point and we often heard crashes from the art gallery! To end on a positive note though, I was pleased when I called to ask if I could bring a bottle of champagne on board for us to have on Xmas Day as it was a gift. P&O have no issue with you bringing a reasonable quantity of alcohol for consumption in your room, which is a nice change as once we won a bottle of wine on an RCI cruise, and they wouldn't even give us a corkscrew to open it and drink in our cabins, even though they gave us the wine! Read Less
Sail Date: December 2013
Cruise no E330 - OCEANA - 19th - 29th Dec 2013 Been on this ship a number of times, always had a good cruise. We were looking forward to a wonderful Xmas experience on board this trip what a big disappointment and may I add waste of ... Read More
Cruise no E330 - OCEANA - 19th - 29th Dec 2013 Been on this ship a number of times, always had a good cruise. We were looking forward to a wonderful Xmas experience on board this trip what a big disappointment and may I add waste of money. We are not party animals, but there was no Christmas atmosphere on this cruise, which is why we paid the extra for this cruise. 2012, we went on a Warner's Xmas break, better than excellent, P&O could learn from Warner's Xmas festivities. Everything about this cruise was not up to what is promised and expected of P&O.  Even the presentation and quality of the food was not up to the usual standard. The entertainment was also not of the calibre expected and Headliners were rubbish, compared with other cruises. This was also voiced by other passengers. Our plan was to book in advance while on board a 2014 Xmas Cruise, but as we found this cruise to be so poor, we declined and are considering another option. Unfortunately we have already committed ourselves and our payment is now due for a cruise on the Azura departing 19th April, and are not looking forward to this. We can only hope Azura's standards are a great deal higher. If not it may well be our last cruise with P&O. Having cruised a number of times we have only cruised with P&O and have always been satisfied. Our friends are asking if we had a good holiday, they are not sold on a cruise with P&O. The only efficient part of our holiday was the service by Eavesway coaches, and now I am told to use another company for my next cruise. The cutbacks were extremely noticed by all who have sailed with P&O. Considering Oceana has had some refurbishment, having cruised on this ship a number of times it was not noticeable.   Read Less
Sail Date: October 2012
Our first cruise with Fred Olsen and it won't be our last! We liked the Braemar immediately, the decor is lovely. Staff were mostly Philippino and excellent. Our cabin was definitely small, but was not a problem. Our first cabin ... Read More
Our first cruise with Fred Olsen and it won't be our last! We liked the Braemar immediately, the decor is lovely. Staff were mostly Philippino and excellent. Our cabin was definitely small, but was not a problem. Our first cabin was 3069 and after 2 nights we asked to move as the noise from the floor above was not good. It turned out to be an air conditioning unit on the deck above. We were moved to the port side and all was well. The food was really excellent all the time and one thing that I noticed particularly having sailed with P&O 4 times was the buffet. On Fred O you don't get a tray, get your food and then try to find a table. You wait to be called, not more than a minute or so, then go and get your food. Also, all tables have white tablecloths and napkins. Really nice. Entertainment was pretty good, although my one reserve about Braemar would be that the theatre is very small and not well raked, so if you are in the middle, you have to crane your neck to see. However she is a small ship, and we had a similar situation on Artemis. this cruise was Choirs at Sea and we joined that, although I have not sung since I was 14! It was such fun and we gave two performances on the third last evening at sea. I have put our ports under Madeira as they don't exist on the list. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2011
Embarkation -- The embarkation process in lONDON was fairly quick but clearly not well structured. Three ladies were standing in front of a very small desk trying to check the passports and get people to fill in a health declaration form. ... Read More
Embarkation -- The embarkation process in lONDON was fairly quick but clearly not well structured. Three ladies were standing in front of a very small desk trying to check the passports and get people to fill in a health declaration form. After the formalities were completed, we then proceeded to the gate and had our souvenir picture taken. Upon arrival in the main deck, we were handed over our Costa Card, cabin key and our identification picture was taken. We then proceeded on our own to our cabin which was fairly easy to find. Our luggage was delivered to our front door within 30 minutes. Cabin -- we had an outside stateroom with a porthole. It was great to be able to see outside especially when we were nearing land. Our room was tidied every night and day and towels were changed. Our cabin steward was always very nice and discreet. Every night, our cabin steward would make a different bed decoration with the bed cover. Very nice! We read that some people had noise issues or blocked toilets. We never had any flushing issue with the toilets and apart from particularly noisy neighbours, it was just fine. The daily programme "TODAY" was delivered to our cabin every night along with a map of the next port. As far as air conditioning was concerned, we were not even using the air conditioning in our cabin as the air extractor was largely sufficient. Food -- Breakfast was served either in the Giardino buffet (buffet style) or in the Botticelli Restaurant (formal table seating). There was a wide variety of food ranging from eggs, bacon, cereals, pastries to fruits. Late breakfast was available in the buffet for late bed risers till around 11.00. Lunch as well was served either in the Giardino buffet or in the Botticelli Restaurant. We mostly went to the Giardino Buffet where we had a variety of food to choose from. There was a new theme everyday for lunch in the buffet area (Mediterranean, Chinese, Creole, Indian, etc). On some sea days, we had special lunch "Chef Surprise" by the poolside or in the corridor leading to the Piazza Italia when it rained. On the Terrazza, there was also an outside grill with French fries, on the spot hamburger and hotdogs for lunch. The Terrazza was my favourite place on the ship in the afternoon when it was not too crowded. Loved the views and the sea breeze there. The buffet area was always like a beehive, always opening up and closing up for something else -- breakfast, late breakfast, lunch, teatime, kids buffet, teens buffet and sometimes alternative dinner. One can imagine how big an organisation this must be to run the buffet everyday all day. The buffet supervisors and the snacks stewards worked really hard to keep the place always up and running and always attended to guests' requests (even the most eccentric ones) with a smile. Excursions : it's better to cotact the local tour companies , we booked 2 excursions in Morocco. Casablanca : booked with Ecolodge Adventures ,we explored the city , our guide spoke a fluent english , it was the first time eating the real and pure olive oil . well i rate them 5/5 . Agadir : booked with Sud Aventures Tours , we went to Taroudant city (the samll Marrakech ) , apital of Agadir is the capital of arga oil in Morocco , we stopped twice 1- taking pictures to goats on the argan trees 2- taking pictures to camels on the road . Taroudant city worth really a visit while you stop in Agadir city port . other wise we ate the best Moroccan food ever ( tagine + couscous ) in Tiout oasis (palm trees oasis) it was our first donkeys ride ever . we enjoyed a lot , that's why i'm gonna rate them 5/5 , thanks for our tour guide hicham and the driver (forgot his name), the price of the excursion was 550 Moroccan Dhs (70$) , new transport +climatisation + experienced driver + fluent english speaker . Read Less

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