I'm going to try to offer a fair and realistic account of our cruise, always mindful of the fact that cost cutting has resulted in a cruise costing around £60 PPPN. We have cruised 7 times previously, of which one was aboard P&O Arcadia, and this ship, the Oceana exactly two years ago. We were lucky with our parking, as we'd paid in advance for parking and shuttle transfer in Southampton, blissfully unaware that the company had folded, and that the service and booking was to be honored by a new company, so crisis averted there! Embarkation was speedy, polished and professional, as was the baggage arrival to our cabin...deck 10, B512. Our steward was friendly enough to my wife, but totally ignored me throughout the cruise to the point where I felt invisible. Staff targeted the ladies throughout, believing them to be solely responsible for the booking and gratuities. I believe in equality, and this annoyed me no end. The cabin and the ship as a whole was clean, tidy, and as it was the last time we sailed, although the refit next year will be a wise and timely move. Sadly though, standards have dropped dramatically since our last cruise. Gone are the chocolate feasts, end of cruise crew and staff farewell show, and although the Headliners troupe are still a joy to see, three of the shows were the same as the ones we saw two years ago...very disappointed. The rest of the entertainment revolved around one-person acts (pianist, flutist, male vocalist, female vocalist), and two dramatically unfunny comedians, and the usual half-hour quizzes, lectures, endless dance classes, Spanish language basics etc etc. We struggled to entertain ourselves throughout, and the sea days seemed to last an eternity. The food...oh boy, the food. Very good a couple of years ago, but now the portions are tiny, never more than lukewarm or cold, very little variety, and no longer the highlight of the day. We spent 3 nights in Le Jardin, a Marco Pierre White inspired premium dining option, very reasonably priced at £7.50 per person, and truly superb food. Cost cutting continued, with obviously powdered orange juice, canned veg at times, custard made with water, and the buffet breakfast featured poached eggs that would bounce higher than a superball. We met some really nice people onboard, and became good friends with more than a few, but pigheaded, arrogant and bullish people abounded, barging in front of us, pushing in front of queues, and the usual assortment of lower-middle classes with delusions of grandeur! Thankfully no real high pressure up-selling (except photographers determined to make you pose for photos their way. The constantly ramped-up dry heat around lunchtime and evenings in an attempt to get the bar tills ringing was at times unbearable, and the aircon in our cabin was broken, so no real escape apart from a walk on deck. Drinks:- A pint of drought lager starts from £3.90, a bottle of Coke £2.65, and a bottle of Chardonnay (they've discontinued the good value caraffes now) in the main dining room will start from £17.99 + service charge. Ships shops varied from acceptible to excessive (£62 for a polo shirt, £9.75 for a Toblerone) In the disco (Le Club) all drinks carry a 30% surcharge. Why? We visited Cadiz, Lisbon, Casablanca, Tangier and Gibraltar, with a very short stay in dock in Lisbon, and only 4 hours in Gibraltar (more cost-cutting) The old saying of 'you get what you pay for' has never been so apt, and sadly this will be our last P&O cruise, until they step up to the plate and stop relying on goodwill and the company brand reputation of old. Nothing bad or terrible, but I like to remember our holidays as something more than below average

Falling standards

Oceana Cruise Review by grahamkidd

10 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: November 2016
  • Destination: Europe
  • Cabin Type: Inside Twin with Shower
I'm going to try to offer a fair and realistic account of our cruise, always mindful of the fact that cost cutting has resulted in a cruise costing around £60 PPPN.

We have cruised 7 times previously, of which one was aboard P&O Arcadia, and this ship, the Oceana exactly two years ago.

We were lucky with our parking, as we'd paid in advance for parking and shuttle transfer in Southampton, blissfully unaware that the company had folded, and that the service and booking was to be honored by a new company, so crisis averted there!

Embarkation was speedy, polished and professional, as was the baggage arrival to our cabin...deck 10, B512.

Our steward was friendly enough to my wife, but totally ignored me throughout the cruise to the point where I felt invisible. Staff targeted the ladies throughout, believing them to be solely responsible for the booking and gratuities. I believe in equality, and this annoyed me no end.

The cabin and the ship as a whole was clean, tidy, and as it was the last time we sailed, although the refit next year will be a wise and timely move.

Sadly though, standards have dropped dramatically since our last cruise. Gone are the chocolate feasts, end of cruise crew and staff farewell show, and although the Headliners troupe are still a joy to see, three of the shows were the same as the ones we saw two years ago...very disappointed. The rest of the entertainment revolved around one-person acts (pianist, flutist, male vocalist, female vocalist), and two dramatically unfunny comedians, and the usual half-hour quizzes, lectures, endless dance classes, Spanish language basics etc etc. We struggled to entertain ourselves throughout, and the sea days seemed to last an eternity.

The food...oh boy, the food. Very good a couple of years ago, but now the portions are tiny, never more than lukewarm or cold, very little variety, and no longer the highlight of the day. We spent 3 nights in Le Jardin, a Marco Pierre White inspired premium dining option, very reasonably priced at £7.50 per person, and truly superb food.

Cost cutting continued, with obviously powdered orange juice, canned veg at times, custard made with water, and the buffet breakfast featured poached eggs that would bounce higher than a superball.

We met some really nice people onboard, and became good friends with more than a few, but pigheaded, arrogant and bullish people abounded, barging in front of us, pushing in front of queues, and the usual assortment of lower-middle classes with delusions of grandeur!

Thankfully no real high pressure up-selling (except photographers determined to make you pose for photos their way.

The constantly ramped-up dry heat around lunchtime and evenings in an attempt to get the bar tills ringing was at times unbearable, and the aircon in our cabin was broken, so no real escape apart from a walk on deck.

Drinks:- A pint of drought lager starts from £3.90, a bottle of Coke £2.65, and

a bottle of Chardonnay (they've discontinued the good value caraffes now) in the main dining room will start from £17.99 + service charge.

Ships shops varied from acceptible to excessive (£62 for a polo shirt, £9.75 for a Toblerone)

In the disco (Le Club) all drinks carry a 30% surcharge. Why?

We visited Cadiz, Lisbon, Casablanca, Tangier and Gibraltar, with a very short stay in dock in Lisbon, and only 4 hours in Gibraltar (more cost-cutting)

The old saying of 'you get what you pay for' has never been so apt, and sadly this will be our last P&O cruise, until they step up to the plate and stop relying on goodwill and the company brand reputation of old.

Nothing bad or terrible, but I like to remember our holidays as something more than below average
grahamkidd’s Full Rating Summary
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Cabin Review

Inside Twin with Shower
Cabin OD B516
Tidy, clean, tired drawers and wardrobe, flickering bedside lights, broken air-con (said they'd sent an engineer, but it still didn't work)
Small poorly-placed flatscreen TV showing some movies (Paddington) on endless loop for 11 days
VERY hard beds, soft pillows, good shower and wash area.
  Oceana Deck Plans

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews