We have sailed twice previously on Oceana, once when she was quite new and once when she was looking ready for a re-fit. This time the re-fit had been completed and she was looking fresh with new carpets and furniture; but let down a bit by not refitting the cabins or doing some general maintenance on things like balcony doors that needed a lot of power to open and were very hard for a woman to operate.
But I have digressed a bit and will start with the transfer to Southampton. This cruise was a re-location cruise to Malta and we were transferred quite efficiently by coach from Manchester Airport to Southampton. Booking in and embarking the ship was one of the quickest we have experienced from Southampton, and as an added bonus the cases were waiting when we got to our cabin. The main thing we noticed was the pungent smell in the cabin, which we soon pinpointed to the shower curtain; why they dont just change them as a matter of course each cruise is beyond me.
We were on fist dining in the MDR as it suits us due to medication issues, the food was always of good standard and served by a great team. The buffet was of similar quality and the midnight snacks and hot chocolate were also very good. The midnight buffet was a great place for a chat with the staff and wind down before bed.
Cabin was a good size though lacking in space on the balcony. If you smell a pungent smell in the room then check the shower curtain and get it changed.
Easy to walk from the ship so don't bother with the shuttle unless you have mobility issues. If you want to go up the rock to see the apes be prepared for long queues in the hot sun at the cable car; it's better to pick up a minibus in town as they are much cheaper that the ship tours.
You need the shuttle as it is a long way from the port to town, about 30 minutes. The only decent place is round the harbour.
Though most of the shops were shut for Easter, the bars and restaurants were open and there was a boat show on the harbour. We have been again since and it has some great little shops and also a good place for lunch. Make sure to walk round the harbour as there are some great boats to drool at.
Mainly a stopping off place for Rome but it is quite a way on the coach. The town is quite nice with a nice sea front, some small shops and a market most days. The shuttle from the ship takes you to a carpark quite a walk from town; but if you walk instead it is not too far to the town and sea front.
It's a big city as you may imagine, the ship offers a shuttle at quite a price for the distance; but if you hed left out of the terminal the port shuttle busses take you to the same place at a fraction of the cost.