We were going to Dubai anyway so tagged on the cruise. We have done this with other cruise lines and have actually done the same cruise 4 times before. We usually book a balcony cabin as we like to sit on the balcony in the evening with a drink but we know from visiting this part of the world many times that it can be chilly in the evenings. So we booked a large outside cabin and were not disappointed. It was very large with a window not a port hole. Lots of storage space, drawers, shelves etc but the safe was tiny, likewise the bathroom. But it was clean and everything worked so we were well happy. The hairdryer was pretty efficient but in entirely the wrong position if you are right handed,
We were freedom dining. The food was fine but the service rather slow. We also ate in Cafe Jardin which was surprisingly good and portions huge. We also ate in the Beach House which was up to the same standard as the Beach Houss on other P&O ships. The Plaza buffet has the most awful layout, similar to the Ventura and Azura buffets. A very stressful experience going to the Plaza. Food was OK but not the variety that you get on Britannia.
The ship has lots of small bars but we went to Winners on deck 8 and struck up a friendly association with the staff there.
We sat at the front of the ship which was OK even on the one sea day we had. If you wanted to sit around the pool then you had to be content to be a sardine as there was no space between the beds. Sunbeds were large and sturdy but were roped down every night and not released until nearly 9am the next morning. We managed to release a couple for ourselves before this but otherwise I thought the general release time was ridiculously late. The crew swilled down the sun deck most nights which meant that the deck surface was very slippery.
The ship felt cramped, the atrium very small and a lot of the floors were uneven which can catch you out especially in the Plaza buffet. Likewise the gangways to get on and off the ship were basic and not very sturdy which was a bit disconcerting.
Could not fault the staff and even the reception desk was efficient!!
We met some nice people, the weather (apart from one day in Abu Dhabi) was near perfect. We were not on a fly cruise but were travelling independently so we were not subjected to the overnight flight to and from Dubai. I would not advocate doing the fly cruise. Make your own arrangements and use Emirates.
All in all a good trip. Don't think I will be going back on Oceana again as I prefer the bigger ships where I don't feel hemmed in so much.