Our second cruise on Oceana, and we were not disappointed. However, there were some inconsistencies by comparison with 2018. Firstly, a positive - the Headliners last year were beyond terrible, this year? It was difficult to believe that these performers carried the same name, well-rehearsed, well danced and well sung routines in great costumes. The show “Astonishing” was exceptional, perhaps not so astonishing illusions performed with song and dance in an exceptional mix. The Stephen Mulhern video card trick had most people gaping in amazement. Top marks!!
In 2018 we attended a singing workshop with entertainment host Andy Jones. Andy whipped up his audience with an excellent warm up followed by some good singing, the sound of this small group ending the session singing “Can you hear the people sing” from Les Miserables was memorable. This year the workshop was hosted by “Taff” (the onboard musical director). Taff clearly wanted to be somewhere else directing professional singers. We walked out as it was too dreary for words.
There were a couple of problems. Having returned from a shore excursion in Olbia there was a huge queue for the scanners only half of which were in operation, this was made even worse by the port officials instructing the passengers from the Marella Explorer II to walk past the queue to the front! No explanation was given and a lot of people including me were very angry. When the Captain made the sailing announcement later that afternoon, he apologised for this and explained that as soon as the ship was made aware the port was requested to open more lanes. Excellent public relations!
We had cause to complain regarding the service in Café Jardin and we were not the only ones who were unhappy. However, when my wife complained on the following morning she received a fulsome apology and we were offered the opportunity to dine at Café Jardin that evening without the usual surcharge and would be served by a waitress who has served us so well on three previous occasions. Once again excellent public relations!
We noted that the ridiculous flag waving sing song party “Land of Hope and Glory” “Jerusalem” etc was at the end of the final sea day and not within earshot of a country which had been our host which we felt more appropriate than as we sailed out of Rhodes last year. However, we stayed on our balcony!
We had booked the ferry from Naples to Sorrento in advance. We found it difficult to believe that Sorrento has not changed at all since we last visited 28 years ago! We travelled by Circumvesuviana train to Torre Annunziata to visit the Villa Poppea (Oplontis) which was virtually deserted. These remains are totally astonishing given that they are nearer to Vesuvius than Pompei.
We also travelled independently in Rome where we visited Ostia Antica. We went by taxi which was expensive but returned by train. Ostia Antica is huge, and we will be returning to take in more of this exceptional site.
In Corsica we took the Mountains and Maquis coach tour which given the narrow and precarious roads is not for the faint hearted! What we saw of Corsica was nothing less than fabulous.
In Sardinia we took the Ancient and Modern tour. The Ancient Nuraghe were very interesting, and the architecture of the 1960’s Porto Cervo was striking in its’s use of Historic Sardinian style. However, unless you are interested in very expensive shops Dior, Prada, Louis Vuitton, Bulgari etc etc. many of which had already closed for the season and looking at the outside of five-star hotels also closed for the season, this is one to avoid.
All in all an excellent cruise and doubtless we will return to Oceana in the future.