We boarded MV Oceana in Acapulco on 17 Jan 2011, the transfer from the airport to the vessel was quite seamless, and the transfer of luggage was very efficient. We arrived after a 15.5 hour flight from Manchester which was not a pleasant experience despite our being in Premier Class seating etc. The flight put down in Sanford, Florida for re-fuelling, but we were not allowed off the plane at all so had to spend over 1.5 hours either sat down or simply milling about in the forward cabin.
We went on the "Cliff Divers from the sea" trip organised by P & O at the extortionate price of £40.00 per person. The outing was pleasant, but spoiled to some extent by the pushing & shoving of various of our fellow cruisers who seem to let manners disappear once they are on board ship. That was our only P & O organised trip as we then decided to do our own thing as much as possible, at every other port of call.
The ship is smaller than we have previously experienced and we thought this would be an advantage, but it really was not. The food on board Oceana was adequate rather than exceptional, and all the praise heaped on (usually by the P&O staff making announcements) the so called Executive Chef is just not realistic as he obviously contributed nothing of value. Our previous cruise with P&O had been on Arcadia and the food was fabulous, being inventive, plentiful and exceptional in quality and choice. The serving staff in the main restaurant were attentive, and apparently quite caring, but given the products they were serving they were pushing peas uphill with their noses. The Plaza self-service restaurant was reminiscent of a motorway service station, but that was mainly down to our fellow cruisers who could be quite challenging when confronted by trays, cutlery, queues and trays of food.
One redeeming feature was the cost of drinks which were quite reasonable compared to Celebrity X and other P&O vessels.
The entertainment by the Headliners was superb, and full of energy, music and great dancing. The other entertainment by so called professional entertainers was second rate. We had a "comedian" called Fogwell Flax who was dire - he spent more time laughing at his own jokes than the audience, and he had a very dated act which really needs scrapping. There was a Magician/Comedian called Andre who was slightly more amusing than Flax, but did have some good tricks. The other acts were a girl singer, a concert pianist and various other acts. None of which were bad, but not exceptional.
There was apparently a large number of Germans on board as sun beds on deck were secured with towels, bags, books for hours on end without anyone actually appearing. P&O state that this is frowned upon, and that they will remove items - BUT THEY DON'T! Therefore it could sometime prove quite difficult to find yourself and your partner adjoining sun beds.
The cabins were jokingly referred to as "cells" due to the lack of space. We had made the mistake of having our beds put together as a double, and as a consequence I had exactly 5" of space between the bed and the wall of our cell. The cabins on Oceana are certainly smaller than other boats on which we have cruised, but they were kept very clean & tidy by our room attendant - Lia.
The purpose of the cruise was a full transit of the Panama Canal, and that lived up to all expectations. I thoroughly enjoyed every moment of that day.
Small, cramped, tiny shower etc, but scrupulously clean
Acapulco is a shadow of what it probably used to be. The bay is quite superb, but again seems past it's best. The cliff divers are really worth seeing, and seeing them do their stuff from the water was good. From Acapulco we sailed to Huatulco which appeared to have been created just for Cruise Ships.
San Juan del Sur in Nicaragua was set in a beautiful bay which is, as yet, fairly unspoiled. The boat moored offshore and we were taken in by tender. A nice place with very pleasant people, but with very little to see.
A beautiful place with lots of vibrant colour, friendly locals and lots of shopping (for my wife).
Again a very pleasant place with the most beautiful beach I have encountered in a long time. Lots of shops, bars etc and all at reasonable value.
A big disappointment to me after a previous visit.
A friendly place, but not one of my favourites.