Going through the Panama Canal made this cruise magical: Oceana Cruise Review by irenechambers2012
Overall Member Rating
Going through the Panama Canal made this cruise magical
Destination: Panama Canal & Central America
On board around 6pm but cases not arrived so checked out where we could get dinner which was in the Lingurian Restaurant (normally used for flexi dining) and had a very good meal before returning to our cabin to find the cases had now arrived.
Cabin was a reasonable size we were in an outside on Deck 8, starboard side near the front. The bathroom was extremely small but adequate and there was a good selection of toiletries from the "White Company" which I assumed was the Luxurious Pamper Package.
Had a wander round the ship to find our bearings and ended up on the top deck having a drink in one of the many bars and pleasantly surprised with the price of the drinks which were comparable to English bar prices and no service charge. More
I have covered our port destinations of St Lucia, Grenada, Bonaire, Aruba, Punta Arenas & Acapulco separately. We also visited Zihuatanejo in Mexico before going on to Acapulco. This was by tender and we just got a local water taxi (around US$5 each way) to the Playa Las Gatos which was excellent plenty of space and we used the sunloungers and umbrella of a local restaurant on the understanding we had lunch at the restaurant, very fair deal as the food was excellent and drinks cold and a good price. You can snorkel here as there is a small reef a little distance from the beach and this makes the water quite calm.
There were a number of talks whilst on board about the Panama Canal and navigation which my husband attended and he enjoyed them and found them very informative.
The highlight of the holiday was going through the Panama Canal and we were very fortunate in having just a couple of showers of rain on the day but well worth it.
The entertainment on the ship was very good in some respects, Steve Larkins (Freddy Mercury tribute), Dain Cordean (magician and comedian), Fogwell Flax (impressionist and comedian) and the shows put on by the Headliners which we went to were also very good. Some of the other acts not so good but you don't have to listen as there are other places to go. Disappointing though that there wasn't more on lots of things repeated. The entertainment team were a bit of a mixed bag and some things went really well and others not so. Mainly attended the quizzes just to while away sea days.
If you could manage to get a teak sunlounger or chair on Deck 7 to us this was an excellent place to watch the world go by and read your book and watch the odd turtle pass by. We did not really attempt to go on the sun deck as we had heard so many passengers complaining about being able to get a chair and it was very hot up there anyway. Note that port side of Deck 7 allows smoking.
We opted for first seating dining and shared a table with a lovely couple from Wales and had an enjoyable two weeks with them. The food although not as good as expected was still very good and there was no issues with having extra portions or a different meal if you didn't like the one you had chosen. We also opted for a wine package at the beginning of the cruise which averaged out the cost of the various wines to about £12 a bottle the usual price of the house wine.
Overall we found the cruise to be very good and better than expected having read reviews of Oceana before we left. The ship is a little tired but maintenance was ongoing whilst we were onboard which didn't affect us at all. We were advised though that the Oceana is going in for a £5million refit some time in the next year so hopefully it will be back to it's former glory.
As our last cruise was on Royal Caribbean on a Baltic Cruise, we found this a much cheaper cruise whilst on board and would certainly go on another P&O cruise in the future. Less
Cabin review: D335
This was an outside cabin and we had asked for the beds to be put together. Although small it was more than adequate for the two of us. The bathroom was probably the smallest we have seen but it was functional and there was plenty of toiletries. Good location and large picture window
Port and Shore Excursions
We had booked a tour with "tour by van" which we had arranged before we left on the cruise. The tour was excellent although the van could have been in better condition. Our guide Hector took us to the local market, very interesting and saw local life. Then visited Chapel of Peace & Love, excellent and fantastic views, then on to the Los Flamingos Hotel, pity we did not have more time here but lovely hotel with fantastic views.
The "cliff divers" were next and the tour included ordinary entry to the public viewing areas, we found an excellent viewpoint just on the right hand side as you walk down the steps just down from the divers changing room, there was even a bit of shade. The show lasts about 20/30 minutes but you have to be there approx 20 minutes beforehand so a lot of standing around if this is a problem. It was suggested we tip the divers about US$1 per person.
On our tour we also stopped at a number of "vista" points to see the view which were all excellent.
Was taken to a local restaurant on a beach for lunch - your choice of food and drink which you paid for individually. No rush over lunch just when we had finished. We then took in the local cathedral before returning to the ship.
Disappointed with the trip but you take your chances and I am not sure if other trips north fared any better.
The harbour water though has a lot of fish which you can see by just walking down the promenade so if you are not particularly interested in going snorkelling this might be a better option.
Then we drove to the aerial skywalks and to be fair I was disappointed as expected to see much more wildlife, generally only saw very small birds and lots of leaf cutter ants. It is quite a walk along forest track and lots of steps downhill which is mentioned in the excursion information.
Stopped then at a cultural village for a drink and some fruit which was welcoming and had a look round the local shops.
On the way back we tried to spot some of the scarlet macaws in an area where they are known but only managed to find one. Then on a road bridge on the way back we crossed by foot and saw loads of crocodiles in the estuary area, fabulous.
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