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27 P&O Cruises Oceana Europe - British Isles & Western Cruise Reviews

Last minute decision as it was so cheap and I have not visited these places. Have not been on Oceana since she had her refit and it looks good. My (adult) daughter and I shared an inside cabin at the back on A Deck –very spacious, ... Read More
Last minute decision as it was so cheap and I have not visited these places. Have not been on Oceana since she had her refit and it looks good. My (adult) daughter and I shared an inside cabin at the back on A Deck –very spacious, plenty of storage space and well appointed – we could walk a few metres onto a small open deck at the back and steps leading up to the Spa and Gym right overhead. We attended two Pilates Starter Classes and used the Gym which is well equipped. The Instructors were nice people, professional, and did not make you feel like an idiot (as so often happens to me when I am unable to follow the routine). My daughter had a massage which she enjoyed, but not so much the sales pitch afterwards trying to sell her the products used. No Tipping required anymore. The staff were wonderful. They were polite, friendly, and smiled all the time. We used the Restaurant most nights to eat and the Buffet for supper twice. We had the most marvellous dinner companions, some of the nicest people we had ever met. Three of the four were vegan and sometimes found it difficult to know what to eat – it seemed their choices were limited. By the end chefs prepared meals specially and waiters checked regularly to make sure their food was acceptable. Our food was absolutely fine as well. We liked the new lunch format as well – more of a Deli/Café menu but you could also have the full 3 courses if wanted. The Buffet had problems. Not large enough for the numbers wanting to use, long queues regularly, and the late night snacks were much worse than they used to be – very limited choice, cheese in particular was gone within minutes and no more was brought out. Near the end of the week the selection improved, not sure if the result of complaints made or extra food found. The Indian night seemed the most popular and was repeated at the end but re-labelled Tandoori night. There were also Chinese and English food nights. The drinks selection was extensive and at London pub prices. I was disappointed at the number of ladies who did not wash their hands in the toilets and the number of people who declined to use the anti-bac gel in the Buffet. Thank goodness there was no Norovirus. Instead of Cruise Directors there are now Entertainment Managers. I never used to rate Headliners but this time they were excellent with good shows. Two shows had a starter video with a TV celebrity introducing the act (sorry, can’t remember names as never heard of either) and explaining they had helped arrange the show. Visiting acts included Fogwell Flax – we’ve seen him before and he really needs more up to date material, an Annie Lennox Tribute singer who was excellent the first night, but rubbish on the second as she just did cover songs then, and the Runaround Kids who we’ve also seen before. They are very good and sing 1950’s hits, we just didn’t get around to them this time. There were various other groups/singers/pianists around the ship who we listened to as we came across them. Did not use shops, casino or swimming pools – the pools are outdoors and it was cold, but saw a few hardy souls in them. We did not book any tours. Overnighter in Amsterdam: free coaches ran between the ship and the centre all day and night. We spent most of our time in the Museums, of which there are plenty. Hamburg had free shuttles as well. Zeebrugge – the shuttle coaches run to Blankenburg which is a seaside town a few minutes away from the Port. Those in the know then caught the train into Bruges which takes 15 minutes for €6 each way – the ship’s coach cost £35 return. We stayed in the town which is very nice and even though winter, all the shops were open. Leaving Zeebrugge, we had been tied alongside the Ventura, which was leaving after us. For the sail away party as we passed them the two captains used their horns trying to outdo each other and it became a bit like the scene in Close Encounters where a person using a keyboard communicates with the UFO; great fun. One of the best cruises we have been on in a long time. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
The weather out of Southampton was heavy so our first night was early to bed as none of us are good in bad weather We arrived in Zee Bruges had a good breakfast before boarding the shuttle bus to Blankenberge the journey took 10 minutes ... Read More
The weather out of Southampton was heavy so our first night was early to bed as none of us are good in bad weather We arrived in Zee Bruges had a good breakfast before boarding the shuttle bus to Blankenberge the journey took 10 minutes and dropped us at the Rail & Bus terminals convenient for both We had just missed the train 5 euros return on Sundays they leave at 42 minutes to the hour and return journey from Bruges is 5 minutes pass passed the hour so we walked to the sea front of Blankenberge and back Around 60% of the shops were open and the front reminded me of any commercial holiday beach lots of apartments and bars / restaurants but this time of the year very quiet The train journeys were uneventful with the exception that the return train was over full and we were glad that we were early to get a seat Bruges was how we had imagined lots of nice buildings, water ways and gardens plenty to explore and experience The Christmas markets one smaller than the other the main in the central square had the ice rink, were disappointing they resembled the German markets in the UK lines of huts mainly food and drink a small amusement ride area the few huts selling goods did not appeal to us. We enjoyed walking around Bruges and found lots of shops with interesting and different products, we stopped for coffee and cake tried the chocolate and had a pleasant day The canal boat trips were not running and we did not have time to see half of what we would like to see so we will be returning in the summer overall a good experience Back on the ship for return journey entertainment for the evening group Police Attack a good cover band and we enjoyed the performance with a sing along and a drink Evening meal not to the standard expected had to return 2 meals ? We all enjoyed this cruise wish it had been a little longer the time passed so quickly P&O were advertising my Christmas 2 night cruise for £249.00 for an outside cabin with a restricted view. I tried to book for 6 adults over phone and was told that the £249.00 price for outside & inside cabins were for wheelchair user only and so were the cabins at £299.00 and the cheapest available was £349.00. I did not take this very well and asked to speak to a manager who gave the same response I made several complaints to all and sundry. The point I was trying to make to P&O is that they are advertising widely in the press and on their web site cabins at £249.00 but they were not available to the general public how they can justify this is beyond my logic. Read Less
Sail Date December 2015
I have just returned from a 4 night cruise to Amsterdam and zeebugge it was my first time on p&o having sailed on royal Caribbean and Holland America before all the cruise lines have good and bad points.the process of dropping the car ... Read More
I have just returned from a 4 night cruise to Amsterdam and zeebugge it was my first time on p&o having sailed on royal Caribbean and Holland America before all the cruise lines have good and bad points.the process of dropping the car off with cps was well organised and smooth as was checking in we arrived about 1145 and were on board by 12 15 .up to the buffet for lunch where the food was Luke warm at best we went outside to try the barbaque which wasn't even Luke warm the cabin were ready about 230 and the suitcase were waiting outside the cabin itself was clean and comfortable with a fridge safe and a really powerful shower.the entertainment was very very good especially the man with the puppets the price of the drinks onboard were about the same price as your local.we had freedom dining which worked well for us only had to wait once for a table for 2 and that was only about 10 minutes the quality of the food was pretty good if the portions for each course small its a good job you got 5 courses.i think p&o should invest in some new knives half the time you struggled even to cut the bread roll.where p&o really let themself down was the price of the tours for example £38 each just to drop you off in Brugge when the price of the train to brugge was only 6 euros return or over £40 for a trip to Anne franks house when you walk to it and pay 9 euros the disembarkment ran smoothly and we were back on the road by 830 overall I joined the mini cruise and would sail with p&o again but not take the tours Read Less
Sail Date March 2015
Have previously been on the Queen Mary 2, Queen Victoria, Queen Elizabeth (twice) and Aurora. One of my Queen Elizabeth cruises was in June 2014 with my husband. We went for 3 nights to Zeebrugge and had a fantastic time. Service and food ... Read More
Have previously been on the Queen Mary 2, Queen Victoria, Queen Elizabeth (twice) and Aurora. One of my Queen Elizabeth cruises was in June 2014 with my husband. We went for 3 nights to Zeebrugge and had a fantastic time. Service and food no different to the longer cruises and a good mix of people. Having enjoyed this short cruise I also went on Aurora in November 2014 with 2 friends for 2 nights to Zeebrugge. Although we thought the ship was dated and tired (it had a refit shortly afterwards), the service was very good as was the food. I was worried about what our fellow passengers would be like having spoken to a fellow passenger on the QE who had been on a P&O 2 night cruise and said it was like a booze cruise with lots of drunk and badly behaved people. We did not encounter this on our cruise. I have just returned from another 2 night cruise, this time on Oceana, again to Zeebrugge. This time there were 6 of us in 3 ocean view cabins (all mid-late 40's women). 3 of the group had never cruised before. Embarkation not as good as previous occasions as from the QEII terminal rather than the plusher Ocean Terminal. Long queue and pretty grotty location. Brittania was in Ocean Terminal as wouldn't want the Queen seeing this other terminal building! Oceana was again pretty dated and tired in the public areas and cabins. The sun loungers were pretty grotty (not that we were able to use them in March!) and the ship wasn't very clean. My pillowcase had pen marks on it and the duvet felt very thin and cheap. Unlike Aurora and all the Cunard ships, there was no crows-nest bar which was a shame as we usually enjoy evening cocktails in these types of bars with their chillled-out music and ambience. The selection in the buffet restaurant was nowhere near as good as Aurora. The desserts with our evening meal were not very nice at all and the breakfast service on the day of disembarkation was very rushed. Generally the service was ok. but nothing special. Our steward was friendly but not very attentive. The entertainment was disappointing compared to Aurora, given that they were both very reasonably priced 2 night cruises to Zeebrugge. The Queen tribute band in the theatre were pretty bad so we decided to try the Take That tribute band in one of the bars. They were excellent. The second night there was just a film showing in the theatre and the Take That band again in the bar. We did have good fun listening to them as they were very professional. Guess that if P&O are offering cruises at such a cheap price then costs have to be cut somewhere. The average age on this cruise was much lower than previous cruises that I've been on. There were lots and lots of young hen groups. They kept us awake on the first night when talking and laughing very loudly up to 3am in the morning whilst going past our cabin. The second night I wore ear plugs and slept very well. In conclusion, the 6 of us had a good fun cruise. It was very cheap at about £250 each. If P&O have decided to target young hen groups and those wanting a party type cruise then they appear to have been very successful. However, if they are hoping to appeal to first-time cruisers as a taster then these people may be put off going on a cruise, thinking that this cruise is representative of other cruises. One of our group now says that she'll not go on a cruise again and definitely not with her family, even though the 2 others of us who've done other cruises have tried to persuade her otherwise! I am intending to try another short cruise later in the year with my husband and friends. Next time we're going to Guernsey on Ventura so hope that this will have more of a mix of people and better entertainment/food.   Read Less
Sail Date March 2015
Having sailed on many cruises before (all Caribbean cruises with NCL) we were a little apprehensive after reading some of the reviews on here about our 5 days / 4 nights cruise to Bruges & Amsterdam. Well............ we had a great ... Read More
Having sailed on many cruises before (all Caribbean cruises with NCL) we were a little apprehensive after reading some of the reviews on here about our 5 days / 4 nights cruise to Bruges & Amsterdam. Well............ we had a great time! Cabin C411 was our home for the duration and our attendant was called Ravlon. NOTHING was too much trouble! Our cabin was spotless, every member of staff we encountered was very helpful, extremely polite and could not do enough for us. The food in our chosen dining room was fantastic! Plenty of choice, piping hot and delicious. The bad reviews on here are a far cry from our personal experience. We could not fault it! We will certainly be sailing with P&O again in the future. Sorry for those people who had a bad experience..... OUR experience was nothing like the bad reviews. Not ONE single complaint..... even the weather was good to us in Dec / Jan 2014 - 2015 Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
After traveling with Royal Caribbean a few times me and my Auntie decided to give P&O ago, so booked a 2 night trip to Gurnsey. We arrived at the Ocean terminal in Southampton at just gone 11 and we actually got on the ship at about ... Read More
After traveling with Royal Caribbean a few times me and my Auntie decided to give P&O ago, so booked a 2 night trip to Gurnsey. We arrived at the Ocean terminal in Southampton at just gone 11 and we actually got on the ship at about 11:45, which we thought was pretty good but things began to go down hill from there. We went to the plaza for the buffet lunch, the food looked nice but when we got to eating it most of it was cold and a lot of it tasted of salt. The puddings were nice but a lot were very small or really thin, I had a cheese cake that only had then thinnest layer of crumbs on the bottom. I then went to get a drink and found that all there was on offer in the way of free drinks was water, I'm not a massive fan of water, so I spoke to a waiter and asked if there was anything else I could have instead and he just shrugged and said "You'll just have to buy drinks, won't you?" but at nearly £2 for a small cup of coke it would have got expensive as the weather was so hot and that mixed with all the salt in the food was making me very thirsty. in the end I did buy a couple of drinks and then at breakfast the next morning we took some apple and orange juice back to the cabin with us and stored it in the fridge. A lot of the staff in the Plaza were quite rude, none seemed to smile and when you did order drinks they'd just place it in front of you with the receipt and say 'sign this'. they never felt approachable or felt like someone you could have a conversation with. The staff at reception were very similar and when we came to them with a query about gratuity's they were very sharp with us. The cabin itself was nice, although the bed was lumpy and really uncomfortable. The room attendant was lovely but I think she was just a little to quick and maybe didn't check the room properly as we found rubbish in it from previous tenants. Unless you like bars or disco's there was really nothing to do on the ship. The first night we ended up sat in the library playing a board game and the 2nd night was spent in our cabin playing on my tablet. a lot of the time during the day though we found ourselves wondering around aimlessly, there seemed to be no day time activities like quizzes. The disembarkation was good and very straight forward, although when I did get home with my suitcase and tried to unlock it I found that the lock had bucked so it seemed like it had either been squashed or someone had tried to get into it and busted the lock in the process, so in the end my Dad had to cut the lock off so we could get into it. We won't be cruising with P&O again and we very much look forward to are cruise in November on Independence of the seas. . Read Less
Sail Date June 2014
Instead of our usual 7 night mediterranean cruise with Royal Caribbean, this year we elected to book a 4 night P&O cruise to France and Guernsey. I assumed that whilst it was a shorter cruise we would still have the same level of ... Read More
Instead of our usual 7 night mediterranean cruise with Royal Caribbean, this year we elected to book a 4 night P&O cruise to France and Guernsey. I assumed that whilst it was a shorter cruise we would still have the same level of service and facilities that we had experienced on other P&O cruises. Sadly this was not the case and since P&O changed their gratuity system the staff don't seem to have the same attitude to service. As there is no longer an incentive to 'go that extra mile' they don't! We found that any request outside of the normal menu was met with a resounding "No". There was no offer to find alternatives, and in the main restaurant it was even too much trouble to find a milkshake or a non-alcoholic cocktail for my son as he doesn't drink fizzy soft drinks. The food in the restaurants was incredibly poor on two nights, and very good on the other two nights. Each time I chose seafood it was overcooked and lacking any flavour. The potatoes, in any form, were always full of grey bits and the vegetables were tired and flavourless. The coffee was so strong and stewed I couldn't drink it. Entertainment on the ship seemed to be geared to the older generation, and adults only. There were no family activities such as a quiz or bingo, as they were all adults only. There were tournaments of deck quoits, shuffleboard, table tennis etc but again adults only. I would have preferred to have family tournaments that my 12 year old could participate in, but instead if he wanted to do any activities he had to go off to the Kids Club. The evening entertainment was, quite frankly, not worth bothering with. There was no 'show' as such, just a load of 1980's hits with groups of dancers performing to them. Not my idea of entertainment. I thought this was a cruise ship, not a cheap version of Butlins. Other reviewers have commented on here that the entertainment in general all day was no great shakes and they would be correct. The shops constantly advertised via the tannoy that their prices could not be beaten, so I was amused to note that when I visited the Swarovski shop in Guernsey their prices were notably lower than those on the ship. They did have a selection of items each night such as handbags and jewellery, but I was disappointed to find that when I did purchase a pair of earrings the stone fell out of them the day that I got them home, and at £29.99 I did not expect that to happen. The mini-suite was comfortable and spacious, and had adequate storage space. There was nothing lacking which we needed and everything had been thought of, even down to hairdryer, iron and ironing board, binoculars, mineral water, etc. The White Company toiletries were a nice touch. The bathroom was an odd layout as it had a separate WC which also included the washbasin in there, whereas the shower cubicle and bath were in a separate room. This made it awkward to use as you couldn't move in the space where the toilet and washbasin were. It would have been better served to have the washbasin in with the shower cubicle and bath. The pool areas were clean and there were plenty of sunbeds. The Costa Coffee bar was very popular and my son was quite taken with Sundaes Ice Cream bar. The Plaza self-service buffet wasn't worth bothering with unless you wanted to jostle everyone else for food that had been left out for a while and was either bordering on stale, dry or tasteless. They regularly ran out of items and if you asked for more you really did feel as though you were being a nuisance. The disembarkation process was sadly lacking. Rooms had to be vacated by 8am but the restaurant only served breakfast until 8 am which is not long enough to cater for everyone. The Plaza buffet was open until 8.30 am but after going round the entire restaurant area three times to try and find a seat - and failing - we gave up. Surely it would make more sense to have breakfast available in BOTH the restaurant and the Plaza self-service area until 9 am which is when disembarkation commenced? We ended up stopping at a service station on the way home to get some breakfast. So, in summary, I was disappointed. We have cruised with P&O before and it was fabulous. This time we were completely unimpressed and I would not sail on the Oceana again. The ship does not compare well in terms of facilities for families when pitched again its larger versions such as the Ventura. Also, Royal Caribbean do the whole entertainment and Kids Club thing so much better. P&O really could take a leaf out of their book. Next year it's Royal Caribbean for us all the way. Sorry P&O but you really need to up your game. Read Less
Sail Date August 2013
This was our first time on the Oceana Marina. The food was great. Storage in our cabin was to say the least "unusual" drawers up high, half drawers, sliding door closet that cannot be accessed if another person is there. Stall ... Read More
This was our first time on the Oceana Marina. The food was great. Storage in our cabin was to say the least "unusual" drawers up high, half drawers, sliding door closet that cannot be accessed if another person is there. Stall shower and bathtub in bathroom. No magnifying mirror and not enough light in bathroom. plenty of fresh towels and products. Very disappointed as others have said in the entertainment. Several times we walked out. At this age, the crowd is pretty sophisticated. To present, canned music and amateur dancers is A waste of time to an audience who have been exposed to professional shows. Another reviewer said: "If you like to have dinner and then go to bed, this cruise is for you." One option is to select from a huge list of DVDs available. Unlike the Crystal, they do not have a movie theater. Movies were promised on the outside deck weather permitting. The weather does not permit When I cruise I love shops that sell well made and unique foreign items. You will find Ralph Lauren and other uninteresting brands, at least to me. Better show a movie if you have nothing worthwhile at show time. The ship has purchased art work that is all over the ship. Some nice, others...........well in the eye of the beholder. Then again it's tax deductible. The staff could not be more attentive. Everyone acknowledges you. If the chef would only take my recipe for pancakes and french toast. Those are the only two items that need work. How difficult is that? Having said all of this, we still intend to book again. Now we know the field and what to expect, the good and bad. And yes, by the way, some of the tours are a waste of time and money. Research, research. There were some ports on this trip that would have been better to stay on board. Great cooking classes. Read Less
Sail Date July 2013
Our first cruise and we had reservations that we were entering a holiday camp atmosphere. However, that was not accurate. The embarkation process was easy and quick and we were eating our first lunch within an hour of arriving at the car ... Read More
Our first cruise and we had reservations that we were entering a holiday camp atmosphere. However, that was not accurate. The embarkation process was easy and quick and we were eating our first lunch within an hour of arriving at the car drop. The cabin was a little small but otherwise was excellent and we were glad we had the balcony. The food was plentiful, well-cooked, varied and of average taste. However, we had hoped the food would have been more sophisticated. The only poor meal was the one we paid extra for in the Marco Pierre White bistro 'Cafe Jardin'. That was fatty, greasy, sloppy and a triumph of marketing over quality. The sun deck was not a place I felt comfortable in but it seemed great fun for those who liked the small pools, loud music and the bars. There were plenty of other places to lie in the sun. The crew members were wonderful. Excellent customer care and so happy. Cleanliness, infection control and comfort were of the highest standard. The evening entertainment was varied and energetic and most audience members seemed to enjoy the comedian and singers. There were two interesting and well presented lectures on Egyptology. We had one cloudy day and part of that was spent enjoyably watching a newly-released movie. The ship has a very useful gym and lectures on diet. The spa is far too expensive and seemed little used. The ship's photographers took excellent photos but the prices were exorbitant. They must destroy thousands every cruise - dreadful waste of ink and paper. The ports of call - Vigo, Lisbon (beware that the museums are all closed on Mondays which happened to be our day of arrival!), Oporto and St Peter port - were all pleasant. Whilst in Vigo we took a taxi to the nearby beach resort of Playa Samil with its lovely promenade, beautiful sand and warm, clear sea. In Lisbon the old town was captivating. Oporto was our favourite city - charm, feel, aesthetics. Incidentally, apart from St Peter Port we found the taxi, food and bar prices to be very inexpensive. Excellent disembarketion. So, a very enjoyable introduction to cruising.   Read Less
Sail Date July 2013
This was our second cruise, having last year been on a 7 night cruise on the Azura. Although the Oceana is quite a bit smaller, we didn't find the range of facilities inferior and, indeed, found some, especially the buffet ... Read More
This was our second cruise, having last year been on a 7 night cruise on the Azura. Although the Oceana is quite a bit smaller, we didn't find the range of facilities inferior and, indeed, found some, especially the buffet restaurant, better. It's hard to compare cabins as last year we had a suite and this year a balcony cabin. We found the space adequate. We were very happy with the location of our cabin, being on the Lido Deck and so very close to pools and sunbeds and only down some steps from the buffet restaurant. Club dining was excellent regarding both quality of food and service. The only disappointing dining experience was when we went to Cafe du Jardin, Marco-Pierre White Italian restaurant. Service was slow and the waiters were quite unenthusiastic about everything. Food was OK but a limited choice and not worth the extra cost. Last year we were part of a large family group so didn't get involved in the on-board activities. This year, however, in an adult foursome, we visited the theatre a couple of times and played bingo on a wet day at sea. We were impressed by the organisation and quality of these activities. We chose this cruise for the length and timing of it rather than the itinerary. The first stop, Vigo, was very disappointing, a drab port, especially on a Sunday. Lisbon was interesting: used the hop-on hop-off bus which was fine for seeing the city but became a bit of a drag when it went further out from the centre. Oporto was the highlight of our shore visits, a quaint waterfront and very interesting port-wine cellars. We visited Guernsey for the second year and again found a hire car a good, cheap way of seeing the island. St Peter Port doesn't have any more charm than most mainland seaside towns and we wouldn't choose to visit Guernsey again. We shall definitely book another cruise within the next couple of years, almost certainly with P & O and would be very happy to go on the Oceana again.   Read Less
Sail Date July 2013
Myself and my partner booked our cruise last minute, and it was by pure chance that we found ourselves on P&O's Oceana. We chose a balcony cabin, and were lucky to be on quite a high up deck. The stateroom was just big enough, ... Read More
Myself and my partner booked our cruise last minute, and it was by pure chance that we found ourselves on P&O's Oceana. We chose a balcony cabin, and were lucky to be on quite a high up deck. The stateroom was just big enough, well furnished and comfortable. The balcony was lovely, we would sit on it for hours watching the sea go by!!The food in the main dining room was on par with a good 4* restaurant, and all the waiters were very polite and nice. Breakfast in the Buffet was OK, and we only realised on the last morning you could have a formal breakfast in the restaurant doh!!We frequented the casino, which was a bit on the small side but fun. (slot machines from an bygone era that actually spat out coins when you won!!)Overall we loved every minute, and were very impressed with the overall running of the ship. We have booked another cruise already, but are going to try Celebrity again just because a good deal came up!!Nath Read Less
Sail Date June 2013
In May I reviewed a 14 night cruise on P&O Ventura and it was so awful I said I would probably never sail with P&O again but I had already booked this 4 night cruise to Guernsey and Zebrugge as it was such a good deal at ... Read More
In May I reviewed a 14 night cruise on P&O Ventura and it was so awful I said I would probably never sail with P&O again but I had already booked this 4 night cruise to Guernsey and Zebrugge as it was such a good deal at Â(EURO)299 for a balcony. I was a bit concerned that some reviews referred to these short cruises as booze cruises with hen and stag parties but apart fro 2 small groups we saw on day 1 these were never a problem and I can only say what a difference a ship makes! We arrived at the port by taxi, having booked a an overnight stay and park at a local hotel, at 11.45am and were on board enjoying lunch at 12.20pm. The Plaza buffet area was pleasant, well laid out with a good choice of food and no problems in finding a table throughout the cruise.Far more important from my point was their enforcement of the use of hand gel at every point of entry into a dining area and when entering the ship. This was so different from the chaos of Ventura. Our cabin was a balcony on deck 10 (B deck) which was rather smaller than other cruises I have been on but clean and acceptable. We choose freedom dining in the Ligurian restaurant for dinner and never had to wait to get a table for 2. The food, whilst not what it used to be in 2006 when I last sailed on P&O previous the disastrous Ventura cruise in May, was so much better than Ventura. Drinks service in the bars was efficient and every member of staff was helpful and smiling. The entertainment was good with the comedian/ventriloquist one of the best I have ever seen. I can only conclude that Oceana must be a very happy ship which is much better run than Ventura and without seeming to snobby attracts a better type of client than Ventura. On this experience I will consider P&O again but only on selected ships Read Less
Sail Date June 2013
My mother hadn't been on a cruise for around 25 years and my partner had never been on a cruise at all, therefore as a birthday present I took them and my step-father on the 2 night "minicruise" to Zeebrugge (Bruges) on the ... Read More
My mother hadn't been on a cruise for around 25 years and my partner had never been on a cruise at all, therefore as a birthday present I took them and my step-father on the 2 night "minicruise" to Zeebrugge (Bruges) on the 11th April on the Oceana. With it being somewhat of a special occasion, I opted for the highest grade of suite available - and was allocated suite D750 on 8 deck. Given the type of cruise it was marketed as I know I shouldn't have expected much but some of the clientele were shocking. There were 6 hen parties on board that I counted and some of their antics including wandering around the atrium carrying a huge plastic penis. The amount of tattooed ladies I saw was also surprising - each to their own but some of them were downright ugly (the tattoos - not the people!) I overheard one group talking in the morning stating that they had got into one of the hot tubs naked and radomn strange men had joined them - I'll leave the rest to your imagination.. I'm suprised that Suite passengers aren't given priority access to their cabins? Firstly, the cabin (suite). I gather the ship has had a refit recently but the carpets looked pretty worn and on the balcony there were lots of paint stains and bits of paint that had flaked off - not just on the floor but also on the furniture as well. Having travelled with Cunard before, I was surprised and somewhat dissapointed that it was not possible to have a hot breakfast delivered to the cabin - only continental. I would have thought suite passengers would have been offered both. The butler introduced himself shortly after we first entered the cabin - but on the second afternoon when my Mother fancied a sherry he didn't show or return calls despite repeatedly trying to ring his pager number. 4 of use were sharing the suite so my partner and I used the double sofa bed - however the quilt wasn't big enough for the bed which was far from ideal. In terms of the "sailaway" there was no band seeing the ship off which I've seen on other P&O / Cunard cruises which was a shame. Also there were staff walking round with trays of champagne shouting quite loudly "Champagne, only 5.99 a glass" which felt very tacky and downmarket. On to the food / restaurants. Well, lunch was taken on the first day in the Plaza buffet which I was a bit disappointed with when compared to Cunard or indeed the Aurora with the number of choices being limited and the food not very warm. In the main restaurant (Adriatic) we had one of the hen party groups sat behind us and there was lots of loud noise / swearing etc. I'm not a prude nor am I elderly being only in my mid 30's and am used to people swearing but it wasn't nice at dinner. The service felt rushed to me with the waiter clearing plates even when some of our table hadn't finished their meals, almost felt like they wanted us out of there as quickly as possible. The menu on the formal night stated that it was a Gala meal but with the exceptioni of a few balloons above some tables it was no different to the previous night so couldn't understand what made it a "gala" The lack of any selection of premium / vintage wines was dissapointing as I do like to splash out when celebrating a special occasion. Also, I asked our "wine waiter" for a Ricard on the second night as an aperitif and he looked at me blankly and stated he didn't know what it was - nor did he know what Pernod or Pastis was either. He stated he would go and find out but then promptly forgot to bring it. The wine was served pretty late into the meal too. What kind of wine waiter doesn't know anything about Pastis? At breakfast no sauces were offered and on the day of disembarkation it was very rushed. We looked at the "Cafe Jardin" for one of the meals but given it overlooks the atrium, it would have been noisy and hardly the place for a "premium" meal - surely these restaurants should be in a more intimate location on the ship? My partner and I did partake in a massage at the Spa which I have to say was very very good. Just a shame there's no indoor pool on the ship for her voyages to northern climes. The above taken into account - we did still enjoy ourselves and came away feeling relaxed - it just seemed quite downmarket. Are my expectations too high or is this reflective of P&O in general? Read Less
Sail Date April 2013
after 5 cruises on celebrity and 1 on RCI, we were not sure what to expect but even at checkin we soon realised we needed to suspend any previous opinions an stick our tongues firmly in our cheeks. there were about 30 plus hen nights ... Read More
after 5 cruises on celebrity and 1 on RCI, we were not sure what to expect but even at checkin we soon realised we needed to suspend any previous opinions an stick our tongues firmly in our cheeks. there were about 30 plus hen nights onboard and we even saw an inflatable rubber man being taken onboard. the checkin itself was painfully slow. by the time we got on we only had 15 mins for lunch before the safety drill and we were starving at that point. the cabin was very large with lots of storage space but as it was disabled cabin the shower had no lip and we were often paddling in water as there was one tiny shower curtain that only went half way round. Had dinner at marco pierre whites "cafe jardin" which was very nice. the evening entertainment both nights was excellent. a MADNESS tribute band who played lots of ska and did a rock and roll session on night 2. Actually this was more enjoyable than anything on celebrity. great party atmosphere onboard. Had a lovely day in Bruge and came home with lots of chocolate. despite some misgivings we thought this trip was value for money and would def do it again. Celebrity cruises please take note!! P and O only take £3 a day for tips and dont charge under 12s and no 15% surcharge on what was very reasonable priced drinks onboard. Read Less
Sail Date April 2013
I and the wife have just returned from a cruise on the Oceana. Unfortunately there are a number of points which were just not acceptable . Firstly the food in both the premium restaurants. We had a meal in the Horizon on the first ... Read More
I and the wife have just returned from a cruise on the Oceana. Unfortunately there are a number of points which were just not acceptable . Firstly the food in both the premium restaurants. We had a meal in the Horizon on the first Saturday of the cruise. I decided to have the lamb which was served with chips, beef steak and burgers with chips I can understand but lamb? I asked if I could have another type of potatoes e.g. new potatoes and the waiter said he would ask. When he returned he stated the chef had said no. Considering the number of restaurants on the ship I am sure another form of potatoes could have be sourced. This spoilt the dining experience. The next meal was in the Jardin during the week and I had the Rack of Lamb with Rosemary Jus, it was very disappointing, you could not taste the Rosemary at all, it tasted just like normal gravy. I spoke to the Assistant Restaurant Manager about this and pointed out that though I am not a chef I could do better at home. We were on Freedom dinning and the food was very good in the Ligurian, however the attitude of Head Waiter was atrocious. We like to dine by ourselves and understood that this could mean waiting for a table. When asking for a table for two the head waiters comment was 'we do not have one' and he did not offer a bleep, I replied 'can I have a bleep' and he begrudgingly handed one out. When the bleep went off and we returned to the restaurant and I joked that it did not take long for a table to be available, to which he replied in a very condescending manner 'we created one for you'. I was very shocked with his manner and to be honest felt very angry; if he worked for me he would be sacked. Finally regarding the restaurants, the Plaza. At breakfast providing very hot cereal bowls for cold milk, along with very hot glasses for cold juices is just stupid. This was not just a one off but every day, which seems to me down to bad planning. With regards to other issues. We had a small problem with the shower head and reported it to reception one evening and said there was no rush as it still worked and could be dealt with the next day. To our surprise a maintenance man turned up at 22.15 that night to fix it, we had retired to bed by then. Is common sense in short supply in the maintenance department? We also had a problem on two occasions with the toilet. On the first occasion the water over flowed onto the bathroom floor. Services came and moped the water up and someone from maintenance looked at the toilet. However we were never told that the problem had been resolved. A few days later the problem returned, and again it was reported. It was approx. 4/5 hours before someone came to have a look and in fact it was our steward who chased it up. Again no one had the courtesy to say that the issued had been resolved. P&O have excellent, what we would call rank and file staff e.g. stewards, waiters. They are helpful and cannot do enough for you. The problem seems to be management who are not concentrating on the detail. We feel that other cruise lines have addressed the issue of attention to detail, but P&O needs to do more to retain customers. Read Less
Sail Date May 2012
Guernsey,France & Spain 6th Aug 2011 7 Nights My Mother and I are experienced cruisers and have sailed with Princess, P&O, Royal Caribbean, Holland America, Fred Olsen & Cunard. Pre-cruise information by email was good and ... Read More
Guernsey,France & Spain 6th Aug 2011 7 Nights My Mother and I are experienced cruisers and have sailed with Princess, P&O, Royal Caribbean, Holland America, Fred Olsen & Cunard. Pre-cruise information by email was good and P&O send a beautifully presented bound folder with all the information about your cruise, excursion information and ready printed luggage labels. We arrived at the Ocean Terminal in good time and after leaving our car with Cruise & Passenger Services we had a short wait before checkin. Then it was through security and onto the ship. All our cases arrived within a very short time of arriving in the cabin. Our Balcony Staterooms on Britannia Deck were compact but clean and well presented. There were decent wardrobes and good shelf space but good size drawer space was lacking. The ensuite had a shower only but there was always plenty of hot water. The TV was very out of date and the picture quality was poor. The balcony doors were extremely heavy, and in the case of my elderly Mother's cabin very stiff due to lack of maintenance. Maintenance were called later on but some adjustments made very little difference. After a freshen up it was off to the Plaza (Lido Cafe) for a drink and something to eat. The food here was generally very good indeed, with a wide range of hot & cold food available, in the evening sometimes with a particular theme. It has to be said however that the level of waiter service and organisation in the Plaza was nothing like as good as on the Crown Princess we cruised on the previous week. Help usually had to be requested and there were much fewer staff available for this. Also Butter, Jam and UHT milk were all in small pots in large bowls, which we felt did not assist hygiene matters (see our separate report of the Crown Princess). We never had to queue when using the Plaza. It is also worth mentioning that hand gel was actively insisted upon whenever anybody entered the cafe and was freely available in all areas throughout the ship. Our evening meals were taken in the Adriatic Restaurant where we were on a table for eight. Our Table waiter and his assistant were very efficient catering for our every need. The quality of the fish and meat at times however left a great deal to be desired, and pastry items were often very solid. Afternoon Teas were also served in the restaurant and these were most enjoyable, with a wide variety of sandwiches, cakes and scones to choose from. The layout of the ship is good, very easy to get around with the Promenade Deck containing most of the public lounges, bars and theatres. The Piazza (Atrium) which covers three decks is the central hub with an attractive Coffee Bar and some shops on the other levels. One major hassle however is the elevators. These are slow and the direction indicators are poor with virtually no audible warning of arrival. On occasions the call button lights would go out but no elevator would appear. All this resulted in much frustration and delay and at times people just gave up and used the stairs. Attended only one of the shows by the resident company, but volumes were far too loud and so left after a short while. Joined in some of the deck games and evening quizzes which were well run by pleasant entertainment staff. PORTS OF CALL ST PETER PORT, GUERNSEY The only tender port on the cruise. The short crossing to the landing stage was a bit bumpy particularly on return. A local coach driver was our guide for this short afternoon tour, which took us on a circular route around the island. Generally we were not over impressed, it is pretty enough but some how lacked the wow factor. We also missed going through the town, which was closed off due to a charity event. BREST Did not leave the ship here as we had no tour booked, so can't comment on this port. LA ROCHELLE It was a pleasure to return to this attractive but very busy port. Our afternoon tour took us first to the little town of Saintes, where we visited the Cathedral of Saint Pierre. The second destination was the La Roche Courbon (Courbon Castle). Transformed into a residence in the 17th Century it was restored in 1920 and a tour of the interior revealed a series of interesting rooms many with painted wood panelling and beams. The gardens, best viewed from the terrace, are beautifully kept with a large ornamental lake dominating the scene. Our excellent and knowledgeable guide provided a continual commentary on the many historical facts of the region while we viewed the unspoilt French countryside on our return journey. BILBAO No tour booked here, but took the free shuttle bus into the centre to visit the Guggenheim Museum. You may have to queue to get in, I waited about twenty minutes and a further ten minutes to get my ticket and free audio guide. I found the building difficult to navigate, with galleries scattered all over the different floors and the signage is very poor. The audio guide was OK if you wanted to spend time listening about the building, but not much use for the galleries. On my visit there was a mixture of Abstract art displays and other more 'off the wall' sort of exhibits. However I enjoyed the visit and seeing the building. LA CORUNA Booked a short afternoon tour here and took in some of the city highlights with a stop at the Tower of Hercules, Europe's oldest working lighthouse. We enjoyed some drinks and snacks at a local hotel before returning to the ship. An excellent well informed guide looked after us all. Disembarkation was smooth and trouble free and all the cases were grouped in Deck Order which made it much easier to locate them. Overall an enjoyable cruise on a well run ship, with good service, accommodation and food. Read Less
Sail Date August 2011
Five support workers and two clients went on the week long cruise to Spain and France. We occupied four cabins , two with Bal and two outside windows. We had booked fixed Dinning but we on arrival found we had freedom dinning. This was ... Read More
Five support workers and two clients went on the week long cruise to Spain and France. We occupied four cabins , two with Bal and two outside windows. We had booked fixed Dinning but we on arrival found we had freedom dinning. This was better for us in the end. As we had a party of Seven we received advice to get an early meal at 6.30 as then we would be likely to get a table to take all of us . This we did and always managed to get seated quickly. Overall we enjoyed the cruise, however having traveled on Cunard ships before this is n ot of the same high standard. Little things let it down such as the Plaza restaurant always running out of plates and top of food was slow. The ship is OK but the layout and lack of lifts was frustrating always having to go from one end of the ship to the other as one lift only covered some floors. As we had a wheelchair user we had to consider trips and the advise we received was not always correct. The staff were always polite and helpful but I don't think they always understood English. The standard on formal evenings in the main restaurants was allowed to slip we made the effort to wear black tie but others were allowed in in T shirts and jeans. When we commented on this we were told this would never happen but it did !!. I have seen it referred to as Butlins at sea well I would not say that but it is 3 Three star 4 four star. Read Less
Sail Date August 2011
Well i have just read a reveiw about this ship and i cannot disagree more we took my partners daughter son in law and 2 children on the oceana 6th to 13th of aug and we loved every minute of it.My partner and i had been on it before 3 ... Read More
Well i have just read a reveiw about this ship and i cannot disagree more we took my partners daughter son in law and 2 children on the oceana 6th to 13th of aug and we loved every minute of it.My partner and i had been on it before 3 years ago and must say it was a good as ever and better than the Venturs last christmas it was very clean and tidy the tiolets were clean as they were NOT on the Ventura.The food in the lingurien was very very good but we went to the buffet twice as we had a 15 month old and was hard trying to keep him happy in the highchair and thought it was not fair to other diners.We were pleased with th itiniery as we would proberbly never go to some of the places i was taken by La Rochelle very pretty also Bilbao.We thought the drinks were very good as on the Royal Carribean you pay a 15% sevice charge every time you buy a drink it soon mounts up.The night nursary was free but you need to get the child to sleep but as ever our little one would not do that we did use it once and what a good idea it was.All in all we had a great time and have converted 2 more young people that a cruise is not for the older person. Read Less
Sail Date August 2011
My wife and I embarked on our first cruise and chose this short duration on P&O Oceana. We had free parking at Southampton which was well organised and drove straight to the ship, just a short walk to the terminal building, on ... Read More
My wife and I embarked on our first cruise and chose this short duration on P&O Oceana. We had free parking at Southampton which was well organised and drove straight to the ship, just a short walk to the terminal building, on return again a short walk to pick up the car. Once inside the terminal it was well organised for embarkation, we were handed colour coded tickets and then waited a short time for the call to board. Once on board we waited a short time before we could enter our cabin, we were on C deck in a LA grade outside cabin which was very spacious as it was the same deck as balcony cabins, so you had the extra balcony space in the room. Everything in the cabin was very clean, the shower and toilet area quite small but that's to be expected on board a ship. The only fault in the cabin was the TV, really needs upgrading to a flat screen with more channels and improved reception. Our cabin steward looked after us very well, even topping up the ice bucket in the fridge. We thought all the public areas on board were spotless, after reading some reviews I was expecting worn out carpets and fittings but did not see any of that. We chose freedom dining, this suited us very well as we like to eat quite late and when we feel like, never a problem getting a table for two at 8.30/9.00.I was a bit disappointed I never got to use the paging system! We ate in the main dining room in the evening and the food and service was excellent, the waiters very friendly. Dress code was adhered to on formal nights, I wasn't looking forward to that as I'm not fond of formal attire, but was surprised to find I enjoyed it, although I did wear just a dark suit and tie. After returning to the ship from a port of call in the afternoon we ate in the Plazza buffet restaurant, We read some reviews liking it to a cattle market, not so, queues yes but what do you expect on a peak time cruise ship! we always found a table as the waiters were very quick cleaning tables when someone left. We also ate at the Marco Pierre Restaurant at lunchtime, a short wait after booking a table, food excellent but not a huge choice. Entertainment was good in the evenings, something going on in all the bars and theatres, although we went to Winners bar a few times and the same band were doing the same set as the night before. Bar prices were comparable to a night out at home. Plenty of space if you wanted to sunbathe, especially at the front of the ship away from the pool area. At each port shuttle buses were laid on to take you to the centre, La Rochelle we found the prettiest. Brest was disappointing, mainly because all the the main streets were being dug up for a new tramway system. We were very pleased with the cruise and would go again. Read Less
Sail Date August 2011
Having read some of the critics negative reviews, we were a little apprehensive as to what we would find. I now wonder whether the disappointed passengers were on the same vessel as us! At first sight the huge queue in the embarkation ... Read More
Having read some of the critics negative reviews, we were a little apprehensive as to what we would find. I now wonder whether the disappointed passengers were on the same vessel as us! At first sight the huge queue in the embarkation shed at Southampton looked like a cattle market. The marshal's dealt with it very swiftly as did the check in and security staff. We have experienced longer waits at some airport check ins. Yes, perhaps some odd parts of the ship looked a little dated or showed signs of wear but the vessel is 12 years old. Would you expect a 12 year old 5 star hotel to be in absolute pristine condition - I think not and overall it was certainly as good as any 5 star hotel shoreside; and I have stayed in quite a few world wide. All of the P & O staff that we came into contact with were excellent; friendly, extremely helpful and courteous. Yes, the Plaza restaurant is like a motorway cafe but the food is good with plenty of choice. If you don't want to cart your own tray around whilst searching for a free table then there are a number of other restaurants on board where you get table service. The breakfasts in the Jardin restaurant (visited twice) didn't impress us but the lunch time menu there did! The evening meals we took in the Adriatic restaurant. The menus and food were splendid and well presented by our two friendly waiters, Pedro and Sunny who kept us amused as they served the "lovely jubbly" vegetables. The variety of meals offerred left us spoilt for choice. Entertainment - If you want to see a west end show then go to the west end. You wont get one here, but what you will find on board is an energetic group of young entertainers who will put on a decent show for you. I do have to agree though with previous critics that there can be a problem getting into the Starlights theatre if you are on second sitting. It does seem to be the case that people are seat blocking by staying in after the first performance has ended. The cabin, with balcony was quite adequate. The bed was comfortable, with good storage space and kept immaculate by the steward. The only let down was the size of the bathroom which was uncomfortably small.Drinks in the bars and wine with dinner were all reasonably priced and very favourably compare with typical UK pub/restaurant prices. Overall, my partner and I were fully satisfied with all we found on board and felt welcomed and valued customers. We would certainly book to cruise on the Oceana again. Read Less
Sail Date June 2011
We had a great time on our first cruise holiday with our 11 month old son. He loved the attention from the great staff and we loved the food and attention from the great staff. Nothing seemed too much trouble and even though we had ... Read More
We had a great time on our first cruise holiday with our 11 month old son. He loved the attention from the great staff and we loved the food and attention from the great staff. Nothing seemed too much trouble and even though we had the lowest grade cabin, we didn't feel any different from the more expensive cabins. The facilities provided for children were great and we enjoyed the relaxed nature of the ship, not too big and not too small (at 77kt!) You could still find quiet areas of the ship for yourself even though there were 2500 people on board. The ship is a little worn in some areas, but generally the fixtures are well maintained and they didn't detract from the enjoyment we had. My wife wants to book again straight away and I am sure we will at some point. People we spoke to on the ship who had travelled with P&O on other ships said that Oceana had a much better feel to it than some of the bigger ships in its fleet. We were not dissapointed in our trip and had got what we thought was good value. Read Less
Sail Date June 2011
We'd never been on Oceana before and were slightly put off by the reviews we read before we went but I have to say, it was not the nightmare ship some people have created. Yes, the soft furnishings in the cabin had seen better days ... Read More
We'd never been on Oceana before and were slightly put off by the reviews we read before we went but I have to say, it was not the nightmare ship some people have created. Yes, the soft furnishings in the cabin had seen better days but on the whole it was in good order and we certainly saw no signs of the dirt and stains in the public areas some have spoken off. The cabin itself is small and the balcony the smallest we've seen so slightly concerned about spending 35 days on Oceana next year!Embarkation and disembarkationWe travelled with Eavesway Coaches from Leeds and it was an early start (6:30) but after a stop for breakfast of about an hour we arrived at the docks by 12:30. We registered fairly quickly bit then it took ages to get through security, where there was a long queue moving slowly. Disembarkation was fairly quick too and we're always grateful that we put brightly coloured ribbons on our cases so they're easier to locate in the huge baggage collection hall. DiningWe had Club dining in the Adriatic, 2nd sitting and we ate in the MDR every night. We had a table of 8 which is our preferred size. We thought the food was very good, apart from the first night and the portions are definitely smaller than they used to be on P&O. Our waiters were excellent and very helpful: we got various extra courses when we said we'd like to try out something else on the menu. We ate in Le Cafe Jardin for breakfast but there's not a huge selection although what we had was good. The Horizon grill was fine for a quick lunch and we were always happy enough with the choice in The Plaza.EntertainmentAs usual the entertainment was excellent in Footlights. We steered clear of the comedian which few people liked but thought the Headliners shows were fantastic and really enjoyed Rebecca Roberts. Loose Lips was amusing and Tony Gubba an interesting speaker. There's the usual great choice of bars with drinks at reasonable prices and good selection of musical entertainment though we missed having a 'Crows Nest' Bar What makes P&O stand out for us is that there's always a great buzz around the ship late at night whereas on American lines, they seem to go to bed earlier for their whistle-stop tour of Europe the next day!! Sailways are also much more fun on P&O Staff We were a bit disappointed as Oceana is billed as "The Friendly Ship" that the staff looked pretty fed up at times. This was especially evident in The Plaza and in the bars. Customer Service was also poor. I was sitting with wet hair when the hair-dryer broke down and had to phone SIX times in an hour and a half before anybody came to help. The same thing happened a few days later with the kettle. Ports of CallWe only did one ship's excursion to Santiago de Compostela from A Coruna. It was a place we'd never visited and it wasn't quite what we expected but interesting. From Le Havre we took a taxi to Honfleur which was worth every penny as the driver took us to some really pretty spots on the hill overlooking Honfleur before we enjoyed lunch and a walk round the town. We loved everything about La Rochelle and just soaked up the atmosphere sampling French food and a good bottle of red wine. What more can you ask for? We also enjoyed our walk along the river in Bilbao, by the Guggenheim. We visited the market and the old town. The weather was warm and sunny in every port of call which was the icing on the cake. OverallWe had a great cruise and Oceana certainly doesn't deserve the reviews it's been getting. P&O provides a good package and although we also like Celebrity and Princess, P&O probably suits us best overall. Read Less
Sail Date April 2011
Decided to stay in Bournemouth for 2 nights prior to embarking, great idea, got across to Southampton before the traffice built up, short visit to West Quay, and then to the berth. Unfortunately P&O changed the berth at the last ... Read More
Decided to stay in Bournemouth for 2 nights prior to embarking, great idea, got across to Southampton before the traffice built up, short visit to West Quay, and then to the berth. Unfortunately P&O changed the berth at the last minute, and although having informed the Travel Agent I didn't find out until I got back - guess who I am no longer booking with!!!!!! Onto Oceana -Cabin was great good location easy access to the stern deck, A Deck ideal location. Cabin Steward was excellent as usual. On board service no problem, great table 166 in the resturant. Food also good. Entertainment - Main shows and solo performers no problems, only area of concern was the group who played in the Yacht and Compass - absolutely appalling - allegedly Hungarian, with extremely bad commancd of English. The ship itself, growing a little tired in the public areas - in need of some refurbrishment - as an example the chairs and settees in the Yacht and Compass need their cushions replaced, some carpet also needs replacing. The itinerary - great choice Vigo Lisbon Cadiz Casablance and Gibraltar, went on the Santiago Tour again good value for money. So if anyone from P&O reads thisreview, how about a little spend on seating and carpets apart from that change the Yacht and Compass Band. Read Less
Sail Date October 2010
Have cruised with Celebrity, R Caribbean, Costa and Princess, so have some reference points - ship is a bit tired, passengers almost entirely Brits, and although my wife and I had a great holiday, the frills were definitely missing. Some ... Read More
Have cruised with Celebrity, R Caribbean, Costa and Princess, so have some reference points - ship is a bit tired, passengers almost entirely Brits, and although my wife and I had a great holiday, the frills were definitely missing. Some good points - smooth crossing and reasonable weather; main dining room food and service excellent; usual stuff like newsletter of daily activities provided and quite a lot to do (essential of course for transatlantic) Lots of minor reservations on quality - self service food choice limited; speciality restaurant not impressive - more of a bistro; entertainment patchy in quality, and choreography/costumes for shows not up to competitors; staff attentive but glum; room service limited, often with extra charges; some localised maintenance lacking such as torn seats, toilet fittings and lights not operational, rusty spots on bulkheads on balcony, unvarnished handrails Just to add to things, there was a norovirus outbreak on board, with rigorous quarantine and sterilisation programmes from day one - all passengers in affected cabins (not just ill person)strictly quarantined to cabin for days - self service closed for several days. Anyone who had to visit the ship`s doctor was quick to express surprise at the level of (immediate)charges, and sometimes also the overzealous diagosis/treatment. This is not necessarily a criticism - better safe than sorry - but be aware. Computer system broke down for boarding, so long queues in a warehouse in the heat, after a wait in the bus due to multiple simultaneous flight arrivals. Balcony limited in size and is hole in bulkhead rather than glass like more modern ships. Read Less
Sail Date March 2010
This cruise really started for us in October last year when we attended a Dinner Dance organised by The Crows Nest, an on-line Cruise Forum I use. I was fortunate enough to win first prize in the Raffle, which was a choice of 2-night ... Read More
This cruise really started for us in October last year when we attended a Dinner Dance organised by The Crows Nest, an on-line Cruise Forum I use. I was fortunate enough to win first prize in the Raffle, which was a choice of 2-night P&O cruises in 2009, kindly donated by Cruisekings and arranged by Les, one of the staff there. As we had already travelled on some of the ships and don't fancy Ventura, we opted for Oceana, as she would not be our first choice ship. Fast-forward almost a year and we set off on the Friday afternoon to stay overnight in the Holiday Inn overlooking Southampton Water. We had cruised aboard Oriana in June and enjoyed the company of Kathy & Mike (amongst others) on our table. Kathy & Mike are local to Southampton so we were pleased to be able to arrange to have dinner with them on the Friday night. We went to La Regatta on Town Quay for a very pleasant Tapas meal. The food & wine were good, service okay and prices reasonable. After a hearty breakfast on Saturday morning, we re-grouped the packing and left for Dock Gate 4 about 1110. I wondered if we would be some of the first to arrive that early but there were at least 100 - 200 people already there I would estimate. We got the car parked and strolled to the Ocean Terminal, popped the one large case through the 'hole in the wall' and then up the escalator to departures and were given 'E' check-in cards. We then relaxed with some refreshments from the 'cafe', some complimentary magazines and that day's copy of Horizon - what a great idea to give it out before actually boarding! I wondered why, when they spent millions on the new terminal, the cafe has been built like a 1950's Rail Station 'hole in the wall'. Surely you can do better than that Carnival/ABP? Check-in started around noon and the first 4 groups took about 20 minutes or so before we were called and the formalities were quickly and efficiently completed. We were directed to the Plaza for some lunch but Tony took a swift detour via our cabin to drop off the valuables. There was a good selection for lunch and I was fortunate enough to be at the counter when some lovely freshly cooked fish goujons were brought out. I followed that with a tasty dutch apple pie and custard (oh P&O, why do you have to challenge the waistline so J). After lunch, we had a wander around the ship to familiarise ourselves. We had been on Sea Princess so at least we had an idea of the layout. Overall, I was impressed with the Ship. I thought it would probably be much glitzier than Sea Princess as she was known to be quite restrained. I am pleased to say that I didn't think Oceana was wildly glitzy - well maybe Winners Bar is a bit over the top camp but other than that she is quite pleasing to my eye. We then made our way to our cabin - a JA grade Balcony Cabin on A Deck. Again, I was very pleased with this. We had upgraded from the Inside I won in the Prize Draw to a Balcony for a modest charge and Les at Cruisekings certainly did us proud procuring this particular cabin. The cabin was quite compact, especially the bathroom but as we like to spend a lot of time around the ship, this did us nicely. It was very clean and well maintained. Lifeboat drill was carried out without too much fuss and then we enjoyed our usual glass of Champagne on Promenade Deck whilst we sailed away to the strains of a Caledonian Pipers Band - from Essex! Tony fancied an afternoon nap, so I went to Explorers Bar for a Coffee and read a magazine. We had been allocated a table for 6 on our requested 2nd sitting and went for a pre-dinner drink in Tiffany's. We immediately felt comfortable with our table- mates, one couple slightly older than us and one considerably younger than us - who were celebrating their 1st Wedding Anniversary. Conversation flowed easily and we had to move quickly at the end to catch a show. The food was very pleasant indeed - well cooked, hot and tasty. Our waiters were pleasant and efficient. We went to see Jimmy James (of the Vagabonds, if you are old enough to remember) who did an absolutely excellent set. After this, I went for a wander around the ship. Most venues were absolutely heaving with passengers determined to have a good time. The nightclub was jumping when I passed about 1245 and we found out the next day it did not close until 5.45. I am pleased to say however that none of the noise or boisterousness reached anywhere near our cabin. I awoke early enough to see us slide into Zeebrugge around 7.45 on Sunday morning. The day started quite overcast but gradually cleared to sunshine. We had breakfast in the Adriatic Restaurant to avoid the likely chaos of the Plaza - it was first morning on board after all. The food and service were a bit of a hit and miss affair, although I suspect that is not the case on longer cruises where the passengers and waiters both get into the swing of it a bit more. After breakfast we got the free shuttle transfer into Blankenberge about 15 minutes away. We had decided not to do Bruges because of a previous visit and so thought we would relax a bit more this weekend. Blankenberge is pleasant enough for a stroll around and has a fair selection of restaurants, cafes and shops. We had thought we might have lunch here but the combination of a stiff, cold wind off the sea and the weak pound making food expensive, swayed us to take the shuttle back to the ship about 1245. Once on board, we checked out the Adriatic menu and decided to look at Cafe Jardin. We settled there and had a lovely lunch in very calm, peaceful surroundings. Both food and service were very good indeed. We then took a stroll around the ship to see what was happening. Obviously not too much in the way of organised entertainment (it was a port day after all) but lots of comings and goings and sport on the large TVs in Winners Bar. A little later I opted to go to the spa area for a relax in the sauna and steam room (which are open to all and free). Unusually on this ship they are single-sex areas. Both were very pleasant and not at all crowded. The changing and locker areas however are very small and poorly equipped. We had arranged to meet out tablemates in the Atrium before dinner to toast the 1st Anniversary. It was Formal Night and I must say that the dress code was (thankfully as far as I am concerned) very well adhered too. Captain Reid had announced that he would not be at the 'Gala Reception' as he would be "driving the boat" but I was very surprised that no-one stood in for him. Consequently, although the drinks were still free, there was certainly no 'reception' and the whole Atrium was packed. This was followed by a wonderful Gala Dinner, which for me included a beautifully rare Beef Wellington and Hot Raspberry SoufflE. The whole meal was absolutely delicious. After dinner, once again the ship was buzzing - although maybe just a little quieter than the previous night. Perhaps some of the partygoers were struggling with the pace? Had a good wander around the ship inside and out and then retired to the cabin. I awoke several times in the early hours (as I am prone to do) and saw the lights of the South Coast twinkling in the darkness. Also awoke just as we were approaching Southampton to find the most dreary, damp morning beginning. Welcome back to Southampton! We were taking our own luggage off with us but our stewardess was quite happy for us to leave everything in the cabin until after breakfast, which we took in the Plaza. Naturally, it was very crowded but we found a table without too much problem and I tucked into a tasty, traditional full English (but restrained in quantity!) followed by a pancake with some maple syrup. I was quite surprised that there seemed to be no rush getting people off and when we were ready, we made our way to the disembarkation point and joined the moving hordes in getting off the ship. We then easily found the car and left the docks for a straightforward journey home without delays. So - overall impressions? This trip certainly exceeded my expectations. I am left feeling that a weekender is a good way to see a ship for the first time and gives a good impression of whether you would like being at sea if you haven't cruised before. I don't however think it really represents an actual cruise as there is not enough time to fit things in. I would not rush to do another weekender unless maybe combining it with a full cruise before or after on the same ship. As for Oceana, she too exceeded my expectations but still would not be my first choice of P&O Ship. This is more a personal taste issue than anything else - I would much prefer to be aboard Arcadia, Oriana or Aurora. I would certainly not rule her out for another cruise however but it would need to be one to guaranteed sunny climes as I feel her outdoor spaces are much better than those indoors. As nice as the Plaza is, I would miss a Crow's Nest lounge and overall feel the public spaces of those other ships appeal to me much more. I am however extremely grateful to Les at Cruisekings and the Crows Nest Forum as their raffle provided us with a great weekend away and the chance to experience the lovely Oceana. Read Less
Sail Date October 2009
Oceana Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 3.0 3.6
Dining 4.0 3.8
Entertainment 3.0 3.6
Public Rooms 4.0 4.0
Fitness Recreation 3.0 3.6
Family 4.0 3.6
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.5
Enrichment 3.0 3.3
Service 4.0 4.1
Value For Money 4.0 3.6
Rates 4.0 3.9

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