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18 P&O Cruises Oceana Repositioning Cruise Reviews

Excellent deal . We were going on Oceana from Dubai but it was cancelled. Never been on Oceana before. Out of part of winter. Weather perfect . Very good captain. Lovely older ship . Cosy balcony cabins.lovely food. Only gripe was ... Read More
Excellent deal . We were going on Oceana from Dubai but it was cancelled. Never been on Oceana before. Out of part of winter. Weather perfect . Very good captain. Lovely older ship . Cosy balcony cabins.lovely food. Only gripe was entertainment. Hardly any good shows .(probably had to be cobbled together for 35 nights). Great service. We had great service in the restaurant and food was of a high standard. The beach house was as good as ever and we did manage to have one of the meals there, on deck during the tropical night. My cabin steward in c619 was excellent and nothing was too much trouble. However, the cafe jardin was cold unwelcoming and food was not good and maybe better turning into a sindu with better food and service. It is in a very good location overlooking the atrium I think it would be good to have the Oceana as an adult only ship as the bars are quite sophisticated and the champagne bar is too small to be adult only. Very happy and clean well run ship . Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
I chose to go on the Dubai to Valletta cruise onboard MV Oceana because having cruised so much I wanted new ports, the ports were restrictive for powerchair and Wheelchair users but still a good time. The ship is probably the worst in ... Read More
I chose to go on the Dubai to Valletta cruise onboard MV Oceana because having cruised so much I wanted new ports, the ports were restrictive for powerchair and Wheelchair users but still a good time. The ship is probably the worst in P&O,s fleet as it has poor access to open decks and some of the disabled toilets are difficult to open and some toilet seats don’t stay up but temper this disappointment with a friendly staff and first class food. My own cabin B312 had two broken lights, one faulty one and the bedside lights were erratic at best, service in the dining room was slow though this did improve. I just wish the ships accessibility had been addressed at her last refit, the captain and crew are a gem and need a better fitted resource. The theatre has an area at the back for wheelchairs and scooters but latecomers to the theatre consistently crowd you and spoil the experience, time the entertainment staff did something about it and I also had concerns over safety due to it ( is it a fire safety breach) Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
This was a last minute booking. Oceana is perhaps smaller than her sister ships but she is friendly & her crew seek to look after the passengers. I have to say having read a few of the preceeding reviews I really do wonder just people ... Read More
This was a last minute booking. Oceana is perhaps smaller than her sister ships but she is friendly & her crew seek to look after the passengers. I have to say having read a few of the preceeding reviews I really do wonder just people expect, the crew are fantastic, the food good to very good and the overall experience excellent. We flew from B’ham having travelled from the SE and waved goodbye to our bags to be reunited with them once onboard. Boarding and checkin was very efficient and we were in our cabin within 30 mins of getting off the coach at Valetta Cruise Port. Our bags were with us within a further 10 mins. Food was good to very good, but always a good choice and the waiting staff attentive and as the cruise went on becoming friends in our adventures. One evening my wife and I were doused in baileys from a passing waiter and the immediate response could not have been better. Accidents happen and the issue is how they are resolved, thank you everyone, you did yourselves proud in this respect. Entertainment was variable but I expect no more, when at home we select what we go and see. We did the same onboard and enjoyed the piano recitals, the sax player, but were less enamoured with the Headliners group who whilst enthusiastic lacked polish in some areas. That said many did enjoy these show and we do not feel that we have been shortchanged due to our preferences. A highlight was the art shop, the display changed regularly and there were some interesting pieces, so much so we now have one hanging at home. Overall, the ambiance is good, we are not great ones for sitting around the pool and listening to the music but there are plenty of other spaces on the upper decks to go and enjoy the sun. Many thanks all, we appreciated all your effort and enjoyed our time with you. Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
We chose this cruise because we wanted to see the Mediterranean. To that end it achieved all we wanted. Although given that it happened over the Easter period you would have thought that the cruise line would have known that some of the ... Read More
We chose this cruise because we wanted to see the Mediterranean. To that end it achieved all we wanted. Although given that it happened over the Easter period you would have thought that the cruise line would have known that some of the ports of call would have been closed on certain days because of religious sensitivities and that they could have arranged the itineraries some what differently. Apart from the service given by our waiters and cabin steward I found in general that the service on the ship was poor. The food was not to my liking as I prefer plain cooking, in fact this was the first cruise that I have been on where I lost weight. The reception desk staff were worse than useless and could not or would not give any help at all. The entertainment was excellent particularly the Headliners. The shore excursions were typical of excursions that all cruise lines book and were no better or worse than any others. The ship could have offered a little more organisation to disembark for the tours other than a short line in the daily paper saying to proceed ashore a little before departure and find your coach. Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
The ship was full, so c. 2000 passengers. I believe there were c. 150 kids on board, but they were almost unnoticeable - must have been kept occupied and away from the bulk of the passengers! Whilst the age range was mixed, I would say ... Read More
The ship was full, so c. 2000 passengers. I believe there were c. 150 kids on board, but they were almost unnoticeable - must have been kept occupied and away from the bulk of the passengers! Whilst the age range was mixed, I would say typical passenger was in the 60 - 80 age bracket. I am a regular with Royal Caribbean (RCCL) which, whilst not perfect, definitely ticks many of my boxes! We booked on this one at short notice of ony 2 days because the holiday we had been booked to go on was cancelled due to poor weather. Would I holiday with P&O again? On balance, probably not - no major flaws, but I think all the cruise lines have a particular style, cater to a particular audience, and for me that is RCCL rather than P&O. I don’t regret P&O as a last minute choice, however! Pros Great wine at reasonable price. Coke in bottles for £2.75. Champagne £7.75. They even had Cloudy Bay Sauvignon in the main dining rooms! Heinz ketchup/salad cream, Marmite, Kelloggs cereals in buffet - excellent. Magnums and Judes icecream on sale by pools - fab. Afternoon tea was excellent (but I prefer personal teapot, rather than long-stewed version served to all). Freshly made cakes and scones - it would be rude not to try them all!... Teacakes, crumpets and a hot savoury (e.g. sausage rolls) always on offer with afternoon tea. Real cream in all desserts - RCCL use artificial cream, which is horrid, so top marks to P&O. Minimal announcements to disturb the peace (unlike RCCL, who have lots, and repeat each one in several different languages) The organisation was excellent - for example, the process for leaving the ship and transfer to airport. Incredibly slick & easy, given they had 2k passengers to handle (including this one, who left her iPhone on the transfer coach. Staff were so kind, and went off to find it for me.) Cons Signs encouraged you to open doors to toilets in public areas with tissue - but usually no bins around to put tissues in! I don’t think I saw any staff cleaning the public toilets in the whole 10 day period - can’t get away from them on RCCL cruises! And they seemed to regularly be “out of service”. No crispy bacon at breakfast - stewed, with lots of white “stuff” oozing out. Only skimmed milk for breakfast - tasteless. Why no choice? Tours were expensive and not a great experience for me. I went on one that was 5 hours in all, and was squashed on the back seat, in the corner on a 53 seat bus - I couldn’t see anything at all! The tours were very much token “sightseeing” of key things - in a group of up to 53 it is almost impossible to hear what is being said by the tour guide, and the group can only go at the pace of the slowest person (usually with a walking stick) after long toilet breaks. Highly frustrating and unsatisfying. I cancelled the last two I had booked. I would have liked the option of more things to do and be active with e.g. Segway, things that kids would enjoy. Food in the main dining rooms was OK in quality, and I think catered for the tastes of a retired British population. Lots of very old-fashioned British options (e.g. collar of bacon, steak & kidney pudding). Food in the buffet was good, and was themed each evening. Lots of fresh salads, with a wide choice of dressings. I loved the cous-cous. I suspect many of the sauces (e.g. curry variants) were pre-made, jar versions - gloopy with thickener, inauthentic flavours. Edible, though. Daily roast was probably the best option. The entertainment was... uninspiring. The entertainment team didn’t even seem to enjoy it much themselves! We did a picture quiz one night (name the book/album cover) - they whizzed through it so fast, didn’t revisit questions at the end. Seemed keen to get it over and done with. I did bingo a couple of times - minimal explanation, very functional. Assumption was that the audience was regulars... which they probably were! It is much more of an “event” on RCCL ships - I positively look forward to it as a highlight (have “the t-shirt” and branded seal...), even though it is more expensive! The music and shows did nothing for us at all - although we enjoyed Manuel Martinez, the mildly abusive magician! They showed films once or twice a day - would have been good to have had some of them shown more than once. If you were off on a trip and it was during the day, you missed it. Staff in public areas were excellent - we had a “base” in the main atrium, and the staff quickly recognised us, what we drank and how we liked our drinks. Always lovely to be welcomed with a smile by someone who knows your name. I spent quite a lot of time in the Spa having treatments. If you enjoy massage etc worth looking out for their “offer of the day” - typically c. 1 hour for around £70. Great value - especially as their routine treatments are usually £100+. You can book the “offer of the day” for the next day from the previous evening. Didn’t use the gym, sauna or steam room. Didn’t use the shops - extensive range of jewellery, and quite a good range of clothes, snacks etc. But I’m not on a cruise ship to shop! The above are all personal niggles, and I’ve tried to be fair and point out where they really did deliver. Oceana provided exactly what they promised, the issue is that it wasn’t really what I wanted. But that’s not their fault. It was amazing value @ £960 per person for a balcony cabin, including return flight home and £110 each room credit, for 10 days). I wouldn’t go again by choice for me, but I can think of people I know to whom I would absolutely recommend a P&O cruise. Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
We booked this cruise 18 months before departure so have been looking forward to it for some time. As this was a re positioning cruise we were bussed from return airport to Southampton. Everything went well and embarkation was efficient. ... Read More
We booked this cruise 18 months before departure so have been looking forward to it for some time. As this was a re positioning cruise we were bussed from return airport to Southampton. Everything went well and embarkation was efficient. We enjoyed this cruise. The food was good, and we met some good company when freedom dining in restaurant. The ship is in great condition throughout with the exception of Footlights theatre. We found the seating in there uncomfortable, although not too uncomfortable to enjoy shows. The only negative I had issue with was the timing of the shows, first one at 8.30pm and second at 10.30pm. This was an issue for us as in other ships first show starts at approx 7.30pm which allows you to see first show, have dinner in restaurant and then see second show. We mainly ate in restaurant for dinner and had breakfast and lunch in the limited menu Cafe Jardin (no cost for breakfast or lunch). Menu consists of a small buffet and limited served options, which we found more than satisfied us. I have never seen this option on other P&O ships. We do not generally like the buffet option (smash and grab) for our dining, but on the two or three occasions we used the Plaza buffet we were pleasantly surprised. I would say that the Plaza buffet was the best we have experienced on any ship. Initially we thought our cabin on the small side, we soon got used to it and everything was fine. In general we had a great cruise even though the weather was a bit colder than expected. We failed to land at Mykonos due to high winds. We felt that service, food and entertainment were great. Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
We have sailed twice previously on Oceana, once when she was quite new and once when she was looking ready for a re-fit. This time the re-fit had been completed and she was looking fresh with new carpets and furniture; but let down a bit ... Read More
We have sailed twice previously on Oceana, once when she was quite new and once when she was looking ready for a re-fit. This time the re-fit had been completed and she was looking fresh with new carpets and furniture; but let down a bit by not refitting the cabins or doing some general maintenance on things like balcony doors that needed a lot of power to open and were very hard for a woman to operate. But I have digressed a bit and will start with the transfer to Southampton. This cruise was a re-location cruise to Malta and we were transferred quite efficiently by coach from Manchester Airport to Southampton. Booking in and embarking the ship was one of the quickest we have experienced from Southampton, and as an added bonus the cases were waiting when we got to our cabin. The main thing we noticed was the pungent smell in the cabin, which we soon pinpointed to the shower curtain; why they dont just change them as a matter of course each cruise is beyond me. We were on fist dining in the MDR as it suits us due to medication issues, the food was always of good standard and served by a great team. The buffet was of similar quality and the midnight snacks and hot chocolate were also very good. The midnight buffet was a great place for a chat with the staff and wind down before bed. Entertainment in the theatre was some of the best standard I have seen for a while, and the entertainment in the bars were also good; just wish they didn't have to disrupt musicians with quizzes. Disembarking went well and we were transferred to Malta, not a long wait and back home. Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
We chose this ship because it was calling at ports that we had not visited before. The ship is tired and is really ready for it's refit at the end of the year. It was cold on board and people complained to reception. In the ... Read More
We chose this ship because it was calling at ports that we had not visited before. The ship is tired and is really ready for it's refit at the end of the year. It was cold on board and people complained to reception. In the evening the selection of food in the Plaza buffet was not very extensive and also lacked variety, however, the staff were excellent, we couldn't fault them. If, like me you are disabled and cannot get up and down stairs then this is not the ship for you because, if any of the ports on your cruise are tendered you will not be able to get to the tender platform. I was told there was not a lift that would take me from deck 4 down to deck 3 to get to the tender, so I was unable to go ashore. This is the only ship that I have encountered this problem . As this was our first cruise on Oceana, we gave them the information needed regarding my disability and needs when we booked but no-one advised me regarding the tendering situation of this ship. We are having to cancel another cruise booked on this ship in August/September because of this problem. Disembarking was excellent and the accessible shuttle buses were brilliant. Read Less
Sail Date March 2017
This was our first cruise with P&O having previously cruised with Royal Caribbean, celebrity, NCL and Thomson. We didn't read the reviews until after we had booked it and once I saw them I was expecting very little. The cruise ... Read More
This was our first cruise with P&O having previously cruised with Royal Caribbean, celebrity, NCL and Thomson. We didn't read the reviews until after we had booked it and once I saw them I was expecting very little. The cruise was a 10 day repositioning cruise from Southampton to Genoa, stopping at Lisbon, Gibraltar, Barcelona, Cannes, Marseille and Livorno. Embarkation was the best I have ever experienced, the coach picked us up at Manchester airport where we were flying back to, and the check in was quick and easy. Unfortunately the sail out and the following 36 hours were very rocky due to storm Katie and then the bay of biscay. But the captain was fantastic constantly reassuring people, although from what I heard the water got quite high and some of the balconies were affected. The cabin was immaculate we had an inside and there was plenty of space for the 3 of us. The ships is generally in good condition, there are a few rust patches on the outside but you can't see them while on the ship and the places where the rust was would be impossible the reach unless you wanted to seriously injure yourself. The inside of the ship was immaculate and beautiful, plenty of shops to walk round (including a Pandora stand in the main shop with a very good range of charms). Staff were all very friendly and nothing was too much trouble for them. The entertainment was pretty rubbish, there was very little during the day and whilst there were a few good shows at night the rest of it seemed to be playing music or dance lessons and the cruise director really was none existent, whereas with other companies they are fantastic and outgoing he seemed to only appear when absolutely necessary, so that was a bit of a let down. The food was overall good. The only 2 let downs for me were chilli sausages for breakfast!!!! And 3 currys and not much else in the buffet for lunch and dinner. The food was always hot and very good quality. The ports were very good, although the weather in some of them weren't the best but that couldn't be helped. Gibraltar was my favourite. Disembarkation couldn't have been easier, they took our cases the night before and we didn't see them again until we got back to Manchester and everything was very organised. Overall we had a fantastic holiday aside from the lack of entertainment and would definitely cruise on this ship again and with P&O. I would also recommend it to others. Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
I Suppose you get what you pay for. Our experience of cruising is limited and entirely related to late booking saver fares involving allocated interior cabins. Presumably, any responses to complaints (and any sympathy) is likely to be ... Read More
I Suppose you get what you pay for. Our experience of cruising is limited and entirely related to late booking saver fares involving allocated interior cabins. Presumably, any responses to complaints (and any sympathy) is likely to be viewed on that basis. However, our previous two cruises were with Cunard (QM2 and QV) on these arrangements and we would rate both of these as excellent. These cruises are, therefore, our benchmark and we approached our first P&O cruise expecting something similar (we paid slightly more, on a per day basis, than on the Cunard cruises). Firstly, there were some positives. The Oceana is a comfortable, clean and generally attractive ship, comparable, in many ways, to the Cunard QV. The embarkation procedures were highly efficient and the allocated cabin was exactly what we expected. The Cabin steward was a smiling, friendly and efficient young man on his first cruise. The itinerary was attractive and the weather was fine. The staff was generally polite and friendly and the entertainment was generally very good (Vernon Lewis was outstanding). A major problem became apparent on the first night. The allocated cabin was on Deck 6 below the Yacht & Compass pub which featured live music until 12.15am. This was apparent in the loud transmission of bass sounds (you know what I mean – you can’t hear the music – just a continuous thumping sound). This drowned out the television and made any attempt at sleep impossible – we are early risers and prefer to be in bed and asleep by before 11pm. We naturally complained but with little result – apparently no other cabins were available although we were offered an upgrade, for around £400, but with no guarantee of peace and quiet. Anyway, the P&O representative assured us that it would not occur every night (it did!). Thus we were obliged to keep out of the cabin until after midnight, going to the late shows and amusing ourselves in the ship until then. The other major disappointment was the food. We were allocated to Freedom dining which generally worked well apart from a chaotic evening when other passengers boarded at Genoa – we abandoned the long queues that evening and ate (I hesitate to say dined !) in the Plaza buffet. The food in the Ligurian restaurant was pretty standard fare for the first few nights then appeared to deteriorate rapidly until some of the food toward the end of the 17 day cruise can only fairly be described as awful. Examples were two chicken dishes consisting mainly of chicken wings and skin, lobster consisting of shell with virtually nothing in it and a desert (Bananas Foster) which seemed like tasteless black substance with a few flakes of pastry and a little syrup. The omnipresent curry dishes were virtually all the same flavour (the naan bread was like rubber) and the Wednesday breakfast special, kedgeree, turned out be a curry with a few egg slices in it. Fine dining? I don’t think so! The service in the restaurant also deteriorated with menus being snatched away and obvious signs of impatience when making selections from usually quite unattractive menus. The Plaza buffet was best avoided most of the time, particular to avoid that small, but growing, number of cruise passengers who have never been introduced to any concept of good manners and respect for other people. This group, of course, ignored all dress codes and, presumably because of political correctness, these were not enforced. In contrast, the great majority of the many children embarking in Genoa were well dressed and extremely well behaved and a credit to their parents. We were informed by a fellow passenger that a lot of the problems could be attributed to a transfer of experienced staff to the new Britannia. Certainly many of the dining room staff seemed awkward and poorly trained and the attitude of the reception staff could be much improved. Well, as we say, you probably get what you pay for and cruising is generally quite attractively priced. We largely enjoyed it because it is always our intention to do so - concentrate on the good points and try to live with the bad. Every cloud has a silver lining – weight gain (for two) after the last Cunard cruise was 11lbs whereas we lost 2lbs during this one. We never say never but a further cruise on P&O in highly unlikely unless there is no realistic alternative. Read Less
Sail Date March 2015
We had a wonderful cruise on Oceana and enjoyed our time on the ship and the different ports of call: Lisbon Cadiz Gibralta Barcelona Cannes Livorno Genoa, back to Livorno Naples Dubrovnic and overnight in Venice. Cabin good, food good, ... Read More
We had a wonderful cruise on Oceana and enjoyed our time on the ship and the different ports of call: Lisbon Cadiz Gibralta Barcelona Cannes Livorno Genoa, back to Livorno Naples Dubrovnic and overnight in Venice. Cabin good, food good, entertainment good. Weather was perfect apart from showers in the afternoon in Naples. Sail in to Venice with a very good commentary was wonderful. Our only complaint and it was a big one: Lack of communication regarding transfer back to Southampton from Gatwick. We booked online following an email about the cruise and checked to see how we would get back to Southampton from Gatwick. No problem, there would be a coach transfer. No there wasn't! We only found out by talking to someone at dinner (freedom dinning is great) We asked at reception about a coach and were passed to future cruise desk. The lady didn't know but said she would look into it and to come back next day. When we returned the next day we were told by a very smug man Lee Mudkins that there wasn't a coach and that their contract with us ended at Gatwick, end of story, however he knew straight away the cost of a taxi £150. No help, advice, assistance given whatsoever. We were not the only ones in this position and one poor lady only found out as we disembarded. Poor show P & O. Lesson learned....phone and check everything! We eventually got back to Southampton at just gone 11pm and I cannot praise the parking people at "Meet and Greet" enough. After we phoned them to say we would be arriving at Southampton Central Station at gone 11pm the lady said not to worry they would bring the car to us at the station. They saved us a taxi trip to the port. Well done Meet and Greet. To rub salt into the wounds...people had phone calls or emails to say that they could leave their cars at Gatwick and a shuttle would be there to take them to Southampton. We didn't get a phone call or email. It would have been much easier for us to park at Gatwick which is 2 hours drive from us and we had to pass it on our way to Southampton. As it was a four hour drive to get home and it was so late getting to Southampton we spent the night in a Hotel and drove home next day. Read Less
Sail Date March 2015
Oceana to Caribbean, January 2014 Thursday 2 Jan 7°C SW Force 3 What a difference a day makes – after yesterday’s floods and rain the day dawned bright and clear and I woke in time to watch Oceana sail in from Amsterdam. Our ... Read More
Oceana to Caribbean, January 2014 Thursday 2 Jan 7°C SW Force 3 What a difference a day makes – after yesterday’s floods and rain the day dawned bright and clear and I woke in time to watch Oceana sail in from Amsterdam. Our driver was picking us up at 11am and he was, as always, bang on time. We had a lot of luggage for 28 days so he did well to fit it all in. At Mayflower terminal I found a porter and we were directed to the priority check-in. By 12.15 we were on board and eating the Peninsular lunch in the Ligurian Restaurant at a table for two by the window and with a glass of wine and two glasses of champagne inside us. We then dumped our hand luggage in our cabin and set off to explore a little. I was familiar with Oceana, but my friend not so much. Our luggage had still not arrived when we returned later so we each went on a hunt. Gradually we found everything but not until around 4pm and from all corners and sides of the deck! It took ages to unpack and find out how to store everything but we made it eventually by which time it was Muster Drill. Our station for Cabin C620 was Starlights. Muster over, we headed up to Deck 14 as we had discovered that Oceana was getting a firework send off, like Queen Victoria, also in Southampton and about to leave on her world cruise. We set sail, firstly passing Boudicca in full throes of a deck muster drill and then Queen Victoria, with whom we exchanged whistles. As we neared Dock Head, there was a fabulous 8 minute firework display from a barge. By then we were frozen so after a mulled wine on deck we headed back to the cabin for a nap before changing and going into dinner. We watched the show then went to bed. The captain, Andrew Willard, had warned us of a bumpy ride for the first few days, but we expected that and prepared accordingly – taking precautionary seasick tablets and securing everything in the cabin. Friday 3 January – At Sea 11°C SW Force 10 It was a very rough night with lots of bangs, clatters and general lurching. We got up about 8.30 and had a light breakfast in Café Jardin as the Plaza Buffet, spa and shops were all closed until further notice due to the weather. My friend went off to a talk and I ran some errands – such as booking myself on the Behind-the-Scenes tour – if it goes ahead. My friend and I met up at the Travelling Alone meet, which was well attended – mostly women as usual though. We seem to have a large number of Entertainment Officers on this cruise but then it is for 28 nights. As it approached lunchtime there was an announcement that the Plaza Buffet would remain closed due to the increased bounciness of the seas. It was becoming very difficult to move around and during the meet we had to grab at our cups to stop them sliding onto the floor. We tried to go to Café Jardin for lunch but there was a wait list so headed to the Adriatic Restaurant after which I returned to the cabin for a snooze and to start my blog. My friend and I met up again about 4pm in the atrium and went to the Individual Quiz. I got 16/20 - the winner got 18! Then it was time to return to the cabin to change for dinner. We had time for a quick drink before dinner. No-one on our table was there at first and then one turned up. Her husband, and presumably the other couple, was ill. That was when we discovered that dinner had been moved to 8.15 (and 6.15) for the full cruise rather than the usual 8.30!! Of course we hadn’t bothered to look at meal times!! After dinner we went to the Syndicate Quiz which had been moved down to the card room as The Plaza was still closed. We came second! Saturday 4 Jan - At Sea 12°C NW Force 9 It was an even worse night with bangs, knocks and things falling over everywhere! I got very little sleep between the noises and sliding up and down the bed. The wardrobe doors kept flying open until I jammed them with a flannel – it then sounded just like a man trying to escape from the wardrobe! We got up about 8.30 and had breakfast in Café Jardin before going to the talk on Ocean Liners. We were directed to the Ligurian Restaurant for lunch where a buffet had been set up. We went for a walk and some fresh air on Deck 12 briefly before trying the film – couldn’t understand the plot and too noisy so returned to cabin until Individual Quiz – 10/20! At Midday we exited the Bay of Biscay and sailed out into the Atlantic. After dinner we won first prize at the Syndicate Quiz! A bottle of red wine. Sunday 5 Jan – At Sea 17°C SW Force 6 Rose about 9am and had breakfast in Café Jardin. After the solos coffee morning, My friend went to the church service, while I went to my first game of Shuffleboard – where I was useless! It was finally calm and warm enough to sit out on promenade deck so changed into skirt and t-shirt and did just that. I met up with my friend for lunch which we had in The Plaza which was now finally open. That night was our first formal night and the Captain’s Welcome Party, postponed due to the weather. We were browsing the shops when I spotted the captain and said hello.. He then invited us to drinks with him so we had a delightful hour chatting about ships etc before he had to leave for the late sitting party. We wandered into the party and got more drinks. Dinner of lobster then Syndicate Quiz but not very good tonight. I have to say the food is excellent so far – good choices and good quality – far better than on QM2 last month IMO. Mon 6 Jan – Madeira. 18°C SW Force 5 Woke up at 7pm as we saw on the TV that we were nearing Funchal so got dressed and up on deck to see us sail in. Aida Stella was already berthed and Thomson Celebration just berthing ahead of us. We slipped in behind her. After a quick breakfast we headed ashore. The shuttle dropped us in the street behind the usual one. As we walked along towards the church, we saw lots of Christmas decorations and a small Xmas Market. There was a spectacular nearly-life-size nativity scene and an International Village set up with a small petting zoo behind. After a chat and cuddle with a sheep!, we went into the church with another spectacular nativity. Then we headed back towards the Hoho bus stop and boarded the Red Tour bus which took us along through the town, up to the lower slopes of the mountain and along to the fishing village of Camara de Lobos where we got off for a wander. It was very pretty. Half an hour later we got back on and returned to Funchal. We then walked along to Blandy’s for a free tasting of Madeira wine courtesy of the Hoho bus. There was just time for an icecream before heading back to the ship. As we were a little late getting clearance in the morning (due to Aida Stella faffing about berthing) the captain had given us an extra hour ashore. As we returned some deck officers were hauling in a rope – apparently we broke three mooring ropes over the day due to the swell – and they wanted it clear of our thrusters. A quick sandwich in the Plaza and it was time to go out for sailaway. In the far distance Aida Bleu was arriving early. Semi-formal tonight so got ready and had a flutter in the Casino – lost! Then met My friend in Magnums for a pre-dinner cocktail, followed by dinner and the quiz. Clocks go back one hour tonight. Tuesday 7 Jan – At Sea 18° NW Force 6 Today we start the long Atlantic crossing along the Great Circle Route. I woke to the promise of a nice day although the night had been bouncy again. Got up at 8.30 and breakfasted in Café Jardin before my friend went off to play quoits and I went to Oceana Uncovered. Sat in the sun for a while before lunch in Café Jardin and then finding a chair on the prom deck and sunbathing all afternoon. The wind was chilly but the sun warm and I got a slightly scorched neck. Went to individual quiz and then to cabin to change for second formal night. After dinner I went to the show – Maurice Grumbleweed while my friend did the quiz. This is the problem with second sitting – you either choose the show or the quiz but cannot do both unless they put on a 7pm show. And no – we are not keen on Freedom dining. Wed 8 Jan – At Sea 18° N Force 7 Another lazy day. Got up at 8.30, had breakfast in The Plaza and went to solos meet briefly before shuffleboard. Got as far as semi-finals before losing again! We had lunch outdoors before finding a chair on the prom deck in the sun. We did the individual quiz then back to the cabin to prepare for another semi-formal night. We had a cocktail in Magnums – my new favourite is a Mai Tai, then dinner. One of the others had managed to get our table moved from the pokey corner to one in the middle of the restaurant where it was less draughty. After dinner we did the Syndicate Quiz where we came second again. The clocks go back another hour tonight. Thursday 9 Jan – At Sea 21° NE Force 4 Got up at 8.00 and had breakfast alone in Plaza as my friend wanted to wash her hair. We met up for the solos coffee where I stayed until 10.30. It was one of the four Baltic tier Lunches today – Salmon & crab starter, Potato Gnocchi, peanut butter dessert, champagne, wine and coffee. We were on a table for 8 with Emma Jane Hodges, Passenger Services Manager. Conversation was lively and interesting. After lunch we changed and went to the prom deck. The temperatures are increasing nicely but it was cloudy all day. We came in about 5pm before getting ready for another formal night. All this food and sea air makes me very tired! We skipped the quiz to watch the flautist, Jonathan Johnston, after dinner –he was excellent. Friday 10 Jan – At Sea 22° NE Force 3 Finally some real tropical weather – sun! I managed to sunbathe, either on prom deck or Deck 12, all day. Saturday 11 Jan – at sea Got up at 7.30 to get ready and have breakfast before my tour behind the scenes. We had to sign a waiver form and wear closed flat shoes and trousers. We started in the theatre, moving to the dressing rooms, forward mooring deck where we had a chat from the deputy captain, engine control room, stores manager with chill and frozen store rooms, print room, waste disposal, photo lab (passing crew office), and galleys where the exec chef and F&B manager spoke with us. Then it was orange juice and chocolates/cakes/pastries in a corner of the dining room before making our way up to the bridge where the captain explained the electronic charts, navigation equipment and steering controls. Then champagne and canapés in his lounge. Afterwards I went to change and sit in the sun for a bit. On my bed was a small badge, apron and letter offering free photo all from the tour. We had a late lunch outdoors, then more sunbathing. Since I work indoors all week, I love to be outdoors as much as possible on holiday. Clocks go back another hour tonight. Sunday 12 Jan – At Sea 25°C E Force 5 Our last day at sea before Barbados. I got up early to sit out on deck before it got too hot. Found a steamer chair on the prom and sat/dozed for two hours. I went to have a late breakfast and then went up to Deck 12 where it was sunnier and sat and read. At around noon I returned to the cabin where my friend joined me and we headed for a light lunch in the Plaza, then back to the prom deck for some sunbathing. It is our first casual night – thank heavens! We won the Syndicate Quiz then went bed as have to be up early tomorrow. Clocks go back our last hour tonight. Monday 13 Jan – Barbados 28° E Force 4 We were up early to watch the two other ships in port – Emerald Princess and Celebrity Summit. Then down for a quick breakfast and a walk up the dockside to the cruise terminal to hand over a copy of my latest book to the port agents. Kindly they had asked us to be their guests on the Coast to Coast tour. We started by leaving Bridgetown up Sandy Lane and had a full tour of the island. At the Highland Centre we were given a Rum Punch while we took in the stunning views. I saw lots of birds including a small black bird – Carib Grackle - that tweeted constantly. Tour guide Owen was great and very amusing. We next stopped at St John’s Church to see inside etc. I bought a carved wooden bird from a Rastafarian carver. Back in the terminal we browsed the duty free shops. Tuesday 14 Jan – St Lucia 26° E Force 3 We had booked on Spencer Ambrose’s Land & Sea Tour leaving at 8.30 so were up early to watch us dock. Right behind us were Celebrity Summit and Silver Spirit. We berthed on the other side of the dock from where Oriana did last year. We walked out through the duty free shops to see a girl holding a sign saying Spencer as promised. We were taken through a craft market area just being set up, to await a water taxi over to where Celebrity Summit was and our two tour companions. Here was my first inkling of a potential problem – getting on and off small boats! I was told to just step on and hold the drivers hand! It wasn’t too difficult or scary! Over on the other side, having had to step up on the seats to get off and onto the jetty, we were introduced to our guide David and taken out to the silver people carrier for our land part of the tour. We set off through Castries, seeing a 450 old yew of “Massav” tree in Derek Walcott Square. The opposite side was the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception. Then we set off up through the mountainous roads and rain forest. As we climbed the rain began which somewhat obscured the views but it was still an interesting drive up to the Morne Fortune Overlook. Carrying on along the coast past banana plantations, we drove through the quaint fishing villages of Anse La Raye and Canaries. The latter was the fishing village where the heavy rain on Christmas Eve had destroyed a bridge and flooded homes. We then drove through Soufriere to the drive-in volcano with steam and sulphur gases rising from the rock and water boiling in pools and then to the Toraille Waterfall dropping 50 feet down to a small pool where people were bathing. Lunch was at a tiny roadside restaurant where a buffet was laid out with jerk chicken and various salads, washing down with Piton beer. Then we drove back down to Soufriere to board a boat to take us to Jalousie beach where we had an hour or more to enjoy the white sand, sun and turquoise water. Getting in the boat this time was a major struggle, as was getting out again. I have one partial knee replacement and one severely arthritic knee – it doesn’t bend that much! So being told to sit on a low beam and swing my legs over and slide into the board was a non-starter! However the boat guys soon worked out a solution for me – scary in the extreme but it worked. I just had to trust they wouldn’t let go or drop me!! Getting off again at Jalousie Beach required two pulling me up and one pushing from behind! Not elegant or dignified but it worked. On the beach were some sunbeds for Spencer’s Tour people as well as free drinks - the rum punch was good –and strong. An hour and a half later a motor boat came to pick us up – another nightmare to board but so worth it for the ride back at speed! We cruised around the base of the Petit Piton, to the Bat Cave, home to thousands of "Fisherman Bats" , then to Marigot Bay, one of the most beautiful bays in the Caribbean! Marigot Bay is also a safe harbor during hurricanes and was the location of the 1966 movie Dr. Doolittle staring Rex Harrison. Overlooking Marigot Bay were homes from celebrities such as Mick Jagger and Sophia Loren. Just before arriving in Castries, we stopped at the Natural Bridge featured in the movie Pirates of the Caribbean. This unique rock formation is also known as the "tunnel of love" or the "lady's slipper." Then back to Castries. We dropped off the people from Celebrity Summit and the boat took us back to the main port beside Oceana. We each got a hug from Spencer as we disembarked and then headed into the duty free terminal again ;) Back on the ship we just had time (it was then nearly 6pm – back on board time) to dump stuff and get on deck for sailaway. After a shower and changing – time for dinner after which I headed for bed – it was a great day. Wednesday 15 Jan – St Kitts 26°C E Force 5 We had booked the St Kitts Railway and cruise excursion so had to assemble on the dockside at 8.10. Each bus took one carriage load so was very well organised. Those of us doing the cruise as well as the train had wristbands so it was easy to separate us out. We drove through Basseterre to the station past industrial estates and new roads. The port area was pretty with small coloured buildings with the usual jewellery shops and rum shacks. We boarded the small two-storey carriages - No 4 for us. The downstairs had small wicker chairs and tables with bar and toilets, upstairs were banked seating down both sides. We set off through beautiful green countryside. It was an interesting trip and the weather perfect. We travelled through lush countryside, past old sugar mills, villages, over high bridges with views of the coast. It took around 2 hours. We were served with rum punch and sugar cake. At the end, we left the train and drove to a small jetty to board the catamaran. We had to remove all our shoes and put them into boxes and step over onto the boat. It was a lovely motor back (the wind was wrong to sail), sitting soaking up the sunshine and drinking Carib beer or rum punch. Back at the terminal, My friend and I wandered through the small shopping area. I was back on board at 2.30 and soon sunning myself on deck. Thursday 16 Jan – Guadeloupe 25°C E Force 3 We arrived around 8am and were off the ship by 8.10 ready for our tour to Parc des Mamelles. I was surprised how different this French Island appeared against the others on this cruise. Lots of run-down areas against modern newly-built parts. At the Parc we followed a one-way trail of wooden walkways, and a free-hanging bridge! Animals were in compounds but it wasn’t like a zoo and birds freely flew around the rainforest trees. There were parrots, racoons, tortoises, turtles, iguanas etc. At the entrance/exit I stood and photographed the hummingbirds feeding at a feeder there. We all had a fruit punch and then drove to a waterfall – the Cascade des Ecrivisses. As we arrived there was a downpour, but we donned our rain jackets and walked the short distance to the falls. The rain amongst the leaves was very soothing. Back in Pointe a Pitre, we walked around the market by the ship where I bought a carved wooden hummingbird for 8 Euros. Then we walked into town – very run down and people a bit grim – they all asked for money (we think – I couldn’t understand them at all) for photographing them. After the vegetable market etc we headed back to the ship. It was very hot and not a lot to see. An excursion is a must in this port IMO. There was an announcement from the captain just before departure that he would be leaving us tomorrow and Simon Terry taking! He also officially announced the re-branding of P&O Cruises. After sailaway we went down to wash hair and change. Had cocktail in Tiffanys before going into dinner. After dinner we went to the Syndicate Quiz and came joint second! Friday 17 January – St Maarten 25°C E Force 3 Arrived out on deck to see Celebrity Eclipse already docked. Azura was just arriving followed by Adventure of the Seas and finally Pacific Princess who berthed behind us. This was the only other port we had booked a private tour so we walked off the ship to the Tourist Information Centre by 8.45pm as requested. A despatcher met us and asked us to wait with a lovely American couple from Celebrity Eclipse. Our guide and driver, Jose, met us and walked us to a minibus which already had three other couples in – it was a very tight squeeze to get between the seats – I MUST lose weight! We drove through Phillipsburg up to a viewpoint where we had views over the town – and a spectacular rainbow! Then we drove through the countryside to the French part of the island and Marigot where we had an hour free time. Unfortunately as we got there the heavens opened and barely stopped the whole time. I contented myself with some delicious cashew nuts from a street vendor. Next was Orient Beach, dropping my friend and I off at a butterfly farm first. The compound was filled with beautiful butterflies and moths, plus Bruno, the ex-feral cat, who allowed me to cuddle him! As I sat with him, Bananaquits and humming birds were feeding. Half an hour later Jose came back to collect us and take us to the beach where we had 45 minutes to paddle etc. The beach was right next to a nudist one so be warned! Back on the bus we had a free Carib beer and returned to Phillipsburg. We pottered round the duty free area, then my friend stayed ashore and I returned to the ship and sat on deck watching Celebrity Eclipse. First dozens of motorcyclists turned up hooting etc and then drove onto the ship, then Customs arrived and took off someone in handcuffs, then they were delayed half an hour to evacuate a medical emergency. We were staying here until midnight to give crew time to meet up with Azura friends. They left at 10pm to much shouting and waving etc. Pacific Princess left at 5pm, revving one engine for ages with the mooring lines still attached. Saturday 18 January – Tortola 27°C SE Force 4 Woke to a beautiful morning. Azura soon joined us here as well. We had no tours booked today thank goodness so a leisurely breakfast. My friend did a $20 Island tour as it was her first time here while I just wandered ashore. Road Town is not that pretty a place and shops few and far between. I had a rum punch in Pussers Outpost. As I was alone I was rather curtly asked to move from my table for 6 where I had hoped some people might join me to a corner table out of the way! I was not happy about this at all! I slowly made my way back to the ship and sunbathed the rest of the day, with Frigate birds, Boobys and Pelicans flying periodically overhead. My friend joined me later and we moved as Azura was blocking the sun. Then someone spotted dolphins in the bay and we stood and watched spectacular acrobatics from them for over half an hour! I finally got some reasonable photos of them too. Then to cabin to wash hair and shower – bit sunburnt! Sunday 21 January – St Barts 26°C E Force 4 This was our only anchor port and as we were doing our own thing, there was no rush to disembark. We had breakfast and then picked up boat tickets – No 19. We headed down to deck 5 to drop off our mid-cruise questionnaire and then our boat was called so went down to the tender platform on Deck 4. It was quite a long ride- about 20 mins – to the shore where we set off round the pretty harbour. The harbour, or marina, was lined with very expensive yachts! The few shops, closed as it was Sunday, matched the yachts – Bulgari, Dior, Cartier etc. After a stroll round to the end, pausing to peep in the Anglican Church, we walked down a narrow road to Shell Beach. This was small but very pretty, with turquoise water and waves crashing on what were literally thousands of shells. Obviously a “young” beach where the shells had not yet been ground down into sand. Declining to pay 40 Euros for two sunbeds and one umbrella, we headed for some rocks at the end where we were able to sit and paddle as each wave came in. It was hot, sunny and perfect. After a while, we went to the beach café/bar and I had a Carib Beer (I love the local beers). Drying our feet and getting rid of as much sand as possible, we strolled back round the harbour, pausing to watch and photograph some Brown Pelicans diving for fish. Back at the jetty there was a queue so we wandered up a bit further to take photos of Oceana at anchor, then caught the tender back to the ship. We stayed on deck in the afternoon and evening sunshine until we sailed at around 7pm (last tender was 6pm). Back in the cabin we showered and changed for dinner and pre-dinner cocktails in Magnums. Bar steward Anthony remembered we didn’t much like the very spicy nibbles and dashed to Tiffanys to get us some nicer ones! Definitely worthy of a Cruise Award! Monday 22nd January – Antigua 26°C E Force 3 My friend and I had booked different trips here as it was my second time in Antigua. My tour to Nelson’s Dockyard didn’t leave until 10am so another leisurely breakfast. I was up on deck however at 7am to watch the other ships arrive – Mein Schiff 2, Celebrity Eclipse and MSC Musica, although the latter didn’t arrive until 2pm. Mein Schiff was already in the harbour as we arrived. It seemed stationary as we slowly advanced and then passed her, berthing at the best spot next to the main dock gate. She then sailed out of the harbour and away again! A mystery! It later turned out that her captain wasn’t happy with the depth of water at the berth he had been allocated! Celebrity Eclipse was next to arrive and berthed on our starboard side. I missed Musica’s arrival. As the time for the tour approached I headed down onto the dockside where we were made to stand two by two and then walked to our small coach. We drove out through St John’s to Nelson’s Dockyard where after a short guided tour we had two hours free time and a free rum punch - 150% proof! I bought a delicious coconut cake in the Bakery for a bargain $1.55 considering the size and style of the yachts in the harbour! It helped soak up some of the rum! Drove back at 1pm and arrived back at the port to see MSC Musica had arrived and berthed next to us. My friend met me at the bus and we roamed the port area, both Duty Free and outside a little. We went back to Oceana at 4.30 – it was a 5pm back on board time – in my head it was 6pm so just as well I was with her! After sailaway we stayed on deck for a while savouring our last Caribbean port – then to wash and change for first semi-formal night for days! Tuesday 21 January- At Sea 24°C SE Force 5 Bliss – a long lie-in and leisurely day although today marks the start of our long return passage. I really needed this to recharge my batteries. The weather was still hot and sunny so stayed on deck all day – eating at the deck barbeque – watching the flying fish. Some people saw a whale breach close to the ship – but I missed it. Syndicate Quiz after dinner – then bed as clocks went forward an hour – we are certainly now homeward bound! Wednesday 22 January – At Sea 24°C SE Force 5 After a showery start to the day the sun came out and once again it was sitting (and dozing) on deck weather. We had lunch in the Plaza. Deck again after lunch, where we spent ages photographing flying fish. Then the sun went and there were some heavy showers again so went to cabin to paint nails etc ready for our first formal night for ages and the Peninsular Party. I looked up at the bridgecam at one point to see fabulous rainbow. Thursday 23 January – at sea 21°C SE Force 4 Lie in again and then to the Macmillan coffee morning. We had better coffee and a delicious cup cake for a donation to the fund. The Captain and new EP were there as were a few other officers and all the Entertainment Staff. Afterwards I sat on deck in the sun but it kept disappearing and eventually there was a heavy rain shower so had lunch and went to the cabin. Sorted out washing and spent a miserable hour and a half in launderette. Wash was OK as I could leave it and just go back in 35 minutes, but couldn’t get dryer so tried on upper decks. Eventually got one and put laundry in but it was still damp after 40 minutes so I draped it all over the cabin. Eventually had another go at 5pm and ironed T-shirts. Still had suncream marks on though so whole exercise was pointless! Never again!! Got ready for the early show at 7pm – Fogwell Flax. Friday 24 January – at sea 19°C E Force 5 Another lazy day. It was still hot enough to sunbathe as long as you found a spot out of the wind. It is definitely getting colder though and preparing us for our return on 30th January. Pretty sure I saw two whale spouts in the distance. Saturday 25 January – at sea 17°C SE Force 4 Weather now colder by around 2 degrees a day – it was dry all day though apart from a few short showers. I still managed to sit out wearing a fleece and watching for whales. The sea was incredibly calm but no whales that I saw. Changed for formal night and special Burns Night dinner where the haggis was duly piped in and addressed. After dinner we watched the Burns Night Ball for a bit but no one asked us to dance so we went to the Quiz! Sunday 26 January – Ponta Delgada 16°C NW Force 4 My friend and I were up on deck at 6.30 as we approached the island of San Miguel and the bridge announced a school of dolphins. I opened the deck door just as a dolphin leaped out of the water in front of me. There were many others too. The weather was bright and promised a nice day. There was an eerie musical sound – presumably the wind whistling through the mooring deck via the anchor hause pipes! Our tour didn’t leave till 1pm so we went ashore to explore Ponta Delaga for an hour and a half. It is a typical Portuguese town of white and dark brown/grey buildings. There was a pretty square with a beautiful church at one corner. We found a craft/antique shop and bought a couple of souvenirs and tried for free Wi-Fi, before heading back towards the ship. On the ship I grabbed my mac (just in case) and went back ashore to board our coach. My friend joined me soon after. Our tour took us through the lush green pasture land and small villages to the Crater Lakes – two blue and green lakes in the crater of an extinct volcano. The views were stunning. Then we drove to a spot where you could see both north and south shores of the island of San Miguel, before a Pineapple Plantation and botanic garden. Very poor guide however, with heavy accent and not a lot of information. We were on deck for our final sailaway after which we changed for casual night. After dinner I went to see opera singer Ben Makisi who was excellent. Monday 27 January – at sea 13°C NW Force 5/6 A pretty lazy day –I read out on the prom deck, well wrapped up in heavy winter coat. After lunch in the Plaza we browsed the shops. The captain came on to say the weather was deteriorating though and by tomorrow would be heavy seas again. Semi-formal night so changed and had cocktails before dinner, Crew Show and bed at 1pm as clocks went forward for last time. Tuesday 28 January – At Sea It started to get bouncy again last night and we had to ensure everything was well secured. We didn’t brave the Plaza, preferring breakfast in Café Jardin before going back to the cabin to pack a few more things and rest. It was getting worse and worse. We had lunch in the Ligurian Restaurant as we didn’t want to go any higher in the ship. At one point there was a huge lurch/wave and crockery smashed all around us, My friend and I getting wet from a water glass. I went to the art sale and then back to the cabin until the talk between Nigel Travis CD and Captain Simon Terry. There was a show by a Freddie Mercury tribute at 7pm so we changed and got ready and came back to Starlights before our final Gala Dinner and Baked Alaska parade. Several times we had to clutch at our food and glasses as the ship ploughed on through the heavy seas. On the next table a man in a white dj got soaked with red wine! Am thoroughly bored with heavy seas now! Wednesday 29th – At Sea Our final day – I cannot believe the cruise is nearly over after looking forward to it for so long. After breakfast in the Plaza – now just about manageable – we got our cases out from under the bed and started to pack properly. We attended the final Travelling Alone meet and had a light lunch – again in the Plaza – of a cheese roll. At Teatime however we succumbed to afternoon tea in the restaurant – as it was our last day! I got all but one of my cases out before dinner. Final Syndicate Quiz – we were joint 2nd. Thursday 30 January – Southampton Despite the weather issues, we arrived on time. We had priority disembarkation so could leave whenever we liked. My friend and I had breakfast separately and then met in the cabin at 8am to check everything and go to the Adriatic Restaurant. After a while we decided to disembark and wait for our car in the terminal – we had returned to Ocean. The cab arrived at 9.30 and I was home by 1pm. Summary A great cruise in the main, despite the awful weather at times. I do love the Caribbean, so much more than I thought I would. The food was, without exception, excellent. Some old favourite have been brought back – crepe suzettes and Baked Alaska both flambéed at the table for example. All main courses came with some vegetables and more were served, but in effect I was eating plated meals as I rarely needed any more. Service was good throughout and I am looking forward to our next P&O cruise in 6 weeks time.   Read Less
Sail Date January 2014
We agreed to join some friends on this cruise from Barbados back to Southampton as we hadn't tried a relocation cruise before with its many days at sea. We were slightly concerned by some of the comments about the ship looking tired ... Read More
We agreed to join some friends on this cruise from Barbados back to Southampton as we hadn't tried a relocation cruise before with its many days at sea. We were slightly concerned by some of the comments about the ship looking tired and in need of a refit but need not have been. It sounded from some of the views to be like a floating shed but honestly there were no threadbare carpets or second rate feel to it but was lovely throughout. Probably the most obvious area is the carpet in The Plaza restaurant area which was stained in many places and needed a deep clean though when it can be done would be difficult as this area is in use about 18 hours a day. Indeed, we thought that this was probably the best designed and run ship we have ever been on.The flight out using Thomson in Premium seating was very good (except they ran out of a choice of meals which is one of the features of Premium) and we arrived at Barbados totally relaxed having had the extra legroom, though the temperature was a bit of a shock having been scraping ice of the windscreen in the morning. Bags went straight to the cabin with no queuing for immigration only an amazingly efficient boarding system and we were onboard in no time and off to find a drink until our cases arrived.We only had an inside cabin but it had plenty of room for us, sparkling clean en-suite and a lovely steward, Grazie. Once I worked out that the corner shelves in the wardrobe folded up, there was plenty of hanging space and so many drawers in the beside cabinet and desk unit that we did not fill them all. The cabin was quiet as far as ship noise was concerned though the air conditioning unit had air flow noise and the thermostat needed to be put up as it was chilly.We would have rated the ship excellent but for the draughty and erratic air conditioning in the public parts of the ship. It tended to blow cold air down on you (one day the lady in front was wearing her NorthFace fleece in the theatre) and this could be in the restaurants or other venues, but another day it would be off and hot. It also seemed to me to be obtrusively noisy in Starlight or Footlights for lecturers and piano concerts so the AC is an aspect that needs attention. Remember that it can be cold and take a wrap.There seemed to be an amazing number of spaces on the ship to sit, not quite all with a bar attached. The library was small, no doubt to make space for the cyberspace area. Deck space was also large and split up into many smaller areas with lots of loungers. Despite some very hot days early on, I never saw all the areas full though there was competition around the central area. This was the area used for the sailaway party which seemed to me was something out of Butlins but I happily accept that it is not my thing and on the ship of its size easily avoided. This brings me to the entertainment. The Headliners, the ships song and dance company of 13 very fit boys and girls performed routines of a good standard and were enjoyable. However, the other cabaret acts were less good. Andre, the comedy magician, had some inappropriate material for the age range in the audience and you can always tell when the audience is not happy with it by the slightly nervous laughter. The age of material was largely ancient - I could not believe he used the gag of a message for Joe who is 111 - Oh no, he's ill. That must be circa 1956. He also used some Tommy Cooper routines eg the wooden duck choosing a card but he does not come near to Tommy Cooper but sounds like Jim Davidson mucking about with old tricks.It did not get better with the singer Rob Linacre. I sat spellbound as to how anyone could be so bad and be paid. It was like watching Adrian Chiles singing with his face screwed up with his eyes like slits with someone holding his privates to get the higher notes - indeed as he tastefully put it "To reach those notes my bum cheeks were so clenched you couldn't get a credit card between them". I couldn't take much of the female singer Jessica Lloyd either though part of that was the sheer volume that was coming at me. The classical pianist Simon Weale was competent and pleasant giving perhaps rather perfunctory performances some of which did not even manage 45mins. The guest lecturers were Professors, one specializing in Conspiracy theories and cover-ups who was good and popular and the other going into the history and structure of crime fiction who was interesting but a minority taste. I did not see Eddie the Eagle's after dinner talk. These are of course only my opinions and to others the acts were obviously popular.The weather stayed generally calm for the crossing and indeed the ship rode well up to the Force 7 we had, though there was more cloud and rain than we hoped. The sea days passed easily and the holiday did what we intended it to be as a relaxing break and back for spring. Read Less
Sail Date March 2011
Oceana was the second cruise ship we sailed on, the first being her sister ship Adonia, which went back to Princess Cruises after a couple of seasons. We have been on Oceana 4 times now. We love the theatre and and the starlights lounge ... Read More
Oceana was the second cruise ship we sailed on, the first being her sister ship Adonia, which went back to Princess Cruises after a couple of seasons. We have been on Oceana 4 times now. We love the theatre and and the starlights lounge on Oceana. The staff always seem happy and friendly. Cabins are smaller than some ships, but perfectly adequate for a 14 night cruise. The public rooms and bars are good, and it is easy to find your way around the ship as you can walk all the way round on most decks. The best feature of the ship is the Atrium, which is much more attractive than on other ships. Overall, plenty of positives and no negatives I can think of. Read Less
Sail Date November 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
Ever since our 1st cruise, we have the cruise bug, having done the Transatlantic to the Caribbean aboard the Oceana, we re-booked for 2009, same cruise, we love it, food, service, entertainment, can't fault it, on the 2009 cruise we ... Read More
Ever since our 1st cruise, we have the cruise bug, having done the Transatlantic to the Caribbean aboard the Oceana, we re-booked for 2009, same cruise, we love it, food, service, entertainment, can't fault it, on the 2009 cruise we met Sue Holderness from the green green grass what a lovely lady had many a conversation with her and photos, she left my mum a letter in her room with a signed photo. We also made friends with Maureen & Billy from Manchester, we happened to get sun loungers next to them everyday! only sorry we never got their address to keep in touch, we did not know what to do for this hol and did not fancy a normal package hol so we have just booked a cruise for December 2011 on the Azura can't wait Ed Stuart and Roy walker were great as were the headliners as usual, sorry we missed the Freddie Mercury tribute as we heard he was great, we went to see Rob Boyd who was also very entertaining. I must add that the staff and the entertainment staff were all very friendly and helpful, they all work extremely hard and for long periods of time, some away from their family's for many months. The waiters in the dining hall the Adriatic in our case, Mario and his team were great, could not do enough for you and were always very friendly, they make your hol that bit more special. Just hope the Azura will be as good, can't wait to try. Read Less
Sail Date October 2009
Transatlantic Crossing - E928 Booking Debbie and I have taken quite a few cruises over the years, with Thomsons, Airtours, NCL, Ocean Village, and P&O, mainly in the Med and to the Caribbean. What should we do this year? Well. we ... Read More
Transatlantic Crossing - E928 Booking Debbie and I have taken quite a few cruises over the years, with Thomsons, Airtours, NCL, Ocean Village, and P&O, mainly in the Med and to the Caribbean. What should we do this year? Well. we have previously completed two transatlantic cruises, one on Airtour's Sunbird (now Thomson Destiny) and the second on P&O's Oceana, and we really enjoy the lazy days at sea, so why not do it again. The next question is who should we cruise with? Should we go with P&O or should we try someone new? So it was time to get the brochures, surf the cruise web sites, and visit Cruise Critic for the reviews and forums. We finally settled on another cruise with P&O, and chose Oceana as we had such a good time on our last cruise. We booked via the internet and got a fairly good deal with a nice amount of on board credit to help pay for our drinks etc. We don't get too hung up on whether we got the cheapest deal after all there can only be one cheapest fare on each cruise! We were happy with what we paid. We requested an inside cabin with second sitting on a table for 8 in the main restaurant. We have always enjoyed formal dining far more than the informal type we experienced on OV. About 3 months before our cruise I e-mailed P&O to book the free coach transfer from Gatwick Airport to Southampton and booked the airport parking. This would allow us to get off the aircraft at Gatwick and drive straight home on our return. Travel and Embarkation Finally, after the normal shopping for posh frocks and all the other essential items for a two week cruise, it was time for the off. We left home early to try to beat any queues on the M25 and arrived at Gatwick ahead of schedule, left the car at airport parking and headed inside the terminal for breakfast. Then it was off to join the queue for the coach transfer to Southampton. This was a little chaotic - no one knew which way we were supposed to queue and no one to ask, so a queue formed both ways from the coach stop. The coaches turned up on time and off we went with only a slight detour due to a crash on the M27. We arrived at the new cruise terminal at Southampton and were surprised at how nice the new terminal was. We were given a coloured boarding ticket and waited for our colour to be called. The embarkation process went like clockwork and before long we were smiling nicely for the photographer as we boarded the ship. First Impressions There were 1982 passengers booked on our cruise and we were told that the ship was more or less full. Oceana can take more passengers but it depends on how many cabins have the third and fourth berths occupied. We found our cabin (D204), freshened up and went up to the Plaza for lunch and a drink. Our first impressions of Oceana are always good - the stunning atrium, the cleanliness, the friendliness of the staff - and today was no exception. Our cases arrived quickly (we hadn't seen them since they were loaded on the coach at Gatwick!), we unpacked and then went off to our first sailaway to the delightful sounds of the Police Brass Band. We cast off from the quay at around 5 pm. Cabin D204 is an inside cabin on D deck (deck 8) It was configured as a twin but can be changed to a queen size if that is what you want. There was enough space for all of our clothes and our suitcases fitted neatly under the beds. The bathroom was of a good size as was the shower, which for me is good as I need a lot of room! The cabin contained all we needed - Fridge, TV, Tea making facilities, Safe, Radio, Hairdryer, Telephone Complementary toiletries and Lifejackets. Although there was no natural light we both find it very comfortable and we tend not to spend too long in the cabin anyway. Our cabin steward was very thorough and anything you requested he provided - for example extra teabags, ice, water, etc. The cabin was cleaned and tidied in the morning and the beds turned down in the evening. Dining We ate in the main Adriatic restaurant every evening and did not try the select dining restaurants. We were very impressed with the quality and service provided by all the team, nothing was too much trouble. There was a good wine selection and we had a mixture of house carafes, and bottles of Rose and Red wine. All were very nice and very reasonably priced in my opinion. We were on a table for eight, three married couples and two sisters. We all got on very well and the conversations flowed nicely. We took our breakfasts in the Plaza most days and sometimes ate out in the sunshine. Again a very good selection was on offer, from cereals, fruit and yogurt through to a full English cooked breakfast if that is what you wanted. Lunch was again a casual affair either at Cafe Jardin or at the Plaza. Cafe Jardin was not a select dining venue during the day and I would recommend it as a quiet, classy place to have lunch. Drinks As mentioned above, I thought the drinks and wine prices were reasonable - pub prices, in my opinion, and without the extra service charge you get on American ships. You would pay far more at an hotel bar. Ports of Call Madeira - we opted for an open top bus tour and a trip to the flower market Antigua - we joined with another couple from our table for a taxi tour of the Island via Shirley Heights and ended up on a nice beach for a couple of hours. A great day! Tortola - The best day yet, we joined another couple from the ship for a day at Cane Garden Bay Beach by taxi. It was $10 per couple each way - not bad. What a beach - fresh coconut pina coladas, dolphins swimming in the bay, pelicans diving for fish, warm sea, and warm sunshine. Wow! St . Maarten - We pre-booked an internet tour with Bernard's Tours which was quite good with stops at the airport beach (it is great to see a jet passing only feet above your head), a trip to the beach, a nature stop to see sea urchins star fish etc, a trip to the capital and market. It was good but we had a bit of waiting about at the start of the day waiting for passengers from other cruise ships. St. Lucia - After shopping at the new cruise terminal we joined a taxi minibus tour to an ecology style walking trail with the chance to try original traditional foods and the odd rum or two! - the tour also stopped at a beach and a market. Barbados - On the morning of our departure we took a short taxi minibus tour via the island capital, the highest point, an old sugar cane factory, a few posh hotels and the Governors house. It was OK but a bit rushed! Days at Sea We found the days at sea very relaxing, there was a full programme of events going on throughout the ship that you could join in with if you wanted to, but there was no one twisting your arm. If you wanted to do nothing or just read you book you could - so we did! We found there to be enough sun beds for those that wanted them. There were busy times and if you went onto the sundecks on a sunny day at 12 noon you probably would struggle to find sun beds where you wanted them. My advice is to get yourselves organised, pick out where you want your sun bed in advance, and amble along there a bit earlier! Debbie went along to the series of talks on "The history of Cruising", which she found extremely interesting. I hit a few golf balls at the regular golf competitions at the golf simulator - chipping, putting and driving - quite good fun now and again. Staff All the staff that we came across on the cruise were polite and smart. Our table waiters and wine waiter were very pleasant and helpful, as was our cabin steward. We often had a drink before dinner at Explorers bar and by the second or third day the waiters knew what we were going to order as we arrived - great service! Entertainment The guest celebrities on board were Ed Stewart, Roy Walker and Sue Holderness. We went to see Sue Holderness give a brief talk which, although interesting in parts, was mainly clips from her TV shows. Roy Walker was quite entertaining with jokes and anecdotes. We went along to see most of the theatre shows which were all high quality and the normal mixture of show songs, tribute style rock songs, and musicals. Disembarkation We stayed on board until our transfer was called to take us to the airport in Barbados. This all went very smoothly and our flight back to Gatwick onboard a Thomas Cook aircraft went without hitch. The most disappointing aspect was all the rubbish left by people leaving the ship. There were flights leaving throughout the afternoon and early evening. As it got near to the time that the flight transfers were due, people dived into the toilets to change and freshen up but, as their suitcases had already left the ship, there was nowhere to pack their leftover toiletries dirty clothes etc., so many people abandoned their bits and pieces in the toilets. There was stuff everywhere, shoes, underwear, toiletries, etc. etc. I think that P&O could have done more to alleviate the situation - provide more day cabins for changing and showering, provide more receptacles for things being dumped, have more people keeping the public areas clean. Likewise disembarking passengers should have been more mindful of how they were leaving the ship for the next passengers. New passengers were arriving as we left and they cannot have had a very good first impression. Positives A well run ship which offers good value for money, great good quality food & entertainment, and friendly & helpful staff. We visited great ports and had good weather. Well done P&O. Negatives Negatives are: the state of the public areas / toilets on the last afternoon of the cruise, the chaotic queues at Gatwick airport waiting for the coach transfer, and the lack of enough seats on the promenade deck. Overall A brilliant cruise overall with the positives greatly outweighing the negatives, good quality food, accommodation and entertainment. I can't wait for my next cruise! Read Less
Sail Date October 2009
We sailed on the Oceania from Southampton to Barbados with 5 stops along the way. P&O were very professional, the coach transfer from Manchester Airport went without a hitch, check in at Southampton was very well organised and we had ... Read More
We sailed on the Oceania from Southampton to Barbados with 5 stops along the way. P&O were very professional, the coach transfer from Manchester Airport went without a hitch, check in at Southampton was very well organised and we had to wait for only about 15 minutes before we boarded the ship and got into our cabin. We had booked a balocny room but upgraded to a mini suite as it was our honeymoon. The room was lovely, 2 patio style doors leading to a double balcony that you could see the sea from your chair, plenty wardrobe space, a jacuzzi bath, separate roomy shower and separate toilet and sink. The 2 TVs needed upgrading and the channels were very limited, especially when we lost the signal in the middle of the Atlantic! The balcony was well worth the money and we would always have one on future cruises - it was lovely to sit out and watch the world go by and provided somewhere to hang my bikini out to dry! The cabin steward did all that was asked of him and we rarely saw him which was good in that he got used to our habits and cleaned when we were out and about. The food was wonderful. Plenty of it at any time of the day. We visited the Cafe Jardin for evening meal which was £4.95 per head and well worth it for a change of scenery and lovely food. This restaurant also served lovely lunches and breakfasts although the menu only changed 3 times over the 2 weeks and it would have been nice for it to change more frequently. The other chargeable restaurant, The Horizon Grill, was £7.95 per person and was the only restaurant outside. We ate there twice under the stars and the food was lovely however the drinks service was slow as just one bar steward looked after all tables and there was no bar in the restaurant. When we got closer to the Caribbean and the weather got hot it was a frantic hunt to find a sunbed. You had to be on deck before 8.30am to guarantee you would get one and this is probably my biggest complaint. To be fair, the ship is not usually at sea for so long so 2,000 sunbeds are not always required but it was very early to be up and out! By 3pm the sunbeds were empty and you could snooze for the last couple of hours of daylight. The talks on the ship whilst we were at sea were very interesting, entertainment was good and the guest speakers were very entertaining. The Cruise Director Rob Boyd was a star! Alcoholic drinks were reasonably priced and we experienced no issues boarding the ship from any port with duty free alcohol purchased on land. Bottles of spirits in your cabin were cheaper than Tesco and bottles of wine with dinner were around £12-£15 and they kept them until the next evening if you did not finish them. Soft drinks were pub prices (£.50 for a large Diet Coke) and small cans of mixers were 75p which were served with all shots or in your cabin (they were on offer in the cabin, buy 9 get 3 free!). We were on the second sitting for dinner and the food was gorgeous. 5 courses every night and the portions were just the right size so that you could squeeze it all in. Lunch in the Adriatic restaurant was a daily delight for us - the Plaza, the buffet style restaurant, was a little chaotic for us and we prefer a proper meal on a plate! Sitting with different people at lunch time was good and we met some very interesting people who shared their travel stories. We did opt for a table for 2 sometimes at Breakfast as you don't always want to make small talk that early in the morning. We also had room service Continental breakfast a few times which was delivered on time, hot and just as we had ordered it - this was a complimentary service. The trips we did were very well organised and the disembarkation process was faultless. We booked all of our trips through P&O and although I am sure we oculd have got them cheaper on land, they wouldn't have been so well organised and easy. The on board shops sold perfume, jewellery, a little Channel make up and lots of watches. There was also a shop that sold clothes, chocolate and snacks, sun cream and some toiletries. We had to leave our cabin at 9am on departure day and there were optional trips at our final port of call. Overall we had an amazing honeymoon and loved cruising - we were at the travel agents 5 hours after landing back in Manchester looking at brocchures for 2011! Read Less
Sail Date October 2009
Oceana Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabin 3.0 N/A
Dining 4.0 3.8
Entertainment 3.0 3.6
Public Rooms 4.0 4.0
Fitness & Recreation 3.0 N/A
Family 4.0 3.6
Shore Excursions 4.0 N/A
Enrichment Activities 3.0 N/A
Service 4.0 4.1
Value for Money 4.0 N/A

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