The 77,000-tonne, 2,016-passenger Oceana may not be the largest or fanciest in P&O Cruises' fleet, but its contemporary vibe is attractive to both the new-to-cruising younger set as well as veteran cruisers.
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For adults, plenty of bars, restaurants, shops, lounges and a nightclub provide options for distraction. And Oceana does offer a high-quality cruise -- particularly in food and wine -- for a reasonable price. Inclusive fare in the main dining room is consistently solid, and Cafe Jardin, a for-fee bistro created by celebrity chef Marco Pierre White, is a standout. Wine critic Olly Smith advises P&O Cruises on all things wine, and he has come up with an exceptional wine list -- 86 in all, including Bon Viveur, a blend made especially for P&O Cruises. The wine list also features English wines, both sparkling and still. Additionally, P&O Cruises carries 41 types of gin -- more than any other cruise line.
Oceana has four pools (two in the middle and one at either end), all open to the elements, and five whirlpools. A small sports court occupies the area near the funnel, with a couple of basketball hoops and equipment for cricket and football.
Launched in 2000, the ship went into dry dock in November 2017 for a multimillion-pound refurbishment. The main changes were in the Plaza, the ship's buffet, which has received new carpets, tiling, chairs and banquette seating, as well as draught lager; the Terrace Bar area, boasting three refurbished hot tubs and a canopy to provide shade on sunny days; and Horizon Grill, which now also houses the Street Food Kitchen, offering for-fee nibbles throughout the day.
Additionally, new carpeting and furniture were added throughout many of the public spaces, and suites were made over with new curtains, bed runners, cushions, valances, headboards and lamps. The Winners, Magnums and Yacht & Compass bars and the Oasis Spa area also received upgraded decor, and the kids club areas were outfitted with new flooring and entertainment equipment.
The passenger mix is almost exclusively British. The average age increases with longer itineraries. The average age on short cruises of a week or less is 50, but it rises to 60 for two-week sailings and 70 for sailings of three weeks or more.
P&O Oceana Dress Code
There are typically two formal nights per week; the rest of the time smart casual is the order of the day. Although this makes for a much more relaxed P&O Cruises feel than in years gone by, don't be caught slacking. On formal nights, dinner jackets or dark suits are the required attire for men, and evening or cocktail dresses are appropriate for women. Children are welcome to dress up as well, but smart casual is allowed for youngsters on formal nights. Dress codes apply throughout the ship after 6 p.m.
P&O Oceana Gratuity
Editor's note: From May 2019, auto-gratuities will be removed.
Tips are automatically added at the rate of £7 per person (older than 12 years), per day. Unlike on U.S. ships, there is no automatic service charge added to drinks or wine bills, and cash tips are not expected by bar staff.