Anyone who has been following us on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram will know we had an amazing cruise on P&O Oceana from Malta to Split, Venice, Ravenna and Dubrovnik.
This overview will cover the Ship, including Embarkation and Disembarkation. I won’t go in to the ports – but will try to write up more in the future, but until then you can check out our Oceana 7 Day Malta, Split, Venice, Ravenna and Dubrovnik cruise diary which does briefly cover what we did in each port.
Oceana Cruise Video
The video below will befing with a tour of our Inside cabin, followed by a full ship tour. It will then cover the ports, Split and the Krka National Park, Venice sail in and the Bell Tower in St Marks Square and Dubrovnik’s Cable car, Old Town Walls and some Game of throne locations. Please make sure you like this video and subscribe – we have more coming and also have all our previous cruises on there!
The saga of the missing case.
We will get this out of the way first… on arrival at Malta, unfortunately only one of our cases turned up.
On board Oceana, P&O staff were very helpful. Nick, the Customer Service Manager did a great job in keeping us updated and chasing Thomas Cook to get our other case to us ASAP. After 2 nights/3 days our missing case did catch us up in Split.
We don’t want to dwell on this – so will just say thank you to all the P&O staff who did the chasing and arranged for the case to be delivered, helped us with things like phone chargers, clothing and laundry. We were determined this wasn’t going to ruin our holiday, and it didn’t thanks to them and their kindness.
If you are doing a fly cruise, be prepared, and spread clothing between cases or take a set of clothes in your carry-on case. Thomas Cook have advised cases were removed for ‘Operational Reasons’ and would reimburse us for clothing we had to purchase for the cruise – which they have now confirmed.
Anyhow, now the negative is out of the way, lets get on with the review of the beautiful Oceana.
After leaving departures with our case, we were guided from the airport to the waiting transfers by an army of P&O staff. Every 10 feet or so you would see a member of staff holding a P&O sign, saying hello to you and pointing you towards the next person. You followed these welcoming faces until you reached the coach. At this point the case was taken and would next appear in the cabin.
Once on the coach, we were given some paperwork such as the ‘Medical form’ and the ‘Return flight info’ form. The Medical form is a declaration that you have not been suffering with any symptoms of illness and the Return flight information was basically your flight date info and number of cases – this is so that they can print your boarding cards to save checking in on the return flight.
On arrival at the port, we were again welcomed by an army of smiling faces and we went through the extremely efficient check-in process. This was very speedy indeed with the usual photo and payment method being taken before getting your cruise card.
From here it was via the port Duty Free (Tanqueray gin was 15euro for 1L) and then on to the ship.
We have to say we were very impressed with embarkation – it was so efficient, like a well-oiled machine. It was from airport to cabin in about an hour.
Our Room A738
Our room was on deck 11 (A deck), number 738. This was as far aft as you could go. The room was a standard inside, at the lowest grade possible. But there was a reason we chose this room and chose not to upgrade – this was because just outside the room was the A deck terrace. It was literally out of our room, turn left and less than 10 feet and you were outside! Who needs a balcony when you have that!
On entering our room, there were large wardrobes to your left. We had the room in a twin configuration as from pictures we had seen, it gave more space within the room. Unlike other ships we have been on that have two small bedside drawers, Oceana had just one large set. If the beds were in a double configuration, I don’t think they would have been accessible and getting around the side of the beds may have been a squeeze.
The cabin had the usual small TV, Mini Bar and Safe that come as standard on P&O. The TV did not have your onboard account, but did have the Bridge cam, the only channel we tend to watch having no window.
On the dressing table there was a kettle along with PG Tea and Douwe Egberts Coffee. A hair dryer was also located on the wall here along with 1 three pin UK plug socket. The dressing table also had a number of drawers, so storage was not an issue.
The bathroom was about normal size and came with the White Company toiletries. The bathroom is the usual shade of peach you find on the older P&O ships but was clean and tidy. We did have some problems with the toilets not flushing, but our cabin steward Freddy had that reported for us and sorted by the time we came back from our port day.
So overall it was a very comfortable cabin in a superb location.
Main Dining Room
We had Freedom dining, meaning we could turn up for dinner and request a table of our choice. On the first night, due to muster being at 8:15pm, everyone was Freedom and on arrival at the restaurant you were being seated with others. We sat at a table for six with two other couples on the first night and the other nights we opted for a table of two. We normally eat about 8pm so usually we’re given a pager and told to wait at least thirty minutes (I think this may have been their standard reply as only once did we have to actually wait the thirty minutes) which was good.
Food and service in the MDR was excellent, the waiters couldn’t do enough to help you. We noticed they now seem to be pushing the comment cards in all restaurants on Oceana – I think this is great and every night we gave them a 10 out of 10 on their report cards!
It’s also great to see they still also have the always available menu, so if nothing takes your fancy, the Salmon, Chicken or Steak is always an option. One night we were not in a sweet mood so instead shared 3 main meals between the two of us, the waiters were more than happy to oblige.
The MDR also hosts lunch during the days, keep an eye out in your Horizon magazine and it will tell you which restaurant is open and at what time. During the final Sea day, one of the restaurants was hosting an Asian Luncheon – this had a cover charge of £10 per person but was worth it as the food and service were amazing.
You will also find afternoon tea is available in the MDR or the buffet. If you want the table service, the MDR is the way to go. We had a lovely table for two next to the window and were served a selection of finger sandwiches, sausage rolls, toasted tea cakes, scones and a selection of sweet treats. We could do this every day, but we don’t think it would do the waist line any good – highly recommend it if you have a lazy sea day or get back from port early one day. Afternoon tea was served from 4pm until 4.45pm.
The Beach House is a specialty dining venue, with a £7.50 per person cover charge (7-night cruise). Its located in a cordoned off part of the Buffet, but also extends outside. We were here for the Venice sail out, so it was nice to be sitting outside. Personally,we don’t think the Beach House is to die for like others seem to think. Don’t get us wrong, the food is nice, but we’re not sure it’s ‘amazing’ and to be honest we can take it or leave it. As Oceana doesn’t have the likes of Epicurean or Sindhu – beach house was a nice change to the MDR.
We went for the sizzling beef and the sticky chicken for mains. It was very nice food with a nice view.
The other dining venue onboard is Café Jardin. This is free at lunch times but has a cover charge in the evening of £8.50 per person (7 Night cruise). The evening menu is in conjunction with the TV Chef (or comedian?) Gino De Campo.
Service in here was excellent, very attentive. The food was very good, we much preferred this to the beach house. The portions were very generous.
Located at the top of the atrium, there is no outside dining space, but there are lots of tables available.
There are a number of bars on Oceana to choose from. During the day, the deck bars are open with waiter service, so you don’t even have to leave your deck chair for a drink.
For a pre or post dinner drink, we would always head to Explorers bar, on the lowest floor of the atrium. This is where the amazing bar steward Bosco was located and would make us a Barnares cocktail – delicious. This bar also benefited from being nearby the restaurant, so when the pager went off we were close by.
If you are looking for a classic pub, the Yacht & Compass is where you need to go! It was always busy in here – this is where you would find the bingo during the day and karaoke during the night.
Fancy a flutter? You could head to Monte Carlo – we’d rather just watch, so would sit in Winners bar and look over as people play Blackjack or roulette. This is where they do the beer flight, the Celtic Collection is definitely worth a try.
Tiffany’s and Magnums were also popular bars, which we did pop in to occasionally, again, often busy with people having their pre or post dinner drinks.
If you wanted to dance the night away, Le Club was the place to go. During the day, this was a quiet venue, hosting events such as our Facebook meet up or Art talks, but at night it turned in to a disco. Unfortunately, every time we walked by, it did seem rather quiet, we don’t think this was much of a party cruise and we can understand why – it was very port intensive so staying up until the early hours of the morning was not the best idea. But the option was there.
P&O drink prices are still competitive, cocktails around £6 and a pint of premium beer just over £4 – not Wetherspoon prices, but your typical pub or restaurant chain prices. The best part is that there is no gratuity added on top of the price you pay like many other cruise lines do.
Oceana has a number of pools and hot tubs. These were being used regularly on our cruise as it was quite warm, but they were far from crowded, actually nowhere on Oceana felt particularly crowded even though she was fully booked. We liked to stick to the adults only area aft even though there were not many children onboard, this area seemed quieter and more relaxed.
We met so many wonderful staff onboard Oceana. All were happy to help you and would go out of their way to ensure you were happy. We have already mentioned Nick, Bosco and Freddy and have to say they really did help make our cruise an enjoyable one. It was also great to have James and Jayne from the entertainment team come along to our Facebook meeting and spend some time chatting with us all.
Now, anyone that knows us will know we don’t really do entertainment. Sat down for 45-60 minutes to watch a show with limited access to alcohol isn’t the most enjoyable thing for us. We much prefer to sit in the bar or roam the ship bumping in to entertainment such live vocalists rather than sticking to the cruise lines schedule of theatre performances. It may sound like we are making excuses, but we honestly didn’t make any effort to go and watch entertainment as we were having too much fun ourselves. There were a number of live acts around the ship so you did have a nice atmosphere wherever you went.
Gym and Salon
Oceana has a nice sized gym at the aft, worth noting it is split in to two. One side has a large amount of cardio equipment while the other hosts the free weights. We did hit the gym a couple of times, usually around 8-9am and there were always machines available.
The only spa treatment we had during this cruise was the Elemis Shave. This 30 minutes shave will set you back £30 (£33 with service tip) but we recommend it pre-formal night. A nice mini massage and then a shave to tidy up before your black-tie night is always a good idea as you want to look your best! ?
We were lucky enough to be invited to the Bridge on our final sea day. This is something we had kindly requested as they were not doing a full behind the scenes tour. It was just the two of us and were shown around the bridge by Third Officer Grant McClusky, he spent about 30minutes giving us a tour, explaining what the controls did, then going in to more detail about light configurations, mapping and ship design – Luke was loving this as that really ‘floats his boat’. It was a really interesting time and definitely made our final day onboard extra special – thank you P&O.
That dreaded word….
Time to go. Boarding cards and luggage tag had been delivered to our cabin near the end of the week. We placed the tags on the bags (full instructions detailing the procedure are also delivered with the tags and boarding card) and these were left outside our room by 11pm. As we were on a ‘bonded’ flight, we would next see the cases in Bristol.
Our meeting point was one of the restaurants at 7.30am – our note advised not to turn up before this time. We advise you DO go before this time, say 5 minutes early as at 7.30 they disembarked, we just made it!
Once off the coach we followed the happy P&O faces with their signs, directing us directly to security and departures. We felt sorry for these guys, being all happy when having to deal with 100’s of Brits leaving the beautiful Oceana and heading to an airport to wait 3 hours before getting on a plane to fly home and face reality. So, hats off to them for staying so cheery!
Thanks for reading
That ends our Oceana overview, we hope that you have found in informative – we had such a great time on her and met some wonderful people, both staff and fellow passengers. If you have a cruise booked or are thinking of booking one we are sure you will love her too.