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nomadgirluk

Oceana thoughts

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We have just returned from a 7 night cruise on Oceana, sailing from Genoa to Venice and these are our thoughts on the total experience.

 

We flew on BA scheduled flights from Gatwick, which worked out pretty well. Genoa airport is very small and because we were on a scheduled flight we had to collect our luggage from the carousel and take it to the coaches. This didn’t go too badly and the P&O staff were visible every step of the way, so you really couldn’t go wrong. Transfer to the ship took around 20 minutes and we were on board around midday. However, our luggage did not arrive at our cabin until 5.15 p.m! We barely had time to start to unpack before muster stations at 5.30 p.m. We can only assume that rather than pay for a lorry to make the individual journey with luggage as each flight lands, P&O are making the lorries wait until a few flights have arrived so that if you happen to be on an early flight, your luggage will be held at the airport until the later flights arrive.

 

The boarding process was very quick and easy and we were pleased to find out that, despite having booked an Early Saver Fare, we were given Freedom dining.

 

Our cabin was a double inside on Deck 10 and was pretty much what we expected. Not huge, but loads of storage space and the bed was pretty comfortable. It was kept very clean by our cabin steward who, along with most of the rest of the crew, was pleasant, approachable and efficient. The shower gel is topped up when required and shampoo, conditioner and body lotions are also provided. The only comment I would have regarding the cabins is that the furniture is looking decidedly tired and needs an upgrade.

 

The public areas are all spotless and pleasant places to sit. However, there always seemed to be a problem with the WCs as there was never a time when all were available or working. The outside of the ships is in need of some maintenance with signs of rust in a number of areas. The maintenance crew worked every day on a different area to repaint where handrails etc were rusted, but the outside of the ship also needs a good clean and repaint.

 

The entertainment was OK to average at best and not as good as on previous cruises we have taken.

 

Drinks prices were comparable to those in the UK but our main comment about the drinks is the poor choice of beers at most of the bars. While P&O advertise a range of ales and lagers, they are not available all the time in all of the bars and the publicity regarding drinks is very misleading.

 

We took one excursion with P&O (to Florence) and this was very enjoyable and well organised. In the other ports of call we either did our own thing or booked an excursion with a separate tour company, which worked out very well and much cheaper than P&O (we used cruisingexcursions.com in Naples to visit Pompeii and Sorrento).

 

However, along with others, our main complaint was about the food. We ate a few times in our assigned dining room (Ligurian) and, while this is laid out very nicely and the service is spot on, the quality, choice and portion sizes of the food are poor. In fact, the portion sizes were so small that we saw people leaving the main dining room after eating and going straight to the buffet to fill up on what was there. The menu is unimaginative, uninspiring and repetitive. We ate on a few occasions in the buffet and, again, the food was of poor quality and unimaginative. There seemed to be a distinct lack of chicken dishes and we have no idea why as this is surely one of the cheapest, most versatile and most popular items. Even the fried fish was some sort of offcuts and not whole pieces of fish. The salads were the same offering every day. Unfortunately, we decided to dine in the buffet on our last evening and this was probably the worst offering of all with, among other things, black pudding fritters (obviously using up what was left over from breakfast) and a steak and kidney pudding where the pastry was like rubber and inedible. It seemed to us that the allocated budget for food has been pared back by P&O, but even with this in mind, we feel that the chefs could have come up with something better than this. Most of the time, the food in the buffet was like school dinners.

 

Despite being on a scheduled return flight, we still had to leave our cases outside our cabins by 11 p.m. the night before departure, even though we then had to wait for them to be brought to us at Venice airport so that we could check them in ourselves. No idea why this was necessary or where our cases were held from 11 p.m. the night before we flew until we next saw them at 2.30 p.m. the following day. I can see the merits if we had been on a charter flight and had the bonded luggage option, but since we had to check in our luggage ourselves, it made no sense for them to be collected the night before. To be honest, the whole luggage collection process at Venice airport was a bit shambolic.

 

At the end of the day, however, you do get what you pay for and the prices paid for this particular cruise are certainly not at the high end of the market, so, taking that into account, I guess we couldn’t expect the sort of food choice or facilities that you get on the likes of Royal Caribbean. From reading the comments of others, it seems that P&O is not delivering the same type of cruise as it did a few years ago, buy this is reflected in the price. I have a horrible feeling that all this cutting back could backfire on P&O in the not too distant future, when the old school P&O faithful are no longer around and the younger generation are looking for something with a bit more of a wow factor.

 

Based on our experience, we are 50:50 as to whether we would sail on the Oceana again (and indeed P&O in general) and would definitely do our homework regarding other P&O ships before making any future bookings. At present, the jury is still out.

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I drew the same conclusion after our Britannia cruise last year having had a 10 year absence cruising with P&O.

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I cannot understand the problem with portion size. It is so easily rectified. Just ask for a large portion. The staff will only be to pleased to get that for you. Personally I find the smaller amount just fine by me. But when I feel I could eat more I just ask for it.

 

 

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Surely the point is that one shouldn't have to ask? Some of the portion sizes were so ridiculously small as to be laughable (e.g. a portion of ice cream amounted to half a scoop!).

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Surely the point is that one shouldn't have to ask? Some of the portion sizes were so ridiculously small as to be laughable (e.g. a portion of ice cream amounted to half a scoop!).

 

I ordered succulent chops on Aurora. I got two, each with the meat being about 2" by 1"

 

I didn't like to ask for a dozen ;)

 

ps - there were oodles of green beans :D

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I quite liked having smallish portions for dinner - leaves room for the cheese and biscuits!:D

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We were on the same cruise and your review of the Oceana was very accurate. We mainly dined in the Ligurian but tried the Beach House and Cafe Jardin we were not impressed by many of the meals. During our weeks cruise we had some very nice dishes but we never got a starter a main meal and a dessert (we are greedy) which were all good there was always at least one element which was very poor.

We did go to the buffet during the day several times for a look but we noticed that most of the dishes did not have any information above the dish to tell you what it was you were eating. We ended up mainly having crackers and cheese from the buffet.

The entertainment was very poor but we did enjoy the Bluejays band and the comedian Fogwell Flax but apart from that the rest was not good at all.

We spoke to many people who have been on several different cruises and they all agreed that the quality of food and entertainment offered on the Oceana was sadly lacking.

We were impressed with how organised the check in and how smoothly the excursions were run this could not have been better.

We totally agree with your accurate review

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My husband and I were on the Oceana in April and whilst the food was not five star, in our opinion it was very good for the price we paid for the cruise. The sizes of the portions were right for us, and if we had wanted more we only had to ask. My ice cream automatically came with three scoops and I regularly requested that to be reduced to one. As for not being able to tell what was being served in the buffet, do you not have a tongue in your head? The food being served nowadays on most of the main cruise lines is not what it used to be, but neither are the fares. I have done almost thirty cruises with P&O, Princess, Cunard and RCI so I do know what I am talking about. 'You pays your money and you takes your choice'. However please don't complain when that bargain cruise doesn't deliver the same as the one that you paid almost twice as much for.

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My husband and I were on the Oceana in April and whilst the food was not five star, in our opinion it was very good for the price we paid for the cruise. The sizes of the portions were right for us, and if we had wanted more we only had to ask. My ice cream automatically came with three scoops and I regularly requested that to be reduced to one. As for not being able to tell what was being served in the buffet, do you not have a tongue in your head? The food being served nowadays on most of the main cruise lines is not what it used to be, but neither are the fares. I have done almost thirty cruises with P&O, Princess, Cunard and RCI so I do know what I am talking about. 'You pays your money and you takes your choice'. However please don't complain when that bargain cruise doesn't deliver the same as the one that you paid almost twice as much for.

 

You have obviously not read my comment about getting what you pay for. Based on the price we paid, we did not do this cruise expecting 5 star food but we did expect food of a reasonable standard and quality. My comment regarding the similarity to school dinners still stands I'm afraid.

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We were on this cruise as well, we flew with Thompson's from Manchester all very easy and as my wife is a wheelchair user we were given private transfers which were very welcome, checkin was all of 10 minutes very fast.

 

We were given freedom dining even tho we booked late but our friends who booked before us were given 1st sitting and we had linked booking? nothing could be changed but we knew that was the risk.

 

I made a compliment about the food on the first night freedom dining, the so called sirloin steak was a joke, it was so thin and overcooked it was not edible I saw many sent back, did not encounter and problems after this and we used a mixture of dining room, buffet, beach house, the grill and room service for the rest of the holiday.

 

Entertainment was poor.

 

Ship looked good to us.

 

Crew very over worked

 

Help at ports were very good crew were very knowledgeable about the areas.

 

All in all a good weeks holiday booked on the late saver

 

Will book again next year but only on a late saver

 

BTW people if it says this lift is priority for disabled and pushchairs then use the other lifts... Simples.

 

 

 

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Surely the point is that one shouldn't have to ask? Some of the portion sizes were so ridiculously small as to be laughable (e.g. a portion of ice cream amounted to half a scoop!).

 

Hi Nomadgirluk.

 

I'm booked on Oceana in the not too distant future and was very interested in your review.

 

Incidentally we did the same itinerary on a similar late deal but on Ventura two years ago and had an outstanding cruise vis-a-vis value for money and enjoyment.

 

The reason that I comment here though is that not everyone has massive appetites or feel the need to 'trough' for the sake of it.

 

Of course I wasn't on this cruise with you but I also found it laughable that folk left..." the main dining room after eating and going straight to the buffet to fill up on what was there"

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My husband and I were on the Oceana in April and whilst the food was not five star, in our opinion it was very good for the price we paid for the cruise. The sizes of the portions were right for us, and if we had wanted more we only had to ask. My ice cream automatically came with three scoops and I regularly requested that to be reduced to one. As for not being able to tell what was being served in the buffet, do you not have a tongue in your head? The food being served nowadays on most of the main cruise lines is not what it used to be, but neither are the fares. I have done almost thirty cruises with P&O, Princess, Cunard and RCI so I do know what I am talking about. 'You pays your money and you takes your choice'. However please don't complain when that bargain cruise doesn't deliver the same as the one that you paid almost twice as much for.

 

;);)

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Hi Nomadgirluk.

 

 

Of course I wasn't on this cruise with you but I also found it laughable that folk left..." the main dining room after eating and going straight to the buffet to fill up on what was there"

 

Perhaps this just demonstrates how laughably tiny the portions are in the main dining rooms...

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I am on this cruise next week ... not too worried about the portion sizes as I don't want to regain all the weight I have lost prior to the cruise, plus with all those Italian ports I will be maxing out on gelato so not too worried about having just one scoop of ice cream on board. Husband however does appreciate a decent portion size so he will likely be one of those going up to the buffet after dinner.

 

Do they have a midnight buffet on the Oceana .. just in case a top up is needed :D

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I am on this cruise next week ... not too worried about the portion sizes as I don't want to regain all the weight I have lost prior to the cruise, plus with all those Italian ports I will be maxing out on gelato so not too worried about having just one scoop of ice cream on board. Husband however does appreciate a decent portion size so he will likely be one of those going up to the buffet after dinner.

 

 

 

Do they have a midnight buffet on the Oceana .. just in case a top up is needed :D

 

 

 

Just ask for extra side orders they will bring whatever you want, and yes midnight buffet 10.30 till 2am lots of choice and of course horlicks and hot chocolate..

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My husband and I were on the Oceana in April and whilst the food was not five star, in our opinion it was very good for the price we paid for the cruise. The sizes of the portions were right for us, and if we had wanted more we only had to ask. My ice cream automatically came with three scoops and I regularly requested that to be reduced to one. As for not being able to tell what was being served in the buffet, do you not have a tongue in your head? The food being served nowadays on most of the main cruise lines is not what it used to be, but neither are the fares. I have done almost thirty cruises with P&O, Princess, Cunard and RCI so I do know what I am talking about. 'You pays your money and you takes your choice'. However please don't complain when that bargain cruise doesn't deliver the same as the one that you paid almost twice as much for.

 

You may have a good experience of cruising but you have no experience of the cruise from Genoa to Venice last week which you were not on.

The cost of the cruise on the Oceana was not an issue we had a top deck balcony cabin with freedom dining and we tried every restaurant on the ship including cafe jardin and the beach House. For the same price we could have had a week on several cruise liners on offer. We were not expecting 5 star food we were hoping for 3 star food we ended up getting 2 star food that if my local pub sold me i would be making complaints to the management.

I found the portion size to be good so we had no complaints on that.

I like to know what I am eating so in a buffet situation it is unrealistic to run and get a member of staff to explain what every dish contains.

At one point there were 3 dishes of curry but nobody had a clue what any dish was everybody we talked to agreed that it was not good enough. The next day every dish was marked so i am glad someone was listening.

If you prefer to take pot luck then good luck to you but i prefer to know what is on offer in the buffet.

I am glad you were happy with your ice cream i was more concerned with the half cooked fish the burnt stake and the uncooked vegetables.

We talked to plenty of people on the cruise who were all disappointed with the standard of food and entertainment on offer on the Oceana.

I totally agree with the review by nomadgirluk it was a very accurate review.

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On Celebrity we have found that food portions are HUGE and I was overwhelmed and left food (which I hate to do). The portion size are ridiculous.

 

On P&O we have found that the waiters are really good at sussing it out and with hubby they bring extra portions etc for every course for him. It suited me being a smaller portion and he was well fed.

 

Re desserts - the staff would bring our desserts and hubby extra ice cream as they got to know him. That was on Freedom dining as we requested the same tables each night when we arrived ... and were prepared to wait.

 

Our tip is to ask the staff and they will help you whatever.

 

Just give them a chance to please you before complaining and making judgements.

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We had no complaint with the service or portion size it was the quality of the food that was lacking. No point asking the the excellent service staff for another burnt bit of fish or another raspberry sorbet that has turned into a milkshake.

Service was great it was the food that was severely lacking in quality

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We had no complaint with the service or portion size it was the quality of the food that was lacking. No point asking the the excellent service staff for another burnt bit of fish or another raspberry sorbet that has turned into a milkshake.

Service was great it was the food that was severely lacking in quality

 

I have to say you and nomadgirluk are being extremely brave in daring to criticise P&O...the die-hard P&O supporters defend P&O all the way.

 

It is a couple of years ago since we last cruised with P&O and the last two cruises with them were not good at all in quite a few different areas. I dared to voice my opinions on the last cruise with them but was well and truly slated...in fact someone told to me to "clear off"...or words to that effect.

 

On the last cruise the food in the MDR was mediocre at best. On the 3rd night after the meal while having coffee the waiters came round with questionnaires regarding our experience in the main dining room which at the time we thought was quite unusual...never happened before or since.

Do P&O still do that....come round the MDR with a questionnaire on the 3rd night? I have asked the question before but haven't had an answer. So not sure if it is now standard procedure or if it was that the food was so dire.

 

I think when you are spending a few thousand pounds then you want and expect a certain standard....no not 5 star but at least 3 star.

 

I won't say that I will never cruise with P&O again but for us there are better cruise lines so they are not our first choice.

But if the standard offered by P&O is acceptable to you then that is all that matters.

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Perhaps this just demonstrates how laughably tiny the portions are in the main dining rooms...

 

In that case I shall certainly look forward to your comments on your upcoming CMV Columbus cruise.

 

Here she was at Tortola in 2002 when still under the P&O Flag...

 

21050802848_796f351dc3_z.jpg

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Hi All,

 

My wife and I, [both brits] are joining the Oceana at Genoa this coming Wednesday, 18th May, for a 7 day cruise round to Venice, and whilst we are both seasoned cruisers, with I think 27 cruises under our belts, this is our first time on the Oceana, although we have been on all the other P&O ships to date.

So has anyone got any tips of life aboard this vessel.

 

It would also be a bonus if we could meet up with a few fellow brits on the ship, as I have a feeling it will probably be over run with Italians, which doesn't give us a problem, it's just that we don't speak Italian.

 

Any comments will be greatly appreciated.

 

Rod

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Presently have some friends on board, who are not happy with the ship or the 'type' of passengers. They are telling me it is very 'Naff" And the ship looks like a rust bucket.

To me I have to agree with that comment with P&O it is not 'Cunard". Although recently again with Britannia they excelled them self. Although I do wonder how much extra Budget they are getting for that particular ship due to the advertising.

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Hi All,

 

My wife and I, [both brits] are joining the Oceana at Genoa this coming Wednesday, 18th May, for a 7 day cruise round to Venice, and whilst we are both seasoned cruisers, with I think 27 cruises under our belts, this is our first time on the Oceana, although we have been on all the other P&O ships to date.

So has anyone got any tips of life aboard this vessel.

 

It would also be a bonus if we could meet up with a few fellow brits on the ship, as I have a feeling it will probably be over run with Italians, which doesn't give us a problem, it's just that we don't speak Italian.

 

Any comments will be greatly appreciated.

 

Rod

 

I would be surprised if there are any Italians - it will be all Brits

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Hi All,

 

 

 

My wife and I, [both brits] are joining the Oceana at Genoa this coming Wednesday, 18th May, for a 7 day cruise round to Venice, and whilst we are both seasoned cruisers, with I think 27 cruises under our belts, this is our first time on the Oceana, although we have been on all the other P&O ships to date.

 

So has anyone got any tips of life aboard this vessel.

 

 

 

It would also be a bonus if we could meet up with a few fellow brits on the ship, as I have a feeling it will probably be over run with Italians, which doesn't give us a problem, it's just that we don't speak Italian.

 

 

 

Any comments will be greatly appreciated.

 

 

 

Rod

 

 

 

99% Brits and just like all ships enjoy what it as to offer.

We like it

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