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This Year’s Cruise

So we’re finally off on this year’s cruise. It’s been a long wait – we got back from our last cruise at the end of June 2017 – but it’s arrived at last.

We’re doing a seven night cruise on Oceana, the Adriatic half of one of her 14-night cruises out of Malta. We’ve got a balcony cabin on deck B, and we’re on Freedom Dining. We’re starting with a couple of nights in Malta, booked as a ‘pre-cruise’ stay within the overall cruise booking so the complete holiday will be 9 nights. We’ve never been to Malta so we’re hoping that we’ll find it as enjoyable as everyone says it is. We’ve also never cruised on Oceana so we shall be interested to find out what she’s like. We did a P&O ship visit to her more than 10 years ago but she’s had several refits since then so our memories of what we saw may well no longer apply.

All our flights are arranged as part of the cruise, of course. We’re flying out with Air Malta and then transferring to the Excelsior Grand hotel in Valetta. That’s all supposed to be seamless, but we received a call from P&O the other day to say that there would be a delay checking-in at the hotel when we arrive – apparently there is a government function taking place during the afternoon when we arrive and this will take over most of the public facilities in the hotel. So we will have to wait patiently for 90 minutes or so until 6 o’clock before we can check in. The hotel is apparently laying on an early dinner for us, but we’re not sure that we’ll be ready to eat at that time – 6pm in Malta is only 4pm in the UK. But never mind – perhaps the inbound flight will be delayed anyway!

Our flight home will be on the regular TUI charter flight. The only wrinkle with all these arrangement is TUI’s very restrictive cabin bag allowance, 5kgs. So I’ve had to rethink my photography arrangements – instead of taking my much-loved Canon 5D Mk 4 plus a set of (big, heavy) ‘L’ lenses, I shall be reverting to an older, smaller system – a Canon 750D, with a single lens. Ah well….

It’s also the case that I won’t be doing much photo-processing while I’m away. Because of the low cabin baggage allowance on the flight home I can’t take my laptop with me, just the iPad, and the processing possibilities on the latter are limited and complicated compared with what I can do on the former. Additionally, I won’t be getting an internet account while I’m on-board. I shall rely on roaming arrangements using my phone, and I’ll tether the iPad to the phone. As a result I probably won’t be posting any images until I get home, unless I take some with the iPhone just to post. In fact, if Apple had announced their new phone a week earlier I’d have bought an iPhone XS (which I understand is pronounced ‘Ten Ess’) just in time to take away, and not bothered with a camera at all. So while I shall be blogging during the cruise it will probably be text-only, and I shall do some follow-up posts with lots of images when I get home.

Finally, the itinerary is: Malta; Split; Venice; Zadar; Dubrovnik; and then back to Malta. Please check in for further posts as the holiday progresses.

3 Responses to “This Year’s Cruise”

  1. Jason Hayes says:

    Have a great cruise Tom. My wife and I are going on Oceana next year and are a little nervous as it seems so different to other P&O ships.

    • Tom Burke says:

      Thanks for the comment, Jason. Hopefully my posts will give you some pointers as to how it compares with the P&O ships we know best, which would be Azura, Ventura and Arcadia. We’ve also been on Britannia and (some years ago) Oriana.

      • Jason Hayes says:

        Thanks Tom. We’ve been on Azura, Arcadia and Britannia. Just back from a Britannia cruise and trying to decide if it or Arcadia is our favourite! Enjoy your hol!

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