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Thoughts about Oceana

This is our first cruise on Oceana, so this is a new P&O ship for us! Most of our P&O experience has been on the larger ships – seven or eight cruises on Ventura and Azura, and one on Britannia. We have cruised on a couple of the smaller ships – Oriana and Arcadia – although it’s interesting to recall that when Arcadia joined the fleet she was regarded as (well, marketed as) sophisticated and comprehensive…. But here we are on Oceana.

It’s important also to say that we generally cruise for the itinerary and not the ship. We chose this cruise because after two years in norther waters (the Fjords in 2016, and Norway and Iceland in 2017) we wanted to do a warm-weather cruise. We also didn’t want to do the conventional 14-nighter from Southampton; just too many sea days. So that pointed us firmly towards a fly-cruise, and presently P&O are using Oceana for these.

So after that long introduction, what do we think? The first thing that struck us was that she is smaller than what we’ve become used to; the spaces around the central Atrium seem especially small. But we also appreciated the way that they do open up easily off the Atrium, and we liked the way the two dining rooms were easily accessible. We’ve often thought that the doors to the midships restaurants on Ventura and Azura seem to be tucked away out of sight, while access to the aft restaurant on those ships is quite difficult. We also had a memory from our ship visit to Oceana more than 10 years ago that she had seemed quite ‘glitzy’, and we were pleased to find that this is still the case. I have a feeling that the colour schemes on Azura and (especially) Britannia is too restrained and subdued.

We breakfasted quite late on our first morning aboard but the Plaza (buffet) was very busy – perhaps, given that it was the first morning at the end of a long day for many people, lots of passengers slept in like us. After breakfast we pounded the Prom for a while, and enjoyed its width and the fact that it goes all round the ship. Better than on Ventura and Azura, even though the bow section is within a sort of tunnel, and of course infinitely better than Britannia which doesn’t have a promenade at all, really. So a strong point for Oceana.

We’ve found our favourite bar – Magnums, on deck 7. It helps perhaps that the waiters there (Brandul and Anna) are especially friendly and good at communicating, but it’s also true that it’s a quiet place, tucked away a bit from the flow of people, and with no entertainment! Val has even said that she prefers it to the Glass House, certainly the one on Britannia, which was in the main atrium.

We’ve found the cabin a bit small, though big enough for this cruise which is only for 7 nights. We have always enjoyed the layout of the balcony cabins on Ventura and Azura, with the clothes hanging area and various shelves located on and alongside a divider between the bathroom and the main part of the cabin, and there just isn’t enough space in Oceana’s cabin for that layout. That said, we haven’t had any real problems and I’m sure much of it our own fault – we do tend to overpack.

We haven’t used the balcony much. We knew it would be small, but hadn’t perhaps realised how much smaller! We have to look at each other when we’re using it….. The truth is that most of the time we have either been ashore during balcony hours, or getting ready for dinner, or already in Magnums. (Actually, now that I think about it, I stood on the balcony for about 10 minutes during the Venice sail-in. Wearing just my PJs – take that, Italy!) So we may well use it again on the last day, although we will be on the northern side of the ship that day. (Update – we spent several hours on the balcony during the rearranged sea day on Tuesday and enjoyed it.)

We’re not really entertainment people, so we haven’t been in either the theatre or Starlight, the aft lounge.

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