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Valletta from Oceana’s mooring, departure morning

I did an earlier post on my initial thoughts about Oceana during the cruise, but as promised this is a summing-up of my opinions.

Essentially, it’s a continuation of what I said in the earlier post – we liked the ship, or at least we found the bits of the ship that we liked, which I think is true of any cruise on any ship. So here’s a quick list of my conclusions:

  • we liked the overall colour and style of the main public parts of the ship – much more colourful than on Britannia (especially), Azura and Ventura;
  • we thought the cabin was OK for a short cruise (7 nights in this case), though it might be a bit small for a longer cruise. There was only one chair in the cabin (a ‘sit-up’ chair, not an armchair) so there was nowhere for both of us to relax – if we were both in the cabin then one of us had to sit on the bed. Storage space seemed OK, however. Not as good as on Ventura and Azura, but (it seemed to us) better than what we remember from Oriana;
  • the balcony was quite small – we were sitting facing each other rather than side-by-side. That was OK, however, every now and then when the sun got too hot we swapped places! Certainly we had no complaints. We spent most of an afternoon on the balcony, on the impromptu sea-day between Zadar and Messina. Oceana’s course during most of that day was between SE and SSE, so our cabin on the starboard side was definitely in the sun, and we took full advantage, with liberal applications of factor 30 and occasional swap-overs;
  • the food in the main dining room was good enough, and service was actually very good, especially as we were on different tables every night because we were on Freedom dining. One thing, though – the one night we were on a table for two, we were definitely being pushed along. We weren’t actually rushed, you understand, but that night dinner took just over an hour as compared with about 90 minutes or just over on a larger table. Perhaps it just takes that much longer when there are 6 or 8 diners at a table, or perhaps they wanted to release the table for another couple eating later. So our experience suggests that if you want a) to eat together and b) enjoy a leisurely and completely relaxed meal, a two-top table in the MDR might not be an answer. You might want to try Cafe Jardin – see below!
  • the food in Cafe Jardin was a definite step up from the MDR. We ate together there one night, we were able to take our time, and we had a great meal. The service was good and we were able to relax and enjoy it. Great location, too, looking down into the Atrium. As ever, however, there was just too much food….
  • however, the best food we had was the ‘Asian Lunch’, which was originally scheduled for the last day of the cruise (originally a sea day) but was hurriedly re-scheduled for the day before when the itinerary was changed. We really enjoyed this meal. Old favourites, perhaps, but very well cooked, well presented, and not too much! Note that this, like Cafe Jardin, was an extra cost meal. I think it was about £10 for the lunch and a bit less than that – £8? – in Cafe Jardin;
  • we found a bar we liked – loved, actually – and that was Magnum’s. Its main advantages were that it was quiet – we just don’t like noise when we’re having a drink together, we prefer to get sozzled enjoy our drinks in peace and quiet – and it served excellent cocktails. Actually, in addition to the peace and quiet and general ambience, the two bar staff, Brandul and Anna, made a huge contribution the bar: Brandul was always cheery and welcoming and turned out to be a cocktail mixer par excellence, and Anna was always friendly and efficient as she served drinks out to the table. I remember one evening when Brandul was on his break and another bar steward was in charge for that half-hour, and I don’t remember a single smile or many greetings. We were pleased when Brandul returned;
  • the only other bars we used were the Yacht and Compass, and Tiffany’s in the atrium. The former was comfortable enough, but noisy – there was always live music. If that’s your thing then you’d probably enjoy the Y&C or another bar, Winners, on deck 8 and associated with the casino. Tiffany’s was in the Atrium on deck 7, and we had a couple of drinks there, coffees, and mineral waters – not a bad place to watch passengers going by. We also may have used Explorers bar on deck 5 for coffees;
  • I’m afraid that I can’t say anything about the entertainment. We didn’t go into either Starlight’s (the aft lounge) or the Footlights Theatre – the attraction of Magnums was that great. Perhaps on a longer cruise we might have tried the theatre at some point, in the interests of pacing ourselves, but on this cruise we didn’t bother. We’re just not ‘entertainment’ people. Though I did hear excellent reports of a Ukulele orchestra….
  • we walked around the Promenade a number of times, and enjoyed it. It was good to be able to do a full circuit – on Ventura you have to go up steps at the bow, on Azura you have to turn round near the bow if you’re going to stay out on the open promenade, and on Britannia there’s no promenade at all. The deck was wide and accommodating and we enjoyed our walks. (Having dissed Ventura and Azura in this area, I have to admit that there’s nowhere on Oceana to compare with the walk around the clamshell on these other ships, at the very tip of the bow. On Oceana the forward part of the promenade cuts across the ship through a tunnel, which does give you a view of much maritime machinery – the anchor chains and winches, for example. It’s also a working area and is therefore often busy and noisy. Not complaining, just pointing it out;
  • Finally, we hardly ever used the open decks – we’re not sun people either. We did one day sit on sunbeds on the Terrace on the Sun deck for half an hour or so, but it was cold even in the sun – there was a stiff northerly breeze from aft of the ship – so we age up.

So that’s my view of Oceana. I liked the ship and we enjoyed our cruise; if the right cruise appeared we’d certainly be prepared to cruise on her again. But as I’ve said before, we cruise primarily for the itinerary. When we get on board we’ll select which parts of the ship we want to use, and which parts we don’t, pretty ruthlessly. Your mileage may well vary, of course, but either way I hope readers will have found this helpful.

One Response to “Oceana – final thoughts”

  1. Jason Hayes says:

    Wow Tom, comprehensive summary, thankyou very much. You have changed us from being a little apprehensive about our Oceana cruise next year to now being very excited! Keep up the good work and looking forward to hearing where you are cruising to next!

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