Oceana Christmas Cruise E625

Oceana cruises in 2016
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Happydays
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Re: Oceana Christmas Cruise E625

Post by Happydays » 31 Dec 2016, 15:40

I hope everyone enjoys the firework display.

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

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Re: Oceana Christmas Cruise E625

Post by Raybosailor » 04 Jan 2017, 17:41

Happydays wrote:I hope everyone enjoys the firework display.

HAPPY NEW YEAR!
Yes we did Happydays thank you, the whole day in Funchal was most enjoyable, we decided to just have a walk round the town because we have done most of the tourist things in previous years.
The main road where the shuttle bus drops off was buzzing all day with various folk musicians,dancers and singers entertaining the crowds milling around the town and there were quite a few artisan craft and food stalls lining the street which together with the music and dance put everyone in party mode.

Back on Oceana we had a lovely Black Tie dinner event where the haggis was piped in and addressed in traditional style by a Scottish member of the Headliners troupe and the toast was conducted by Captain Andy Willard.

Up on Riviera Deck the champagne flowed as the party got into full swing with the Four Tunes male singers setting the pace backed up by DJ Dom until the ships horns signalled the midnight hour and the fireworks did the rest. What an amazing display it was too, we didn't know which way to look next as there were three dredgers out at sea setting of displays behind us competing with those in the town, in the end I just held the iPad at arms length videoing as I was pirouetting round the deck.

New Years Eve on Funchal is definitely one for every ones bucket list if you haven't already done it and one event I would repeat time and time again.

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Re: Oceana Christmas Cruise E625

Post by Happydays » 04 Jan 2017, 19:25

Glad to hear how good it was:)
We have never been on a New Year cruise. It sounds very good would definitely like to try one.

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Re: Oceana Christmas Cruise E625 The Review

Post by Raybosailor » 05 Jan 2017, 10:23

Oceana Christmas Cruise E625 Review

20th December. On Route
We prefer to stay overnight in Southampton and we were booked into the Travelodge on Castle Way, no frills but clean and ample sized rooms and there is limited garage parking beneath the hotel.
Our usual route to Hampshire looked a bit iffy on the Highways website so I decided to take the 10 mile longer route via the A42, M42, M40 to pick up the A34 which turned out to be a good decision as we sailed through. I had planned to arrive at the hotel at 12:00 noon as previous guests would have to vacate by this time leaving the car park practically empty, as last year my plan worked and we pulled in to an empty car park and even got the same bay as last year right next to the lift.
Being a tight wad I elected not to pay the extra tenner for early check in but the friendly receptionist said she could clearly see my car on the security screen and would keep an eye on it so after a quick drink in the bar we walked across the road to the West Quay Shopping Centre which gets bigger every year. After a couple of hours in West Quay with Cheryl I soon realised it would have been cheaper to pay for the early check in at the hotel, my only purchase was a Santa hat in Poundland and guess how much I paid for it ?.

21st December Embarkation.
We had a 13:30 check in time but as it took an hour to queue just to get rid of the car last year we decided to leave the hotel at 12:00, as we reached the flour mill which was where we started queuing last year there was not a car to be seen and we carried on through the gates to find that there were only a handful of cars in front of us.
Oh dear we are going to be far too early now said Cheryl but with the luggage taken away I was prepared to take a long wait, we were ushered straight to check in and issued with our cruise cards and then asked to sit in the lounge and wait to be called. As there were quite a large number of passengers who were obviously going to board before us we decided to sit back with a glass of wine and listen to the excellent choir who were singing carols.
Just as the last sip of wine went down our embarkation letter was called out and we were told that all cabins were ready so we dropped our coats and hand luggage off and were sat having lunch in the Plaza at 12:50 so P&O get a ten from Len and Hooray from Ray for that.
Our inside cabin was ample but the wardrobe hanging space was limited so I removed all the wooden hangers from their clips as we pack most of our clothes on wire hangers which take up less space.
We were unpacked and even had ample time to explore the ship before the muster call went out and we were soon on our way down Southampton Water into the Solent from where we took a Westerly course past the Needles towards La Coruna.
We were allocated as requested a table for four and were joined by a couple from Ashford in Kent John & Julia, our head waiter Harish introduced himself and we discussed my dietary needs and as usual I was looked after very well for the remainder of the cruise.
The entertainment in Footlights was the Headliners introduction show which we enjoyed before a drink in The Yacht and Compass bar before retiring for the night.

Weather: Wet and windy but not too cold with a moderate sea swell as we entered the Channel shipping lanes.

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Re: Oceana Christmas Cruise E625

Post by qbman1 » 05 Jan 2017, 15:37

Raybosailor wrote:Arrived in Arrecife this morning and watched Oriana ( crewed by the one and only Cubie ) berth beside us. The sun is shining and it is a very pleasant 19 degrees.
Last night was the ships company pantomime " Robinson Crusoe" which was very amusing and even Captain Willard made an appearance.
Tonight is curry night in the Plaza so we are giving our waiters a rest before setting off for the Starlights Theatre to watch the Headliners show.
Glad you all had a (mostly) enjoyable trip. We found the weather was good all around - calmest seas we have experienced in 10 years of Christmas cruising. Even got a bit burnt in Gran Canaria and Lanzarote! We did share a beer in Lanzarote with a couple from Oceana who gate crashed our table. They said it was largely enjoyable but had encountered this bad-tempered sort from Nottingham !!

Turns out one of our former Christmas table companions was also on Oceana - Michael and Ann from Bedford. He has a few steam engines so you will remember him if you came across him!


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Re: Oceana Christmas Cruise E625

Post by daib GC » 05 Jan 2017, 16:35

qbman1 wrote:
Raybosailor wrote:Arrived in Arrecife this morning and watched Oriana ( crewed by the one and only Cubie ) berth beside us. The sun is shining and it is a very pleasant 19 degrees.
Last night was the ships company pantomime " Robinson Crusoe" which was very amusing and even Captain Willard made an appearance.
Tonight is curry night in the Plaza so we are giving our waiters a rest before setting off for the Starlights Theatre to watch the Headliners show.
Glad you all had a (mostly) enjoyable trip. We found the weather was good all around - calmest seas we have experienced in 10 years of Christmas cruising. Even got a bit burnt in Gran Canaria and Lanzarote! We did share a beer in Lanzarote with a couple from Oceana who gate crashed our table. They said it was largely enjoyable but had encountered this bad-tempered sort from Nottingham !!

Turns out one of our former Christmas table companions was also on Oceana - Michael and Ann from Bedford. He has a few steam engines so you will remember him if you came across him!

The new berth in Arrecife is excellent. A very present walk along the Marina past shops bars and restaurants. When I say walk I mean scooter.

It was quite cool and windy in GC but better in La Palma.

I did take Oriana's photo.

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Re: Oceana Christmas Cruise E625

Post by qbman1 » 05 Jan 2017, 16:41

daib GC wrote:
qbman1 wrote:
Raybosailor wrote:Arrived in Arrecife this morning and watched Oriana ( crewed by the one and only Cubie ) berth beside us. The sun is shining and it is a very pleasant 19 degrees.
Last night was the ships company pantomime " Robinson Crusoe" which was very amusing and even Captain Willard made an appearance.
Tonight is curry night in the Plaza so we are giving our waiters a rest before setting off for the Starlights Theatre to watch the Headliners show.
Glad you all had a (mostly) enjoyable trip. We found the weather was good all around - calmest seas we have experienced in 10 years of Christmas cruising. Even got a bit burnt in Gran Canaria and Lanzarote! We did share a beer in Lanzarote with a couple from Oceana who gate crashed our table. They said it was largely enjoyable but had encountered this bad-tempered sort from Nottingham !!

Turns out one of our former Christmas table companions was also on Oceana - Michael and Ann from Bedford. He has a few steam engines so you will remember him if you came across him!

The new berth in Arrecife is excellent. A very present walk along the Marina past shops bars and restaurants. When I say walk I mean scooter.

It was quite cool and windy in GC but better in La Palma.

I did take Oriana's photo.
Lucky you - we still had that 'orrible 'bus ride through the port! Apparently there is a path to the town but I didn't fancy it. I have a couple of pictures of Oceana too - one when we were coming in first thing and another with the sun going down over her stern. I'll try to post them tomorrow

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Re: Oceana Christmas Cruise E625

Post by qbman1 » 06 Jan 2017, 10:44

As promised, here's your little tub in Lanzarote last week - early morning and evening
IMG_5884.JPG
Last edited by qbman1 on 06 Jan 2017, 10:45, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Oceana Christmas Cruise E625

Post by Raybosailor » 06 Jan 2017, 13:11

22nd December At Sea

After a comfortable night we took breakfast in the Ligurian Restaurant and went for our morning walk round the decks before the forum meet up in the Card Room arranged by Dai. There was quite a good attendance as there were three different forums involved and it was nice to put faces to people who had made contributions to the various threads. Unfortunately Lynda was unwell on the morning but David came down for a few minutes but we never caught sight of them thereafter so I hope Lynda is ok.
First black tie night and Captains welcome party tonight and our first sight of Captain Andrew Willard, the champagne flowed pretty well and we were offered a second glass plus a top up before we left for dinner. Our son Tony had ordered us a surprise wine package so we ordered a bottle of Chardonnay with our meal and top that with a drink in the Yacht and Compass we retired to the cabin very merry indeed and both slept through a heavy swell as Oceana did the Jingle Bells Rock.
Weather: North Westerly force 6 with a heavy swell, max. temperature 12 deg.

23rd. December La Coruna
Despite copious amounts of alcohol last night I was awake by 05:30 so to avoid waking OH (would I dare?) I went above to raid the beverage station in the Plaza and after three brews I stood on Sky Deck to watch our approach into La Coruna before returning to cabin and surprisingly my cell mate was up and dressed.
Usual breakfast in Ligurian then back to cabin to pick up essentials for our walk ashore, we have not booked any shore excursions on this cruise so it will be a leisurely walk ashore at every port. The walk around Coruna was very pleasant as we meandered around the narrow streets and squares, after a stop for coffee and Wi-Fi opposite the Playa we returned to the ship for a late lunch.
The afternoon for me was spent in a very competitive game of shuffleboard with three chaps from Birmingham while Cheryl went to watch a film.
Always ready for a sing along we attended the sail away party on Lido deck led by Liam Jay and his team before returning to our cabin to prepare for dinner.

Weather: Light winds and moderate swell with max. temperature of 15 deg.

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Re: Oceana Christmas Cruise E625

Post by qbman1 » 06 Jan 2017, 13:18

Is that you I can see looking out of the window of the Plaza and clutching a cup of tea on my first piccy, Raymondo ?
IMG_5884.JPG

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Re: Oceana Christmas Cruise E625

Post by Raybosailor » 06 Jan 2017, 13:34

qbman1 wrote:Is that you I can see looking out of the window of the Plaza and clutching a cup of tea on my first piccy, Raymondo ?

IMG_5884.JPG
Probably Cubie I bet it was my third mug by the time you took this, hope you had a good time on Oriana and a Happy New Year to you and yours.


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Re: Oceana Christmas Cruise E625

Post by daib GC » 06 Jan 2017, 14:28

Raybosailor wrote:22nd December At Sea

After a comfortable night we took breakfast in the Ligurian Restaurant and went for our morning walk round the decks before the forum meet up in the Card Room arranged by Dai. There was quite a good attendance as there were three different forums involved and it was nice to put faces to people who had made contributions to the various threads. Unfortunately Lynda was unwell on the morning but David came down for a few minutes but we never caught sight of them thereafter so I hope Lynda is ok.
First black tie night and Captains welcome party tonight and our first sight of Captain Andrew Willard, the champagne flowed pretty well and we were offered a second glass plus a top up before we left for dinner. Our son Tony had ordered us a surprise wine package so we ordered a bottle of Chardonnay with our meal and top that with a drink in the Yacht and Compass we retired to the cabin very merry indeed and both slept through a heavy swell as Oceana did the Jingle Bells Rock.
Weather: North Westerly force 6 with a heavy swell, max. temperature 12 deg.

23rd. December La Coruna
Despite copious amounts of alcohol last night I was awake by 05:30 so to avoid waking OH (would I dare?) I went above to raid the beverage station in the Plaza and after three brews I stood on Sky Deck to watch our approach into La Coruna before returning to cabin and surprisingly my cell mate was up and dressed.
Usual breakfast in Ligurian then back to cabin to pick up essentials for our walk ashore, we have not booked any shore excursions on this cruise so it will be a leisurely walk ashore at every port. The walk around Coruna was very pleasant as we meandered around the narrow streets and squares, after a stop for coffee and Wi-Fi opposite the Playa we returned to the ship for a late lunch.
The afternoon for me was spent in a very competitive game of shuffleboard with three chaps from Birmingham while Cheryl went to watch a film.
Always ready for a sing along we attended the sail away party on Lido deck led by Liam Jay and his team before returning to our cabin to prepare for dinner.

Weather: Light winds and moderate swell with max. temperature of 15 deg.

Lynda and David were both fine, we saw them on a number of occasions around the ship.

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Re: Oceana Christmas Cruise E625

Post by qbman1 » 06 Jan 2017, 14:35

Obviously Lynda just trying to avoid Raymondo !

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Re: Oceana Christmas Cruise E625

Post by Raybosailor » 06 Jan 2017, 22:26

qbman1 wrote:Obviously Lynda just trying to avoid Raymondo !
Looks that way Cubie

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Re: Oceana Christmas Cruise E625

Post by Raybosailor » 07 Jan 2017, 08:25

24th. December Christmas Eve At Sea

There was an air of festivity about Oceana this morning even at the early hour that I was up on deck having my first brew there were one or two people walking about with Santa hats on, and by 7:45 when we took the walk to the Ligurian for breakfast there was Christmas music playing in the Atrium.
We took our usual mile (or just over as we did 4 circuits) around the prom deck and then walked up the stairs to the Lido Deck where we found a place out of the wind to sit and for Cheryl to read her Kindle and for me to do a few Sudoku’s. We were going to have a chill out day today so we stayed there to take part in the Music Master Quiz, we were two points off winning it but the family group that got the most points were using their phones so we quietly considered ourselves the winners and there were no prizes anyway.
As we sat up on Lido deck we noticed that there were quite a lot of kids in the 12-16 age group and as the days went on they were all forming into a fair sized group and our concern was that they would get a bit rowdy. Our fears were never realised as they were very well behaved indeed which was more than I could say for a handful of adults onboard. They joined in with all the deck parties with great enthusiasm and they took up a whole row in Footlights for most of the shows and were a credit to their parents.
At 17:00 we went back up to the Lido deck for the Christmas Eve party and the arrival of Santa at the ships funnel, there was a lot of singing and silly dances which really put everyone in the Christmas spirit. Then it was back to the cabin for a shower and get changed for dinner complete with Santa hats as our table companions had insisted that we wear them, as it turned out they had the same hats as us with flashing lights (someone else shops at Poundland).
The Headliners did a “Jingle Bells Rock” show which was really good and we found ourselves rocking, singing and clapping all the way through the show. Then it was off to the Yacht and Compass to sing along with the Front of House group before collapsing into bed. Oh! I forgot to mention, Santa had been while we were out and left us both a stocking with chocolates in and there was a P&O Christmas card signed by the Captain and senior officers.

Weather: North Easterly Force 4 wind with a max. temperature of 15 deg.

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Re: Oceana Christmas Cruise E625

Post by Lynda and David » 07 Jan 2017, 19:16

Raybosailor wrote:
qbman1 wrote:Obviously Lynda just trying to avoid Raymondo !
Looks that way Cubie
Hello Ray

I'm sorry we didn't get to meet I really wasn't trying to avoid you, I don't understand why I felt so ill on that first sea day I don't usually get seasick and was fine the rest of the holiday even going through that dreadful storm on Monday on our way back. At the end of the first week I asked Dai and Linda if they had seen you and if they knew which bar you drank in but Dai said he hadn't seen you since the get together.

Maybe we'll get to meet on another cruise.

Regards

Lynda

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Re: Oceana Christmas Cruise E625

Post by Raybosailor » 08 Jan 2017, 09:34

Lynda and David wrote:
Raybosailor wrote:
qbman1 wrote:Obviously Lynda just trying to avoid Raymondo !
Looks that way Cubie
Hello Ray

I'm sorry we didn't get to meet I really wasn't trying to avoid you, I don't understand why I felt so ill on that first sea day I don't usually get seasick and was fine the rest of the holiday even going through that dreadful storm on Monday on our way back. At the end of the first week I asked Dai and Linda if they had seen you and if they knew which bar you drank in but Dai said he hadn't seen you since the get together.

Maybe we'll get to meet on another cruise.

Regards

Lynda
Glad you were ok after that first sea day Lynda, we drank in the Yacht and Compass after the shows in Footlights, I was hoping to speak to David again about the Bush and Hammersmith but maybe on another cruise as you say.


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Re: Oceana Christmas Cruise E625

Post by daib GC » 08 Jan 2017, 13:06

Raybosailor wrote:
Lynda and David wrote:
Raybosailor wrote:
qbman1 wrote:Obviously Lynda just trying to avoid Raymondo !
Looks that way Cubie
Hello Ray

I'm sorry we didn't get to meet I really wasn't trying to avoid you, I don't understand why I felt so ill on that first sea day I don't usually get seasick and was fine the rest of the holiday even going through that dreadful storm on Monday on our way back. At the end of the first week I asked Dai and Linda if they had seen you and if they knew which bar you drank in but Dai said he hadn't seen you since the get together.

Maybe we'll get to meet on another cruise.

Regards

Lynda
Glad you were ok after that first sea day Lynda, we drank in the Yacht and Compass after the shows in Footlights, I was hoping to speak to David again about the Bush and Hammersmith but maybe on another cruise as you say.

Ahhh that's why we did not see you we were always in Winners or Magnums or the Atrium never drank in the Y&C

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Re: Oceana Christmas Cruise E625

Post by Raybosailor » 08 Jan 2017, 13:11

25th December
Christmas Day at sea.

I was up late this morning 6:30 and Cheryl was awake early so over a cuppa we opened our Christmas presents then headed off to the Ligurian for breakfast where everyone was comparing Christmas jumpers.
Later on the Captain read a story to the children in the Atrium and around the ship there was a lovely air of Christmas.
Christmas dinner was black tie and it was nice to see that everyone had made an effort and there were quite a few kids dressed to the nines too.
Christmas dinner was not the best we have had but bearing in mind that the chefs had cooked for almost 2000 people it was a sterling effort.
Due to the amount of alcohol consumed the rest of the evening remains a blur so I can't remember what the evening entertainment was.

Weather: Easterly force 3 winds,
max. temperature 19 deg. and dry.

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Re: Oceana Christmas Cruise E625

Post by Kenmo1 » 08 Jan 2017, 15:02

Raybosailor wrote:Due to the amount of alcohol consumed the rest of the evening remains a blur so I can't remember what the evening entertainment was.
Sounds like you enjoyed yourself anyway.

Thanks for bringing back memories of last Christmas for us. Having said I probably wouldn't do another Christmas cruise, your review is starting to tempt me.

Maureen

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Re: Oceana Christmas Cruise E625

Post by Raybosailor » 09 Jan 2017, 08:37

26th. December

Agadir, Morocco

I was up early this morning and raided the beverage station for my first of many cups of builders tea (yes a two teabag job) and was joined by a woman who told me her whole life story over three mugs of tea, and I thought I'd had an interesting life.
Before long the lights of the port were visible and we watched as Oceana slid gracefully into her berth, I begged my excuse from Lady Dunnitall and scurried down the stairway to find that Cheryl was not feeling too good and would be skipping breakfast.

With Cheryl still not feeling well she told me to go ashore and Facetime the family as we had promised so I boarded the courtesy coach and set off for the town. At the bus drop off point I made straight for the beach area, playing Russian roullette with the traffic across the two busy roads and down the alley beside the smelly zoo.
When I reached my destination (McDonalds for wifi only) they were shut but I sat on the bench outside where I got a half decent signal to catch up with family and sift through a multitude of emails received since Coruna. Speaking to fellow cruise passengers down there they told me that not many places were accepting the Euro so considering that I only had a few cents in change and two 50 Euro notes I wasn't going to risk getting a pocket full of camel teeth or Dirham as change I never spent a penny in Agadir.
I was soon back on the bus back to the ship and it was soon evident that a lot of passengers did likewise and talking to people who had done excursions many of them were disappointed with them.

Cheryl was feeling much better when I returned so we decided to have lunch in the Plaza where we sat with a couple from Long Eaton and we were amazed to find that the lady was born only a few doors from where Cheryl was born and her husband lived most of his life in my old stomping ground and we sat for ages reminiscing about life in those areas.

We spent the afternoon in a sun trap on Lido deck drinking copious amounts of builders from the beverage station as we were trying to cut down on the alcohol but we succumbed to a Pina Colada at the sailaway party where we were joined again by the Long Eaton couple. Like many others I was not sorry to see Oceana leaving the port of Agadir and can fully understand why so many stay onboard.

Wheather: Winds Easterly force 4 with a max. temperature of 21 deg. and dry.

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Re: Oceana Christmas Cruise E625

Post by qbman1 » 09 Jan 2017, 09:34

We joined the "stay on board in Agadir" fraternity this time too. It appears that quite a few cruises are scheduled to call there. I know P&O are looking for "new" or "different" destinations but this one seems generally unpopular so I wonder how long before it is dropped

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Re: Oceana Christmas Cruise E625

Post by Raybosailor » 10 Jan 2017, 11:09

27th. December

Arrecife, Lanzarote

Up on deck early as usual with mug of builders to watch Oceana's approach into Arrecife, the island is well known for its strong breezes and today was no exception.
After a couple of hours up there with cobwebs blown off and a few more mugs of tea I went back to find Lady C up and dressed and the kettle was on the boil so I joined her in another brew before going down to breakfast in the Ligurian.

We have done most of Lanzarote on shore based holidays in the past so it was a walk ashore for us and a trip to the market, then after a walk around the town it was a quick coffee and wifi hook up before returning to the ship.

I hadn't ordered a gluten free meal today but we went to the Ligurian for lunch as they always have the cold meat platter and side salad and we much prefer to eat there as opposed to the Plaza buffet. We were seated on a table for six but to our horror there was a couple on there that openly addmitted that it was the first time they had been allowed out of the cabin. They were telling us all about the men in white suits and face masks coming to their cabin so we excused ourselves before the sweet and coffee courses and made a hasty retreat. (calling at the sheep dip on the way out).

The rest of the day was spent on Lido Deck where we took part in the Music Master quiz but finished with a measley 22/30 score. We stayed up there until the sailaway party but as the cocktail of the day seems to be normal price now I sang along aided by a bottle of Magners cider.

All of the guest entertainment is either something we have seen before or not to our taste so unless the Headliners are in Footlights we seem to be following the resident group Front of House around the ship.

Weather:East South Easterly Force 6 winds, dry with max. 19 deg. C

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Re: Oceana Christmas Cruise E625

Post by qbman1 » 10 Jan 2017, 11:22

Raybosailor wrote:27th. December

Arrecife, Lanzarote

Up on deck early as usual with mug of builders to watch Oceana's approach into Arrecife, the island is well known for its strong breezes and today was no exception.
After a couple of hours up there with cobwebs blown off and a few more mugs of tea I went back to find Lady C up and dressed and the kettle was on the boil so I joined her in another brewbefore going down to breakfast in the Ligurian.

We have done most of Lanzarote on shore based holidays in the past so it was a walk ashore for us and a trip to the market, then after a walk around the town it was a quick coffee and wifi hook up before returning to the ship.

I hadn't ordered a gluten free meal today but we went to the Ligurian for lunch as they always have the cold meat platter and side salad and we much prefer to eat there as opposed to the Plaza buffet. We were seated on a table for six but to our horror there was a couple on there that openly addmitted that it was the first time they had been allowed out of the cabin. They were telling us all about the men in white suits and face masks coming to their cabin so we excused ourselves before the sweet and coffee courses and made a hasty retreat. (calling at the sheep dip on the way out).

The rest of the day was spent on Lido Deck where we took part in the Music Master quiz but finished with a measley 22/30 score. We stayed up there until the sailaway party but as the cocktail of the day seems to be normal price now I sang along aided by a bottle of Magners cider.

All of the guest entertainment is either something we have seen before or not to our taste so unless the Headliners are in Footlights we seem to be following the resident group Front of House around the ship.

Weather:East South Easterly Force 6 winds, dry with max. 19 deg. C
You must have a cast-iron bladder, Raymondo !
IMG_5912.JPG

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Re: Oceana Christmas Cruise E625

Post by Raybosailor » 10 Jan 2017, 11:30

How would you like security checks like this at Mayflower Cubie ?

http://d1ypndy0byt0zg.cloudfront.net/wp ... ages_8.jpg

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Re: Oceana Christmas Cruise E625

Post by qbman1 » 10 Jan 2017, 11:38

She's definitely smuggling something in there !!

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Re: Oceana Christmas Cruise E625

Post by Raybosailor » 12 Jan 2017, 11:27

28th. December

Gran Canaria

We approached the port of Las Palmas at 06:30 with a following stiff breeze so it was a bit cool up on Lido deck this morning as I watched the pilot come aboard but we were tied up by 07:50.

After a leisurely breakfast we decided to go ashore at about 09:45 to find the gangways clear and the short walk into the town was quite pleasant despite the wind. After a wander through the narrow streets we decided to make our way to the beach at Playa Cantera which was on the lee side of the island and the pleasant promenade was basking in sunshine. As we walked along the prom we met our table companions John & Julia so we sat with them on a bench listening to a South American pan piper playing an array of different pipes, he had the usual cd's and souveniers for sale and I purchased a bamboo flute which has annoyed Cheryl ever since.

Walking further down the prom I was lured into a beachside cafe that displayed a sign in the window "Sin Gluten" and free WiFi, as you can imagine the other three had a hard time getting me to leave. Gluten free San Miguel beer and free WiFi ? what has Oceana got to offer now.

On our return to Oceana we stopped to take photos of two tall masted sailing ships that were moored up, one being The Lord Nelson belonging to a trust that enables people of all abilities the chance to experience cruising under sail. I spoke to two of the crew who told me that a fortnights cruise with them is slightly cheaper than a P&O cruise and you can do as much or as little as you like when onboard. Cheryl was less than impressed when I told her that this could be our next cruise holiday.

Note to Cubie, I have a photo of a scantily dressed young lady swinging from the rigging of the Lord Nelson if you want to add it to your portfolio.

Weather: Winds of Force 5, sunny with temperatures of 19 deg. max.

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qbman1
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Re: Oceana Christmas Cruise E625

Post by qbman1 » 12 Jan 2017, 11:52

I can top your 19 deg Raymondo. This was on Christmas Eve:
IMG_5839.JPG
Mind you, even I stopped short of taking photos of the scantily-clad young ladies !! I worry about you.


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Re: Oceana Christmas Cruise E625

Post by daib GC » 12 Jan 2017, 12:32

qbman1 wrote:I can top your 19 deg Raymondo. This was on Christmas Eve:

IMG_5839.JPG

Mind you, even I stopped short of taking photos of the scantily-clad young ladies !! I worry about you.

It may have been 19 by the beach but it was B cold in the port area. Very cold wind.

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Re: Oceana Christmas Cruise E625

Post by qbman1 » 12 Jan 2017, 12:42

Yes, it did get a bit breezy at times - here's a clue why we didn't dock at Fuerteventura
IMG_5857.JPG

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Re: Oceana Christmas Cruise E625

Post by Raybosailor » 13 Jan 2017, 16:45

daib GC wrote:
qbman1 wrote:I can top your 19 deg Raymondo. This was on Christmas Eve:

IMG_5839.JPG

Mind you, even I stopped short of taking photos of the scantily-clad young ladies !! I worry about you.

It may have been 19 by the beach but it was B cold in the port area. Very cold wind.
I was photographing the rigging Cubie how was I to know she would come swinging into view ?

The temperatures were in the shade averages but it was quite hot out of the wind, had to wear my faithful old sunhat to stop me burning.

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Re: Oceana Christmas Cruise E625

Post by Raybosailor » 13 Jan 2017, 16:48

29th. December

Tenerife

It was a lovely morning as we approached the port of Santa Cruz at 06:30, we seemed to be taking things pretty steady as we entered the port but Captain Willard might be thinking that it was here that Lord Nelson lost his arm and was taking no chances.

As usual we had a leisurely breakfast in the Ligurian giving the bulk of shore bound passengers plenty of time to clear the gangway before we took our exit. It was a sunny day so the battered old sunhat came out straight away and even Cheryl covered up as we walked into town.

We had never approached Santa Cruz from the sea before and the port information sheet from our cabin had a map that was close to useless, so we sat on a bench in a small square to try and get our bearings. There was a man sat reading a newspaper next to us so I asked him in Spanish for directions, to our amusement he replied " no good asking me mate I'm from Durham" I would have sworn he was Spanish until his wife appeared from a shop opposite.

We walked a few streets more and then things started to look familiar and we spent a while going round the indoor market before finding a nice cafe beside the tram line where we caught up with family on Facetime.

We were back on board Oceana for lunch and decided that we were going to take advantage of the sunny day on Lido Deck where we took part in the Music Master quiz but fell 5 points short of the winners.

The sail away party was a battle of noise as Queen Victoria was in port with us, ships horns blasting each other and people singing it was no place to go for an afternoon kip on a sunbed.

Weather: Light winds, sunny and dry with max. temperature of 22 deg.

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Re: Oceana Christmas Cruise E625

Post by Raybosailor » 14 Jan 2017, 12:14

30th. December

La Palma

It was our first visit to La Palma and we fell in love with the island straight away, apart from the ugly McDonalds building the first thing you see as you leave the cruise terminal, the island seems unspoilt by tourism.

Once across the busy main road we found ourselves in the narrow cobbled road of Calle O'Daly named after an Irish merchant who in 1773 initiated the first public elections in Spanish history and was constructive in the opening of the first state run school in the Canaries.
There are so many interesting buildings along this street that you don't realise how far you have walked and at the end there is a nice square Plaza De La Alameda where you can sit on a bench and people watch. There is also a life size replica of the ship Santa Maria in which Christopher Columbus sailed on his voyages of discovery.

After a coffee and WiFi catch up in a lovely rustic bar/cafe where we were the only English speaking people present we visited the remains of a fort that overlooked the sea front. It was so windy up there that my battered old sun hat blew off but I was able to retrieve it much to the annoyance of Cheryl as she has been trying to get rid of it for years.

On from the fort we went down a steep hill onto the Avinida de Maritima where all the old traders houses sport attractive flower draped balconies which was a must for photographers. Under one building there was a shop selling artisan craftwork which is always a magnate for the pair of us, we only went in for a walk round but we came out with a bag full of stuff.

We loved La Palma so much we went into the tourist office and came out with a few brochures and accommodation details as we plan to return for a week on the island.

Back on board we had spent so much time on shore that we had missed lunch and the Music Master quiz so we did something we rarely do, we ate from the Horizon Grill and enjoyed cheesburger and chips washed down with coca cola (the grandkids would be proud of us) not healthy but nice for a change.

Todays sailaway was The Great British Sailaway which we enjoy so off to the cabin to change into our Union Jack shirts and back for a real good sing along. The sailaway was well attended and with songs from Wales, Scotland, Ireland and of course England we let the whole of La Palma know we were leaving.

Weather: Strong Southerly winds of Force 6 but warm and dry when out of the breeze with temperatures of 24 deg.

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Re: Oceana Christmas Cruise E625

Post by Happydays » 14 Jan 2017, 15:28

I'm enjoying reading your review, seems like you had a good time. We usually like the "Great British" sail away as it's good fun :thumbup:

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Re: Oceana Christmas Cruise E625

Post by Raybosailor » 15 Jan 2017, 11:17

31st December

New Years Eve in Madeira

This is the day we have been waiting for, the main reason for booking this cruise was for the fireworks in Funchal so we were looking forward to that.
The sea was a bit choppy as we sailed into port and we were berthed right on the end of the breakwater, because of the wind direction the swell was coming straight into the harbour and Oceana was acting as part of the breakwater for other ships in port.

After breakfast we went ashore and took the shuttle bus into town, it was quite busy as there were a few cruise ships in port, all along the main road there were local folk singers and dancers with ukulele bands providing the music which I enjoyed as I am learning to play the ukulele myself (very badly at the moment).
The ukulele was introduced to the world by a man from Madeira named Manuel Nunes who went to Hawaii to work in a sugar plantation and he developed the ukulele based on a Portugese instrument called a braguinha, so if you visit Hawaii and listen to the ukulele being played it is all down to Manuel.

We walked deeper into town and after a walk round the flower market and a stop to listen to a band that looked like the Portugese equivalent to our Salvation Army we headed for the shoreline, the wind had increased and there was some dramatic spray breaking over the sea wall.

The large coffee houses like The Ritz were very busy but they are not our sort of place so we came back off the main road up a narrow street where we found a lovely cafe in a courtyard that had excellent coffee and WiFi so Ray and Walley were happy (Walley is what I call my wallet).

When we returned to the ship we were held up for a while by the shore crew who were being instructed by the bridge via radio phone, the huge rubber fenders attached to the quay were squealing against the hull in the movement. We were then instructed to go aboard in small groups and the walk up the plank was similar to the old fairground hurdy girdy ride.

For the first time on the cruise we decided to go to the cabin and rest for a while before getting ready for the third black tie dinner and the festivities later.
After dinner we decided to change out of our formal wear into something more suitable for a windy night up on top deck.

In the lead up to midnight we were entertained by the group "The Four Tunes" who were performing on Lido deck below us and the party was soon in full swing as we sang along to every tune. We were joined for a while by the captain who told me that he had never experienced a port day in Funchal like today, he said that they have had to employ the portside thrusters all day to ease the strain on the lines.

The count down to midnight came and on the stroke of midnight the ships horns blew which seemed to signal the start of the fireworks which were amazing, there were three dredgers moored up outside the harbour where fireworks were being deployed so we were encircled by an amazing display.

The BBC Radio 2 team were broadcasting live from Oceana hosted by Penny Smith the former breakfast tv presenter and the celebrity guests Cara Emerald (jazz singer) and Ana Tronic (ex Scissor Sisters) were performing in the Starlights Theatre.

We were woken up in the early hours by a bridge announcement that there was a medical emergency which was actually on our corridor and there was the noise of people scurrying around and the sound of distressed voices. We had just settled back into a deep sleep when we were again woken, this time by heavy vibration of the ship. We found out later that the vibration was the ship going quickly about to return to Funchal and send the patient ashore, a rather unfortunate end to what was a great night, hope all went well for the patient.

Breakfast this morning was a quiet affair as it seemed most people elected for a lie in but old die hard here tucked in to a full jotter (thats Nottingham speak for orange juice,cereals,anything that will fit in a large frying pan and toast washed down with copius amounts of builders tea) followed by a walk round the ship, which was indoors this time as the prom deck was closed.

Weather: New Years Eve morning it was quite breezy but it was quite pleasant out of the wind with a temperature around 21 deg. But by afternoon the wind had picked up quite a bit and the passage out of Funchal up towards Cap Finisterre was a rough one.

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Re: Oceana Christmas Cruise E625

Post by Stephen » 15 Jan 2017, 11:32

You can't beat the good old full English Ray :thumbup: I sometimes say to Mrs S, 'I think I might give the fry up a miss this morning'. But once that aroma hits the nostrils any will power dissolves like sugar in tea :D . And as it's the only time I indulge in the greasy spoon I'm going to make the most of it :thumbup:

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Re: Oceana Christmas Cruise E625

Post by Stephen » 15 Jan 2017, 12:52

Like the sound of your cruise Ray. Never done a Christmas cruise before, and I just mentioned it to the guvnor and to my surprise she seemed to like the idea :shock: It could be happy days if I play it right :thumbup:
Last edited by Stephen on 15 Jan 2017, 12:52, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Oceana Christmas Cruise E625

Post by Raybosailor » 16 Jan 2017, 09:22

I can well recommend it Stephen, we really enjoyed our first Christmas and New Year cruise, there were the usual moaners but I don't think they could have tried very hard to enjoy themselves.

As for the full English its the only way after a heavy night on the pop isn't it ?, mind you its nil less by mouth for a while now and steady on the alcohol for a while. New Years Resolution ? naaaaaagh!

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Re: Oceana Christmas Cruise E625

Post by Raybosailor » 16 Jan 2017, 09:24

1st January-4th January

3 Sea Days Home

There was nothing significant to report from our three days at sea apart from the rough seas around Cap Finisterre where the swell was over 6 metres in Force 8 winds. On the morning of the 2nd January the waves were crashing over the windows of the Ligurian restaurant as we had breakfast, the waiters were struggling to serve and there was a crash of crockery now and then. I heard reports that the Plaza buffet was temporary closed but when I ventured up there later to get a cuppa it was open.

For once the Bay of Biscay gave us some respite and as we rounded the tip where La Coruna lies things steadied a little though the motion sickness bags remained on display in public areas.

Our last formal dinner (Black & White) was on the 2nd January and was well adhered to in the Meridian restaurant which was the last time we saw our table companions as they ate in the buffet on the last night.

I will write a summary in another post so for now its chill out and Sudoku until Southampton.

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Re: Oceana Christmas Cruise E625 Summary

Post by Raybosailor » 17 Jan 2017, 10:54

The Summary
Embarkation: All I can say about this is EXCELLENT, the smoothest one to date and the only wait was the queue at security which was again caused by passengers not being prepared, at least we were entertained by a very good choir while the usual suspects were asked to remove the hardware from their pockets.
We were eating lunch 40 minutes before our allotted check in time.

In General: It was our first Christmas afloat and a most enjoyable cruise, we think P&O do Christmas and New Year very well and would recommend it to anyone.
We booked this cruise mainly for the overnight in Madeira and the fireworks and this was the highlight and grand finale to two lovely weeks on Oceana.

The Ship: It was our first time on Oceana and although it is not our favourite we would sail on her again, she is looking a bit tired in places but overall nothing to complain about. The only thing we didn't like about it was that Cafe Jardin takes up the whole of that section of the Atrium so you have to go down a deck to avoid walking through the restaurant. The crew were very friendly including the Captain Andrew Willard who is the most passenger friendly captain we have met, he even played a part in some of the shows and read a story to the kids on Christmas morning.

Cabin: Inside D319, it was quiet at night but on rare occasions during the day that we visited it there seemed to be a lot of traffic in the corridor as it was positioned between port and starboard corridors but that didn't bother us as we only slept and showered in it. The bathroom was ok but the shower had a curtain which Cheryl hates, the wardrobe space was ample as we always pack our things on wire hangers that take up less room than the bulky wooden ones supplied (which were stuffed behind the life jackets for the duration of the cruise).

Restaurants: We opt for Club dining at night as it makes life easier having the same waiters to deal with my gluten allergy. The head waiter Harish was very efficient and obliging and our two table waiters were very friendly.
The food was good and Cheryl tried some dishes that she had never had before including Pheasant & Haggis (not on the same plate).
Lunch was mostly taken in the Ligurian restaurant as I had pre ordered my gluten free meal the previous night which was usually a surprise as I could never remember what I had ordered. We like breakfast and lunch in the MDR's as you nearly always get fresh table companions which can be interesting.

Entertainment: I can't comment on most of the guest entertainers as we had seen most of them before so apart from the Headliners shows which we always enjoy we followed the resident band Front Of House around the bars.
The Beatles tribute band The Cheatles were not the best tribute we have seen but they were entertaining and the audience including us sang along.
The Four Tunes group entertained us very well on New Years Eve up on Lido Deck in the run up to the fireworks.
Cara Emerald & Ana Tronic were in the Starlights Theatre on NY's Eve but we were out on deck dancing to DJ Dom.
The young kids put on a Nativity play and the older kids did a version of "Annie" which were both enjoyed by quite large audiences.
The crew pantomime was very funny with an appearance by the captain, the crew performance show was very good too with a hilarious sketch at the end in which the captain came on dressed as a ballerina.

Itinerary: The port of La Coruna was a welcome stop on our way to the Canaries, we just walked ashore and explored the lovely town. I did not speak to anyone who had enjoyed Agadir and most people who had booked shore excursions were disappointed.
The Canaries need no introduction and we have visited them many times before except La Palma which we loved and plan to return for a longer break.

Madeira was the highlight of the cruise apart from the heavy swell in the harbour, there was a lot of street entertainment during the day and the World famous firework display was nothing short of amazing.

Disembarkation: We were given a time of 09:15 so we had a leisurely breakfast in the Ligurian ( a full jotter to last me all the way back to Nottingham), we then sat in our meeting point in Starlights where we were called at precisely 09:15.
Luggage located and car keys collected we were on the motorway just after 10:00.

With just a 15 minute stop for a cuppa on the M40 we sailed home without a hitch and before we knew it we were sorting through a fortnights mail including some Christmas cards that had arrived after our departure on 20th December.

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Re: Oceana Christmas Cruise E625

Post by Happydays » 17 Jan 2017, 15:17

Your reviews have made interesting reading! You brought the whole cruise to life.
Glad you and your wife enjoyed it :thumbup:

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