E304 review

Reports about cruises on Oceana

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welshynurse
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E304 review

Post by welshynurse » 30 Mar 2013, 18:14

Never done a report before, and I'm sure a lot of it will be repeating SS, but here goes anyway, might keep the post-cruise blues away for a little bit!

When we left Southampton, it was bitterly cold and trying to snow, and without having a band, it wasn't the most inspiring sailaway ever! One thing I did notice though was that rather than giving away the sailaway drinks and then demanding your cabin card, the waiters were clearly saying the price as they advertised. Uptake was not high however, I think most people just wanted a steaming cup of tea!

For all those F1 fans out there, both races were shown. Australia was shown in the evening of the first Sunday "due to popular demand", and Malaysia was shown at 8am and the re-run at 2pm. Both were the BBC coverage, shown in Winners bar.

On the Sunday there was a hair and make-up demonstration by the Spa team on "volunteers" from the audience. I assumed this would be a pre planned thing to cover up a sales pitch, but went along anyway. There were 4 people from the spa team there, 2 on hair and one on make up. They really did pick people form the audience, I had my hair curled and pinned into an updo for that night's captain's cocktail party, with no hard sell at all, and when I took it out that night, I came away with no less than 20 hair grips!

That night there was an 18-25's get together, which was very poorly attended, but the DJ (Danny Feelgood), made sure we all (4), got chatting, and stopped to say hello evertime he passed for the rest of the cruise. He was also pretty entertaining, especially getting up on the dance floor to lead everyone in Gangnam Style!

The first port was Barcelona, where myself and my mum did the Gaudi tour. This was a good tour as Barlecona is pretty spread out, although I would have liked a little longer in Parc Gwell - there was no time to go off away from the group. Segrada Familia was definitely worth doing, although at 15 Euro per ticket I'm glad we did it as part of a tour. At the end of the trip, the coach did a drop off by Las Ramblas, so people could explore on their own without having to wait for the shuttle buses to take them back into the city.

As SS has mentioned in his report, the trip from Cannes - Easy Nice - was a little disappointing, but I think the main problem was very heavy traffic, which gave us less time in Nice than planned, and got us back an hour later than we were meant to. Luckily it was a half day trip so we were back by about 3, but it did mean we had no time to do out own thing in the afternoon.

The next day (Friday), was Cittiviticia (I know this isn't how it's spelt!). A few people, including our table companions and our waiter were planning on getting the train into Rome, but there was a rail strike on, which is worth thinking about if anyone is planning on doing this. Our trip - Taste of Tuscania - took us to a pretty little town, and then to a farm where we had decent lunch of ham, cheese, bread and pasta, with wine, all produced on the farm.

As already mentioned by SS, that night then my Gran decided to take the quick way down the stairs to get to see the dancing in the atrium. As the parents had already gone to bed, I was on my own with her, which was pretty scary, but everybody so helpful and kind. The medical team were fantastic, and a lovely Welsh couple called Steve and Karen stayed with us both until we were taken to the medical centre. All the staff were so concerned and for the rest of the week all the crew that saw what happened were asking after Gran and seemed geuinely concerned. Also the Head waiter in Cafe Jardin (Denis), after rushing down to help, gave me a pot of horlicks to take back to the cabin to help Gran get to sleep. it was quite fun smuggling the teapot back to him the next night!

Ok thats part 1, sorry its a bit long winded!

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Meg 50
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Re: E304 review

Post by Meg 50 » 30 Mar 2013, 18:33

it's not long winded -it's interesting.

looking forward to pt 2.

what is it about Oceana and stairs?
I fell down the stairs on our way back from the Syndicate quiz.
Meg
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welshynurse
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Re: E304 review

Post by welshynurse » 30 Mar 2013, 19:44

Ok part 2, I'l try to be more concise this time but I didn't get round to writing it down as I went along so its all from memory.

Middle Saturday, already a week gone! SS and Gran went to Sorrento, and myself and Mum went to Pompeii. Pompeii is amazing, definitely worth a visit. I was worried it would be a bit erie, looking round a place where so many people lost their lives, but it really wasn't. Our guide was fanastic, very funny, easy to understand, and kept telling all the other tour guides to get out of the way so we could have a better view! In the afternoon we went into Naples, but only did a quick trip around the block. Our waiters had warned us about pickpockets here, and I did not feel safe walking around, too many people on the street trying to sell stuff. Also, in Naples, there is no way of getting on or off the ship without going through a shopping centre. There was actually a lady stood outside stopping people from walking around the outside.

On the Sunday it was another sea day, church in the morning, then another demonstration in the afternoon. This time it was a floristry display, and the florist was brilliant, he used to be a magician amoung other things, and was really witty and informative. Again, no hard sell, and a lady won the display after answering a question. There was also the 'O' Factor, with demonstrations and behind the scenes glimpses. Was not good at the bed making, came joint 4th - out of 6! At the cookery display the headchef was making Thai soup, which he gave me a spoonful of to try, he's not a bad cook really :)

Monday, we went to Palma. As mentioned by SS, 15 Euros for a tour bus, but do take passports to get it cheaper for over 65's or under 16's.
This was a really good way to see the city, as it was much larger and more spread out than we thought. The tour buses come and go from just by the shuttle bus drop off - by the cathedral. There is a big department store a short walk from the buses where there is a very reasonable coffee shop at the top, and a supermarket at the bottom. No electricity at the front of the ship that afternoon, which put paid to the music quiz we were going to do, and cut short the film in Footlights. Luckily myself and Gran had torches with us, and by shining them into the mirrors, we had just about enough light to get ready for dinner. It was all fixed by halfway through dinner, and by the time we got back to the cabin, there was already a letter of apology waiting in our mail boxes.

On the Tuesday we went to Cartagena. Quite a nice little town within walking distane form the ship, but nothing opens til 10am, so if you get off early there isnt a huge amount to do. We didn't stay out that long and went to Cafe Jardin for lunch. This was our usual haunt, decent varied lunch menu with salads and deserts available in a buffet counter. If it was full rather than waiting we were given a number and called from Winners bar. We didnt ever wait more than about 15 minutes.

Wednesday was Gibraltar. I didnt go ashore because my voice seemed to have stayed in the last port. It was a great chance to catch up on laundry though since the ship seemed almost empty and all the machines were available! Great British sailaway that afternoon with an ice carving. I hadn't seen one being done before, he was so quick! If it was me there would have been a big pile of icecubes on the floor!

By Friday the seas had really picked up, Force 10 winds made packing quite fun. There was a Macmillan coffee morning in Le Club, where we got cupcakes in exchange for a donation and some of the officers were there to have a chat, including the captain, who was very approachable and friendly.

Throughout the cruise, all the crew were so attentive and helpful, so many off them went above and beyond to make the whole cruise really special and memorable. I haven't even mentioned the entertainment and headliners, who were brilliant.
So thats my slightly longwinded report, and I'm sure I missed half of it out!


Topic author
welshynurse
Third Officer
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Joined: January 2013

Re: E304 review

Post by welshynurse » 30 Mar 2013, 19:48

Meg 50 wrote:it's not long winded -it's interesting.

looking forward to pt 2.

what is it about Oceana and stairs?
I fell down the stairs on our way back from the Syndicate quiz.

Oh dear, hope you were ok, and didn't do any damage. Which stairs did you fall down. This was the marble bit in the middle, so although only a couple of steps, its quite a hard landing! The good thing about there though is there were so many people around to rush to the rescue, although not easy to get the stretcher too, since it was only accessable by steps!


rogerrovers
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Re: E304 review

Post by rogerrovers » 31 Mar 2013, 08:42

Thank you for your report. It seems you enjoyed your cruise and hope your Gran has recovered from her fall.

Jenny.

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Not so ancient mariner
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Re: E304 review

Post by Not so ancient mariner » 01 Apr 2013, 07:49

There is definitely something about the stairs on Oceana. Last year on E204, I had an 'uncontrolled descent' but managed to stay on my feet. This year, during the rough weather on E303, I saw a lady do the same (also on the way down from the syndicate quiz). Her husband rushed to help, and having ascertained that she was OK, enquired "Was that the ship......or the wine?"

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