Melsea's overview & thoughts of her cruise E304 Oceana

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melsea
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Melsea's overview & thoughts of her cruise E304 Oceana

Post by melsea » 03 Apr 2013, 19:58

Melsea's overview of her cruise E304 Oceana

It was a lovely cruise despite the beginning of our very unclean cabin but once over that the cruise was very good.

We had our evening meals in MDR Adriactic 2nd sitting a table of 8 an oval one, more on that later.
Table companions consisted of 7 of us having cruised before with one person of a couple who was experiencing their first cruise. We moved around the table during the cruise so that we got to speak to different people each evening, this worked well. Our waiters were the best we have ever had and that's saying something as they are always good but these were excellent.
Food was superb and of a very high standard & quality. So top marks to all chefs and staff of the kitchens. All food was hot and nicely plated and very appealing. The dinner plates came in all shapes & sizes and this gave a modern twist to dinning. The offerings of veg & potatoes is now just one type of each but plenty of it and since the meal already had a veg and potato there was more than enough to eat and from what I could see nowhere near as much wastage as they have had before. The whole experience was very relaxing and virtually every night we finish our meal just after 9.30 which is a record for us as we have had some real slow eaters in our time and slow waiters. So you could say I was very pleased with it. We used the Plaza buffet once and that was on disembarkation morning so cannot comment on the quality. We didn't do any of the select dining in the evening but we did use Cafe Jardin for breakfast & lunch at both times we have been pleased with both the service and the offerings. We liked the fact that there is a small help your self of certain things at both breakfast & lunch which I think may well be because the kitchen behind could accommodate what was on offer and there is no room outside for cooler cabinets to hold certain items of food. A lunch time there was always a dish of the day and were all pies of some sort from, steak & mushroom or kidney pies, chicken pies etc all with a superb puff pastry topping. The soups were excellent and very hot.

Entertainment was a mixed bag but the shows I went to all were good and the headliners was brilliant. Only one show was one I have seen before but all the others were new and very good they were too. They did three shows an evening which goes to show how very fit and talented they are, not to mention showing me unfit I am. I saw the cellist Andrew Skrimshaw, I think that's his name? He was good and has the personality to carry it off. I saw him do a duet with Richard Digence on Aurora during the world cruise and it was a scream, so shows that he game.
We had John Virgo who did an after dinner talk show and this very good and made me laugh and brought back memories of his time on big break and some of the snooker matches he had co commentated on. I thought he was going to do a second show but did not see it advertised unless I missed it.
I will say that I really do not like the idea of drinks being brought in and sold by waiters in the theatre. They don't allow it on Aurora's theatre due to accidents that have happened in there. I know that Oceanas theatre has little tables that come out from the arm rest but it does rather spoil things when you have a waiter during the show trying to serve drinks to someone and they are blocking your view. It's too dark in there.
I rather like the spacious Starlights but unfortunately where they have crammed more seating in there, they have seats behind the ones that have small tables and so when the waiter comes to bring drinks he has to move along the other seating as the area where the tables are that cannot get through, so it seems tough luck if you have chosen the other row and have to lift your legs up onto the seats next to you to allow the waiters through!! The waiters here look at you as if you should not be there and that you are an inconvenience. Not an ideal use of space. Again in the dark it's not ideal.
The floor of the atrium at night was used for dancing and it seemed to be very popular. Most areas where there was a piano was being played and used most of the time and in fact I think it was the Tiffany bar where have a piano and this was used by band who played some very good stuff. So while having a pre dinner drink this was nice. However in the Yacht & Compass pub bar the music played here was very loud and not pleasant at all, again it had singers who were not good to my mind and just very cheesy songs being played.

I used the Casino twice and won both times being in pocket with £22 and then £50. I have to say the location of the Casino across from another bar is not the best use as they have singers there and this was very annoying especially when the singers they have sing very dated songs and really they should update their song list. It was like hearing something from the love boat or something like it.

It took me a while to get to grips to where places were and it was odd that you had to go the front lifts to get to places further up as the glass lifts in the atrium only go to deck eight. Got caught out a few times. Speaking of the lifts, that was odd, 6 lifts four in front of you and two behind you at either side. Two never seem to want to go anywhere and they always stopped at deck 9 with no one getting in or out. Lifts took forever to come, so more often than not I took the stairs but at times my knee was killing me.

Dress code was adhered to 99.9% of the time which was good to see and one night on the 'smart jacket required' dress code a couple about to go into the MDR were turned away as they were not dressed appropriately. Unfortunately for one of our table guest who was having her first cruise her husband had not really informed his wife of what type of clothes to bring & wear and although smartly dressed she was decidedly the odd one out and in fact on one night poor thing, it was the evening smart casual dress and well she was very day casual rather than evening casual and it looked really odd when everyone around her were somewhat smarter. I did feel for her but the OH should have known better, men eh.

This was our second time on Oceana. The last time we were on her was in 2004. The only thing I remember from that last time was the glass lifts in the atrium. I thought all furnishing and decor was up to date and modern in all restaurants and bars. Nothing seemed dated or worn. The only thing that was, was our cabin, it's a bit of a time warp so really does need to be updated and scrub cleaned often and in the state we found our cabin to be.

Reception were always helpful and it helps that one of them knew us very well as we did him. The shops were all on one floor I seem to remember and apart from the perfumery shop everything else was a little pricey and never more so than the shop that sold sweets, toiletries, travel things etc where everything seem to be about 4 to 5 times the price you would pay at home, so no purchases there. I did however buy two plastic/rubber no nonsense watches. Which are the same price as the one I have bought on Aurora. Everything else was not exactly cheap especially the ladies wear like 'riffkroff' clothing where even when they had a sale for them at 50% off they were still very expensive for what they are.
There were two members of staff from the shops who were nice and helpful with lovely personalities and a smile. The rest were looking as though they wish they were not there and some were rude.

I used the spa once on a port day and the young lady who did the massage and facial was great and an asset to the company. She was passionate about her work and she was good at what she did. I mentioned about my and she suggested to me to have a complimentary foot consultation. This I did and quite frankly it was a waste of time as there was no such consultation and all he was interested in was the hard sell of a product he advised me to try. They were insoles and a lovely price of £119. I don't think so. I came away not very happy. I did go and see the manager of the spa later and told her of my experience and I said I think he needs to brush up on his customer skills and to learn how to give customers a good experience and make them feel they were being treated well. She listen and appreciated my feed back and we got on very well and I felt she took me seriously, a good manager if ever I saw one.

All ports were good and we arrived on time and left promptly. Weather was fine and the ship handles well in not so calm waters. We were at the front on A deck and we did not feel much at all.

Well I think I have covered everything from memory but if there is anything you may want to ask me feel free to do so.

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melsea
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Re: Melsea's overview & thoughts of her cruise E304 Oceana

Post by melsea » 03 Apr 2013, 20:47

I completely forgot two things that were to do with the new Peninsular Club.

As a top tier members we had priority boarding and we arrived at the terminal and we were shown to the desk where we had to wait a little bit, no hardship there we weren't going anywhere. When through we were told to go towards the end of the Ocean Terminal where you were offered tea or soft drinks along with newspapers. We didn't have to wait long before we were ushered to board. Once on board we were directed to the Ligurian Restaurant where there was a large number of us. We were shown to a table of six. Then we were asked what we wanted to drink, can't remember what I had. There was a buffet which had most things that would suit all taste. It was all very nice and our first time of such a start to our cruise. We have only done one priority boarding and it was nothing like this. At 1.30 we were told that our cabin was ready.

The other event was the Peninsular Club lunch. Which was absolutely wonderful, the food was mouthwatering. The wine flowed very well, the table companions were a joy and the officer we had was the food & beverage manager Steve, cannot remember his surname. He was good company and we laughed all the way through. So thank you P&O for two very enjoyable experiences.

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oldbluefox
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Re: Melsea's overview & thoughts of her cruise E304 Oceana

Post by oldbluefox » 03 Apr 2013, 21:03

Many thanks for your reports.

Interesting what you say about some of the staff in the shops. Some of them look decidedly scruffy, especially when compared to the rest of the ship's crew and have an attitude to match. It's certainly not all of them but some should have been put ashore long ago. Some of them are really great, nothing too much trouble especially on a quiet day when everyone's out on deck.

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Silver_Shiney
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Re: Melsea's overview & thoughts of her cruise E304 Oceana

Post by Silver_Shiney » 30 Jun 2013, 21:22

Believe it or not, I've just come across your report, Mel!

I note you were last aboard Oceana in 2004. Our first cruise on her was in 2007 and the "extra seating" you talk about in Starlights must have been installed before then, as it's always been as cramped as you say every time we've been on her.

Good report, and, again, it was good to meet you.
Alan

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