Canaries Christmas Cruise 2016

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Kenmo1
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Canaries Christmas Cruise 2016

Post by Kenmo1 » 04 Jan 2016, 21:05

Late November OH finally had his cataract op and a few days later, once we were happy all was o.k.,we rushed down to the travel agents to book a Christmas cruise on the Oceana to the Canaries, particularly as it would be in Madeira for the New Year's Eve Fireworks and this was on our 'to do and see list'. We were allocated Cabin F345 near to Reception. Unfortunately, this turned out to be right by a crew area where suitcases were loaded and unloaded on the last night, carrying right on through till after midnight.

Our e-tickets stated 1.30 pm embarkation but we later received a letter from PO saying we could board at 1pm as we are Baltic level. We were lucky to get on about 1.15 but it was obvious that, in the very strong wind and rain, the shore staff were having serious problems with the 'Airway/Jetway' and it was pulling away from the ship. We were one of the last to get on that way and a normal gangway lower down had to be used which caused delays with boarding and had a knock-on effect all afternoon and this caused a delay in departing.

Our cases were in our room when we arrived and we went to the Ligurian Restaurant for the Peninsular buffet and then went back to the cabin to unpack. People were still getting on about 4.45pm so probably didn't get their luggage for some time.

The Atrium was beautifully decorated with huge Christmas trees and a large gingerbread village and reindeer pulling a Santa on a sleigh.

Captain Bourne eventually came over the tannoy to advise us to secure things down as the journey overnight and the next day was going to be bumpy. He wasn't wrong - it was most uncomfortable and I considered us quite lucky to be low down and fairly near midships so didn't suffer as much as those on higher decks.

Before we departed we put up our Christmas decorations on the outside of the cabin door and these lasted a few days until the Safety Officer put a notice in the Horizon newsletter asking people to take down decorations as they were a fire hazard. We thought we had better comply as we were right by a crew area and Reception.

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Re: Canaries Christmas Cruise 2016

Post by Kenmo1 » 04 Jan 2016, 21:25

We were allocated a table for 6 on 2nd sitting in the Adriatic Restaurant and we joined two other couples who didn't know each other but, by chance, were both celebrating their Diamond Wedding anniversary on Christmas Eve. Lots of champagne flowed Christmas Eve and then again on New Year's Eve. The 2 couples turned out to be great fun and great company.

Tuesday, a sea day, we made bookings for a cruise in September when my sister celebrates her 50th wedding anniversary and a cruise in early December when a friend celebrates her 70th birthday. If I had known how queasy I was going to feel later that day, I might not have booked the December one.

Wednesday 23rd, we docked in La Corunna. Had called in there many years ago on a Thomson cruise only for it to be pouring with rain so didn't get to look round much. This time it was dry and breezy but not unpleasant. We were lucky to be able to dock as the Marco Polo and Saga Pearl which had left Southampton at the same time as us were unable to dock and missed the port. We walked straight through the town to the beach and promenade had a fascinating walk taking photos of the huge waves crashing in. We carried on up the hill towards the Tower of Hercules and then visited a very interesting aquarium at the top of the hill. Entry 4 euros per senior citizen.

At departure the Captain warned us it would be windy and bumpy again tonight and tomorrow.

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Re: Canaries Christmas Cruise 2016

Post by Kenmo1 » 04 Jan 2016, 21:46

Christmas Eve late afternoon we went up on deck 12 to watch Father Christmas come down the funnel. He said he had travelled from the Caribbean where he had visited Azura and Britannia to give 800 children (presumably about 400 on each ship) their Christmas presents. Although we wanted to be on a ship with children, we were very grateful there were only about 70 on Oceana. When we got back to the cabin there was a game of P&O Monopoly as our Christmas present. At least now, things were starting to feel a bit more Christmassy although I had expected much more of a jolly atmosphere but I think the sea-sickness and weather were starting to affect people a bit.

Christmas Day. - We went to see the young children in the Christmas Nativity Play and it was lovely and the Reef team had made it so much fun for the children in it and for the audience watching it. After that, we went to see the Oceana Cruise Choir singing carols in the atrium and it was lovely especially towards the end when a snow machine was used to blow snow all over the choir.

Although the atmosphere was improving I suddenly realised how strange I felt about being away from family at Christmas and needed to phone my sister and my son from the ship to shore telephone at £2.49 per minute. I did feel better after speaking to them but it has made me realise that Christmas away from home is probably not right for me.

Clem Curtis was the star act but having heard the same story about his five marriages etc.etc etc time and time again, we have decided we probably won't go to his shows in future.

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Re: Canaries Christmas Cruise 2016

Post by Kenmo1 » 04 Jan 2016, 22:09

Saturday, 26th December. Agadir.

We received a letter from PO about the severe risk of a terrorist threat here and advising caution - just what you need on a holiday, but I suppose PO have to cover their backs. It unsettled quite a few people, including us but we made the decision to catch the shuttle bus into town and, if it looked a bit iffy, we would stay on the bus and return to the ship. As it turned out it was most enjoyable walking along the promenade in the hot sun and was one of the highlights of the cruise.

That evening, the air con in our block was broken - phew!!! It took them a few hours to fix it and they gave all those affected a large bottle of water. Actually, most of the time, I found the air con on Oceana quite fierce especially in the dining rooms and in the Footlights Theatre so feeling hot made a nice change but it did get a tad too hot after a while.

Sunday 27th we should have been in Lanzarote along with Oriana but the local pilots warned the Captain that the swell in the harbour would make it difficult to land any gangways and that berthing would be difficult so the call was aborted and we proceeded slowly to La Palma. Apparently, Oriana eventually moored at 4pm and stayed until 11pm - can't imagine it was that much use for a lot of the elderly people on Oriana.

We had a lovely day in La Palma on Monday, 28th. That place is a little gem for strolling around and poking in and out of all the shops.

Tuesday, 29th Gran Canaria - our favourite Canary island. We always head straight across town to Las Canteras Beach. Although it was a sunny day with lots of people on the beach, I found the wind a bit nippy at times so luckily found an M&S and bought a cheap jumper in the sale.

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Re: Canaries Christmas Cruise 2016

Post by Kenmo1 » 04 Jan 2016, 22:23

Wednesday - Tenerife. - Another lovely day and we just wandered up through the town for a few hours. Killer Queen was on in the Footlights that night and we found this particular Headliners Group extremely good.

Thursday, 31st December. Funchal, Madeira.
Drizzly and misty at first. There were 9 ships in and luckily we were able to berth so no messing about tendering. As the weather started to clear we caught the shuttle bus into town. Madeira is a real treat at any time of the year but Christmas is really, really special with all the poinsettias decorating every where and lots of nativity scenes. A school choir was stood by the main nativity scene and they sounded absolutely wonderful. Obviously the main highlight for all the ships was the evening firework display at midnight but from about 11.15 the ships were 'playing tunes' to each other on their hooters. At 12 midnight the fireworks exploded in the most amazing sight all around the seafront and up in the hills and we had a superb view on top deck. It was a job to know where to look first. We were stunned by the sight but a lot of people who had seen it a few years ago said that there had been cutbacks so goodness knows what it must have been like before.

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Re: Canaries Christmas Cruise 2016

Post by Kenmo1 » 04 Jan 2016, 22:34

Friday, Saturday and Sunday were sea days and Friday and Saturday were particularly unpleasant cruising days due to the bad weather and the ship rocking and rolling. We struggled to find things to keep us occupied those 2 days - there are only so many hard sell days of acupuncture, losing weight with seaweed tablets, bad posture lectures you can be bothered to listen to or sleep through as in my case. This seemed to be our biggest problem with this cruise. Because of the bad weather we couldn't be outside much and the daytime entertainment was limited to a talk by someone about the sea or quizzes. One day we were so bored we went to see the film Minions - I suppose the children appreciated it.

Sunday afternoon we went to see an interview with Mickey Zany and he was very funny so that cheered us up.

Monday saw us arrive at Southampton and back to the Isle of Wight by 10.30am.

We are glad we did the Christmas cruise but we are not sure if we will do another one. Perhaps if the weather had been better we might have had a different opinion.

Maureen

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Re: Canaries Christmas Cruise 2015

Post by Kenmo1 » 04 Jan 2016, 22:44

Title should read 2015 not 2016.


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Re: Canaries Christmas Cruise 2016

Post by daib GC » 05 Jan 2016, 00:26

Kenmo1 wrote:Friday, Saturday and Sunday were sea days and Friday and Saturday were particularly unpleasant cruising days due to the bad weather and the ship rocking and rolling. We struggled to find things to keep us occupied those 2 days - there are only so many hard sell days of acupuncture, losing weight with seaweed tablets, bad posture lectures you can be bothered to listen to or sleep through as in my case. This seemed to be our biggest problem with this cruise. Because of the bad weather we couldn't be outside much and the daytime entertainment was limited to a talk by someone about the sea or quizzes. One day we were so bored we went to see the film Minions - I suppose the children appreciated it.

Sunday afternoon we went to see an interview with Mickey Zany and he was very funny so that cheered us up.

Monday saw us arrive at Southampton and back to the Isle of Wight by 10.30am.

We are glad we did the Christmas cruise but we are not sure if we will do another one. Perhaps if the weather had been better we might have had a different opinion.

Maureen

Hi Maureen.

You review took us back a few years as we have done a Christmas cruise and a New Year cruise and then a one like yours covering both. We enjoyed them all and they had all the elements you have reported on. We have booked Oceana for next year to do this cruise again. You seem to like the same ports as we do especially GC and Funchal. We have done Reids for tea on the terrace a couple of times which was fantastic. With regard to the fireworks not being as good, I have a theory that nothing like that is ever as good as the first time you see it. I like the time leading up to midnight when all the little villages above Funchal set off their fireworks, you have that wonderful bowl effect it is a glorious sight.

Thanks again for reminding us of what we have to come.

Gan Canny


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Re: Canaries Christmas Cruise 2016

Post by GillD46 » 05 Jan 2016, 07:56

An enjoyable read, thank you for posting.
Gill

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Re: Canaries Christmas Cruise 2016

Post by Raybosailor » 05 Jan 2016, 08:33

Kenmo1 wrote:Title should read 2015 not 2016.
You confused me with the title Maureen as we are booked on the same cruise this year (thought I had missed it :lol: )

Thanks for the review and sorry to hear that the weather took the edge off the holiday but it looks like you enjoyed it in the main.

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Re: Canaries Christmas Cruise 2016

Post by Manoverboard » 05 Jan 2016, 10:17

Thanks for the review, seems your ' boat ' was more Christmassy than some ... or are you less picky perhaps :lol:

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Re: Canaries Christmas Cruise 2016

Post by barney » 05 Jan 2016, 10:57

Thanks for the review Maureen

We had friends on the similar itinery but on Fred's Boudicca

They said that the sea conditions were the worst they've experienced and that old tub bobbed about like a cork

It has put them off doing it again for a while

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Re: Canaries Christmas Cruise 2016

Post by Silver_Shiney » 24 Jan 2016, 18:08

Interesting read, thank you for posting it.

We went on Oceana in October 2011 and I recently uploaded my video footage to YouTube. Somebody has just commented on that video, to say that they were on your Christmas cruise and the food was all frozen or tinned (CR*P), the entertainment was CR*P, the outside decks were covered with dead flies the whole time, the lifeboats couldn't be lowered and the crew were working on them the whole time, etc etc. He said it's time to sell the ship to Saga as they buy all the CR*P. I'd be interested to hear your observations on his points.
Alan

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Re: Canaries Christmas Cruise 2016

Post by poole boy » 24 Jan 2016, 18:42

we went to the canaries on oceana for our 25 wedding anniversary in November 2013 we loved the ship and would go on her more if she was not doing fly cruises most of the time the food was excellent and the ship itself was in good condition the captain put out a bad weather warning for the journey home and will say it was very rough all the way back but we thought the ship coped very well with the weather we had nothing to moan about at all, only that oceana does not do more trips from Southampton so preventing us from going on her.
graham


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Re: Canaries Christmas Cruise 2016

Post by Quizzical Bob » 24 Jan 2016, 18:50

Oceana is one of our favourites but sadly doesn't sail from Southampton very often.

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Re: Canaries Christmas Cruise 2016

Post by Suekersh » 25 Jan 2016, 16:43

I enjoyed reading your review Maureen. We chose the Caribbean for Xmas but like your cruise we had windy conditions on the way there and on the way back after we left Madeira. I love being away at Xmas and I know I shall miss it this year.

Sue

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Re: Canaries Christmas Cruise 2016

Post by Kenmo1 » 25 Jan 2016, 17:31

Silver_Shiney wrote:Interesting read, thank you for posting it.

We went on Oceana in October 2011 and I recently uploaded my video footage to YouTube. Somebody has just commented on that video, to say that they were on your Christmas cruise and the food was all frozen or tinned (CR*P), the entertainment was CR*P, the outside decks were covered with dead flies the whole time, the lifeboats couldn't be lowered and the crew were working on them the whole time, etc etc. He said it's time to sell the ship to Saga as they buy all the CR*P. I'd be interested to hear your observations on his points.
I'm embarrassed to admit that we hardly stepped outside while at sea and if we did we soon shot back inside - the last thing I wanted to look at was the sea while I was feeling queasy so I can't really say whether there were any dead flies, perhaps they were suffering from seasickness as well. :lol: The food wasn't too bad at all - perhaps, like MOB said, I'm not too picky and, anyway, anything cooked by someone else is usually far better than mine as I'm no cook. We did struggle with the entertainment though, especially as you pay almost double the price just because it is a Christmas cruise and I was expecting far better for that money. I have seen quite a few criticisms of the entertainment on other forums so it wasn't just us feeling disappointed with it.

We have been on Oceana a few times and I didn't think it was any worse or any better than previous times. As far as we are concerned it just lacks a covered in swimming pool.

Maureen.

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Re: Canaries Christmas Cruise 2016

Post by Silver_Shiney » 25 Jan 2016, 18:16

Thanks, Maureen
Alan

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