Oceana E607 Genoa 14 night fly cruise

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CaroleF
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Oceana E607 Genoa 14 night fly cruise

Post by CaroleF » 20 May 2016, 15:06

We have been on several Caribbean Fly Cruises but never on a Mediterranean one. This was a sort of extra cruise - we did a Fly Cruise to Adonia in February. We have been on Oceana 3 times before so know the ship well. I really don't like the whole Flying thing - not because I don't like the actual flying but it's all the rest of it that goes with the flight - luggage allowance, plastic bag for liquids, checking in time, hassle of going through security into departure and waiting again - much prefer going from Southampton but my husband was keen on this cruise largely because he could go to the Historic Monaco Grand Prix which is held every other year and where many of the old classic racing cars can be seen - well it enabled me to talk him into it!

One of my concerns about this trip was that on Fly Cruises before we've always travelled with either Thomson or Thomas Cook on a P&O Charter, this time we were put onto BA. This had one advantage in that the baggage allowance is much better - 23kg hold luggage same as normal but as far as the hand luggage it was very much better - one handbag/laptop bag plus one other bag - measurements given to us which could be a small wheeled case and this could weigh up to 23kg providing you could lift it up to put in the overhead compartments. The downside I had been informed was that instead of our luggage going straight from Gatwick to the ship we would have to collect it from the carousel in Genoa, take it outside to the P&O rep and it would be put onto a lorry to be taken to the port. I was unsure what would happen on the return journey, I'd been told we would put the luggage out the same as usual the night before but we would have to check it in at Genoa Airport.

We stayed at the Sofitel the night before flying and I'd booked us into the No. 1 Lounge at the North Terminal. This all went very well, the lounge was somewhat crowded when we arrived but soon cleared and we had a bacon Panini and some cereal for breakfast. Our flight was due to go at 11.35 and we took off more or less on time. There was quite a queue to check in - there were no premium seats - and it was only later I found out that we could have checked our baggage in the night before; we've never been able to do that on Caribbean charters.

On arrival at Genoa, it was all very easy. A P&O rep was waiting in Arrivals and directed us to the baggage carousel where our luggage quickly arrived and then we took it outside to another rep who showed us to the lorry. That took our hold luggage and the hand luggage went in the luggage compartment of the coach. It was a short journey to the ship but with heavy traffic it took a while. On arrival at Oceana our driver took us to the wrong area where people who were already on board were getting on and off, as you do at any port. So we had to get back onto the coach and be taken out of the terminal, round and round until we arrived at the proper Check in Terminal. The check in took a while but it wasn't too bad. The weather was fine and sunny - a good omen we hoped.

We were in one of the aft mini suites where we'd stayed before so we soon found our way there. After unpacking our hand luggage and having a drink of water we opened the bottle of fizz and sat on the balcony. Our lovely Cabin Steward, Mardolyn came to greet us and soon appeared with our luggage, having gone off to find it - never known that before. She was one of the best Stewards we've ever had, nothing was too much trouble.

Eventually we went for the usual Muster Drill in Starlights Lounge. Some people were only on the ship for 7 nights, some for 14 nights. When we had been on for a week and arrived in Venice some people were leaving there. So people who had boarded in Venice did not have to attend another Muster Drill.

We were in the Adriatic Restaurant, 2nd sitting, table of 8 and we had one of the best tables we’ve ever had. There was a lovely couple from Australia, the wife was originally from England but had been in Australia for many years and had her four sons out there. The couple were both in their early eighties and said they both preferred P&O UK to P&O Australia as the Australian cruises were too informal for them and they really liked dressing up. I read on another site a review of this cruise and the man who wrote it said how dreadful the Great British Sailaway was and he felt he had to apologise to some Australians who were there. Well I don’t think it was our two as they were looking forward to it and took their Australian flags to wave!

I’ve read several things about poor food on Oceana, particularly about small portions and one reviewer said it was so awful and portions so tiny that his table had to go up to the Buffet to fill up afterwards. Well our table thought the food was fine; if people wanted more potatoes or vegetables or sauce they only had to ask. My husband really likes ice cream with whatever pudding he’s having and once the others saw the waiter bring additional ice cream they thought it was a jolly good idea and so most evenings the waiter brought round several bowls of ice cream. I had the Sirloin Steak on a few occasions and each time I asked for it to be served rare, which it was and every one I had was juicy and tender and with lovely Béarnaise sauce, actually it was probably more like Hollandaise but it was still good and the chips were too, not those huge chips sometimes served these days where you get about five of them stacked up!

The only thing that seemed odd to us and it may be as a result of this 7/14 nights, we had four formal evenings in two weeks as usual but one of them was on a port day as we had two sea days one after the other and they couldn’t really have two consecutive formal evenings. The thing that was odd was that the Marco Pierre White Gala Menu – the one where they have Lobster and Beef Wellington was served on a Casual Night, between the two Formal evenings – seemed very odd. Still the Beef Wellington was lovely!

As far as breakfast is concerned we either went to the main restaurant if it was a Sea Day or to Café Jardin on a Port Day. We like the offerings in Café Jardin, the only thing I don’t like is the coffee – it’s disgusting! It was thin, watery and tasted nothing like coffee. The only place I could get anything approaching decent proper coffee was to have it in Costa Coffee, either in Tiffany’s or in the Explorers Bar. I used to ask for a Double Espresso and a jug of hot milk on the side and this wasn’t bad. The coffee in both the buffet and the Adriatic was awful too. I can’t understand why they can’t make a decent, proper cup of coffee. In the past coffee in Café Jardin used to be really good – and served in Villeroy and Boch cups but they’ve gone too.

For lunch we occasionally – not if I had a say – went to the buffet so John could have a curry or we ordered from Room Service – we both like the Chicken and Bacon Sandwich, you do have to pay £1.50 for it but we think it’s worth it. It comes with a mixed salad and crisps plus a little bowl of sachets of mayonnaise and tomato ketchup. It was pleasant eating it out on the balcony with a glass of something. In the evenings we sometimes went for a cocktail in Magnums and met up with some of our table companions before dinner. On the last night we still had some On Board Credit amazingly, we had quite a lot on this cruise, so we splashed out and had a bottle of Lanson Rose and very nice it was too – with two of our table companions.

Entertainment: Well we didn’t go to a lot of the shows – in fact only one of the Headliners’ shows. We saw two female violinists, Elektra, who were very clever, a ventriloquist who I didn’t like at all but that may just be me and one evening we went to watch the film of Alan Bennett’s “Lady in a Van” which we both thought was a really good film, fantastic acting, particularly from Maggie Smith.

Ports: I had a problem with walking for some of the cruise – it was my own fault really. Last time on a Fly Cruise I asked for Airport Assistance but this time I didn’t, don’t really know why, I thought flying BA the distance to the gate might not be as far but it was – miles! Then on arrival at the ship we had another long walk to go through the check in to get on the ship in Genoa. The next day, which is often a Sea Day, which would have given me a chance to rest, was a call at Livorno. John and I both went on a trip to Pisa which said minimal walking but there was far more than I expected and I think I pulled a muscle in my thigh which made walking even from our aft cabin to the Adriatic Restaurant quite painful. Anyway we had a really good guide on our Trolley Tour and Boat Ride in Pisa, the boat part was lovely, with classical music being played.

Naples: I didn’t get off here, just too uncomfortable but John went on a trip to hike up Vesuvius. When he got up there he was most put out to find two of our table companions who had gone up by coach! He enjoyed the trip though.

Dubrovnik: Lovely sunny, warm day here, hot even. John spent time wandering around the old city, he’d done the walls before.

Venice: Ah well yes, not only is Venice on the water it was in the water – it poured on our second day there. I had intended going in with John and we were going to tour around on the Vaporettos so I wouldn’t have to walk too far, however, just as we were getting ready to go ashore it tipped it down – really lashing down. We have stayed in Venice before and I’m afraid I chickened out looking at the weather. John went ashore and came back with some lovely presents for our grandchildren. He also came back soaked, and so did his mobile phone and his passport! (You have to take your passport ashore in Venice.) I managed to dry out the passport but no luck with the phone – it was only a cheap Nokia not an i phone which was something.

Zadar: Again a wet day – well wet until early afternoon then we enjoyed the sun on the balcony. Unfortunately John’s trip was in the morning and he had another soaking and didn’t see an awful lot.

Villefranche: This was the Historic Grand Prix trip that John and quite a lot of other people on the ship were going on. Some people had arranged their trip independently but John went on a Ship’s excursion. He had to be ashore by 8.30 am and didn’t return until 7.15pm. He thoroughly enjoyed it, although he said you can see much more on TV. I went on a coach trip which went all along The Corniche from Nice then on the Upper Corniche to Eze and to Menton. It was a lovely trip, fantastic views of the Riviera and stops in both Eze and Menton – had a lovely ice cream in Menton.

The next day was Ajaccio in Corsica – John went hiking again! We had a holiday here several years ago so I took it easy on the balcony again. The last day was Civitavecchio for Rome. As doing long walks round Rome was out for me we both went on a coach trip designed just to give you a taste of the City. This was fine, Rome was full of people, but I suppose it often is. It was a good trip right until the end when we were about to leave the city looking at The Vatican on the way. Unfortunately a silly woman decided to try to overtake our coach on the inside just as we started turning into a bend! She drove right into the wheel arch which promptly did for her bumper! Well, she had hysterics, she was Romanian apparently but she could speak Italian. She wanted our driver to pay out for her car there and then – you can imagine all this screamed at the Driver in Italian. Then she wanted the Police – so eventually the Carabinari arrived but that was no good we had to wait for the Police. We ended up spending about an hour and a quarter stuck in the road, on a bend with other traffic trying to get past. It was our last day and I still had to pack when I got back to the ship. We were supposed to be back by 1.45 but eventually it was gone 3pm by the time we got back. Quite an adventure!

Disembarkation: Now this was a lovely surprise. We didn’t have to check in at Genoa, it was all done on the ship, boarding cards were issued on the last morning to those of us on a BA flight and our luggage went straight through to Gatwick – fantastic.

Well, overall, I can say that Oceana is not a dreadful rust bucket as I’ve seen her described, yes there are rusty patches but that’s inevitable. From John’s point of view the thing he didn’t like is that there was continual work on the Promenade Deck so it was never possible to walk right round the deck – but it has to be done I suppose. I did think that these fly cruises with some people on a 7 night cruise and others on a 14 night, are slightly different from normal 2 week cruises. It felt bitty but I suppose it’s good that people have the choice. I’m not sure I’d do another two week one in the Med. P&O were promoting the Malta based cruises next year. Despite the not very good weather we both enjoyed the cruise and enjoyed Oceana again.

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Meg 50
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Re: Oceana E607 Genoa 14 night fly cruise

Post by Meg 50 » 20 May 2016, 15:45

interesting - on another forum someone was decrying it all - and they had a similar itinerary - praps the same cruise...

So glad you weren't as anti,

We are doing an ex Malta next year and I was beginning to worry
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sunseeker16
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Re: Oceana E607 Genoa 14 night fly cruise

Post by sunseeker16 » 20 May 2016, 16:25

Thanks very much

It's nice to read a review from someone (sort of) known to oneself, and trusted to be honest and non-hysterical. Some of the comments on Oceana elsewhere did seem rather OTT I've always found her rather elegant yet homely at the same time.

We're swithering over the 10 day fly out/sail home in October but who knows ...

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Meg 50
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Re: Oceana E607 Genoa 14 night fly cruise

Post by Meg 50 » 20 May 2016, 18:44

swithering ???

An expression I've never heard before!
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wolfie
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Re: Oceana E607 Genoa 14 night fly cruise

Post by wolfie » 20 May 2016, 19:33

CaroleF

I very balanced review. Oceana was the first ship that we cruised on many years ago and she hoked us on cruising. Due to our preference for long cruises and different itineraries, as well as not flying , we have unfortunately, not been on her since but would love to do so. Your review certainly does not put us off doing so, if we have the opportunity.

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Gill W
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Re: Oceana E607 Genoa 14 night fly cruise

Post by Gill W » 21 May 2016, 14:59

I was interested to read that the works are still continuing on the prom deck. In Feb / Mar when we were on Oceana, I was able to walk all round the prom deck just once in 5 weeks - to be honest, it did impinge on my cruise experience.

The works on the prom deck on Oceana seem similar to painting the Forth Bridge - never ending!
Gill

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Meg 50
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Re: Oceana E607 Genoa 14 night fly cruise

Post by Meg 50 » 22 May 2016, 14:02

Great - we have received a 'save the date' of a wedding the day after we return from our Oceana cruise next year -in Leeds - best part of a day's drive from home...

In your review you didn't detail disembarkation.

Yes I know it's another year, and a different port ( we're doing Valletta as against Genoa), but your info is more up to date than our last Fly cruise in 2000ish


eg do they still fly out embarking passengers and then the disembarking passengers use that plane to fly home?

and the timings - last time we had time for a ship's tour both on embarkation and disembarkation days


ta
Meg
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CaroleF
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Re: Oceana E607 Genoa 14 night fly cruise

Post by CaroleF » 23 May 2016, 10:44

Meg, our BA timing was a flight that left Genoa at 15.35 and was on time. There were flights with Thomas Cook/Thomson that left much earlier than ours - don't know the exact times but certainly before lunch time. P&O were certainly offering a tour of Genoa in the morning of departure that then took passengers straight to the airport but as we didn't want to do this I didn't pay much attention to the details.

I believe our flight out to Genoa on BA was one of the later flights - we arrived at Genoa at just after 2pm. There were certainly Thomson/Thomas Cook flights that arrived much earlier, in time for lunch I believe. Whether they use the charters as turn arounds I don't know - I doubt that they did the BA flight as it was a scheduled flight and we were put on that by P&O as I assume the charter flights were full. Hope that helps a bit.

Carole

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Meg 50
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Re: Oceana E607 Genoa 14 night fly cruise

Post by Meg 50 » 23 May 2016, 14:02

:) thank you
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