Oceana Malta fly cruise Sept/Oct 2018: Journey

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CaroleF
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Oceana Malta fly cruise Sept/Oct 2018: Journey

Post by CaroleF » 16 Oct 2018, 13:42

After wondering whether we should go up to Gatwick the evening before as our flight on Sept. 27th wasn't until 13.40 I decided I couldn't stand the stress of worrying if there would be traffic problems if we left home in the rush hour we/I decided to go up and stay the night. We had booked into the Hilton as it has direct access to Departures. I had decided I couldn't cope with just two cases so had paid for an additional 10kg each both ways. As our last cruise was the 65 nights on Aurora in January trying to keep the weight down this time was so hard after being able to take what we liked. On arrival at the Hilton we were upgraded to an Executive Room which was great but my goodness it's such a long walk from the Reception area to the Executive rooms. We were told we could go to the Executive Lounge for drinks and canapes so we went to investigate - another long walk. It was very pleasant in there, good choice of drinks - help yourself - and then hot and cold canapes. There was pasta dish on offer too, plus spicy chicken wings. However, we had the evening meal included so went down to the Garden Restaurant for that. It was fine, nothing special.

In the morning we had breakfast in the same restaurant then collected our cases, and went over to Check in. We were told we were too early and to come back at 10.40. We went back at 10.30 and there was quite a queue! Anyway, got checked in, I'd already reserved our seats, through the Thomas Cook website, can't book seats with Thomas Cook via the P&O Cruise Personaliser. I'd also booked to go to the No. 1 Lounge Clubrooms. This proved to be well worth while. It was more expensive than the normal No. 1 Lounge which we've been to before, but was very spacious, very comfortable seating and you have a waiter who comes to see what you'd like to eat and drink. As Champagne was on offer it would have been rude to have said no! Even John opted to have a glass. The menu is small but was very good. I had a smoked salmon salad which was delicious and John just had soup and a very good brown roll. I hadn't booked any food on the plane so we had an early lunch. The board said that our gate would be announced at 12.40 so I went and looked and there the fun started. I knew it had all been too easy so far, quick progress through security, had priority there through the Clubroom booking. The board stated there would be more information at 13.40. We groaned. Then not much later another couple going to a different destination suddenly started rushing to get all their stuff together. Their flight had shown as being delayed but all of sudden it was boarding. So I went for another look and sure enough it said Go to Gate 90! I thought that would be miles away but Gate 90 is quite near the departure lounge so not too long a walk.

So we got to the Gate and we sat, and we sat and we sat! People eventually started muttering and one brave soul went up to the girl at the desk and told her it would be a good idea to at least tell people what was going on. We were now past the time when we should have taken off. So we had an announcement, there had been a fuel spillage we were told. So we sat some more. Eventually about 14.40 we were told we would be bussed out to the plane as they couldn't use the pod because of the fuel spillage, or that's what they said. So it was everyone onto buses and out to the plane. We eventually took off about 15.15. The Captain apologised for the lateness and said it was due to a technical problem - I don't know if a fuel spillage comes under that heading but that's what he said. There were no premium seats on the plane - 3 seats each side of the aisle - we had the outer two. The knee room, well there wasn't much of it. Very few people had ordered a meal from what we could see. We just had a hot drink and left it at that. We eventually arrived in Malta about 19.30 local time, another bus to the terminal. It was dark by this time. With Thomas Cook we had to go and collect our cases from the Carousel. I think there were passengers on the plane who were not on the cruise so presumably that was why. We didn't have to wait too long and then had to take them out to the coach. There were plenty of P&O reps around to make sure everyone knew where they were going.

Once on the coach not only did we have to fill in the usual Health form - not given out at Gatwick - we also had to complete a form about our return flight, flight number etc. That was fun trying to do it in a moving coach. It wasn't too far to the ship thank goodness. The check was in one of the most picturesque surroundings I've seen. It was almost as though we were underground surrounded by cliffs, all brightly lit and all carried out most efficiently. When we got out of there onto the dockside we began to appreciate how windy it was. In fact it was so windy I almost got blown off my feet! John said he doubted if we were going to sail that evening. We boarded and were told that we should go to the buffet to get something to eat, the MDR wasn't serving us apparently. Then because it was past 8pm by this time, we would miss the Muster Drill so we had the option of going to one specially for us at 9.30 or waiting until the next morning and going to one at 9am. We thought best to get it over with so we grabbed something to eat in the buffet, my least favourite place on the ship, and then went to Le Club for the Muster. It was one of the Entertainments people conducting the drill and she was reading it all out from a script. Anyway that was done and we were free to go and see if our luggage had arrived - it had so started the unpacking. We were at the back of the ship in a cabin we'd been in three or four times before so we knew it well. There was then an announcement from the Captain telling us that we wouldn't be sailing that evening. This was due to a Hurricane like storm called Medicane which was affecting the Mediterranean, particularly Greece and Italy, a cyclone apparently. The Captain was hoping we'd be able to leave in the morning but it would depend.

So that was the beginning of our two week fly cruise.

To be continued.....

Carole

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Manoverboard
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Re: Oceana Malta fly cruise Sept/Oct 2018: Journey

Post by Manoverboard » 17 Oct 2018, 11:50

It can only get better ... :lol:

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GillD46
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Re: Oceana Malta fly cruise Sept/Oct 2018: Journey

Post by GillD46 » 17 Oct 2018, 13:52

Looking forward to the nect instalment.
Gill

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kaymar
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Location: Ellan Vannin

Re: Oceana Malta fly cruise Sept/Oct 2018: Journey

Post by kaymar » 17 Oct 2018, 22:32

Thanks for that, Carole.... I think!

Just booked this for 2020 - it was already very heavily booked but unless your next instalments are a good deal better, we might well be cancelling!

Have a good one.

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