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nikos

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About nikos

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  1. Having previously experienced two of the larger P&O ships, I was looking forward to experience one of the mid-size ships to compare. I had heard very mixed reviews about Oceana including comments that she was looking tired and was in need of some TLC, and then more positive comments that she still had an attractive appeal and beautiful atrium. I know you can't please everyone all of the time and I believe you have to go on holiday with an open mind and experience things for yourself. After a very early start, we had a 2 hour delay and 3 hour flight from Manchester. We arrived in Malta early afternoon. We went with Thomas Cook so the bonded luggage wasn't included on the outbound flight so we reclaimed our luggage which didn't take long at all. There were plenty of P&O representatives at the airport directing guests to the coaches to take us to the cruise port. The transfer was only 15 minutes. On arrival, you were welcomed and directed into the terminal building. There was a small queue but there were lots of staff checking guests in. I was really impressed with the whole arrival process and how efficient it was. You then had to walk through the duty-free area. We couldn't believe how cheap it was in there so I bought a few things. On leaving, there we could see the ship right in front of us. She looked stunning and larger than I thought she would. We headed onboard and straight to our balcony cabin. The cabin wasn't as large as the one on Ventura. It was compact but felt adequate and everything was there that we would expect and need. The décor I would agree was a little bit dated especially in the bathroom but this kind of thing doesn’t bother me. The cabin was clean and nicely presented. We booked on an early saver fare and requested freedom dining. We were actually allocated 2nd sitting table of 8. This wasn't a big issue but we did ask about changing it with the restaurant manager. There were quite a few passengers querying their dining arrangements. We were told that freedom dining was really popular and there were about 100 passengers they couldn’t accommodate. He did offer us 1st sitting but this is too early for us so decided to stick with what we were allocated. We took ourselves on a tour around the ship to help get our bearings. The ship felt easy to navigate and we were impressed with everything we could see which verified we should have a great holiday and experience. We decided to try out Café Jardin on our first night and I can highly recommend it. This is Marco Pierre White's Italian themed speciality dining venue. The meal was delicious and service great. It was nice to have a relaxing quiet meal after a very long first day. We chose this cruise because the itinerary appealed to us and it really didn't disappoint. The first port of call was Dubrovnik. We used the shuttle bus that P&O put on to get to the centre and this cost £5 each way as we booked an early saver. Dubrovnik was absolutely stunning, with its medieval walled city and lovely harbour front. After some sightseeing we found a small beach just round the coast. The water was so calm and we relaxed for a few hours in the sun as the weather was great. Hvar was our second port and I really didn’t know much about it before I went. It’s a Croatian island popular with holiday makers and island hoppers which is very pretty and picturesque. This was a tender port and due to one of the boats being out of operation we had to wait 90mins to get off the ship so we only spent a few hours exploring. The highlight of our cruise was definitely Venice. The Captain announced that we would be sailing into Venice at 7.30am so we got up early especially like most other people. We were so glad we did! It was stunning to see all the architecture and famous Venetian sights rather than in a brochure or on the internet. We booked an excursion which we were glad we did. They took us to a Merano glass factory where we got to see them blowing the famous glass. We made a few purchases - not the expensive items obviously. More from the whoops table 3 items for 50 euros! We also stopped at San Francesco church and then onto Venice Island for our gondola ride. It was 6 to a gondola and lasted for 30mins. It was definitely worth doing we felt like we were in a film and it’s something to tick off the bucket list. Oceana is definitely suitable for all age groups and different parties. Single travellers had afternoon teas and get togethers. There was ballroom dancing and bridge for the seniors. There were a few families onboard so they could make use of the reef kids clubs, children’s teas in the buffet & night nursery. The majority of guests onboard were couples. You can do as much or as little as you want - relaxing in the spa and having a quiet read in the library to gambling in the casino, karaoke in the yacht & compass and partying in Le Club into the small hours. We had a fantastic time on Oceana and wouldn't hesitate to go on her again. The food was of good quality and I can highly recommend the speciality restaurants. She is due in for a ship refit quite soon so that should stop any complaints about her looking tired but I didn't think this at all!
  2. That topic again and the grey area of cruising - GRATUITIES - i've generally left gratuities on the onboard account. If I was to remove or reduce them on my future cruises would I be made to feel cheap and would the service I receive change. Any views/experiences?
  3. Ive heard about these watch keys - there's always someone trying to come up with the newest gadget and lead the way. I suppose it would eleviate having to find your key card all the time!
  4. As far as i'm aware the cruises are still going to operate - they may change some of the ports of call where the hurricane has severely damaged the destination. Im sure they will make a decision soon!
  5. Yes take your etickets with you to present at check-in. Im sure they would still let you on the cruise without them as youll have your passports but better to take to speed up the process.
  6. I would always prefer a balcony if it was within my budget for a number of reasons - a bit of sunbathing,drying off after a shower,having a few drinks in an evening watching the world go by. If it was more colder climates then again would still prefer a balcony for photo opportunites/getting a bit of fresh air.
  7. Hi - I'm going on Oceana myself in September but on a different itinerary. I have worked in Greece before having lived in Mykonos and visiting Athens on numerous occasions. Mykonos is a beautiful small island with white sugar cubed buildings & windmills - the town has many narrow cobbled streets with little shops/bars or you could sit in a cafe on the seafront. There are numerous nice beaches - Paradise,Super Paradise,Plati Yalos. You should really try to get to the Acropolis in Athens to see the Parthenon. Also Plaka is one of the main shopping districts there. Enjoy!
  8. I would recommend MSC - I went on the Fantasia in Barcelona. It was several years ago now though but the ship was lovely. There was a mixture of nationalities onboard. The food,service and atmosphere was all good. I know they do offer very good prices and 3/4th passengers are normally very cheap. The drinks packages are good value for money also. I would give it a go.
  9. I always do my comparison for insurance online too. Its just really convenient & easy to do. It is sad about people losing their jobs and shops shutting down but that's the way its going since the internet. I do still like to see people face to face though for certain things I purchase especially if I'm looking for more expertise.
  10. I thinks its a great programme - love the cliff hangers they have at the end - (well most weeks - especially when she woke up when the guy was about to cut her in half!!)
  11. 200 cruises!! WOW! They must be retired surely!? The most i've down are 3 with one cruise line - P&O. I'm in my mid thirties.
  12. Hi - yes in my experience some cruise lines offer day visits where they will often include a gala lunch and tour of the ship - P&O do for sure!
  13. It works the same as with P&O - you pay a future cruise deposit down payment onboard then generally have about a year to book a cruise with them & you will get extra oboard spending money!
  14. I think if you've got about 6 hours then that's enough time for you to do a bit of exploring in Paris and get a good insight. Especially if you've not been before then I would suggest you go. I've not done the train though we went on an excursion through the cruise line.
  15. Yes i've heard that gratuities/service charges are now included with NCL under their latest promo - so the song money for nothing and your 'tips' for free come to mind!