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nikos

Oceana fly med cruise - Croatia & Venice

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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!

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Thanks for the review, enjoyed reading it.

We love Oceana our favourite ship in the P&O fleet. Hope to book it for a cruise next Christmas all being well.

We found that Cafe Jardine which we use to have Breakfast and Lunch had good down hill ,but heard good comment's about the Dinner's they served. Nice little ship Cabin's a bit cosy (Small) but still a nice ship to sail on...Davybe

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