Oceana was the ship we chose for our first cruise in September 2018 to celebrate Mr Fitz’s 60th birthday. I had wanted to take a cruise holiday for a few years but Mr Fitz needed some persuading.
He’s not one for material gifts therefore I offered to pay for a holiday for his milestone 60th Birthday. He finally opted for a Cruise having heard nothing but positive reviews from friends. The recent TV show Jane McDonald Cruising also helped!
As we were celebrating a special occasion we opted for a balcony cabin, it added probably around £700 to the cost of our trip but we wanted that luxury. I know many friends who are happy to have an inside cabin – their viewpoint being that your cabin was just somewhere to sleep.
When booking we received £170 in onboard credit. P&O are not an all inclusive line and drinks consumed on board need to be paid for. Prior to sailing I did plenty of research watching Youtube – there are many vloggers who cover this topic, providing valuable hints and tips to help me prepare. One of my favourites are the lovely couple Elyssia and Jason over at EECC Travel. They are American and sail on Cruise lines that depart from their but I love their fun videos and great packing tips.
Oceana 13th – 20th September 2018
We flew from Manchester Airport to Valletta in Malta. The check in and flight was very slick. Everyone on the plane is a passenger on the cruise. On arrival in Malta there were plenty of P&O Representatives to greet you and guide you to your awaiting coaches for transfer. It was very warm and there was a slight delay on the coaches, apparently the reps and drivers have to wait for permission from the Quayside that they can arrive.
On first arrival at the Quayside there appeared to be a long queue inside the arrivals tent. At this stage you have not yet see Oceana. However check in was really swift. Again there are plenty of staff on arrival to guide passengers and keep things running smoothly. Check in was swift. You confirm your identity, provide a credit or debit card for onboard purchases. Your photograph is taken and you are then issued with your on board cruise card. This does everything! Opens your cabin, pays for drinks and extra’s and confirms your identity whilst disembarking and re embarking on shore days.
Once through check in you get your first view of Oceana – and what a magnificent site as you walk towards her. She looked big and majestic in the hot sunshine with the P&O Livery on the bow. Sent a tingle down both our spines.
We were on B Deck Cabin 619. Our luggage had already arrived, sometimes there is a delay in arrival. We were fortunate to be able to unpack immediately. We could also admire the view from our balcony, again compact but adequate, equipped with a small table and 2 comfortable chairs.
There is adequate storage space, drawers and wardrobe. A few more hangers were supplied on request. The bathroom although compact was again adequate with enough storage space. We had a suitcase each and they both fit easily under the bed. Our cabin Steward introduced herself and said she was there to assist and help us get the most out of our holiday.
Our next step was to go and explore the ship. There is adequate time on Embarkation day to get off again and explore Valletta, however as we had visited and holidayed there before we decided to stay on board.
The ship was vast and I have to admit we lost our cabin on a couple of occasions on the first day. We were helped by a little tip we got from you tube videos. I will reveal this on my next #TravelTipThursday Post.
We were really thrilled by our first tour of the ship. I enjoyed my 1st cocktail – a Pina Colada the perfect holiday drink on the Pool Deck in the sunshine.
On each deck by the lifts there is a guide to each level to help you find your way around.
On the first evening it is Mandatory to attend The Muster – a relatively new term to us. This is your lifeboat drill. You cannot avoid this as you have to scan your card, therefore they can track attendance. If you fail to attend you are traceable and have to have an individual session, that is my understanding anyway.
On this occasion Muster was not until 8.15pm, from other more experienced passengers we understood this to be later than usual. You have to attend your Muster Point, our was the Starlights Theatre, with your life jacket. During the Muster The Captain addresses everyone from the Bridge with instructions for the event of an emergency. You also try on your life jacket to ensure you know how to fit it.
Because Muster was later, the seating for Dinner was a little rushed. We were on Flexible dining, however this night everyone was just ushered to tables for speed. We prefer a table for two but were seated with 4 other couples. This was however a new enjoyable experience. Food was delicious with ample choice. During dinner we could sea out the windows that the ship was sailing away from port. We were off on our first cruise adventure.
Following Dinner we enjoyed a few drinks on board. There are several places to eat and drink on board. Each has it’s own unique vibe.
When we finally retired to bed we found the bed to be extremely comfortable and the gentle, barely felt movement of the ship, provided us with the best nights sleep we’d both experienced in ages.
Day 2 was spent at sea and I will describe that in my next post about our experience on board Oceana.
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