Oceana - Berlitz Cruising & Cruise Ships 2017 (Berlitz Cruise Guide) (2016)

Berlitz Cruising & Cruise Ships 2017 (Berlitz Cruise Guide) (2016)



Berlitz’s Ratings

Ship: 374 out of 500

Accommodation: 148 out of 200

Food: 245 out of 400

Service: 278 out of 400

Entertainment: 71 out of 100

Cruise: 272 out of 400

Overall Score: 1388 out of 2000

Oceana Statistics

Size: Mid-size Ship

Tonnage: 77,499

Lifestyle: Standard

Cruise Line: P&O Cruises

Former Names: Ocean Princess

IMO Number: 9169550

Builder: Fincantieri (Italy)

Original Cost: $300 million

Entered Service: Feb 2000/Nov 2002

Registry: Bermuda

Length (ft/m): 857.2/261.3

Beam (ft/m): 105.6/32.2

Draft (ft/m): 25.9/7.9

Propulsion/Propellers: diesel-electric (28,000kW)/2

Passenger Decks: 10

Total Crew: 850

Passengers (lower beds): 1,950

Passenger Space Ratio (lower beds): 39.7

Passenger/Crew Ratio (lower beds): 2.2

Cabins (total): 975

Size Range (sq ft/m): 158.2-610.3/14.7-56.7

Cabins (for one person): 0

Cabins (with private balcony): 410

Cabins (wheelchair accessible): 19

Wheelchair accessibility: Good

Cabin Current: 110 and 220 volts

Elevators: 11

Casino (gaming tables): Yes

Slot Machines: Yes

Swimming Pools: 4

Hot Tubs (on deck): 5

Self-Service Launderette: Yes

Dedicated Cinema/Seats: No

Library: Yes

Onboard currency: UK£


For family-friendly cruising in a comfortable environment

Overview. This ship is all about British-ness and will be comfortingly familiar for families with children who want to travel and take their British traditions and food with them. It is suited to adults of all ages and families with children of all ages, and offers excellent value for money to first-time cruisers.

The Ship. The all-white Oceana has a pleasing profile and is well balanced by its large funnel, which contains a deck tennis/basketball/volleyball court in its sheltered aft base. There is 93,000 sq ft (8,600 sq m) of open deck space and a wide, teakwood walk-around promenade deck outdoors. A great amount of glass area on the upper decks provides plenty of light and connection with the outside world. The ship underwent a few changes to make it more user-friendly for British passengers, although it does look quite tired in places.

There is a wide range of public rooms, with several intimate rooms and spaces, so that you don’t feel overwhelmed by large spaces. The interior focal point is a four-deck-high atrium lobby with winding, double stairways and two panoramic glass-walled lifts.

The artwork is pleasant, particularly on the stairways, and helps make the ship feel smaller than it really is. The Monte Carlo Club Casino, while large, is not in the main passenger flow and so does not generate the walk-through factor found aboard so many ships. The most traditional room is the Yacht and Compass Bar, decorated in the style of a turn-of-the-century gentleman’s club, with wood paneling and comfortable seating.

A traditional Captain’s cocktail party is held in the four-deck-high main atrium so you can come and go as you please.

The swimming pools are really quite small and will be crowded when the ship is full; also the pool deck is cluttered with white, plastic deck lounge chairs, which don’t have cushioned pads. The rule about not leaving sunloungers unattended for more than half an hour is flouted by many passengers keen to keep their favored position.

While the ship’s interior space is a non-smoking environment, smoking is permitted on cabin balconies and in designated spots on the open decks.

In the quest for increased onboard revenue, even birthday cakes are an extra-cost item, as are espressos and cappuccinos (fake ones, made from instant coffee, are available in the dining rooms), ice-cream and bottled water - items that can add up to a considerable amount. Expect to be subjected to flyers advertising daily art auctions, ‘designer’ watches, and other promotions. Gratuities are automatically charged to your onboard account.

Families. Children have their own Treasure Chest (for ages 2-5), The Hideout (for ages 6-9), and for older children (10-13) there is The Buzz Zone. P&O Cruises provides plenty of staff to look after the children, and many activities to keep them occupied. A night nursery is available 6pm-2am, with a per-child charge after midnight. While many children don’t like organized clubs, they will probably find they make new friends quickly during a cruise.

Accommodation. There are several different cabin grades, designated as: suites with private balcony, mini-suites with private balcony, outside-view twin-bedded cabin with balcony, outside-view twin bedded cabin, and interior twin-bedded cabins. Although the standard outside-view and interior cabins are a little small, they are well designed and functional in layout, and have earth tone colors accentuated by splashes of color from the bedspreads.

Many of the outside-view cabins have private balconies, and all have good soundproofing, although the balcony partition is not of the floor-to-ceiling type, so you can hear your neighbors clearly. Balconies are very narrow - just large enough for two small chairs - and there is no lighting. Many cabins have third- and fourth-person upper bunk beds - good for families with children, and all cabins have useful tea- and coffee-making facilities.

There is a reasonable amount of closet and abundant drawer and other storage space in all cabins; although this is adequate for a seven-night cruise, it could prove to be quite tight for longer. A refrigerator is also provided, and each night a chocolate will appear on your pillow. The cabin bathrooms are small but practical. Fortunately, the shower enclosure is a decent size, a there’s a small amount of shelving for your toiletries, real glasses, and a hairdryer.

Also standard in all cabins: Slumberland eight-inch sprung mattresses, 10.5 tog duvets (blankets and pillows if you prefer), Egyptian cotton towels, and tea/coffee-making facilities with speciality teas (long-life is provided).

Suites. The largest accommodation is in six suites, two on each of three decks at the aft of the ship, with a private balcony giving great views over the stern. Each of these suites - Oronsay, Orcades, Orion, Orissa, Orsova, Orontes (all P&O ships of yesteryear) has a large balcony. Marble-clad bathrooms have two washbasins, a Jacuzzi tub, and a separate shower enclosure. The bedroom has wood accenting and detailing, indented ceilings, and TV sets in both bedroom and lounge areas, which also have a dining room table and four chairs.

Dining. There are two principal asymmetrically designed dining rooms, Adriatic and Ligurian, each seating about 500, located just off the two lower levels of the four-deck-high atrium lobby. One has open seating and the other has two seatings. Each has its own galley, and is split into multi-tier sections, which help create a feeling of intimacy, although there is much noise from waiter stations adjacent to many tables. Open-seating breakfast and lunch are provided, while dinner is in two seatings.

The cuisine is decidedly British - sometimes adventurous, but always with plenty of curry dishes and other standard British comfort food dishes. Don’t expect exquisite dining - this is unpretentious British hotel catering that is attractive and tasty, with some excellent gravies and sauces to accompany meals, and desserts that are always decent. The wine list is quite reasonable. A statement in the onboard cruise folder states that P&O Cruises does not knowingly purchase genetically modified foods, though it makes no mention of all those commercial American cereals provided.

The Plaza, a self-serve buffet, is located above the navigation bridge, with some commanding views. At night, this venue (with two food lines) is transformed into an informal dinner setting with sit-down waiter service. Do try the (extra-cost) Tasting Menu - a selection of small cosmopolitan dishes, with three different menus per cruise.

Outdoors on deck, the Horizon Grill has fast-food items for those who want to stay in their sunbathing attire.

For other informal eats, there is Café Jardin, with a Frankie’s Bar & Grill-style menu serving Italian-inspired dishes; it is on the uppermost level of the four-deck-high atrium lobby.

Explorer’s serves for cappuccinos, espressos, and pastries, and Magnums is a Champagne/caviar bar.

Entertainment. There are two showlounges - Footlights Theatre, and Starlights - one forward, and one aft. Footlights is a superb 550-seat, theater-style showlounge, for production shows and theater events; movies can also be shown here. Starlights is a 480-seat cabaret-style lounge with bar.

There’s a big emphasis on a decent quality of entertainment. There’s a resident group of actors, singers, and dancers who provide theater-style presentations including cut-down versions of well-known musicals. In addition, the ship features an array of cabaret acts who regularly travel the cruise ship circuit. Classical concerts are scheduled for many cruises.

Spa/Fitness. The Ocean Spa facilities are contained in a glass-walled complex on one of the highest decks aft and include a gymnasium, with high-tech muscle-pumping equipment, a combination aerobics/exercise class room, sauna, steam room, and several treatment rooms.

The spa is operated by Harding Brothers, a UK concession that provides the staff and range of beauty and wellness treatments.

One swimming pool is ‘suspended’ aft between two decks - it forms part of the spa complex, and two other (small) pools are located in the ship’s center. Sports facilities include basketball, volleyball, badminton, and paddle tennis. Joggers can exercise on a walk-around open promenade deck. There’s an electronic golf simulator - no need to bring your own clubs.