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Monday, 16 February 2015

P&O Oceana E502 Cruise Review and Photos

Sorry its taken me a while to produce this review, but the I pad was up to its normal tricks, and lost my previous version.

The Cruise
12 Nights Southampton to Southampton

The Ports
La Coruna

We enjoyed all the ports, and managed to get ashore for a walk in all of them, but especially pleasing was Agadir, a real jewel in the crown of Morocco.

The ship
Built in 2000, she still looks well for her age. As I said in my blog, not been on her since 2009, so it was like boarding a new ship, for all her good points, I still think Oriana is still my favorite of the fleet.

The Cabin
We had an inside on Deck 11 midships, on a saver fare, and very good it was too. First impressions of the wardrobe was "I'm never going to fit all this in there", but in the end there was plenty of space.

The Entertainment
The shows we saw from the headliners were good, but some of the vocals were a bit lacking, but they did have some shows we had not seen before, so maybe P&O are at last changing them.
The two comedians, Jeff Stevens and Adrian Walsh were good clean entertainment, so if you see them on a cruise, well worth seeing.
4Tunes were also on board, we did not go to see them, but there were rave reviews from talking to the passengers.
Some of the bands around the ship were excellent, others IMHO, were well below par.
It was also a rare occasion that Sue and myself did not win any quizzes, so better luck next time.

For the time of year (January) the weather was kind to us, and for the price, an excellent 12 night get away in the winter.

So next month we are off to the Arctic with Fred for the Solar Eclipse and Northern Lights, and have just booked a cheeky 12 nights on Azura for April to celebrate a postponement in my treatment for CLL.

So please join Sue and myself, and I promise to try to not bore too much.

The Photos are below






La Coruna

Thursday, 5 February 2015

Oceana E502 blog part IV

The Great British sail away from Gib yesterday up on deck 12 was well attended, probably helped by the on deck BBQ held before hand. The weather is steadily cooling down since we left Agadir, which as predicted was our warmest port. I did manage with wearing shorts on deck,  but had to resort to wearing a fleece. We spent a pleasant afternoon and evening sitting in the Yacht and Compass, talking to Val and Derek and participating in a couple of quizzes as well. The only downside of the evening is the volume of "Power Supply" the resident band, makes it very difficult to talk.

At the sail away, the Captain mentioned that we would be passing through a patch of 5 metre swells in the early hours, and he was quite correct and it's still a tad lumpy, and the sickness bags are out. 

Not got much planned for today, other than the gym, but tonight is the Peninsular Cocktail Party, but at the strange time of 8pm.
As it was a combined lunch of the tiers for the lunch, so I can only assume that there are not sufficent on board to warrant two.

I did try to get to the gym, but it was closed due to the lumpy seas 🚣🚣

Well I can report back on the Peninsular Cocktail Party, and we did not win the raffle.  The Captain said  his anticipated progress on the bow painting, that's being done by contractors was slightly out and he was right.

Our arrival in our last port of La Coruna was just as the sun arose this morning, and we were greeted with very wet surroundings, but soon the sun was shining and we were off for a walk.

There are very pretty parks along the front, and you can bump into anyone.

And never be late for that all important meeting

There are lots of road works just outside of the port, plus lots of vendors trying to sell you tours. For a moment I thought we were back in Agadir 😜

We did however make it back on board safely. My phone seems to be playing up at present with access to the Internet, so I'm not sure if I will get to post this today.

I will in time post a cruise review and a link to my photos

So thank you all for joining  Sue and myself, and if I have not bored you too much, please join us again next month, as we cruise "up north" for the solar eclipse with Fred

So until then bye bye 

Tuesday, 3 February 2015

Oceana E502 Blog Part III

Annoyingly, I went to post the third part of my blog that I typed yesterday, only to find that it had disappeared from my IPad, so here I am again typing 😝

Our Penisular Luch was a combined Caribbean and Baltic, our table was hosted by Nigel Travis, the Entertainments  Manager. Call me old fashioned, but I do prefer Cruise Director. This was Nigel's first cruise after coming back from leave, so he was not up to date with all the current gossip, but he was charming as usual. He said the reason that Oceana and Aurora are the first to have the Union Flag on the bow, is that they are the ships that will be in Southampton at the same time as Britannia, so all needed to be the same.

That evening, I had an experience I have never had before, on sea or land. And hope to never repeat it.
As I have said in previous blogs, we have abandoned Freedom dining, and have been eating in the Plaza restaurant.
That night was an Eastern Mediterranean theme, and I had along with other things, pork kebabs and lamb kebabs. By kebabs, I mean meat on a wooden skewer.
So there we are enjoying our meal and a glass of wine, I swallow a mouthful of food and.........
Something gets stuck at the back of my throat. At this stage mild panic sets in, but I find I can still breathe. A glass of water fails to shift the object, nor does a dry bread roll.

It's then a quick dash to reception to tell them I need to see a doctor, and in a minute I am in the medical centre talking to a nurse. After a couple of minutes later I am in the doctors surgery and he has a spatula and light looking down my throat when he says "wait there" and comes back with a pair of long forceps with a rounded end. As he now needs three hands, the good lady got the job of holding the light, after a couple of gags from me, he manages to remove a wooden splinter 2-3cm long from my throat. It seems the wooden skewer must have splintered in the meat.
I did get presented with a bill for doctors time, but after seeing the safety officer the next day, he said the charge would be removed.
Now throughout this episode where I was on the cusp of casting off this mortal coil. Did I receive sympathy, understanding and compassion from my good lady ? No, all I got was " we can make the quiz now" 😜

Our next port was Cadiz, and due to the clocks going forward, it was still dark when we arrived, but then the sun was soon up, along with blue skies. Unfortunately this did not last long and soon became overcast. We decided to try the HOHO for 17 euros, plus it is directly outside the port gate, which is only 1 minute from the ship. We took to the open top deck, but as soon as the tour started, the wind was very nippy, also the audio commentary socket that I was using, had a mind of its own to what language I would listen to.
In the end I had to share Sue's 

And so today we arrived in the dark at Gib.

We took a walk into town and to the Trafalgar Cemetery, we were walking for 2.5 hours, so no gym for me today

Sea day tomorrow then our final port of La Coruna

So until then bye bye

Monday, 2 February 2015

Oceana E502 Part II

Well we made it, and arrived at our first port of call of Lisbon. We have been here a few times, the last being in November last year with Fred.

It was not the best of weather as we made our way up river Tiber to our berth

But you could just make out dear old Henry

And of course the bridge

We had not booked any tours, so just went for a walk. Our plan was to go and see Henry close up, but it was a tad further than it looked, and the drizzle was still making progress a bit damp.

So we returned to the ship in time for lunch, but not before stopping for a coffee along the way.

Going back to last night, as I said in my previous blog it was the first formal night, so of course our cabin steward, showed off his towel art.

We had been allocated Freedom Dinning for the cruise, but had eaten in the select restaurants for the first two nights. I said to the good lady we should have an early drink before dinner and then go into dinner whilst the Captains welcome on board was taking place.
So just after 6pm, we left Magnums and headed to the atrium to go down the the restaurant. 

And there it was, the longest queue you have ever seen. At this point we thought we would join the Captain's party whilst we waited for the queue to go down.
At the allotted time for the completion of the party, the queue had diminished, but was still evident so we abandoned and went to the buffet.

We may have to rethink this Freedom Dining lark 😜

We also went to see the Headliners for their first production show "Gotta Sing Gotta Dance" a show that we had not seen before.
The male vocals were not the strongest I have heard,  but thought the dance troupe were excellent.

Another sea day tomorrow (Friday) before we reach Agadir, a port we have not been to before, but maybe will supply the best weather of the cruise ? 

Watch this space.

Until then bye bye 

I'm back, it's now Friday afternoon and we are sitting out on deck, a bit overcast but warm enough for my T shirt and shorts.

There was just a couple of things I wanted to add to the blog. This morning there was a MacMillan coffee morning, which is P&O's currently supported charity. We went along to support the cause for obvious reasons. There were only a handful of other passengers besides us that  showed up, from a full ship of nearly 2,000 passengers. A bit of a poor show IMHO

For those of you that know me, you will know that I love my gadgets, and back in 2010 I can remember being on Artemis with my new IPad that had been recently released. In those days it was quite new and unusual. 
But now on this cruise, there are "get to know your IPad classes" that are very well attended (Starlight lounge was full).
How times have moved on in only 5 years.

It really is bye bye now 

Well here we are in Agadir, and my apologies for not posting my previous blog. I tried but failed to remortgage the house to enable me to purchase an Internet bolt on from T mobile for my phone ( bit expensive in this part of the world ) 

We had a bit of a scare last night, we were watching the Headliners show in Starlights, School Daze which was very good), when an announcement from reception paging a male passenger. Now you know it must be serious for a ship wide broadcast. Another 5 minutes passed and the same broadcast message, then 10 minutes later a broadcast from the bridge. After the show finished, another broadcast from the bridge. Seems we had a missing person. There were lots of security and medical staff evident looking for the gent. The crew were on stand by to lower the boats for a search in the water, when the gent was found safe and well. He was asleep in the casino and his hearing aids had got switched off. 

It was overcast and misty as we sailed into port this morning, with a nifty 360 degree turn in the basin by the Captain when we arrived.
We had not been to Agadir before, so was not sure what to expect. Well I can report that's it's a commercial and fishing port, so not that pleasing to the eye, and you wonder what the rest of the country has in store for you.

This was the only port where we had booked a tour, the normal "panoramic tour", and it was not until you boarded the coach, that you realised how big the port is as its takes 10-15 minutes to leave the port , plus they have more fishing boats than you can shake a stick at. In fact it's the largest Sardine port in the world.

Firstly they took us up high in hills for the panoramic view of the area with a photo stop. Well if I thought the port was packed with fishing boats, well that was nothing compared to the number of "vendors" at the photo stop, trying to sell everything from a picture of the camel/ goat/ snake etc. to jewellery 

Yes they were very persistent and did follow you around, but I found no eye contact, and a firm "no thanks" solved the problem. But those who engaged in conversation, were easy prey for them. I even heard one lady talking to her friend " he is going to do a special deal for me". Classic.

After a short tour of down town Agadir, we were taken to the beach for some free time. It was obvious this was the tourist area as it was very western in its approach. But had an enormous sandy beach, with a promenade to match and what a very pleasant time we had there. Even had time for a coffee at McDonalds and to use their WiFi ( I had left the IPad on board else I could have posted the blog ).

The weather has improved throughout the day to sunny and warm, with deck 12 on board very busy this afternoon as I sit typing the blog.

Another sea day tomorrow and it's our Peninsular lunch, then arrival in Cadiz on Monday, where I know they have a small terminal building with WiFi, so I should be able to post this double blog.

So until then

Bye bye