Summer Holidays on the Oceana
At the end of August last year, I went on a very last minute cruise with my Mum. A Summer Mediterranean Cruise. We booked a couple of weeks before it actually set sail and with it being the summer holidays we didn’t think we would find anything but managed to get a 7-day cruise on the Oceana with P&O. It was a Mediterranean cruise visiting 3 ports in Italy and one in Croatia.
Because we booked so last minute there were no direct flights left. This meant that we had to change both flying out and back. We weren’t very keen on this idea but thought we would risk it and I’m glad we did. Even though it took longer having to take 2 flights rather than one, the flights were really good and all on time. We were one of the last planes to land on embarkation day so when we got to the dock the terminal was really quiet, it took no more than 10 minutes to check in, go through security and board the ship.
The ship was lovely. It’s a midsize, family ship. So it isn’t too big and with being the school holidays there were a lot of families and children on the ship. It was a really nice mixture of people and even though the ship was at full capacity it certainly didn’t feel like it.
We had an inside cabin, toward the front of the ship, on deck B. It was very spacious and well designed, with lots of storage space so we didn’t feel like we were on top of each other. It was in a really good location close to the lifts and stairs so we could get to the main areas of the ship easily.
The Restaurants and Bars
We had a table for 2 at the 6.30 seating in the Adriatic restaurant. This meant we always had the same table and the same waiters.The service was brilliant and the food was lovely, as always. It was the typical P&O menu, British classics, done well. Just what I have come to expect from the cruise line. The plaza buffet restaurant was really nice, well designed and loads of seating so it never seemed too busy or crowded.
We did dine at Cafe Jardin quite a few times. We had breakfast and lunch there. It is one of the speciality restaurants, but there was no extra charge for breakfast or lunch. It was in a lovely location at the top of the atrium and was a nice retreat away from the rest of the ship.
Our favourite bar was Tiffany’s right in the centre of the atrium. It was a lovely place to sit and have a drink both during the day and in the evening and just do a bit of people watching (one of our favourite pastimes).
Having previously been on a Mediterranean cruise I had visited some of the ports before and my mum had been to all of them. But there will still places and things we could do that we hadn’t done before.
The first port was Livorno and we chose to go to Florence. We love Florence and been a few times before so we chose to book the Florence on your own trip. This included the coach there and back and a guide and a guide who walked us from the coach to the main square. Then we had a few hours to wander before we all met up again. It was very hot because of the time of year and so it was mostly about finding shade, but we still had a lovely time.
The next day we were at sea and then it was to Naples. We chose to book a trip to Herculaneum. It was amazing, as this was somewhere we had never been before. It was a morning trip and the tour lasted about 2 hours. The only problem was the heat. It was definitely the hottest day of the week, and towards the end, I was glad that we were getting out of the sun and back to the ship. I would definitely recommend the trip, though, just maybe when it isn’t so hot.
Then it was another sea day and then Dubrovnik in Croatia. I’d never been there before so was really looking forward to it and I wasn’t disappointed. The city was beautiful, small enough to just wander around and everything was in one place. We didn’t book a trip. We used the free shuttle from the ship to the city. The coach was really easy, it dropped us off and we were free to walk around for as long as we wanted and then we could just head back to the ship once we were done.
The next day we were back in Italy and to Venice. Again I had never visited before and this was the one I was most excited about. We didn’t have a trip this time either so bought tickets for the water taxi from reception on the ship. This just went back and forward from the ship to St Mark’s Square so you could just come and go as you wanted. I completely fell in love with Venice and was definitely my favourite stop of the whole trip.
The entertainment on the ship was good. When I go away with my husband we tend not to go to the theatre every night. But when I’m with my mum she doesn’t like to miss it so I go along with her. The Headlines were good, actually better than some I’ve seen in the past.
We were lucky enough to have a group called the 4tunes on the ship towards the end of the week. They were definitely the highlight of the entertainment on the ship. They were so professional and it was like watching a West End show.
So all in all we had a brilliant holiday. There could have been drawbacks with it being the holidays and the temperature, but they really weren’t an issue. We had an amazing time!
Have you been on a Mediterranean cruise? Which was your favourite port to stop at? Let me know in the comments below.
Originally published at do-you-cruise.com on July 26, 2017.