- Apart from a week in the Caribbean early in January, it’s been a quiet start to the year for Captain Greybeard. But the cold, grey days of winter have been warmed by reading of another blogger’s cruise to the sun. Danielle Fear, aka CruiseMiss, who says she caught the cruise bug in 2007 when she was just 21, spent 35 nights on a round-trip from Southampton aboard P&O’s Oceana. There were constant updates on Twitter and Facebook and since she returned she hasn’t stopped writing about the trip, posting pictures and videos of the ship and the islands she visited. She obviously had an amazing time, so I invited her to write a guest blog. Here it is . . .
This was my third cruise on Oceana and once again she did not disappoint. Our voyage would see us call at Madeira, Antigua, St Lucia, Barbados, Grenada, Aruba, Roatan, Cozumel, Jamaica, Tortola (above), St Maarten and Ponta Delgada. There was also a partial Panama Canal transit in the middle. It was more or less the cruise of a lifetime especially as I am only 28 years old!
I find it quite comical that on long voyages such as this the other passengers assume I am a member of the crew, and for some reason the crew think I am from P&O head office. I use it to my advantage sometimes; skipping a formal night is easier as passengers assume it’s my “night off”.
The longer the cruise the better I say! I may be far younger than the average passenger on a lot of the longer voyages but that makes no difference at all to my holiday. As they say age ain’t nothing but a number and I have met some amazing and very lively people during my cruises. In fact it’s usually the older passengers that are the most fun!
This cruise was no different to my others, I filled my time onboard lounging in the sun, eating, taking, the occasional trip to the bar and just generally enjoying the fact I was at sea again. I rarely look at any of the onboard entertainment and can honestly say in all my 35 nights on board I did not see one show. Some people find it strange and others wonder how I don’t get bored. My love of the open ocean keeps me quite content, that essentially is what I am there for.
I did, however, watch the “Build a Ship on a Ship” contest on the Lido deck. It was a great idea; passengers would build a ship that had to be put through various tests in order to be deemed as sea worthy. It was a lot of fun and judged by four senior officers. Some of the ships capsized but most survived what was by now a tsunami in the swimming pool during a lively day en route back to Southampton.
When I boarded Oceana early in January she was just two weeks out of dry dock after her refurbishment and although the changes were subtle they made a big difference. Le Club, which previously was dark, dreary and just downright depressing, was now alive with a warm caramel tone to the walls and some lovely high-backed chairs with snap shots of cities like New York and Paris on the walls. It turned out to be a nice place to sit for peace through the day but it came alive of an evening.
All the carpets throughout the ship were brand new, there was a nice lighting system now to be found on the Lido deck, and Footlights theatre had been given a brand new sound and lighting system. As I said it was subtle but nice.
One of my favourite places to dine on board is Café Jardin. Breakfast and lunch are included in the cost of your cruise but there is a small cover charge of only £5.25 per person for dinner. The evening menu was actually changed during her refurbishment and I certainly appreciated it. Especially the Garlic and Chilli Tiger Prawns which I went back for several times! Next time I’ll ask for just the prawns, nothing else, that’s how GOOD they were!
Another aspect of Oceana that I thoroughly enjoy but I am sure many others despise is that she seems to be a real life shuggy boat. I have never come across a ship that moves as much as she does. Not in a bad way, it’s more of a let-me-send-you-to-sleep motion, ever so subtle and gentle.
When she hits bad weather however, that’s when the fun really starts. The bigger the gale force and swell the better! I like to be reminded now and then that I am actually on a ship; it keeps my respect for the ocean and Mother Nature at the forefront of my mind.
Oceana is one of my favourites; give her a try and maybe I will see you on board in the not too distant future!
- Thanks Danielle. I look forward to reading about the remainder of the Oceana cruise at your CruiseMiss blog and to reading more of your adventures at sea in the future.