OCEANA 7n Fjords Cruise - 29 Aug- 5th Sept 2009
Well, I am pleased to report, after the concern of 5 ships in port for sail away today - the most ever (the others were Independence, Grand Princess, and Queen Mary and a FO ship) and the fact its a bank holiday weekend, we had no problems atall getting here, infact we were so early we stopped at a garden centre 10 miles outside Southampton for a coffee.
Arrived at the new Ocean Terminal at 11.50am, drove straight to the entrance (like last time on whitson weekend), the car was whisked away and luggage and we went inside and were given queue boarding card G, so, yes lots of people already here.
Check in desks opened at noon as usual, and by 12.40pm we were called to check in I was surprised to see armed police walking around with big guns, don't remember seeing that on my last Ocean Terminal cruise?
Onboard eating lunch by 1pm. I like the ss Plaza restaurant at the front of the ship with lovely views, it will be good eating in there when at the fjords, but sadly this means no crows nest which is a shame. Strange to see a dance floor in the ss restaurant though? .
‘Cabins ready’ announcement came at 2pm, we went to our cabin but no cases had arrived, the cabin - a midships balcony on B deck is much smaller than others I have had, the bathroom is tiny, you open the door and the loo is facing you, will a cubicle shower to your right, and sink. Only 3 x ½ wardrobes. The cut out balcony is small too, but we had brand new chair cushions which was nice. The cabin was clean and tidy, so no complaints. I booked MPW restaurant for 2nd Sept -Wednesday asked for a good table haha seeing I was only the 2nd person to book this early, and got one overlooking the atrium, avoiding the walk-thru, as recommended by my friends who have been on here before. (my 1st time).
Its is now late afternoon on day 2, our sea day , sailing ooop North, we rounded Dover, and oop we went, this is alien to me, lol, have travelled further afield but never up the east coast, we passed Scarborough and must be now in line with Scotland . Have seen lots of Oil rigs - something I've never seen before, and saw a helicopter fly over us and start to land on one.
The weather this afternoon is sunny with a warm /cool breeze, have just been sunbathing (with a jumper on I admit) by the terrace bar at the aft - what a great place, with a little umbrella covered pool and Jacuzzis, with sunbeds facing the wake (a bit more peaceful than Orianas which has the children’s pools in the prime wake end).
We had a quick sailaway which I nearly missed, at 4.30pm, muster was early and packing not finished due to late arrival of cases, so it was all a rush, but we were in the lead (YES!) as I though we might be, sailing from Ocean Terminal, we passed the wonderful Queen Mary and horns were blasting, , QM then followed on behind us, and I think Grand Princess was next or it may of been Independence?
Smart casual night tonight, and that nervous moment when you meet your table companions for the 1st time... we were on a table of 8, and pleased to say the other 3 couples were lovely, 2 of them had been on the 7n cruise before and were doing a back2back, as were quite a few on this cruise - and it was something I booked too, but cancelled at the last minute. Food super, same menu day 1 as we had on Oriana in May, I had shrimp risotto, field mushroom soup, chicken escalope cordon bleu with baby croquettes and courgettes, and then raspberry soufflé (ordered lemon posset trifle but got raspberry soufflé (oh well, not that worried!)
The next day was a sea day, after a breakfast in the Adriatic restaurant, went to a port talk on Olden, then a cake decorating demo by two of the chefs and then onto my p&o/crowsnest meeting I arranged in Winners bar. A golf pro talk was on - but luckily in a section of the bar, so I managed to group some tables together and have my meet. Met Lorna and Sam, Alan and Mary, Mick and his wife and Chirpy and Ray, had a nice chat and later Marie came along.
Then had lunch in Cafe Jardin, now that’s a nice place as well. The salmon Fishcake with cucumber and mint sauce was divine with a cold glass of white wine. Off then to a Bergen port talk and then a sunbathe.
We have 'our 'enry onboard - Sir Henry Cooper who will be doing a after dinner speech on his boxing career tomorrow, I met him on deck and had a quick chat, lovely chap. Also we have Bobby Davro doing a few shows later in the week.
I love the two smaller theatres -Starlights and Footlights, saw a show last night after dinner in Starlight’s, really nice, seems to have been recently refurbished as all settees and seating looked new and carpets.
Right, must dash, the best is yet to come now we are approaching the Fjords, should be a good view from my balcony tomorrow morning,
Last nights formal night was lovely. Our pre-dinner welcome aboard party was around the Atrium decks, had a photo with Captain Hamish Reid, who was also the Captain on my last cruise on Oriana about 11 weeks ago, what a nice chap.
Surprised to see no nibbles such as peanuts and savouries or canapés at the welcome aboard party or throughout the cruise in all bars? Asked a staff member and was told this was due to nor virus? !! Sounds like a cost-cutting measure to me, after all they have no qualms when a bar steward uses the same pen to ask you to sign your bar bill account slip, he then takes the pen on and passes it on to the next passenger, who holds then pen, passes it back to steward and this pen is passed around all night, surely there is more chance of catching noro from that sweaty pen than from picking up a canapé from a tray or taking a peanut from the glass vases which are already designed that you shake out the nuts instead of touch them!
Food excellent in the Adriatic restaurant throughout the cruise, on the first formal menu I had Venison terrine, chicken and sweetcorn soup, Champagne Sorbet, Duck in a Grand Marnier and Orange Sauce, and Hot dark chocolate and Orange Fondant with white chocolate sauce. Usual main choices on a formal night included , lobster thermidor, venison haunch and supreme of duck with orange sauce, plus a veggie option of Mixed mushroom, leek and pine nut Oriental pancakes.. After dinner we then went to the show, and onwards to yacht & compass where a good band was playing.
… its ‘closed until 10am‘, lol, no shops opened till then. We had a walk around in the pouring rain, but gave up when the heavens opened and came back to the ship for a dry out and lunch before our tour at 1pm Pulpit rock boat trip. Now this was good despite the mist and clouds, cost was £49pp for a 3 hr trip but we were taken quite a way into the inlets of the fjords and saw some fantastic scenery, waterfalls, the pulpit rock and some holiday homes nestled in the hills. A stop for waffles and coffee in a idealic location on the fjords surrounded by rocks was included. Later discovered you could do this boat trip for £35pp, but no waffle and coffee stop, by walking along harbour side and seeing a boatman with a similar boat!
Enjoyed the boat trip very much, expect rain, and you may not be disappointed…!
Another grey cloudy day, its such a shame when the weather is like this, but to be expected I suppose in the Fjords, late season. One person said to me 'there is no such thing as bad weather in the Fjords....just bad clothes' ! So come prepared anyone cruising here for the 1st time, bring a waterproof jacket/umbrella and a fleece and some good footwear, ideally walking boots or good trainers.
The ship docks in the town, so once disembarked it is minutes from the town. A good tip is to buy a land train ticket which takes you all around the town and upwards to see the sights, we thought we'd go later, and were caught out. ALL tickets were sold out until 4pm, so we couldn't go - so go early if you want to see some of the sights as we didn't see any river trips here or HOHO buses and ended up walking around the town. Shopping is 'ok' but as its so expensive you tend not to buy anything - bottle coke 35k (£3.50)that’s a small one.
We had rain, then it would clear and then rain again. But we were rewarded with a wonderful clear sailaway so lots of photos were taken.
Bobby Davro was in the Footlights theatre in the evening he was very funny and played to full houses at both shows, afterwards we went to the Yacht & Compass for drinks and listened to the Freedom Band play Shadows and ELO, one of the better bands we have seen on our cruises.
The best port berth of the cruise. I had read about this port -’ book a trip there’s nothing here‘, but we had a fantastic day which I will remember forever. The view from my balcony that morning was exactly what I wished for and I wasn't disappointed.
We had breakfast today in the Plaza to enjoy the scenery. During this short cruise on Oceana, I have now tried room service, cafe jardin, the main restaurant and now Plaza for breakfast as I like to try everything. My favourite is probably main restaurant breakfast, but on port days it takes up too much time.
Anyway, after taking some photos from the sun deck of the fantastic scenery - still lakes, waterfalls, snow capped mountains, tiny wooden houses surrounded by pretty flowers etc, we disembarked and managed to get a land train ticket here for Olden lake and beyond. We all know its expensive here, but I did gulp when he said 150k pp for a bloomin' land train (£15pp), but it was for a hour and 10mins and when he showed us where he was taking us we went for it, well , you have too!
The beautiful views took my breath away, again green still lakes, tiny wooden houses in all sizes which are mostly holiday homes, and waterfalls trickling or fast flowing, I am glad we got away from the portside and did this, as the afternoon trip we had booked was to walk to a glacier so this was something different. The train stopped in town on the way back, so we got off here and looked at the shops, and tiny wooden church and then strolled back to the ship for lunch.
At 1.30pm we went on our trip to Briksdal Glacier. F A N T A S T I C!
The walk is not for the faint hearted , unfit or anyone with a disability in walking or asthmatic, I came prepared with walking boots and hiking pole and the 50mins hike upwards to the glacier was quite hard going. But you are rewarded by the scenery here again, and you even walk over a bridge by a massive waterfall and getting soaked with spray, that was fun (must be good for the skin surely?). We had rain again for first 20mins, which made it slippery and wet underfoot, and it was very steep in places., but when we got there and saw this blue ice glacier was amazing, and the sun even shone. Some say it may be gone in the next 10-20 years as it is receding quickly, we passed markers where it finished in the 1920's and 1950's and it has shrunk by many metres. While I was taking photos we heard a rumble, and saw a avalanche, amazing seeing the ice and snow fall down the glaciers and drop into the still fjord below. The walk back was slightly easier because a) it was downhill, and b) cream cakes and coffee were included in the tour at the restaurant below lol. The countryside drive each way was about 50mins, we went through a few long tunnels which the guide told us were created at avalanche hot spots to protect the cars. Olden is cut off completely when one happens from the whole world as there are no trains or airports here. Train lines would be too expensive to lay down due to all the mountains.
In the evening we went to Marco Pierre Whites Cafe Jardin.
Marco Pierre White @ Cafe Jardin
We booked a table for 8pm and I got my preference, a table for 2 overlooking the atrium, to avoid the walk-thru traffic of cruisers who can't read signs and jump over no-access ropes....!
The supplement was £6.50pp which was ok, I don't think it was worth anymore when you consider you are not eating the 5 course meal you have paid for already in your cruise payment in the main restaurant that night. I've eaten in Arcadian Rhodes, Orchid, Oriana Rhodes and Auroras Cafe Bordeaux and this was on par with Orchid but no where near as refined as the two Rhodes restaurants in service food or ambience and decor of the restaurant, although having 'our Henry (Cooper) and Bobby Davro seated at the next table did make the evening even more enjoyable!
After being seated. we were presented with a assorted bread basket and flavoured butters (which we got as per norm in the main dining room of Celebrity Equinox by the way) and I chose Moules Mariniere to start, there was a soup course which we declined, and then I had 'Honey Roasted belly of Pork Brittany' - served with butterbeans and roasting juices and decorated with crackling straws.. it was melt in the mouth, vegetables were 4 new potatoes (for 2 of us!), And a small pot of creamed leeks, and a pot of spinach. Then I had shortbread biscuit tower with fresh strawberries and single cream. (other sweets were: Blackcurrant soufflé, Pana Cotta with poached pears, french style apple tart, chocolate mousse, etc). We enjoyed the meal and it was nice to listen to the atrium live music while we were eating, thats a good touch, we had a 2 piece band and then the piano player Antal... after the meal, for a change we went to the Horse Race night in winners bar, and lost 4 races in a row, but no matter, Bergen tomorrow, formal black & white night and hubbies birthday
We have blue skies and sunshine! After another fab sailaway last night, we left the fjords and entered the North sea again to sail down to Bergen. I knew I had to get up early today as my cruise friends had told me to get to the funicular railway early to avoid big queues. Its a shame this ship (Oceana) does not have a crows nest, but, having the self service restaurant instead at the front of the ship is rather nice, especially here in Norway.
After a quick breakfast we left the ship and caught the shuttle bus (free ofcourse, it is p&o !) to the centre of town. We eventually found the funicular railway station and bought a return ticket (70k = £7pp) for a return ticket, and after a short 5min wait we were transported to the top at Mount Floyen to enjoy the panoramic views of the town and spot our cruise ship in the distance. We were told in Olden by the way, that Oceana that day (2nd Sept) was the last but one cruise ship in this year as we are now at the end of the season. As we left the station at 10.40am queues were forming out of the station and down the road, so do get there early to avoid this if you can.
Once back down again we walked around the fish market, the fisherman had their catches on display and plates of salmon, prawns etc to buy for 100k-200k (10 - 20 pounds)a plate, they were piled high though with fresh ready-to-eat fish and looked excellent - have taken photos. One man offered me a piece of hot cooked dark fish to try and I did, and THEN, he told me it was whale meat! Yuk, it tasted like a fishy liver, as soon as he told me that, I turned my back on him and spat it out before swallowing , and threw it away, not nice...
Also here sadly saw many animal skins for sale - wolf pelts, seal, deer , moose etc. The next few hours were spent walking around the town looking at the shops and parks. Tonight is black and white night on hubbies birthday. We treated ourselves to a watch each from the ship jewellery shop as my birthday is in a few weeks too (AKA 'Libra'lass...).
The 2nd formal night - black and white - was well adhered too, there seems to be no children in our 2nd sitting dining room so reminds me alot of Arcadia for ambiance. We have just under a 100 kiddies on this cruise, but they must be having kiddies tea and spending their time with the youth crew, or on first sitting.
I love the friendliness and relaxed atmosphere on here and would cruise on this ship again, she is my joint 2nd along with Aurora with Arcadia still my first love. I have now cruised/ or been onboard all the fleet . It was hubbies birthday today and he received a birthday card signed by the Captain and a plate petit fours in the cabin . Also the waiters sang him happy ‘birthdaaaay‘, as only they can.!
Before formal night, popped along last night to see Sir Henry Cooper who did a repeat show, with question time after which was different. He was a bit nervous at the first show and messed up a bit on his speech forgetting what he was going to say etc, but he is so well loved he could get away with anything. He did say by the way that brother George his twin, also a boxer is now quite ill and blind and slightly deaf which is sad to see. Henry also mentioned he met Ali again last week while he was in the UK and Ali recognised him, and even though he is also very ill with Parkinson’s , cannot talk and has constant shakes he put his arms into the boxing position and smiled at Henry to let him know he remembers their fights
The next day, our last day at sea, Friday 4th September, and we rock and roll, jump and jiggle, force 8/9 westerly . 19.5 knots in the middle of the North sea. Last night I swear the bed was like a roller coaster as we dipped sideways every few seconds.
I had a lie down this morning after a breakfast of pancakes and pineapple , although some are still managing kippers and fried eggs!! And others haven't made breakfast atall. Hubbie makes a start on the packing, so I got out of the cabin so he can do his packing in peace and then we will attempt lunch around 1pm. There was no point walking around the ship as it was rolling quite badly, and made you giddy and unstable.
While lying on the bed in our balcony after taking my sea sickness pills as we were warned force 10 was imminent, I had the balcony doors open for fresh air, I have to comment on the smell of cigarette smoke that did come into our cabin from next doors cabin, people who say its does not drift into other balcony cabins air-space are lying I am afraid, and as non-smokers we have had to accept this on our cruise. I am not complaining or moaning, this is just a comment, You will get smoke on your balcony and even in your cabin.
This is probably the worst sea conditions I have had on this my 9th cruise in 3 years, but not worried atall and just getting about slowly although walking is difficult.
Tonight Bobby Davro was a real pro, and managed to do his new and 2nd performance, which was very entertaining. Very satisfied with the entertainment on this cruise, went along to a show as well - ’I write the Songs’ but missed ‘The Big Picture’ and ‘Swinging Sixties’ as we went to the other theatre and saw two shows by a female singer/comedian called Siobhan Phillips.
Enjoyed the cruise, it was I all I hoped for and expected. Photos on the link at the end of this review, including my cuddle with Bobby Davro..haha.
We lost Internet and mobile phone contact for 24 hours and the Captain announced that the satellite dome was blown off in the storm!
As we sailed in the North Sea we had hit the edge of Hurricane Danny , and sea swells went up to gale force 10. Some damage occurred and we lost the dome covering the satellite, it ripped in two, half blew into the swimming pool (yes! I have photos of the damage!) and the rest fell down on deck or out to sea.
We were 'rockin' and rolling for 24 hours, many fell ill and sick bags appeared in the corridors, but the Captain (Hamish Reid) kept us informed and we felt safe in his hands. It was so funny to sea the water in our cabin shower not drain away as the ship was tilting one way and the plug hole was at the other end of the shower tray!
We arrived back in Southampton 2 hours late, so lots to do for the ground crew offloading supplies and loading up again for Oceana's next 14n Med cruise.
I hope she got away on time, and that the maintenance crew managed to repair the satellite dome and aerial , and clear the pool.
Oceana…built in the year 2000, so now 9 years old, and at 77,500 tonnes a middle range sized ship with Arcadia and Ventura bigger than her, and Oriana and Artemis smaller. A lovely friendly classic ship with a beautiful atrium and two nice theatres. A shame she doesn’t have a covered main pool, although she has a small pool at the Terrace bar that has a umbrella shield cover over. I liked her a lot, and would have no hesitation sailing on her again.
Click or copy and paste link below into your search bar: