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Oeana 2017- Malta, Greece, Albania, Croatia +Italy review

Oeana 2017- Malta, Greece, Albania, Croatia +Italy review

Postby Meg50 » 12 Aug 2017 20:21

Oceana – 2017 – Malta, Greece, Albania, Croatia, Italy
This cruise was originally booked for a week later, but due to a wedding invitation for the day after disembarkation, we brought it forward a week (same itinerary, different order)

Day 1 – Thursday July 27
Bus to station, then train to Gatwick. Only 2 check in desks open initially, so very slow queue (not helped by someone with insufficient days on their passport arguing). Opened more and things sped up. Took 45 mins to check in. Set off alarms at security cos I forgot to remove my front door keys from my pocket!
On the train, I had remembered that my mobile needed topping up… top up card wouldn’t work, so the man in Dixons sold me a voucher and offered to load it for me – he sent it wrongly! I redid it later, but still it didn’t work. So phone was running on a wing and a prayer (£2.95 credit). Didn’t get it sorted until I got home!
Had a cuppa and a sarnie while waiting to board plane.
I had commented on some’at on P&O FB few weeks ago and a friend had popped up to ask when we were cruising – turned out we were on the same cruise. Met her and her extended family in the departure lounge.
It was a 13.40 flight.
‘Gate info will be available’ at 12.40, then 12.55, then 13.02…

We thought we had booked front row on the plane, but it turned out to be front row of P&O….
Small child behind kept kicking the back of the seat – tempted to chuck him overboard once onboard…
Arrived Valletta 6.10pm – local time
Collected luggage, then queue for immigration, then queue for bus to Port. Long wait to leavwe ‘cos not room for many coaches at Cruise terminal’
Queue to check in at Port,
Queue to board – through security.

On board Oceana at 7.55. Arrived at our cabin the same moment as our luggage - and an announcement that Muster was at 8.15…
So very little time to do anything other than report our loo wasn’t flushing!

Muster finished at 8.45, so went to finish unpacking before going to Adriatic Restaurant for dinner (open sitting, we could have gone to Mediterranean buffet if we’d wanted- reserved dining starts tomorrow) – Restaurant was full ,so we were sent to Ligurian where we were placed on a table for 8 ( 6 of us – 2 of whom we never saw again!).

Somewhat bothered by the lack of veg on our plates. We wondered if more was coming, then remembered we haven’t cruised since plated dining came in….
After Dinner at about 10.30 we went for a stroll around the ship until lights out (ours) at midnight.

Day 2 Friday 28th July – at Sea
Up at 8.15, brekkie at 9.30.
Decided not to join the Rumba class in favour of a sunbed – still trying to catch our breath after yesterday!

After lunch (note to self, try going later next sea day…), walked the mile ( 3.2 times round prom deck), went to library to do the jigsaw, collected crossword, sudoku, Britain Today (i.e. settled into our usual cruise sea-day pattern), bit more sun – tho’ not too much too soon, don’t want to burn….

Captain’s Welcome aboard party – free drinks, but otherwise pretty boring…
Prompt bedtime – alarm set for 6.45.

Day 3 Saturday July 29th – Piraeus
OH off to the Corinth Canal – leaving at 7.50, so early brekkie.
He had a good time – 2 transits and bungee jumpers to watch, tho’ he felt it was maybe not a spectacular as it would have been in a bigger ship with less clearance of the edges…
The intention had been that on his return we would seek out the blue domed church we could see from the ship last time, but we were docked in a different section of the port this time and it was miles away, so we gave up rapidly in the searing heat (35o ) and returned to the ship.

Day 4 – Sunday July 30th - Mykonos

We had thought we could walk into town, but realised on looking out from the ship it was too far, and discovered on the way in on the bus – also too dangerous….
We spent a fair bit of time looking for the windmills which we could see from the ship… could we find them? Could we ‘eck. In the end we gave up and started to the shore , turned a corner and there they were!
We even met a pelican walking along the street on the way back to the bus!
Mykonos was a beautiful place.

In the evening, after dinner, we went to watch the ventriloquist show.

Day 5 Monday July 31st - Katakolon

Pronounced Ka – takalon.
We decided not to ‘do’ Olympia and instead we walked around town, along the sandy beach, running the gauntlet of taxis - motor, horse and beer!
There was no shade anywhere, and it was a VERY hot day.

Today’s Horizon says tonight is ‘White night’ Never had one of them before. No warning on personaliser, nor on the (non existent) cruise overview!

Day 6 Tuesday 1st August. Sarande, Albania
Sarande was a tender port. Only had to wait 20 mins after getting our ticket, so not too bad.
Sarande is clean and pretty.
Shedloads of taxi touts and adverts for free hire cars at the landing stage, but then there were the beggars…. Lots and lots of them. Generally using their children as bait, but weren’t intrusive in the main.
When we changed our cruise, the TA said the new booking had lots of OBC attached. We checked the paperwork and it said per person. Thinking that that couldn’t be right we went for a statement. We had £325 per person, plus £150 shareholder – yup - £800. That’ll take some spending…

Tonight’s dinner had no veg whatever!

Day 7 Wednesday August 2nd Sea Day
Brekkied early to beat the rush, then we hit the shops. Did a fair bit of Christmas shopping and enough of my fave perfume to keep me going for months!

Our table mates are going home tomorrow, as is one of our waters - the other is being promoted and moving to a new table.

OH went to watch the ventriloquist’s second performance

Day 8 Thursday August 3rd. Valletta – changeover day
Decided to start early to beat the heat. So we were off the ship by 8.30 and on the 3 Cities ferry by 8.45.
The ferry is a 10 mins or so trip from just below the Barrakka gardens lift across the harbour to Conspicua – from which we could walk round Senglia and Vittoriosa. We sat for a while people watching nad caught the ferry back to the lift.
The new passengers were arriving on board by lunchtime.
Deck BBQ for lunch, after which we went back out to investigate the Waterfront shops and to get an ice-cream at the nice shop we found last time we were in Valletta – it had gorn!

Since it was changeover day and many passengers don’t arrive until after their designated sitting, dinner is un-reserved, so we went to first sitting in order to beat the rush, and to be on deck for sailaway. Twas a good move. There was a dancing show going on on the waterfront which was wonderful.

Day 9- Friday August 4th – Sea day
Very crowded. I did jigsaws and then found a sunlounger, OH went to the week’s ports overview talk.
Lunched later than last sea day – less crowded this time.
We decided not to go to the rerun of the captain’s welcome aboard, and arrived in time for dinner- only to find he hadn’t started his chat, so we had to suffer it after all – only w/o the free drinks!

New table mates and new waiters.

Day 10 – Saturday August 5th - Split

This had been advertised as a tender port, so I was delighted to find we were docking (last time we were here, the tender operation wasn’t for the faint hearted cos of the sea condition, so I had stayed onboard).
We walked into town – which was packed- not just round the ferry areas, but all over.
In Diocletian’s Palace people were carting luggage up and down the stairs!
Once we had quartered the town we strolled back towards the ship and then saw greenery across the road, so thinking there might be a nice park we trotted over. Up a hill where we could see sea on the other side, but other than that there wasn’t much of interest. So we went back onboard to ferry watch – which previous readers of my blogs will know is one of our fave activities!

Day 11 – Sunday August 6th - Venice
Up at 6.45 for the sail in.
We are sharing the dock with Norwegian Star, Aida Blu, MSC Musica, Costa Delicioza, a couple of river cruise boats and a Windstar vessel.
We caught the first shuttle boat into S Marco (cost £16 unlimited each, but we have OBC to spend….).
We checked out the Bridge of Sighs, S Marco place (Sunday, so S Marco not open until 2pm), the Rialto Bridge, Grand Canal, then coffee near the Bridge of Sighs where we were overcharged (by €1 each, so not the end of the world).
Munching on Ice creams we then headed further away from S Marco towards park land where we also found an animal sculpture exhibition.

By then the heat was well nigh unbearable so we headed back to the ship.

OH had been muttering about me finding excessive heat hard, but we always get out and about having coping strategies. When one of our table mates announced she hadn’t been off the ship at all cos it’s too hot, he stopped moaning at me.

We sailed at 10 ish, so we made it out of dinner in time to watch most of it.

Day 12 – Monday August 7th Ravenna
No urgency to get up this morning, so we could have done w/o the 7am we’re here announcement!
Shuttle bus into town ( 20 mins ish) we went to the 1st of the UNESCO world heritage sites thinking we’d just ‘do’ the one, but the ticket lets you in to all 5 for €9.50.
1) Galla Placido Mausoleum
2) San Vitale
3) Battistero Neonano
4) San’Appolinare Nuovo
5) Museo Arciveseole – we skipped that one tho’ someone told us later it was only one room….

National Museum closed on Mondays.

We also visited the Duomo.

Loos were €0.50, but the nice peeps in front of us in the queue held the door=r open, so all 4 of us got in for the price of one!
The mosaics were truly amazing. Wouldn’t have missed this place for the world.
The non-outing lady on our table told us later she had yet to find anyone who felt this port was worth it…. We put her straight…Philistine.

There was also a beach near the port.

Later it was the Peninsular Cocktail party – only 86 peeps there – outnumbered ( almost ) by crew. Turns out only 2 weekers were invited

Day 13 Tues August 12th – Dubrovnik.

OH awoke with a stinking cold and decided he was too poorly to go anywhere. We walked round the port area to check, but he was adamant, so I got the shuttle bus and went alone. Usual probs with Dubrovnik – very crowded and chaos at the shuttle bus return stop….

Day 14 - Weds 9th August – sea day 4.
Our 42nd wedding anniversary and SOMEONE blabbed to the waiters, so we got the balloon treatment.

Not much to do today – packing and suchlike

Day 15 – Thurs August 10th – Valletta Disembarkation.

Had to be out of cabin by 8, so alarm for 6.45 – up at 6.30.

Left hand luggage in Footlights , and once brekkied, we went off into town at 8.30. Up in the Barrakka lift and checked out the town for a couple of hours. A very curious atmosphere – we were waiting to disembark, but newbies were arriving.
We found a quiet spot for a bit, lunched, played cards in the cards room, people watched on deck, ate icecreams ( still trying to use up OBC).
Aty 4.20 we reported to the Adriatic. Off the ship by 4.30.
Then we were back to queues once more
Arrived at Airport to find plane was delayed. Then even more delays when ground staff brought the pilot the wrong paperwork.
Landed at Gatwick around 10
Queues at Gatwick. We noted that from Gatwick home by train and taxi (10 mins wait for train included) took less time than getting thro’ passport control. Home by 11.30. So glad we weren’t going to the wedding tomoro!
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Re: Oeana 2017- Malta, Greece, Albania, Croatia +Italy review

Postby Meg50 » 12 Aug 2017 20:21

On the post cruise questionnaire we noted
1) the lack of vegetables
2) that we were told 3 formal and a tropical- when what we actually got were 4 formal, 2 tropical and a white party
3) that we no longer get a cruise overview with an outline of events, acts etc

Pros of Fly cruises:
1)Ports start soon
2) the B of Bis avoided
3) Gatwick is easier to get to (15 mins on a fast train)than Soton (several hours)

Cons of fly cruises:
1) haven’t acclimatised to heat before ports start
2)ditto ship routine
4) hit the ground ( sea) running – no time to unwind before ports
5)luggage limitations
6)Airports and the general performance of flights as against turning up at Soton and being onboard in a (comparative ) brace of shakes.
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Re: Oeana 2017- Malta, Greece, Albania, Croatia +Italy review

Postby tomvet » 13 Aug 2017 01:42

Loved reading this review! Meg! Did you manageto spend all the OBC?
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Re: Oeana 2017- Malta, Greece, Albania, Croatia +Italy review

Postby Meg50 » 13 Aug 2017 08:29

tomvet wrote:Loved reading this review! Meg! Did you manageto spend all the OBC?

When the final statement came we had about £26 left, but then, since we were onboard until 4.30pm - had a drink with lunch and some ice cream, so I think pretty much used it all up.
Rather usefully, the grats come out of the OBC too.

Just hope the last bits get taken off OBC, not the credit card
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Re: Oeana 2017- Malta, Greece, Albania, Croatia +Italy review

Postby khkate » 13 Aug 2017 09:58

Thanks Meg for your review - it sounds like an enjoyable cruise, apart from all those queues.
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Oeana 2017- Malta, Greece, Albania, Croatia +Italy review

Postby Gillzajoker » 13 Aug 2017 13:37

Gad you had a good time in spite of everything, Meg. ("Searing heat" 35??? Pah! It's been up to 55 in our area! :lol: ).
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Oeana 2017- Malta, Greece, Albania, Croatia +Italy review

Postby Jimmy the One » 13 Aug 2017 17:48

Thanks Meg enjoyed reading :thumbup:
Im just a soul whose intentions are good Oh lord please dont let me be misunderstood

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Oeana 2017- Malta, Greece, Albania, Croatia +Italy review

Postby judgegeoff » 13 Aug 2017 18:54

A very informative and enjoyable read Meg, many thanks for taking the time to write and post it. :clap: :clap: :clap:

On one of our early cruises, the Celebrity "Zenith", we got hardly any vegetables and the few we did get were virtually raw and were like bullets to eat. We were on a table for 6 and complained to our waiter. Thereafter each main course came with a huge salver that was piled high with a well cooked selection of different vegetables, almost enough to feed half the dining room. I don't think the waiter was too impressed that we were staying onboard for the next cruise. :lol:

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Oeana 2017- Malta, Greece, Albania, Croatia +Italy review

Postby Meg50 » 13 Aug 2017 18:56

Gillzajoker wrote:Gad you had a good time in spite of everything, Meg. ("Searing heat" 35??? Pah! It's been up to 55 in our area! :lol: ).

we did get to 43 at one point....
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Oeana 2017- Malta, Greece, Albania, Croatia +Italy review

Postby Mungo » 13 Aug 2017 19:19

Thanks for sharing. :thumbup:

Wow lucky you to have had all that OBC! :mrgreen:
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