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I also had a query re dining on Oceana,I e-mailed firstname.lastname@example.org who were very helpful. The dining options on pg 235 of 2008 2nd edition brochure lists Freedom, Club and Select. Book Club dining for 1st or 2nd sitting in Adriatic Restaurant and you can enjoy Freedom dining in the Plaza Buffet and Cafe Jardin plus select dining. Book Freedom dining and you dine in the Liguriann Rest,at anytime and they will try to accomodate you, the Plaza Buffet and Cafe Jardin plus select dining. Select dining you reserve a table in advance but there is a cover charge applied for this if you use it. Hope this helps, we are on Oceana E813Y in June 2008 so haven't yet experienced her.
Dining is standout excellent and well ahead of anything experienced by this critic on previous P&O ships. Choice, presentation and quality in the two main -- and almost identical -- restaurants (Ligurian and Adriatic) is hard to fault and, crucially, remained consistent throughout the two weeks of our cruise.
Although the mainly Indian waiters lack the polish of Italians, they are very efficient and their unobtrusive service can be a welcome change from the nightly exuberance displayed by their counterparts on many other ships operating in the Caribbean or Mediterranean.
P&O was slow to adopt the concept of alternative restaurants and 24-hour dining but, now that it has, it works very well and offers better value than on many others. The two reservations-only venues -- Plaza Bistro and Horizon Grill -- are currently charging a £4.50/$8.30 per person cover. This is less than half the average being charged on other ships.
The menu choice is more limited but the individual dishes are more inventive, particularly in the Mediterranean-styled Plaza Bistro, which offers many fish and seafood options. The menu is also changed every four or five days.
The choicest pick, though, is the Horizon (also open during the day), for its excellent range of freshly cooked burgers, fish and chicken fajitas. The menu is more conventional -- though with excellent steaks -- in the evening, but the bonus here is dining out on deck, with the best tables actually under the stars.
A word of advice, though: It is easy to book a table in either of these small venues for the first few days of the cruise but, as word spreads, they start filling up fast. Book well ahead if you want a table for a special occasion.
The bistro area takes up just one side of the Plaza, which also serves as the casual alternative for breakfast and lunch. The buffets are appetizing here, too, and -- having been one of many lines to be hit by the Norovirus in the past -- P&O now has staff permanently placed to squirt anti-bacterial liquid on passengers' hands each time they walk into the food area.
The 24-hour dining venue is Cafe Jardin, wrapped around the top level of the atrium. This used to be a pizzeria when the ship was Ocean Princess; it now offers a wider menu that changes during the day (however, a single all-day menu would probably work better). There is also free ice cream for only half an hour a day (11 - 11:30 a.m.) -- the rest of the time, you pay from £1.10/$2 for a cone at Sundaes on deck 12. But these are minor whinges -- this is one ship where you rarely hear any complaints about the food. There is even free 24/7 cabin service which, for once, arrives hot and before you've lost the will to live waiting for it.
You have to use a knife and fork not your fimgers