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Overview: This ship is all about British-ness and will be comfortingly familiar for families with children who want to travel and take their British traditions and food with them. It is suited to adults of all ages and families with children of all ages, and offers excellent value for money to first


E101 Panama Canal Oceana. by Saxon, Todmorden

E101 Panama Canal Oceana.

Overall Rating: 5


Cruise Line:
P&O Cruises
Cruise Ship:
Panama Canal

Reviewed By: on
Cruise E101 Oceana Panama Canal.
The Cruise departed on Jan 3rd. We spent the night before at the Radisson Blu at Manchester Airport.
Nice comfortable room with a view of the runway. The food in the bistro was good, better than the food in the main restaurant.
Ended the night with a bottle of bubbly anticipating our cruise.
We had a good flight with Thomson but on a first Choice aircraft. We had prebooked our seats and all was well. Friendly attentive crew and the time passed quickly. The usual slick operation of the transfer to the ship was scuppered due to a number of flights landing at the same time.
To say it was a little warm would be an understatement. I felt a bit sorry for some of the older passengers who were visibly wilting by the time they got through the shed that is the normally efficient check in at Barbados.
Onto the ship and to our inside cabin.
The cabin was well appointed clean and adequate for our needs. There was a problem with the air conditioning in our cabin, but to be fair to P&O they made every effort to rectify it in a timely fashion. Our steward was as fantastic as usual. He catered for everything but was unobtrusive.
Time to explore the ship.
Before we left we read that Oceana was looking tired. I can honestly say that this is not the case. She is obviously not brand new but everything was clean and well cared for. Maintenance crews were constantly varnishing rails and keeping everything spick and span. The pool area was well utilised, we tended to sit at the stern (You can’t beat gazing into the wake as you chug through the Caribbean.) I alternated between the Jacuzzi the plunge pool and the bar. There is plenty of deck space but the sun beds are crammed close together. There was never a problem getting sun beds even on sea days. The prom deck is teak and very wide. This was a favourite place to spend a lazy afternoon drinking cocktails whilst immersed in a good book.
There was no shortage of activities to fill the day. Everything from galley tours to lectures, guest speakers, sports activities and quizzes.
The interior of the ship is clean light and airy. The ship is not huge but it is easy to find your own space. The theatre is large and the show lounge at the stern is also a good size. There are more bars than you can shake a stick at, including Magnums, a very nice Champagne bar. The staff in here were fantastic. ( Thanks Jenny)
I ordered a particular bottle of Champs to be sent to the Horizon Grill for our wedding anniversary and called in before dinner the following evening. Jenny had remembered my name preferred drink and cabin no. Customer service excellence.
The Casino is good and comprises the usual tables with lots of slot machines. There is a good bar and several large screens for viewing sports and news. Several premiership matches were shown in here.
We didn’t use the Yacht and Compass. Not for any particular reason. We just didn’t have enough time.
The Pennant bar at the top of the ship was a firm favourite and offered great views.
Frazer mixed some mean drinks and looked after us well.
We were on second sitting and on a table for six We had wonderful table companions and I can honestly say that I looked forward to the evening meal and conversations that usually meant that we were among the last to leave the dining room having put the world to rights and laughed through each course. Mike, Mary, Geraldine and Chrissie It was a pleasure to meet you and spend time in your company.
The food was excellent, well prepared and the service was as good as the food. We avoided the buffet this time round. The food looked great but on previous cruises I would go for sandwiches and return with about three thousand calories on my plate. We had breakfast and lunch either in the main restaurant of the Cafe Jardin The restaurant was good with a good selection but I loved the Cafe Jardin. Fantastic Eggs Benedict for breakfast and light lunches. As the cruise progressed more and more people came to use this place.
We used the Horizon Grill for a special meal on our wedding anniversary. The cover charge was minimal and the food was very good. Some items carried a further cover charge but pennies really. It was not quite as good as Marco’s or Gary Rhodes but not that far removed. I wouldn’t hesitate to eat in there again. The only thing that I could fault them on was after you ordered something with an extra cover charge they would ask you to sign for it before the end of the meal, thus interrupting the conversation. It sounds a bit petty really but, something P&O could look at. Still if thats all that I have to whinge about I have not done too bad at all and they are getting the vast majority of it right.
The entertainment was good. There was a lot of choice with everything from the usual West End style shows to groups, comedians and guest speakers. One of the good things about Oceania is that she has an orchestra rather than recorded music. We sampled most things and we were not disappointed. Tommy Docherty was an after dinner speaker and they had to organise further shows. Such was his popularity.
I never cease to be amazed at the lengths that she ships company go to ensure that everyone has a perfect cruise. Oceana is no exception other than to say that I think that this is the friendliest ship that I have been on. The staff were superb, approachable and eager to please. Nothing was too much trouble. Wonderful people who should be applauded.
The itinerary
I’m not going into too much detail her but if anyone wants to PM me I will give whatever information I can.
St Lucia
We have been here several times before and so we just chilled in local bars with local beers whilst we recovered from the previous day’s journey.
This is a lovely place. I wanted to go to Mourn Rouge but struggled to find a taxi to share. We took the water taxi to Grand Anse Beach $8 return. Lovely beach and less traders this time round.
This was our first visit and I loved the place. We took a taxi to Sorobon Beach. I think that I have spelt it correctly but I am not sure. Gin clear water that stays waist deep for several hundred yards.
We went early and came back early as it becomes very busy. Good facilities but some of the other beaches were possibly quieter. Photographers dream.
We visited Aruba in 2005. It is still wonderful but more expensive than the most of the Caribbean. Wonderful powdered coral beaches. Facilities are expensive. The Paddock Bar close to the port and town is superb.
Panama Canal.
The highlight of the cruise. We were up at 0530 to watch the approach. There was heavy rain and thunder and lightning. What a fantastic place. The weather cleared and we had a good day with several heavy showers, and I mean heavy! The canal is mind blowing. I could not possibly do it justice if I tried to describe it. Completely surreal. I would not have missed it for the world.
We did a P&O tour here. A trip on an old train and then a boat through the mangroves. We saw lots of wildlife. Howler monkeys, crocodiles and parrots. The guide on the coach was very informative and passionate about his country. The scenery is stunning. The port area is a bit rundown with a few bars and a small market. After the trip we sat in a bar watching Blackpool v Liverpool. This was shown on a 60 inch plasma supported on beer crates. There is poverty here but the people that we met were very friendly.
The Z place. ( I can’t pronounce it let alone spell it) Mexico
This is a lovely place. There is a small market with shops and bars. Linda had a margarita you could swim in. Everything was good value for money with very friendly people.
Not my favourite place. High rise and looks like Benidorm. There is a nice beach but you get pestered all the time by taxi drivers before you get to it.
The cliff divers were fantastic. A taxi and entrance to the viewing area worked out at about £10 for both of us.
I don’t think it is a good place to walk around after dark.
The trip home.
All good things come to an end but we had an extra day thanks to the Tunisian crisis which caused a looooong delay due to aircraft being out of position. P&O kept us on board and fed us yet again.
The plane we should have been on went to Tunisia to take part in the airlift. The replacement we had must have taken part in the Berlin airlift. What a shed. Still it got us home, eventually.
All in all we had a fantastic cruise and I can’t wait until July when we are going on Oceana again.


Times cruised before: 6-10
Sailed: January, 2011
Age: 46-55
Cabin: Inside
Occasion: Wedding anniversary

Quality of Food


Shore Excursions
Tour by train and Mangroves by boat. Costa Rica

All the staff but Jenny and Frazer in particular. They looked after Magnums and the Pennant bar

Children's Facilities

Onboard Activities


Overall Rating
Wilson, KINGSTON UPON HULL - Commented on this review

Pleased you enjoyed your cruise as much as we did. We have just returned! We were lucky enough to have a boiling hot sunny day for the Panama transit!! And i would highly recomend the night time cliff divers excursion! What a stunning view! :-) Angie.

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Seers, Slough - Commented on a comment by Wilson (18 Feb 11 18:28)

We were on the same cruise it was fantastic weather was brilliant. We have only been on the Ventura so didnt know what to expect, Oceania surpassed our expectations. Our only gripe felt compelled to pre-book flight seats home as so many people were going to do it. Queued for two hours at onboard sales desk we got two seats together then when we got to the airport they had changed the plane and the seating was different. My wife was called up to the desk and told she had been moved and i was still in the same seat. So she was across the aisle and someone else between us, after a lot of moving about we ended up next to each other but the aisle was between us and couldnt really talk as people were back and forth all the time. What is the point in paying £25 I know they cant help the plane change but surely if youve paid for two seats together this is what you should get and they could have put us somewhere else. So if anyone else is thinking of doing this just be aware if your plane is changed there is still no guarentee you you will be sat together. Bad end to a brilliant holiday.

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