Saturday 28 October
As is our usual way when we go on these trips, we left home in the early afternoon. That gave us plenty of time to get the house, garden and greenhouse in a happy state to come back home to, and we also eat a decent meal at lunchtime (spag bol today!) in case we couldn’t find anywhere reasonable-looking to eat later in the day.
So by mid-afternoon the car was loaded up and we were on our way.
We travelled done as far as Newbury where we stayed in a (deep breath, calm calm calm) Travelodge. We just hadn’t been able to find anywhere in Southampton, but with two mega-liners and two other ships in, as well as ‘Oceana’, that wasn’t really surprising.
We had a burger instead of a ‘proper’ meal as there was nothing else nearby, then collapsed in front of the telly with a bottle of red. George went and complained about a loud roaring noise at one point (it seemed to be coming from the linen store across the corridor): he was furious with the response he got (“no-one’s ever complained before”), but at least the noise then stopped.
Sunday 29 October
Did we sleep? Did we heck! But we’re quite used to that, and were up and on the road quite early. So early in fact that when we arrived in Southampton the shops were still closed. But we had a coffee and a wander and headed for the ship, and were on board by 12.15, so all good.
We had our ‘priority passenger’ lunch and a glass of bubbles before heading off to explore. We discovered that all our cases had arrived in the cabin, so spent half an hour unpacking. That was pretty straightforward, as we had a four-berth cabin so there was plenty of storage space for everything. Then off we went to try and re-acquaint ourselves with this ship.
Parts of ‘Oceana’ were quite familiar, while others had completely blanked form our memories! Well, it HAS been nine years since we were last on here!
After the (compulsory) muster drill, we sailed away, ‘though the sea was so calm is it was hard to feel any movement. George had a shower, which was followed by a visit to Reception to report a distinct lack of cold water in our cabin. Half an hour later we had two plumber-type bods grovelling around in our bathroom – and problem solved!
At dinner we met our four table-mates (whose names we instantly forgot, of course). The food seemed much nicer than we’d had on ‘Adonia’ in the summer, and the menu had more variety than we’ve noticed in the last couple of years. So that’s looking positive!
We went to a quiz in the Yacht and Compass and then watched a new ‘Headliners’ show in Starlights. This was called “Simply The Best”, and was essentially soft-rock: Genesis, Tina Turner, Queen and the like. Very good.
Monday 30 October
There are quite a lot of children on board, far more than we’ve been used to on recent cruises. Why aren’t they in school?
The sea was flat calm all night, but we still struggled to sleep: hopefully that’ll improve as we get used to the bed/pillows/cabin noises.
We had breakfast in Cafe Jardin, which was very nice although I managed to get berry compote down the front of my clean t-shirt. We thought we’d try Cafe J again for lunch, but there was such a long wait for a table that we opted for the buffet in the Plaza: BIG mistake, the place was heaving, it was hard to get to the serveries to even see what was offer, and the selection wasn’t great. Will definitely have to have a rethink for the coming days.
In between breakfast and lunch George went to a singing workshop (excuse me?) and we both listened to a very good speaker – Diane Janes, who gave us a brief history of forensic investigations. She’s doing a couple more talks later on, which I think will look at some specific murder cases.
There was a salsa class in the afternoon, which I went to. Very VERY basic stuff, and it did feel odd doing a fitness/dance class in the atrium with people watching us from the upper decks.
I also went to “Battle of the Sexes”, and guess who was ladies’ captain? Off to a good start, anyway, so hopefully that’ll continue.
While I was quizzing George went to cricket – and has re-hurt (is that a word?) the shoulder that was almost healed. So he won’t be going again.
Tonight was formal, and the ‘welcome on board’ bun-fight. Another activity held in the atrium: it really feels odd to us. We had another nice meal in the MDR, and later watched a comedy show from Fogwell Flax – we’ve seen him before but couldn’t remember him, so we had a bit of a chuckle even though most of his jokes were pretty old. We finished up having a bash at the syndicate quiz where we were runners-up, in spite of some truly strange questions.