This 2,016-passenger ship joined P&O Cruises in 2003 after switching over from Princess Cruises, where she had been in service as Ocean Princess since 2000. A makeover in 2012 updated the vessel: the informal burger joint, Beach House, was added on the sun deck, and Le Club was transformed into a multipurpose venue for lectures, craft classes, and a nighttime disco.
Now one of the most popular ships in the P&O fleet, Oceana has an informal atmosphere that makes it particularly attractive to families. On this vessel, you can dine anytime you want in the main dining rooms, or see kids playing Marco Polo in one of the three pools.
What We Love
Café Jardin: In the evening, the uppermost level of the four-deck atrium transforms into this Italian trattoria, featuring the cuisine of acclaimed Chef Marco Pierre White. Order tomato bruschetta and wild mushroom risotto, and finish it off with a tiramisu or ricotta cheesecake.
Light Show: The lido deck and pools are illuminated in glowing colors at night, making it a great place to meet friends after dinner.
Best Known For
Watering Holes: There's live music at Winners' Sports Bar, champagne and cocktails at Magnums and Tiffany's, and a cozy vibe at the nautically themed Yacht & Compass pub.
Library: A librarian is on hand to help you find a good read at the ship's library, which is well stocked with both fiction and reference books.
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Who It's Best For
Foodies: Choice, presentation, and quality in the two main restaurants are hard to fault and remarkably consistent. The Ligurian Restaurant has traditional set dining times, while the Adriatic Restaurant offers freedom dining — allowing passengers to arrive between 6 pm and 8:30 pm and sit with whomever they choose.
Families: Unlike the line's adults-only ships, Oceana fills up with families, who can take advantage of three swimming pools, the kids club (designed for ages 2 to 17), and even a night nursery for ages 4 and under.
Anglophiles: Smother your scones in clotted cream and jam at afternoon tea in the Adriatic restaurant or put on a kettle in your own cabin — this is definitely a ship that's designed for immersion in British culture.
Don't Say We Didn't Warn You
Entertainment Ennui: Starlights theater is home to comedy and cabaret acts which are competent enough, but sadly unimaginative — with the exception of the outstanding classical piano and violin recitals.
Gary Buchanan is a UK-based contributor to ShermansCruise who has written multiple books about cruising.