E525 – November – two weeks Western Med – Oceana

Day One – Monday 9th November – embarkation

Well, loading the car was fun. Dad managed to not only bang a suitcase into my most painful arthritic knuckle, but then gouge out a line of skin all the way down the finger. It’s still sore ten hours later. But the drive down was uneventful enough. Not much gluten-free at Fleet Services, so I had a very expensive salad from Tossed, which whilst exceedingly yummy, it must be admitted, did not in any way warrant relieving me of a tenner.

When we arrived, they sat us in the disabled waiting area and ignored us for the best part of an hour. When someone else was talking about their loyalty level, the co-ordinator suddenly decided to point out that if we were such a level, we had priority boarding and did not have to sit around for hours. We were very angry that that had not been mentioned to us, foolishly assuming that all disabled passengers were treated the same (ie. equally badly). Turns out not, but by this time we had already waited so long (just under an hour), it was our turn anyway. When we remonstrated with the bloke that he should have said this at the outset, he yelled at us for not waltzing in and demanding special treatment ourselves. Nasty little man. Our ‘pusher’ said later that it was his first day promoted to a supervisory role, and he wasn’t really coping. Can’t argue with that. But, even so, actively yelling at the customers seems a bit off.

*UPDATE: 23/11/15. Yesterday met a lady who had the opposite problem. She wanted to use her priority boarding for her disabled mother, but was told she couldn’t! Someone needs to get their story straight, methinks. Coincidentally, today I also found the following at cruise.co.uk -an in-depth look at P&O’s new check-in system. You may not be entirely startled by the contents, after reading the above.**

So onto a new ship. Eventually. Well, not new, decidedly old, judging by the rust around the windows! But new to us. Oceana. Pleasant enough. A bit seventies on the décor (lots of white melamine with dark wood edging and wall lights), but the staff, when they are around, are quite pleasant.

Everything was late today. Even muster was delayed because two of the coaches were late coming in, so we were eighty passengers short. They’ve changed the muster script ever so slightly, so that even the hardened cruisers have something new to listen to. Such excitements we have, you have no clue.

My cabin is okay, but for two main flaws. 1. There are no bedside tables. This could make life interesting. And 2. It’s frigging ARCTIC in here. In fact the whole ship is bloomin’ freezing. We were all shivering at dinner. My room thermostat is up to its warmest setting, but there is still a constant cold breeze across my face and fingers. I’m sitting here typing this with my coat on. My nose is numb.

Weather-wise, we are moving about a bit. Force 6 winds, I think he said. She’s a bit creaky, but other than that, she’s coping well. Just a bit of side to side movement.  Barely enough movement in the water glasses at dinner to qualify as a Jurassic Park reference.

*UPDATE: 23/11/15. Found out towards the end of the cruise that Oceana has a flat bottom. Like Artemis did. Remember her? The one I described variously as “never seeing a wave she didn’t stop and say hello to” and “bobbing around like a cork”? Yes, same design here. Spiffing.**

No, it’s the cold that is really getting to me. I may have to go to bed early, just to get warm.

P.S. I was so desperate for warmth, I went to Costa and got a decaff tea. A hot drink. Me. Yes, exactly. Must remember to demand my money back in the morning from Reception. I’m pretty sure the cost of this cruise should include protection from hypothermia! Steward brought extra duvets an hour and a half after I first complained (there were two further calls in between those two events).

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