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P&O - Ocean Village
Ocean Village (Southampton)
Member Name: MissDMeaner
Ocean Village (Southampton)
Date: 07/07/04, updated on 07/07/04 (905 review reads)
Advantages: 24 Hour Dining, Spacious Cabins, Great Destinations
Having never cruised before, having read a bad review regarding Ocean Village and knowing that Ocean Village was being marketed at "People that don't do cruising", I was unsure as to whether this was going to turn out to be a nightmare week on a floating Butlins.
I couldn't have been more wrong.
This was a Mediteranean cruise, starting in Majorca and taking in some fantastic destinations including Tunis, Rome, St Raphael and Barcelona. Ocean Village is targeting the younger cruise market offering excursions like mountain biking, although they also offer the more traditional excursions with guided tours for the less active, like me! But you are also free to just get off the ship and do your own thing or stay on board the ship and use the facilities.
We had an outside cabin, and I was very surprised at how spacious it was, apparently all cabins are the same size whether they are inside or outside. There was a fridge, tv, tea and coffee facilities and a hairdryer. All your towels are provided as are beach towels which is a great idea, no need to pack your own.
All your food is included in the price, and with 4 restaurants there is plenty to choose from. Two of the restaurants are buffet dining and the other two are waiter service (you do have to pay extra to use these, but it is worth it). And you can eat 24 hours a day if you wish!! In the evenings the buffet restaurants are themed, English, Chinese, Mediterranean and Indian to name a few. James Martin designed the Menu for The Bistro (one of the waiter service restaurants)
In the evenings there are various forms of entertainment going on, and you are free to wander from one area to another with your drinks, this was great, if we didn't like the band or the comedian in the bar we were in, we just went
off and found another! There is also a nightclub, although it did seem really quiet sometimes, a casino, you can even arrange some lessons before you s
tart gambling and a cinema, sadly no popcorn!!
There never seemed to be a shortage of things to do, the facilities included 2 swimming pools, a gym, 4 jacuzzis, table tennis, basketball, fitness classes, yoga and dance classes. If you fancy pampering yourself there is a Spa offering all kinds of massages and therapys and a Hair and Beauty Salon, you do pay for the treatments etc but the steam room and sauna are free.
We were travelling without children, but the kids do seem to be well catered for with their own club and activities, as we didn't see many around until the day we all left!!
Ocean Village is cashless, you are issued with a swipe card when you start your cruise and everything you have is billed to your cabin (your drinks, purchases from the on board shops, excursions etc) Not having to carry around cash is great, but the downside is that it can be a little too easy to spend money!!
The first full day of the cruise is spent at sea, a huge tip would be to get on deck early if you want a sunbed in a decent spot. We didn't, and had a awful time finding one. Many people had left towels on them and then gone off, and although there were signs around warning that items would be removed if on unattended beds for more than 30 minutes, the staff didn't seem to be doing anything about it. We did ask about this and it was explained that because it was quite early in the season they hadn't started being strict about it. To be fair it was the only day we had a problem and during our day in Barcelona a whole new batch were brought on board.
To sum up, this was a great holiday, if you have always liked the idea of a cruise but not really wanted the formal, traditional cruise, then thi
s is for you. There really is something for everyone, you can do as much or as little as you wish and I would thoroughly recommend it.