Thursday, 21 March 2013

OCEANA 2013 Cruise

I'm back.  It's been ages since I've blogged and to anyone who has followed me previously, I'm sorry for the huge gap.

I've been away recently on a cruise.  I was very lucky in that Andy took me away for a 2 week holiday.  It's been my first holiday in around 30 years!  People wonder at that.  But let me tell you that my disability and being a wheelchair user means that going on holiday isn't easy.  And in the end, rather than going through a lot of hassle, you end up not bothering.  However, cruising is a lot more 'wheelchair friendly' than land travel which is why we went.

We went to the Canaries and Africa, Spain and Portugal for 2 weeks (March 2-March 16).  Because using the internet was so expensive I couldn't blog daily so saved this up for my return.  I want to add pictures but that might take some time.  So bear with me.

Day 1 - Cruise Day

At last our special day has begun.  I got up at around 5.30 am, so excited I couldn't sleep.  Andy arrived at 9 am.  Drew, our taxi driver arrived at 10. am - everything was timed to perfection.  The men loaded me and our luggage into the taxi.  Only fly in the ointment was my manual chair wouldn't fold up, it was totally rusted up, so we had to leave it behind.  I had to banish worrying thoughts flooding my mind about leaving without it (thoughts like my electric chair breaking down, running out of power etc etc).

The journey passed quickly and when we got to Southampton docks we could see this beautiful cruise ship, Oceana, rising high above the buildings next to Ocean Terminal.  As soon as our taxi stopped, there were porters there to take the bulk of our luggage to load onto the ship and be delivered to our cabin.  We kept hand luggage on us.

This picture was taken while we were docked in Gran Canaria
We checked in easily, had a coffee and then joined a huge queue to board the ship.  We had our photos taken and then our hand luggage checked while we are frisked.  All very exciting stuff for me but then I've led a quiet life, ha ha.

On board the ship we got into the lift and went straight up to deck 14 (sun deck) to have lunch at the Plaza buffet.  I was impressed straight away with the lovely decor and huge ceiling to floor windows surrounding the tables.

Food plays a huge part of this cruise so I will be mentioning it frequently.  I had a light salad and a very nice dessert.  A lady came up to us with a tray and welcomed us on board.  She asked if we would like a refreshing fresh orange juice.  'Oh yes please' we both said.  She came back with PINT sized glasses of fresh orange juice and presented Andy with a bill to sign.  Oh!  So not included then???  We were a bit green and I'm sure she could see we were new cruisers so zoomed in on us straightaway.  I asked Andy how much?  £7.10!!!!!!!  What????  Ok so that is the last drink we will be ordering.  I'm sticking to water or coffee or tea from now on.

Next its to our cabin on Deck 8 (Devana Deck).  Our cabin (D315) is LOVELY!!!  We have a big cabin.  It's an adapted 'disabled' cabin so also has a large en suite shower room.  I'm so happy to see that my bed has been raised on blocks as requested. 

I'm also happy that the dressing tables are also high so perfect when I want to do my hair (I  can't lift my arms up so need something to lean on).  

Our steward, Canute, introduces himself to us.  Our luggage is starting to arrive to our cabin and I ask him if my toilet seat has arrived yet because I'm dying to use the loo (it's nearly 2pm and I haven't been since 9.30!).  After a bit of confusion as to what is my loo seat, he returns with it.  I need this seat as I can't use ANY toilet without it .... another reason why I can't easily go on holiday as this seat isn't easily portable.

I also liked the sink unit

Our friends Kate and Jim who are cruising with us, arrive at our cabin.  It's great to see them.

At 4pm we have to go to lifeboat and life jacket lecture at the 'muster' station in the Yacht and Compass Bar.  We get there and get chatting to a nice couple who used to be chemistry teachers (Peter and Sheila).  We are shown how to put on a life jacket.  I'm thinking if the ship goes down, I don't think that's going to do much to save me.  I instantly dismiss all thoughts of drowning, not good when starting out on a cruise!!

Is this gonna help?  Let's hope so!
In the evening Kate and Jim join us and we go for dinner in the Adriatic restuarant.  We are at first sitting which is at 6.30.  Our table is right by the window which is lovely because we can see the sea easily.  

Ok our table (185) isn't easy to get to because of my wheelchair and means other diners have to get up to let me through (who thought it was a good idea to place me there P&O???).  We meet our lovely waiters Daniel and Suchinn.  Meal for me:  Starters melon, beautifully presented.  Followed by Meditteranean tempura vegetables with fried rice.  Desert, kiwi pavlova .... delicious!!!!!!!!  I'm also forgetting to mention a brown roll with butter and also a huge square of foccacia.  The foccacia was absolutely delish and had lumps of sea salt in it which, trust me, just added to it's deliciousness.

Only thing I wasn't keen on was the ICE COLD air conditioning in the dining room We are still in British waters and it is March so?.  What is that all about?????  Actually I noticed several parts of the ship, especially near the lifts, are cold with the pesky air conditioning blasting out ice air.  And did I bring lots of warm clothing????  Nooooooooo!

After dinner Andy and I headed up to our cabin.  We fell into a deep sleep, gently rocked to sleep.  Actually I couldn't tell the ship was moving, it was so gentle.

I will be back tommorow with Day 2.  Thank you for visiting :)


Lynn said...

It sounds wonderful and this was just day one, wow! Two weeks of this?? YOu must never have wanted to come home...

Ady Babe said...

you write so engagingly, I could imagine I was there :)

Andyc said...

Agreed Ady, fabuloso write up......wish i could put it half as well as my girl! xxx

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.