By Adam Coulter
Cruise Critic UK Managing Editor
4.0 / 5.0
Cruise Critic Editor Rating: Dining

Oceana Dining

Choice, presentation and quality are hard to fault and, crucially, they remain consistent throughout the eateries onboard. Passengers can choose from a variety of free and added-fee options that run the gamut from British comfort food to Italian and Asian. Cruisers will also find ice cream, speciality tea and coffee, and everything in between.

Top Oceana Itineraries

Ligurian Restaurant (Deck 5): Ligurian is Oceana's venue for Freedom dining, allowing passengers to arrive between 6 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. and sit with whomever they choose. The decor is mainly red and grey in colour with light wood touches. Food is a mix of traditional British fare -- such as crab and leek pasties, lamb hot pots and cottage pie -- and options like gnocchi and pan-fried chicken. Desserts also reflect the clientele, with offerings such as steamed sticky toffee pudding and cherries jubilee. Gluten-free, low-sugar and vegetarian items appear and are denoted on each menu, as are always-available items that include prawns, cream of tomato soup, grilled salmon and sirloin steak. The Ligurian has two sittings for breakfast, as well as a buffet lunch.

Adriatic Restaurant (Deck 6): This dining room shares a menu with the Ligurian Restaurant and also features similar decor but with a warmer feel -- red and gold with blue and light wood accents. Service is consistently efficient and pleasant in both venues, and food is delivered piping hot. Marco Pierre White is featured in the main restaurants, offering passengers a special menu on formal nights. These gala menus bring a sense of occasion to the table: fresh asparagus spears, cream of mushroom and white wine soup, New England split lobster in Mornay sauce, and Prosecco poached strawberries. Club dining in Adriatic has traditional set seating at 6:30 p.m. and 8:30 p.m.; it's also where afternoon tea is served from 4 p.m. to 4:45 p.m.

Cafe Jardin (Deck 8): Although it's a fee dining venue (see below), Cafe Jardin is also open for breakfast (7 a.m. to 11 a.m.) and lunch (11 a.m. to 5 p.m.) free of charge. Each morning, a breakfast buffet includes smoothies, fruit, cold cuts, cheese, bread, and assorted pastries. Other menu items include a smoked bacon and roasted tomato panini, buttermilk pancakes and vegetarian options like Mediterranean baked eggs and a baked baguette with halloumi and veggies. Lunch features items including minestrone soup, caprese baked Portobello mushroom, a mozzarella beef burger, thin crust pizza and calzones.

Horizon Grill (Deck 14): Overlooking the main pool area, this free eatery is great for hot dogs, fries and hamburgers at lunchtime. It has its own dedicated space outside, but each afternoon it moves inside to the Plaza buffet.

The Plaza (Deck 14): This is the ship's self-service buffet area, which takes up the whole of the front of Deck 14 and is open all day from 6:30 a.m. to 2 a.m. the night before a port call or 3 a.m. the night before a sea day. It serves a good variety of dishes, catering to all tastes.

Breakfasts include continental items like fruit, pastries and yoghurt, as well as cereal and hot options such as bacon, eggs, hash browns, waffles and a made-to-order omelette station. For lunch, passengers can expect salads (both build-your-own and pre-made options), cold meats, a soup of the day, several main course choices, breads, cold desserts and hot puddings. In the evenings there are themed meals, including Italian and Indian, and the curries in particular are standout. Each night's offerings feature entrees and international deli selections, as well as a carvery, grill items, vegetarian choices and desserts.

The buffet area was recently refitted to include new seating and tilework, as well as the addition of extra-fee draught lager.

Fee Dining

There are two reservations-only venues: Cafe Jardin and The Beach House. It's easy to book a table in either of these small venues for the first few days of the cruise but, as word spreads, they start filling up fast. Book well ahead if you want a table for a special occasion. A third speciality restaurant is also available in the form of counter-service street food. Items that are low-sugar, gluten-free and/or vegetarian are noted on all menus where applicable.

Cafe Jardin (Deck 8; £8.50 per person): This bistro-style restaurant is in a great spot overlooking the four-deck Atrium. Teal wrought iron, comfy couches and checkerboard tabletops give way to an Italian dinner menu that features a selection of small plates and sharing boards (think bruschetta, tiger prawns with Tuscan sausage and a cheese board), as well as large plates like a sea bass fillet, pork Milanese, beef osso bucco, and mozzarella, basil and tomato ravioli hearts. Diners can choose any three mini-desserts from a list of six that includes a poached peach with marzipan, orange blossom polenta cake, ice cream and a cannoli pastry. A drinks menu offers a selection of wine (including flights), cocktails, beers and ciders for an added fee.

The Beach House (Deck 14; £7.50 per person plus optional upcharges): This venue, which occupies the starboard side of Deck 14's Plaza buffet at dinnertime, has a good range of starters like bacon and cheese potato skins, boneless chicken thighs, nachos and hush puppies; mains that include salmon, chicken, a Cubano sub and stir-fried sizzler plates with prawns, turkey, New York strip steak or grilled chili halloumi; and some tempting desserts, including a decadent chocolate fondue for two people for £4 extra. Other optional chargeable items are a garlic seafood kebab, double-decker burger, beef brisket, beef and pork short ribs, and a cook-it-yourself beef fillet, which comes out on a hot lava rock. The food is delicious but, in our experience, painfully slow to arrive. We also found that the smoke from the lava rocks at other tables made it difficult to breathe at times.

Street Food Kitchen (Deck 14; £3.50 to £5.95 per meal): Each day from 11:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m., the Horizon Grill area shares space with the Street Food Kitchen. This alternative eatery, great for lunch or pre-dinner nibbles, features a rotating menu of tasty for-fee items like southern fried chicken with waffles and red coleslaw, breaded cod cheek bites with minted mushy peas and chips, and even vegetarian items, such as halloumi with roasted peppers on a pesto wrap. Packages are available, pairing a meal with either a soft drink or an alcoholic beverage. During a 2017 refit, the Horizon Grill's counter space was reduced to allow for additional seating in this area, overlooking the pools below. It's a lovely space, but it's not ideal during inclement weather. The food is delicious and freshly prepared, but that means there can be a wait during peak times.

Sundaes (Deck 12; a la carte): Sundaes is open in the afternoon on days when the weather permits. This counter-service outpost serves Jude's ice cream in 120mL tubs for £2.55 each, as well as by the scoop (£1.95 for one, £2.95 for two and £3.95 for three). Toppings like chocolate and toffee sauces, as well as Cadbury buttons, Gummy bears, M&Ms, mini-marshmallows and whipped cream are also available for an added fee, along with pre-packaged ice cream cones, bars based on popular sweets such as Mars Bars and ice lollies ranging in price from £1.75 to £2.15. If you'd rather drink your dessert, try a salted caramel (£2.95) or cookies 'n' cream (£4.95) milkshake.

Room service (a la carte): Room service offers free continental breakfast each morning from 7 a.m. to 11 a.m., including fruit juice, smoothies, yoghurt, cereal, fruit, bakery items, toast and paninis. These items are ordered via menu card that passengers hang outside their doors before retiring for the night. From 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., a large selection of sandwiches and wraps is available, along with large plates like fried chicken, burgers, hot dogs, beef and ale pie and pizza. Asian, Indian, Mexican, seafood, vegetarian and children's options, as well as desserts and cream tea are also thrown into the mix, each for an a la carte fee. An abridged version of the daytime menu can also be ordered from 11 p.m. to 7 a.m.

P&O Oceana Ship Stats

  • Crew: 875
  • Launched: 2000
  • Decks: 15
  • Passengers: 2,016
  • Registry: Bermuda
  • CDC Score: 92

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