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   Cruise Travel - Reader Reviews

Welcome to Your Favorites, where you have the opportunity to share your travel experiences with fellow Internet Travelers around the world.

Ocean Village Holidays

MV Ocean Village

Your Rating:Four Stars
Reviewed by: Tracy Nicholl
# previous cruises: 1
Date of Trip: July 13, 2004
Itinerary: Mediterranean

Well to set the scene, I am 31, a bit of a party animal who also likes travelling and this was my first cruise. I stayed in Majorca for the first week in the hotel Castel De mar which was lovely apart from the food. For the second week of my holiday I did the Piazzas and Pasta cruise. Ocean Village was advertised as being 'for people who don't do cruises'. Well I would certainly agree with this catch phrase as for most of the trip it felt as if I was staying in a huge hotel and not at sea as it was so calm. Only this hotel provided the additional bonus of waking up in a different city or country every day. As this was my first cruise I really didn't know what to expect. However, I would recommend the relaxed an informal ocean village cruise to anyone who wants to visit a few places on their holiday.

Public Areas
The ship appears to be huge when you first embark, however you quickly learn your way around. It would be helpful if there was a clear sign in the corridors adjacent to the lifts letting you know where you are on the ship as everybody initially goes the wrong way. Its quite amusing to see so many people searching for their rooms, but its not so funny when you are in a rush to get to your cabin.

The whole of the ship is kept immaculately clean. The decks are spacious however there are not enough sun beds provided to lie around the pools. But this may be due to the fact that during my time on board, many of the British passengers must have spent a lot of time in Germany, as the sun beds would often be reserved all day by towels with no sign of a person. This was very frustrating as staff are supposed to remove items form sun beds that have not been occupied for more than 30 minutes, but no-one appeared to have this job allocated to them. I firmly believe that if everyone had removed their belongings when they went for food etc that everyone could have used a sun bed all day.

Moving on to bars, well I must say after a week staying in Majorca, I did not expect to go back to sterling payments so soon and I was even more shocked by the english measures (+40% apparently) for the drinks. Be warned, that if you are planning on taking duty free on board, hide it in your suitcase and keep it there when in your cabin as it will be taken off you if found, until you disembark. As all of your drinks are put onto your cruise card, you do not know how much you have spent until the day before you leave. It would be helpful if there was some way of keeping tabs on your'tab' throughout the week.

I cannot really comment on the Oval bar as I only walked past it. There is no entertainment & it is more like a traditional pub, so if you want to chat or read it would be ideal.

Connextions was good as it provided a range of entertainment each night. Get there early for a seat to see the stand up comics as they are very good - word gets round and people stand in front of you if you are sat at the back. This is no good for the visual jokes.

The Bayside bar is the gym in the day and club at night. Unfortunately, the DJ went home halfway through my cruise so the reps had to take over playing the music. Unfortunately, they should have had a few more tips from the DJ as the style of music was erratic and they tended to play their personal faves. I was also informed that Ocean Village do not allow music from the 60's to be played which I think is a bit silly as 'young' people also like the Beatles, Stones, Monkees etc. Unfortunately, although bayside was quite an impressive club, as the music started late (11.30pm) the atmosphere never really got going, but this may just have been the passengers who were on board at the time.

The pool was very good and it was adults only which was great for swimming. Kids can use the 2nd pool that isn't so deep. The jacuzzi's were also good fun but although there were 4 provided, only 2 were ever in use because of problems with the chlorine.

The casino, although small, was very good. Lessons are provided for beginners and the coupiers are happy to provide you with advice if you need it. Unfortunately, I'm not very lucky so didn't win anything - but it was good fun. The casino is above the Marquee where bands & shows appear. The resident band were very good, especially after hearing them learn a new song in the afternoon and gig it at night. Shows are repeated frequently so you can plan your entertainment by going to the different bars for what you want.

The moviedome was very good as the seating plan provided a good view from wherever you were sitting. The films were up to date and great for teenagers. My only complaint would be that when a message came over the tannoy, the films were not paused so you missed some of the dialogue - but now I am being picky!!

Food and Service
The food was delicious, especially after the food in the hotel in Majorca. All of the restaurants provide a menu at the entrance so you know whether there is anything you like. Plantations restaurant offered a large variety of food with complimentary tea, coffee, water & juices, however it was often warm at best.

I only tried the waterfront restaurant in the evening. There was a good choice of food again which was hotter than plantations but there were no complimentary drinks.

La Luna did fantastic pizza's in the day. There was a charge of #4. something for your 4 course evening meal but it is well worth the visit as the food was delicious.

The food in the Bistro was very rich and the service was poorer than the other restaurants. As there was a charge of #12.50 each, I didn't really think the food & service was worth it as I much preferred the cheaper paid option of La Luna.

The cabin was great. I was suprised at how spacious it was with tea & coffee facilities and a fridge. If you fancy staying in your cabin or if you are babysitting, some good modern films are shown on the tv and changed daily. There is also a channel that shows the view from the front of the ship 24 hours a day.

I would advise anyone to take ear plugs if you can sleep with them in as awhen the sea is choppier the cabin creaks. There was also a couple who i was chatting to who had a lifeboat banging against there window most nights. It did eventually get sorted out though and the complaint was taken seriously.

Be warned, you need to pack your case and have it outside your room before 11pm the night before you leave which can be awkward.

The quality of the entertainment was very high and there is something for everybody. My only complaint as i mentioned earlier is that if you want to dance, the disco starts very late which can make it difficult to get up if you have a trip the next day. Th bands are good and varied, if you get to see Bucks Fizz, keep a look out for Bobby's trousers as they are so funny!!

As I have no children I cannot really comment on their facilities, however there seemed to be plenty for them to do. There were large games of chess, kids clubs for varying ages that also did action ashore, babysitting facilities and the moviedome. But beware parents, I was told by a couple who i met on board that kids they have their own cruise card to buy drinks etc so make sure you can trust them not to bankrupt you.

If you are planning on going on some trips and this is your first cruise, firstly try not to book too many. We booked something every day to make the most of the places we were visiting but needed another holiday when we got home as we were so exhausted. Secondly, make sure you are clear where to meet the day before your trip. You are provided with a brochure, but the information is on the 3rd page amongst adverts so it is not very clear. Unfortunately, we were not sure where to meet so decided to go down to reception. Although we were early, we ended up missing our first coach for Tunisia. The action ashore rep was very unhelpful and told us that we could reach our party by getting a taxi and asking for the beach. Thinking that the party must have been at the nearest beach this is what we did. However, as there were 8 beaches, this was the right one and neither was our 2nd attempt at finding the party. So we never got to go parasailing which we had already poaid for, and we were refused a refund by the same rep who misguided us.

I wouldn't advise any trips on your own from Tunisia as the taxi drivers are very scary and will rip you off at the first opportunity. We paid 7 euros to travel to the first beach which is within walking distance.

We managed to make all of our other trips but some of them were unfortunately cut short due to tender problems. For any novices, these are small boats that take you to shore when the ship has not docked in the port.

For some reason, every time we sat on a coach we were asleep within 10 minutes (nothing to do with bayside) so we missed all the beautiful scenery.

Pompei was very hot so take a hat and water. We only saw 2 casts which was disappointing but maybe I'm morbid. Spend some time in the brothel as there are apparently some good pics in there. Unfoirtunately, 4 tours were trying to look round at the same time when I was there so there were some heated discussions going on between tour guides and we felt ruched to walk through.

Florence & Pisa were beautiful, though its a long day so get to bed early the night before. You can actually walk round these on your own so its probably not worth arranging a guided tour. Most of the guides on the coach will tell you areas of interest and give you directions if you need them.

Monte Carlo looked beautiful, even though I only travelled through it - yes I stayed awake on the coach journey back! I went white water rafting which wasnt as scary as it sounds - you could stand up at all times. The scary part was the coach driuver who reversed into a tree and the branch came through the back window. Thankfully no-one was hurt. The senery during the rafting was beautiful, just make sure you wear sunscreens the wet suits have no sleeves.

Majorca was cloudy and wet when we went horse riding but very pretty. Unfortunately, the riding was not on the beach as advertised but round the farmlands. It was well worth the money, but beware novice horse riders, the horses are so used to doing the trip that they automatically start trotting when the leader does, and there is not much you can do to stop them. If you are well blessed female like myself - wear a sports bra as the black eyes & bruised ribs are not very nice. After the riding, there is an opportunity to get some last minute pressies for home that are very reasonably priced.

Who Goes
There were a range of ages onboard the ship, with a average age of 45 at a guess. Everyone was ery friendly and chatty about there experience within the first couple of days. This tended to quieten down after a couple of days onboard. There were not many party animals on board, so if you are looking for a rave or Ibiza experience this isn't for you, although the cruise is suitable for party people who are out for a laugh. Most people were in couples or families so unfortunately there wasn't many single people aboard.

All of the staff were very hardworking, friendly and courteous - especialy the waiter/resses. The reps were also friendly although there was a touch of american falseness about some of them. But generally the experience was one I will never forget, didn't want to end and would appily do again.

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