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3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2018
We are Americans, and veteran cruisers. This was our first P&O cruise and chose it for the itinerary. Wanting to see Ireland without all the driving was most important to us.I have to say we were extremely impressed with the cruise ... Read More
We are Americans, and veteran cruisers. This was our first P&O cruise and chose it for the itinerary. Wanting to see Ireland without all the driving was most important to us.I have to say we were extremely impressed with the cruise from start to finish.Some of the previous reviews i had read were of concern to me due to negativity.Not from us. I felt like i owed P&O more money when we were done. Great food,clean cabins,attentive staff and all around fun with our fellow British "mates". Seriously,some of the nicest people I've ever cruised with.Will definitely do P&O again. Unfortunately,Oriana is being retired next year.I'm sure the other ships will do her proud. We generally cruise the Carribean from the U.S, and the Meditteranen from Venice but will certainly look at the Canary Islands for an upcoming itinerary. Boston to Heathrow is comparable in price to Boston to Miami for airfare.Thanks P&O and Oriana for a great trip. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2018
After reading reviews about the Oriana, our expectations, were not very high. However we were pleasantly surprised, to find the ship, alot better than, what we had read, in the reviews. It was the first time we had sailed on a ... Read More
After reading reviews about the Oriana, our expectations, were not very high. However we were pleasantly surprised, to find the ship, alot better than, what we had read, in the reviews. It was the first time we had sailed on a smaller, adult only, ship. We loved the art deco design, of the ship,and the size of the ship. So easy to get around. Lots of different bars, and entertainment places. Every area of the ship, was always, clean and tidy.We had an outside cabin (Deluxe Window), on A deck, which was lovely and clean, and plenty of space to hang all our clothes. Our cabin stewardess was a so friendly, she made us feel very welcome. The food, and service, in the restaurant, and bars in the evening, were excellent.All the staff, in the restaurant, were friendly and helpful. The evening entertainment ,was excellent too. Plenty to choose from, to suit all tastes. Loved The Brit Tones and E Sarah Carter, and the man who sang, a mixture of Simon and Garfunkle and other songs, and played the guitar, in various bars, around the ship. We could not fault the Oriana, and would love the chance to sail ,on this ship again. We sailed, all around Ireland, which was nice. It enabled us to see, different parts, of Ireland, Cobh, Dublin, Killybegs, and Galway.We only went on one shore excursion, to visit, Blarney castle, great morning out,which left us plenty of time to look around Cobh, in the afternoon, before sailing. All the ports had lots of excursions you could book, or you could just get off the ship, and do your own thing. Dublin and Galway, both had, city sightseeing buses, which is always a good way to see a city, and for getting around. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2018
We have never cruised on P&O before, or adults only, so were a little apprehensive for this cruise. We were given an arrival slot of 3pm but this worried me about being late so we left home at 1pm and only live in Portsmouth so ... Read More
We have never cruised on P&O before, or adults only, so were a little apprehensive for this cruise. We were given an arrival slot of 3pm but this worried me about being late so we left home at 1pm and only live in Portsmouth so didn’t have far to drive. At the terminal, check in was a swift process and they never mentioned us being early so within about twenty minutes we were in our cabin with our luggage arriving very quickly after us. The balcony cabin on B deck (Britannia) was very spacious with loads of storage space, which was a worry of my husband as I had 6 suitcases. There was a mini bar, with a range of drinks and snacks and we got two small free bottles of water. We took everything out of the fridge to put our own stuff in. There is an option which we also took which was buying 6 large bottles of water too for about £10. There was a beautiful flower in a vase which was really unusual and bloomed for the whole of the cruise. There was a seating area and the chairs on the balcony were nice. We had binoculars which were not that great, lucky we had our own, and a map book in the cabin too. The bathroom was adequate size, with a bath and shower over and lots of storage space again. There was one of those old fashion hairdryers on the wall in the bathroom which wasn’t very good but there was another in the cabin which was good. The room attendant came in and introduced herself to us which was nice. As we had two rooms next to each other (travelled with my sister and her husband) we asked the room attendant to ask for the adjoining balcony door to be removed. This did happen when we were next in port. As stated this was an adult only cruise and most of the people were very nice. Others however seemed to think they were more important than us and were rude. They didn’t queue for food or lifts and seemed to know the staff very well so most probably regulars. One thing that really bugged me was the sunbeds! They are supposed to be used within 30 or items removed. I spent many days by the pool and many days sunbeds were reserved and the ‘owners’ only returned for a few minutes at a time through the day. Leaving people waiting for a lounger. I would have, however, asked a member of staff if I could not find a single lounger. The ports on this cruise were amazing and the tours we bought with P&O were good value for money. Equally on some shore days we just jumped on the hop on hop off bus/boat. In Venice it was cheaper to buy the hop on hop off boat ticket than to pay P&O to take you into the city on their tender. The food was amazing on this cruise and as we were ‘trying to be good’ we mostly ate in the restaurant rather than the buffet as I think you tend to over eat there. Afternoon tea is not to be missed. (Yogi, our server was great, table 11 in freedom dinning) The cinema is great and we watched some good films and I also went to the gym for classes and use of the machines which was great too. I never found the sauna. There were lots of talks and activities for a range of people however, it was mostly not to our taste. I would have loved to learn to dance but hubby had a bad leg so couldn’t participate. There was bingo and quiz nights too which were fun. The men enjoyed the World Cup, well mostly because sometimes the system wasn’t tested and parts of games were missed and people had to move to other areas or own room to watch. One frustrating thing was buying pints of beer in different lounges/bars. The price booklets are the same in all venues but waiters are reluctant to go to another bar to get you a pint and try to sell you the bottles of beer which works out more expensive. There is tea and coffee available from the machine in the buffet or after a meal in the restaurant and these are also topped up every day in your cabin, you also get 2 packets of biscuits every day along with a chocolate on your pillow each nifght. The public areas were always clean and shorts were not allowed in any restaurant in the evening, nor was swimwear, which was nice. The staff at reception made us feel like it was an inconvenience to talk to them sometimes but the staff in the shops were friendly. The prices, as expected in the shops were steep so never really bought anything. The muster of the lifeboats seemed a little disorganised and we were all squeezed into a small area with the staff member not really having control of the passengers. The entertainment was ok, there were lots of things to choice from every day and evening, some of it wasn’t to our taste or liking, but we did enjoy the four tunes, and some other bands. The resident group were ok and I enjoyed the queen night. I also enjoyed the magician. Disembarking was crazy we chose to get off at 9 am and were told to go to the theatre and wait, but when we got of the ship our luggage was everywhere with no real organisation. On the whole I would consider going with P&O again but mainly due to the size of the cabin and the food. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2018
Party of 6. Picked this cruise because or itinerary. Appreciate Oriana is an older ship but it has had a recent overhaul. Ship is smart in a rather retro style. We made extensive use of the Lords Tavern bar which is the nearest to a large ... Read More
Party of 6. Picked this cruise because or itinerary. Appreciate Oriana is an older ship but it has had a recent overhaul. Ship is smart in a rather retro style. We made extensive use of the Lords Tavern bar which is the nearest to a large English pub and the staff were great. Went to Indian Sindhu restaurant one night which was superb and well worth the small supplement. Main dining food and service could not be faulted unlike the buffet which was very average. As an example we were given stale bread at breakfast on a number of breakfasts. Bread choice was poor. We could only get white or brown rolls or pre sliced bread. Cooked food choice was limited. No ice cream available at lunch or dinner. I am not being picky but these things and more all add up. This was a 1st on P & O and unfortunately has now put us off. We generally had a good cruise but did not get off feeling special as we have with our favourite Celebrity cruises. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2018
We had cruised on Oriana before, in 2013 and 2015, and enjoy its atmosphere. This cruise was affected by 'Storm Hector' and we had an extra sea day instead of calling at Portree in Skye, which was to have been a 'tendering ... Read More
We had cruised on Oriana before, in 2013 and 2015, and enjoy its atmosphere. This cruise was affected by 'Storm Hector' and we had an extra sea day instead of calling at Portree in Skye, which was to have been a 'tendering port'. There was not much more that the company could have done in the circumstances, and we made the best of the extra time to enjoy the ship's facilities and entertainment. Oriana is now called a 'mid-size' ship by P&O, who have recently chosen to turn their back on those who enjoy smaller ships in favour of enormous mega-ships with many thousands of guests aboard. Oriana is a throwback to an earlier era and has a different feel to the company's newer ships. At 23 years old she is also becoming middle-aged by ship standards. Embarkation at Southampton was affected by problems with the 'air-bridge' (covered gangway) and although this did not cause a late departure, it was frustrating for both the terminal staff and passengers during the delay. One factor outside of the ship's control, but readily obvious to all on board, was the unfortunate attendance of Emergency Ambulances to remove ill passengers from the ship at every port where we docked alongside. The one at Ringaskiddy (Cork) made the ship late departing, and must have made the poor couple involved feel very conspicuous. So here are the things we loved about our Oriana cruise: + Embarkation and disembarkation were both handled very professionally + The entertainment on our cruise was outstanding. The 'Oriana Orchestra' produce a superb sound considering there are only 7 musicians, and we enjoyed the performances of theirs that we attended. The young girl drummer, Esme, is amazing! We also enjoyed some 'Headliners' shows and the duet that performed in the Crow's Nest bar. George Dorogi, the cocktail pianist who mostly played in Tiffany's, also charmed us with his skillful piano playing. + The Conservatory seemed much improved following its recent refit, although it has to be said that the manners of some passengers when using it left a lot to be desired. The new layout seemed to speed up the preparation of drinks. In the evenings the staff seemed especially helpful, serving teas & coffees after your meal. This latter service made dining there in the evenings much less like a canteen. However, we avoided the Conservatory at breakfast times, when it is still rather a bun-fight. + The ship has had all of the moveable deck seating replaced, and although it was sad to see that all the wooden steamer chairs had gone from the Promenade Deck, the metal replacements were reasonably comfortable. + We chose to dine in SINDHU on two occasions, and the service there is second-to none. Personally I considered that it was well worth the modest supplement charged. + The staff on reception were very helpful, and one of them went well beyond the call of duty during a personal emergency when we required some laundry tablets urgently. + The Front-of-House staff in the Peninsular Restaurant were very professional, friendly and made you feel welcome upon arrival. + P&O now require Cruise Cards to be shown during the safety drill, making it harder for guests to avoid attending this important briefing. So, here are the not-so-good bits.... - Cruise Cards. Oh dear. Mine worked satisfactorily throughout the whole cruise, but my companion was on card No.7 by the end. We spoke to many other passengers who had also needed multiple replacement cards during the cruise. The cards can be affected by proximity to mobile phones, something that was not emphasised when boarding, but there clearly was a software bug in the system or faulty encoding, because it affected so many passengers. One card lasted only 2 hours! - The Great British (Tacky) sail-away. I avoid these like the plague as Butlins-on-Sea is not my style, but the one leaving Guernsey was ridiculous as it finished long before the ship actually sailed! - The bar area at the back of Deck 12, overlooking the stern, had piped pop music played 'ad nauseam' on a continuous loop. By the middle of the cruise it had become very tedious indeed, and by the end we avoided the area as it just grated on the nerves. If this bar area had a better ambience, we might well have used it a lot as it affords a great view of the ship's wake. - The sheer number of mobility-impaired guests on this cruise actually alarmed me; there were many more than I had ever seen on a cruise before. I am very much in favour of those who have impaired mobility being able to enjoy cruising and actually am pleased to see them on board, but if there had been a marine incident requiring everyone to muster or abandon ship then the crew would have been overwhelmed. I would be interested to see the risk assessment/s for the maximum number of mobility-impaired/wheelchair-bound guests that can be safely carried on board Oriana. - The professional standards of the wait staff in the Peninsular Restaurant seemed somewhat lacking on occasion, something neither of us had noticed on previous cruises. We partook of two official Shore-Excursions (Kirkwall & Dublin) but did our own thing at most of the ports. Three in particular I will mention: Kirkwall: A really knowledgeable and personable courier made this shore excursion to Scapa Flow a pleasure, despite me becoming ill towards the end of it. (I quickly recovered and was able to walk back to the ship unaided). He was a local man, enthusiastic for his subject, and more than ready to answer any questions. Belfast: We took a taxi from the ship to visit HMS Caroline which is berthed opposite the cruise terminal, across the river. A really superb attraction, and one not offered by P&O. Dublin: A boring and dull guide made this tour something of an anti-climax, only offset by the superb Irish Dancers that we saw during the second half of it. Dublin is not one of my favourite places, being full of traffic, tourists and ugly buildings. To sum up overall, we would gladly cruise on Oriana again but I am not optimistic about the ship surviving past the introduction of IONA to the fleet. Enjoy it while you can! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: May 2018
Very hit and miss cruise. Daytime activities on board were geared towards the many older people on board and didn't appeal to us at all. Entertainment was made up of the usual pub quizzes, name that tune, name that comedy series ... Read More
Very hit and miss cruise. Daytime activities on board were geared towards the many older people on board and didn't appeal to us at all. Entertainment was made up of the usual pub quizzes, name that tune, name that comedy series etc. Much of it very old fashioned and dated, We'll Meet Again is a case in point. We didn't go and see anything by the Headliners as they did nothing remotely modern the whole of the cruise! We did see a good comedian and Ida 4 very talented ladies with great voices, the talks were interesting and we enjoyed a couple of films but that was about it over a 19 night cruise, we had some early nights! The Oriana proved to be too small for us, a week would more than enough. We weren't keen on any of the public spaces, everywhere seemed half asleep! The shops were dire selling out dated products at inflated prices and their sales were a joke - total rubbish. This is the first time we have cruised over 14 nights. The experience has taught us that we can do longer cruises but we must be careful which ship we cruise on next time. On the plus side this was the first time on P & O that we have been able to eat in the dinning room every night because the food was so good. This was a big plus as there is very little in the way of alternative dining (Sindhu and the Beach House) we saved a lot of money not having to pay extra to get a decent meal which we have had to do in the past! We missed the Glass House and wouldn't sail on a P & O ship without one again. Service was overall pretty good with the odd exception of a moody waiter. We think service has improved since P & O have introduced other nationalities to their on board staff. Our cabin steward, as always, did an excellent job. We had an inside cabin unfortunately immediately above the theatre which wasn't too much of a problem until the Headliners started singing! The itinerary which attracted us to this cruise in the first place was good with the exception of Cagliari which was very disappointing. We did 2 shore excursions, wine tasting in Sicily and Krka National Park in Croatia, both were very good. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2018
The news was confirmed last week: Oriana is history, or she will be by May 2019. Much of the chatter I heard in the launderette on C Deck was all about her sale. There were whispers about men in suits having been seen around the ship, ... Read More
The news was confirmed last week: Oriana is history, or she will be by May 2019. Much of the chatter I heard in the launderette on C Deck was all about her sale. There were whispers about men in suits having been seen around the ship, ‘obviously’ checking things out ahead of making an offer. Generally laundrette gossip is best ignored but this time the rumours were true. Oriana fitted so nicely into the current fleet, I thought, being mid-sized (around 1900 passengers) and adult only. With the trend towards ever-bigger ships (Britannia is nearly twice the size and the latest – Iona – will be even larger), I suppose it was inevitable that Oriana would have to go but I'm relieved that we will still have three other smaller ships to choose from - Arcadia which is for adults only, Aurora which becomes child-free shortly, and Oceana. Oriana was launched in 1995 and yes, she was showing her age on this cruise. As a regular passenger I can accept her idiosyncrasies but goodness knows what first-time cruisers must think. Black scum marks around lavatory bowls are one sign of age, wonky propeller shafts another. At critical speeds when the ship is turning to leave a port, throbbing from the propellers can make dining in the Oriental Restaurant a noisy affair with glasses clinking and cutlery rattling. Numerous attempts in dry dock have been made to resolve the problem but none has succeeded as far as I can make out. Yet the ship retains the charm of a bygone age. The décor is luxurious, if a little shabby chic in some areas these days, with beautiful artwork in the stairways. A Costa coffee in Tiffany’s passes a pleasant hour, especially after 11.30 when a selection of cakes and pastries are offered. My favourite was the Victoria sponge and not only because it was free. The daily watercolour classes on sea days proved popular and I disembarked with one or two paintings that passed muster. Port talks attracted many to the Curzon theatre, not all of them devoted to selling excursions; there were also tips for those planning to go ashore independently. I avoided most of the shows each evening because I have seen nearly all of them on previous cruises. However, there were some new ones. I enjoyed Billboard because the music was from my era of the Sixties and the Seventies, and the Headliners delivered it with great spirit. Full marks to the sound engineers too for mixing a proper balance between vocalists and backing music – for once, screeching was minimal. Another brilliant act was Ida, four opera-trained sopranos. They impressed me on Andrew Neil’s TV show last Christmas and they impressed everybody who saw them in Curzon Theatre – they won a standing ovation. There are too many quizzes for my liking but at least the Chaplin Cinema offers an escape with quite a few recent releases being screened. The Darkest Hour (Gary Oldman portrays Churchill brilliantly) drew a large audience and The Greatest Showman with Hugh Jackman playing P T Barnum was another highlight. On other days, the sun deck was a glorious spot to relax, a place where I enjoyed the luxury of time to read; thankfully the library on Deck 8 is well-stocked. I tried to use the gym regularly – you have to with so much food on offer – and it is well-equipped. But beware of some of the talks that take place there because their main purpose seems to be to sell you something. There were talks on posture and healthy eating, for example, and I overheard passengers too polite to leave being sold things like shoe insoles for £75 or activity programmes for more than £100. Port disembarkations went smoothly with little or no queuing at gangways. Venice used to be a nightmare but the new terminal has improved things. I walked ashore rather than fork out for the vaporetto transfers. It takes only ten minutes to reach Piazzale Roma and a further 45 to negotiate the maze of narrow streets to St Mark’s Square. We had tender transfers in Albania and they went well, perhaps because I arrived for my ticket ahead of the scheduled time. Mind you, I am not sure Sarande was worth visiting. The resort is in desperate need of money to fund its development but the locals were very friendly and they made up for the pitted pavements. It was early in the cruise that I spotted Alan Carr, Senior Restaurant Manager. Alan is always a welcome sight because he is someone who demands high standards from his teams. It was no surprise, then, that service in the Oriental ‘club dining’ restaurant was always excellent. Dinners were a cruise highlight with meals attractively presented and delivered on hot plates. Breakfast in The Conservatory, a self-service outlet on Lido deck, was never marred by a shortage of items at the different serveries. Headwaiters and the galley team ensured they were always topped up and I defy anyone to say that they were not spoilt for choice. It may have helped, of course, that Alan would often eat in The Conservatory where he could keep a watchful eye on things. My outside cabin was on E deck and in John Tayag I had the best steward I have ever known. This 26 year old Filipino from Mexico Pampanga was on his first contract and every day he cheerfully ensured that my home was maintained perfectly – in fact he made the bed so immaculately it was almost as if he changed the linen every day. Another character central to my enjoyment of this cruise was Senior Loyalty Manager, Hope Lyttle. Hope is a scouser and her sense of humour made visits to the sales desk to research future cruises a pleasure. Her team members were on the mark too and I disembarked at Southampton having booked what will now be a farewell cruise on Oriana as well as two more on Aurora, a ship very similar to Oriana in terms of style and size. Overall, Oriana continues to impress me. She has her faults, most of them linked to her advancing years, but in terms of service from the officers and crew I find it difficult to fault her. Every day of this cruise I enjoyed outstanding levels of world-class service. And that, after all, is what counts. Read Less
16 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2018
On reading the previous reviews I wanted to cancel this cruise but I am so glad I didn’t do this. We had a wonderful experience on the Oriana. We met a fabulous group of people for dinner. Yes our fellow passengers were a little older ... Read More
On reading the previous reviews I wanted to cancel this cruise but I am so glad I didn’t do this. We had a wonderful experience on the Oriana. We met a fabulous group of people for dinner. Yes our fellow passengers were a little older but they were so interesting and what stories they had to tell. Oriana is no tug boat and can cruise the Atlantic with the best of the cruise ships. The food was fabulous in all restaurants especially the beach house. Well done guys, a great experience. The entertainment was excellent, we really enjoyed the theatre each evening and then off to Tiffany’s for a late night drink and listen to the pianist. Although he did seem a little grumpy at times when people were talking or giving off a high pitched laugh. He would cross his arms and wait for them to stop. We found this very amusing. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2018
Just returned from a cruise on the 23rd may from Southampton, shop was lovely , very clean , food was lovely especially the beach house but you had to pay a surcharge of £7.50 each but well worth the visit to be honest I think you should ... Read More
Just returned from a cruise on the 23rd may from Southampton, shop was lovely , very clean , food was lovely especially the beach house but you had to pay a surcharge of £7.50 each but well worth the visit to be honest I think you should be able to visit this restaurant free of charge as part of the holiday as it was not cheap to go on this cruise. The cabin was lovely and comfortable and staff were excellent could not fault it. However unless you are aged over 75yrs of age this ship was very boring as far as the entertainment, it was terrible, the itinerary was knit and natter, how to get rid of water retention, seminars on the war and more war, films then on id Dunkirk, Churchill , I am all for remembering what the elderly did for their country but I don't want to have it thrown down my neck on my holidays. The band symmetric were atrocious they should have put them overboard , no idea who auditioned them , had a tropical night and we thought this might be good, my god it was terrible the band were singing oh when the saints come marching in, I have never had this song played at any party never mind a tropical party, everyone gave up and called it a night it was so bad. P@O really need to get their act together for entertainment, you could not get in any of the 8.30 shows as all the old codgers would eat at 6.00 and then all sit in that theatres a good 1/2 hrs before the shows even started so you could never get a seat, they were rude and impolite to the crew , they expect some respect but obviously they need to learn to be respectful to their younger passengers, I am 56 but I felt like I was on my last legsNEver again on this ship Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2018
This was our 4th cruise with P&O, second on Oriana. The quality of Food and the decline in standards are sadly slipping. P&O now no longer offer a "special " holiday to customers. Food lacks flavour and quality. They ... Read More
This was our 4th cruise with P&O, second on Oriana. The quality of Food and the decline in standards are sadly slipping. P&O now no longer offer a "special " holiday to customers. Food lacks flavour and quality. They appear to have a very parsimonious approach (probably Accountant lead) these days, although prices haven't dropped. No silver service; PG Tips now (used to have Twinnings Teas and Fruit teas) in Cabin; desserts hidden away in fridges in Buffet, you have to ask for them and also for cream. After Dinner chocs reduced some days to dried up bits of cake; no offer of further coffees after Dinner. Sindhu and Beachhouse offered much better service and enjoyable dining experience, albeit at a price - used them on 5 of 18 nights. Oriana is a lovely old ship but showing signs of age and tiredness (including leaking seals around Balcony Door with the result of soaked carpet). Rang Reception took over 3 hours for someone to come to Cabin and then they only put down towels and stood on them to soak up the water (took nearly 72 hours before issue was fixed). Cabin was clean but dated - pink bathroom and old fashioned shower curtain. Staff were very friendly and with very very few exceptions helpful and professional. P&O need to get back to the standards they had 5 years ago without the penny pinching. As an aside, if you are happy being with a majority of older folk 70+ then P&O is now for you, if not choose someone like Sa,ga from experience they are a much younger and more active crowd. I have never seen so many people on sticks and crutches in my entire life. Will I go again with P&O, it's very unlikely, will try Celebrity or Princess. to have better value for money and the cruise experience I want, which P&O used to provide. Read Less
14 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2018
Cruised on Oriana to Northern lights in March 2018. My first time with P&O and my last. Starting with Embarkation at the Mayflower terminal Southampton, P&O give you a time to turn up and I arrived at my exact time of 1.30 to ... Read More
Cruised on Oriana to Northern lights in March 2018. My first time with P&O and my last. Starting with Embarkation at the Mayflower terminal Southampton, P&O give you a time to turn up and I arrived at my exact time of 1.30 to find that everyone else including coaches had also arrived at this time. My driver pulled up at the rank and took my cases from the boot while a porter leant on his sack truck watching him! My driver then had to leave as it was so congested and I dragged my cases past the porter and 2 more until I got to the conveyor belt! Never had to drag my cases before on any other cruise line. I entered the terminal that was full and was given a fast pass to join a long line waiting to check in? After getting to the front of the line I was shown to another smaller line! I waited till it was my turn, the lady behind the desk was slow and not very friendly told me her card machine was playing up but try it anyway! Put my card in and waited then it declined it! Oh try again its my machine so she reset everything and put card back in and waited and waited till it got declined again! Oh she said its my machine join the line at guest services when you board and it will work there, I said I had onboard credit and would wait till the line was small but was told that my onboard credit wouldn't work until I registered my card so off I went to join line number 3! card worked fine and I could finally be on board. Other cruises I have been on have had a anytime policy and I have been onboard in a third of the time! First impression of the ship was better than I thought, it looked in good condition and had some nice décor, on reaching my cabin I was not so impressed as it was very small, my suitcase just fitted between the bed and the wall and stayed there as it didn't fit under the bed like on other ships, ok for me as a solo but not good for a couple, I had booked and outside cabin to get a nice window to look out of but the bed was in front of it and the only real way to look out properly was to kneel on the bed. On first impression it looked clean but more of that later. As per all ships we all attended a safety drill before sailing, I was in Harlequins and it seemed most of the ship was also mustered in harlequins, all seats had gone and very little standing room but people just kept coming in, lots of elderly people on sticks etc all stood up and crammed in, the drill took ages to start and we had to put life jackets on in a space that was only just about big enough to breath let alone put a life jacket on. Finally the drill ended and many people headed to bars and cafes to sit down after standing for so long only to be told they could not be served with a life jacket so elderly not very mobile passengers had to return to there cabins to return life jackets before they could sit down? We sailed away to no sail away party and the awful vibration from the propellers that has been a feature of Oriana since its build. Thankfully when we increased speed it did get less noticeable. The buffet on Oriana looks ok on first entry but its split in 4 and each section of food is repeated in the other sections so very little selection compared to other lines, I arrived at 7 a.m for breakfast the opening time and had sausage and bacon, the sausage was cold and the bacon was like cold cardboard, a waiter asked if I would like a drink and I asked for freshly squeezed orange juice, he returned after 15 mins with a glass screw top bottle of sugary orange juice with a label, sell by date, barcode etc like you would buy from a shop and was probably squeezed a month or more ago, he did say it was fresh from the bottle as a bit of a joke! This was a paid item that I could have got from the juice machine for free in the buffet however this machine only had water as an option after a couple of days! P&O couldnt seem to afford to run the drinks machines in the buffet. The buffet was very cold and bar staff and smokers kept opening the 2 glass sliding doors and the wind and snow would blow in as this was an artic cruise! All meals from then on were for me in the restaurant. The Restaurant was nice but not enough small tables, I only have main course and pudding and leave to enjoy the music each night, one night I sat down at 6.30 with the plan of seeing the show at 7.30. I was on a table of 8 and sat till 7.30 before my first food arrived, this was a table of elderly couples who spoke quietly to their partner and not to anyone else so 1 hour of sat in silence watching them eat! Many waiters cant speak English and on asking for tea you get coffee, this is partly because they all seem to be from one nation and talk in their own language all night, on other lines its a mix of nations who all converse in English and therefore their language skills improve. Entertainment on board is worse than an old peoples home, I get up a 6 in the morning, I have breakfast then back to the cabin, 11.15 go to the only lecture on board and the room is full as its the only thing on, the room has 2 small screens that swing back and forth with the movement of the ship and from the back of the room cant been seen properly and the room has pillars so sometimes you cant see the screen or only part of it! The theatre had no pillars and 3 large screens and sat empty! Then its lunch 12 till 1, I would go to the piano music in Tiffany's but you very often cant get a seat as people sit most of the day in there drinking Costa coffee and when quiet piano music is played they talk loudly over it. So 1 till 4 is in the cabin as nothing to do except a piano recital, when he said he would play music that was written before the piano was invented I gave up, I like classical music but he never played anything I recognized. 4 in the afternoon is afternoon tea, I go because I am bored not hungry. Then back to the cabin till 6 then its evening meal, if I get in at 6 I might get a small table! 7.30 the first bit of entertainment starts the 8.30 its the show that's squeaky and twee and looks like a red coat show from the 70's despite being the new show premiered tonight?? just random songs and dance with no storyline, way below the west end shows that are the norm for the industry, guest acts were thankfully good. So by 9.15 the shows are over and I would go to listen to the house band Inspiration who were very good but had to keep stopping while the dance teacher dragged couples (6 couples if she was lucky) to the floor for a rumba 1 and other sequence dances! Other music on board was poor, a duo who keep stopping, and most of the time the keyboard player just plays solo while she sits looking bored instead of singing! A trio playing old fashioned music and a very good piano player playing background music that everyone talks over. So you can see why my tablet used over 20gb of data as it was for 90% of the day my only entertainment and I franticly downloaded things at each port to use on the sea days when no signal was available as was not going to pay the high price for wifi on the ship. Things were scheduled in the daytime, these included shopping, knit and natter, craft and natter, footprint analysis, cellulite something or other, the spa giving free advice to try and get you to sign up to something paid, sequence dance class and my favourites deck quoit's and deck cricket!! on a icy deck that was closed for safety but they still wrote please keep your sun loungers away from the areas of play, who uses a sun lounger on an icy windswept deck in the Arctic??? the ship is run like an old peoples home and they seem to be dyslexic like me as P&O should read OAP and it was a over 18 cruise so they must have meant a over 81 cruise. So as for the Northern lights, all public rooms except the crows nest have no exterior views so its either the crows nest with all the lights on and it cant hold 1800 people or the outside deck that was closed off most of the time due to the excessive movement of the ship and the ice and wind! So its not really fit for purpose as most of the time the crows nest is the only viewing area and for 3 days the windows were covered in snow and ice! All windows were dirty and none were cleaned until we got back to Southampton. The ship pitches and rolls badly in slight to moderate seas, we had a force 7 and the ship kept slamming down into the ocean with a noise that sounded like someone playing a bass drum next to my bed, I cant believe this ship is stabilized or if it is that they used them? I have been in worse storms on other ships and not moved half as much. Made me laugh that they told everyone they needed a tripod to photograph the northern lights and lots of people bought the overpriced ones on board and set them up on a rolling and pitching deck to get a stable image????? one night in Alta it was forecast for heavy snow all night (why dock at Alta for 2 nights to see the northern lights next to the airport with all the flood lights on??) but they still sent people off on an expensive trip to stand in a field in a blizzard to look for the northern lights through thick clouds, surprised this was not a safety issue on the roads and elderly people stood in a cold field, some asked for a refund as it was obvious they would see nothing but none I heard of got one. The bridge gave little information, even crossing the Arctic circle was not announced. On cruising into Tromso on a nice morning with no ice on the promenade deck, no high winds and a smooth sea I found the deck closed and was instructed that only deck 12 was open for the smokers, on reaching deck 12 it was covered in ice and was next to the swimming pool that was part frozen but this was safer? Soon as we docked deck 7 was opened again! Bar staff would pester you for a drink when you had one but when you wanted one you couldn't find one and when you did they disappeared with your order to another bar returning 15 to 20 mins later, my favourite is I ordered a non alcoholic cocktail that I drink on other ships, the barman looked confused, walked to his computer and typed it in and turned and said “computer says no” and that was it, no how do you make it or can I suggest you try this instead! After being in my cabin for many hours each day I noticed about an inch of dust under the fridge, guessing it had never been cleaned since the fridge was put in, pulled the luggage mat down from the top of the wardrobe and got covered in dust again I don't think anyone had cleaned the top of it since the ship was built as it was thick up there, the sprinkler was also covered in thick blue dust and so was the air vent, the shower bubbled every time I heard a toilet flush next door, some passengers had flooding from this and some had no heating. We had one sail away party at the last port to cd music not a live band and the party finished while we were still docked! We left about 15 mins after the sail away party finished??? Disembarkation in Southampton hurray I can finally get off. Got a 9.15 time slot, left the cabin at 8 and sat in the restaurant waiting to leave, people by me had a 9.00 and some had a 9.30 I think some had a 9.45 time slot, no announcements were given, at 9.12 an officer came in and said you can ALL go! So a long line for the gang plank chaos in the baggage hall and chaos outside as all the cars etc tried to pick everyone up at once. The ship is run as an old peoples home, is not fit for purpose for arctic cruises, needs a good clean, needs re plumbing and larger public rooms as for instance the theatre hold 650 people x 2 shows 1300 total with 1800 passenger on board! When anything is put on everyone goes to it and overcrowds the room as nothing else is going on elsewhere. Never did see the northern lights, many on board bought photos of the lights from the photo desk and will be telling people they did see them! My first and last P&O cruise, never been so bored or fed up and counting the days till I can get off on any other ship. Not going to write and complain to P&O as I don't want a discount cruise or onboard credit, they would have to pay me a lot of money to ever go on another P&O ship of any description. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2018
The Cruise March 2018 We chose this cruise to see Northern Lights (No Guarantee) as it was on my wife’s bucket list. Do note the spin on seeing the Northern Lights is to sell the cruise and the excursions. Also, be aware that ... Read More
The Cruise March 2018 We chose this cruise to see Northern Lights (No Guarantee) as it was on my wife’s bucket list. Do note the spin on seeing the Northern Lights is to sell the cruise and the excursions. Also, be aware that the pictures that you see of this phenomena are, obviously, taken by camera and that a camera captures more detail than the eye. This means that very often, if you are lucky to see them what you are actually likely to see will not be the same as those photographs. I hope that you will be lucky enough to see the full beauty. Unfortunately, we did not see the Northern Lights despite many statements that this was a really good time to go. (This did not spoil our holiday to any great extent except for the constant suggestions that if we go on deck or take a night excursion). Naively, we spent many night hours sitting on the deck, with many others, in the snow in sub-zero temperatures hoping to see the display. It became obvious that there was no way that we would see the phenomena because the snow was falling from thick clouds. It would have been better if the deck officers would have provided updates on the weather conditions. The ships radar and weather forecasting technologies surely would enable them to give the latest accurate information for the passengers. Perhaps this was withheld so as not to affect the booking of excursions etc. We chose P&O because of its British atmosphere and because of the wonderful experience we had some 25 years ago. Although we had a safe cruise without drama, (thank you), we were sailing for several days without docking and into the exciting Arctic. It was sad that all we had was a sketchy outline on the TV as to our location and we crossed the Arctic circle without any sort of notification. This may seem unimportant to the ships officers and crew but it would have been good to have had some sort of interaction to know about the cruise whilst we were at sea. The Ship We found the Oriana to be quite nice but sadly it is aging and we experienced quite a lot of vibration from the engines. The ship was nice and warm despite the cold weather allowing us to walk about in shirtsleeves. Unfortunately, there was varnishing and painting going on throughout the cruise that caused some occasional unpleasant fumes. I believe that Oriana is to be sold by P&O in August 2019. Our Cabin Our outside cabin on A deck, (deck 11), mid-aft, (window only), seemed to be in a good position even though being on a highish level was a bit rocky in the worst of the weather. The cabin ventilation was OK but it took a bit of fiddling to get right. We were amazed at the amount of storage in the small cabin that was very well laid out. (Big cases can be a problem). There was a shower over the bath and plenty of water pressure and hot water. The cabin had a decent bed and the furnishings and facilities were more than adequate. We really can't complain The cabin had a kettle for coffee and tea etc. but beware you have to pay a lot for bottled water to drink or in order to make a cup of tea or coffee. We found this very irritating and penny pinching. Service from Mack our Steward was magnificent. Nothing was too much for him. Thanks. Dining The food on the ship was good and very plentiful even though the menu description had a bit of a strange spin to it and we had some surprises. (Blueberries were actually black currants; Passion Fruit Pavlova was fruit in jelly in a meringue case and a ten pence piece size blob of Passion Fruit cream on the plate etc.). All tasted very nice but not quite what we expected. Service in the restaurant is extremely efficient but at times we felt too rushed. Note: There were charges for dining at all the other dining venues. Entertainment Entertainment was good in the Theatre and Cinema and there were lots of games and quizzes, and a good library and card room if that is what you like. (Some activities require additional charge i.e. painting materials etc.). The pools were open most of the time but occasionally had to be closed due to weather etc. The pools were not used much during this voyage but were apparently at 31 degrees yesterday and steaming. The Cruise The captain seemed to carry out some strange manoeuvres when leaving Southampton, and later we experienced some fairly severe weather and there was quite a lot of banging and crashing. This delayed our arrival at Andalasnes. (The Captain gave a brief comment that it had been a "challenging" crossing). One of the major disappointments was the lack of communication from the Captain, Sarah Breton, or her deck crew. (I understand that now she seems to have been promoted to have been promoted to the role of Captain on board Artemis. Sadly we saw her around only once at a reception where she gave a very short speech and then disappeared never to be heard of again. Shore Visits The ports of call were absolutely lovely with beautiful scenery. (BEWARE; Everything in Norway is extremely expensive!). We avoided buying anything while we were there even though we were told that you could buy some things at more reasonable prices in the shopping centre near the Tourist Information centre in Alta. (Just looked like a couple of modern warehouses to us). We did not go on any of the night excursions as we did not feel we would be comfortable or see the lights. Those that did go on the excursions did not see the lights but had, on the whole, great experiences. I had organised a snowmobile trip via Alta Tourist Information because I did not want the extended trip that was offered by P&O and that I felt was too long for us. The manager, Marianne, was really helpful and I would highly recommend the service that they have to offer. We had a wonderful experience on our 4 hour Snowmobile Safari to Beskades . We used the free bus to Tourist information Centre in Alta town centre where we were picked up by North Adventur, the operators, and taken to a lovely lodge in the country. We were provided with pristine cold weather suits, gloves, boots and helmets with visors. Fantastic. Kept us warm and cosy for the trip. The lodge was nice and warm and they provided hot drinks and snack/cake/pancakes to top off the experience. On top of that, there were only 3 couples booked, (on 3 snowmobiles), and we had a very helpful and pleasant guide to show us how to use the snowmobiles and who lead us safely on a 2 hour approx. drive through the trees up onto a breath taking high plateau where the Inuit herd their reindeer at certain times of the year. The location took our breath away and the untouched snowy views were awesome. (We stopped half way to and from the plateau to allow the pillion passenger to swap over if they wanted to drive). The Scenic Trip from Åndalsnes to Dombås on a TRADITIONAL CARRIAGE railway was added by P&O because the modern railway was fully booked. It was absolutely brilliant as our carriage was nearly empty and we could move about freely, take photos from both sides and even open windows. (TIP: The railway station is virtually alongside the dock and you can book direct return trip with them and save yourself £20 per person). Conclusion Do take layers of warm clothing to put on for trips or for outside deck. Pack normal casual clothes for inside the ship. Pack some formal wear for formal nights and some smart casual clothes for casual nights. Hopefully the new ships will be an improvement and that there will be more emphasis put on this marvellous place with the benefit that you just might see the Northern Lights. We had a wonderful memorable holiday and the arctic regions vistas with its snow is magnificent and definitely worth visiting. I can understand why people become addicted to visiting the Arctic areas as they are very beautiful and so different from other cruises. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2018
We embarked in Southampton and the embarkation went smoothly. We were staying at the Holiday Inn near the Mayflower Terminal were we embarked on the Oriana about 10 minutes from the hotel. We explored this area of Southampton and ... Read More
We embarked in Southampton and the embarkation went smoothly. We were staying at the Holiday Inn near the Mayflower Terminal were we embarked on the Oriana about 10 minutes from the hotel. We explored this area of Southampton and Westquay shopping centre 5 minutes walking and also the main street where lots of shops and eateries were. This holiday Inn was quite well situated Herbert Walker Road. The ship although refurbished was old and smelly especially in the corridors outside the cabins. My cabin was perfect, Deck 10 B186. Large, spacious cabin, enough space for all our clothes (12 cruise days - cold winter wear) and 3 large suitcases and 2 small hand luggage. John our Steward kept it immaculately clean and everything we asked he complied no problem at all. We had tea and coffee facilities in the cabin and chocolates placed on the bed every evening by John. Good size balcony. Bath/shower bathroom good size. I think we had 2 complimentary bottles of water when we arrived. So cabin and service extremely good in cabin. And all cabin stewards outside our cabin were very friendly and smiling. The Oriental Dining room in which we had our evening dinners was good. We got to know our waiters, wine waters etc and they were all very nice and friendly and always smiling and courteous and anything we asked they went out of their way. The first evening dinning there I was not impressed by the food. We have gone on other cruises and the food was much much better but as the days went by the food improved. Entertainment and activities mostly for the over 70s. Some of the shows were nice but mostly directed to the over 70s aged group. And then when you thought well I will have a nice drink with my friends we are on holiday - last orders 12.30 - 1 pm - . Disco was also closed at approximately that time with hardly anybody on the dance floor as most of the music was for the older generation. It was quite difficult to be entertained during the day especially when the weather was cold and you couldn't use the pools outside. Quite a boring cruise ship. Outside of the theatres and pubs/bars if you wanted to use the toilets some were closed permanently throughout the cruise and they were smelly. Lunch/breakfast at the Conservatory buffet. Most of the food was a bit bland. Mostly English stuff, steak and kidney, English breakfast, salads and pies a few indian dishes which were nice. But it was a fight for tables. Some of the old generation have no manners at all. People were looking for tables to sit and eat their lunch or dinners and the people were just sitting there talking and not moving at all. There were not enough tables and they just would not bulge. One time we just could not find a table at all and my husband complained to the head waiter who said they would be closing in 15 minutes! and we could not find a table to eat our lunches! they just would not move! He said a man had been there sitting since 7 am! and this was perhaps 10 am and we could not have out breakfast! Most of the staff up here were not smiling or friendly, they were courteous and helpful but could not do anything to move people nor find us a table. Laundry Rooms. The first day we found a big laundry room where I washed the clothes we had used in Southampton without any problems, lots of irons so I ironed a few clothes thinking I will iron the rest the next day or so (how wrong was I). This laundry room was closed till nearly the end of the cruise. We had 2 more laundry rooms but they were half the size or smaller. One day I had to wait from 10 - 2 pm in the laundry room to have my chance to do our laundry I had a queue of I don't know how many people and more after me. It was horrendous but I didn't dare move and lose my turn. Here I learned of all that was wrong in the ship, people had been in their cabins without water for a few days! Some were complaining of another dinning room that was open for lunch that the waiters were rude. (bring your own washing powder or buy from reception). One sea day one of the other passengers was complaining that the shops in the ship were closed. I didn't see this as I did not go to the shops that day. The only good thing about this cruise was my cabin and cabin stewards. The waiter team in the Oriental dining room and the tours which were well organised. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2018
Just returned from my ferry boat ride around the Canary Islands . Because as far as I’m concerned that’s all you could call it . This ship is far too small and out of date to be taking on the Atlantic. Most of the passengers were ill ... Read More
Just returned from my ferry boat ride around the Canary Islands . Because as far as I’m concerned that’s all you could call it . This ship is far too small and out of date to be taking on the Atlantic. Most of the passengers were ill with sea sickness . I spent the first four days lying on my bed as I was too ill to leave my room . But I wasn’t missing much as the daytime activities were a disgrace . Come on now .... knit and natter . A puffy eyes seminar . How to have good posture seminar . I have never felt so bored and fed up in my life . As for the evening entertainment, it was very good when it was actually on . The cabin was another story well it wasn’t really a cabin it was more a two berth caravan . With the most dated bathroom that you certainly won’t get lost in . The food could be compared to school dinners . The buffet dining room is just like sitting in Morrisons cafe . The only decent place to eat on the ferry is the Sibiu Indian restaurant, were you get five star service and beautiful food but surprise surprise you have to pay . From the minute we stepped foot on this ferry it just shouted out cheapness and certainly not luxury. In fact when it berthed in other ports I felt like the poor relative . But nothing could be further from the truth because it cost well over £4000 which I may as well have chucked overboard Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2018
We chose it to search the Northern Lights. Erm well this ship should be labelled a Care Home at sea. Everything seemed to be geared towards the elderly. Ok let's start with the positives. The ship is classic classy and clean. ... Read More
We chose it to search the Northern Lights. Erm well this ship should be labelled a Care Home at sea. Everything seemed to be geared towards the elderly. Ok let's start with the positives. The ship is classic classy and clean. The itinerary great. The staff work extremely hard and very friendly. The negatives...average age 80. Lots of repeat cruisers as they love the ship. Now we're not in the bloom of youth being 63 and 70...but the ship lacked any element of fun. I've never seen so many miserable grumpy faces in one place and believe me hubby and I did try to interact with our fellow passengers. As for the entertainment, we'll all geared towards elderly. Classical concerts, harpists,pianists. Oh we did have a comedian and a wonderful tenor. That performed. But then we had one evening show of We'll Meet Again really!!!! Basically it was above unless you enjoy quizzes bingo and spending most of your time glued to your pint in the Lird Taverners, they were all squashed in there like sardines. Lots of people don't even venture off, well to be honest most couldn't. So we will not be cruising in this ship again, we should have heeded a couple of previous reviews that read the same. We felt so sorry for a few 20 somethings there were on there, they looked bored to tears and they were as were we. I've ever seen corridors look so empty at certain times. Pacific lounge where the Dj set up was mostly deserted and he was. Stuck in 60/70song choice time warp. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2018
I Have recently got back from a 12 night cruise in hope of seeing the northern lights but we could not see them but I admit that was nobodies fault , it was down to nature but my main problem was with the cruise itself , I did not enjoy ... Read More
I Have recently got back from a 12 night cruise in hope of seeing the northern lights but we could not see them but I admit that was nobodies fault , it was down to nature but my main problem was with the cruise itself , I did not enjoy much about this cruise , Our cabin was in a bad location and as it was a cold cruise because it was going to Norway and the further it got the colder it got so understandably they had to keep the doors closed on the lido deck which on a warm cruise you would've walked through to make it to the conservatory dining restaurant and it was a long walk and I was travelling with elderly parents in their mid 60's & they found it a lot having to walk a mile each time they wanted to get something to eat . The conservatory restaurant was always super extremely crowded and at breakfast most mornings you had to really scrimp around before you could find a clear table ans it was always absolute mayhem down there , the food was nothing special at all it was like the low quality junk you'd find at an all you can eat buffet for about £8.99 , mass catering . The better food you had to pay for like to dine in either the oriental or Indian restaurant you had to pay quite a bit more and I paid something in the region of £1200.00 so why in the hell should I have to pay for any extras ??? It should all be included , P&0 already had £1200 of my money why should they get anymore . I think this whole cruise was a huge con absolute rip off . The atmosphere of the conservatory restaurant was about as classy as ASDA's cafe but about ten times as rushed and crowded , I will never do another cruise with P&0 ever again ... They have really let themselves go down the toilet . The cabin was looked after very well and the cabin Steward that was looking after all the cabins on the deck I was on did a wonderful job and REALLY looked after us really well and was always happy and polite and nothing was too much trouble and he would chat with me for a couple of minutes while he was working and was very friendly . The cabin was comfortable and I had all the towels and sheets I needed , the one problem that did take longer to sort out that it should've done was an issue with the climate control it was on the coolest setting it would go and was only blowing out REALLY hot air , I was sticky and clammy because it was so warm in there and had to sleep on top of the bed before they finally fixed it , it took them four days to get on it despite the fact that I'd been up at the desk more times than I can remember to complain about it & they kept saying it was beyond their control and someone was fixing it and it could take an hour up to 24 hours and it took much longer , I thought it was complete unacceptable , it would sweetened it a little if they had said while we are sorting this out help yourselves to as many cold drinks from the refrigerator in your cabin and you won't be charged for them , they're on us until we can get this sorted out but they didn't even do that . The entertainment was totally naff & was either aimed at chavs or old people , There were a couple of decent films I saw in the Chaplin Cinema in the evening but that was it . Music was completely awful over commercialised cack and was chosen by someone without a brain or what appeals most to drunk idiots on a Friday or Saturday night . The whole thing has become really chavified where most things appealed to that kind of person . At dinner time in the evening it clearly stated either formal which meant shirt , tie and dinner Jacket and shoes or on smart casual it stated smart trousers , collar shirt and smart jumper no jeans or tracksuit / jogging bottoms or football shirts and when I went into the Conservatory restaurant there were more than half who were inappropriately dressed . I saw Flip flops , Trainers , Football shirts , Skull & Bones shirts , Vests on really gross overweight fat men with beer bellies and at dinner this is a really unpleasant thing to have to look at ... Even on the formal night there were individuals dressed in this manner I was repulsed & put off to be honest I thought I'd mistakenly walked into either Pontins or Butlins dining area as the kind of person these holidays now seem to be attracting this type of character If P&0 are going to have the dress codes then they need to do one of two things either do a beter job at enforcing them or ABOLISH them altogether that way we'd know where we were ... but I guess this was bound to happen , the chav's have cottoned on to and taken over everything else in Britain and ruined it so it was only a matter of time before they discovered cruising and put their filthy stamp on what was once a pleasant relaxing experience . In another decade there will be drunkenness ,fighting and football hooliganism on these ships . They are very fast declining . The daytime activities were weak as they come . Pathway to Yoga , Footprint Analysis , Lunchtime puzzle . One of your entertainment team will provide a "fun" silent puzzle handout to complete at your leisure . Afternoon social Dancing , Walk in Fluid Retention Clinic , Port day picture Quiz , Nit & Natter .... I honestly almost gave up the will to Live it was so damn boring . On the days where I was at sea were the worst because the activities got even more tedious. The Lords Tavern was the worst evening entertainment . awful bland repetitive over commercial music being played at full volume followed by a dumb quiz and the entertainment staff were a bunch of irritating morons . I REALLY HATED this cruise with a passion & will NEVER , EVER go on anything else to do with P&0 or anything which they have had any involvement in . Read Less
Sail Date: March 2018
We chose this cruise as we wanted to see the Northern Lights and experience Norway with snow. We have previously been to the North Cape on P &O’s Arcadia, but in the summer. Embarkation on Oriana was a breeze...we arrived at 1pm, ... Read More
We chose this cruise as we wanted to see the Northern Lights and experience Norway with snow. We have previously been to the North Cape on P &O’s Arcadia, but in the summer. Embarkation on Oriana was a breeze...we arrived at 1pm, and were on board by 1.30...even though our official embarkation time was 2.30. Our cabin, a deluxe outside on C deck, was clean and spacious with lots of storage. A bit dated, but then we have been on Oriana once before and know that she is an old lady. Our luggage arrived shortly after us, and having unpacked had fun getting the suitcases stowed away under the bed...clearance is not great but leaving the cases open worked a treat. We were on Freedom dining in the Peninsular restaurant...and as we were happy to share with others (we were 3 adults, although not all in the same cabin) we never had a problem getting seated for dinner immediately. Food was consistently of a good or high standard...Certainly no complaints at all, and in my opinion, was better than on our previous P &O cruise last summer. Could have been a bit hotter on a couple of occasions but not cool enough to warrant sending back. We also often asked for extra veg, as we like our veg and the standard portions can be a bit small. Dining staff (with one exception) were always efficient and friendly, but we could see they were pretty rushed at times, so lengthy dialogue with the waiters did not feature! We dined in Sindhu one night...fabulous food and service. Had afternoon tea in the main dining room a couple of times, very nice, better than the buffet. We were not overly impressed with the buffet, but we tend to use Al Fresco for breakfast (much more civilised!) and dont bother much with lunch. On the days we did have lunch in the buffet we had no problems getting a table, and stuck mainly to salads which were fine. We didnt avail oursleves of much of the entertainment...we have seen all the Headliner shows before, although we did see the comedian, the Harpist ( briliiant!), and Ben Makesi ( excellent). We are happy to retire to the Crows Nest after dinner and listen to whoever is performing there. Particularly liked one artiste..... Also, this was a specialist cruise...so many evenings whilst up in the Arctic circle , we were out on deck with our camera in search of the elusive lights...drinking mulled wine. Lovely! The ship is old, but the atmosphere on board was very friendly. The public areas are lovely and well maintained. I have read a couple of other reviews about this cruise and wonder if we were on the same one! The average age on board (as quoted by one ) was definately NOT 74...there were a lot of younger people on board and far, far less people with scooters and wheelchairs than normal...as expected really bearing in mind the itinerary and time of year. I really get quite annoyed when genralising sweeping statements are made about the passengers ages on this ship. Yes, of course some are quite elderly, but that is the same on any ship, and because it is adult only you dont get young families with children. I am not elderly, but really enjoyed my time onboard, chatting with people of all ages...which we did. Ports...Andalsnes...we went on a P &O trip on the Rauma railway...amazing scenery. We went by coach to Bjorli ski resort and got the train back...definately the best way to do it as the guide on the coach was very informative, whereas information on the train was less so. Tromso and Alta.....between us we went on Husky rides and Reindeer rides ...not cheap but great fun. We visited the Ice Hotel (a must), went in search of the lights...not too sure about the value here but just one of those things really, and went to a concert in the Arctic Cathedral in Tromso....beautiful. This is one of those cruises where I think you just have to bite the bullet and book at least a couple of trips if you want to get any real benefit of a cold cruise. Stavanger we just mooched around...it is an easy port to do just that and the town is very nice...the old town being particulalrly pretty. I am now looking forward immensely to 3 weeks in the Med this summer on the same ship. She is not modern and glitzy, but offers a more traditional cruising experience....has a lovely tiered aft, and is like a ship should be ...rather than a block of flats on water! Some will not enjoy that experience, so my advice is do your research before you book a cruise! She is also very expensive if you want a balcony cabin.... Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2018
This was supposed to be a special cruise for our 60th wedding anniversary but it turned out to be very very disappointing, I realise that we are getting on a bit but we still like to have a good time and we certainly didn’t on this ship, ... Read More
This was supposed to be a special cruise for our 60th wedding anniversary but it turned out to be very very disappointing, I realise that we are getting on a bit but we still like to have a good time and we certainly didn’t on this ship, we have been on the Oriana before and should never gone again, we have cruised many times and I must say this was the worst by far. We experienced very rough seas and of coarse that’s not the fault of the ship, the crew were lovely and work very hard, as for the food it was very poor and the entertainment was third rate, I think whoever put it together thought anything was good enough for the elderly passengers, as for any dancing in the evenings it was okay if you were into old time dancing which we are not and if you liked to knit and natter or play bingo during the day then this was the cruise for you. The open dining was a feasco having to cue up for about an hour to get a table for two, I think there were a lot of disappointed people on this cruise and I know that we would never go with P&O again. Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2018
We chose this cruise because it was advertised as a cruise around the fjords and fine dining restaurants. There was one restaurant you could class as fine dining called Sindhu, it was as good as you can get and so was the staff. The rest ... Read More
We chose this cruise because it was advertised as a cruise around the fjords and fine dining restaurants. There was one restaurant you could class as fine dining called Sindhu, it was as good as you can get and so was the staff. The rest of my review is about everything but this superb place with its excellent staff. The other select restaurant was the beach house, my wife said McDonalds was better! The remaining places to eat were like cattle markets, not the luxury cruise it was sold as. As for the fjords then the briefest of time was spent around these as we cruised from one port to another, there was lots more to see but it seemed like they preferred to sail home slowly to save fuel. We booked one of the best 8 cabins, thank heavens we did as we had to spend quite a bit of time in it as activities like knit and knatter, bridge classes and water colour art class wan't us and trying to get a seat in lounge for a coffee was a nightmare. Power failures, aircon failures etc we not ideal, blamed on the freezing conditions outside, hey what a surprise they found out it gets cold in the arctic! Every time I've been there its been cold, very cold. Shore excursions we very uninspiring with lots of waiting queuing and wasted time. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2018
our first time cruise left us thinking would we do it again? . Once on board and got bearings the restaurant was a set meal from a menu which for us was rich for our taste and same with breakfast next morning . On talking to other guests ... Read More
our first time cruise left us thinking would we do it again? . Once on board and got bearings the restaurant was a set meal from a menu which for us was rich for our taste and same with breakfast next morning . On talking to other guests they told us where to go to get self service food, what a difference , the variety of choice was amazing and if lucky get to sit by a window and watch the view and eat. the staff in this restaurant worked really hard at clearing the tables of used crocks, helping people with disability, carry their food and help find a table .The cabin we had was inside which was a liveable size but having no windows you had to have the light on all the time. we also found that you were charged £6.00 per day per person per day, again guests told us that we can opt out by getting a form from reception. as this cruise was to see the northern lights it got very cold when berthed in alta -25 wind chill factor as a result the ship had some burst pipes which were dealt with the minimum inconvenience to the passengers. the entertainment on board at times was mediocre at best some good some bad. we did not go any shore excursions so cannot comment about them as regards value for money. the activities on board was how to line dance, ballroom dancing, play bridge, gym, a cinema with a good selection of films. we did manage to see the northern lights 4 times, which when talking to other guest who have done this trip before never saw them. but the one thing we will take home with us is the stunning views of Norway the friendly locals and of course the ships company Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2018
Went to see the Northern Lights which were fantastic. The ship was good but not suitable for a trip to the Arctic in Winter. There was a computer failure at check in and it took three hours for the luggage to reach our cabin. Our cabin ... Read More
Went to see the Northern Lights which were fantastic. The ship was good but not suitable for a trip to the Arctic in Winter. There was a computer failure at check in and it took three hours for the luggage to reach our cabin. Our cabin was very cold; the heating did not come on until the following morning but it was very unreliable throughout the voyage. The ship left three hours late blaming unusually heavy traffic on the Solent. The 1800 passengers had been checking the weather forecast so we all new it would be 15 below but this was a complete suprise to P & O. There were burst pipes and power failures and when the ship returned to warmer waters the ice that had formed in the ceilings voids melted and water came through the ceilings. We were another 48 hours without heat in the cabin and they only gave us 1 blanket. Some passengers had ice inside their cabins. The engines were so noisy it was difficult to hear in the restaurant. It was quieter in the buffet but here it is a scramble to get a table as the buffet is not big enough to accommodate everybody. Probably not a problem for a warmer route where passengers can go on deck. The staff were very friendly and the food was good. I would describe fellow passengers as seniors and the entertainment was biased to that age group - plenty of quizzes, bingo, knitting, ballroom dancing etc and with a couple of exceptions the shows by third rate singers screaming at full volume. The ship does not have double doors so when an outside door is opened there is a terrific icy blast and heat is lost. The public areas were always cold so don't expect to have your shoulders bare for formal nights. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2018
It started with computer failure at Embarkation taking over 2 hours to fix. The crew were excellent in the face of adversity. Many cabins were cold from the start of the cruise. As we approached Alta the heating all over the ship stopped ... Read More
It started with computer failure at Embarkation taking over 2 hours to fix. The crew were excellent in the face of adversity. Many cabins were cold from the start of the cruise. As we approached Alta the heating all over the ship stopped working in temperatures of -15. Then the following day the galley didn’t have power. The chefs managed to prepare a hot meal though. Eventually at mid day the captain explained the issues and blamed the cold. Some cabins got heating by the evening but many were without heating for a further 24 hours. Bathrooms were flooded, the Conservatory had leaks from the ceiling, the cinema and Lords Taven were flooded due to the sprinkler system developing a fault, the forward lifts broke down. Al Fresco was so cold that it was closed then experienced a flood which closed it for the rest of the cruise. Even after we docked the Conservatory had another leak from the ceiling. Having travelled in a much older ship to Alta without any problems my husband and I were not impressed. At times the menu on offer was uninspiring. We enjoyed the four ports and did see the Northern Lights but P&O need to give Oriana some major TLC. We have cruised on Britannia so were disappointed with Oriana Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2018
We chose this cruise as we thought it would give us the best chances to see the northern lights and we were not disappointed as we saw them both nights in Alta (it was apparent we were very lucky as some people we spoke to, were on their ... Read More
We chose this cruise as we thought it would give us the best chances to see the northern lights and we were not disappointed as we saw them both nights in Alta (it was apparent we were very lucky as some people we spoke to, were on their 4th -6th northern lights cruise as they had never seen them). As for the cruise we again were not disappointed. It was our first cruise and we were a bit apprehensive about feeling too confined. Oriana is a lovely old ship, yes she is a mid size ship (not a ferry!!). The public areas are well presented and there is ample space to walk around. As for going on a cruise into the arctic, one expects it could get cold on the ship, but we had the appropriate clothing to help. We soon learnt that when the ship had been in port, the ship felt colder, so in the evenings we would just wear something a bit warmer. We had an outside cabin that yes the window did make it colder, but then we would not have been able to see the sun rise and watch the amazing scenery when we woke up (a small price to pay). As other reviews have mentioned yes there was the issue with leaking and the heating not working, but the ships engineers worked very hard to sort it and these things happen unfortunately and yes the ship was very cold, but it did not spoil my holiday. The staff on the ship, we thought all worked very hard and were very polite and friendly. There was plenty of lovely food on board and plenty of different foods to choose from. There was table service in the lovely penninsular restaurant or the conservatory for a buffet service (it can get very busy) with the lovely views. I would highly recommended paying extra to eat at the Sindu restaurant at least once; absolutely divine. As for anyone requiring a special dietary meal (health!!), you will not be disappointed. Yes there were gluten free options, but not only that, my mum is a celiac and she had a specific waiter who took her order for the next evening and if she wanted a non gluten free option, he always made sure she could have it, if the chef could tweak it (penninsular restaurant). All restaurants/coffee lounge she had no issues with, as they were most obliging. Our cabin was compact, but room enough for what we required. The disembarkation at the ports, chaos!!! Sorry must have missed that!! Longest time I had to wait to disembark was 5-10 mins and it ran smoothly. There was plenty to do on the ship to suit most people; the activities are made available to you if you choose – if you do not like them, bring a book or I brought adult colouring. There were shows to see, films to watch or you could just sit in Tiffanys’s or the Crow’s Nest to listen to the pianist or singer. As for being an OAP ship, I never felt that (I am 43yrs), and for a ship going into the arctic, I would say the average age was about 55-60, as agreed by other guests (talking to people who cruise a lot, the hotter cruises have the older people). As for mobility scooters haring around the ship, no, I must have missed that too!!. I did see a number of people in push around wheel chairs and thought it was a nice chance for them to see the world without too much hassle. We met some lovely people on this cruise (both first time cruisers and long time cruisers) and freedom dining enable this or you could choose to have a table to yourself. You could be as social as you wanted. There were a small minority of people, obviously, that you hoped you would never see again (apparently known as POMS – p and o moaners), and these all were long time cruisers (maybe they have been on too many and expect too much!!). In a nutshell, if you want to see the northern lights this cruise is a fantastic way to see them (well hopefully) and depending on your outlook in life, is maybe how you see your holiday! Read Less
Sail Date: February 2018
We had booked a suite. We should have been in a separate waiting area to board. However, no-one bothered to show us where this was. Embarkation was delayed by two hours+ due to computer failure. When we were finally called to check in ... Read More
We had booked a suite. We should have been in a separate waiting area to board. However, no-one bothered to show us where this was. Embarkation was delayed by two hours+ due to computer failure. When we were finally called to check in we found ourselves behind rather a large number of people, those who knew where the 'first class' waiting area was. This despite our being amongst the first to arrive at Departures. Once on board no-one told us where to go. We simply followed on behind others, hoping for the best. Our cabin was lovely. The only disappointment being that when we had looked at the cabin plan on booking it seemed that there was a dressing room. This turned out to be a second toilet. We felt that arrangements for disembarking to go on excursions were not well managed, in that the outer doors were kept open, which resulted in parts of the ship being very cold indeed. Surely a warm air curtain could be installed. There were unfortunate incidents of pipes freezing, a boiler breaking down, flooding in the crews' quarters, leaking in the cinema, etc. Many people were walking round, sitting in the bars and going to dinner wearing overcoats. The Captain advised us this was due to the temperature in Alta being -25 and that temperatures had never previously gone below -10. This is a really poor excuse. Fine dining was poor. There was only one fine dining restaurant open for lunch. The Al Fresco and Conservatory restaurants were cold and resembled works canteens. Red wine should not be served chilled. Cheese should be served at room temperature not chilled. Onboard activities were dire. Knit and Knatter, carpet bowls, talks on sore feet and aching backs were just a few of the thrilling activities. In the main staff were good. The bar staff, on the other hand, are lazy, slow and unhelpful. One female member of staff in particular, working on Reception, was a very poor advert for P&O. She was hostile, rude and unhelpful. Disembarkation was ok. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2018
We booked this cruise over a year ago to celebrate our 30th Wedding anniversary this year - we have both wanted to see the Northern Lights and what a good way to do it. We arrived in Southampton the night before and stayed at the ... Read More
We booked this cruise over a year ago to celebrate our 30th Wedding anniversary this year - we have both wanted to see the Northern Lights and what a good way to do it. We arrived in Southampton the night before and stayed at the Jury's Inn as we did't want any stress from the journey to Southampton and this worked perfectly for us. We arrived at the port a little earlier than our allocated time but there was plenty of room in the terminal, and as it happens, even if we had arrived on time we wouldn't have gone any where as the check-in system was down!. Eventually things were done manually and we ready to embark on our cruise. Once aboard we found our room on deck 8 and to be honest I was very pleased at the presentation. We had chosen a deluxe balcony cabin and it was very spacious and comfortable. Plenty of storage space, large comfy bed, bathroom with shower all very clean. As there had been an issue with check-in the Oriana didn't set sail until late in the evening and by then it was dark so never got to see the English coastline in the daylight , which we would have done had we sailed on time. We progressed well with the first 2 days at sea, there was a full itinerary of things to do each day, something to suit all tastes. We settled in to our life on board fairly smoothly and soon found our way around the different deck and venues. As you would expect on a cruise to Norway it was cold outside so once we did dock at our first port of call the temperature on board the ship felt colder as the gangway is open all day. The dinning options on board were excellent and there wasn't a time of day when you couldn't get something to eat - all very nicely presented and tasty. As we moved further up the coast of Norway the weather became colder and the ship struggled to cope with the harsh weather. By the time we arrived in Alta there were numerous problems with heating and flooding, as apparently they hadn't experienced the coldness we encountered of -25 degrees on previous journeys. That said the crew coped well with the difficulties - as you can imagine the luxury at this point was in very short supply! We had already booked several shore excursions prior to going and thoroughly enjoyed each one we did - there was the option on bard to book further excursions but we didn't feel we needed to. My only 3 criticism's would be the overkill of selling on board - spa packages, photographs, further cruises etc. A general lack of organisation - when selling the above - organised chaos! And response from some staff when asked a question replying with "um I'm not sure", which we encountered in several occasions in different areas of the ship - when working in a specific area - i.e. photography or on board shops you would expect them to have the answers to any related question Overall we had a great time, we sled with husky's, saw the Northern Lights and enjoyed Norway and its people. Read Less
Oriana Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins N/A 3.8
Dining 4.0 3.7
Entertainment 4.0 3.7
Public Rooms N/A 4.1
Fitness Recreation N/A 3.6
Family 2.0 3.6
Rates 4.0 3.9

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