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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
13 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
1 Helpful Vote
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
Oriana Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins N/A 0.0
Dining 4.0 0.0
Entertainment 4.0 0.0
Public Rooms N/A 0.0
Fitness Recreation N/A 0.0
Family 2.0 0.0
Rates 4.0 0.0

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