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Sail Date: August 2014
This was my first cruise accompanying my elderly mother who has mobility issues and needs a wheelchair to get up and around. We only booked 6 weeks prior and decided on a 14 night Baltic cruise on the Oriana Embarkation was straight ... Read More
This was my first cruise accompanying my elderly mother who has mobility issues and needs a wheelchair to get up and around. We only booked 6 weeks prior and decided on a 14 night Baltic cruise on the Oriana Embarkation was straight forward plenty of help. Once aboard we were "herded" to the conservatory where lunch was provided what a fiasco. Everyone was trying to get their food lots of pushing and prodding. I found it very difficult to obtain a place for a wheelchair and then get food on a tray for myself and my mother. Was relieved to be told that our cabin was available. We never ate there again. Our cabin was an outside cabin relieved that it was spacious and could easily accommodate the folded wheelchair. All the decorations where tatty and stained the whole ship needs a refit. the cabin steward was excellent keeping the cabin clean and neat. Food at the Peninsular restaurant was average everything came plated and sometimes with food you do not like. In defence you can change your order and they will replace but it. I feel most of the times we were rushed. Giving us coffee when we had not had our dessert. My impression was to get us fed and out! The entertainment was good and the activities were plenty. The Oasis (beauty salon) was expensive and definitely not value for money wash and blow dry for short hair £30!! My impression was everything was geared around P&O profits and how much they can get out of us. The luxury of cruising in my eyes has gone.   Read Less
Sail Date: August 2014
Just returned from a great cruise on the Oriana,the third one this year on this ship,that we had never been on before this year.It was the first time we have had an indoor cabin,which was ok for two weeks but would not like to do it for ... Read More
Just returned from a great cruise on the Oriana,the third one this year on this ship,that we had never been on before this year.It was the first time we have had an indoor cabin,which was ok for two weeks but would not like to do it for longer,The cabin was not very clean had not been hoovered,sweet wrappers under bed and stained sheets but after a word with the steward things were o k Cabin aside the entertainment team were great,the headliners fantastic the best we've ever seen,and such lovely kids.The weather was brilliant and so was the company,we met some really nice people. The entertainers they had on board were also very good apart from Clem Curtis who got drunk every night in Andersons bar anD thought it highly amusing to abuse passengers (very sad person and over the hill P@O can doe better than this.)All in all though a great cruise We be going back on Oriana next year already booked to go in April next year.   Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2014
Oh didn’t we have a lovely time, whilst on the Oriana 14 nights Baltic Cruise, with so much to do and yes the sun shone every day. Having only had the joint experiences of 4 cruises under our belts now - A Cunard , a Fred Olson and a ... Read More
Oh didn’t we have a lovely time, whilst on the Oriana 14 nights Baltic Cruise, with so much to do and yes the sun shone every day. Having only had the joint experiences of 4 cruises under our belts now - A Cunard , a Fred Olson and a Nile River Cruise we wanted a cruise from Southampton in early Sept. Oriana ticked the box.! Whilst I do read reviews I appreciate that one mans’ meat is another mans’ poison ! and you cannot please everyone all the time ! However we met a lot of people who were P &O fans - had cruised on different ships but returned to this one time and again which in itself speaks volumes . Embarkation on Day one was smooth and swift with the Southampton operation and port handling a fine art 10/10. The crew were great, friendly attentive and all looked happy to be there. Yes there were a couple of hiccups and negative points but which certainly didn’t spoil the cruise so will get them out the way now – blocked loos on day 2 or 3 on part of the ship but quickly resolved and followed up with a polite reminder in the ‘Horizon’ what’s on guide paper for people not to throw wipes down the toilet . In the conservatory self-service there a 4 hot drinks machines offering hot water – for the de caff coffee plus variety of teas available and coffee. On day 2 one stopped completely – initially replaced with an urn of boiling water – this was then removed a day later – am thinking it was a Health and safety issue but perhaps that broke too ! In any event the result was at certain times of the day a queue for hot water .. followed by at times the hunt the teaspoon game ! Waiter led drinks service in especially Lords Bar was a might aggressive at times with offers to upsell the norm, the fine line between attentive service and hassle needs to be ironed out. Some of the shore trips were in our opinion miss sold and overpriced, especially one where a coach picked up from the port and deposited passengers in one spot to walk then a second to walk and a third to walk, all spots within walking distance of each other and been charged over £30 each for the privilege!. The ‘Hidden Gems’ trip in St Petersburg was an escorted coach trip to basically a country park where we were told about architecture and visited a number of buildings, a very knowledgeable guide but he lost many people in his interest subject coupled with dodgy connections on audio system and a strong accent ! they wandered off to photograph the many red ( well it is Russia !) squirrels in the park, although the glass museum was interesting. This was a visit to a park, not Hidden Gems of Russia or St Petersburg. We booked 4 weeks before departure so had no idea of dining time – delighted to be put on the freedom dining for us this worked very well - we met lots of lovely people and sat in a variety of places in the Peninsula Dining Room. Hubby has a nut intolerance (but amazingly married me anyway !) so he had the attentions of the ‘ special menu manager’ who was extremely helpful and accommodating . Despite the fact that moving tables every night meant one didn’t get to know their waiters the staff were on the ball one night my medium rare steak was far more medium than rare – the waiter spotted instantly and whisked it away and replaced it within in a few minutes. We heard people say they used to have silver service - but a simple request for extra veg whilst ordering worked well. There was only one night when the service was really slow and our meals were less than hot they did attempt service reparation but to be fair to the waiters perhaps our table should have commented earlier in the meal - however as there was a moaning mini on our table that night anyway suspect nothing bar a waiter feeding her peeled grapes would have placated her.! Our stateroom was fine, a tad smaller than on Cunard but kept immaculate by the attentions of Jowlin our cabin steward. There was sufficient hanging and drawer space for all our clothes – which given the uncertainty over weather was more than we would usually bring away with us ( another bonus for travelling from Southampton!) The entertainment was good – plenty to do or see , there was so much on will need to do another cruise so I can fit in all the things we missed this time ! The ents. team worked very hard to ensure everyone who wanted to had a good time – there was no enforced jollity and there were plenty of quiet places one could go to if quizzes etc were not your cup of tea. The flags from our last sail away party now decorating my Yucca plant ! We dined in the Ocean Grill on the last sea night – our 5th wedding anniversary and it was really very good. To sum it all up , a lovely happy well run ship which was just the right size for us, with a great crew led by an interactive Captain who had a sense of humour ! Think the fact we are already looking at our next cruise says it all ! In closing, ORIANA may well now have a ‘stowaway’. On many international trips and holidays ‘DILLON’ a small brown cuddly rabbit had his photograph taken on his travels with us. For my birthday I had an ‘Oriana Bear’ and we think Dillon has run away to sea, he certainly has not come back to Devon, perhaps he may now be on the next leg of the cruise down to the Med. If anyone finds him please tell him to write.   Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2014
Just returned from 2 week cruise on the Oriana to Norway and the Lofoten Islands in the Arctic Circle. Lovely to be back on one of the more traditional mid sized ships again, and a positive experience on my first adult only ship. While ... Read More
Just returned from 2 week cruise on the Oriana to Norway and the Lofoten Islands in the Arctic Circle. Lovely to be back on one of the more traditional mid sized ships again, and a positive experience on my first adult only ship. While this was not my first time on Oriana, it was the first time on her as adult only. How civilised! We paid full price over a year ago for this cruise, as we wanted to cruise with friends, and it could have been annoying to hear the boasts of how little in comparison the savers had paid, but we didn't mind because my daughter and I were upgraded from an aft balcony first to a midships one then finally, 2 days before sailing, to a mini suite, which made our cruise! Priority boarding, champagne lunch in the Pacific Lounge, and early availbility of our cabin with luggage delivered quickly so we were unpacked by 1.30 were all wonderful. The joy of being able to avoid the Snatch and Grab! Though it has to be said that Oriana's version, the Conservatory, is better laid out than the Azura's and passengers just a bit more polite. There is still a shortage of seats. on the odd occasion when I did use it, and people asked if they could share my table, I always said yes and they were surprised. I once sat down at a table and FAILED to notice a towel on another chair; boy did I get told off when Mrs Anti Social returned! And that's it, for the negative. Cabin was fabulous! Loads of room, big balcony, reclining chairs, great wardrobe space and whirlpool bath and shower. Enjoying a whirlpool bath, glass of wine in hand, after a gym workout or a walk ashore, was a treat. Champagne and chocolates on arrival, daily fruit and canapes, and Filipina, a lovely steward who was so pleasant and looked after us superbly. We were on 1st sitting in the Oriental, near the stern so we did get some vibration when exiting the fjords, but it didn't really spoil things for us. Great team of waiters, and wine steward, with attentive service. The food was great; I never had a bad meal and some memorable ones, especially the Marco menus on formal nights, and the barramundi one night; to die for! We ate one night in the Marco restaurant and it was excellent. We had a great table in the Oriental with 3 others whom we really looked forward to seeing every night, which was another highlight of the cruise. Norway was enjoying its hottest summer for 12 years, and it got up to 28 degrees on several days with only one day of drizzle in Andalsnes. The sea remained flat calm for the whole fortnight which I have never known before, and the ship cruised along gently so that you hardly felt you were on a ship! I personally don't mind a bit of rough weather; it adds to the excitement, but not everyone is as good a sailor as I am and the great weather and calm seas added to everyone's enjoyment of the whole cruise. Evening entertainment we enjoyed very much, especially, as usual, the Headliners shows. This particular troupe were superb. There were some other good performers too; Tom O Connor was very popular and unexpectedly very good, as was the comic magician Mandy Muden. I also loved the duo who played in the Lords Tavern a lot, and even more the jazz trio and the singer/saxophonist in the Crows Nest where we spent many a happy relaxed evening. There were some good films both on the cinema and the in cabin TV, though it was hard to drag myself away from the sun outside to watch them. I did see a few though. On deck the atmosphere was relaxed and friendly with no squabbling over sunbeds, of which there seemed plenty. The pools were cool and I enjoyed a swim most days, especially in the second week when it was hot. There were plenty of things to do during the day, not all to my taste (I have NO interest in talks about World War 2) but given an average age of about 70 I think P&O made valiant efforts to cater for everyone and we were never bored. We went to the gym every day, which was clean and well looked after, and it was also lovely to be able to walk all around a wooden prom deck, another thing I missed on the newer ships! Oriana is showing her age now, but maintenance is constant (though I wish our balcony hadn't been painted while we were on board; however they did the work while we were ashore over 2 days so disruption was minimal). But she is still a lovely elegant ship and I hope P&O does not get rid of her. It felt like coming home to be back on her. We met some lovely people on the cruise and enjoyed many good conversations. In general there was none of the pushiness and rudeness shown by a minority of passengers on Azura last year. Maybe it's the relaxed attitude on Oriana. There was also a very good Entertainment Team on this cruise, who really do seem to work as a happy team. Their work made for a relaxing and pleasant atmosphere. Their talent show was hilarious, polished and one of the entertainment highlights! In ports we generally did our own thing. We had been to Briksdal Glacier before so walked round Olden and some way along the fjord; there isn't a lot to see but the views from the thoughtfully provided seats of the fjord are so spectacular that we sat there most of the morning. In Andalsnes there's not much, and many people had taken trips, but saw little because of the drizzle and low cloud. We were only ashore for a short time but enjoyed seeing the village. Trondheim has more to see, and we enjoyed doing the same route as the Walking Tour, which took us 2 or 3 hours. The Cathedral and river views were spectacular. My favourite port was the Lofoten Islands. We tendered to Leknes and took the shuttle to the town, which didn't take a lot of exploring, then did a bit of shopping before catching the shuttle back. We then climbed a small hill near the tender mooring and walked along the coast to the most beautiful beach where I had a paddle, expecting to have my feet turn numb, but for the Arctic Circle it wasn't as cold as expected! On our return walk we were obstructed from boarding a tender by the biggest cat I have ever seen lying directly across the top step to the platform. The views sailing away from all these ports were superb, and I took hundreds of photographs. Alesund was also interesting though being Sunday there were not many shops open. We walked round the town, into the park, and climbed the 418 steps up the hill, where we had a cold drink and admired the views. Hot work; that was the day it was 28 degrees. Flam Railway was fully booked, so we wandered around the village, bathed in the fjord (much colder than the Arctic Circle!) and went to the Railway Museum. Next time I am going to book before I go! Sognefjord is the best and most dramatic of all, in my opinion, and I spent a lot of time on the balcony with a glass in hand watching the scenery go by. Our final port was Bergen where we have been before, but this time we were moored within walking distance of the castle and really enjoyed exploring on foot, shopping for Norweigan sweaters and sitting by the fountains in the heat, which drove us back on board for a swim and lunch. It never really got dark ,apart from the first and last days, and the midnight sun, setting and soon rising again, was an experience not to miss. I'll never forget this cruise. It was magical, generally excellent, and just about as good as it gets!   Read Less
Sail Date: July 2014
A lovely cruise, the ship is tired and a little old, but we liked it, not too big that you get lost and not too small to feel crowded. We were lucky with weather, the sunniest in 15 years we were told. We loved the being on the sea, ... Read More
A lovely cruise, the ship is tired and a little old, but we liked it, not too big that you get lost and not too small to feel crowded. We were lucky with weather, the sunniest in 15 years we were told. We loved the being on the sea, watching sunsets and having lazy sea days recovering from port excursions. Norway is a beautiful country, amazing scenery and clean air. Experiencing the midnight sun was incredible; 3am was like 12 noon. We have never had such a relaxing holiday; I even managed to read 2 books!! Would we do this again? Definitely but would be much smarter when booking for the reasons below. Would we cruise with P and O? Yes definitely, for cheap relaxing holidays where we're not bothered where we go, however we do want to try other lines. I think we have the cruising bug now. I think P & O need to spend some money on training their staff, as you could not fault their attitude and willingness to help but their knowledge was not up to date and seemed they needed to conform rather than let their personality sparkle like some of the staff. Pre-cruise Info Booking: We decided to cruise as seeing what we wanted to in Norway would have been expensive. The Oriana covered where we wanted to visit and it was an adults only ship. We booked 5 months in advance for an inside cabin with the select fare. We chose this cruise as it covered the ports and excursions (with a clause subject to change) we wanted to go to, however when the excursions booking time (a few months prior to the cruise) came the one we really wanted was not being offered. No port times were available at that point so we were using the excursion durations as guideline to how much time we had in port. P and O do not release this information although it is available on http://ports.cruisett.com/ as a rough guide. We learnt the hard way - Never book the cruise way in advance unless you really want that cruise itinerary, that ship and that cabin and the extras such as car parking, diner sitting selection. We wanted to get a table for 2 for dinner, but when we arrived we were advised that these were limited. As an example, one of the people that did get a table for 2 booked back over a year ago! Having booked so early the price reduced to less than half the price we paid for a balcony cabin, we got an inside cabin. The ideal time I have since learnt is around the 6 week mark when the price promises rules change. Also we were upgraded which we queried but chose to accept, I since learnt you don’t have to accept an upgrade, you can negotiate for onboard spend instead as long as the cabin you booked has not been sold. Drinks & Wine bottles: P & O will let you take as much as you want to drink in your cabin, drink outside of the cabin and you will pay corkage. The drinks are reasonably priced but it does add up if you like a good bottle of wine with your meal. Packing: I’ve brought back wine from around the world on flights by wrapping it in a plastic carrier bag tightly and then bubble wrap around each bottle and taping the ends up. I always put it into my checked luggage as I don’t want to lug it around as cabin luggage. This worked beautifully on the cruise as you don’t have access to the cabin till after 2pm, some people had to wait till 4pm. You luggage is left outside you cabin; I would say your luggage is left in the corridor of your cabin (our bags were in the corridor at the other end of the ship). Clothes: Yes we packed too much, one suitcase came back unused. Dress codes are strictly adhered too. This was fine on sea days but on a couple of nights it was Smart Jacket after a busy port day, we just wanted to relax. You aren’t able to go to certain bars and the restaurant if you don’t adhere to the dress code so be warned. We ate in the conservatory (the food is not as good) those nights we didn’t want to dress up. We had 4 Black Tie, 4 Smart Jacket and 6 Smart casual nights. There is a laundry room on each deck well equipped with washing machines, dryers, irons and ironing boards, free to use. Make sure you take magnets (walls of the cabin are magnetic) perfect for securing the daily newsletters. Food We love our food, having eaten at some of the best restaurants in the world, our expectations were fairly high. The Peninsular or Oriental restaurants were the best places to eat. The food was well prepared and served, although the fish was overcooked, you can request how you want it cooked. The waiters attentive and happy to oblige to your requests. The conservatory buffet served salads and hot food with food theme each day such as Fish and Seafood, Mexican, Indian, Best of British, Italian, as well as roasts, fish and pies. The dressings were a let-down lacking flavour and texture. On the Mexican night the guacamole was like soup. I did mention this to the Food and Restaurant Manager, the next day there was a thicker dressing as well as the thinned out soupy dressing. The theme doesn’t run through on all restaurants. The Al Fresco café served light breakfasts, salads, pannis, fresh pizza and hot dogs as well as deserts in the afternoon and evening. The ship only had UHT whole milk portions, they only carry semi and skimmed milk for breakfast of which we are not fans so we bought a carton of whole milk at our first port,. We did try to use the room service one night but they were unable to supply ice cream or hot food and didn't seem to want to provide a service. Sorrento has a surcharge and is actually located in part of the conservatory restaurant which is blocked off and used as Sorrento in the evening. We refused to use this on the principle that closing part of the buffet area and using it as a surcharged restaurant was unacceptable. We were assured that food was very good by fellow passengers. Ocean Grill – We booked this for their steak and seafood. The waiters weren’t trained well, I asked for Balsamic vinegar with olive oil and was served cider vinegar (not told about this until I asked why it looked so different and tasted sour after I had tasted a drop), and the waitress told me they didn’t have any Balsamic vinegar in the kitchen. Again I see this as a training issue for P and O rather than the fault of the waitress. This should have brought up the warning signs for us about how the rest of the meal may go. After a huddle with other waiters, they did get some balsamic vinegar from another restaurant but lack taste. We ordered the steak medium rare and a trio of seafood. The steak was served well done, the white fish and salmon overcooked, scallops cold. We sent this back and they served the dishes a second time almost the same again. We ended up leaving at this point, a refund was given which was the least they could do. I’m not sure how Marco Pierre White can put his name to this, I can only imagine it provides a good royalty for him, and P & O get a brand to publicise. Excursions The ships excursions were expensive and so we booked only 2, both all day and a little expensive but covered everything we wanted to see and offered better value when you considered the cost of a 2-3 hour trip. Other ports we did by ourselves and usually worked out much cheaper than the ships excursions. We did do our research before we went so we had a good idea of what we were going to do. For future cruises I would arrange as much as I can from home. Entertainment This ship is really geared for the over 55’s, we found only a few people younger than that. The talks and entertainment (quizzes, music, dances, theatre shows) were geared to suit them. The cinema was popular but you needed to get there early to secure a seat. The same with the theatre shows, always busy and if it was a popular show you had get there at 45 mins before. We only attended one show and one talk. The captain’s interview was interesting, a little rehearsed. Port presentations generally included lots of fear; missing the boat, finding it hard to get around, won't see everything etc... and stressed the difficulties of DIY urging everyone to book on the ships excursions. To be honest I found them not much use if you wanted to do your own thing. The once place we never stayed in was Anderson's, to me it seemed like a waste of good space, generally very quiet more like a gentleman's club. We did put our head through a number of times but walked out again. Embarkation We left early in the morning and reached Southampton around 10.45 and drove straight into the drop off point where the porter unloaded the luggage swiftly and efficiently. I asked for some fragile labels and was told that they didn’t use them. I had packed a number of bottles of wine into the suitcase and was assured by the porter it would be fine as long as I had packed it well, which I had. Walked straight into the terminal and were directed upstairs to the lounge and given a green card and told boarding would commence at 11.30. Promptly at 11.30 they started to check in everyone. Passports were checked and cruise cards given to us both, a quick walk to the scanners and we boarding the ship. It took about 15 mins at most. Once inside we were directed to the Conservatory and the poolside BBQ. Had a lunch and then we went to our cabin on A deck. It was clean and tidy, I did give it a once over with some anti-bacterial wipes just to make sure. The suitcases fitted under the bed, you had to slide them in from the side not the end of the bed. The walls were magnetic and used magnets to keep paperwork at hand. Lots of hanging and drawer space for clothes, shower worked brilliantly and the toilet flushed properly. We had no problems at all throughout our cruise. Muster attended and dinner was lovely. We were 2nd sitting and the food was good. We did request a table for 2 but were given a table for four. We changed our dining to Freedom which was the best thing for us as we wanted to have dinner when we wanted rather than a set time. Worked brilliantly and we had a table for 2 every night without more than a few min wait. Sea Days We spent sea days watching movies, reading, relaxing on the incredibly comfortable wooden deck chairs on Prom deck not the other decks. There were some activities on and we attended a cookery demo, dance class, a quiz and a bowling session. People were very friendly and often we were talking into the early morning hours. Day 4 Olden – Briksdale Glacier, berthed Olden is a small town and very few shops, very pretty. Briksdale Glacier - We did this by ourselves, it was much cheaper that the cruise excursion. We took the local bus to the Briksdale Glacier, cost 88NOK each. The bus stop has no sign but is in the car park on the same side where the ship docks by the zebra crossing sign. The bus brings you back in town which is about a 10 min walk to the ship. The bus was late by about 30 mins, it will come you may need to wait. The bus drops you at the troll cars which you can use if you want, we walked up it’s is a bit of a hike but well worth it. I would recommend taking a mac or an umbrella, there’s a lovely surprise halfway up. Day 5 Andalsnes Tender Boat The tender disembarkation was fast for us as we were on the ships excursion, but if you hadn’t booked an excursion you disembarked after the tour passengers had left. We didn’t see much of Andalsnes as we were rushed straight onto the coach once the tender landed. We did The Land of the Trolls ship excursion, included lunch. Our guide was a little rubbish to be honest; talked relentlessly (rehashed stories about trolls, trolls and more trolls….), no agenda given, forgot ending on stories, comfort breaks etc. pretty bad. We made a comfort stop about 5 mins before we were stopping for lunch, we'd been on the coach for at least 2 hours, I doubt if 5 mins would have made much of difference. The trip itself would have been brilliant if the weather had been better. It was cloudy and rainy that day and we didn’t see the views from the mountains however what we did see was lovely. The Norwegian buffet lunch provided on this tour was excellent with lots of choice. P & O should note of this, it was much better than the conservatory buffet. Day 6 – Trondhiem – Berthed, Shuttle bus to town centre If you paid a Saver fare you were charged £3 for the shuttle bus into town, easily walked in about 10-15 mins. We did our own thing today. Walked around town and then decided to catch the tram up to Liam (100 NOK for two of us), took about 25 mins and at the top there was a lake and lots of hiking trails. It was really nice. The tram runs every 30 mins (check with the driver the exact time). The tram stop is on St Olvas Gate. Day 8 – Loften Islands, Tender Boat We arrived on Loften on a beautiful sunny day with no excursion booked. The shuttle bus took us into town, the town is very small and the tourist office is not very helpful. They had a trip to the Viking Museum which they encouraged us to take but not much help for the island cruise which we were interested in. If you are visiting here you should plan something or book the ships excursion. Very little to do, not many walking trails either. Most of the passengers who hadn’t booked anything ended up walking up the hill where the tenders arrived and around the beach. The beaches here are beautiful. Day 10 – Alesund – Berthed On disembarking the ship, there were 2 tourist sightseeing options (a red bus @ 210 NOK or a blue tourist train for 150 NOK) we chose the red bus which had free Wi-Fi. We took the bus up to Mount Aksla and walked down the 488 steps, then caught the local ferry (Norled) from the Tourist Information office around the Northern Islands for a 4 hour cruise. Costs 179 NOK (over 67 get 50% discount), the captain gave lots of information and provided local knowledge. We even saw a small whale. Then we boarded the sightseeing bus and finished the tour before returning to the ship. Day 11 – Flam – Berth The sun was out and that made out trip even better. This was definitely our favourite place, we did Norway in a Nutshell with the Cruise Excursions, and found it to be worth the money. The trip started at the Funicular railway and goes on to Voss via public train and returns by coach with 2 stops on the way back. We had a delicious Norwegian Lunch which was included and the guide was brilliant, lots of information, brought photos and maps of the regions we were visiting and gave us the agenda. Much better than the last guide we had. You can do this Funicular Train trip by yourselves and it is cheaper but the tour worked out good value if you include the extra excursions and lunch. Day 12 – Bergan, Berthed We docked into Bergan, and walked around the busy town centre. There is a blue bus (as well as a red sightseeing bus)to the cable car and the viewpoint at the top has lots of hiking trails and walks. You can see all around Bergen from there and there’s a small restaurant and shop. When we came down the town was busy, there were 5 cruise ships in port, including the lovely Queen Victoria. The fish market was amazing, so much beautiful seafood, but very expensive. We went back to the ship early as it was far too hot for us to walk around.   Read Less
Sail Date: July 2014
As usual, P & O provided excellent service from all their staff and crew. Our cabin steward, Jolwyn was charming and helpful. The bar and restaurant staff were friendly and helpful too. The entertainment crew were lively and made the ... Read More
As usual, P & O provided excellent service from all their staff and crew. Our cabin steward, Jolwyn was charming and helpful. The bar and restaurant staff were friendly and helpful too. The entertainment crew were lively and made the sail aways great fun. They even entertained us with a naughty and nice talent show. The dj wasn't very charasmatic but knew how to play a good, popular song from our era. Headliners provided some superb shows and all the other entertainment was great. A female Tommy Cooper: Mandy Muden, Jimmy Jemain, with Cliff Richard songs and Tom O'Connor were all so professional and entertaining. The reception staff were charming and helpful. The sales staff in the ships' shops were nice, especially little Zoe, who helped me choose some new clothes and helped my husband choose a new dinner jacket. The food was varied and tasty with only a few choices that didnt match up to my expectations. On those occasions, I was given another choice immediately with a smile and an apology. The Ocean Grill was a culinary delight and the ambience with music was serene. The waiters and waitresses, managers etc in the Ocean Grill were all exceptional. So we had 2 lovely evenings in this charming restaurant. The ship itself may need some refurbishment and the plumbing needs an overhaul to improve toilet facilities but it is still a lovely ship, perfect size and with many attractive bars to visit. The cabin was comfortable with spacious wardrobes and cabinets with plenty of drawers. The Peninsular restaurant was comfortable, spacious and in a great position, midship. We had Freedom Dining which is a great way to meet lots of people and vary our meal-times, rather than having a set time. Norway has stunning/breathtaking scenery and the weather was wonderful too. Most ports were lovely and the tour in Olden was worth it, especially having Waffles and coffee thrown in too. The scenic railway tour at Flam was too expensive and we went on it ourselves which was much cheaper and easy to book. Do try to eat on board and not in any ports - it must be the most expensive country in Europe. Yes, this P & O cruise was fabulous and we will be going on another one with them soon. Hopefully, it will be a Strictly cruise next time. What a combination: Strictly Come Dancing on a ship, as good as bread & butter or Laurel & Hardy!   Read Less
Sail Date: July 2014
We enjoyed our 14 nights on Oriana. For: Really wide promenade deck with traditional hardwood base and you can walk all the way around the ship on the same level. The conservatory self service restaurant serving decent quality ... Read More
We enjoyed our 14 nights on Oriana. For: Really wide promenade deck with traditional hardwood base and you can walk all the way around the ship on the same level. The conservatory self service restaurant serving decent quality breakfasts, mid day meals 12 noon until 2.30p.m (try the salad bar). The conservatory also serves evening self service meals with a smart casual dress code if you ever wish to miss one of the formal / semi formal nights in the main restaurants. We did this one evening and had the best meal of the cruise. The Lords tavern pub has an easy going feel to it. Stella / Carling lager on draught at 3.85p a pint. A good range of bottled beers also available. House recommended wines - we found good! The Terrace bar deck 12 Aft, is a lovely place to sit with a drink during warm evenings and watch the sea behind you. The Spa - With its mixed large Sauna, also steam room and well equipped gym. First cruise i have been on where all equipment was in working condition. Against: As we did 'freedom dining' gratuities were added to our onboard account. At the end of the cruise no staff (cabin crew or restaurant staff) acknowledged that they were aware we had paid. Or said thanks. We were very much aware however that they were looking for extra (cash). If we do another Oriana cruise we will do second sitting, cancel gratuities on first day, then pay in cash on last day to the staff we feel deserve. On a 14 day cruise there are 4 formal nights and 4 semi formal. Thats 8 jacket evenings for a gent. I prefer the 4 formal and 10 casual that exists on other P & O ships. Especially on a July / August warm summer cruise to the canaries. The conservatory self service restaurant - I think that its too small for the number of people using it during busy periods. Plus there are too many people not leaving their table when finished eating. This leads to a sense of frustration which you can see in many folks manner and behaviour.   Read Less
Sail Date: June 2014
First of all don't take any notice of negative reviews you've to do it yourself and you'll find nothing to complain about. Our cruise was Norway, Iceland Faroe Isles, and Orkney Isles it was beautiful the views in Norway are ... Read More
First of all don't take any notice of negative reviews you've to do it yourself and you'll find nothing to complain about. Our cruise was Norway, Iceland Faroe Isles, and Orkney Isles it was beautiful the views in Norway are breathtaking, Iceland the Glaciers also unbelievable, its a trip well worth doing. The ship is a lot like a ' Gentleman's Club' very comfortable and lots of lovely little venues to use for quietly reading or having a meet up with friends. Drinks not expensive just pub prices, not hotel prices which some cruises are. Don't be afraid to ask for tap water and no charge with ice, nice change if fed up with the waiters keep asking if you want a drink. The cinema is great lovely to see latest films whilst at sea. Heated swimming pool, first time ever known heated outside pool, really lovely Entertainment good, good variety, shows with entertainment group, classical music, musicians, comedy evenings covers all ages and every taste. Food really good, just went into restaurant for meals, 8.30 evening worked really well for us. All Fresco for breakfast and lunch, not a lot of variety but adiquate for us as well as snacks afternoon in conservatory. Cabin we were only in inside cabin 8th deck but plenty room, plenty drawers and wardrobe space, cabin steward great very effient. In all a really great cruise met some lovely people in dining room from our table and others in dining room. At evening met up again, spent time with lots of interesting people usually glad to tell you about all the cruises they've been on, or where they've been. The spa is relaxing and the gym is great if you workout, which we don't.   Read Less
Sail Date: June 2014
This was our 3rd cruise on Oriana and our 7th with P&O. The check-in was very quick and efficient and our luggage was delivered to our cabin without any problems. Our cabin steward couldn't have been more helpful and our cabin was ... Read More
This was our 3rd cruise on Oriana and our 7th with P&O. The check-in was very quick and efficient and our luggage was delivered to our cabin without any problems. Our cabin steward couldn't have been more helpful and our cabin was spotless. We were on Freedom Dining so could choose when we wanted to eat. If we wanted a table for 2 or decided to share a larger table we never had to wait. The choice of food was really good and the meals were delicious. The waiters were cheerful, efficient and so friendly. The Headliners put on the most professional shows and the diverse entertainment, ranging from a fantastic comedian to West End singers, was most enjoyable. We had been on a previous cruise to the Baltic with another cruise line, but there were 2 new ports on this trip, Lithuania and Poland, which we found fascinating. St. Petersburg was again enjoyable, but the excursions were quite costly and the crowds quite difficult to cope with - queues were so long and we weren't allowed any time to take in the beauty of the palaces we visited. Disembarkation at Southampton was really efficient. We were really impressed yet again by the service from all the crew on the ship and will certainly be happy to travel on Oriana again. After reading so many negative reviews about P&O and its ships I can only put it down to the change in passenger profile that we have unfortunately seen over the past few years. We should be thankful that we are able to travel the world in so much comfort and luxury at such affordable prices. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2014
My wife and myself have just returned from a Baltic cruise on the Oriarna , I must say we both enjoyed the cruise .We have not been on P&O before but have some experiance with quite a few other lines,The checkin was smooth and no ... Read More
My wife and myself have just returned from a Baltic cruise on the Oriarna , I must say we both enjoyed the cruise .We have not been on P&O before but have some experiance with quite a few other lines,The checkin was smooth and no problem, security was tight but I am not unhappy with that we eventually found our suit cases one was only 5 cabins away the other 2 cases in seperate places a little further away,on disembarcation our 3 cases were supposed to be in area C none of them was in C and it took about 20 minutes to locate them (cannot the porters read). WE thought all our food was well cooked but not to the standard of Princess in quality or choice,we did try both Ocean Grill and the Sorrento speciality dining and found exellent in quality and value Rhea in the Sorrento was really loverly in particular, we had breakfast in the Al Fresco not the same choice as the Consevatory but a lot less frantic The Oriarna has just started doing draft Stella and Carling in certain bars at £3.85 a pint which is good for a cruise ship some bitters as well WE loved the Crows Nest it is the best bar with comfort in mind a fantastic view out of the picture windows and relaxing music of a night time The Headliners the resident dance and singing company were very good worked hard and seemed to put a show on every other night they did a Queen show in the Pacific lounge not to be missed,over all the guest entertainers were worth there pay Our cabin was on C deck(deck 9) it was not over large but was perfecly ok and our steward Miriam a lady no less was more than adequate for the job All in all it was a good holiday and would use P&o again Read Less
Sail Date: June 2014
As usual, we travelled down to Southampton on the previous day and stayed, for the first time, in the Novotel, very close to Southampton Docks. This was a good choice and we will be using this hotel again in October when we join MSC ... Read More
As usual, we travelled down to Southampton on the previous day and stayed, for the first time, in the Novotel, very close to Southampton Docks. This was a good choice and we will be using this hotel again in October when we join MSC Magnifica. As it is so close to the hotel, we had decided that we would eat at TGI Fridays and we booked it a couple of days prior to driving down. Good job we did, it was exceedingly busy and, if you like Burgers, the food was excellent. We checked out of the hotel at 12 noon and drove the new route to the dockyard, which has been much improved since the roadworks have been done. As we arrived at the terminal, a red helicopter flew over our car and landed adjacent to Dock Gate 4. As we dropped off our bags, the luggage-handler informed us that Prince Edward was going on board the Oriana for lunch and the helicopter had just delivered him. We did not have parking included in our P & O deal, as it was a very late offer and really reasonable, so we had selected Cruise Parking online and were told to go into the Short-stay car park after dropping off our bags and look for the yellow flag. We did as instructed and were met by one of their representatives who completed his paperwork, had our key and told us that the car would be back in the same Carpark from 8.30 am on the day we returned. So off we went with our hand luggage. There was some delay in boarding due, according to the announcements, to an electrical inspection, which had resulted in conveyor belts and lights not working for a little while. Whilst we were waiting we saw Prince Edward being introduced to the P & O booking staff, before he went on board for lunch. At about 1300 boarding was started and we were surprised how quickly we boarded after that, and we were on board before 1400. Another announcement informed us that our cases would be delivered by early evening, but we had only been in our cabin for about 15 minutes (unpacking our hand luggage) when I decided to have a quick look outside the cabin window, which looked out on the aft deck pool. As I was walking back to the cabin, I spotted our cases (all three of them) in the corridor leading down to our cabin, so that was a bonus. The reason I had been looking outside our window was that we had been allocated an outside cabin that had a promenade view and we were worried about how easy it would be for passengers to see into the cabin. I didn't need to worry as, unless you had the nets open and lights on, this was not the case. We were also a little concerned about any noise issues if people positioned chairs or sunbeds just outside the window as we do like an afternoon siesta sometimes. Again, noise was not an issue, even when the Sailaway parties took place on the aft pool deck which was just one deck lower and overlooked by our deck's promenade. We had, however read a number of reviews stating that the vibration in these aft cabins was a real problem, so this was a worry. In fact, the only time I noticed this vibration was when we entered or left port, when the thrusters were used, so it didn't disturb us as much as the reviews suggested it would. We usually choose our cabin in mid-ships if we have the choice and this would still be my preference as I like looking out across the sea, rather than where we have just been. Our cabin was a B2 cabin which was an upgrade on our Guarantee Cabin, I think by virtue of it being quite high in the ship. It was very clean and had plenty of storage room. Our three cases all fitted under the bed although it was a bit of a struggle getting them there because there was no a lot of room at either side of the bed. However we both had bedside cabinets with drawers, dressing table with good lighting for putting on my makeup and doing my hair, three-door wardrobe, chest of drawers with four half-width drawers on top. Tea-making facilities were provided (proper English breakfast tea) and we used these on a number of occasions. There was a small TV, which also broadcast the captain's announcements if you elected to leave the TV on the ship's Information channel. The bathroom was a reasonable size and the configuration of the shower meant that I was never once attacked by the dreaded wet shower-curtain. All in all, the cabin was everything we needed and my only complaint about it was the size of the safe. I know they say that size doesn't matter, but this safe just held my purse, a wallet and my travel document wallet. As someone who always puts jewellery, IPads and phones away in the safe, I was less than impressed. We had a lovely steward who had also joined the ship that day, but she had been on 2 other P & O ships so she was well used to the routine. We left a sunny Southampton as we joined in the Sailaway Party, which was a really good way to start our trip. The first port we went to was Olden, where we had not been before and it was beautiful. We did our own thing, buying a motorised train tour as we left the ship. As you expect in Norway, this was not cheap (about £15 each), but we had a running commentary with humour and lots of information, and our driver was also very informative and helpful. He slowed down/stopped to give us time to take photos of some breath-taking views, making sure we all crossed the road safely. It was here we saw our first examples of the hairy houses that abound in this region of the world. Our next stop was in Alesund, where we had been before, but we struggled to recognise the port until we remembered that the first time we visited there had been a festival in progress to the area had been covered with marquees and exhibitions. It was getting colder as we crossed across to Akureyri in Iceland, probably due to the fact we sailed inside the Arctic Circle - definitely another tick on my bucket list - and something we didn't realise we would be doing when we left home. When we docked In Akureyri we took a stroll around the town, up to the very modernistic cathedral, which was perched at the top of some 100 steps. Of course, those people who had been before knew that there was a much more accessible entrance from around the side, but we did not know that then. There was plenty of colour in the town with brightly painted houses and shops fronted by polar bears and trolls, great backdrops for the 'funny' pictures we took. We really liked this place and we stopped at a cafe called the Backpacker hostel for a cappuccino and free Wifi. Our coffee was lovely and the place was very well used by walkers and tourist alike. As we left port we had the first experience of the Captain using the TV when it was not turned on, to make an important announcement about our next port. The weather was deteriorating quite appreciably so it was not really surprising when the Captain explained that he had decided, in conjunction with the local Pilots and Carnival Headquarters, to avoid the journey down the western coast to Isafjordur and instead travel down the eastern side of the country and on to Reykjavic. Although many people were disappointed, I never heard one adverse comment about the decision. In fact, soon after we left Akureyri they had a snowfall of 45 cms and the weather we avoided was very rough with a 5 metre swell. It was a little bumpy as we cruised around to Reykjavic, but we were so pleased when the Captain took us very slowly past the largest Glacier Field in the whole of Europe. This was such an impressive sight that I was almost pleased we had missed out Isafjordur to allow us to have this experience. When we got off the ship in Reykjavic, it was all we could do to stand up in the wind. We did a little wandering around, but did not stay ashore too long as it was quite cold and rainy. We did find our free Wifi, at a cafe called Café du Paris. We are not particularly into shows on board, but our dining companions were very complimentary about the ones they attended. We did visit the cinema on board twice, and saw another film in the Theatre. The cinema is definitely far more comfortable than the Theatre if you are sitting for a couple of hours, but for shows lasting about an hour, the Theatre is fine. Our next stop was in the Faroe Islands at Torshavn where we again wandered around, stopping again for our usual Wifi and cappuccino at the local library/cafe. This was where we took more photos of the houses with their hairy roofs made from grass, which provide a greatly enhanced insulation from the icy boasts. Our last stop was at Kirkwall in the Orkney Islands. I loved this town and we enjoyed the local Craft Fayre, the Cathedral and the ambience of the place. This is definitely somewhere I would like to return to, perhaps as part of a roaming holiday around Scotland, as there is a Ferry that runs from Aberdeen to Kirkwall. By this time we had got to know our dinner companions quite well and looked forward to our evening meal. We usually chose a table for two whenever we can, because my hubby is quite deaf, so sharing a table can be quite challenging as he misses much of the conversation. However, we did enjoy our table for six on this cruise. We did dine at the Sorrento Restaurant (additional charge of £5 each, plus £6.95 for Hubby's Lava Rock Steak) and enjoyed eating together at a table for two on this evening. Our starters were so large, however, that I was not able to do justice to my Lasagne, which was a little too large and a bit stodgy. It was still a good night but I wouldn't say that the meals were any better than those in the MDR. In fact, the two Marco Pierre White menus we had in the MDR were exceptional, and the Beef Wellington was the best I have ever had, cooked exactly as requested. Overall, we so enjoyed this cruise, perhaps all the more because we booked it so close to the sailing date because it was a last-minute decision. Would I recommend this cruise - yes I would! Would I do P & O again - again yes I would!   Read Less
Sail Date: June 2014
This was our third cruise with P&O & second time on Oriana, embarkation at Southampton went well about 15 mins in total. The ship is looking a little tied since last year, first moan was we didn't get our cases delivered to ... Read More
This was our third cruise with P&O & second time on Oriana, embarkation at Southampton went well about 15 mins in total. The ship is looking a little tied since last year, first moan was we didn't get our cases delivered to our cabin, when we asked our room attendant where the cases are we found them further down the corridor & then had to move them ourselfs to the cabin. We had a balcony cabin & very happy with the size, the tv is tiny 19 inch with not a lot of choice of channels I guess because the ship is now 19 years old & the tech needs to be upgraded. A lot of people complaining about the air con not working in their cabins . Public rooms bars are o/k the cinema was good with some of the latest films being shown. As late bookers in a balcony cabin we were given our dinning preference on board (late dinning in the Oriental restaurant table 52 for six people) no problem with that until the first dinner, the vibration in this restaurant was so bad it was almost impossible to talk to our fellow table guests. This was a lot worse than last year with the crockery & glases vibrating on the knifes & forks . The food quality & quantity have gone down considerable, one evening I had pork belly which was just 3 strips of fat, the waiters were very good & replaced this with a different meal. All the waiters were friendly but looked under stress & were less talkative than normal. It took them two days to introduce themselfs to us . This is possible due to there being less of them & to many tables to serve. With no silver service now you would think they would have more time to talk . During the crise there was lot of maintenance being done around the ship, fellow cruisers reported floods in cabins on deck 6 & hot & cold water being cut off at different times of the day. We were on deck 10 & didnt have any problems . Ports of call Alesund, Trondheim, Leknes Lofoten, Geiranger & Bergan all were all very good & scenic with Geiranger being the best location of the trip. Bergan would have been better but there was five cruise ships in port at the time so very crowded. Overall a good cruise but because of P&O cost cutting we will not be cruising on Oriana again & maybe not with P&O there are a lot of larger ships out there trying to fill places. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2014
We sailed from Southampton to Norway,Iceland ,the Faroes and Orkneys on P&O Oriana.The choice of ports of call was great with each port different to the others.Norway was stunning with Olden and Alesund the stops.Olden in particular ... Read More
We sailed from Southampton to Norway,Iceland ,the Faroes and Orkneys on P&O Oriana.The choice of ports of call was great with each port different to the others.Norway was stunning with Olden and Alesund the stops.Olden in particular was beautiful in the sunshine.Iceland was different again,more rugged,colder and windswept .The stop in Isafordur was cancelled because of high winds and stormy seas but the captain took us completely clockwise around the island to Reykjavik giving us close views of the largest glacier in Europe,first class and a fitting replacement to Isafordur.Reykjavik and Akureyi were great stops,very scenic but very windy.Finally the Faroes and the Orkneys were suprisingly lovely,once again the sun shone and it was pleasantly warm. The embarkation at Southampton was good taking about 30 minutes.The food and service in the Oriental Restaurant was first class and we could find no faults with it.Drink prices were very reasonable compared to other cruise lines.£3.50p for a pint of Old speckled Hen.There's a good indoor cinema onboard playing all the latest films,great for bad weather days and the tv channels were quite good in the cabins although the tiny tv's were not good for holding your attention .The evening entertainment was good with the theatre company giving great musical performances..Our cabin was kept clean as was the rest of the ship and for a 19 year old cruise ship it is in very good condition.The only fault we could find was the buffet in the conservatory where it was impossible to find a seat.Twice i left trays of food and left the restaurant after ten minutes of walking around looking for seating.People really must move on after they have finished their meals to give others a seat.We saw people reading books and chatting with no food in front of them.All in all a very good experience and we look forward to using P&O again in the future Read Less
Sail Date: May 2014
Oriana, launched in 1995 and it shows! look beyond the surface and the detail shows it's now getting very tired. Cabins have curling carpets (I had 2 and both the same), very dusty via air conditioners, causing quite a few people to ... Read More
Oriana, launched in 1995 and it shows! look beyond the surface and the detail shows it's now getting very tired. Cabins have curling carpets (I had 2 and both the same), very dusty via air conditioners, causing quite a few people to cough.....cabin stewards half happy half miserable. Deck areas showing rust in most joints (metal work) several bannisters removed for refurbishment but when refitted the joints left open for finger traps, some crew working unsafely when grinding. General areas where good from the last upgrade but most carpet seams / joins now lifting in older areas, very few plug sockets where straight from being bumped by stewards trollies, some where falling off. In the conservatory most waiters looked fed up and very few even smiled when thanked for removing plates from your table, only used main restaurant twice due to slow service. Entertainment staff excellent and all worked very hard over the 14 days, seemed motivated unlike the others already mentioned earlier. This was an adults only cruise and I did miss the sound of children, make the atmosphere lighter but must say vast majority of fellow passengers where friendly and talkative. Originally had a cabin under the gym and despite many complaints it took them a week to move use, one word of advice here AVOID CABINS A-107 to A-135, you have been warned!! Headliners Theater Company put on a few shows and had delighted all the audiences (us included) so are worthy of special praise. Was 30 year music festival cruise so loads classical music and shows hosted by Henry Kelly, his anecdotes always raised a twitter of laughter. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2014
We had a lovely first cruise aboard the Oriana. The staff were all very attentive, especially in the main restaurant (Peninsular). With the freedom dining we were offered a choice of dining every day 2,4,6 or 8 tables, this worked very ... Read More
We had a lovely first cruise aboard the Oriana. The staff were all very attentive, especially in the main restaurant (Peninsular). With the freedom dining we were offered a choice of dining every day 2,4,6 or 8 tables, this worked very well for us meeting new people every night. The meals were fantastic in all the restaurants but especially the peninsular. The Conservatory was used during the day along with the Al Fresco restaurant, both self service and great. The Alfresco restaurant serves till 2.30 in the morning, with Hot chocolate and Horlicks on the menu. We had a seven port stop in Portugal, Spain and Canary Islands and loved every minute of it. We saw signs of repair as in painting on the ship, but apart from some slight rust marks it was fine (well come on it is constantly in a salt environment). I saw no curled carpets. The Cinema projector is overdue for updating and let down some great films, that we should have been able to see in HD All in all we enjoyed our first cruise and we felt everyone was there to help us enjoy our time. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2014
Talk about tightening your belts....been with P&O now for 8 years this will be the last one our cabin on the Oriana needed updating,no more free room service menus when we asked our cabin steward he told us all had been taken out of ... Read More
Talk about tightening your belts....been with P&O now for 8 years this will be the last one our cabin on the Oriana needed updating,no more free room service menus when we asked our cabin steward he told us all had been taken out of cabins...no professional acts just staff taking 15 hours to get from Bruges to Southampton probably on 1 engine saving fuel also docking at 9.30am instead of the usual 5am can only presume its cheaper the later you dock ...then instead of staggering dis-embarkation oh no all 2000 guests had to get off at the same time 10.15am instead of from the usual 7am which is a big help when you have a 5 hour drive home. It took 50 minutes in a queue to get off ship then another 50 minutes to get off the car park a absolute nightmare!!!!!!!! can only think that having to get out your cabin at 8am and having to sit the coffee bars for 2 hours made P&O lots of money.... Although food was nice the portions have gone alot smaller.... Sorry P&O but I like value for money NOT being ripped off !!!!! Read Less
Sail Date: March 2014
We have been on three other cruises with P&O, but this was the smallest ship so far, hence a lot of rolling in a 6 metre swell in the North sea! The cabin stewards were great, but the rooms are past their best - ie. water stains on ... Read More
We have been on three other cruises with P&O, but this was the smallest ship so far, hence a lot of rolling in a 6 metre swell in the North sea! The cabin stewards were great, but the rooms are past their best - ie. water stains on the shower curtain (cabin A245) . The whole ship needs an upgrade. There were buckets placed at various points catching water dripping from somewhere and heaters low down drying out carpets. The food was good most of the time (whitebait was disgusting and the Barnsley chop was over cooked) The entertainment was second to none (the Headliners and the ship's crew!), but it was still a little boring mid-afternoon when at sea for two days - a bigger ship would have had more to do. The captain was very entertaining and kept you up to speed with everything nautical. Bad news... £15 per hour to use the Wi-Fi was outrageous when it is free even on buses nowadays! Some of the trips were overpriced. do not do the reindeer ride - several primitive sledges tied together and a walk across an empty expanse for half an hour or so was no fun would have liked more time at the top of the mountain (cable car ride) at Tromso and the guides in Bergen and Stavanger were terrible - mumbling, erring and generally not knowledgeable . We managed to see the northern lights though and I Got some great shots with a shutter speed of 25 seconds. It was cold though - -26 degrees C - but worth it Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2014
There's a lot that's right about Oriana. Our main impression was of a well designed ship with lovely public rooms which were fit for purpose. The Pacific Lounge isn't huge but a good size for a medium-sized ship and it ... Read More
There's a lot that's right about Oriana. Our main impression was of a well designed ship with lovely public rooms which were fit for purpose. The Pacific Lounge isn't huge but a good size for a medium-sized ship and it offers much better views of the artists than does the equivalent on Azura. If you like dancing then you will enjoy Harlequins, much better than being stuck down on a small floor in the Atrium as you are on some ships. The pub was a very good size, light and airy. The theatre offered good views with only a couple of pillars to get in the way. There were quiet, comfy rooms if you wanted to sit and read and a decent sized coffee shop area. The cinema was a very good size for this size of ship. We were in the Oriental restaurant which was pleasant and the Conservatory was, as on most ships, adequate but small for the number of passengers wanting to use it on a sea day when the weather's not so good! One thing we particularly liked about Oriana was that you could sit in the sun on the open deck without being bombarded by loud music. There was music sometimes around the Riviera pool but if you wanted peace and quiet then the other two pools offered that - Azura take note!! Our feelings before this cruise about the food on P&O were that standards had dropped a bit. On Oriana we would say that the food was good, better in fact than we had on Azura at Christmas. However, when it comes to choice then Celebrity offers a much wider choice in their buffets. We understand that P&O are moving to plated meals very shortly, which is a pity. The staff on Oriana were excellent - as they always are on P&O. The Headliners work very hard and their Queen tribute was excellent. The entertainment team were first class. Of the guest entertainers on this cruise, Paul Emmanuel was by far the best. This is the third cruise we have seen him on and if you like the Nat "King" Cole type of music, then he is not to be missed. Our cabin A119 - an ocean view - was comfortable and we coped very well without our usual balcony. There was plenty of hot water, the shower had good pressure and there was a bath. The safe is quite low down in the wardrobe and your clothes are hung front to back in the wardrobes which doesn't make them easily accessible. This cabin is below the gym and you can hear runners on the treadmills above you but this wasn't a major issue for us. Getting on an off the ship was a "doddle". We didn't do any of the P&O excursions as we'd been to all the ports of call except Horta before. Tendering in Horta was very slow and two of the four tenders broke down which made for a very slow, tedious and frustrating return to the ship. Seas going across the Atlantic were quite rough and Oriana creaked and groaned a bit as most ships do. On the way home from Barbados to Southampton is was smooth as silk. The ship does need a little bit of attention here and there - the toilet bowl in our cabin for instance which although perfectly clean had a black "ring of use" in it. There are a few spots in the swimming pools that could do with a lick of paint too. Overall this was an excellent cruise and we would not hesitate to sail on Oriana again. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2014
Embarkation at Southampton was not as slick as usual. We arrived early, about noon, and had to wait nearly two hours before our number was called to register and then a long queue for security which was very thorough, before we boarded the ... Read More
Embarkation at Southampton was not as slick as usual. We arrived early, about noon, and had to wait nearly two hours before our number was called to register and then a long queue for security which was very thorough, before we boarded the ship. Our luggage arrived at our cabin soon after we did so that was good. We had been on Aurora previously across the Pacific so we were interested to compare Oriana with our first P & O experience early last year. The Oriana is about 10,000 tons lighter than the Aurora but the layout is similar with a walk around promenade on deck seven always welcome. Some more modern ships do not retain this important, for us, feature. Oriana also has tiered outside decks at the stern so you can walk up from deck seven all the way to the Conservatory Buffet on deck 12 pausing on the way at each deck to look at the view on open decks. At the scheduled departure time around 6 p.m. the ship was still tied up to the dock and looking over the port side we saw a Dutch diving crew with two large vans working busily at the stern of the ship. Some time after this, the Captain's voice came over the tannoy announcing that there was a problem with the fitting of a new seal on the port side propeller shaft and work would not be complete until midnight at which time he hoped to set sale for Norway. The ship did not actually sail until 4 a.m. The following day the Captain announced that as well as being the oldest ship in the P & O fleet , Oriana was now also the fastest ship in the fleet having achieved in excess of 27 knots in attempting to catch up on the lost time in port and to enable us to arrive in Stavanger closer to the original scheduled time. The trip was called In Search of the Northern Lights and in that light, we had an on board lecturer call Ian Ridpath who gave a series on excellent lectures, the first of which was all about the Northern Lights. As on the Aurora, lectures on the Oriana were all excellent. We also enjoyed a classical guitarist Carlos Bonnel. We saw the first stage show which was quite good but not good enough to make us feel we had to see any more later in the cruise. Food in the Conservatory was O.K. but not exceptional. The buffet was also quite a bit smaller than on the Aurora and much more limited in choice. The other major problem was the presence on board of Noro Virus which meant all food was served at the buffet by crew, passengers were not allowed to help themselves to anything including cups of tea or coffee. This meant that some of the staff who were obviously not regular serving staff were doing work they were not trained for and it showed. This resulted in long queues at busy times and some frayed nerves on both sides. For some reason, on the last morning in Southampton prior to disembarkation we were allowed to help ourselves in the Conservatory Buffet for breakfast. Had Noro Virus mysteriously disappeared? Food in the main restaurant was excellent. It was not noticeable that there was a health problem and meals were of a consistently good standard with good service. We had a fixed time dining at 8.30 and shared with another couple who we had met at a lecture in the main theatre. We bought an internet package £65 for 250 minutes with an extra 30 minutes thrown in and this proved plenty for the 11 day cruise. The internet was down quite a lot of the time but worked in port. We bought a modest wine package, 4 bottles for £92, which by cruise line standards was quite good value. Beer and spirits in the bars were also quite reasonable and there was a Costa Coffee bar called Tiffanys on deck 6 which was quite popular. Coffee prices were less than at your average motorway services but slightly more than in the high street. You could also buy a coffee card deal which brought the cost down by about 10%. We did have a problem with the toilet in our cabin which over flowed twice. We managed to get staff to switch off the water in time to stop the flood overflowing in to the cabin but it was a close call. The first time they obviously did not fix the problem as the second over flow occurred immediately after we flushed the toilet after the first incident. Thankfully the second time they did fix the fault and we had no problems after that. We had an inside cabin which was smaller than the cabin on the Aurora. We left the TV on Bridge Cam at night so that in the morning we could see our progress and we treated the TV like a porthole. On some ships they turn the bridge cam off at night which is quite annoying but not on P & O thankfully. We arrived in Alta on 6th March. The Captain informed us that this was the first P & O ship to travel so far north in the winter. We were parked right next to the airport which enabled us to watch several aircraft arriving and taking off during our two night stay. We did a ship's bus trip around the Alta area priced quite reasonably at £35 each. That night on deck 14 we searched for a view of the Northern Lights with Ian Ridpath joining us and we did managed to catch a glimpse. There was a lot of light pollution from the Town of Alta which reduced the effect of the Northern Lights as viewed from the ship and my camera it turned out was not designed for long exposures with a fast iso setting so my pictures were very disappointing. I have since bought a better camera. See Micky777 on the Hurtigruten trip. Having wetted our appetites with this viewing of the Lights we decided to fork out £145 for a 'once in a life time' opportunity to chase the Lights as it was billed by the P & O excursions pamphlet. We were expecting to get on a coach and drive around the area searching to find a good vantage point away from Light Pollution to view the Northern Lights. What we did not know was that there had been a meeting of the passengers going on the trip to discuss the things and the local organiser had said right at the start that the chances of seeing anything that night were slim to none and that people were bound to be disappointed. However P & O at that point did not offer a refund for those wishing to cancel. My wife and I were off the ship at the time of the meeting in Alta town watching an ice sculpture carving competition so we did not know about this information. We returned to the ship for dinner and then took the trip. What we got was a short bus ride to a golf course which had been set up to cater for the six or seven bus loads of expectant star gazers hoping to view the Northern lights. There were two Sami tents set up one near the bus park and Golf Club building and once down a steep track at the edge of the gold course. The paths were lit by candles at ground level and each of the tents had roaring logs fires. There were also benches outside with furs on them for people to sit on and gaze at the stars. Because of the weather however, totally overcast at the gold club, there was nothing to see. We stayed at the Golf Club for three and a half hours waiting patiently and then it started to snow and we were invited back on to the coaches and taken back to the ship which took about 15 minutes. Needless to say we were not impressed. £145 for 25 minute bus drive to a gold course, a cup of chocolate and a piece of lemon cake. Help yourself by the way, no Noro Virus at the Golf Club apparently. We have put in a complaint, here's hoping. We left Alta the next day and headed for Tromso another Northern Lights hot spot. We had to stop after a couple of hours because the sea water cooling system had been blocked by silt in Alta. We eventually got under way but this resulted in a late arrival in Tromso on the Sunday and nearly everything was closed. The Norwegian Government then issued a severe weather warning which meant a delayed departure from Tromso the next day at 3 p.m. The Captain explained that we would travel slowly following the northern edge of the severe weather to avoid the worst of the weather. Apparently a 15 metre swell was expected and the Captain wanted to avoid this. As it was we probably had 7 metre waves and a bumpy night. We had to miss out Bergen on the return south to Southampton and were given a £50 on board refund. An eventful trip with ups and downs literally. The crew clearly worked very hard to get the Noro Virus under control but apparently without success. We personally had no problems but were careful to avoid touching surfaces, especially hand rails and door handles. Common sense really, and frequent washing of hands to be on the safe side. The Captain Robert Camby was a star. His thought of the day always clever and amusing. He always kept us fully informed about developments. A big contrast to other ships Carnival and NCL could take a leaf from his book.   Read Less
Sail Date: January 2014
We escaped the English winter with it's rain and gales to encounter the same at sea - fortunately we are good sailors and with the combined expertise of P&O and an excellent Captain had no worries about safety. Lisbon is a pretty ... Read More
We escaped the English winter with it's rain and gales to encounter the same at sea - fortunately we are good sailors and with the combined expertise of P&O and an excellent Captain had no worries about safety. Lisbon is a pretty boring place and having been there many times, debated whether to go ashore or not. We walked to a small bar not too far from the ship, where I left my husband to seek out a little shop I know to get some supplies for the cabin, the sun did come out and we were able to sit outside the cafe for a while. We then continued South and the weather improved immensely. We did not get off the ship in Agadir but sat in the sun on deck, then Cadiz - a really super place, then one of our favourites - Gibraltar, finally La Corunna where the weather definitely took a turn for the worse. It was not the roughest sea we have ever experienced, having been cruising for 34 years - the nice thing was that the Captain kept coming over the tannoy to tell passengers what was happening, I must compliment him on that - no wonder he is to captain the new ship Britannia. We always ask for a table for 2 in the dining room, but lately this does not seem to happen so we used the Conservatory self service restaurant, one steward in particular was most helpful always carrying my tray back to the table and helping my husband wherever he could, not his job he was a wine steward! We had a meal in Sorrento (Italian) one evening and it was excellent, although not quite as good as the one on Azura - once again the staff were so helpful, one young woman insisting on taking my husband's arm to help him to a comfortable seat outside, our usual after dinner venue. The entertainment was reasonable, although we don't bother with the shows as we have seen them - but the tenor Benjamin Makisi was fantastic. Despite the rough seas we enjoyed our little break and look forward to November when we are off again. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2014
Ship: Beautiful to look and beautiful inside - very traditional with lovely bars including Crows Nest at the top and front and my favourite "Andersons" (upmarketish) with superb, friendly bar and waiting staff. Large theatre; ... Read More
Ship: Beautiful to look and beautiful inside - very traditional with lovely bars including Crows Nest at the top and front and my favourite "Andersons" (upmarketish) with superb, friendly bar and waiting staff. Large theatre; separate cinema with movies 5/6 times daily; large cabaret lounge; excellent large disco/dance club (much nicer than Oceana's grotty little grey box! Food: Much better than Oceana; excellent service for food and wine; even the buffet had good food (I just don't like some of the pushy customers there!). ALL Staff/crew: VERY friendly: the captain walks round ship 2/3 times daily and is approachable (and speaks English unlike the one on my Oceana cruise!); other senior officers walk round and also are very approachable. ALL bar staff friendly and get on well their bosses which shows a good ship. Entertainment: Apparently the best Headliners troupe ever; no weak links. Excellent entertainment during the day unlike the Oceana's non-stop quizzes and bingo. Spanish lessons, ballroom and line dancing lessons, port presentations, etc. Classical guitarist daily; pianist daily; three bands; various excellent guest performers in both theatre and cabaret lounge. Singles: EVERY morning coffee meeting (not just once as on Oceana!) AND special section of restaurant for singles afternoon tea every day. Choir: MD of orchestra trains and develops a passenger choir and solo singers during the cruise with show on last day. Also a passenger talent show. Weather: Rough throughout cruise but Oriana has a proper bottom and bow and rides the waves very well. Oriana is fastest in fleet and captain used this to beat the weather. A severe storm was forecast on leaving Lisbon so ship went full speed on leaving to get ahead of the worst. On return we were sailing into the near hurricane winds hitting the UK. Captain held back to let the first storm hit then full speed to get into Southampton early - we arrived Friday 2pm instead of Sat 6am. We would not have been able to dock if on schedule. Oceana meant to sail from S'ton on Thursday; still there when I left the Oriana on Sat. Carbuncle ! : Every beautiful “body” is allowed one of these and sadly Oriana has the “Alfresco”. P&O web site describes this cramped dump as “specialising in pizza” and also serving burgers, open sandwiches, etc. This is a clear breach of the Trade Descriptions Act. There are no burgers and I didn’t see any open sandwiches. The so-called “pizzas” are tiny, overcooked segments with next to no topping or cheese. Think of the party host in a panic who burns their Iceland pizzas but still puts them out for the guests. Chefs train for years to produce “creations”. In Alfresco, “chefs” train for minutes to produce “cremations” !! Also, if you want a cup of coffee, expect to wait up to 30 minutes as the staff congregate in one corner chatting; many customers left with no coffee. P&O please, please close this abomination – perhaps replace with vending machines? Cabins: On Getaway fare I managed to afford an excellent and large balcony cabin – twice the size of Oceana’s and kept immaculately clean. BEWARE: Cabins numbered D180 to D231 (as mine was) are situated above the night club “Pacific Lounge”. Unless you go to bed after midnight and do not want to lie down in the afternoons, avoid these cabins at all cost.   Read Less
Sail Date: January 2014
First cruise from Southampton 4 days of hell because of the weather and seas but when we got to the islands it was very good. Weather was hit and miss but really enjoyed it loads to do .staff v good captain reassured us about weather ... Read More
First cruise from Southampton 4 days of hell because of the weather and seas but when we got to the islands it was very good. Weather was hit and miss but really enjoyed it loads to do .staff v good captain reassured us about weather conditions . Would do it again . Met some nice people on our table where we ate most nights, we were very concerned about the set meals in the restaurant but loved it! The food /service was magnificent , and the menus were amazing!!! All silver service would Defo recommend this. The photos on board a little expensive they would sell more if cheaper the beer was reasonable but drinking water was riddiculass £1.90 a bottle and as my wife suffers with crohns disease and needs loads of fresh(not tap) water this was a bad thing for us!! All water in big bottles were free on ocean village 1 I had a cepap machine for my snoring had to ask steward for an extension for electric which he got for me , as no electic sockets near the beds. Over all we enjoyed our little adventure not to much to moan about really value for money at 699 for 2 weeks for us both . We drink most nights in the lords taverner. Oh yes and put up with that boring music man. There every night he was terrible , apparently after other our age46 and 47 ish complained re lack of entertainment for our age group they were told the entertainment is geared up for adults only !,, so after questioning this they were told oh for over 70 year old s so beware if your 40 + entertainment is bit poor!!!! Read Less
Sail Date: January 2014
This was only our second cruise, the first being on Oceana in July 2013, and we did enjoy it, Oriana may not quite have the 'bling' of Oceana but she is elegant and you do get a bath in your cabin and it's good to soak your ... Read More
This was only our second cruise, the first being on Oceana in July 2013, and we did enjoy it, Oriana may not quite have the 'bling' of Oceana but she is elegant and you do get a bath in your cabin and it's good to soak your legs after a day exploring ashore (and with the rough seas we experienced at times probably safer than trying to stand up in the shower !) . The Crows Nest bar was a great place from which to watch the bows hitting those big seas (not all our fellow passengers shared our enthusiasm for the rough seas it has to be said, it seems we are good sailors after all) It was wonderful to reach the warm Madeira and Canaries even if it was a little wet in Funchal. All the crew on board were friendly, helpful and efficient , our waiters in the Oriental restaurant, Danesh, Nelson and Ferdy were great and made our evening meals all the more enjoyable, as did our six table companions, set dining on a table for eight can be a lottery but we struck lucky and made good friends for the fortnight. Food was often good, sometime only just OK, Wine and drinks prices very reasonable and a good reason alone to cruise with P&O I think. Afternoon tea in the Peninsular restaurant was not as good as we experienced on Oceana, less choice and quantity of sandwiches and cakes. whether this is down to the individual ships or a general cost cutting by P&O I don't know.. There is a good choice in the buffet style 'smash & grab' sorry 'Conservatory' eating place, it's all right if you get there really early in the morning otherwise it doesn't fit with most peoples image of elegant cruising, quite entertaining when the ship was really rolling in those high seas though. Theatre shows were good and the cinema is nice, although showing an odd choice of rather dark films at times. despite a few gripes overall my wife and I had a great time and will cruise again and with P&O ( if they don't do any more cost cutting and the drinks prices stay reasonable of course.)   Read Less
Sail Date: January 2014
Shall we, shan't we? We had heard mixed reports of cruising but, at the last minute and on a wet, miserable December day, decided to book on a twelve day cruise on Oriana from Southampton to Morocco calling at Portugal, Spain and ... Read More
Shall we, shan't we? We had heard mixed reports of cruising but, at the last minute and on a wet, miserable December day, decided to book on a twelve day cruise on Oriana from Southampton to Morocco calling at Portugal, Spain and Gibralter. We arrived at Ocean Quay in mid- January where check in is faultless: a fifteen minute queue through security then, an hour after being dropped, we are in our cabin with luggage delivered an hour later. It is clear from the outset that cleanliness is a priority with hand wash available everywhere and squirted on to your hands before boarding and before entering food areas. Having heard tales that fellow dinner guests can be pot luck, we had requested a table for two in the dining room. That would have been a mistake and we need not have worried! We found ourselves on a table for six meeting an experienced cruising couple about our age with whom we could chat easily and in a relaxed fashion. The other couple never materialised so we remained a foursome for the remainder of the cruise. On our cruise, we were told that, of 1600 passengers, only about 600 were first time cruisers! During the entire cruise, we never met anyone who was on their first cruise, only well travelled and sociable folk who had found cruising an acceptable lifestyle: the record was one lady who was on her fiftieth (or was it seventieth) cruise! By 1000 on the first morning, we have entered the Bay of Biscay in a moderate sea and F7 winds. Not ideal conditions for a first timer and I had not taken anything. First thing, I was not feeling too good but, after an hour of sleep and the purchase of wrist bands, I had recovered to explore the ship and the numerous food outlets. Chaplins Cinema is a great place to pass away an hour or two in the bleak crossing of the Bay and the choice of films is good: not all latest releases but most within the last twelve months and varied and acceptable. Tea in the Peninsular Dining Room is not to be missed! A choice of teas along with sandwiches, scones with clotted cream and assorted cakes not doing anything for the waistline. A very well equipped gymnasium has more than sufficient equipment and was never anywhere fully utilised in the time that we were on the ship. I enjoyed the cycling and rowing machines but others were using the jogging, walking and weightlifting equipment. Staff were in abundance on day one but left you to your own devices thereafter, which suited me. We enjoyed our cabin, an outside with a window in which thick curtains divided the bedroom and living areas. The bathroom is well lit with ample mirrors and generous bottles of shampoo, conditioner, body lotion, soap and shower gel. There are more than sufficient dining choices, most appealing to Brutish tastes. The Conservatory has food available all day from continental breakfast at 6 am through lunch and era to a themed evening meals. The Peninsular Restaurant offers full breakfast, waiter served lunch and, with the Oriental, full five course evening meal. The small Al Fresco is open all day offering whatever is relevant to the hour. Then Tiffany's, the Costa Coffee outlet, is a popular and elegant meeting place, one that we enjoyed later in the evening when the concert pianist was playing. There was too much entertainment for us. It starts at 0800 and continues until midnight. The ship never appeared to be crowded: there was always somewhere to sit and enjoy the cruise be it on deck in the sun or below in the elegant public areas. I enjoyed the library but it would be better if there were a range of magazines to browse: I suggest that you take your own. The Theatre Royal shows were excellent. Clearly, ports of call will vary from cruise to cruise. Suffice to say, that we always arrived on time and had no problem coming and going to and from the ship with the minimum of necessary security. We did not take any excursions taking advantage of the regular shuttle buses. We would not bother to go ashore at either Agadir or Gibralter if they were offered again, the former being intimidation, the later being tatty. Cadiz was best. However, to just remain on board and enjoy the scenery and sun would be sufficient for us. Communication with passengers was good. At the last port, La Coruna, situated at the southern end if the Bay of Biscay, the Captain warned of rough seas with a 10 metre swell - he was right. Just as my soup arrived, we entered the swells and being situated at the stern, the Oriental was the place to experience the excitement! The rough seas continued through the night and all of the final day at sea making walking around interesting. Meeting others and having a chat normally resulted in having a dance: I stopped to talk with one acquaintance and, a few seconds later, he was on the opposite side of the ship. We followed the Captain's advice and purchased some Avamin from Reception enjoying an excellent night sleep in the rough seas. Would we go again? Yes, without doubt. Remarkable value for money, a pleasant way to escape winter with easy travel from Southampton "avoiding flying" being a frequently quoted plus point for fellow passengers. P&O have it right from the friendly and attentive staff through the varied menus to the general pampered ambience: they clearly know their target market and long may they continue as we will happily sail with them again. Roll on next winter! Read Less
Sail Date: November 2013
As first time cruisers, we were looking forward to the hyped up cruise with p&o on the Oriana . Deluxe room very ordinary on C deck. Food at the main restaurants very average, with self service at the conservatory comparible to ... Read More
As first time cruisers, we were looking forward to the hyped up cruise with p&o on the Oriana . Deluxe room very ordinary on C deck. Food at the main restaurants very average, with self service at the conservatory comparible to motorway service stations. Continental breakfast served in your room was extremely disappointing - so poor we had to leave it !! Al Fresco restaurant probably the better breakfast/ snack areas- still very 2*.Fortunatley we had booked a table at the Ocean Grill for our last night dinner which was 10/10. No complimentary water in your room- £1.00 a small bottle! Entertainment cheesy and downmarket! Painting Maintenance carried out on the upper deck which left a few cruisers with paint covering their outer wear- no attempt to stop passengers using these areas. Average age in the 60's.. All in all, very disappointing. Won't be in a rush to return! 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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