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As [our travel agent], provided a taxi from home to the Mayflower Terminal, joining the ship was very stress free. The actual embarkation process was quite efficiently carried out by P&O staff and we were soon in our cabin on ... Read More
As [our travel agent], provided a taxi from home to the Mayflower Terminal, joining the ship was very stress free. The actual embarkation process was quite efficiently carried out by P&O staff and we were soon in our cabin on deck 10 and our luggage was delivered to our cabin within a few minutes. The Oriana is a fine well built ship and no expense has been spared, it seems, in quality of the furnishings and equipment. We were pleased with our cabin with balcony which seemed well sound proofed. The Captain, Rory Scott and his officers ran the ship in a very professional manner. The Captain was to be seen around the vessel chatting to passengers but was also we were told quite strict which is always a good thing. Entertainment was really extremely good with the ships dance and song troupe being very versatile and putting their all into their shows. The other entertainers, John Evans; the comedian; Martin Daniels the conjurer/Comedian and Gerard Kenny, the singer/song writer were really excellent. The Maritime Theme lecturers were also very good with the cinema venue often filled to overflowing. The food in general was good with breakfasts being excellent, lunches a bit variable as regards some choices. For instance hot pot and cottage pie are not what one expects on a P&O cruise. Our biggest disappointment however were the main courses at dinner (second sitting) in the Oriental restaurant. Apart from the Captain's Gala Dinner the meat was sometimes tough or overcooked and the fish rather tasteless. We were not alone in commenting on this as others on our table for six echoed this. A pity as this the main meal of the day on a cruise. Our waiters were again very good indeed and perhaps we should have complained about the meat, etc. to our head waiter. We enjoyed the ports of call and the excursions we went on we enjoyed with the guides doing a very good job, one or two having a great sense of humour as well. We had good weather almost throughout the voyage with only quite a gentle swell in the Bay of Biscay. Arriving back in Southampton the disembarking process was pretty efficient probably because of P&O'S considerable experience in Southampton. Finally one or two criticisms: We think P& O are wrong to carry children of up to 11 years old free of charge outside school holiday times, this encourages parents to allow them to miss schooling. It also means that people who book cruises at these times have to put up with noisy and sometimes badly supervised children The children on this cruise completely ignored pool rules and the ships staff made no effort to our knowledge to enforce the rules regarding jumping and diving. We also noticed that P&O are not giving those little touches that other cruise lines give such as chocolates on the pillow each night, fruit in the cabin, toiletries in the bathrooms. This was our first cruise with P&O, but people told us that these used to be provided. In fairness however the provision of binoculars and an atlas in the cabin was a plus point. Overall we did really enjoy our cruise on the Oriana. CopeEdwards@aol.comNovember 2002 Read Less
I promised I would write a review so here goes. Advance apologies if anyone finds my opinions different to theirs! Prices are in £ sterling. General Info This was our eighth cruise..David is my husband and we take our cruises together! ... Read More
I promised I would write a review so here goes. Advance apologies if anyone finds my opinions different to theirs! Prices are in £ sterling. General Info This was our eighth cruise..David is my husband and we take our cruises together! Cruised from Southampton to The Canaries and back to Southampton. The cruise duration was 9 nights. Getting to ship/embarkation. We drove to Southampton and gave the car to Andrews to look after. The journey was a bit fraught as there were holdups on M27 and we had to leave the motorway and find our way through the centre of Southampton. The embarkation was smooth..our cases were taken as we arrived and we saw them again once we reached our cabin. We waited for about 3/4 hour before embarkation and were seated comfortably in the terminal where you could buy drinks, newspapers, magazines and other odds and ends. Quite tranquil. The ship was loaded according to cards handed out as you booked in..all hassle free. First we were taken to one of the beautiful lounges on this ship. It was Anderson's. We made our own way to our cabin after a decent interval as nobody seemed to be coming to escort us. We were highly impressed on our first glimpse of the interior... most tasteful and the 3 deck atrium was quite stunning. The ship has a high level of cleanliness which was maintained throughout the cruise. Cabin we were on deck 9 in the Forward section of the ship...which was very long. I certainly got exercise getting there. The cabin was C128 and was an outside cabin with very large window. The cabin was 150 sq.ft. which included the bathroom. This was the smallest cabin we have ever had. The bathroom had a bath with shower over and it would have been more spacious if there had been just a shower. The cabin used large mirrors judiciously to enhance the size of the room. The bed was 6ft wide..2 singles joined together. We did think to separate the beds to make extra space in the middle..but were too lazy to bother. The wardrobe space had 3 doors with the rails front to back rather than sideways. This was an irritant as you had to reach in trying to unhook those wretched hangers! This was a space saving device I guess. To be fair we had adequate space and we were able to store our large suitcases under the beds. We had two chests of drawers one each side of the bed with 4 drawers in each, plus a dressing table with 4 very spacious drawers. One special plus was the fridge..so much better and cheaper than a minibar. We took on board our own wine and drinks. Also there was a kettle and mugs plus tea coffee milk and sugar so you could make your own refreshments. There were biscuits and chocolate drinks as well. We thought this was a great plus and we found making your own cuppa whenever you wanted was wonderful. There was a TV with remote and we were able to get BBC World, CNN etc. I would like to ask cruise lines to get Sky news as I just hate BBC World which seems to think giving any news about UK as irrelevant! While I am on this topic congratulations to P&O who screened the World Cup Matches not only in the Pacific Lounge but in our cabins...my husband was delighted. The bathroom was well equipped with liquid soap over the shower..Molton Brown no less which is quite an upmarket brand. There was also a bag of goodies including cottonwool, sewing aid, nail files etc. The two bathroom cabinets were quite adequate. All in all the cabin was good...very light. Walking around the ship we thought the inside cabins were equal size with outside..good to know if you plan to have an inside. Also found that cabins in the same letter grade were priced according to location...we were KC forward. KA were on a higher deck and were also in a better location...i.e midships. The next grade cabin up D grade were a much better size and were also well located, but on the port side of the ship they had 3-4 people and were used by families. We would look for a D grade cabin if we could get a special price, but if we really wanted a cruise we would go the same grade as this time. The sound insulation was quite good, although we had only couples next door to us and we heard no noise from above. We were pleased as we cannot stand extraneous noise. Dining & Food We were late bookers and had no choice of dining. We were first sitting and were on a table for 6 people. The other 4 were 2 couples travelling together and all were very pleasant, so no problems there. The food was quite good...not as good as QE2 or Crystal but nevertheless plenty of choice and well presented. Our waiters were very good..all came from Goa and were most professional. The portions were generous and there was always a fish dish and vegetarian selections. Considering the number of passengers on the ship the dining experience was good. We ate in the Peninsular restaurant but the other, the Oriental was a better looking room, purely because it was at the back of the ship with a wrap around window. Dining room was according to cabin location so we were placed in Peninsular. We did sneak into the Oriental for some breakfasts and lunches but it was discouraged and we were asked which restaurant we normally dined in..we ofcourse told a lie..anything to write a good review.. Our readers need to know these things. Breakfast in the dining room ended at 9am..a grave mistake in our opinion. We feel that breakfast should last until 9.30am at least. Dinner began at 6.30 and second sitting was 8.30pm. Because we do not like to dine so early we took advantage of the restaurant in the conservatory...you know, the Lido. Each evening part of this restaurant was transformed into Le Jardin and there was a cover charge of £3.50 per person, which was well worth it in our opinion. We were able to sit in the perfect location overlooking the water with our own waiter taking care of all our needs and the food was really good and very well presented. We ate there more than in the dining room as we enjoyed the experience so much..well done P&O. Turning to breakfast and lunch in the conservatory, I simply do not like the hugger mugger atmosphere of these places..they are generally crowded and noisy and this was no exception..kids shouting others crying and a generally unrelaxed atmosphere. Give me the starched tablecloths and the dignity of the main restaurant any day. There were no themed dinners and no baked Alaska nights..good. My birthday was one night and we managed to avoid the usual happy birthday song, but when we got to our cabin there were the balloons on the door and inside a plate of Belgian chocs. and a card signed by the captain. Very tasteful and much appreciated. The dress code was always adhered to, and we were impressed with the standard of dress on formal nights..people on the Oriana were in my opinion better dressed than on QE2. Of the nine nights 3 were formal, 4 were informal and 2 were casual (first and last nights)There were more men in Tuxes than I had thought would be and I certainly never felt overdressed in my finery. Ship's facilities Found the staff at all levels very helpful and polite..except for one waiter who took umbrage when I asked for fresh tea at breakfast..the cup he poured was stewed. He told me many people liked it like that and made a big production of it. Then he asked my husband if he should go and get another pot of hot water to serve the coffee..very sarcastic.. but there is always the odd rude person isn't there. On board shops had a lot of stock..but the evening clothes for sale were pretty awful and one dress was marked as though it had been worn. Lots of jewellery and perfume..usual inch of gold. Not much to talk about really though quite adequate and there were two shops one on deck 7 and another on deck 6..do ask any questions you would like answered about the shops. They did give a talk about Tanzanite, which I had seen in the Caribbean. The young woman giving the talk about it seemed to read the details and knew very little. When I went to look at the display in the jewellery section, I thought it was vastly overpriced as was the Swarzovski jewellery. The Pave was good and they had a reasonable selection. The Casino gave me a pain..I just love to play the slots but I was convinced that these were calibrated to give least return...I went through £10 in about 10 minutes and this was the worst result on Slots that I have ever had. The other gaming room was well organised and attended,..but we did not play. Looked at the equipment in the gym which was on a high deck..very good and there was a spa there too which was always deserted. Dear reader, I took all my gym clobber but regret to inform you that after looking at all the young men and women exercising ferociously, I just did not get round to my regular exercise. The decks at the aft section where the pools were situated were always crowded on fine days at sea and I have to tell you the German towel syndrome was well in evidence (please do not take offence German readers..this is a British joke) In my opinion British people are very guilty of the towel on sunbed habit. This was a great drawback for us..You simply had to go out and stake your claim about 9am to get a bed. I was unable to get one except on the side promenade deck during the entire cruise. Not to sound too snobbish but the types who do this kind of thing were a bit downmarket and I would not have liked to confront them. The Jacuzzis were also quite crowded. I did not visit the hairdresser..I find them generally overpriced and not that good, so prefer to take my own dryer and fix my own hair. Looked at the cyber study, but sessions on the internet were very expensive and I did not use it. Nor did it ever seem crowded. Liked the library, though I do wish there were some audio books to borrow. I always take one or two as they are amazingly soporific and I never get to listen to more than one side before I am asleep. Hellishly expensive on the batteries! You could borrow 2 books at a time and titles were up to date..some very new ones. You could also buy paperbacks on board, a good idea. The Thackeray room attached to the library was a lovely relaxing room in which to read. I used it all day on the rough day we had on the way home. My husband was disappointed by the lack of bridge players on board. There were 8 others and nobody else came, so he did not get a game. We went to the trivia quizzes. One was at 5.30pm..a stupid time as those going to first sitting found it inconvenient. There was always a good crowd there. Photo gallery same as any other ship..nothing to say really, although as it was on a walkway, it was a bit inconvenient at times. Lots of bars to drink in...not that interested in this so really can only tell you if bars are your scene, you will not be disappointed on Oriana. We loved Tiffany court where a pianist tinkled away before and after dinner..we sipped our cocktails and listened to his great improvisations. I have to say that drink prices on Oriana were very reasonable. I think the drinks on the ship were cheaper than on any other ship we have cruised on. Nothing to say about discos..I am well past that age! Entertainment The theatre Royal was highly impressive..a really large theatre with tiered red plush seats, complete with individual aircon. in each seat..how different!. can only say that this was the best theatre on board that I have seen. The shows were fine..We did enjoy the productions. We heard that they had changed the dance troupe and were trying out a new company..well done P&O as we enjoyed the music and verve of the artists. There were two nights of classical piano recitals in the Curzon room. Most music was well known and well played and I found them most enjoyable. Another artist was an excellent illusionist plus a stand up comedian on a couple of nights....and that was it. The ports of call were well known to us: Vigo..for Santiago De Compostela. We have done the tour before so went shopping in Vigo for ciggies for friends in UK. We do not smoke but the cost of a carton was £10..very cheap. Lanzarote..where we took our only organised tour. The guide was one of the best we have ver had and the landscape of the island was highly dramatic. I would thoroughly recommend this tour. Santa Cruz Tenerife...we wandered around the town of Santa Cruz and found it most relaxing. Madeira.. last port of call. We had been there twice before, but always like a wander around the town of Funchal. Heard that our tablemates enjoyed their tour greatly. There was always a bus to get into town, except in Funchal where a boat was laid on to take you to the middle of town.. all very satisfactory. We had one very rough night on the second night out..I was rather scared, but that was just because it was uncomfortable. The only other rough weather was just after we left Madeira when a strong wind whipped the sea up and there was a most uncomfortable day spent indoors. OK, Now how would I improve this cruise experience.. There were 200 children on the ship...children got very heavy discounts. I think some even went free under a certain age. For us this was one of the downsides. We have children ..and in fact we have grown up teenage grandchildren, but we do not like to spend our cruises with kids..OK you can slate me if you like, but we had thought that in June the kids would still be in school and I have to say I heartily disapprove of parents removing their children in term time to go on hols. I know it is expensive to holiday in the school hols. but we were surprised to see quite so many children. They were well catered for on board and I am sure they enjoyed themselves. We certainly did not like them around at meal times. Why is it that young children wait until meal times to bawl, scream and generally carry on? This was especially apparent in the conservatory where I advise you to keep away if you are looking for tranquility. I am now looking for ships other than Saga where children are not catered for.. having read the review about Arcadia maybe that ship will be the one for me! Next..cinema listings. The cinema is superb and was under utilised both for talks and decent films. They had Charlotte Grey and A beautiful Mind on..but films were poorly advertised and I have written to P&O to suggest they have an advertisement outside the cinema to say what is showing. The films shown in the cabins bore no resemblance to the written program so I did not see any I liked. I am a real film fan and so I was disappointed, especially as the cinema is so good. Saw Harry Potter and Monsters Inc. Both were rather spoilt as parents dropped their children in the cinema and left them.. whereupon some played merry hell. Guest Speakers...where were they?? There was an erudite gentleman who spoke about ports and the tours. We enjoyed his knowledge and thought he was great. There was one other guest speaker, a lady who spoke twice about getting your life in balance..bit jargony and I have a really great balance in my life and did not go on a cruise for self improvement. This lack of guest speakers was a great disappointment to us, having been on other cruises where the guest speakers were pure enjoyment. The under utilisation of so many wonderful lounges. The lounges on this ship were some of the best I have ever seen. How great to serve afternoon tea in such gracious surroundings..but no! Afternoon tea was served in the restaurant or in the dreaded Conservatory..not at all gracious. I like a serene room with a musician in the background and waiters in elegant gloves serving finger sandwiches, scones and cakes using china that is elegant..maybe too much to ask? But this is a British ship and we should be doing tea in style! Well I think by now you will all be bored. As I have been writing I can see that I did really like the Oriana, especially as I paid only £799 for this cruise booked only 3 weeks in advance. There were many other passengers who had paid the same price as us. An inside cabin could be had for £699..so who can complain. I think that the World Cup affected sales and so we were lucky. I would give the cruise 7/10 and would have given a better score except for my moans outlined above. Please feel free to ask questions..but do it soon as we are about to leave on another cruise..this one booked a year in advance. We leave on 11th July on Saga Rose to Iceland, Norway, Shetlands etc and then to Ireland and Scotland. Cheers, annspeakman@homechoice.co.ukJuly 2002 Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: June 2006
Oriana June 2006 Last year we took a short cruise on Arcadia and were shocked to hear all the time not to go on a short cruise, there were so many times we were told not to go on a short cruise, so with some trepidation we took a ... Read More
Oriana June 2006 Last year we took a short cruise on Arcadia and were shocked to hear all the time not to go on a short cruise, there were so many times we were told not to go on a short cruise, so with some trepidation we took a 4-day cruise on Oriana. We went Wednesday the 21st. As normal a pleasant and easy trip down to Southampton, we arrived at 1150 am and the car park chaps were waiting, they took the car and then a guy came over and took our bags, all this took about 2 mins and was great service. None of this happened on Arcadia, it was not on a short cruise. Check in opened at 12 and we were whisked through in no time at all. We had a drink in the lounge and waited to board and that was pleasant. Boarding was fast and easy we were on board by 2 and our bags were at the cabin waiting, we had an outside on c deck c141 and its was perfect, last time on Arcadia we had a suite and the cabin on Oriana did not disappoint. Our steward was there while we unpacked and was so nice, she said anything you want just ask and she meant it. So we unpacked and did a tour of the ship, starting on the top deck and walking along every deck from top to bottom. The ship is ten years older than Arcadia but much much nicer , all the rooms are better, the bar lounges, shopping it's all so much better . Arcadia was a cold ship quite plain but Oriana was so much nicer. We were seated in the peninsular restaurant and had asked for a table for 2 and first sitting, both of which were given to us as requested. This was not the case on Arcadia. The met office had forecasted strong winds, very unusual for the time of year they said, so we thought it could be an interesting trip to Rotterdam our first port. The ship sailed on time, and we dropped into Andersons for a pre dinner cocktail this is such a nice bar, nothing to compare on Arcadia and the staff were so welcoming. The cocktails were to die for, so so nice. Dinner followed superb food service was brilliant if you can find a fault here then you're a really sad person. As we passed calshot the sea was busy, white horses every where and I thought this does not look good, we're only in the Solent. As we passed bembridge and hit the open water it got worse a fairly heavy swell and white horses every where. But the ship was perfect, hardly moved and took it all in its stride so no worries there at all. So off to the show, its was hits from the musicals and was very good, the only place Arcadia is better was here the seat and layout were better in that theatre. After the show off to the pacific lounge for the 70s night and the group natural high did a great job. We danced the night away and went up to the cabin about 2 am it was the most perfect first day. Next morning we awoke early and watched out progress up the river to Rotterdam its a long ride from the sea to the city and was fascinating. We decide to breakfast in the peninsular again and it was the best breakfast anywhere in the world nothing is too much for those guys. We took the courtesy bus into town for some retail therapy and the guide was great gave us loads of info all free of charge of course. We returned to the ship for lunch and again it could not have been better. Another walk round the ship then back in the afternoon to town, to look round the shops we missed in the morning. Dinner again was just perfect and followed by a show with Tom o Connor who is really good, he was also on Arcadia last year. Yet again more cocktails in Andersons and then off to the pacific lounge again for a sailaway party. We danced the night away again. This ship is really good and your made to feel welcome everywhere. Next morning we arrived on time in Zebrugge and went into town after another amazing breakfast. Bit more retail therapy this time big bottle of chocolate milk and Belgium chocolates. Back to the ship cocktails by the Rivera pool and it was so nice up there, then off to lunch in the conservatory again a wide choice and cream cakes to die for. The afternoon was spent sunbathing and sleeping on the rear pool deck. We both got a bit burnt, as it's a real suntrap. Gala dinner night the only formal night on the cruise followed by the captains cocktail party in the pacific lounge, the Captain made a speech and was genuinely funny. We talked to some officers and they were friendly too and of course free drinks and nibbles. Another show followed this time the Buddy Holly story and that was well done too. By now I suspect you're bored and thinking this is a love story of one couples love for Oriana. Well it's true we loved Oriana and almost hated Arcadia. I smoke and on Arcadia I was told you can't buy cigarettes as it's against customs regulations on a short cruise, on Oriana they delivered my smokes to my cabin and it was not a problem. Arcadia is not finished and decorated in the same way, ok they say its contemporary and modern. That may be, but its cold and not welcoming, the atrium is a waste of time with its boring curtains, on Oriana its grand and welcoming. Little things were different, outside the restaurant the days menus were displayed and on Arcadia it was a secret what was for dinner in the evening, they did not display the menus on a short cruise. If you're thinking of a cruise and can't do the full monty because of costs or work commitments, please treat your self and go on the Oriana you will be hooked for life it's a real experience, to add to our rapture we only paid £ 299 for a double outside we got a free upgrade of about 5 grades too. I hope Arcadia personnel read this and suggest they travel on Oriana to see how to get people to fall in love with cruising and show off the real true way P and O cruising should be. Next trip for us is a one-night taster on the QE2 and we paid £ 49 each for this so we can't wait to see how the ship compares. But I can promise we will be cruising again and P and O are going to see a lot more of us we can't wait and all of you out there wondering if you should try it all we can say is go for it, but not on Arcadia. One tiny footnote, the hand sterilising on the ship was almost non existent, only in the conservatory was any effort made, this is the same on Arcadia so come on P and O sort it out its causes problems so make it more strict please. Happy cruising to you all. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2007
As experienced cruisers, sailing mainly with P&O, this was a last minute booking, just for a seven day break. The Oriana is a ship that we love, although this was the first time on board since the refit. Embarkation was fine, ... Read More
As experienced cruisers, sailing mainly with P&O, this was a last minute booking, just for a seven day break. The Oriana is a ship that we love, although this was the first time on board since the refit. Embarkation was fine, although we went to the P&O terminal to be be told that Oriana was in fact berthed at the QE2 Terminal at another Dock Gate, further along the road. It would have been nice to know this prior to departure. We dropped off our bags at check in, which was clear at 12.00 lunchtime and went back into Southampton, however, returning at 3.00pm, we ended up queuing again, despite the fact we didn't have to unload bags, we still had to wait in the unload queue!. We encountered no other hold ups and were on board immediately. To be honest, the decor didn't look that much different to me, yes there are some new carpets and the cabins have new upholstery (the heavy throws over the beds have been disposed of), but she seemed her usual self. The theatre has very obviously been redone, which was much needed and of course 'dying room', as we used to call it is now Gary Rhodes. We had an inside cabin, which was all that was left at the time of booking, however, it was directly below Andersons and with a 3 year old we were in bed by half ten, and endured a lot of noise from high heels over the marble tiles and drink drawers being pushed in and out. We hoped it would stop by 12.00, but it continued through the night, peaking at 4.00 when the cleaners came in and we could hear stools being scrapped around on the floor. Hubby went down to reception and complained and they said they would sort it out. However, at 6.00 the hoover started scraping over the floor above. We were exhausted!. I am pleased to say, that after some negotiation, we were moved and although said we would accept any cabin and didn't want to check it out first - it didn't matter what it was like, we just needed to be moved - we ended up with an outside, which was lovely and made all the difference. The first time in 11 years we have ever complained about anything on a cruise! It was interesting to see the changes in a year since we had been on P&O, there is obviously cost cutting going on in a number of places. No towels at the pools, no midnight buffets and them selling at every opportunity. I also felt that although our cabin staff were wonderful and the waiters excellent. The Officers seemed a little haughty and dismissive. Our daughter went to Peter Pans, which was well equipped and much cleaner than the Oceana which we were on last year. The staff weren't particularly switched on and we didn't get a list of what was going on, so she missed a couple of things. Also they changed venues a couple of times and we ended up looking around for the group. A note on the door would have been a good idea. First day at sea, and the usual bridge, dancing etc., I think P&O really need to think about a younger age group for activities, the age group on the ship was middle aged + and not as many 'oldies' as we usually experience. The weather was warming up and we realized we had left our daughters hat in the car, we tried to buy one in the shop, but nothing, so asked the youth staff if they had any in 'lost property' that we could borrow, they didn't and couldn't suggest anything, although they didn't try very hard. Later in the cruise we were given a small backpack as a gift and inside was a sun hat!!! I don't know why they couldn't have given us this on the first day! Dinner in the Oriental was lovely, food was quite heavy and stodgy generally I suppose typical English stuff, but plentiful and the staff excellent. The first night we were on a table with a young girl who was being fed through a tube in her stomach at the dinner table and I found this particularly hard to deal with, however we were on second sitting, which proved too late for our little one in the Nursery, so we changed to 1st and thus avoided any embarrassment. I was not happy on return to the Nursery to find Charlotte strapped into a pushchair, she had obviously been upset at us not being back and they had strapped her in an pushed her around, I felt they should have let us know she was unhappy, after all it was the first night. This knocked my confidence a bit and therefore we changed to first sitting, so we could get there for 8.00 when they put the videos on, as she told us the video was scary and she 'didn't like it'. We tend not to use films out home much so she is very limited to Noddy, Nemo and such like. First stop Vigo, we did our own thing, as have done the excursions and find them slow and poor value for money. Having to pay for the three year old now, it is cheaper for us to hire a cab. We caught a cab to Bayona, worth the trip and had a coffee at the hotel on the hill, where Charlotte could run around and be fascinated by the seagulls that are cheeky enough to come down to the tables as soon as they are vacated. A quick walk around the town and back to the ship. We picked up Charlotte from the nursery, although when we arrived she was upset, I asked where her comforter was, as I had left this tonight in case she got tired and upset again, and they had forgotten to give it to her! Not good. We all went off to the show Eurovision, which was enjoyable the small company do try very hard, but this was only one of two shows that they did in a week, so they didn't do much for their pay that week. Other nights were a singer Robert Meadmore (OK, but not our cup of tea and several people walked out) and then later in the week a singer Suzanne Gayle. To be honest we were disappointed at the evening entertainment and after picking up our daughter, spent the evenings wandering around with not much to do. We did go into Harlequins a couple of times and we all had a little dance to the CD's playing, but when the second sitting came out and the band started, it was like really serious ballroom and we were getting dirty looks for getting in the way, so we went elsewhere! A Lisbon second stop, lovely city and free shuttle to town, we got the hop on hop off bus trip, well worth doing, but leave plenty of time. Sat on the open top and had a blast with the earphones - great for the kids. Tonight there was supposed to be a party by the pool, but it was too blowy and breezy, it transferred to inside, but wasn't the same the speakers were too loud in the smaller lounge and we didn't stay long. Another day at sea and time spent in the pool, lovely time had by all and Charlotte spent time in the nursery. There were however, so few children, that the activities took very little time and we felt they were hanging around a lot, not doing much at all. La Rochelle our penultimate stop, the shuttle into town and spent time wandering the streets. We didn't do a tour here, but did our shopping for gifts and sat in the pavement cafes, a nice stop and one that P&O should think about on the way back from their usual Med cruises. This evening was poor by way of entertainment a classical singer and or a talk by General Sir Michael Rose, hubby found this interesting, but I went to bed early and he went to the late talk. Missed the Weakest Link at 11.00, which we had seen on cruises before, but was too late for us with a little one, I thought this would be good family entertainment, perhaps they should try and put this on earlier? The Crows nest is a lovely place for a drink and look at the stars, they had a pianist playing which was lovely, but when we came out of dinner and went there for 8.00 he was just finishing! Recently on a Celebrity ship there was a Piano bar which was great after dinner for a coffee or a drink and P&O lacks this type of thing. Final day in Brest. Not the most inspiring of towns, don't stay in the town, take a cab, or an excursion. We went to the Aquarium just along from the ship. There was an excursion, but we found the local bus, goes in a loop past it, before returning to the ship, so we saved loads of money by doing it ourselves. When we got there we caught up with the tour, who were taking ages to get around and kids were getting bored with commentary. We listened in a bit, but then moved on swiftly at our own pace. Arrival in Southampton was good, disembarkation excellent, no hold ups, luggage was waiting, they seem to have improved on this a lot since previous cruises. All in all an interesting cruise, I would think twice about just doing 7 days, you don't have time to switch off and recharge, and also I think that P&O cut down on the entertainment. There were times we were bored and felt there should be more to our holiday than wandering around trying to find something of interest. We have booked the Ventura for May, but only because of the 'family' marketing, which we hope will mean the ship is younger and there are more age appropriate activities (for us, not the kids). However, I do think P&O are going downmarket and with the selling they are doing on board with the cheap gifts in the atrium, along with the little cost cutting exercises, I think we may be graduating to Cunard! Read Less
Sail Date: December 2008
My wife and I have just returned from a terrific New Year Canary Islands cruise on the P&O Oriana. The highlight of the cruise was the spectacular fireworks in Funchal Madeira on New Years Eve - they are simply awesome. We had a ... Read More
My wife and I have just returned from a terrific New Year Canary Islands cruise on the P&O Oriana. The highlight of the cruise was the spectacular fireworks in Funchal Madeira on New Years Eve - they are simply awesome. We had a fabulous view from the ship and there was dancing on deck until 1am as the weather was so nice. I must say that this cruise was in stark contrast to the bad press reports (at the time of my writing this review) on the New Year Cruise on P&O Ventura in the Caribbean. There are reports of bad behavior and drunkenness. No such thing on the Oriana I didn't see anyone drunk and the young people (which covered young babies to late teens) behaved impeccably and also looked splendid on the formal nights - this was a very "dressy" cruise I didn't see one single guy without formal evening dress. Now a bit of background on us - we are both in our early sixties and have taken several cruises but only 3 with P&O. Most of our cruises have been with Royal Caribbean and Celebrity the latter being our favorite. P&O ships don't 'do it for us' in the glamour stakes against the American ships (our other P&O cruises have been on Aurora and Arcadia), however we felt that the Oriana whilst older and smaller was our favorite. It is a very refined and elegant ship with a very nice teak wrap around promenade deck. The public rooms are elegant and a bit along the lines of a very nice English Hotel - no glitz., no bling not even in the casino which is tiny. The ship has a nice atrium with winding staircases and some rather nice shops on two of the decks. The atrium is crowned by Tiffany court where they serve speciality coffees, light lunches and alcoholic drinks. The ship sadly does not have an indoor pool but 3 outdoor. The entertainment on the ship was mostly very good. The production shows are provided by Headliners Theatre Company - 6 productions on an 11 night cruise. On an American ship you might get 3 such shows. The shows were without exception excellent - the group were very talented - 5 singers and 8 dancers always backed by a live band. We also had a brilliant comedian Andy Wilkins who was absolutely fantastic. The food in the dining room was outstandingly good - none of the cut-backs which we experienced with Royal Caribbean last September. Dinner comprises Appetizer, Soup, Main Course, Sweet, Cheese and biscuits, Coffee and petit fours. The choices were excellent. Our Waiter Francis and his assistant Prem gave a very high level of service always with a smile. Afternoon tea is served both in the Buffet and the Dining room - it's much nicer in the dining room where in addition to all the usual goodies the scones come with clotted dream and they serve hot crumpets and tea cakes. The finger sandwiches are without crust and have some excellent fillings. We chose an Ocean View Cabin ( we normally have a balcony but not at this time of year) which was quite small at 150 square feet. It was a little tight but perfectly adequate with lots of storage space, very comfortable bed and nice bathroom with shower. Again we had excellent service from our Stateroom attendant Agnelo who like our dining room waiters always had a smile for us. Service - we could not fault the service on Oriana however it doesn't come with the flair which we have come to enjoy on Celebrity and to some extent on Royal Caribbean. Not one waiter remembered our favorite drink; even smiles are in short supply amongst bar staff - this is an area which P&O need to pay attention to. One of the big bonuses about taking a P&O cruise is the price of the drinks which are considerably cheaper than their American counterparts and without the 15% service charge added to drinks bills. This coupled with the discount of 5% which we currently receive as Portunus Club Members makes a more pleasant bill at the end of the cruise. I haven't told you how we joined our cruise and this is another plus point for us when sailing P&O. We use Eavesway Coach Service which picks us up at our local bus station. We don't have to worry about traffic hold-ups etc. and when we get off the coach at Southampton we simply check in and our bags arrive an hour or so later outside our cabin - perfect! The check-in on this cruise was excellent we were on the ship with in 15 minutes of leaving the coach. You won't find many reviews on Cruise Critic for Oriana but I can tell you that Oriana provides a very nice comfortable cruise. Whilst it doesn't compare in the beauty stakes against its American counterparts it does excel in other areas - give it a try. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2009
How do a couple celebrate 40 years of marriage? Not many reach that milestone these days so it had to be something special! I believe my wife and I found that something special. From the moment we found ourseves at the terminal at ... Read More
How do a couple celebrate 40 years of marriage? Not many reach that milestone these days so it had to be something special! I believe my wife and I found that something special. From the moment we found ourseves at the terminal at Southamton to the minute we left at San Francisco it was a time to remember. The fact that we had arrived earlier than our booking time did not faze the staff in any way and they were only too willing to assist us and guide us through the embarkation procedure. When we did board we were amazed at the sight which met our eyes. My only experience of ships had been the Dover Calais crossing and the Hull Rotterdam crossing so it was an awe inspiring tour of the ship and facilities to see what was on offer. Being a Brass and Military Band enthusiast it was a special treat to cast off from the quayside to the stirring music of 'Rule Britania' with the confetti, streamers and fireworks. Our first three days were spent at sea and we quickly realised why so many people had advised me to buy a dinner suit with trousers a size larger. If I continued to eat how I started then one size larger would not have been the correct choice so some serious decisions had to be made re my eating habits!!! Madeira This was our first port of call and perhaps the only dissapointment of the trip. We had pre-booked all of our trips prior to embarkation and on this particular excursion were dissappointed to find that we spent three hours on a coach looking at clouds fog and rain. It was little comfort to us to hear a guide telling us what beautiful scenery we were missing! Especially when people(obviously a little more experienced cruisers than us) who had spent a fraction of the cost of our excursion enjoyed the lower altitude weather. St Lucia Now this was better -an excellent coach and boat trip to introduce us to the Carribean with a smashing dip in the sea before heading back to the ship. Margarita As our daughter had married a Venezuelan we were interested to see where they had been on Honeymoon. The day was a mixtute of torrential rain and hot sun. It was an amazing sight to see the local roads turn into rivers and the skill whch our driver showed in the negotiation of these roads/rivers. We also experienced the difference between the old and the new and the have's and have nots. Curacao An island which I had never heard of but an experience to remember taking the bus(an old army vehicle) with a bush roof to a local beach and enjoying the white sands and snorkelling afterwards a visit to the local town before re embarkation Panama Canal What can we say? one can only get the real experience by travelling through it. Thanks to the crew members for a very informative commentary throughout. Acapulco Well I am sure that the people who paid for excursions to watch the divers had their moneys worth but this trip was perhaps one of the highlights of the cruise when we released baby turtles into the sea - a truly memorable occasion San Francisco The end of the cruise for us we had further adventures to face up to(but thats another story) oh how I wish we were wealthy enough to stay on board!!!!! Life on Board Cruising was everything we had been told and more! From a fantastic captain who was always friendly, conspicuous, informative to our cabin steward and waiters were so friendly; helpfull,couteous and polite to the entertainment team -wow what talent. Thank you all so much Will this be our first and last cruise? ROLL ON OUR NEXT ONE THANK YOU P AND O for such a memorable occasion. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2009
The whole experience of our little mini cruise was good from beginning to end and there were so many things that as a first time cruiser I was not expecting that hopefully other first timers will find this review useful. We pulled up ... Read More
The whole experience of our little mini cruise was good from beginning to end and there were so many things that as a first time cruiser I was not expecting that hopefully other first timers will find this review useful. We pulled up at the Dock Gate and unloaded the luggage and suddenly realized we just handed it over to the guys on the conveyor and that was it - how simple - none of this in a long queue shuffling the bag further forward to check in, the next time we saw our luggage was when we went to our cabins and there is was outside the! Okay we did have to join the snaking queue to check in, but that moved freely (and we only had hand luggage) and everyone in the queue was in holiday mood. The actual check in was friendly and informative and very efficient with a lot of information being imparted and the security pass being issued and the passport formalities being completed. We had turned up early - midday ish and so were delighted to be let straight onto the ship although hardly surprising we were told cabins would not be ready until 2ish, we were invited to use the time to explore the boat and partake of lunch in the conservatory. First impressions were good - lovely floral arrangements and an ice sculpture as we boarded by the main reception area. Walking around the ship we were very pleasantly surprised with all the facilities available and the plentiful outside space. We really loved the area at the rear of the conservatory that looked down on the various other levels down to the pool. It provided a great deal of outdoor space and looked lovely, it would appear from other ships plans that they are not as well planned as this and this wonderful space has been given over to Cabins. There were loads of lovely quiet areas (despite the cruise being fully booked) and again perhaps because it is a slighter older ship there were enclosed spaces, where as plans of other boats indicate that some of these spaces are free flowing and therefore wouldn't give you the peace and quiet the places like Crihtons and Andersons gave us. I could easily imagine myself spending time curled up with a book in the library on a longer cruise. The cabin was fine - we had booked the cheapest option - for two nights when we knew we were going to be busy there didn't seem much point in spending money on a view or facilities we were hardly have time to use. Certainly next time around, if we are on a two week cruise I would upgrade to hopefully a balcony cabin. There was plenty of storage space and some nice touches - lovely toiletries, bud vase and dish of sweets, the evening turndown service and good night choccy all added to the pampered feeling. The Daily newspaper was useful and very informative and a great port guide was provided with loads of useful information on. The restaurant (we were in the Oriental) was lovely and the food choice good (but not brilliant) and at times the service could do with being a little faster - you wanted to start your main as it would be getting cold before the vegetables had arrived. The staff were friendly and helpful. The evening shows were good and the Theatre Royal a lovely setting. Some of the bars felt a little crowed at night but there was always space, some times you just needed to wonder off to find a new place. Tiffany's was lovely at night, and so was the Crows nest (although the fact that you could smoke in here did spoil it a little for us). There was never any hard sell - tours were available if you wanted them but also a courtesy bus to take you into Blankenburg so you could do your own thing and local maps provided. Prices on board were very reasonable, all in pounds sterling so no exchange rate issues, and no service charge automatically added. On our last night were asked to have our luggage out by 2:00 am but we didn't know that until we stopped off in our cabin mid evening, ad were asked to vacate the cabins by 8:00 am which meant taking hand luggage into the restaurant for breakfast. We in fact asked our steward if we could leave a bag in the cabin and she was happy for us to do this and we just collected it straight after breakfast. We didn't rush to disembark and left about 9:45am, by that time most people had left and the boat was being cleaned and prepared for the next cruise. We arrived in the baggage hall to find our luggage ready and waiting on a trolley for us - what service. It was the smoothness of the check in and departure that we loved and beats flying any day. Overall we loved it - only complaint being it wasn't long enough and we will defiantly book another cruise soon. I enjoyed the traditional feel of boat and will probably look to another P&O boat for the future. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2009
We too have just returned from this wonderful cruise on Oriana. Our first taste and we were not disappointed. We had a cabin on A deck and felt that it was probably the smallest and most cramped cabin we have had. The wardrobe space we ... Read More
We too have just returned from this wonderful cruise on Oriana. Our first taste and we were not disappointed. We had a cabin on A deck and felt that it was probably the smallest and most cramped cabin we have had. The wardrobe space we felt was very limited and we only just managed to get our clothes in, they were packed very tightly and it was difficult to get them in and out of the wardrobe. We had to ask our steward, Vimal, for extra hangers for the space above the safe. As for the safe, we couldn't understand why it was almost on the floor (and very small). OH had great difficulty getting down on the floor to open it, particularly when clothes were hanging down over it. I don't know how anyone with mobility problems managed to get to it. We dined in the Oriental restaurant - first sitting. We had a table for 2 (having requested a table for 6). We did try to get this changed, but because so many people were travelling as large family groups we could not be accommodated. However, this did not spoil the cruise but we did miss sharing the days exploits with our table companions. Our waiter Richardo, was a little sullen on the first night, but we soon managed to get a smile out of him and he was always very pleasant (if not a little serious). Alex the other waiter was a delight and called us by our Christian names. We found there to be plenty of choice on the menu, the food was good (not excellent). I have seen posts that say that the cheeseboard was never offered. This was not the case for us, my OH likes a bit of cheese occasionally - particularly Stilton - and he was always offered the cheeseboard, whether he partook of it or not. We ate in the Terrace Grill on two occasions and were very impressed with the menu and the service. It was wonderful to dine out on deck. Our first time was when we left Mytiline on our way to Istanbul, a wonderful evening with the coast of Lesbos on one side and Turkey on the other. The other occasion was when we left Almeria, the sea was flat calm, the day had been very hot and it was a balmy evening. The evening was further enhanced by a very large school of dolphins who followed the ships wake for some considerable time and gave the diners a real performance. A very memorable evening and certainly worth the £7.75 cover charge. We didn't sample Oriana Rhodes as we didn't think much of the choices on the menu. We breakfasted most days in Al Fresco's (much more civilized than the conservatory and not as congested). We also had lunch there on a few occasions, particularly avoiding the congested conservatory on sea days. We also liked to pop up to Al Fresco's for a cup of hot chocolate before retiring for the night (I know seems crazy when we had temps up in the mid 30's but a cup of hot choc always ensured we had a good nights sleep). The entertainment by the Headliners Theatre Company was excellent with very slick, professional shows. We saw 8 production shows during the 16 night cruise, and each one seemed to be better than the last. We had seen a couple of them before but we enjoyed seeing them again. "We are the Champions" and "F-abba-lous" are held in the Pacific Lounge and this venue gets very busy and the sight lines are not always good if you get stuck behind a pillar. If you intend to see these shows, I would suggest that you get to the venue early, we made the mistake of arriving just before showtime and had a blocked view. Both these shows are on three times during the evening, 7.30 pm, 9.30 pm and 11.45 pm. Natural High were also on board, and as every they were very good. We particularly enjoyed the two jazz sessions held in the crows nest. Again these got very packed, so get there early. We also enjoyed dancing in Harlequins, the dance floor is well sprung and just the right size to ensure you can do a good waltz etc. Natural High provided most of the music for dancing. The dance instructors, Phillip and Christine, were very good hosts in the evening, and although we didn't attend their dance classes I know that they were well attended. The "guest" entertainers were OK, but nothing special. The fact that they could not fill the Theatre Royal, but the Headliners TC could, I think says a lot. There were three party nights held out on deck, the tropical night, 60's & 70's night, and the Country and Western Shindig. We didn't get to the 60's night as on this evening we were both shattered and decided to have a reasonably early night, but the other two evenings were very enjoyable and proved very popular with the younger element on board ship. There were 260 children on board and we were a little worried about this as we usually cruise in May/June, but our concerns were unfounded. Yes the children did hog the pools, and the sun beds were always taken by about 8.30 am, but we always managed to find a bed at the front of the ship. It was sometimes a little windy, but with temps in the mid 30's it was a relief to have this air circulating as the area around the pools became like sauna's. The children were kept entertained by the various clubs on board. We used to enjoy seeing them all dressed up on the formal evenings, the girls looked fabulous in their dresses and the young lads looked very handsome in their DJ's. The children never gave us any problems, but I do believe that one or two families were thrown off the ship. Gary Gladding is an excellent Cruise Director and was at just about every event that took place on the ship, from the coffee morning for those travelling alone at 10.00 am, to dancing in Harlequins at mid-night. He never sat down and would always dance with ladies travelling alone. He was amazing, as was the rest of his team. They all worked so very hard to ensure that the passengers had a wonderful cruise. Captain Wells was a hoot, we looked forward to his noon broadcasts each day. I have never been on a cruise where the captain has taken part in the noon announcements every day. All those of you who have cruised on Oriana recently, or who will be on board in the near future will understand what I mean when you hear his dulcet tones. The ports - well this was one of the reasons for choosing to cruise in August on Oriana. We absolutely loved Athens, Naples and Istanbul, they lived up to our expectations (and more). We took the P&O organized tours in these three ports as we had not visited them before and felt that this was the best way to see all the main sights. Istanbul was a fantastic experience, our tour was all day (8 ½ hours), we spent 6 of these hours on our feet and when we returned to the ship we were absolutely exhausted, but looking back it was a wonderful trip and we had a very knowledgeable guide who was passionate about the history of Turkey. We did our own thing in Malaga, hopped on the city sightseeing tour and then did a bit of "retail therapy". Mytiline is a charming port which we walked around and took in the sights and sounds; we wandered down some back streets, through the shops and found ourselves at a large fort (2 euros entrance) which was well worth the visit. Dilkili saw us head for the local beach, along with many Turkish families, who pitch "tent" for the day and bring out large picnics, cooking equipment etc and the whole family is there from granny down to the youngest member. It was fascinating to watch them. We managed a swim in the sea and headed back to the ship. We were a little disappointed with Almeria, we went off the ship with an elderly lady who was travelling alone and wanted someone to accompany her off to the shops. Unfortunately she decided to stay with us so we ambled round some shops, had a coffee and then went back to the ship as it was so hot and she was a little unsteady on her feet. We would have liked to have found the old part of the town and visit the castle, but this something to do if we visit again. We were not particularly impressed with the shops and the place did not seem to have much character/charm (although we may not have visited the right part). All in all an absolutely fantastic trip and we would not hesitate to cruise on Oriana again, she certainly has a charm about her and is much loved by many people who return time and time again. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2009
Let me start by saying that my wife and I are experienced cruisers (20+) but have never been with P. & O. Before. So expectations were high. Without doubt this cruise ranked with the best. We got off to a great start, and despite ... Read More
Let me start by saying that my wife and I are experienced cruisers (20+) but have never been with P. & O. Before. So expectations were high. Without doubt this cruise ranked with the best. We got off to a great start, and despite arriving at Southampton an hour early, from leaving our car to arriving on board took just 20 minutes! We had lunch on board and our room was ready, with cases, as promised at 2.00 p.m. The ship was well staffed, with excellent service throughout. Food was of a high standard, especially the lunchtime buffet in the Conservatory. Dinner in the Peninsular restaurant was of good quality, quickly served by excellent waiters. However we found the menus a little unexciting. Alternative dining in the Conservatory (themed buffets) and Al Frescos (Italian) were excellent. We did not try the Terrace Grill or Rhodes Restaurant (both cost extra). Getting ashore at ports (including one by tender) was a dream with no waiting at all, and all shuttle busses were plentiful and free of charge. We did pay extra in Venice for a water bus from the ship to St. Mark's Square - well worth it. On board entertainments were fairly predictable but OK and the resident band and Headliners Theatre Company were again excellent. Bar prices (in sterling) were reasonable and you are allowed to take your own alcohol on board without being searched, a real bonus (other cruise lines take note!). Cabins have fridges to keep a few drinks cool. Finally disembarkation was a dream. We opted to leave independently and take our own cases. We left the ship at 7.20 a.m. and were on the road within 15 minutes! Overall a great cruise experience and we would certainly recommend P. & O. base on this. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2009
When we arrived at the ship we had a greeting that made you feel special from the start. It didn't take very long to find your way around, as the layout is very simple. We had first sitting in the dinning room (Peninsular) We were met ... Read More
When we arrived at the ship we had a greeting that made you feel special from the start. It didn't take very long to find your way around, as the layout is very simple. We had first sitting in the dinning room (Peninsular) We were met with a very warm welcome and shown to table to be feasted on the finest food possible. (and plenty of it). The waiters could not do enough for us Always with a smile. The conservatory is well worth a visit we went every day The cabin steward was always very helpful and was there for all your needs. The evening entertainment in the theatre was outstanding The Headliners Theatre Co Martin Daniels Bobby Crush 10/10 What made it real special were the People we shared our dinner table with Annie Dave Mick Sonia & Chris Also the Staff Captain Chris Bourne went out of his way to make our stay on board very memorable. And also we must say Jane in the Anderson bar was most helpful too THANKYOU ALL Read Less
Oriana Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins N/A 0.0
Dining 4.0 0.0
Entertainment 4.0 0.0
Public Rooms N/A 0.0
Fitness Recreation N/A 0.0
Family 2.0 0.0
Rates 4.0 0.0

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