Thinking of cruising on an extended winter sun holiday, think again if you’re under 80 as you might be sorely disappointed. Just back from 4 weeks in the Caribbean on Oriana, many people named this the Hospital Cruise. Day 1 and before we even left Southampton someone had to be offloaded due to illness. 30 hours out of Southampton and had to turn back for an air sea rescue at Falmouth. Arrived in Barbados and rumour has it 7 more were offloaded. 24 hours out of Antigua and had to turn back to offload 2 more people. Arrival in the Azores was diverted to a different island to offload another before finally arriving in San Miguel. Left San Miguel this evening but had to turn back again to offload another sick person. Approaching the English Channel on our final day and another air sea rescue at Falmouth. The captain did a remarkable job in getting us to each destination on time which meant we were speeding along at 20 knots so can’t complain there but the whole cruise was like a floating old peoples home. Nothing against oldies as I’m no spring chicken but I do think some shouldn’t have been on that cruise at all and it did make for a somewhat depressing time. In an emergency situation it would have been chaos as so many were infirm, immobile and downright obese, not to mention the most grotesque manners I have ever seen. The fares had been greatly reduced, no doubt to fill up the ship and it showed. A couple in Tiffany’s Piano Bar one day should have been turned out, the woman had her bare feet up on her husband’s lap and he was caressing her feet whilst people around them were having a nice cup of coffee with their cake. The ship:- Oriana is lovely but finishing service next year, she really needs to go as her age is showing. I hope the executive chef goes with her as the food was pretty diabolical in both the restaurant and cafe. Caribbean cruise and only one or two days of Caribbean food, rest of the time it was repetitive, boring, uninspiring and tasteless. Far too many dishes made out of leftovers. Guacamole one evening in the restaurant was just mashed processed peas, come on now!! The shop on board is pricey to say the least, duty free drink and perfume is more expensive than supermarkets at home (UK). Thankfully we were able to stock up on bottles of rum etc from the local shops at each port. Can’t stand the shows with the Headliners, too old hat but Roy Walker was quite funny regardless of the same old same old. The morning and afternoon talks were excellent and we loved the quizzes at different times of the day. Thankfully it was possible to sit out on deck most of the sea days and there were lots of them so just as well. Not into all the classes on offer as like to be outside but there was plenty to do. Ports:- Madeira, Barbados, St. Lucia, Martinique, St. Kitts & Nevis, Antigua, Tortola BVI, St. Martin and Azores. A quick run down on them. Funchal, Madeira, great place, have been before, plenty to do on the island but this time just mooched around town. Previously have been on a trip all around the island to see the sights. Have taken local transport into the interior and have visited the beautiful gardens and basket chairs at Monte. Bridgetown, Barbados. Did our own thing here by walking into town from the terminal. On arrival you will be bombarded with people trying to sell you a tour and it didn’t finish there, the rest of the day in town was the same. Didn’t like this place at all, some pretty undesirable people unlike other ports of call and there wasn’t much to see or do in town either. The Coconut Bar next to the cruise terminal was selling rum punch for $7, beware, it was shocking, nothing more than a sweet sugary drink with a dash of rum essence in it, not at all genuine. See my photo of the bar. Castries, St. Lucia, one of my favourite places. Did the ships “Scenic North” excursion and it was fabulous, taking in an old fort, silk painting, spectacular views, rum punch at the Sandals Resort and different beach stops just to take in the view and have a quick paddle. Back in Castries afterwards we walked around the market, visited the rum shops and then had a drink at Zephirins Bakery just along from the cruise terminal next to the market. BE VERY CAREFUL here as we ordered drinks and gave the waitress a $ note but had difficulty in getting our change, really had to get firm with her. See my photo enclosed as confirmation of the bar. Fort de France, Martinique. Very quiet place with little to do but we did the ships excursion to the Botanical Gardens and Zoo. Bear in mind this is not two separate places as we thought but one. The guide thought it would be nice to show us as much on the way as she thought necessary but we ended up taking 2 hours getting to the zoo and then only had 45 minutes there when it would have been better the other way round. Lovely Zoo though but didn’t care much for the island in general. Basseterre, St. Kitts & Nevis. Loved this island. Did the ship excursion to the Rainforest, wonderful and the guide was exceptional. Went very high up on the island and had plenty of time to walk around the beautiful gardens adjacent to the rainforest, lots of wonderful birds and green monkeys too. After a walk through the rainforest the guide provided us with rum punch, cake and bananas, he was a gem. Ali I think his name was. Back down in the port area we just browsed around the numerous shops and tried out all the different drinks. St. John’s, Antigua. Second visit here, last time I did the helicopter trip to the Montserrat volcano which was about a quarter of the price it was this time so we just stayed in the centre but again was bombarded with people trying to sell you their tours, really got on our nerves in the end. Not a whole lot to do in town so just walked by the harbour, had a few drinks and soaked up the sun. Tortola, BVI. Lovely. Took the ship excursion “The Best of Tortola”. Not disappointed as drove high up into the mountains with several stops of the fabulous views and then spent time at Cane Garden Bay for about an hour, so idyllic. We were the first group to arrive so were lucky as by the time we left the other groups had arrived and it was more than crowded. The driver/guide knew everyone at all the stops which made for a fun time. Back at the port and we just browsed around the few shops that were there. Phillipsburg, St. Martin. Second visit here, did a tour to the French part previously whereby it poured with rain but this time it was to the Dutch part and also taking in some of the French side. Did the ship excursion “Island Delights”. Didn’t really warrant the title but enjoyed it as we went to a Caribbean cookery demonstration with tasting, food was scrumptious then onto a rum distillery with tastings, plenty to try ranging from 20% to 40%, phew, declined the 40%. Afterwards went on to a perfumery where they are made, didn’t really like this much, the perfumes were too “homemade” but nice to see what went into them. Back at port and time to browse the numerous shops, needless to say, bought more rum. Ponta de garda, Azores. Lovely little town with more to do than the ships tour guide mentioned, she played it down somewhat. However, we did the ship excursion “Sights and Cheese and Wine Sampler”. Nice trip up into the mountains with tremendous views and to a little village with a church and it’s nativity scene, then to the crater lakes which were a beautiful green. Following a different road back we stopped at various places for photographs and then back into town to a hotel for the wine and cheese tasting. Badly organised as had to queue endlessly for the cheese and wine, it should have been placed on the individual tables for people to help themselves. The wine was 10 euros a bottle if you wanted to buy it but we walked back to the ship and bought the same wine for 5 euros in one of the shops. We took lots of ship excursions but they were reasonably cheap so decided to make life easy for ourselves and it worked quite well. All in all a great destination cruise but all the oldies made it rather depressing.

Hospital Cruise

Oriana Cruise Review by cruzin.cat

3 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: November 2018
  • Destination: Caribbean
  • Cabin Type: Outside Stateroom with Window
Thinking of cruising on an extended winter sun holiday, think again if you’re under 80 as you might be sorely disappointed. Just back from 4 weeks in the Caribbean on Oriana, many people named this the Hospital Cruise.

Day 1 and before we even left Southampton someone had to be offloaded due to illness. 30 hours out of Southampton and had to turn back for an air sea rescue at Falmouth. Arrived in Barbados and rumour has it 7 more were offloaded. 24 hours out of Antigua and had to turn back to offload 2 more people. Arrival in the Azores was diverted to a different island to offload another before finally arriving in San Miguel. Left San Miguel this evening but had to turn back again to offload another sick person. Approaching the English Channel on our final day and another air sea rescue at Falmouth. The captain did a remarkable job in getting us to each destination on time which meant we were speeding along at 20 knots so can’t complain there but the whole cruise was like a floating old peoples home. Nothing against oldies as I’m no spring chicken but I do think some shouldn’t have been on that cruise at all and it did make for a somewhat depressing time.

In an emergency situation it would have been chaos as so many were infirm, immobile and downright obese, not to mention the most grotesque manners I have ever seen. The fares had been greatly reduced, no doubt to fill up the ship and it showed. A couple in Tiffany’s Piano Bar one day should have been turned out, the woman had her bare feet up on her husband’s lap and he was caressing her feet whilst people around them were having a nice cup of coffee with their cake.

The ship:- Oriana is lovely but finishing service next year, she really needs to go as her age is showing. I hope the executive chef goes with her as the food was pretty diabolical in both the restaurant and cafe. Caribbean cruise and only one or two days of Caribbean food, rest of the time it was repetitive, boring, uninspiring and tasteless. Far too many dishes made out of leftovers. Guacamole one evening in the restaurant was just mashed processed peas, come on now!!

The shop on board is pricey to say the least, duty free drink and perfume is more expensive than supermarkets at home (UK). Thankfully we were able to stock up on bottles of rum etc from the local shops at each port.

Can’t stand the shows with the Headliners, too old hat but Roy Walker was quite funny regardless of the same old same old. The morning and afternoon talks were excellent and we loved the quizzes at different times of the day. Thankfully it was possible to sit out on deck most of the sea days and there were lots of them so just as well. Not into all the classes on offer as like to be outside but there was plenty to do.

Ports:- Madeira, Barbados, St. Lucia, Martinique, St. Kitts & Nevis, Antigua, Tortola BVI, St. Martin and Azores. A quick run down on them.

Funchal, Madeira, great place, have been before, plenty to do on the island but this time just mooched around town. Previously have been on a trip all around the island to see the sights. Have taken local transport into the interior and have visited the beautiful gardens and basket chairs at Monte.

Bridgetown, Barbados. Did our own thing here by walking into town from the terminal. On arrival you will be bombarded with people trying to sell you a tour and it didn’t finish there, the rest of the day in town was the same. Didn’t like this place at all, some pretty undesirable people unlike other ports of call and there wasn’t much to see or do in town either. The Coconut Bar next to the cruise terminal was selling rum punch for $7, beware, it was shocking, nothing more than a sweet sugary drink with a dash of rum essence in it, not at all genuine. See my photo of the bar.

Castries, St. Lucia, one of my favourite places. Did the ships “Scenic North” excursion and it was fabulous, taking in an old fort, silk painting, spectacular views, rum punch at the Sandals Resort and different beach stops just to take in the view and have a quick paddle. Back in Castries afterwards we walked around the market, visited the rum shops and then had a drink at Zephirins Bakery just along from the cruise terminal next to the market. BE VERY CAREFUL here as we ordered drinks and gave the waitress a $ note but had difficulty in getting our change, really had to get firm with her. See my photo enclosed as confirmation of the bar.

Fort de France, Martinique. Very quiet place with little to do but we did the ships excursion to the Botanical Gardens and Zoo. Bear in mind this is not two separate places as we thought but one. The guide thought it would be nice to show us as much on the way as she thought necessary but we ended up taking 2 hours getting to the zoo and then only had 45 minutes there when it would have been better the other way round. Lovely Zoo though but didn’t care much for the island in general.

Basseterre, St. Kitts & Nevis. Loved this island. Did the ship excursion to the Rainforest, wonderful and the guide was exceptional. Went very high up on the island and had plenty of time to walk around the beautiful gardens adjacent to the rainforest, lots of wonderful birds and green monkeys too. After a walk through the rainforest the guide provided us with rum punch, cake and bananas, he was a gem. Ali I think his name was. Back down in the port area we just browsed around the numerous shops and tried out all the different drinks.

St. John’s, Antigua. Second visit here, last time I did the helicopter trip to the Montserrat volcano which was about a quarter of the price it was this time so we just stayed in the centre but again was bombarded with people trying to sell you their tours, really got on our nerves in the end. Not a whole lot to do in town so just walked by the harbour, had a few drinks and soaked up the sun.

Tortola, BVI. Lovely. Took the ship excursion “The Best of Tortola”. Not disappointed as drove high up into the mountains with several stops of the fabulous views and then spent time at Cane Garden Bay for about an hour, so idyllic. We were the first group to arrive so were lucky as by the time we left the other groups had arrived and it was more than crowded. The driver/guide knew everyone at all the stops which made for a fun time. Back at the port and we just browsed around the few shops that were there.

Phillipsburg, St. Martin. Second visit here, did a tour to the French part previously whereby it poured with rain but this time it was to the Dutch part and also taking in some of the French side. Did the ship excursion “Island Delights”. Didn’t really warrant the title but enjoyed it as we went to a Caribbean cookery demonstration with tasting, food was scrumptious then onto a rum distillery with tastings, plenty to try ranging from 20% to 40%, phew, declined the 40%. Afterwards went on to a perfumery where they are made, didn’t really like this much, the perfumes were too “homemade” but nice to see what went into them. Back at port and time to browse the numerous shops, needless to say, bought more rum.

Ponta de garda, Azores. Lovely little town with more to do than the ships tour guide mentioned, she played it down somewhat. However, we did the ship excursion “Sights and Cheese and Wine Sampler”. Nice trip up into the mountains with tremendous views and to a little village with a church and it’s nativity scene, then to the crater lakes which were a beautiful green. Following a different road back we stopped at various places for photographs and then back into town to a hotel for the wine and cheese tasting. Badly organised as had to queue endlessly for the cheese and wine, it should have been placed on the individual tables for people to help themselves. The wine was 10 euros a bottle if you wanted to buy it but we walked back to the ship and bought the same wine for 5 euros in one of the shops.

We took lots of ship excursions but they were reasonably cheap so decided to make life easy for ourselves and it worked quite well. All in all a great destination cruise but all the oldies made it rather depressing.
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Cabin Review

Outside Stateroom with Window
Cabin EA F161
Cabin right next to reception, thought it would be noisy but it was actually perfect and very quiet except for the final day when the gangway was immediately next door so lots of noise getting it opened.
Cabin steward was only OK, lots of dust on things and lots of bits on the carpet. Had to repeatedly keep asking for loo rolls and coffee.
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