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1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2019
We are experienced with cruising and this is our second trip with P&O. Not expecting too much but more for the company price per nigyt was not exactly cheap but there were not service charges or tips and everything in UK £'s. 3 ... Read More
We are experienced with cruising and this is our second trip with P&O. Not expecting too much but more for the company price per nigyt was not exactly cheap but there were not service charges or tips and everything in UK £'s. 3 night trip with friend for birthday. Bit of a blow to start as ship had a "technical" problem so would not sail on Friday but midday on Saturday to allow for repairs. Disappointed but we would get over it. Then the Captain revised this, for us to leave earlier on Saturday morning so we were cheered up a bit. Embarkation was very smooth and quick. Went to get buffet lunch which was typical P&O roast beef that was fine but not exceptional - as was the case with nearly all meals on board but it was what we were expecting. Then a drink in the Lords Tavern bar. Largish bar with seats very close together. Asked for a Pina Colada - Whoops not on the list so no. Asked about the 3 taster beer selections - Whoops this not available either - I sensed a theme here! Ship looked in generally good condition though a very dated. Liked the Tiffany ceiling at the Tiffany bar and the other smaller bars such as Anderson's. Pacific lounge looked good too. Cabin OK but some funny bits see below. There was to be a life boat drill but they kept this secret till about 20mins before it was due. Had to take life jackets with us - really do not know why. As other lines have abandoned this and you just turn up and get the lecture. Weather raining so under shelter on pool deck for drinks with friends. Now dinner. Bit of a surprise it all looked pretty good and lamb shank is one of my favourites so off to good start. Made the mistake of asking for bottle of Pinot Grigio. "sorry we have run out" Eh! first day of cruise and 24hrs in home port? Seems the ship is being run down for sale in about a month. Great entertainment is the evening - Singers and Dancers did a medley of Bill Board Hits which everyone knew and was one of the best. Then off to the Drifters tribute which was likewise very good. Comedian Mike Doyle was excellent well worth seeing. He did some reminiscing about past cruises on Oriana as he had been there from the start. Mentioned some of the staff that were on this cruise to say farewell to the ship. Sailed as promised at around 930am Saturday. Bought our duty free which was particularly good value then a relaxing day. Had lunch which was a bit bland and then almost time to get ready for formal night and some photos. Guernsey was fine and we simply walked around St Peter Port there was a market and car show on the quay side which was interesting as many of the shops were shut as it was a Sunday. Have to say here didn't they know there would be 2 cruise ships in with people eager to spend their cash! Now the really BAD news as we walked in to the Oriental dining room for early sitting I could hear a loud rumble accompanied by a lot of vibration. This increased as we approached our table and was now overpowering so much so you could hardly hear yourself talk let alone think. So bad that if you left your cutlery on the plate it danced across it! Meal was fine lobster and beef wellington but they do not seem to like you asking for seconds - felt a bit like Oliver Twist. So uncomfortable actually that they won and I never asked again. Once we dropped anchor outside St Peter Port and the turned off the engine all was OK but we were now halfway through the meal and the Sunday night there would be no respite as we hammered our way up the English Channel. We discovered the best bar being the Crow's Nest at the front of the Ship. Large bar with live music - similar in many respects to the Commodore clubs on Cunard. P&O have now said there is not need to tip staff. Well this time around there was really no one apart from our cabin steward that would deserve anything. Service was pretty poor all around and very basic. You had to ask for everything whether it be ketchup and mint sauce or trying to catch someones eye because they had forgotten an order - everything seemed too much trouble. I just wonder if they have dropped the tips and not increased their pay? The ship was fine despite its age and some bad design decisions around the cabins. I liked the smaller bars but it was simply too crammed in the Lords Tavener. I am sorry to say I pity those passengers on the remaining cruises if they have to put up with the engine noise and vibration in the Oriental Restaurant. As we had experienced before there were many on board who cruise only with P&O and there were also lots of ex staff who were saying farewell to the ship. They will just not hear anything mildly critical or constructive said about the ship. Which is sad really because every company should be aiming to improve. There many things on this ship and cruise that were great but others not so. If all you surround yourself with is yes men then you will fail. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2019
Have had some wonderful times on Oriana (we still have fabulous memories of the 5 week cruise we did in 2011&the cruise sailing around Cape Horn in 2004) &wanted to have a final cruise before she sadly is off to a new venture . ... Read More
Have had some wonderful times on Oriana (we still have fabulous memories of the 5 week cruise we did in 2011&the cruise sailing around Cape Horn in 2004) &wanted to have a final cruise before she sadly is off to a new venture . We were not disappointed, had a great 3 nights, (shame it wasn’t longer )with superb food ,fantastic entertainment &very efficient happy staff. It was great to see so many ex crew on board as passengers what a feat of organising.Well Done Steve . The entertainment was excellent .the boundless energy of the Headliners Theatre Company is a credit to them .&the live musicians did not disappoint . We were blessed with fine weather for our stop in Guernsey,(which is a bonus as the stop there is always weather dependent ) A huge thankyou to the in seen behind the scenes crew who work equally as hard to ensure a great time is had by all . Sad to see Oriana go Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
You know how it is. Days before departure you check that everything you could possibly need is packed and then with hours to go before closing the front door, you realise something is missing. In my case, I like to think there was good ... Read More
You know how it is. Days before departure you check that everything you could possibly need is packed and then with hours to go before closing the front door, you realise something is missing. In my case, I like to think there was good reason for forgetting the crampons. After all, they’re not the first things that spring to mind when you’re packing trousers and shirts. But joining Oriana for her cruise to the Arctic Circle in search of the Northern Lights, perhaps I should have done. I had found space for base and mid layers, pullovers and fleeces – even hand-warmers and a bobble hat – but not spikes for my sturdy shoes. Fortunately a local sports shop had a set for just £5 and I left the house ready for anything that Norway could throw at me. THE SHIP Oriana might be facing her last few months with P&O before she heads to China to join another cruise line, Twinkle, but it was clear from the moment I stepped on board that she intends to leave in style. Officers and crew provided levels of service that were second to none – no wonder that I heard so many fellow passengers say how much they will miss Oriana. In my book, mid-size ships are manageable and 1900 passengers seems just about right. Big beasts might be fine for late night revellers but Oriana has more than enough space to meet my needs and so it is a relief to know that we still have Aurora, a ship of similar size to Oriana and also for adults only. The public areas match Aurora’s as well and include shops, restaurants, cafés, bars, a well-stocked library, a comfortable cinema and a large theatre. There are also card rooms, lounges, an alternative venue for shows and – if you like dancing – Harlequins offers live groups to get you in the mood. My favourite spot was Tiffanys for a Costa coffee and if you time it right, an array of cakes and pastries are served late morning – at no extra cost. During the cruise I used the Peninsular restaurant and enjoyed some excellent dinners. I should eat more fish and so made the most of the wide variety on offer – salmon, lobster, cod, sea bass, scallops, bream, the lot. But occasionally I opted for the beef, pork or calves’ liver and all were delicious. Superb service adds to the pleasure, of course, and Sabir’s friendly welcome into his restaurant each evening was appreciated. Junior staff were equally impressive – in the Conservatory, new recruits Mark and Jitendra cheerfully offered help with everything from making the toast at breakfast to topping up the tea bags. Special events add variety to daily routines. One was a wine tasting seminar, hosted by Donna, Oriana’s chief wine steward. Ably helped by Christina, Jane and Jude, we sampled a range of wines as we listened to advice on wine tasting and learnt a lot about the winemaking process. The supplementary charge of £10 was good value and the convivial company passed a pleasant hour. THE PORTS Sailing closer to the Arctic Circle the prospect of aurora borealis lighting up the night skies became the main topic of conversation and at our first port, Andalsnes in Norway’s Rauma region, mountains draped in snow and lower slopes flecked with frost added to the anticipation. Time to test out my choice of winter wear! It felt good to scrunch through virgin snow on leaving the town behind. Andalsnes is small and you quickly discover trails through beautiful scenery. Around me, I saw young crew members experience snow for the first time, making snow angels and throwing snowballs, and their happiness was contagious. This is why I was here. To feel young again! The air was pure, the temperature freezing and I had no regrets about overfilling my case with warm layers. The crampons were a different story. One of them kept falling off my shoe – I knew they were too cheap - and I had to shuffle back to town to visit a sports shop for advice. It was succinct. Bin them and buy proper spikes. For a mere £45 (Norway is not cheap) I walked out wearing the finest set in Norway and they were worth every penny. At each port we visited I had them with me and I traversed ice and snow with ease. After the smallness of Andalsnes, Tromso felt very different. Walking out of the city across the bridge high above Tromso Sound with snow flurries and chill winds blowing in from the sea was ... bracing? Having crossed, the Ice (or Arctic) cathedral stands before you and is worth visiting for its triangular beauty; it lies about a mile from the shuttle bus drop-off point. Back in the city centre a hot chocolate (£4) in one of the many cafés thawed me out nicely. Alta was our final port before turning south to Stavanger and it was also the town where there would be most chance of seeing the Northern Lights, a natural phenomenon of bands of different colours swirling across the sky. We stayed for two nights and there’s no use beating about the bush – the Lights remained switched off for the duration. To have any hope of seeing them, clear skies and low temperatures are essential but during our stay there was simply too much cloud cover. However there was a bonus in that we had daytime sunshine with evening snowfalls that transformed the landscape and made Alta’s fjord and mountains look even more magical. ACTIVITIES Alta is home to the Northern Lights cathedral, a futuristic building constructed of steel and concrete and virgin snow made it an even more dramatic sight. The entrance charge is around £10. There were plenty of tours available. Mine to the Igloo Hotel to see bedrooms carved from blocks of ice was fascinating. An overnight stay, the ice bed piled with reindeer skins, is particularly popular with honeymoon couples, the guide told us. Unlike hotels elsewhere, this one melts away each Spring to be re-built in late Autumn. Reindeer sleigh rides were popular activities but the most fun seemed to be had by those who went husky sledding. There is no need to worry about the dogs being forced to work – they can’t wait to get started and once they return they expect lots of fuss and thanks. Taryn, the ship’s senior loyalty manager, enjoyed every minute of the experience. “There was so much screaming and giggling,” she told me, “especially when I had to be dragged out of hip-deep snow!” WORTH BOOKING? The failure of the Northern Lights to make an appearance did little to dim my enthusiasm for this cruise. Every port was markedly different from anything I had seen before and returning to the welcome warmth of the ship each afternoon to be spoilt by officers and crew made the holiday even more special. The cruise also felt different in another way: more than 700 of the 1800 passengers on board were new to cruise holidays. Ian and Angela from Staffordshire had never cruised before and enjoyed every minute. “It was brilliant! We’ve never seen so much snow and we’ve never had service like this. No wonder people keep coming back,” Ian said. “We’ll certainly be booking another cruise.” And so will I. My search for the Northern Lights resumes when I board Aurora next February. If you decide to do the same, be sure to pack plenty of warm clothes! And don’t stint on the crampons. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2018
Just returned from a cruise on the 23rd may from Southampton, shop was lovely , very clean , food was lovely especially the beach house but you had to pay a surcharge of £7.50 each but well worth the visit to be honest I think you should ... Read More
Just returned from a cruise on the 23rd may from Southampton, shop was lovely , very clean , food was lovely especially the beach house but you had to pay a surcharge of £7.50 each but well worth the visit to be honest I think you should be able to visit this restaurant free of charge as part of the holiday as it was not cheap to go on this cruise. The cabin was lovely and comfortable and staff were excellent could not fault it. However unless you are aged over 75yrs of age this ship was very boring as far as the entertainment, it was terrible, the itinerary was knit and natter, how to get rid of water retention, seminars on the war and more war, films then on id Dunkirk, Churchill , I am all for remembering what the elderly did for their country but I don't want to have it thrown down my neck on my holidays. The band symmetric were atrocious they should have put them overboard , no idea who auditioned them , had a tropical night and we thought this might be good, my god it was terrible the band were singing oh when the saints come marching in, I have never had this song played at any party never mind a tropical party, everyone gave up and called it a night it was so bad. P@O really need to get their act together for entertainment, you could not get in any of the 8.30 shows as all the old codgers would eat at 6.00 and then all sit in that theatres a good 1/2 hrs before the shows even started so you could never get a seat, they were rude and impolite to the crew , they expect some respect but obviously they need to learn to be respectful to their younger passengers, I am 56 but I felt like I was on my last legsNEver again on this ship Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2018
Could not resist the Black Friday deal a great way to try P&O. Firstly though I must say I do feel for all those who had their 50 night cruise cancelled some of whom were on this one. The cruise exceeded my expectations. The cabin ... Read More
Could not resist the Black Friday deal a great way to try P&O. Firstly though I must say I do feel for all those who had their 50 night cruise cancelled some of whom were on this one. The cruise exceeded my expectations. The cabin was great and our steward Mateus was excellent. The entertainment crew were fantastic, we could all do with some of Georgie's energy!!!!! The food in both the buffet and Oriental restaurant was excellent. The Headliners put on several brilliant shows. Also enjoyed Manuel Matinez my sides ached after his second show in the Pacific Lounge, Peter Howarth and Walk Like A Man. Both Embarkation and Disembarkation went smoothly. Excursions were good value can highly recommend the Toboggan run in Madeira with the cable car would do this again. Holiday went far too quickly, Atlantic very very choppy weather not great but did not spoil one minute Cannot wait for my next trip which will be on Aurora in November then Arcadia in December. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2017
Oriana was our first cruise. We liked the ports for this and the time of year was good as was the weather. NO complaints at all. Service was excellent throughout. Only problem really was the tender process at a couple of ports ... Read More
Oriana was our first cruise. We liked the ports for this and the time of year was good as was the weather. NO complaints at all. Service was excellent throughout. Only problem really was the tender process at a couple of ports which took forever and ate into our time on shore. Bit unorganised I think. Shore excursions on P and O quite expensive so we arranged one ourselves and went cycling in Barcelona which was absolutely brilliant and only cost us £26 each. Entertainment I think not quite so good. Headliners were better before but they improved as the cruise went on. Few talks in the theatre from outside personalities than before. The programme was a little bit "samey". The spa was excellent and the girls were really lovely. I went there a few times. All in all - a really good cruise so thank you Oriana and see you again Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2017
Back on P&O after two Celebrity and one Princess cruise, check in was very crowded but we were onboard quick enough and straight to our outside cabin. A long time since we had not had a balcony, would we miss it ?, well yes we did even ... Read More
Back on P&O after two Celebrity and one Princess cruise, check in was very crowded but we were onboard quick enough and straight to our outside cabin. A long time since we had not had a balcony, would we miss it ?, well yes we did even though it was cold and inclement weather. The cabin seemed small,l although we managed to hang all our clothes which included some very bulky coats etc. The televisions are very small and not interactive as on other ships. The cabin steward happily took away and stored some of the large cases as they did not fit under the bed. The security safe is in the wardrobe at floor level, not easy for the over 60's to access which is most of the clients ? We were on freedom dining and most nights were seated straight away although later diners had to have pagers. The food and service in the Peninsular was excellent. We sampled various venues for breakfast, lunch and an afternoon tea during the cruise and all were very good. I would say however that the conservatory offering was not as good as the American ships. During the sea days we took part in most of the quizzes, and a few of the other activities on offer, the table tennis being on an outside deck curtailed my enthusiasm to play, and the short mat bowls whilst in port was a farce due to the ships tilt. The entertainment was varied and we enjoyed the headliners, comedian Jay Magee, and two good speakers. The formal nights were well supported and the photographers were not in your face all the time which made a change. We were lucky enough to see the northern lights although the full moon did not help, they were generally like a grey wisp of cloud but did come out greenish on the photographs. People on the second night were not so fortunate. The weather on the return leg was very rough, force eleven with the usual array of those that carried on as normal and those that could not. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2017
The Northern Lights cruise was one of our must do cruises. Embarkation was trouble free and we were soon onboard. We knew our way around as we have sailed on the Oriana before. Our cabin was on deck 9 aft. It had a perfect view of the ... Read More
The Northern Lights cruise was one of our must do cruises. Embarkation was trouble free and we were soon onboard. We knew our way around as we have sailed on the Oriana before. Our cabin was on deck 9 aft. It had a perfect view of the back of the ship and in the perfect position to get back and forth to the restaurant or the promenade deck. We chose not to do the whole dining experience but to to the casual dining in the Conservatory which was buffet style and themed every night. There was always something to choose from or a roast meat and veg. Always a soup and plenty of cold meats and salads. The desserts not my choice but very varied and my husband sampled them all. Our first few days were cruising towards the Arctic Ocean and our first stop Andalsnes, a small town knee deep in snow and looking very pretty. There were various trips going from here but we chose to explore ourselves. Our second stop was at Tromso. We had 2 days here and after exploring the first day, took one of the excursions the second day. We visited the Polar museum, a visit to the Cathedral and a trip on the cable car. Our guide for the afternoon was very informative and we enjoyed the whole experience. Our third stop was Alta. From here we visited the Ice hotel and a husky sled ride. What an experience. We learnt about the upkeep of the dogs and were able to pet them, they are very friendly dogs. We also learnt the history of the ice hotel, how long it's open , how long it took to build etc. Since coming home I have watched the. Joanna Lumley documentary about Norway. And the main reason for going the Northern Lights.Yes we got to see them from the ship on two nights. Fabulous. Our last stop was Stavanger, again we chose to explore ourselves. During sailing days there was plenty to do on the ship. There was a wide range of activities from dancing to shuffleboard. A full programme. If you chose to just relax and read there were plenty of places to do that. Evening entertainment wasn't everyone's cup of tea, we enjoyed some and was disappointed with others but it's all a matter of choice. The service of the crew was excellent always friendly and always polite, they couldn't do enough for you. Disembarkation day was excellent, no problems. It wa a first time cruis for some of our party, they enjoyed it so much they are looking to go again. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2016
This was my first time with P&O and on the Oriana. At first everything was fine and the crew were very lovely. We had problems with the air conditioning sticking on either too hot or too cold but we could forgive that as it was going ... Read More
This was my first time with P&O and on the Oriana. At first everything was fine and the crew were very lovely. We had problems with the air conditioning sticking on either too hot or too cold but we could forgive that as it was going in for a refit in November. Mid week a the Norovirus broke out and everything changed. The hygiene standards actually worsened and did not improve. They had no idea of infection control and I witnessed on lots of occasions very poor disinfectant techniques. The staff obviously had very little knowledge of how to disinfect adequately. There were many empty soap dispensers on the ship and the only hand sanitation was in the dining room, where we had one squirt as we went in.Very little information was given to passengers. The staff were obviously under pressure from their supervisors and their attitude changed, especially the waiters who were rude and incompetent. They didn't even look at or acknowledge when people thanked them. This was my fourth cruising experience but first with P&O. Thankfully the first three lovely and staff were brilliant. I thoroughly enjoyed them but had this been my first ever cruise I would never step board on a ship again. There were so many other things that went wrong or were bad practises that I would have to write a book to include them. Thankfully we didn't contract the virus but I wasn't in the least bit surprised it was a problem on board. I felt so sorry for the passengers boarding the Oriana as we were getting off. Read Less
12 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2016
We like cruising with P & O, but we did have issues with this cruise, mostly to do with the location of our cabin. We were on the lowest aft cabin deck (D) in a balcony cabin, and dined in the Oriental Restaurant, two floors ... Read More
We like cruising with P & O, but we did have issues with this cruise, mostly to do with the location of our cabin. We were on the lowest aft cabin deck (D) in a balcony cabin, and dined in the Oriental Restaurant, two floors immediately below. Others have commented about the vibration in the restaurant (so much so that we could not place our cutlery together at the end of the meal, because this prompted so much noise). We were very pleased, on viewing our cabin, to find it one of the nicest balcony cabins we had occupied. However ...... My sister and her husband, whose cabin was alongside ours, decided they couldn't cope with being woken at night and requested a move which had to be to a lower-grade cabin as no balcony cabins were available. One of the Reception staff said they advised passengers to go for mid-ship cabins, but I always heard that this was to avoid movement, not noise. This implies that it's just bad luck if you've chosen an aft cabin (because we don't mind the motion of the ship so that's never been an issue) but excuse me, everyone has to sleep! We being in our 80s my husband and I decided that we couldn't cope with the upheaval in moving cabin, so just had to put up with the noise. On a positive note, the food was mostly good and sometimes very good, but there is a definite problem with items described as "pan fried" which never come out with crisp skin which is rather unappetising (fish, duck). The speed with which food is served is astonishing, but the lovely vegetables which used to be served separately is now a thing of the past, sadly. The shows we saw (Headliners Theatre Company) were excellent, the best we have seen. This particular group were getting off the ship with us, so hopefully the quality will not suffer for subsequent cruises. Would we go again? Definitely not in this cabin (D231) or any of the D Aft cabins. Despite this negative review we did enjoy our cruise and the ports were lovely. Average score reflects the fact that it seems the vibration is something passengers will have to put up with for a while yet. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2015
Embarkation was in Venice and one of the ports on the trip was Rome. I so wanted to see both these places and P & O were going there. Never go in October, the sea was rough and instead of having 2 days at sea and 4 days in ports, we ... Read More
Embarkation was in Venice and one of the ports on the trip was Rome. I so wanted to see both these places and P & O were going there. Never go in October, the sea was rough and instead of having 2 days at sea and 4 days in ports, we spent 4 days at sea. Kotor was the first port we missed, we were so disappointed, too rough to land. A we didn't visit Kotor, a non EEC country, we were unable to purchase duty free goods after that. We visited Corfu {which was lovely} but they couldn't sell us duty free goods. Our last port was Monte Carlo. When the captain announced he had tried to land but couldn't, for our safety we were all so very very disappointed. The worst thing was, we could see another P & O ship that was taking passengers ashore on their shuttle boat. We complained as did many people but were just fobbed off. There was absolutely no compensation whatsoever. Back in UK, I wrote to P & O stressing my disappointment but they said they had a NO COMPENSATION POLICY. Rob Bryden can swan around on those adverts, I am sure at the expense of P & O but Mr and Mrs Ordinary get nothing. I tried complaining via emails and was told that the captain had tried to land at alternative ports but couldn't, this was not mentioned in the ship's log. I don't think they really did try. I will never book a cruise with P & O again if I can help it. Also, I found they seem to charge for everything and most goods on board were quite expensive. Every lecture or demonstration I attended always involved some form of payment should I wish to take it further. I have been on 2 other cruises and found them marvellous in comparison they seemed far more generous than P & O. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2015
Having been on the Azura to Norway was hoping that this ship and crew would exceed the shortcomings I found on the Azura. Having arrived an hour late because of a massive traffic jam on the A3 outside Guildford, the embarkation was a fast ... Read More
Having been on the Azura to Norway was hoping that this ship and crew would exceed the shortcomings I found on the Azura. Having arrived an hour late because of a massive traffic jam on the A3 outside Guildford, the embarkation was a fast doddle. Within a short time we had the emergency drill which turned out to be the worst ever. A massive amount of people were cramped into a small space with inadequate seating and we waited and waited and waited for the announcements to start. About half an hour later the event began, whilst the air conditioning failed in its duties and was getting hotter by the minute. A really bad start. Got to the cabin and found that the wardrobe was cramped and the safe was right on the floor. The taps in the bathroom refused to give cold water, only hot and warm, and this persisted over the whole cruise, besides reporting it on several occasions. The excuse given was that it was an old ship! Found that the Freedom dining option in the Peninsular restaurant worked well; really nice room with tables well spaced out. Food in there was adequate but service was rushed and a meal that could have been enjoyed over an hour and three quarters was over sometimes in just over an hour. Meat portions were sometimes enough to feed a mouse and vegetables were sometimes barely to be found on the plate. The bread provided looked unappetising and was. Sometimes food had to be sent back because it was undercooked. Had game one day and almost broke my tooth on lead shot. when I complained about this they asked for my cabin number but I never heard from them. I liked the swimming pools on the ship but unbelievably they were not heated, so except on very hot days were underused. There were no art gallery on this ship, unlike many of the other P&O vessels. Also unlike many other shipping lines there was no free minutess of use on the Internet bearing in mind the number of times I had been on P&O. My worst criticism was on the Conservatory, the buffet restaurant on deck 12. The choice of food at lunchtime was the worst of any ship I have ever been on, over 50 cruises. No carvery and barely any British food in sight, hardly any vegetables. 90 per cent of the passengers British, and curries and pasta galore. Not only that but the food was often tasteless, unappetising and lacked quality. At breakfasts the waiters did not come round to bring or refill tea or coffee. Went with 6 others to the recommended main speciality restaurant one evening. £12.50 a head plus an extra £3.50 for lobster or similar for specialty steak.had to wait ages for the main course and when it finally arrived the chips, nicely arranged on separate plated look appetising until we found they were raw inside. We called the waiter who promptly took them away to get them replaced. We waited and waited and finally had to start because the rest of the food on the plate was getting cold. Eventually the new chips turned up after we had finished. After our sweet we ordered coffee, and we had to wait an age; eventually In total frustration we asked for service only to be told that they were waiting for one of us to finish their cheese. We replied that they could at least have asked us when we wanted it served. When it came to the bill, we said that under the circumstances we should have our bill reduced but they refused. Consequently we did not recommend this restaurant to others. Went to most of the shows after dinner, and although the dancers strutted their stuff well, the main singers in the theatre company were well below par. Not all the cruise was bad and enjoyed most of it, but thought I should at least report here some of the shortcomings. To cap it all on the final night I returned to my cabin after the show only to find that it had NOT been made up, hence a much reduced tip in the morning. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2015
this was are first ever cruise so I have nothing to compare against but I can certainly tell when a ship is looking worn out. On arrival day one we had been on the ship no more than five minutes and spa treatments were being introduced ... Read More
this was are first ever cruise so I have nothing to compare against but I can certainly tell when a ship is looking worn out. On arrival day one we had been on the ship no more than five minutes and spa treatments were being introduced to us in a elevator of all places whilst we were still were carrying our hand luggage. We arrived at are cabin a hour or so later when it was ready a nice enough cabin but a few maintenance problems I.e. cupboard doors, toilet flush issues but the cabin was always kept very clean. What I found more disappointing was the general look of the ship you could see she was a grand lady in her day and still could be, but she is worked constantly without time for a refit and all maintenance is carried out at sea. All the time on our cruise the maintenance was carried out a patch work quilt of grey primer paint and white flecks of paint on the decks through grinding, a generator the size of a large van on the sun deck due to some problems below, the attrium water feature never worked for the duration of the cruise it's a shame as we were looking forward to this holiday for a long time. The food we found hit and miss Eating in the conservatory Don't bother! Eating the Oriental average. Eating in peninsular average. Eating in the ocean grill excellent. Eating in the beach house good. The entertainment on board was OK but it got a bit the same old thing at the end of the cruise. I spoke to a few people on the cruise about there experience on board and the one thing they all had in common was the way p&o had lost a lot of there traditional values, and All the changes seen on board are for the worse. As I said at the beginning of this review we hadn't cruised before so had nothing to compare it with but from my findings this was a long way from perfect compared to other cruise companys. We won't be bothering again. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2015
Having had a bad Caribbean cruising experience in January/February with another company, together with 2 friends, my wife and I booked a 'don't give up' recovery cruise with P&O who we have cruised with several times ... Read More
Having had a bad Caribbean cruising experience in January/February with another company, together with 2 friends, my wife and I booked a 'don't give up' recovery cruise with P&O who we have cruised with several times before. The overall experience was excellent with absolutely no problems with embarkation and disembarkation, a really nice inside cabin, staff who were both helpful and cheerful, excellent food and great entertainment. The Oriana is a very happy ship with credit due to the senior staff who clearly work well together with the rest of the staff. It is good to see so many officers walking around the ship on a regular basis. All the visits to the ports of call went well and without hitch which is a refreshing change to what we experienced earlier in the year - even the security personnel were able to smile! A special mention for 'Mikey', the Entertainments Manager, whose team were brilliant throughout the cruise with some excellent 'sail away' sing along sessions, particularly, the one which celebrated the Queen breaking the longest reigning Monarch record. The Oriana's resident 'dance and sing' troupe called The Headliners were absolutely fantastic - you won't see better anywhere else in the cruise world! The guest artists were all first class with Tom O'Connor an absolute standout giving two 45 minute hilarious sessions without one swear word! Keep an eye out for Ben Makisi, a tenor from New Zealand, who was just brilliant. As ever, the food was first class in all of the restaurants with the 'Select Dining' being particularly enjoyable with our two waiters, Sankey & Biju, being able to join in the fun whilst maintaining a very professional service. One last point for a lot of other cruise companies to take note of - P&O does not mind you taking your own drink on board for consumption in your cabin. Refreshing in so many ways! All in all, a great experience. Thank you P&O for restoring our faith in cruising. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2015
We read some less than shining reviews about Oriana and her crew so we wanted to set the record straight from our point of view! It's just our opinion but I hope it helps someone make a more balanced decision. We had a brilliant ... Read More
We read some less than shining reviews about Oriana and her crew so we wanted to set the record straight from our point of view! It's just our opinion but I hope it helps someone make a more balanced decision. We had a brilliant four days away from home! Sailing to Brugge and Amsterdam. The ship is older, and smaller than some. Although you wouldn't know it. Some areas need a refit or a spruce up but every where you go it's well maintained and clean! The Pacific Lounge has a charm about it, like a time warpy charm back to the 80s, and ideally P&O would stop their practice of cramming the Headliners in there to perform the abba show... But it was still a good watch! The entertainment was exceptional for a mini cruise, we thought it wouldn't stand up to the longer itineraries but we packed as much into 4 days as we could and there was plenty we didn't have time for. The crew are the best in the fleet! They knock spots off Ventura and Oceana, the company should be most proud of them. We had a rough sea day back to Southampton and the captain kept us well informed and turned as soon as he could to get the ship more stable. The "motion discomfort bags" were deployed in double time (I'm not taking the Micky, that's what they're called). We even saw waiters and bar staff helping older passengers to navigate the public areas and get to their rooms safely. It wasn't that bumpy but I'm able bodied and agile so I wouldn't have worried, but the entire crew pulled together and kept everyone comfy! They even kept the buffet open later after lunch for those that had missed it. The standard of food on P&O has taken a dip in recent years, some cynics call this the "carnival effect" but we didn't notice on this ship! We have noticed on others though. So Oriana's chefs and cooks are doing a brilliant job. All of the meat was fantastic and we had enough food at every sitting, despite this we were always offered more (but who seriously needs more than five courses when two thirds of the world are starving). Even the late night buffet for second dinner was brilliant and fresh hot chocolate every night, as much as you wanted until you could feel diabetes setting in! We had one dinner at Marco Pierre Whites Ocean Grill for a nominal £18 surcharge and I'd have happily paid £25! It was the best meal out I've had in my life, I think I passed out half way through my trifle - and came too only to find a hand made (no machines here) latte that the wonderful Donna our waitress had made specially for me to revive me! We also had one breakfast in 'Alfresco' which was lovely also. I don't like a fry up daily so Al fresco was the place to go, I wish I'd found it sooner. It's gets really busy and we had a ten minute wait for a table for four of us, but we could have sat outside and been seated immediately. In alfresco they make omelettes and eggs to order, fresh breakfast paninis and more fresh fruit than a del monte advert. Worth a try if your going on Ventura, deck 12 aft. A word of warning to your livers! The bar tenders in he crows nest have a great habit of "accidentally" adding extra rum to your piña coladas!!!!! I also have a great habit of accidentally drinking three in a row.... Between the six of us we must have tried every cocktail they make, and possibly a few more! But at £5 a go for at least four shots of booze and an umbrella who can moan? They do Virgin Mocktails too for the little ones or the less alcoholic amongst you. But I didn't try them! Costa coffee is served in the atrium, and the food their is free with your cruise it's just the specialty drinks that are extra. Light bites and cakes galore. Costa is cheaper onboard than on shore too, and always piping hot. We ventured to afternoon tea on our sea day, as usual for P&O the afternoon tea is a little lack lustre... And be staff suitably grumpy and formal. It all adds to the atmosphere though :) Our cabin was tiny, we decided to to try an inside for the first time as it was only a short cruise. We used to pay for balconies only to never use them, and now we just go for an obstructed view as its jive to have the day light. But as I say, we went all dungeon on this trip. If you're okay with no natural light and the feeling of the walls coming toward you then go for an inside, but if like me you get a little claustrophobic pay the extra £50 for an obstructed view! Our cabin was clean, comfy and had everything we needed except enough plug sockets. Take a four way socket with you if you have more than thing to charge over night. If you forget you can leave your phone at reception with your charger and they'll charge it for you. They're lovely too! The water pressure is a joke on this ship!!! Be very careful! It's so strong I had a daily exfoliation if I needed it or not. Seriously it's really really good flow in the shower. Another note worth considering and I promise this is the last thing, is that there are no kids on board. For the childless like us, this is heavenly. This means in reality that you can always use the pools, dinner is civilised and there is more pudding left on the buffet. I hope you've found my ramblings helpful. We can't wait to get back on Oriana and we hope she has many more decades in service. We've been on all the P&O ships between us except for Artemis and Britannia, and so far Oriana really really is the best! Thanks to the crew for a truly memorable and top spec holiday! Worth every penny! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: June 2015
Our first cruise, to Ireland, Iceland, Faroe Islands, Orkneys, Dublin and back to Southampton. Our room A196 mid ship was a good position top price for a Non balcony room. The room itself was in need of refurbishment lots of rust round ... Read More
Our first cruise, to Ireland, Iceland, Faroe Islands, Orkneys, Dublin and back to Southampton. Our room A196 mid ship was a good position top price for a Non balcony room. The room itself was in need of refurbishment lots of rust round windows and in bathroom. The room was cleaned regularly but not very well the kettle was dirty and not cleaned during our stay. Our last day at sea, new bed linen was put in our room for the next cruise, just made us feel it's time to go and make room for the next passengers. Food ... Overall average, the breakfast was ok nothing special and it was difficult to get a table for four at some times. Lunch was also nothing special. Dinner was better, good choice, well presented and served by friendly waiters. But not always perfect some basic mistakes in the cooking , not fine dinning at its best. Entertainment... Didn't impress us second rate singers, comedians, musicians and only one film worth watching. Making days at sea boring. Ports of call... KILLYBEGS fantastic day out hired a taxi who took us along the old road ,where coaches can't go, lots of photo stops, a stop at a spinners and hand weavers work shop, on to Glencolmcille Folk Village. Lunch at a small restaurant, all the time being entertained by our driver who was bought up in the area. The cost was half what P&O would charge for a similar trip but we saw so much more. Now, having been allocated £540.00 on board spending money and not being drinkers the only thing to spend it on was trips out. ICELAND we did The Golden Circle, The Jewels of the North on both these trips we saw the main attractions albeit in a rush with hundreds of other tourists, over priced not that impressed. Our other trip was to The Abondoned Village of Hesteyri this was a complete disaster, we were taken by boat across the Glacier fjord about 18 miles, an hours journey on a rough sea day was far from comfortable some passengers sitting outside getting cold and wet. On arrival we had to transfer to a small rubber dingy six at a time to go the last 100 metres or so the the floating jetty, sitting on the rubber side with nothing to hold onto was extremely dangerous if any one was to fall into the water it was very very cold and for anyone with a heart condition could have been fatal. We were not informed about this before we left. On the positive side we were away from the crowds, just 36 of us a few walkers in a cold wilderness and the food supplied was quite good. However the tour description left a lot to be desired, the Abondoned houses turned out to be local weekend holiday homes and the old whaling factory was a mile away. Think carefully before booking this excursion. FAROES ISLANDS we choose the Sagas and Legends a very good trip with good guide enjoyed these islands and would very much like a holiday there. ORKNEYS the weather was against us here it rained all day and was windy so our trip was not great couldn't see the views , but we did see enough to know that we should come again, just what we did four weeks later on a coach tour of Scotland, by ferry from Jon o Grotes and a fantastic coach trip seeing all the attractions not available with P&O trips. DUBLIN our last port was a trip out on their local open top bus getting on or off where ever you wanted to, too much to see on one visit. To sum up cruising is not for us, we like value for money and the freedom to do what we want to when we want to. So our next holiday is two weeks all inclusive in a five star hotel for half what the cruise cost. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2014
Thus was our 16th cruise and looking forward to boarding what was the flag ship of P&O the Oriana. Great start as we had to wait to board approx. 2 hours due to an out break of Norovirus on the previous cruise.This then set the theme ... Read More
Thus was our 16th cruise and looking forward to boarding what was the flag ship of P&O the Oriana. Great start as we had to wait to board approx. 2 hours due to an out break of Norovirus on the previous cruise.This then set the theme for the rest of our cruise.Mayhem in the Conservatory restaurant as waiters served and all the dishes had to be handed out trays and plates,drinks etc.the already rather small area became Butlins at sea.The cabin A311 was smaller than we were used too and the wardrobe inadequate.The safe which became an issue later on was too small.The only real saving grace was the Tea making facilities as with all P&O we have been on and the lovely hot shower albeit in a very small bath.The first meal in the Peninsular restaurant which is now freedom dining was poor.We are used to asking for an receiving a table for two as is our wish, but was informed we could wait up to an our for this.So sitting with a table of 6 we listened to the gripes and moans of the other two couples sending back their food swapping dishes to try to see if their partners were any better, so we decided the following night to try the Ocean Grill of Marco Pierre Whites fame.This was a pleasant and rewarding experience costing us about £46 with wine for two.We returned to the Peninsular on the following evening and found it better, but not great, so the last evening we went back to the Ocean Grille. having booked the excursion called "Bruges on your own" which basically a bus ride into Bruges at 9.30am and a certain pick up time of 4pm costing £74 for the two of us, which my wife wanted to do to make sure we got there and back in time for the ships departure,but alas on the morning poor Yorick it was not meant to be.The safe was having none of it all of our passports and money remained sealed behind the metal door, the code meant nothing to this junk of metal, so we called for assistance at reception.We were promised 10 minutes -this came and went -we phoned and explained that the coach is about to depart for Bruges without us another 5 minutes he said - so I asked my wife to go down and explain our predicament and see if we could get a slight delay to the rep.dealing with the excursion -10 more minutes she was told - and eventually after 25 minutes a guy turned up put a card in a slot tutted and said "the safe is kaput,I will have to call for the guy with the tools" " how long" I asked""10 minutes" he said after 10 minutes I phoned reception and they said he must have gone the long way round,10 minutes after that he turned up and proceeded to drill out the front of the safe UUMM this is the 21st century and yet here we are drilling out an ancient safe because the electrics have gone tits up.When at last he managed to drill off the front I retrieved our documents and monies and headed off to be with my wife.The coach had gone and the shuttle bus was full so we had to wait for the next which meant we missed the connection at the station and as the train only goes on ten passed the hour, we had to wait and hour ,which meant getting to Bruges at 12pm and the last train we could catch back was 2.30 because they stopped running the shuttle at 4pm.It ruined the day and although I managed to get a refund for the excursion there was no apology -- nothing. The comedian on the first and third night was average, using every cruise joke I had heard previously -the Girl singers on the second were good but not great.The band was the smallest I have seen on a ship with the leader on the piano emotion less -pan face never smiled and looked like the rest of them bored. The crew looked worried and fed up -there was never a time for a joke or smiles and having been on Holland of America where they are exceptional and various others this was unusual --the doomed ship. When we were on a short trip on the Queen Victoria we didn't want to get off -- this time we had no regrets. Its a shame P&O a cruise with no magic only problems.   Read Less
Sail Date: August 2014
We had cruised on Oriana on her first year 95 and again on a Baltic cruise 2000 , after reading a few reviews of how poor she was looking we were very pleasantly surprised of her near immaculate condition for a 19 year old ship . Oriana ... Read More
We had cruised on Oriana on her first year 95 and again on a Baltic cruise 2000 , after reading a few reviews of how poor she was looking we were very pleasantly surprised of her near immaculate condition for a 19 year old ship . Oriana has always been a favourite of ours just a nice size and very well designed for the UK market , nice wide prom deck with interior walkways if weather poor . Weather on our Baltic cruise was superb with lots of sunning available . Our cabin steward Inis did a great job and our restaurant waiters were always very attentive , Meals were usually very good and warm with a couple not up to standard , but I think you can expect that on any cruise . Meals are now plated giving you less choice than silver service but you have to expect some money saving options within a very competitive market . Tours -- We went on the ships tours both days in St Petersburg and did our own thing on the other four ports of call . Entertainment was first class with plenty of options to suit most , in all a very enjoyable cruise in a lovely ship with very nice sea conditions and warm weather . Also found the captain and crew to be very friendly . 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: 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
Sail Date: June 2012
Hello, My wife and Son and i have just come back from a very pleasant break on the P & O ship Oriana.The Oriana is a mid-size ship, adult only,and is geared for the UK market.The car parking at The QE2 terminal was hassle free.we were ... Read More
Hello, My wife and Son and i have just come back from a very pleasant break on the P & O ship Oriana.The Oriana is a mid-size ship, adult only,and is geared for the UK market.The car parking at The QE2 terminal was hassle free.we were on the ship in under 20 minutes. The luggage outside our Cabins on A Deck waiting for us. The Cabin steward Seby middle aged from India was A1+ for service with a smile,nothing too much bother for him.The cabin was a Large inside with bath & shower,twin beds & sofa and dressing table,double wardrobe & two sets of drawers with Fridge,Safe and Remote TV,very nice, Tea & coffee & biscuits constantly replaced.The Oriana is a elegant ship without being too " Glitchy". All the staff very friendly and helpful. The food in the Peninsular restaurant 2nd sitting 8.30 pm Table 38 was first class, both our Indian waiter's helpful and gave a well organized meal. The wine steward Regina from the Philippines was a delight to deal with every thing A1.The drinks were very reasonably priced.a Bottle of the House Red £12.50,very nice.The Entertainment was of a good standard as always on P & O ships.The excursions were well organised and again reasonably priced. With free coach shuttle service or Tender boat a each port. All the interior of the ship was in an excellent state, spotlessly clean. The disembarking was as smooth as the boarding,Car ready & waiting. We would recommend the Oriana to any one, as good all round value for money cruise ship. Regards Julie & Graham & James Gilbert Read Less
Sail Date: February 2012
Background: We're 60 year old Australians with 10 previous cruises on different ships (and many different cruise lines) with which to compare. This was our first cruise on a British ship except for cruising on the original Oriana ... Read More
Background: We're 60 year old Australians with 10 previous cruises on different ships (and many different cruise lines) with which to compare. This was our first cruise on a British ship except for cruising on the original Oriana way back in 1984! The official sector of the around the world cruise was from Sydney to San Francisco but we were allowed to embark in Brisbane. This added another 3 nights to the cruise making it a total of 28 nights. British pounds which are used onboard are now only $1.50 as our exchange rate has improved. Embarkation: As we live near Brisbane we drove and left our car at a nearby car storage. As our return trip would be by air from USA, they would collect us at the nearby international airport. Their shuttle service was efficient. Arriving after 11 am, we were forced to stand in line at the cruise terminal until midday when they opened the counter. The line moved slowly as only about 3 cruise staff processed the 300 odd passengers boarding here. Gradually more staff appeared (maybe they had been on lunch?). We couldn't understand why the process wasn't started earlier or more staff used as with other cruise ships at this port. With such a relatively small number of passengers embarking here, the process should have been quicker. Once on board, we were directed to our cabin where we left our hand luggage and went for lunch. Throughout the cruise we had 5 Cruise Critic meetings with our small group followed by lunch in the MRD. The Ship: Built in 1995, the Oriana was showing its age but the recent refurbishment helped it feel modern. Public areas were nicer than we expected. Carpets looked new and the crew were constantly painting and undertaking other maintenance. It had recently been converted to an 'adults only' ship. The recently added 'duck's tail' to the lower rear of the ship seemed to help it handle some rough weather near USA. With 1800 passengers it is a comfortable size and has a good layout. The promenade deck was very wide and great for walking. While the majority of the passengers were British, there were a large number of Australians. We did get the impression that some of the reserved Poms were taken back by the comparatively loud Aussies. As mentioned in previous reviews, passengers in the rear restaurant complained of noisy vibration. At a 'question & answer' session, the captain apologised for the excessive vibration and said it was due to the 2 propellers being slightly out of timing. He said that it was worse at certain speeds which they were trying to avoid. Fortunately we weren't in that restaurant but did find the noise from the vibration excessive when in the Pacific Lounge which is on the deck directly above the rear dining room. It appeared that certain performers were moved from here to the front theatre for this reason. After the captain's comments, the noise did appear to reduce. In the interest of hygiene we would have preferred if the public toilets had the main door left open as on many other ships avoiding the need to use paper towels to open them. Also some public toilets regularly were out of order. Cabin: The overall size of our inside cabin is not large, but sufficient for two people and our luggage. Unfortunately as we booked late (at a good price), we had a 4 berth cabin. The top bunks against the walls caused problems as we had the queen bed arrangement. Also there is no space between the end of the bed and the wardrobe on one side and the desk on the other. The shower was fairly small but the curtain didn't get sucked inwards. The flat-screen TV was a reasonable size. The a/c made the cabin freezing even on the highest setting (this was fixed after complaining). There was a small fridge which was handy for keeping our supply of Coke & snacks cold. Ice had to be requested (we had a standing order at noon each day). Also if you want a top sheet, ask for it. Food & drinks: We found the service in the main dining room to be fine but the standard & variety of food was inferior -- certainly not to the quality of food on American ships like Princess. There was a noticeable lack of seafood other than fish -- not even the usual prawn cocktails (as my DW is not a seafood lover she was reasonably happy with the quality). We laughed at their idea of tiger prawns - extremely little in size & in number. Even on the formal 'black tie' nights the food was nothing special! Our wine waiter was prompt & reliable. As this is a British ship there were strict rules on dress code in the MRD (we were aware this of pre cruise). There were 6 Black Tie & 7 Smart (jacket required!!!) nights on this cruise. This was different to the relaxed Aussie & American cruises. After experiencing the long lines at the buffet the first morning, we used the MRD for breakfast most other mornings. Also the food seemed improved and the atmosphere more relaxing for breakfast. We enjoyed the popular fruit smoothes but missed the large American style pancakes and freshly made waffles. Also fresh fruit at times was in very limited supply. We did use the buffet for lunch but wished the quality of the food was to a higher standard -- much of it looked like leftovers. Trays are still supplied. On some port days many passengers were late for the early sitting in the MRD. As a result there were long lines in the buffet as only one side was being used (the other side was kept closed in the evening as it led to one of the extra-charge restaurants on the rear deck). We did use this Italian extra-charge restaurant on the evening leaving Sydney. The view of the harbour as we sailed out was fantastic but the service was extremely slow and the food disappointing. To receive better quality food an additional payment was required! We were pleased to see hand-sanitizers at MRD and the buffet -- their use was strongly encouraged. Alcohol was reasonably priced. We used a soft drink card for post-mix drinks which only gave a small saving but was convenient and time saving. Surprisingly low-priced duty-free spirits could be bought and consumed in your cabin. Also P&O UK has relaxed views on the amount of wine brought onboard. Staff and service on board: Organization on the ship was generally excellent with the one exception at Honolulu where maybe USA customs clearance could have been handled better to avoid long lines. Tendering, which occurred at only one port, was well organised with no delays. The crew who were mainly from Goa, India were polite but didn't seem cheerful. Generally they were not up to Princess' standard. The reception staff were friendly and polite. Captain Camby, who was the youngest in the fleet, was very popular especially with the females as he was a John Travolta lookalike. We found him to be very approachable, humorous and conveyed information in great detail. Cruise Director, Michael Mullane was also popular and did a great job. Both performed well together one evening in the miming game, 'Give Us A Clue'. A 4 page daily newspaper printed for Australia as well as Britain was popular and much appreciated. Prices in the photo gallery were half that of Princess. Having several laundrettes on board was a bonus. Also surprisingly they were free but this can cause problems as some passengers used them to wash a few clothes only at a time causing delays. Entertainment: The program of entertainment was much organised with a full colour 'Your Cruise Overview' printed at the start of this sector. This listed the dress code and all the evening activities for each day. On cruises we enjoy the shows in the evening. The performers in the Headliner Company did a superb job. Also we were pleasantly surprised to find they did 8 different shows during the cruise -- certainly more than Royal Caribbean offer! These were the highlight of our evening. On 2 occasions we even saw their repeated show the next night. Unfortunately the main theatre (the Theatre Royal) had a design fault with the seating. Many of the flip-seat bases were sloping downwards causing us to slide forward. Also to increase the capacity of the theatre, legroom was minimal. The alternative entertainment area (the Pacific Lounge) was laid out like a lounge - as a result its capacity was limited. Also unless you arrived early, one's view could be blocked by supporting posts. Most of the guest entertainers were British (our favourites were a singer, Emily Reed and comedian, Richard Guantlett) and of an acceptable standard. This cruise consisted of many sea days. The program of activities was good and my DW loved participating in the passenger choir but missed not having Zumba. The many guest lecturers were popular (almost filled the theatre) and very informative -- every sea day had presentations by at least 2 lecturers. There was a cinema on this ship with good movies but we didn't have time to see any - for us days at sea go by quickly. We should mention that we were travelling with friends with whom we spent at least 2 hours each sea day playing cards. The only suitable location for this activity was in the buffet. Shore Excursions & Destinations: We normally try to avoid shore excursions organised by ships as we feel that they were too expensive although on this ship they were more reasonably priced than American ships. Armed with maps & information collected before the cruise (supplemented with detailed free local maps picked up on land), we easily explore ourselves. Also as we had been to New Zealand before this worked extremely well. The other Pacific ports of Bora Bora & Papeete were easy to explore ourselves; whereas, in Honolulu we with our friends found a great guide who copied the ship's sightseeing tour for much less cost. Disembarkation: As we had been cleared by customs at Honolulu everything went smoothly and on time leaving the ship. There was the usual line waiting for taxis but this was well organised. Conclusion: P&O UK proves that you get what you pay for. In our opinion the service and entertainment are excellent whereas the food was generally disappointing. There is certainly no heavy selling while on this ship. Generally we would recommend them as long as you remember these are British ships. While onboard we didn't take advantage of P&O UK's Future Cruise Credits scheme as it was too restrictive but would consider cruising with them again. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2012
Spent a couple days prior to the cruise in Miami which really makes a huge difference. We could relax and not worry about getting to the ship on time. We stayed at the Holiday Inn Port of Miami which was very convenient to Bayside ... Read More
Spent a couple days prior to the cruise in Miami which really makes a huge difference. We could relax and not worry about getting to the ship on time. We stayed at the Holiday Inn Port of Miami which was very convenient to Bayside Marketplace and a CVS Pharmacy was only one block away. Embarkation took about an hour. I had a cane; standing hurts and I could have used a quicker check-in. Although the EPIC holds about 4,200 passengers, it never seemed crowded. Once onboard, people find their favorite bar, restaurant, deck, chill out place and are spread out. I enjoyed sitting on my balcony reading and enjoying the beautiful scenery. I did not attend any shows but did pay to attend the Mystery Luncheon; food was not good and did not settle well with me or my son. We had connecting balcony cabins which was wonderful. Joel, our cabin steward, was hardworking, personable and attentive. The new opaque shower and bathroom doors were a concern and that is why I got my own cabin. If you are not traveling as a couple, they may cause an issue. There is a curtain to separate this area from the rest of the cabin; however, if someone needs to come into the cabin or out, they would need to pass thru this area and the curtain does not help. We met several ship staff that provided excellent service, including Irra in the Wasabi Restaurant. She made me a flower after the meal. We ate at three upcharge restaurants. Moderno had great food and excellent service, as did Wasabi. We also ate three times at Cagneys, where the food was mouth-in-your-mouth delicious. I had breakfast in Taste twice and enjoyed it very much. We also ate at the Garden Cafe Buffet and the food was very good. There were double stations of nearly every choice and plenty of tables. Staff cleared the tables quickly. Ship pictures were easy to find located in folders with your cabin number. They have face recognition software so they do not need your cabin number in order to properly place your pics. (Although, there were two pics of a couple in my folder whom I did not know, so it may need some work or was a simple mistake.) I loved the fact that since the ship does not serve Diet Dr. Pepper, I was able to carry on several unopened bottles. Joel cleaned out my fridge at my request and opened the balcony door between our connecting cabins on the second day. We tipped Joel three times during the week. I spent my time relaxing and enjoyed the balcony so much. I am allergic to cigarette smoke and was concerned about the reviews that mentioned too much smoke from the casino. Not a problem, so perhaps they have improved the air circulation or filters. There is a nonsmoking area in the casino and I spent a little time there. We took a taxi ($9 each for 3)over to Maho Beach in St. Marten where the huge jets fly just a few feet over the beach. It was awesome. Had lunch at the Sunset Bar and Grill there. Hired a taxi for a private 2 1/2 hr tour of St. Thomas in a Cadillac Escalade. Our driver George was a great narrator with a great personality. We had a restroom and cold drink stop about half way through. At Nassau, we walked off the ship and down a few blocks to Senor Frogs where we had lunch. Debarkation was easy; we walked off with our own luggage around 8:30. Eastern Caribbean is very beautiful. All in all, it was a wonderful trip and I LOVED the EPIC; however, it was the excellent staff who spoiled me that helped make it a great trip. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2011
This is our First 7 day P&O Oriana cruise. We had a taster two night on the Ventura. This was in a balcony suite. Very good experience but were undecided for a full cruise as the 'STAG' 'HEN' 2 night was ... Read More
This is our First 7 day P&O Oriana cruise. We had a taster two night on the Ventura. This was in a balcony suite. Very good experience but were undecided for a full cruise as the 'STAG' 'HEN' 2 night was hectic. And very busy during embarkation & leaving ship (queues) We are pleased to report that the 7 day was well organised & easy going. We parked across river & 'bused in' Also well organised & Friendly with car waiting ready to go. Oriana accommodation,food,lounges & restaurants smart & well presented. Better than expected as advised by some previous reviews. Ship does show signs of wear, but all minor. We did not need to visit any of the other specialist restaurants. We had an enjoyable time, albeit disappointed that the French visit was cancelled, winds and shallow harbour. We had constant threat of tail end of hurricane winds off America but only slight seas. Weather Hot in Vigo, Lisbon & Bilbao. Trips were half day, well organised. Two days at sea but increased to three when missing Port of Brest. food well presented & tasty first sitting Oriental restaurant. we had a rear window table over props. Vibration and swell at times, but ok. Selection of vegetables were set each evening for all available meals. At Home we would have matched veg to dishes, Although all cooked to a high standard. All staff friendly & polite. O/all a very good experience. We have been used to Thompson Fly cruise holidays which we have enjoyed. They offer full day trips & less days at sea. P&O experience is above that of Thompson Celebration & Spirit ships in nearly all aspects except staff which are on par. one advantage not having to wait at airports & loss of time. We will consider more cruises from UK ports, but are mindful of heavier seas than the med; Albeit one day we had a slight swell & no ripples & glassy . Read Less
Sail Date: August 2011
We set sail from Southampton on August 19th and were immediately surprised by the number of elderly people who chose to book a cruise during the school holidays. Luckily for us there were also 120 sixteen and seventeen year olds on ... Read More
We set sail from Southampton on August 19th and were immediately surprised by the number of elderly people who chose to book a cruise during the school holidays. Luckily for us there were also 120 sixteen and seventeen year olds on board as we were worried our 17 year old son would not have a good time. As it was he really enjoyed going to the teenage club. Our cabin was ok but a bit cramped for three with a shortage of storage space. Our son's sofa bed was not very comfortable with a very thin mattress. Entertainment on board was very good, especially the Headliners shows. There were lots of quizzes and the films shown were quite recent. The food was disappointing, especailly the buffet. The waiters were efficient but rushed all meals and weren't particularly friendly. The ship seemed to berth well away from the towns and shuttle buses, or in the case of Venice a £15pp motor launch, were supplied. This meant lots of queuing and hanging around, thus shortening the time we had to see the ports where we stopped. Our first stop was Cadiz where I would advise people to look around on foot as it is very small and not even worth the 15 Euros for the 45 minute red bus tour. Also went to Cephalonia which was a nice Island with a few natural attractions. Did a tour by cab. Last port was Oporto where the 13 Euro Red Bus tour was very worthwhile. Overall we had a nice relaxing holiday but the food and organisation in the ports could have been better. 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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