We are well 'cruised' but this was our first Oriana experience,we had heard mainly good reports and were interested to compare with other ships.Our main goal was to enjoy ourselves and this we did, but always do anyway!
We have sailed on several lines and make comments based on the strengths and shortcomings which all lines and ships have, none is perfect although we have not explored any six star lines yet.
- Ocean Grill speciality restaurant excellent value for 'Â£12.95 extra. Good seafood and meats.Try the Perez Cruz Chilean red,a first class wine at 'Â£14 a bottle, as was the service and ambiance.
-Generally staff werre attentive and responsive providing a good standard of service.We have sailed on ships which were friendlier but no real complaints here.
-Dedicated cinema was welcome and the films good, e.g. the Iron Lady, War Horse.
-Bars were good and we liked Andersons where attentive service and good prices were appreciated.
-This was a Strictly Come Dancing cruise and the atmosphere was lifted by this. Other entertainmennt was of a high standard too.
-Wine was reasonably priced compared to American ships.
-P&O breakfast in main dining room, first class.
-Reasonable selection of library books in a nice room.
FOOD -My wife had a dietary requirement which is usually handled brilliantly,sadly not on Oriana where she was informed that olive oil was not a fat!She sometimes left the table hungry unless filling up on bread.There is supposed to be a dedicated chef for dietary needs but the system did not work for us and waiting staff lacked experience in this area and the required problem solving skills.
-I found the main dining room food poor compared with other cruise lines,enough to deter us from a repeat cruise.
-The Conservatory self service area was usually a bunfight so we avoided it for breakfast and lunch whenever we could, the food was also lacking.No cooking to order,omelettes etc or carvery.
-Portion controlwas sadly in evidence,the wrong way to cut costs as food is the key measure most of us use to recommend or warn off our contacts.
-On other lines when I order lamb they ask, 'how do you like it cooked'. I think I was asked that only once about a steak which arrived overcooked.
-Fish was usually overcooked.
OTHER- We are used to getting the daily news sheet delivered to the cabin, you had to go to reception to find one.
-P&O seem reluctant to keep you posted on what you spend, the bill arrives late on last day with no time to query. Recommend you ask reception earlier so that you can check bill is correct.
-Sunbeds were firm with no cushions so limited comfort if limbs are aging.
-For days at sea the chairs in lounges on board were not comfortable enough to read and doze in, which is what most want to do.The Q Victoria was good in this dept.which set the standard for us.
PORTS:We had booked a tour of the crater in Ponta Delgada, Azores. Cloud cover made this a joke and the bus had to stop to wipe the windscreen.The guide told us that it rained 180 days a year there so the chances of a clear day abour 50-50.
That might have been a warning we could have taken our chances on ...or not!
Otherwise port arrangements were fine with free transfers in Madeira and Lisbon.
-The food issue was one referred to by many others on board, they sent around a survey after a few days,perhaps complaints had been made and standards did lift a little towards the end but too late to make this a ship to which we will reurn in spite of the pluses outlined above.