I had cruised before but not with P&O and wanted to see if the larger-shiop experience was as good as it was made oiut to be. Oriana is about as large as I would want to go in terms of ship size - 69000 tons - and offered a good range of facilities.
I will first of all get a gripe off my chest. I had booked this trip several months before using the 'Vantage' fare, due to having to arrange time off work in advance. Big mistake, because had I waited I could have taken one of their 'getaway' fares at half the cost of the ticket that I actually paid for. The Vantage promise is a hollow one, because that fare will never reduce. They simply offer a different fare structure, to fill vacant cabins, about 6 weeks before the cruise. I won't get caught again; if I ever sail with P&O in the future it will be as a short-notice customer. No recompense is offered to those paying a higher fare. I could have had a balcony cabin for the same price I paid for my standard outside one. Due to these offers, the ship was full with a sign up at reception saying there were no spare cabins available.
The ship is suited to British tastes. It has a wide variety of entertainment venues and bars, although the main Theatre became full when the 'Headliners' were performing. The one place to avoid was the 'Conservatory' self-service restaurant, which we called 'the bunfight'. Breakfast in 'Al Fresco' was nice, if there was seating available (it is a small venue) or the Peninsular restaurant.
The ship was very stable and even in a swell it seemed to move very little. One of the pools (Terrace) was closed for 'maintenance' for the last part of the cruise; there were two others but the Terrace Pool is the best as it has two hot tubs and is fairly well protected from the weather. The small Spa on Deck 12 has an indoor hot tub but only takes around 5 people - on a ship with 1800 passengers this is not really enough. Do not bother with Steiners - I had a pedicure which was so badly done that my feet hurt for the remainder of the cruise.
The 'Oriental' restaurant suffers from vibration at high engine speeds, making conversation difficult at times due to rattling tableware. The food quality was good, but somebody got it wrong somewhere because on the last day I caught Norovirus from an unknown source. The infection did not spoil the cruise, because it did not appear until I was back home, but it took the edge off what was otherwise a very enjoyable week cruising the fjords of Norway.