There's a lot that's right about Oriana. Our main impression was of a well designed ship with lovely public rooms which were fit for purpose. The Pacific Lounge isn't huge but a good size for a medium-sized ship and it offers much better views of the artists than does the equivalent on Azura. If you like dancing then you will enjoy Harlequins, much better than being stuck down on a small floor in the Atrium as you are on some ships. The pub was a very good size, light and airy. The theatre offered good views with only a couple of pillars to get in the way. There were quiet, comfy rooms if you wanted to sit and read and a decent sized coffee shop area. The cinema was a very good size for this size of ship. We were in the Oriental restaurant which was pleasant and the Conservatory was, as on most ships, adequate but small for the number of passengers wanting to use it on a sea day when the weather's not so good!
One thing we particularly liked about Oriana was that you could sit in the sun on the open deck without being bombarded by loud music. There was music sometimes around the Riviera pool but if you wanted peace and quiet then the other two pools offered that - Azura take note!!
Our feelings before this cruise about the food on P&O were that standards had dropped a bit. On Oriana we would say that the food was good, better in fact than we had on Azura at Christmas. However, when it comes to choice then Celebrity offers a much wider choice in their buffets. We understand that P&O are moving to plated meals very shortly, which is a pity.
The staff on Oriana were excellent - as they always are on P&O. The Headliners work very hard and their Queen tribute was excellent. The entertainment team were first class. Of the guest entertainers on this cruise, Paul Emmanuel was by far the best. This is the third cruise we have seen him on and if you like the Nat "King" Cole type of music, then he is not to be missed.
Our cabin A119 - an ocean view - was comfortable and we coped very well without our usual balcony. There was plenty of hot water, the shower had good pressure and there was a bath. The safe is quite low down in the wardrobe and your clothes are hung front to back in the wardrobes which doesn't make them easily accessible. This cabin is below the gym and you can hear runners on the treadmills above you but this wasn't a major issue for us.
Getting on an off the ship was a "doddle". We didn't do any of the P&O excursions as we'd been to all the ports of call except Horta before. Tendering in Horta was very slow and two of the four tenders broke down which made for a very slow, tedious and frustrating return to the ship.
Seas going across the Atlantic were quite rough and Oriana creaked and groaned a bit as most ships do. On the way home from Barbados to Southampton is was smooth as silk. The ship does need a little bit of attention here and there - the toilet bowl in our cabin for instance which although perfectly clean had a black "ring of use" in it. There are a few spots in the swimming pools that could do with a lick of paint too.
Overall this was an excellent cruise and we would not hesitate to sail on Oriana again.