We have just returned from cruise no x114 on the Oriana. I have been on 30+ cruises on various ships have never had a single criticism. • The ship itself is now very worn and tired; none of the Jacuzzis worked and were often closed. Many of the machines in the gym were out or order. And most of the tumble driers in the laundrettes were permanently out of order.
• We were without water in our cabin for half a day and the toilet in our cabin worked erratically.
• The air-conditioning in my son’s cabin was ineffectual and when he complained an engineer failed to rectify the problem and left the panel off the ceiling for the rest of the cruise.
• The food in the restaurant was not up to the usual P&O standard. We returned three meals, overcooked fish, very fatty lamb and tough beef. We have never done this before. The desserts looked pretty, but all tasted the same. The children’s tea resembled school dinners with dried meat and damp crisps.
• A big concern was the engine noise. We ate second seating in the Oriental restaurant on a table for 6, and during the meal; to be heard the conversation was at shout level.
• The shore stops on the whole were logistical disasters. Cadiz was a half day , no time for any real sight seeing and on our return to ship with only one x-ray machine resulted in large queues of passengers.
• The stop at Corfu was changed to Cephalonia and this was the best stop. We were on the quayside and the only ship in dock.
• The stop in Dubrovnik we docked quay side and we were told that the ship would on be there for a few hours and then to be moved out to sea. This meant nobody could get off or on board for two hours. We went ashore, and on our return to the dock we stood for 45 minutes in the heat and waited for one of two tenders to take us back to the ship. My young grandson was very sick on his return. Again only one gangway was in use.
• The docking in Venice placed the ship furthest away from the centre Venice that we have ever had to do (having done this trip 5 times). There was a complicated system involving free buses for wheelchair users, monorails, vaparettos or launches costing 15 Euros each. We have had the use of the ships tenders in the past.
• At the stop in Naples again we were far away from the main dock. And returning there were log queues to return on board.
The staff were pleasant, despite being obviously very busy, and the captain very personable. However is seems to us that P&O had lost their prestige and are far down the pecking order to other cruise lines.
As gold tier members we have good experience of P&O at its best but now it is far for its best. There were only six stops in a 16 night cruise, the organisation should have been so much better. I presume that the logistics of such cruises must be organised years ahead. And on the experience of this cruise there are serious misgivings for the future. We will certainly have to seriously consider any future cruises with P&O.
The ship is due for a refit and there will no longer be any facilities for children.