We wanted something special and that's just what we got. Oriana is a splendai ship, if a liitle dated in places. But let's start at the begining:-
Check-in and embarkation went without a hitch, you must remember this is all new to us. ( no airports ) Once on board we quickly found our room, sorry Cabin and two minutes later our cabin steward ( James )came to greet us and welcome us aboard. Our luggage arrived shortly after that although two items were missing. These arrived just as we were going to dinner.
We left Southampton at 16:30 sailing into the night. Our first night on board was something quite different to what we have had in the past. Dinner was casual as we hadn't had time to unpack everthing. The Head Waiter met us at the door to the Oriental Restaurant and showed us to our table for two. Two waiters then came and introduced themselves, Vincent and Francisco. A better two waiters you would be hard pressed to find. Nothing was too much trouble for them, they looked after us for the whole 34 nights. A mention also for our Wine steward Roshan, he well knew his trade offering us all the special offers for the evening but never pushing a particular wine. If we didn't like his recommendation it was swifty removed and another choice was given. No question asked.
We did try the Conservatory on a couple of evenings but were disappointed with the menu. So we stuck to the Oriental. The Conservatory was fine for breakfast, lunch and afternoon tea and we even had Francisco in there waiting on.
The entertainment in the evening was pretty good with a couple of fairly well know 'stars' Jimmy James ( who we somehow missed ) was apparently very good. Roy Walker did two shows, we went to the first and were pleasantly surprised at how good it was, his second was a complete let down, as he relied on other peoples jokes from 40yrs ago.
The in-house entertainment were very good and tried very hard but I would say the 'Host/Compere' was something from the Butlins 1960s era and too full of himself.
The service in the bars was second to none especially in Andersons, our regular after dinner spot. Thanks to two superb bar stewards, Ramir and Patrick who kept us amused with tales of their families in Manilla. By the last week of the cruise they were both searching the ships bars for the last of Scapa malt whisky. I think I finished it all. Brilliant.
The trips we did at the different ports of call left a lot to be desired, and with hindsight we would have been better off arranging these ourselves. P&O were overpriced and rushed. The only ones we did think were good were Cozumel and The Kennedy Space Centre.
All in all it was a great adventure but Oriana does need sprucing up. She is in Dry dock now for a refit so lets hope it improves her. The crew and staff were excellent from the top to the bottom and they all deserved what gratuities we left.
Would we cruise again : Probably but not for as long.
Would we use Oriana : Yes
FYI. Places we visited: Madeira, St Marrten, Tortola, Jamaica, Grand Cayman, Cozumel, New Orleans, Key West, Miami, Port Everglades, Charleston and Ponta Delgada