Joining the cruise couldn't have been simpler. Parked in Southampton using Parkatmyhouse website. Cost was only Â£51 for seventeen days! Check-in procedure was speedily accomplished. Cabin was ready and well prepared and spotless. We wondered about how the Oriana would appear as we had seen it described as having 'faded glory', but there was no sign of this after the refit it had just completed. Looked like much of the paintwork was new and many of the carpets looked the same. We dined in The Peninsular Restaurant and couldn't fault the choice of food or the attention the the waiters. There were always some things suitable on the main menu for fish eating vegetarians, but every evening the Head waiter would bring round the special vegetarian menu to see if anything was required from that.
We didn't find the activities very interesting to us. The lectures in particular were not on interesting subjects, for example there were several about Concorde.
Some of the entertainment was good. The Headliners company twice did a fun pantomime for adults, once with standing room only left. They also did some very professional dance shows, although the tribute to Freddie Mercury could not do him any justice.
We only went on one shore excursion (in Gibraltar) and we thought it was worthwhile, in that we learnt quite a lot about the place.We went ashore at every pot we called at and did our own thing. We had a superb taxi/guide in Lisbon(Lisbon Taxis) which cost no more that the ships excursion would have, and took us to Sintra, Cascais and then the Gulbenkian museum in Lisbon. We tried to do too much in Rome, and learnt a lesson about cruising thereby.
All in all we enjoyed our first experience of cruising. We could not fault P&O or the Oriana. The organisation was superb, almost mind-boggling. The atmosphere aboard ship, the food and cabin exceeded our expectations We are not hooked on cruising but will probably do it again sometime.