Booked this cruise about 54 weeks, yes over a year before embarkation! The appeal of this cruise was the overnight stay in Amsterdam. Always wanted to visit Amsterdam, always wanted to cruise. This seemed like the perfect combination at ... Read More
Booked this cruise about 54 weeks, yes over a year before embarkation! The appeal of this cruise was the overnight stay in Amsterdam. Always wanted to visit Amsterdam, always wanted to cruise. This seemed like the perfect combination at an affordable price.
As this was my first cruise, I had spent many of my lunchtimes researching the ship and ports of call. Not necessary at all as even without prior knowledge and going in cold we would have managed to have sussed out how to go on with all things cruising.
The closer we got the excitement was building, and then we received a message from P & O that The Oriana had broken down, boiler problems whilst leaving Gibralter en route back to Southampton. This resulted in a delayed start for us, absolutely gutted. The knock-on to this was that the itinerary was changed, still a full day in Bruges but only between 5 & 6 hours in Amsterdam; in Amsterdam actually disembarked at 8.20am and back just after 1pm. Not enough time to explore but a taster never the less.
The above delay was disappointing but we were determined to make the most of our shortened break. And so we did. By the way I think P & O handled the whole delay fairly well.
Our allotted time for embarkation was 3pm, but we decided to turn up just after 11.30am, from getting out of the car (CPS were brilliant) to get on the ship was the grand total of 20 minutes and we were eating lunch at 12:00 pm in the Peninsular Restaurant.
Breakfast, we ate all 3 mornings in the conservatory buffet restaurant. Great selection of food to cater for all tastes
Lunch, only ate lunch once on the ship and this was in the Peninsular. This was a waiter served lunch which was great quality.
Evening Meal, on freedom dining we dined all of our stay in the Peninsular Restaurant. We turned up at various times during the 3 nights and asked for a table of two, every night we were given a pager but never waited more than 10 minutes. The standard of food and service was outstanding.
We spent the majority of our ship time between the ‘Lords Tavern’ when there were quizzes and the ‘Crow’s Nest’ when nothing in the tavern took our fancy. Drinks were reasonably priced and the venues had a great atmosphere. The ‘Crow’s Nest’ was a great relaxing venue where you could have a drink and watch the world go by, and when dark just sit and chill with a beverage of choice.
We did spend an hour one evening in the Theatre and watched the comedian Micky Zany, which was well worth it with a lot of laugh out loud moments. Other nights the theatre entertainment was not to our fancy but others appeared to enjoy what was on offer.
Ports of Call:
Bruges, we decided to make use of the free shuttle bus from port to Blankenberge. The bus drops you very close to the railway station. A return ticket is €6.20 to Bruges, which is a 15 – 20 mins train journey, then a 20 minute stroll to get to the centre of Bruges.
We spent most of the day wandering the streets taking in all it had to offer, especially the Belgian Beer, Chocolates, Waffles and Frites . On the whole a beautiful city
Amsterdam, due to the delayed start to our cruise and the amended itinerary the limited hours we had in the city was nowhere enough time to fully explore. But the feeling I got was that Amsterdam needs to be experienced at night to get the full experience
As this was our first cruise we didn’t know what to expect. This was the most enjoyable holiday we have ever take, so much so we booked the same itinerary for next October but for one day longer. This will be our way to holiday for the future. Read Less