The Oriana is an elderly but pleasant ship with good lines. She looks good. She still retains the best of the original decoration of her designers, when she was the pride of the old P & O Company. She has good communal areas, with both ... Read More
The Oriana is an elderly but pleasant ship with good lines. She looks good. She still retains the best of the original decoration of her designers, when she was the pride of the old P & O Company. She has good communal areas, with both principal and secondary show lounges, and a comfortable cinema. So given entertainment which suits your taste or interest, there are good venues to satisfy them.
Embarkation was standard, without too much waiting. The balcony cabin was pleasant enough, although there was little welcome - no bottle of wine, just two bottles of mineral water, a single bloom in a vase without water, two small and partly used shampoo and conditioner bottles sitting in the bath area, with two full ones beside the washbasin. And one small bar of soap.
It didn't matter but it reinforced our opinion that over a comparatively short period of time, little economies have been creeping forward. Our cabin steward did his job adequately, but we had to ask for things which hitherto would have been checked, such as soap, room service menus, and towels. None of this was important but it may indicate something.
Dining in the freedom section was fine, without much waiting and although the service was slow, the food was in the main acceptable. Not special. But not bad either. The buffet, which we used when entertainment would have been at risk through delays in the dining room, was, sometimes, very good indeed, with some interesting themed food evenings.
So all in all, so far, everything average.
What was not average on this voyage was the Music Festival. We booked this cruise last year specifically for the Festival albeit not everyone on board was aware of it, or appreciated it. But for us it raised a standard cruise to an outstanding one. There is no point in describing the content of the Festival. Suffice it that it went alongside the standard singing and dancing, show music singers, comedians and illusionists which seem the standard norm for today's cruise liners. If you like troupes like the Headliners then no doubt you would be satisfied although one show was cancelled due to illness which affected the ship, and one of the female Motown singing shows was cancelled due to rough weather.
Service in the bars and restaurants was uniformally cheerful. At reception, well, I posed a request for information which would have come from the ship's bridge, and it was not answered. The impression I had that she could not really be bothered with it. That may not be fair, but there it is.
The ports of call were interesting but of the three P & O excursions be booked before joing the ship, two were cancelled through lack of numbers. That left insufficient time to research what else to do. But no harm done. We found excellent alternatives at a fraction of the cost, refunded after our return.
And what we really enjoyed on board , the table tennis table, just protected from the open deck but plentifully supplied with bats and balls - unique in our experience. No signing for bat and ball at reception in case, presumably, we stole them. Good fun and good exercise.
Would we travel again with P & O? Yes, if they allow another Music Festival. No, if they do not. Without something like that, these cruises seem to us to become very much the same. And rather boring. Read Less