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23 Southampton to Europe - Western Mediterranean P&O Cruises Oriana Cruise Reviews

Wanted to experience a bigger ship to thought we would try the Oriana going to,, Spain, Italy, Gibraltar etc. Oriana holds around 2,000 passengers and was the biggest ship we have ever been on. We stayed in Soton the night before and ... Read More
Wanted to experience a bigger ship to thought we would try the Oriana going to,, Spain, Italy, Gibraltar etc. Oriana holds around 2,000 passengers and was the biggest ship we have ever been on. We stayed in Soton the night before and boarded early. One thing I always look for is the entertainment, and I must say I was blown away by the Headliners theatre company, up there with the best I have ever seen on a ship. The theatres were excellent and to be honest the whole ship came to life in the evenings, such as Harlequins bar and the bar the other end of the ship I can't remember what it was called but there were fun quizzes in there. In the day there were a lot of activities going on and it wasn't really our thing. Sea days are great for relaxing but there wasn't too much opportunity of that short of actually sitting in your cabin all day. I did go to the spa for a massage once which was very therapeutic and recommended. For a ship of its size Oriana was very efficient at getting all the passengers and crew off at every port- there aren't really any hold ups. Some lovely places I hadn't visited for 30 yeras. Overall a good experience, I may come back again but perhaps on a shorter cruise with no sea days. Read Less
Sail Date September 2017
Having been on Azura for our first cruise (bustle and the queues, lack of seats etc), we wanted to try a smaller ship and the Iberian destinations were the main interest. We were very pleasantly surprised with Oriana, having read the ... Read More
Having been on Azura for our first cruise (bustle and the queues, lack of seats etc), we wanted to try a smaller ship and the Iberian destinations were the main interest. We were very pleasantly surprised with Oriana, having read the negative views of some over her age, rusting, tired furnishing etc - we found the inside decor was fine, spacious communal areas, service team constantly touching up outside rusted deck areas, and best of all we always managed to find a seat in any bar, the buffet and theatre, and didn't really have to queue anywhere. Prom deck is a great facility, plus the open decks on each aft deck - great spaces for sitting out and always chairs or sun beds available. Cabin was compact, clean and kept beautifully by steward Clevy - only downside is wardrobes with doors which limits hanging space and obstructs access in room when opening them. Much prefer open wardrobes in newer ships. The safe was low on the floor at the back of the wardrobe too, so a hands and knees job to reach it - not ideal for people with mobility issues or dodgy knees. Hairdryer was quite dated. We met some lovely people in shared dining and the ship is small enough to meet familiar faces again during the week. Ports of calls in Guernsey, La Rochelle, Bilabo and La Coruna were all different and interesting. We did the excursion to Santiago de Compostela and enjoyed the old town, despite rain. Entertainment was superb all week - much better standard of entertainer than expected for a smaller, adult only ship. Embarkation and disembarkation both a breeze. Loved the ship and would sail on her again happily. Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
Ohhh well what can i say about the Oriana! Soon as we boarded the ship we couldn't lift a finger!They treat you like royalty ....we met the captain ( quite young for a captain you wouldnt expect that really,and he was polish) drinks ... Read More
Ohhh well what can i say about the Oriana! Soon as we boarded the ship we couldn't lift a finger!They treat you like royalty ....we met the captain ( quite young for a captain you wouldnt expect that really,and he was polish) drinks are quite reasonable! £3.50 for a gin and tonic HOUSE!.food is mint! leave a bar at 3am and they got PIZZA and Spring rolls everywhere!run very well for 1800 passengers and 800 crew! its big but not as big as the Brittania! thats enourmous! you can put a sign on your door and they bring your breakfast to your room! clean you room 3 times a day! and EVEN leave chocolates on your pillow! really nice touch leaving chocolates on pillows i think! Best place by far was LA PALMA!! a spanish friend told me its the best place in SPAIN the whole of SPAIN! and i cant disagree! really nice hot tub ( i love the jacuzzi me) entertainment was great and some really nice russian dancers! other passengers are very friendly! if you asked to join them at the evening entertainment you would be greeted with ( OFCOURSE OFCOURSE) which was nice...i would recommend it...i want to do a russina cruise but Oriana is unbelievable..made some great friends for life...everyone treats you like royalty Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
We like cruising with P & O, but we did have issues with this cruise, mostly to do with the location of our cabin. We were on the lowest aft cabin deck (D) in a balcony cabin, and dined in the Oriental Restaurant, two floors ... Read More
We like cruising with P & O, but we did have issues with this cruise, mostly to do with the location of our cabin. We were on the lowest aft cabin deck (D) in a balcony cabin, and dined in the Oriental Restaurant, two floors immediately below. Others have commented about the vibration in the restaurant (so much so that we could not place our cutlery together at the end of the meal, because this prompted so much noise). We were very pleased, on viewing our cabin, to find it one of the nicest balcony cabins we had occupied. However ...... My sister and her husband, whose cabin was alongside ours, decided they couldn't cope with being woken at night and requested a move which had to be to a lower-grade cabin as no balcony cabins were available. One of the Reception staff said they advised passengers to go for mid-ship cabins, but I always heard that this was to avoid movement, not noise. This implies that it's just bad luck if you've chosen an aft cabin (because we don't mind the motion of the ship so that's never been an issue) but excuse me, everyone has to sleep! We being in our 80s my husband and I decided that we couldn't cope with the upheaval in moving cabin, so just had to put up with the noise. On a positive note, the food was mostly good and sometimes very good, but there is a definite problem with items described as "pan fried" which never come out with crisp skin which is rather unappetising (fish, duck). The speed with which food is served is astonishing, but the lovely vegetables which used to be served separately is now a thing of the past, sadly. The shows we saw (Headliners Theatre Company) were excellent, the best we have seen. This particular group were getting off the ship with us, so hopefully the quality will not suffer for subsequent cruises. Would we go again? Definitely not in this cabin (D231) or any of the D Aft cabins. Despite this negative review we did enjoy our cruise and the ports were lovely. Average score reflects the fact that it seems the vibration is something passengers will have to put up with for a while yet. Read Less
Sail Date May 2016
After reading several mixed reviews regarding the Oriana I was a little nervous of what my husband would think as this was his (not mine) first cruise. Well it was great! I honestly don't know what people find to moan about. Yes ... Read More
After reading several mixed reviews regarding the Oriana I was a little nervous of what my husband would think as this was his (not mine) first cruise. Well it was great! I honestly don't know what people find to moan about. Yes she is a older lady (the ship) but just the right size for us and the food was excellent. Our cabin (balcony is worth it for us) was nice and clean each day & our steward lovely as were 99% of the staff. We did not see much entertainment as that is not our thing but heard it was good. Some of the carpets are a little worn but the elegance and charm of this ship in the dining esp make up for these little things. The Oriana is having a re-vamp this year anyway.I will say she creaks a little at night and I did know I was at sea unlike some of the bigger ships but not a problem. The drinks are a reasonable cost and they don't mind you bringing a bottle of wine on board to drink in your room (there is a fridge). The only couple of faults we found were the cover charge in the Indian restaurant was a bit steep and as we booked on board by a lady who was drumming up business was not told this so it was a bit of a shock when the chit came for signature, however the food again was faultless. The only other annoying thing was the stern bar area - the seats are taken up by people not having a drink just sitting reading so if you want to just have a drink and chill in the sun there is no room, I think they should be asked to move its a BAR AREA and there are plenty of other seats dotted around the ship. This is also the case if you want to eat lunch outside again not much room. All this said there is not much to not like and we would have happily got straight back on for another 12 nights upon docking back at Southampton. Read Less
Sail Date May 2016
Having been on the Azura to Norway was hoping that this ship and crew would exceed the shortcomings I found on the Azura. Having arrived an hour late because of a massive traffic jam on the A3 outside Guildford, the embarkation was a fast ... Read More
Having been on the Azura to Norway was hoping that this ship and crew would exceed the shortcomings I found on the Azura. Having arrived an hour late because of a massive traffic jam on the A3 outside Guildford, the embarkation was a fast doddle. Within a short time we had the emergency drill which turned out to be the worst ever. A massive amount of people were cramped into a small space with inadequate seating and we waited and waited and waited for the announcements to start. About half an hour later the event began, whilst the air conditioning failed in its duties and was getting hotter by the minute. A really bad start. Got to the cabin and found that the wardrobe was cramped and the safe was right on the floor. The taps in the bathroom refused to give cold water, only hot and warm, and this persisted over the whole cruise, besides reporting it on several occasions. The excuse given was that it was an old ship! Found that the Freedom dining option in the Peninsular restaurant worked well; really nice room with tables well spaced out. Food in there was adequate but service was rushed and a meal that could have been enjoyed over an hour and three quarters was over sometimes in just over an hour. Meat portions were sometimes enough to feed a mouse and vegetables were sometimes barely to be found on the plate. The bread provided looked unappetising and was. Sometimes food had to be sent back because it was undercooked. Had game one day and almost broke my tooth on lead shot. when I complained about this they asked for my cabin number but I never heard from them. I liked the swimming pools on the ship but unbelievably they were not heated, so except on very hot days were underused. There were no art gallery on this ship, unlike many of the other P&O vessels. Also unlike many other shipping lines there was no free minutess of use on the Internet bearing in mind the number of times I had been on P&O. My worst criticism was on the Conservatory, the buffet restaurant on deck 12. The choice of food at lunchtime was the worst of any ship I have ever been on, over 50 cruises. No carvery and barely any British food in sight, hardly any vegetables. 90 per cent of the passengers British, and curries and pasta galore. Not only that but the food was often tasteless, unappetising and lacked quality. At breakfasts the waiters did not come round to bring or refill tea or coffee. Went with 6 others to the recommended main speciality restaurant one evening. £12.50 a head plus an extra £3.50 for lobster or similar for specialty steak.had to wait ages for the main course and when it finally arrived the chips, nicely arranged on separate plated look appetising until we found they were raw inside. We called the waiter who promptly took them away to get them replaced. We waited and waited and finally had to start because the rest of the food on the plate was getting cold. Eventually the new chips turned up after we had finished. After our sweet we ordered coffee, and we had to wait an age; eventually In total frustration we asked for service only to be told that they were waiting for one of us to finish their cheese. We replied that they could at least have asked us when we wanted it served. When it came to the bill, we said that under the circumstances we should have our bill reduced but they refused. Consequently we did not recommend this restaurant to others. Went to most of the shows after dinner, and although the dancers strutted their stuff well, the main singers in the theatre company were well below par. Not all the cruise was bad and enjoyed most of it, but thought I should at least report here some of the shortcomings. To cap it all on the final night I returned to my cabin after the show only to find that it had NOT been made up, hence a much reduced tip in the morning. Read Less
Sail Date August 2015
We have travelled many times with P&O but this holiday exceeded our expectations in respect of service. We usually enjoy our cruises with P&O but found the staff exceptionally friendly on this trip and couldn't do enough for ... Read More
We have travelled many times with P&O but this holiday exceeded our expectations in respect of service. We usually enjoy our cruises with P&O but found the staff exceptionally friendly on this trip and couldn't do enough for us. They were keen to engage in conversation and our waiters were the best ever. Our cabin girl also deserves a mention, always smiling and went out of her way to look after us. The food was great with choice of eating venues.We always opt for a table of 8 and had great company on this trip. The resorts were very good, apart from Casablance where there were tensions due to the recent events in Tunisia and most passengers did not disemabrk at this port. I have read a recent review saying how dirty Oriana was and think we must have been travelling on a different ship. It was spotlessly clean. It was quite creaky during the night but this did not disturb our sleep at all. Can definitely recommend this ship, it is a nice size, not too big or small and always felt spacious. Read Less
Sail Date July 2015
We have just come back from the most amazing cruise around the Mediterranean. Loved every minute. The ship is adult only and we were among the youngest aged mid 50s but I think that was because the trip was 18 days and most people only get ... Read More
We have just come back from the most amazing cruise around the Mediterranean. Loved every minute. The ship is adult only and we were among the youngest aged mid 50s but I think that was because the trip was 18 days and most people only get 2 weeks summer holiday. We took our own iron as there is no luggage allowance but there is a laundry room with 4 washing machines dryers and irons. We booked excursions at every port with P and O and were all very informative but you can just get the hopper bus and do your own thing in the ports if you want to. This was our first cruise so had nothing to compare some people said the ship was tired looking but it is having a refit next year. Some cabins suffered with toilets getting blocked although we didn't have this problem. The Captain kept telling people not to put anything down the toilet.There is hand gel getting on the ship and going into the dining rooms. I took some of my own to use on land in the public toilets as ships can be prone to the norovirus bug. The medical suite is like a mini hospital but it is not NHS so take anything that you think you might need. If you want to buy water it is cheaper to buy it in the ports as we only paid about 1€. If you want water on the ship it is cheaper to buy a 1 and 1/2 litre from the bars. The entertainment was very good with different activities going on during the day and music in most bars every night. The Headliners Theatre Company were excellent with a different show every time they appeared. Guest artists were more a matter of taste but for us Gareth Oliver and the Octaves really stood out. There are lots of things to do during the day for those who are travelling on their own as well as everyone else. The ship is also very good for mobility impaired guests. Read Less
Sail Date June 2015
We embarked on our third cruise thinking that as we were travelling P&O everything would be A1 or even above. well, this review will attempt to be objective but that is sometimes difficult as I am sure you will appreciate. However, ... Read More
We embarked on our third cruise thinking that as we were travelling P&O everything would be A1 or even above. well, this review will attempt to be objective but that is sometimes difficult as I am sure you will appreciate. However, taking first thing first: Embarkation: much better than our two previous experiences with MSC. We were asked to arrive at the terminal at 2pm which we did, were issued a boarding group number and were called up only five minutes past the scheduled time. We appreciated the fact that there was plenty of seating to be had whilst waiting - not shuffling forward in hour-long queues! Embarkation was a real breeze and I have to say they have this down to a fine art. Staff were invariably polite and helpful, though in the bars we could have done without a waiter asking us did we want a refill the second our glasses were empty - just a shade too enthusiastic. Ship facilities/layout: We both like the fact that you can (wind permitting!) walk right round the ship on the promenade deck (7), this giving a feel of old-time liners. The layout otherwise was fairly conventional with restaurants and bar areas abounding. We like to eat more or less when we want and the Conservatory (deck 12) allows for this with buffet meals (more about those later, sadly!). As the Conservatory has doors at both ends that are automatically controlled for passenger entrance/exit, this can lead to both ends being open at once - this leads to a huge gust of wind blowing the length of the restaurant. This might not be so bad but one of the designated smoking areas is on the open bar area immediately aft of the conservatory and, with some trick or flaw of design, this leads to a huge inrush of tobacco-stinking air also - not good when you're having a meal. Whatever possessed P&O to put this smoking area in that particular place is beyond my understanding, but neither of us liked it one little bit. The ship is well-appointed in general though signs of age are definitely now apparent. On the Crows Nest - on deck thirteen at the very front of the ship - the seating was tired with sagging upholstery and the chair cushion pads were dirty. This bar has many long, vertical windows that give a really good outlook forward and to the side, but we did notice that some were badly misted - presumably to broken seals on the double-glazed units - and also some were so badly compromised that they were in a couple of cases half-full of water, which gave the odd impression of a moving 'line' (the water level) being apparent across the pane. This really is not good enough on this class of ship. Whilst we in port we sat on our balcony, the weather being mild, only to be showered in dry paint chippings that a maintenance team was hacking off an upper rail in order for it to be re-painted. The vast majority of this chipped-off paint went straight into the water at dockside, with no attempt to contain it at all. So much for environmental concern! The maintenance teams also varnished balcony rails and wooden rails along the promenade deck, the latter with no cordoning of the wet areas and no notice to warn passengers other that a scrap of paper on the floor with 'wet varnish' scrawled upon it. Just a bit late if you had already put your hands on it. It was obvious that corrosion was in places fairly advanced as many of the rails had obviously been 'chipped and painted', giving them a rough appearance. We also saw many instances of painting the hull when in port. We also had a degree of problems with the waste plumbing - though this did not directly affect our cabin except for one night when the toilet could not be flushed 0 but the adjoining cabin was flooded at least once. All in all, this ship looks really ready for it proposed re-fit next year. Now the food. This varied from good to completely inedible. There was little consistency also in served temperature - this varied form hot (as should be) through warm (in general) to cold. Also some off the food was just disgusting - boiled potatoes like bullets, roast potatoes like fried flour balls and dumplings with the consistency of india-rubber. If this was a transport café this would not be acceptable - so why serve it up on a cruise ship? Watery custard and vanilla sauce, uncooked/overcooked vegetables and dubious hot desserts abounded. Things improved slightly the second week but in all honesty I cannot give the food better than a 4/10. Compared to MSC it was dreadful. Also the 'theming' was a bit odd - where German frankfurters and Chilli co Carne fit into a 'Country and Western' theme is as much beyond me as presumably it was beyond the chef. We were put of to some degree by the dress code - on MSC this is optional at any time but P&O's restaurant and bars all had notices outside stating very clearly that tonight's dress code was so-and-so - not exactly welcoming. Now I take the point that dress codes are mentioned when booking but frankly I do not pay to go on holiday and get told what to wear! It was the tone - rather high-handed I thought - that neither of us liked. Now for the vibration. This has I see been mentioned before but believe me all the posts I have seen have been very far from the truth. Our cabin was aft on deck 8. We had heard that Oriana had been having engine trouble. The truth of it is that the engines - at cruising speed of come 14 knots - set up the most terrible vibration that shook the bed, the ceiling fittings, the doors to the balcony, the wardrobe, the dressing unit and all the stainless steel fitting in the bathroom to such a degree that the best I can liken it to is doing fifty miles an hour in an old lorry with broken suspension, loaded with tin trays going down a washboard gravel road. The last night of our cruise was by far the worst when the cacophony took on teeth-rattling proportions and sleep was impossible. It really was like being shaken physically all night. (we did hear that one passenger mentioned the problem to a member of the engineering staff and was brusquely told that if it was a problem he should have stayed in Southampton!) This is clearly not acceptable and, if it were to be used as a form of torture would immediately be outlawed as inhumane. A DISGRACE. So - did we enjoy it? Yes, we did, despite all the above - thought the enjoyment came primarily from the places visited (by the way, we met up with an independent tour guide in La Coruna we had dealt with last year in Vigo. Their price for a town excursion fifteen euros. P&O 'official tour' price to visit exactly the same places? Thirty- seven pounds. We would be interested to hear how P&O justify charging that price?) So no, we would not go on Oriana again until she has a) had the refit when presumably the vibration issue would be rectified) b) had a darned good rethink regarding the quality and presentation of the food and c) taken a somewhat less high-handed attitude to the dress code (like doing away with it altogether as a 'compulsory' item. Read Less
Sail Date February 2015
This was our first time on the Oriana and, after reading some of the less positive reviews, we wondered if we'd made the right choice. Not to worry, at least where the condition of the ship was concerned: it was tastefully designed, ... Read More
This was our first time on the Oriana and, after reading some of the less positive reviews, we wondered if we'd made the right choice. Not to worry, at least where the condition of the ship was concerned: it was tastefully designed, spotless throughout and easy to find one's way around. Embarkation was handled well, though the initial roll call and emergency drill, in a packed lounge, took too long; some of the older passengers (there were lots of them) were clearly uncomfortable by the end. As we didn't bother with the shows and much of the other entertainment, I can't usefully comment on them; however, most of the other passengers seemed quite pleased with what they'd seen. We gave up on the cinema after two terrible films but, again, that was a matter of taste; the cinema (Chaplins, the only one of two available that we visited) was itself large and comfortable. The service throughout was excellent, the food somewhat less so. We ate exclusively in the ritzy Peninsular restaurant and the far less plush, canteen-like Conservatory. The food in The Peninsular was occasionally first-rate, often good and once or twice dreadful: my Reuben sandwich bore the same relationship to the real thing as I do to a Cornish pasty. In addition, while the (machine) coffee in the workaday Conservatory was as good as you'll get anywhere, that in The Peninsular was insipid. Why? The food in The Conservatory was superior canteen: some delicious salads, good breakfast fare (though an omelette station would help), but too much of the food for lunch and dinner lacked real flavour; that for the Thai menu, for example, was well short of the fragrance and delicacy one associates with good Thai food. Several reviews rightly comment on the lack of space in The Conservatory; a visit at the wrong time can mean getting involved in something resembling a scrum and, having unsuccessfully looked round for somewhere to sit, eating outside in all weathers. We didn't go on any excursions but, in common with some of the other passengers, we were sometimes disappointed in how long we had to wait for the shuttle bus from port to town in very chilly weather; not so bad for us, perhaps, but more uncomfortable for the many elderly and disabled passengers in the queue. I hope this doesn't read like one of those wholly negative reviews which are so unfair to both company and crew; after all, how many of the passengers could afford to stay in a hotel of equivalent standard at home? As with most things in life, the trip fell far short of perfection but was still pleasant enough for me to want to do again. Read Less
Sail Date February 2015
I am writing this review about our recent cruise onboard the so called flag ship of P&O the ORIANA We had a deluxe outside window cabin booked cabin C162, we had major problems with the toilet system, it basically did not work for 2 ... Read More
I am writing this review about our recent cruise onboard the so called flag ship of P&O the ORIANA We had a deluxe outside window cabin booked cabin C162, we had major problems with the toilet system, it basically did not work for 2 days. So when we was offered an upgrade we decided to take it. Our new cabin was B168 a Deluxe Balcony cabin, upon first impressions it looked very nice and we was told it would be an extra £200. But due to the issues for almost 2 days with the broken toiltet I negotiated them down to £150. However on the first day of moving into our new cabin and throughout the voyage we had problems with the toilet not flushing, and was awoken at 00.10 one night by hammering and drilling outside our cabin, I went out and a technician was fixing the toilet from an access pannel outside in the corridor.I tried asking him what the heck he was doing at such a late hour, he spoke no English so we rang reception and was told it was necessary work that had to be done then, we had a poor nights sleep that night. The next issue we had was with the door key cards, in total we had nineteen (19) new key cards made as they just stopped working, they reprogrammed the door and even changed the doors battery's yet still the best they could do was to get 1 card to work. But then that one would fail and we was locked out.All I got from reception was ohh you must of had the cards next to a mobile phone and thats caused them not to work. On the day of our last port of call in La Caruna our stay was from 08:00am till 15.30 me and my wife returned to the ship at aprox 13.30 to get some extra Euros from our safe so we could go back to a store 5 mins walk away from the ship and buy a dress my wife had seen in a nearby store as she wanted to wear it for the black tie formal night, we could not get into our room as the cards would not work, we found a phone in the corridoor and reception told us they had called the technician out to sort out our door again, they said come down to reception and they gave us 2 new key cards again, and we went up and still they did not work, by the time we had waited on deck B almost 45 mins and after 2 phone calls to reception a technician guy turned up and let us in, he still couldnt fix the door problem, so reception issued us with 3 keys of which 1 worked, after taking so long to get into our room we now did not have enough time to go back ashore and buy the dress, my wife was very upset. The other issue we have was the filthy state of the bathroom and around the cabin. In the bathroom there was filthy black fungal growth on the bath plug, and also on the sink overspill drain and the toilet had a filthy ring of scum round the water line, I have taken pictures to show P&O, in the cabin there was a pile of filthy dust under the fridge and the balcony curtains were filthy all stained with oil and rust marks fromthe dirty patio doors, again I have taken pictures. The other main concern was the food in the conservatory restaurant, it was always only luke warm, this happened every day, and by the time you had sat down it was cold, the food was sat in serving dishes that obviously were not heated, this was very poor in our standards. The food seemed tasteless, no matter what you ate, it was like school dinner food. The pool furniture was grubby and the lack of the waiters on deck was terrible, if you was on any of the sun decks top or aft the waiters would not walk round asking for any drinks, unless you was on a deck with a bar, I've been on Thomson cruises before and a waiter will ask you for a drink every 10 mins no matter where your sitting on the ship they walk every single inch of the decks and look for customers to serve. Since arriving home me and my wife had both started with a severe sore throat and we think its due to the dirty scum in the sink drain, why cant the room stewards use some bleach. Both myself and my wife are not at all happy with our cruise on Oriana, this was our first cruise with P&O and now we are having second thoughts about the cruise we had all ready booked on the brand new Britannia next year to the Caribbean. We are even thinking of cancelling it and losing our £500 deposit and going back with Thomson on the Majesty. Read Less
Sail Date October 2014
Ship: Beautiful to look and beautiful inside - very traditional with lovely bars including Crows Nest at the top and front and my favourite "Andersons" (upmarketish) with superb, friendly bar and waiting staff. Large theatre; ... Read More
Ship: Beautiful to look and beautiful inside - very traditional with lovely bars including Crows Nest at the top and front and my favourite "Andersons" (upmarketish) with superb, friendly bar and waiting staff. Large theatre; separate cinema with movies 5/6 times daily; large cabaret lounge; excellent large disco/dance club (much nicer than Oceana's grotty little grey box! Food: Much better than Oceana; excellent service for food and wine; even the buffet had good food (I just don't like some of the pushy customers there!). ALL Staff/crew: VERY friendly: the captain walks round ship 2/3 times daily and is approachable (and speaks English unlike the one on my Oceana cruise!); other senior officers walk round and also are very approachable. ALL bar staff friendly and get on well their bosses which shows a good ship. Entertainment: Apparently the best Headliners troupe ever; no weak links. Excellent entertainment during the day unlike the Oceana's non-stop quizzes and bingo. Spanish lessons, ballroom and line dancing lessons, port presentations, etc. Classical guitarist daily; pianist daily; three bands; various excellent guest performers in both theatre and cabaret lounge. Singles: EVERY morning coffee meeting (not just once as on Oceana!) AND special section of restaurant for singles afternoon tea every day. Choir: MD of orchestra trains and develops a passenger choir and solo singers during the cruise with show on last day. Also a passenger talent show. Weather: Rough throughout cruise but Oriana has a proper bottom and bow and rides the waves very well. Oriana is fastest in fleet and captain used this to beat the weather. A severe storm was forecast on leaving Lisbon so ship went full speed on leaving to get ahead of the worst. On return we were sailing into the near hurricane winds hitting the UK. Captain held back to let the first storm hit then full speed to get into Southampton early - we arrived Friday 2pm instead of Sat 6am. We would not have been able to dock if on schedule. Oceana meant to sail from S'ton on Thursday; still there when I left the Oriana on Sat. Carbuncle ! : Every beautiful “body” is allowed one of these and sadly Oriana has the “Alfresco”. P&O web site describes this cramped dump as “specialising in pizza” and also serving burgers, open sandwiches, etc. This is a clear breach of the Trade Descriptions Act. There are no burgers and I didn’t see any open sandwiches. The so-called “pizzas” are tiny, overcooked segments with next to no topping or cheese. Think of the party host in a panic who burns their Iceland pizzas but still puts them out for the guests. Chefs train for years to produce “creations”. In Alfresco, “chefs” train for minutes to produce “cremations” !! Also, if you want a cup of coffee, expect to wait up to 30 minutes as the staff congregate in one corner chatting; many customers left with no coffee. P&O please, please close this abomination – perhaps replace with vending machines? Cabins: On Getaway fare I managed to afford an excellent and large balcony cabin – twice the size of Oceana’s and kept immaculately clean. BEWARE: Cabins numbered D180 to D231 (as mine was) are situated above the night club “Pacific Lounge”. Unless you go to bed after midnight and do not want to lie down in the afternoons, avoid these cabins at all cost.   Read Less
Sail Date January 2014
Pre ship booking good, helpful and full information for first time cruisers. Embarkation easy except nobody to tell us just unload cases from taxi and they will be picked up by porter, found out from old time cruisers (OTC). Directed to ... Read More
Pre ship booking good, helpful and full information for first time cruisers. Embarkation easy except nobody to tell us just unload cases from taxi and they will be picked up by porter, found out from old time cruisers (OTC). Directed to lunch at Conservatory Free-for-all, Grab and Stuff felt a bit pathetic holding tray and wandering around to find place to sit. From then on we called it the Pigs Trough. Cabin comfortable only problem 2 welcome folders I picked up top copy which just had a few sheets in order forms for laundry, cabin service etc. didn't bother with other copy, until days later when I knocked it over and wealth of information fell out, Regarding all manor of things that would have been so helpful from day one. We also did not know about the daily newspaper at reception, or the directory Until the last day when I was completing questionnaire asking how helpful had it been. It was printed in the back of a glossy magazine full off expensive adverts. No body on hand from day one to introduce first timers to normal routines. As I stated in the questionnaire todays first timers could be their next gold badge customers. ACTIVITIES well suited to older age group and OTC.s most were held in bars where drinks were being offered continually, making one feel uncomfortable, if keep refusing. Very unhappy of the lack of following the dress code evenings, especially the Black Tie and Themed. Nights The Service offered by ALL the ships crew was 100% First Class. Only took one P&0 shore excursion a short 2 1/2 hr round Casablanca v. disappointing could have been anywhere in the Med or up market parts of any city apart from 15 mins at the Hassan ll Mosque Stunning, CERTAINLY NOT WORTH 70 GBP DINING Apart from the Conservatory dining was a pleasure, we dined in the Peninsular and also 3 nights in the Ocean Grill, which was superb 1st Class ++++. ENTERTAINMENT Very good, Headliners very professional , apart from being cancelled on the 2nd night as the voyage was too rough for the dancers and orchestra to perform. Guest acts excellent. OVERALL Very unpleasant sailing as weather very poor (no fault of the company). Many many regular cruisers were confirming our feeling that the whole Cruise was based on making a profit, and apart from the food and service in the seated dining, the theatre and cinema, everything else carried a price tag. Certainly felt too much maintenance being carried out throughout the voyage. i.e a day spent by scuba divers in La Coruna ? doing what below sea. Painting and cleaning often closing part of Promenade Deck. A day of constant banging with a man trying to release a Pod winch followed in the afternoon with 2 men banging away. 2 nights in Cadiz for repairs on the pipes, cancelling our visit to Malaga. Read Less
Sail Date October 2013
Our cruise was planned to celebrate Mother’s 91st year and we booked P&O’s Oriana X314 Iberia trip departing 14 July, through Planet Cruise. This was the first proper cruise for 4 out of 6 of us so forgive any naivety or seeming ... Read More
Our cruise was planned to celebrate Mother’s 91st year and we booked P&O’s Oriana X314 Iberia trip departing 14 July, through Planet Cruise. This was the first proper cruise for 4 out of 6 of us so forgive any naivety or seeming easily pleased. We ordered a mix of cabin types at the Getaway rate, arriving separately in 3 groups and requiring 2 different dinner sittings, but the booking process was quite straightforward and Emily at Planet was very helpful. The paperwork or rather the on-line processes needed only minimal effort to get through. Planet handled our requests for decent cabins in close proximity and not getting the dreaded obstructed view extremely well although the final decision on who-goes-where is, I assume, at P&O’s discretion. We got an oceanview on E deck and 2 adjacent superior balcony suites on B deck and the respective occupants were all pleased with their cabins. The B deck cabins were much larger than our cabin E13x and included binos, atlas, dressing gown and slippers. One couple opted for the valet port parking at '£117 and the other 2 couples took 2 cars to Alternative Car Parking, Marchwood who provided an excellent, friendly and personable service for '£46 less. Highly Recommended. We were asked to check-in from 3:00 '" 3:45pm on Sunday 14 July - a very civilised time. The luggage disappeared straight into the ship from the ACP shuttlebus and we walked straight to the check-in hall with hand luggage and suit bags. A large number of desks meant very little waiting. We were briefed by a friendly, efficient lady about the procedures, credit card details taken, directed through security, and straight onto the ship. A refreshing change from the awfulness of departing from a London airport. Straight to our cabin to freshen up and make a cup of tea. Full marks to P&O for providing tea-making facilities in each cabin. Our steward was there to welcome us and talk us through shipboard life and made us feel at home straight away. Then there was a call to attend the safety drill '" in our case in the Harlequin lounge which was packed with passengers carrying their orange life jackets. The briefing was given over the tannoy by Capt Camby - a more dependable and splendid sounding chap you wouldn’t find. Back to our cabin and the suitcases were now waiting outside, so a quick un-pack and as the sailaway beckoned, we made our way to the very top deck. Ever so smoothly and gracefully the Oriana using thrusters only slipped away from the Mayflower berth, and sailed down the Solent and past the IoW in lovely sunshine. Fantastic. We decided to all eat together for the first night at the self-service Conservatory. The food was ok but to be honest I can’t remember what I ate as there was a lot to choose from. Some in our party were less than impressed '" but none of us really knew what to expect so soon into the cruise. Afterwards, we went to the Harlequin to sample the entertainment. This was dancing with the resident trio and seemed more suited to a pensioners day centre. Sorry but this was absolutely not my cup of tea so off to explore the ship and do a few laps of the Promenade Deck. My favourite spot was the stern rail watching the wake from the twin screws fade to the horizon. Magic. When you retire to your cabin, the Horizon in-house newsletter and 2 chocolates await you. We felt no noise or vibration, the temperature controls seemed to work and getting a good nights sleep wasn’t difficult. Or at least it wasn’t after the racket made by the people next door died down. Some of these cabins sleep 4 by having wall-mounted pull-down beds so possibly that procedure was making all the noise. Fortunately this was a one-off and every other night was quiet and peaceful. The cabin is snug but well equipped with a small corner sofa and table, a small flat screen tv, 4 wardrobes each with a safe(!) 2 bedside units and the ensuite shower room etc. OK for a couple but very cramped for 4. The power points are 3-pin UK type but there are no spare points so if you want to charge a phone say or power some speakers you have to unplug the tv or kettle. As mentioned above the B deck balcony cabins were much larger and better equipped but they paid twice as much as we did. Breakfast can be taken in the Peninsular restaurant with full waiter service in one sitting. Varied choices and delicious food, nicely served. Service ends at 0915 or 0930 depending on whether it was a port-of-call day. This suits passengers taking excursions which usually make an early start. For a more leisurely start to the day it has to be the Conservatory (or Smash n’ Grab as we came to call it.) All the usual buffet fare is there with a good range of cereals, seeds, fruit, eggs 3 ways, bacon, sausage, toast etc - the full works in fact. There were 4 vending areas to obtain filtered water, juices, teas and coffee. The coffee we thought was actually not too bad. Inevitably there was queuing at certain times and the hot food options generally tailed off by 10:30. There is also the Al Fresco bar that serves a more limited range of breakfast food as well as late night snacks. I only used it once at about midnight as I missed cheese and biscuits that evening. It was quite small but a relaxed and friendly place to be. Lunches were served in the Peninsular and Conservatory, but we made a point of not having lunch as breakfast had hardly been digested '" and instead took Afternoon Tea in the Peninsular. This became something of an institution. The finger sandwiches are delicious and keep on coming and then you are served scones, cream, jam, teacakes and crumpets. Sometimes the crumpets etc came before the sandwiches which was a bit odd but if you persevered you could make it happen in the right order. The only slight quibble is that you felt obliged to leave quite swiftly but the staff have to lay the tables for the 18:30 dinner service. Evening meals are served in 2 sittings in the Oriental and Peninsular restaurants whilst the Conservatory offers open buffet-style dining. There is also a Marco Pierre White and an Italian restaurant that charge supplements but we were well catered for in the Peninsular so never got around to eating anywhere else. Mum and her friend soon abandoned their 18:30 dinner sitting and joined the rest of us for 20:30, the restaurant manager happily facilitating that for us. Dinner was 5 courses: starter, soup, main, sweet, cheese and biscuits and then coffee. The wine list was good with sub-West End prices '" there was a particularly good Claret for '£14.50. Prosecco was '£18.50. If you didn’t finish a bottle, it would be put out for you the following evening. A typical menu would include a steak or Beef Wellington, lamb &/ pork, fish and a veggie option. Considering the numbers catered for the presentation was very good, service briskly efficient and the food served hot. Only once did a dish disappoint '" a rather bland roast beef. You get to know the waiting staff and when we missed dinner due to staying ashore in Gib, the next night they asked were we had been. One nice touch was a glass of fizz being served to every diner to toast the Royal birth earlier that day. Very British and very well received. We didn’t manage to visit all the bars, but the Crows Nest was OK although we could take or leave the pianist. Crichton’s was also pleasant enough. Actually our drinks bill at the end was surprisingly reasonable with no added service charges of 15% or more that you can get on other lines. The daily gratuity charge was '£3.50 per head per day and I can’t imagine anyone would baulk at that. All the staff we met were friendly, professional and helpful '" and incredibly hard working. Again the only area we would comment on is feeling slightly rushed at the end of meals. Some people like to leave to go to a bar or some other activity whereas we are ‘lingerers’ who like to chill after the meal. However it was easy to get into the swing of things and there was always somewhere else to be anyway, be it a show, film, quiz, the photography area etc. There was a resident theatre troupe called the Headliners who performed twice nightly most nights, generally in the Theatre Royal. They were excellent and all their shows were very well received. Their tour of duty actually ended with this cruise so I don’t know how they were to be replaced, but sadly for some of them I gathered that the dole queue beckoned. There was also a very funny comedy magician called Andre with a great line in Saga cruise gags and good magic tricks too. There was a crew talent show which was brilliant and a passenger talent show which was basically X Factor Lite with 5 different singing acts but of course it all depends on talented passengers coming forward. The resident band I’m sorry to say was only so-so '" there didn’t seem to be much rapport between them. The guitarist who played some lunch times by the pool was very good '" a shame he didn’t get some evening slots. The theatre is very well equipped in terms of sound and lighting, on a par with a very good provincial theatre. The Chaplin Cinema screened Skyfall, Quartet, Lincoln, The Queen and several other recent films, several times a day. A great place to go on a day at sea when the weather isn’t too good. There were quizzes every day and evening and perhaps best of all a series of 5 lectures about the Assassination of Concorde. An in-depth no-holds-barred account by an insider of the disgraceful circumstances surrounding the ending of Concorde flights. Two of our party enjoyed the Zumba classes and the gym has a panoramic view over the bow of the ship. None of us visited the spa so cannot comment and there were various art classes, photography sessions and other stuff which we didn’t get to try but as we enjoyed such fantastic weather we mostly sunned ourselves on deck. Naturally on a glorious day at sea there is more pressure on sun-loungers but we always managed to find space somewhere. By 5:30pm most passengers seemed to vanish so the sunny areas would be deserted. I’m not a fan of chlorinated swimming pools so cannot comment on them but they were enjoyed by others in our party. The second smaller theatre (Pacific Lounge) where the lectures were held was not ideal as there were seats having pillars spoiling the view and the tub seats face the wrong way but I guess they are trying to create a cabaret/club vibe. There were 3 formal nights when the penguin suits got an airing, the first one being an opportunity to meet and have a snap taken with Capt Camby. Never done that sort of thing before but actually good fun and the ladies loved to dress up. If you want to steer clear, the Conservatory caters for casual dressers. The ship’s photographers have a field day on the formal nights and also at the gang plank but there is no pressure to buy, but the good photos are hard to resist. They even expertly photo-shopped a pic for me at no extra charge. Although the ship was full with approx 1,880 passengers, the only times you were aware of crowding was in the Conservatory at breakfast, the Theatres and sunny days on deck. We never queued to disembark at ports, we always went straight to our table for dinner, there was always space in the bars, and during my late night laps of the Promenade deck would seldom see anyone apart from maintenance crew. There are some shops in the Atrium on decks 6/7 but these weren’t brilliant, mainly selling cheap watches and baubles or expensive designer stuff, and duty frees. The only paid excursion we did was the Andalucian Drive from Cadiz. That was actually disappointingly dull and not helped by the coach breaking down in the middle of nowhere. We were sitting at the back and on every hill I could smell the tell-tale stench of cooked clutch. Eventually the bus gave up the ghost on a narrow country road and the rescue bus had to reverse several miles to get to us and then proceed in the wrong direction. When we got back to the ship there was indeed a long queue to get aboard as all the tour buses seem to return at the same time, so we walked back to town and had an interesting mooch around instead. Most ports were departed between 3 and 5pm which was a bit too early in my view but at Gibraltar we did get a full day ashore. Some of us went up the Rock and others spent the day on the beach and met the most delightfully friendly locals who gave mum one of their umbrellas and deckchairs as it was so so hot. My electric razor had managed to flatten itself on the journey to Southampton and nobody on board seemed to have a Philips Philishave power lead so I left it with one of the many electrical stores on Main Street and they charged it up for me. Also Bombay Sapphire gin is under a tenner in Gib! After a few drinks to get rid of '£Gib notes in Casemates Square we eventually got back to Oriana at about 21:00. By the time we got to the Conservatory it was almost closing down but the head waiter made sure we were all fed. As a bonus they served the best prawn curry we had ever tasted. Lisbon was one of the disappointingly short stays but we had time to get a train out to Cascais, shop, walk along the prom to Estoril for coffee in a beach bar, get the train back and a bit more shopping near the terminal. That day the IT system failed so the crew couldn’t be sure that every passenger smart card had registered upon embarkation so everyone had to return to their cabins to be checked in by their steward. The delay amounted to about an hour so we had our Afternoon Tea and were back on deck in time to enjoy the ships horn blast out Capt Camby’s signature tune as we sailed under the huge 25 April Bridge. The Captain always gave a summary of the day at 1800 and let us know what sort of sea conditions and weather to expect and ended with a humorous anecdote or saying. According to Channel 1 on the cabin tv the worst sea we got was Force 7 which made the ship move only ever so slightly, and with nothing more than a Force 2/3 across the Bay of Biscay we were indeed blessed. During my nocturnal perambulations I noticed that the beautiful teak decks get washed down every night by a crewman. Other reviewers criticise the Reception staff as being unfriendly. When I was frequently in their company trying to get my razor sorted we had some great banter and I found the girls to be delightful. Our steward kept our cabin clean and tidy, others as stated were forever cleaning the decks and other parts of the ship, there were hand-sanitising kits by all the restaurants and as far as I know there was no noro-virus on our cruise. Phew! There is a well-practised routine for disembarkation '" do all your packing, leaving out only your going-home-items, suitcases to be labelled and left outside by 2am. Breakfast served up to 8am and sit around awaiting your allocated time, notified by colour-coded cards. The procedure went very smoothly and at least half-an-hour earlier than expected we got the call to proceed to Deck 5, go ashore to find your suitcases laid out in lettered bays representing your Deck, through customs and straight to the ACP shuttlebus. Totally efficient and painless. We found the Oriana to be a wonderful ship, clearly loved by the Capt and crew and it would seem most other passengers. An enormous tower block of a ship carrying 3000+ assorted families she aint and thank goodness for that. If we could sail on her tomorrow we would; did we a have a fabulous holiday '" oh yes. Roll on the next time.   Read Less
Sail Date July 2013
We have just returned from a two week cruise on the Oriana X310 to the Western Mediterranean. This was our first cruise and was a huge learning curve.We had booked valet car parking at Southampton, which went like a dream. We walked away ... Read More
We have just returned from a two week cruise on the Oriana X310 to the Western Mediterranean. This was our first cruise and was a huge learning curve.We had booked valet car parking at Southampton, which went like a dream. We walked away from the car, the porter took our luggage and we went through a very smooth check in. All staff very welcoming and efficient. Our luggage turned up very promptly a little bit later. A wonderful start!We found our cabin - a outside cabin on F deck – just forward of reception. The cabin was a good size with plenty of storage space with a window, personally we would not have booked had only inside cabins been available. The cabin was very clean and kept in excellent order by our Cabin Steward, Eleanor, who was very personable and attentive.We had made an early booking and were able to choose our dining time and table size. We were on a rectangular table of 6 by the window in the first sitting (6.30pm) in the Oriental Restaurant. The waiters tended to be quiet and efficient going about their business. We would like to think that some planning went into selecting table companions as ours were within a few years the same age as ourselves, they were also seasoned cruise passengers.We had been really looking forward to dressing up on the Black Tie nights and the Smart nights and those nights did not disappoint as the majority of passengers were dressed to the “nines”. We did find that nothing special had been arranged in the dining room or for the entertainment, it was no different to all the other nights, this was a disappointment as we thought the dining room would be decorated for the black tie nights.There was always something to eat on the Oriana. The quality of the food in the Oriental for the last two nights was what we had expected, however the other nights were disappointing with the quality being on par with pub food, indeed I have had better at J.D. Weatherspoons! We tended to breakfast in the Conservatory, which is basically a canteen, however the service and quality of food was fine, but due to the noro virous sickness bug which was evident for the whole of the cruise all food and utensils were served to all passengers by the crew. We did dine in the Marco Pierre White Ocean Grill one night for a supplement – the food and service here was what we had expected for the Oriental! and was really good. We also dined one night in the Serrento – the Italian restaurant I would not recommend this to anyone very poor overall.If we had lunch we did not have afternoon tea and vice versa – we always had these in the Conservatory and we found this fine – the pastries are to kill for!All waiters were always fast and efficient and excellent at clearing and cleaning tables in all the restaurants.The price of drinks in the bars was reasonable and the range was OK. The waiters were very attentive, however after the first few days we did start asking the waiters to give us time to make our choice as we were finding that as soon as we had sat down there was a waiter there to take your order.We thought there was a very good range of entertainment to suit all tastes, including films like Les Miserable, Quartet, Argo, Lincoln and Skyfall which were spread out over the week at different times of the day, so if one session was inconvenient to you, another time would suit. The entertainment team worked extremely hard as did all the restaurant staff.However the same could not be said of the Reception staff when they could be bothered to speak you. We were on the 6.30pm dinner siting, on one day we returned tour cabin a little later than planned and when we went to use the shower we found that we could not adjust the temperature which would have resulted in having a scolding hot shower, as our cabin was positioned very close to reception I went and reported this fault, they assured me that they would report this and get a plumber/engineer along to rectify the problem this was 6.10pm I did explain that we were on the 6.30 dinning siting and we needed a shower, it was suggested that we use the public showers on deck 12 – these are the showers adjacent the pools on the sun decks. After 10mins I did phone reception to enquire when the plumber would arrive to be told soon. I went back to reception at 6.30 to be told the plumber was on their way. I went back again at 6.35 spoke a different receptionist and waited while she phoned maintenance to report he fault – a plumber eventually arrived at our cabin at 6.45 – it took him just 2 minutes to fix the problem as far as he was concerned he came as soon as the fault was reported. Essentially the reception staff just did not care.The Vanguard Band and the Oriana trio were both disappointing as neither appeared to have a pre-arranged playlist and held a discussion between each number as to what they would play next! As we had both been looking forward to dancing the night away with ballroom dances we found this disappointing, on the bands breaks there was only the choice of sequence dancing. Although there was a more than capable DJ on board (Adam) who was excellent and would and did play all requests. However he was used very sparingly by the entertainments manager. There are two “dancing” venues – the Harlequins and the Pacific Lounge –it would have been nice if Adam had been on at the Pacific Lounge every other night from say 9.30pm.We had pre-booked 4 shore excursions, however due to border issues with the Spanish at Gibraltar the Gibraltar trip was cancelled, the three trips we did the trip at Alicante for the Moors was the worst – the guide was Polish and although seemed to know the history etc. his main concern was explaining the sangria and tapas lifestyle he enjoyed. The Barcelona Gothic quarter walking tour was very good indeed with a knowledgable guide who was prepared to take time to answer questions. The third trip was a walking tour of Lisbon – I could not make this trip but my wife did and she reported that the standard was similar to Barcelona. We plan to revisit both Barcelona and Lisbon for extended weekend visits.We passed the captain several times during the cruise, usually in the evening and although we generally spoke saying “good evening” he did not respond even with a nod of his head, thus giving a very aloof attitude. However he did speak on the last black tie night when he thought we were going to have our picture taken with him – we did not!!As stated before noro virus was an issue for the whole cruise. I suffer an allergic reaction to Shellfish and the symptoms are similar to noro virus. On the one night a seafood platter was on the menu, naturally I did not chose this, however I believe that my meal was cross contaminated as at 2.00am the following morning I was being sick etc. As requested by the medical team I reported this and was promptly confined to my cabin, I did try to explain to them my issue with shellfish – they were not interested and reminded me that I could be forcibly disembarked at the next pot of call if I did not stay in my cabin – this resulted in me missing a visit to Gibraltar and Lisbon! In discussions with the medical team it was apparent that as far as they were concerned the presence of noro virus was entirely the fault of the passengers!!The issue was noro virus was evident for the duration of the cruise with constant announcements from the captain and others reminding us to wash our hands, use the alcoholic hand gel and to try and use our cabin toilets. There were also additional cleaning teams around the ship wearing face masks and forever washing hand rail sand other hard surfaces. However it is apparent that this virus is present on the ship and despite the efforts from the passengers and crew the issue has not been resolved. maybe it is time the ship was taken out of service and have all soft furnishings replaced then have the whole ship steam cleaned – that would cost money!Disembarkation was just as easy as embarkation we were off the Oriana by 8.45am and home by 10.15am we live just 45 miles away from SouthamptonSo all in all, a reasonable experience of a first cruise! However overall the cruise did not live up to expectation.Will we cruise again – yes but only after much more research on the ship and cruise line and preferably from Southampton.Will it be with P and O – unlikely Will it be with Princess Cruises – possiblyWill it be on the Oriana – I will stay at home if this is the only choice!! Read Less
Sail Date May 2013
I had been looking forward to this cruise for months, Having been on other PO Cruises the Aurora, Adonia, Ventura, Oceana, The only was I can describe the ship is well past its sell by date,My cabin was tired and grubby, the carpet very ... Read More
I had been looking forward to this cruise for months, Having been on other PO Cruises the Aurora, Adonia, Ventura, Oceana, The only was I can describe the ship is well past its sell by date,My cabin was tired and grubby, the carpet very worn and filthy, The shower was old and very mouldy around the shower unit the shower head caked in old scale, The wardrobe smelt damp and the doors rattled, I asked for a different cabin but told they had none available,The whole corridor stank of sewage, the smell was over powering and I am sorry a steward with a can of air freshener does not really cure the problem.I was not told on embarkation that there had been Norvo Virus on the previous cruise and was quite shocked when I ventured into the Conservatory to find waiters serving all the food and the sachets of salt and pepperThe Conservatory restaurant the only way I can describe is a bad Motorway cafe, Bunfight at the ok corral, The tables were not cleaned,The area at the far end on the deck had a smoking area and all you could smell at the end of the Conservatory was smoke not nice while trying to eat a meal and each time the door opened the smoke invaded,The Peninsular Restaurant, where did you find the staff. were they trained by Basil Faulty, they were rude and very unhelpful, during breakfast I had the experience of a waiter pushing my chair in while I was eating if he had asked I would have moved but no he preferred to just push so I ended up wearing my breakfast no apology, If you asked for further coffee or tea they refused the main aim was to sit you down and get you out as soon as possible. They were very abrupt I guess that was the training from the school of Faulty Towers,Afternoon tea Peninsular after the free for all in the Conservatory thought I would do things the good old PO way and have a proper afternoon tea, well Basil Faultys training was shown to its best, Offered Scones and little fancy cakes, then came the tea, something missing oh yes the sandwiches, they arrived after the cakes, teacakes and scones, Woe betide anyone that asked for more cream of more tea, the looks from the waiters would have turned Sybil Faulty to stone,All that was missing was Manuel but I am sure he was in hiding as the place was chaos.Evening meal..I was in the Oriental , that was a great improvement on the other restaurant, the staff were slightly better, But what have you done to the fantastic food, did you leave it behind in Southampton, everything was over cooked and stuck in fat to the plate, and the choices were nothing like my previous cruises.Standards have dropped,I had cheese and biscuits one evening one tiny piece of cheese and 2 small crackers and he had gone, If you want to see the photo ask, Your food used to be the highlight of my cruises,Entertainment the Headliners were very good as were the other acts and the male tenor from New Zealand was fabulous, However I don't go on a cruise just for entertainment,The swimming pool was warm and very inviting but not very clean , The hot tub was also not clean, not sure why standards have dropped.The service in the bars was brilliant but the quizzes and day time activity's left a lot to be desired,The port stops were good and I enjoyed myself , In Lisbon I did try and find out the cost of flights back but none available as I would have left then,You have major problems with toilets, blocked dirty, no wonder there is Norvo Virus its down to cleanliness and PO seem to have missed that,Within a day of leaving the cruise I was very ill, with a non specific infection which nearly killed me , and required me to have triple antibiotics, and home nursing from the district nurse, and daily visits from the Doctor, as I refused to go into hospital (personal reasons) What ever I picked up on the cruise has left me sick for the last 5 weeks, Yes I was tested for many things, but nothing specific, All I do know when I boarded Oriana I was well, I would love to know if others had been ill,Would I travel with PO again that would be No the standards have dropped. I also would never have boarded had I known the problem on the previous cruise with Norvo Virus, and I do think all passengers should had been made aware on Embarkation. Read Less
Sail Date April 2013
Long awaited holiday great expectations and I was not disappointed. The cruise was a complete success the weather was exceptional and the cabin was larger than we have been in on previous cruise, the cabin boy Ratheesh was an excellent ... Read More
Long awaited holiday great expectations and I was not disappointed. The cruise was a complete success the weather was exceptional and the cabin was larger than we have been in on previous cruise, the cabin boy Ratheesh was an excellent young man who not only looked after our cabin but also added a light entertainment to the cruise. Our waiters Peter and Akbar also had the same friendly attitude and made meal-times not only a pleasure of fine dining but also a fun experience. All staff we encountered were pleasant and friendly and help was there if needed nothing was too much for them. There was never a lack of anything to do from films in the cinema to learning to dance, painting and numerous deck games including 3 swimming pools, gym, and many more activities and not forgetting the bars. Food was always available so you never went hungry between meals and it was all top quality a eating experience not to be missed. P&O can be proud of the staff they employ and I hope the cruise next year will be of the same standard as this was. Read Less
Sail Date August 2011
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 ... Read More
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. Read Less
Sail Date August 2011
The Oriana is a lovely ship with great facilities, spoilt only by the lack of consideration for the under 65s and those of us who just want to have a boogie and not unsmilingly parade round Harlequins doing endless ballroom and sequence ... Read More
The Oriana is a lovely ship with great facilities, spoilt only by the lack of consideration for the under 65s and those of us who just want to have a boogie and not unsmilingly parade round Harlequins doing endless ballroom and sequence dancing. This ship is one of the nicest we've been on for layout, show lounge, accessibility etc. and the showteam and the shows they presented are certainly the BEST we've seen on any ship. Their singing, dancing, choreography etc. were second to none (even if some of the aging audience slept through their performances). Their Queen and Abba shows were excellent - but then they were all good - as were the cabaret singers - especially Jayne.Cabins were fine, towels were big and fluffy (always important) and as ever the crew were helpful and attentive. The Gary Rhodes restaurant was excellent - so good in fact that we went several times and enjoyed the food, ambience and service (especially Sameep and Godfrey). Drinks prices were reasonable and we had no complaints with any of the restaurants, although I'm sure some people would. There did seem to be a fair scattering of Grumpy Old Men & Women claiming that 'things weren't what they used to be'.Our main grumpiness was that for anyone who just wanted to have a disco-ey dance and a bop around - entertainment was HORRENDOUSLY thin on the ground. Every evening we hoped there would be the combination of a dancefloor and excellent DJ Ant for the not so old, most evenings we were disappointed. P&O seem to think that the way to keep people entertained is by putting on a Quiz - so if you like quizzes, go P&O. On most days you can probably do at least half a dozen and if you're lucky win a bottle of their not so nice rose wine. Entertainment Team - you could do with a bit of inspired thinking here instead of running out the same old format time and time again.We didn't go and see any of the speakers - nautical history and ex-policeman - but apparently they were pretty good. And the concert pianist seemed to get big thumbs up too.Best advice - if you board in Southampton, be prepared for an elderly cruising group.P&O - you've lost us for at least 25 years! Read Less
Sail Date June 2011
We sailed on ORIANA from our home port of Southampton on May 3 for a 17 day cruise, had not been on this ship for six years and learning it was having a refit in November, i was a lttle concerned , but tese proved foundless, the ship is in ... Read More
We sailed on ORIANA from our home port of Southampton on May 3 for a 17 day cruise, had not been on this ship for six years and learning it was having a refit in November, i was a lttle concerned , but tese proved foundless, the ship is in excellent condition, immaculately clean ,the decor athough a little aged now was in good condition, the food was the best we have had tis year and this was our third cruise of 2011, also top class entertainment, quite alot to do on board as opposed to the other ships we have sailed on, an excelleent movie shown daily , and a chance to learn bridge, which i attemted and not only did i enjoy but i made many friends, the ports were good, and disembarcation was well done, mostly with folk meeting on the quatside and collecting their stickers, whereas normally one has to congregate in the theatre, the arrival on the ship was good as when we departed, not the usual crowds of passengers crowding around.the Captain HAMISH REID is one of the most amusing Captains ever, and when he retires in August i think he will be missed.The evening they did Call my Bluff, was the funniest thing imaginable, which he participated in,All in all a great trip, and i now look forward to our next two which will be on AZURA and OCEANIA I think we will stick with P/O for a while as i cannot think of anything negative to say.ELIZABETH WILLIAMS Read Less
Sail Date May 2011
P&O Cruise . Oriana. 3rd May to 20th May. My wife Mary and I chose this cruise because we had enjoyed the 25th Anniversary "Festival Music" Cruise on Artemis in 2010. We were not disappointed, for we had the privilege ... Read More
P&O Cruise . Oriana. 3rd May to 20th May. My wife Mary and I chose this cruise because we had enjoyed the 25th Anniversary "Festival Music" Cruise on Artemis in 2010. We were not disappointed, for we had the privilege of appreciating the talents of international stars of the music world during our 17 day holiday. All performances were of a very high standard. Stephanie Williams who organised this festival, must be congratulated for bringing together such outstanding singers and brilliant musicians. Jacquelyn Fugelle, Soprano, Kevin Greenlaw, Baritone, John Hudson, Tenor, Vanya Milanova, Violinist, Stephen Pierce, Clarinet, and the two wonderful pianists, Terence Allbright and Michael Pollock could not be faulted. They gave great pleasure to large audiences. I have some criticism of P&O regarding these events. The theatre in Oriana was always cold. Many people complained. The timings of some concerts were not convenient for 1st Sitting passengers. Sometimes the comedian or the variety artists were given priority over the classical performers and the classical concerts were staged in the Pacific lounge instead of the theatre, accompanied by much throbbing from the ship's engines.. We travelled to Southampton by 1st Class Rail. The journey was comfortable and the train was on time. Porters assisted us with our luggage to the taxi rank outside the station. The check in was a nightmare for some people. It was said that a computer fault had delayed the procedure. I was sorry for those aged or disabled, who were standing in a very long queue. We were tired after our long journey and our long queuing, so we were very glad to reach our inside cabin C143 on Deck 9. We rested until the boat drill at about 5pm. We thought that the drill was carried out in a hasty and inefficient manner. The boat drill on our previous cruise on Fred Olsen's Boudicca was much more thorough. Dining. We ate in the Peninsular Restaurant at table No. 80. The table for six people was in a very good position, close to the entrance. On the first night our companions were Morris and Mary, both in poor health. On the second night we sat at the table alone, as the other couple had decided to eat in the Conservatory. This they did on several occasions during the cruise. On the third night an 89 year old Welshman now living in Oxford joined us for dinner. Ken was a very spritely man, who had a fund of stories which entertained us regularly. The food on the Oriana was not up to the standard of other P&O ships on which we have travelled. We sent some meals back, because of tough and sometimes undercooked main dishes. At times we abandoned the Peninsular Restaurant and chose to eat in the Conservatory. We did not like the inconvenience of serving ourselves, but were satisfied to see and choose meals. The waiting at table 80 was slow. Dinner was at 6.30pm. It was usually 7.15pm before we were served our first course. At the end of the meal we thought that pressure was put on us to finish the meal, so that the waiters could prepare for the 2nd Sitting. I must say that we were happier eating on Arcadia, Aurora and Artemis on previous cruises. The hygiene in all eating places was first class. At the beginning of the cruise we were warned that the previous cruise had had infection from the Norovirus. We were always greeted at the door of the restaurant by a member of staff holding a bottle of hand gel. Entertainment. To us, the performances of the classical artists were dreams come true. The programmes were very well organised, from the light classical to the more serious music. We were told that Pianist Michael Pollock had arranged much of the programme. He accompanied most of the singing and did a good job, as did the other pianist Terence Allbright, whose playing of individual pieces and his accompanying of the violinist Vanya Milanova was outstanding. We attended two performances by the Headliners Variety Group. The dancing was of a high standard but I am sorry to say that the singing of the principal performers was quite poor. The magician Matthew McGurk was very clever at involving the audience. We enjoyed both of his performances. We attended only one port lecture, which we found very disappointing. Several people in our company echoed our feelings. Ports of Call. Valencia. On arrival the weather was cold, misty and showery. Bravely we joined a queue for the shuttle bus, but returned to ship because of the cold wind. An improvement in the weather caused us to join the shuttle bus after lunch and proceed to the city centre. Valencia was lively, with people preparing for a religious festival on the next day. An immense picture of the Virgin Mary, composed totally of a variety of flowers took up the wall of the church next to the Cathedral. The happy throng of people raised our spirits. Many people were impressed by the modern architecture. We were not! (Old age and anchored in the past, maybe!) On to Barcelona, where the Ramblas was alive with activity in the warm sunny weather. Living statues alternated with stalls selling a variety of goods. In the Cathedral, we had a flavour of the old Spain as we enjoyed taking part in the Mass. The Mass in the Cathedral was uplifting, with a youth choir singing parts of the service in Latin plain chant. After Mass, we joined a large crowd in the square outside, where a band was playing and a mass of people joined in folk dancing. Toulon. As our berth was in the Naval dock area, the shuttle service into the city took over 30 minutes. The scenery during the drive was drab. The weather was sunny. It was obvious that Toulon had many immigrants. We thought the narrow side streets were untidy. A pleasant visit to the Cathedral, a stroll in the city and along the sea front completed our visit to Toulon. Livorno. As we have had a holiday in Florence and had visited Pisa previously, we spent our time ashore in the town. The weather was sunny and warm. Our first visit was to the Baroque Church of San Fernando, where a group of church workers were preparing the church for a christening. They were supervised by a heavily built authoritarian Parish Priest. After watching the activity for a while, I plucked up courage and asked the priest if I could sing a Latin hymn. The priest did not speak English and I did not know whether he said yes or no. However, I took the opportunity and sang, "Regina Coeli". Afterwards, a church worker approached my wife and said, "Bel Canto". I was pleased. Walking along the canals we encountered pleasant Italian locals. We find the Italians good natured. Santa Margherita. The weather was hot and sunny. What a surprise we had at the sight of the village from the ship. It turned out to be one of the most beautiful villages that we have visited. A magnificent church was surrounded by clean streets and elegant shops. We had intended to journey a short distance along the coast to visit Portofino, but decided to stay put to enjoy the elegance of Santa Margherita. Civitavecchia. The weather was warm and sunny. Here we made a mistake in returning to a town that we had enjoyed the previous year. The streets were untidy and the traffic was heavy. We were pleased to return to a peaceful Oriana. Salerno. A very busy commercial port. In hot and sunny weather we walked through narrow streets with many small shops on our way to the Cathedral of St. Matthew. It is said that the bones of the disciple of Jesus, St. Matthew lie in the crypt. The crypt was magnificent, with much marble and mosaic decoration, a fitting place for the bones of the disciple. In the Cathedral we were fortunate to witness a wedding. It was good to see the happy and excited Italians demonstrating their pleasure. Leaving Salerno the weather turned cooler and quite breezy and continued in this vein until we reached Gibraltar. We had nothing extra to see in Gibraltar, as we had visited it on many occasions. We had time to walk in the town, before the early sailing at 1pm. Lisbon. The weather was warm and sunny as we left the shuttle bus in the heart of the city. We had had a holiday in the vicinity and had visited the city a number of times on cruises, so our visit took us on a nostalgic walk around the city. We filmed outside St. Domingo's Church and in the Avenida Da Liberdada.....We then spent some time filming the ship from a distance and the Salazar Bridge which dominates the city. General Comments. Smoking on the Starboard side of the ship was a nuisance when we took exercise. It astonishes us that so many peoples continue to smoke after all the adverse publicity in recent years. We thought that the dEcor and comfort of the "Oriana" was equal to those ships in which we had cruised over the past years. Public rooms were most comfortable and the restaurants were light and attractive. We thought that the Reception staff was rather terse in answering enquiries. Disembarkation was no problem and we were able to hire a taxi to take us to Southampton Central Station immediately on leaving the ship. We found that the talented artists appearing in the Classical Music Festival were very friendly and approachable. The people whom we met during the cruise were friendly and mostly interesting. In our opinion the attitude of some staff had changed. Our cabin steward complained bitterly at P&0's refusal to grant him a pension. The service was often slow during meals in the Peninsular Restaurant. We were disappointed at the quality of the food. For breakfast the fried eggs were like rubber and the toast was hard and cold. We rearranged our breakfast menu after the first few days. For other meals the meats were tough and the vegetables were under cooked. After sending some meals back to the kitchen, we ate what was served to avoid upset to ourselves. Pastries were hard. We wondered if money was being saved by buying cheaper cuts of meat. Despite our grumbles we enjoyed our experience on Oriana and look forward to another Festival of Music Cruise. Read Less
Sail Date May 2011
We too have just returned from this wonderful cruise on Oriana. Our first taste and we were not disappointed. We had a cabin on A deck and felt that it was probably the smallest and most cramped cabin we have had. The wardrobe space we ... Read More
We too have just returned from this wonderful cruise on Oriana. Our first taste and we were not disappointed. We had a cabin on A deck and felt that it was probably the smallest and most cramped cabin we have had. The wardrobe space we felt was very limited and we only just managed to get our clothes in, they were packed very tightly and it was difficult to get them in and out of the wardrobe. We had to ask our steward, Vimal, for extra hangers for the space above the safe. As for the safe, we couldn't understand why it was almost on the floor (and very small). OH had great difficulty getting down on the floor to open it, particularly when clothes were hanging down over it. I don't know how anyone with mobility problems managed to get to it. We dined in the Oriental restaurant - first sitting. We had a table for 2 (having requested a table for 6). We did try to get this changed, but because so many people were travelling as large family groups we could not be accommodated. However, this did not spoil the cruise but we did miss sharing the days exploits with our table companions. Our waiter Richardo, was a little sullen on the first night, but we soon managed to get a smile out of him and he was always very pleasant (if not a little serious). Alex the other waiter was a delight and called us by our Christian names. We found there to be plenty of choice on the menu, the food was good (not excellent). I have seen posts that say that the cheeseboard was never offered. This was not the case for us, my OH likes a bit of cheese occasionally - particularly Stilton - and he was always offered the cheeseboard, whether he partook of it or not. We ate in the Terrace Grill on two occasions and were very impressed with the menu and the service. It was wonderful to dine out on deck. Our first time was when we left Mytiline on our way to Istanbul, a wonderful evening with the coast of Lesbos on one side and Turkey on the other. The other occasion was when we left Almeria, the sea was flat calm, the day had been very hot and it was a balmy evening. The evening was further enhanced by a very large school of dolphins who followed the ships wake for some considerable time and gave the diners a real performance. A very memorable evening and certainly worth the £7.75 cover charge. We didn't sample Oriana Rhodes as we didn't think much of the choices on the menu. We breakfasted most days in Al Fresco's (much more civilized than the conservatory and not as congested). We also had lunch there on a few occasions, particularly avoiding the congested conservatory on sea days. We also liked to pop up to Al Fresco's for a cup of hot chocolate before retiring for the night (I know seems crazy when we had temps up in the mid 30's but a cup of hot choc always ensured we had a good nights sleep). The entertainment by the Headliners Theatre Company was excellent with very slick, professional shows. We saw 8 production shows during the 16 night cruise, and each one seemed to be better than the last. We had seen a couple of them before but we enjoyed seeing them again. "We are the Champions" and "F-abba-lous" are held in the Pacific Lounge and this venue gets very busy and the sight lines are not always good if you get stuck behind a pillar. If you intend to see these shows, I would suggest that you get to the venue early, we made the mistake of arriving just before showtime and had a blocked view. Both these shows are on three times during the evening, 7.30 pm, 9.30 pm and 11.45 pm. Natural High were also on board, and as every they were very good. We particularly enjoyed the two jazz sessions held in the crows nest. Again these got very packed, so get there early. We also enjoyed dancing in Harlequins, the dance floor is well sprung and just the right size to ensure you can do a good waltz etc. Natural High provided most of the music for dancing. The dance instructors, Phillip and Christine, were very good hosts in the evening, and although we didn't attend their dance classes I know that they were well attended. The "guest" entertainers were OK, but nothing special. The fact that they could not fill the Theatre Royal, but the Headliners TC could, I think says a lot. There were three party nights held out on deck, the tropical night, 60's & 70's night, and the Country and Western Shindig. We didn't get to the 60's night as on this evening we were both shattered and decided to have a reasonably early night, but the other two evenings were very enjoyable and proved very popular with the younger element on board ship. There were 260 children on board and we were a little worried about this as we usually cruise in May/June, but our concerns were unfounded. Yes the children did hog the pools, and the sun beds were always taken by about 8.30 am, but we always managed to find a bed at the front of the ship. It was sometimes a little windy, but with temps in the mid 30's it was a relief to have this air circulating as the area around the pools became like sauna's. The children were kept entertained by the various clubs on board. We used to enjoy seeing them all dressed up on the formal evenings, the girls looked fabulous in their dresses and the young lads looked very handsome in their DJ's. The children never gave us any problems, but I do believe that one or two families were thrown off the ship. Gary Gladding is an excellent Cruise Director and was at just about every event that took place on the ship, from the coffee morning for those travelling alone at 10.00 am, to dancing in Harlequins at mid-night. He never sat down and would always dance with ladies travelling alone. He was amazing, as was the rest of his team. They all worked so very hard to ensure that the passengers had a wonderful cruise. Captain Wells was a hoot, we looked forward to his noon broadcasts each day. I have never been on a cruise where the captain has taken part in the noon announcements every day. All those of you who have cruised on Oriana recently, or who will be on board in the near future will understand what I mean when you hear his dulcet tones. The ports - well this was one of the reasons for choosing to cruise in August on Oriana. We absolutely loved Athens, Naples and Istanbul, they lived up to our expectations (and more). We took the P&O organized tours in these three ports as we had not visited them before and felt that this was the best way to see all the main sights. Istanbul was a fantastic experience, our tour was all day (8 ½ hours), we spent 6 of these hours on our feet and when we returned to the ship we were absolutely exhausted, but looking back it was a wonderful trip and we had a very knowledgeable guide who was passionate about the history of Turkey. We did our own thing in Malaga, hopped on the city sightseeing tour and then did a bit of "retail therapy". Mytiline is a charming port which we walked around and took in the sights and sounds; we wandered down some back streets, through the shops and found ourselves at a large fort (2 euros entrance) which was well worth the visit. Dilkili saw us head for the local beach, along with many Turkish families, who pitch "tent" for the day and bring out large picnics, cooking equipment etc and the whole family is there from granny down to the youngest member. It was fascinating to watch them. We managed a swim in the sea and headed back to the ship. We were a little disappointed with Almeria, we went off the ship with an elderly lady who was travelling alone and wanted someone to accompany her off to the shops. Unfortunately she decided to stay with us so we ambled round some shops, had a coffee and then went back to the ship as it was so hot and she was a little unsteady on her feet. We would have liked to have found the old part of the town and visit the castle, but this something to do if we visit again. We were not particularly impressed with the shops and the place did not seem to have much character/charm (although we may not have visited the right part). All in all an absolutely fantastic trip and we would not hesitate to cruise on Oriana again, she certainly has a charm about her and is much loved by many people who return time and time again. Read Less
Sail Date August 2009
As experienced cruisers, sailing mainly with P&O, this was a last minute booking, just for a seven day break. The Oriana is a ship that we love, although this was the first time on board since the refit. Embarkation was fine, ... Read More
As experienced cruisers, sailing mainly with P&O, this was a last minute booking, just for a seven day break. The Oriana is a ship that we love, although this was the first time on board since the refit. Embarkation was fine, although we went to the P&O terminal to be be told that Oriana was in fact berthed at the QE2 Terminal at another Dock Gate, further along the road. It would have been nice to know this prior to departure. We dropped off our bags at check in, which was clear at 12.00 lunchtime and went back into Southampton, however, returning at 3.00pm, we ended up queuing again, despite the fact we didn't have to unload bags, we still had to wait in the unload queue!. We encountered no other hold ups and were on board immediately. To be honest, the decor didn't look that much different to me, yes there are some new carpets and the cabins have new upholstery (the heavy throws over the beds have been disposed of), but she seemed her usual self. The theatre has very obviously been redone, which was much needed and of course 'dying room', as we used to call it is now Gary Rhodes. We had an inside cabin, which was all that was left at the time of booking, however, it was directly below Andersons and with a 3 year old we were in bed by half ten, and endured a lot of noise from high heels over the marble tiles and drink drawers being pushed in and out. We hoped it would stop by 12.00, but it continued through the night, peaking at 4.00 when the cleaners came in and we could hear stools being scrapped around on the floor. Hubby went down to reception and complained and they said they would sort it out. However, at 6.00 the hoover started scraping over the floor above. We were exhausted!. I am pleased to say, that after some negotiation, we were moved and although said we would accept any cabin and didn't want to check it out first - it didn't matter what it was like, we just needed to be moved - we ended up with an outside, which was lovely and made all the difference. The first time in 11 years we have ever complained about anything on a cruise! It was interesting to see the changes in a year since we had been on P&O, there is obviously cost cutting going on in a number of places. No towels at the pools, no midnight buffets and them selling at every opportunity. I also felt that although our cabin staff were wonderful and the waiters excellent. The Officers seemed a little haughty and dismissive. Our daughter went to Peter Pans, which was well equipped and much cleaner than the Oceana which we were on last year. The staff weren't particularly switched on and we didn't get a list of what was going on, so she missed a couple of things. Also they changed venues a couple of times and we ended up looking around for the group. A note on the door would have been a good idea. First day at sea, and the usual bridge, dancing etc., I think P&O really need to think about a younger age group for activities, the age group on the ship was middle aged + and not as many 'oldies' as we usually experience. The weather was warming up and we realized we had left our daughters hat in the car, we tried to buy one in the shop, but nothing, so asked the youth staff if they had any in 'lost property' that we could borrow, they didn't and couldn't suggest anything, although they didn't try very hard. Later in the cruise we were given a small backpack as a gift and inside was a sun hat!!! I don't know why they couldn't have given us this on the first day! Dinner in the Oriental was lovely, food was quite heavy and stodgy generally I suppose typical English stuff, but plentiful and the staff excellent. The first night we were on a table with a young girl who was being fed through a tube in her stomach at the dinner table and I found this particularly hard to deal with, however we were on second sitting, which proved too late for our little one in the Nursery, so we changed to 1st and thus avoided any embarrassment. I was not happy on return to the Nursery to find Charlotte strapped into a pushchair, she had obviously been upset at us not being back and they had strapped her in an pushed her around, I felt they should have let us know she was unhappy, after all it was the first night. This knocked my confidence a bit and therefore we changed to first sitting, so we could get there for 8.00 when they put the videos on, as she told us the video was scary and she 'didn't like it'. We tend not to use films out home much so she is very limited to Noddy, Nemo and such like. First stop Vigo, we did our own thing, as have done the excursions and find them slow and poor value for money. Having to pay for the three year old now, it is cheaper for us to hire a cab. We caught a cab to Bayona, worth the trip and had a coffee at the hotel on the hill, where Charlotte could run around and be fascinated by the seagulls that are cheeky enough to come down to the tables as soon as they are vacated. A quick walk around the town and back to the ship. We picked up Charlotte from the nursery, although when we arrived she was upset, I asked where her comforter was, as I had left this tonight in case she got tired and upset again, and they had forgotten to give it to her! Not good. We all went off to the show Eurovision, which was enjoyable the small company do try very hard, but this was only one of two shows that they did in a week, so they didn't do much for their pay that week. Other nights were a singer Robert Meadmore (OK, but not our cup of tea and several people walked out) and then later in the week a singer Suzanne Gayle. To be honest we were disappointed at the evening entertainment and after picking up our daughter, spent the evenings wandering around with not much to do. We did go into Harlequins a couple of times and we all had a little dance to the CD's playing, but when the second sitting came out and the band started, it was like really serious ballroom and we were getting dirty looks for getting in the way, so we went elsewhere! A Lisbon second stop, lovely city and free shuttle to town, we got the hop on hop off bus trip, well worth doing, but leave plenty of time. Sat on the open top and had a blast with the earphones - great for the kids. Tonight there was supposed to be a party by the pool, but it was too blowy and breezy, it transferred to inside, but wasn't the same the speakers were too loud in the smaller lounge and we didn't stay long. Another day at sea and time spent in the pool, lovely time had by all and Charlotte spent time in the nursery. There were however, so few children, that the activities took very little time and we felt they were hanging around a lot, not doing much at all. La Rochelle our penultimate stop, the shuttle into town and spent time wandering the streets. We didn't do a tour here, but did our shopping for gifts and sat in the pavement cafes, a nice stop and one that P&O should think about on the way back from their usual Med cruises. This evening was poor by way of entertainment a classical singer and or a talk by General Sir Michael Rose, hubby found this interesting, but I went to bed early and he went to the late talk. Missed the Weakest Link at 11.00, which we had seen on cruises before, but was too late for us with a little one, I thought this would be good family entertainment, perhaps they should try and put this on earlier? The Crows nest is a lovely place for a drink and look at the stars, they had a pianist playing which was lovely, but when we came out of dinner and went there for 8.00 he was just finishing! Recently on a Celebrity ship there was a Piano bar which was great after dinner for a coffee or a drink and P&O lacks this type of thing. Final day in Brest. Not the most inspiring of towns, don't stay in the town, take a cab, or an excursion. We went to the Aquarium just along from the ship. There was an excursion, but we found the local bus, goes in a loop past it, before returning to the ship, so we saved loads of money by doing it ourselves. When we got there we caught up with the tour, who were taking ages to get around and kids were getting bored with commentary. We listened in a bit, but then moved on swiftly at our own pace. Arrival in Southampton was good, disembarkation excellent, no hold ups, luggage was waiting, they seem to have improved on this a lot since previous cruises. All in all an interesting cruise, I would think twice about just doing 7 days, you don't have time to switch off and recharge, and also I think that P&O cut down on the entertainment. There were times we were bored and felt there should be more to our holiday than wandering around trying to find something of interest. We have booked the Ventura for May, but only because of the 'family' marketing, which we hope will mean the ship is younger and there are more age appropriate activities (for us, not the kids). However, I do think P&O are going downmarket and with the selling they are doing on board with the cheap gifts in the atrium, along with the little cost cutting exercises, I think we may be graduating to Cunard! Read Less
Sail Date September 2007
Oriana Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins N/A 3.8
Dining 4.0 3.7
Entertainment 4.0 3.7
Public Rooms N/A 4.1
Fitness Recreation N/A 3.6
Family 2.0 3.6
Rates 4.0 3.9

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