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3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2014
Our first cruise on 'Oriana' was fifteen years ago, and we were so looking forward to being aboard her again, in fact we were hoping that this Xmas cruise to the Caribbean would be wonderful, but it truly wasdn't. It was ... Read More
Our first cruise on 'Oriana' was fifteen years ago, and we were so looking forward to being aboard her again, in fact we were hoping that this Xmas cruise to the Caribbean would be wonderful, but it truly wasdn't. It was quite dispiriting to see how tired ‘Oriana’ is looking these days, with ‘The Conservatory’ (correctly known as ‘The Piggery’) being the worst. Cabinets broken or deteriorated, dirty walls, filthy windows, crockery grubby, and most people eating up there piling their plates to the rafters then leaving most of it. I had to contact the Deputy Captain to organise for our bathroom to be re-grouted, get a new shower curtain to replace the filthy old one and replace the curtains by the balcony as they were badly torn and stained. We had a balcony cabin on 'B' deck & had rather expected it to be better appointed with scuff marks on the wardrobe doors and on the lovely old wood. However, we realise she is now coming up to 21 years of age and even with the refits she’s had, P&O could give her a lot more TLC, as it’s heart-breaking to see such a graceful ship being so neglected. For example the seats in the cinema & theatre should be replaced as they are truly uncomfortable, sunken and grubby, same goes for Anderson’s Bar with the furniture tired, worn stuffing and discoloured, and although the carpets are kept spotless at night many of them are betraying worn & frayed edges. The best bit about ‘Oriana’ is the staff – who we found to be absolutely tremendous, they are the ones who have made our holiday memorable. Food was good and bar prices reasonable. The worst or most disappointing bit? A great many of the passengers, their meanness, the tattoed crude men who couldn't be bothered to dress halfway decently on black tie evenings, the lack of basic good manners, lack of hygiene, many uncouth – not shy about the ‘F’ word around the ship and just their general boorishness. We witnessed drunken behaviour, women in a mad rush to leave the theatre after a show wearing vertiginous heels then falling over and breaking their ankles or wrists. Why rush when they’re on holiday? And why wear stupid high heels when the ship was experiencing choppy weather & was unstable? It just beats me. In the daily newsletter P&O were constantly having to remind passengers about their dress code, to not save seats in the theatre & cinema, to not take their own litre bottles of spirit or their own wine into the public areas & just ask the staff for mixers or coke & the old perennial annoyance of leaving deck-chairs by the pool with towels & books on them, departing for a 2-3 hour lunch, and wondering why fellow cruisers were cheesed off with them when they eventually returned. On formal nights a great many passengers couldn’t be bothered to dress properly so that they were turned away by staff at the restaurant door then they became aggressive, or on the last night not bothering to tip their waiters or just to pass them a £10 pound note which disgusted us. Next time we will have a really good think about a different line (and this sounds snobbish & I don't mean it to) but if we have to pay extra to get away from the “Butlins-on-Sea” crowd then so be it. I paid a great deal of money for this cruise and I feel robbed. With regret I don’t think we ever wish to return to ‘Oriana’. Have to do our homework before our next one as much of what we witnessed was really off-putting. Many of the staff were unhappy and were badly treated by some passengers who you wished frankly you could chuck overboard. I was also shocked that some passengers had had their cruise paid for by the Government then had the cheek to say they thought the experience to be 'not what they expected and their food was rubbish'.   Read Less
Sail Date: December 2014
This was our first cruise on P&O and the last, in fact this ship has for the moment put me off cruising. The ship is scruffy and desperately in need of a re-fit or selling off. I find it hard to imagine it ever had any luxury about it, ... Read More
This was our first cruise on P&O and the last, in fact this ship has for the moment put me off cruising. The ship is scruffy and desperately in need of a re-fit or selling off. I find it hard to imagine it ever had any luxury about it, for example on Queen Victoria they have a massive Christmas tree in the atrium that spans two floors, a harpist playing on the second level by a cocktail bar, on Oriana just a cheap 6ft tree. We had to collect our cases some way down the corridor instead of them being already in the cabin. The cushions in the cabin were horribly stained, the bed valance had large stains and holes stitched up, all fit for the bin. The carpet tired, worn and stained. There was a fresh flower in a vase, on Christmas morning it had wilted and flopped over, the cabin girl simply did away with the stem and plonked a stemless flower head in the vase. No complaints with the cabin staff though. I do not like to hear people criticise the age of people on cruise ships but on this ocassion even my husband who is 72 felt young, plus there was noticeably more tattoos and less manners on this cruise line, more like Butlins on sea. The general consensus from other passengers seemed to be standards were down, the entertainment poor and the christmas decorations disappointing. On the other side of the coin I have to say the meals in the Oriana restaurant were excellent, probably the best I have had on a cruise and our two waiters absolutely exemplary, they bent over backwards to please and always took time to chat, I was sad to say goodbye to them. The propellers are very noisy in this dining room but this did not bother us as much as it bothered others. I did hear some people not so happy with the food but in our experience this was absolutely not the case (petit fours not so good but a very minor point). The itinerary and navigation etc. were fine my problem being with the ship and cruise line, I wish there was the facility to add the photos I have of the poor condition of the ship. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2014
Our First cruise on Oriana was 20 years ago in September 1985, the year she was launched. It was our first cruise ever, at that time to celebrate then our 25th wedding anniversary (and my birthday). My wife was very unsure of a ... Read More
Our First cruise on Oriana was 20 years ago in September 1985, the year she was launched. It was our first cruise ever, at that time to celebrate then our 25th wedding anniversary (and my birthday). My wife was very unsure of a transatlantic voyage in those days and the travel agent advised we take a cabin on a lower deck, just above the hospital (a quiet place to be) It was cabin E149. In 1985, as our luck would have it, we sailed directly into Hurricane Luis - a particularly violent hurricane which did a lot of damage to the Caribbean islands. It was also Oriana' maiden transatlantic voyage. It was no consolation to my wife. I slept through the worst night of the rough seas. The cabin choice was good advice! We had also taken the same cruise to the Caribbean at Christmas 2002 on Aurora, at that time a balcony cabin on B deck. The voyage was very enjoyable with no problems, but the cabin did creak a lot. This time December 2014, we decided to do the Caribbean route again and Oriana was the scheduled choice. We requested Cabin E149 and were so pleased when our request was granted. I read a couple of reviews and comments of Oriana looking “tired” and staff being “uncaring”, but I also read many more reviews from passengers who had enjoyed their cruising on Oriana immensely. So it was with trepidation that we decided to give the "old girl” another go. Here is my review of Oriana in December 2014. This was a 24 night Caribbean cruise with embarkation from Southampton, which went smoothly, though we arrived at our scheduled time, the terminal was busy and the process took about an hour. Part of the process is a health declaration, the questionnaire asks whether anyone in your party has suffered from a fever or sore throat in the previous three days. I guess most people tick the box NO, (don’t want to be denied a boarding pass). someone clearly brought a bug on board, at the end of the 1st week the "Oriana Cough" developed and was very noticeable by a good deal of suffering passengers by the 3rd week. I did not suffer, but my wife developed hers the day after we returned home, it took 14 days to clear up. Upon boarding, we went straight to our cabin E149. We were delighted - it was just as we remembered it 20 years ago. there was no sign of dirty or frayed carpets, the beds were comfortable and the whole area was clean, No broken cabinets or marked walls. The bathroom was clean and the entire ambiance smelled clean and fresh. There was some surface rust stains on the outside of the picture window. (This was cleaned at one of the island stops when all the ships windows were cleaned). Our cabin steward Rona, introduced herself, she proved to be a very caring crew member dedicated to providing excellent service. Our re-acquaintance of the ship was still very positive, throughout our walk-round the carpets were thick and lush to walk on. In all the public areas, we did not see any evidence of frayed carpets. The central atrium of the ship had been decorated with christmas lights, a “gingerbread village” had been prepared by the ships chefs and was on display in the reception atrium. We did notice that some of the large windows on the upper Lido deck, conservatory and a few panels in the Crows Nest lounge required replacing, having misted up with internal condensation. This would give a poor impression to many passengers. The Dining experience We opted for the Club dining taking the 2nd sitting with a request for a table of 8. We have been fortunate on previous cruises to be blessed with good dining companions and this cruise was no different. We had a lot of fun and everyone enjoyed each others company with a lot of banter each night. Equally we had two wonderful waiters and a female wine waitress who looked after us superbly. P&O have now opted to serve meals plated and there are always special requests, “can we have extra potatoes, fries etc". It soon became apparent to our waiters that we were seeking a few extras at each meal, after a couple of days, they soon got the hang of it and we did not need to ask any further. The Oriental restaurant is located at the stern of the ship and unfortunately our table was directly over the propellers, it really is quite noisy. The aircon was always set too low and constantly chilly. On our original cruise 20 years ago, I would have described the food as "fine dining”, sadly on our last 2 cruises (in 2014 on Aurora and Oriana), it is simply not the same standard as 20 years ago. The food is OK, but not really special. My wife and I did try the Ocean Grill (Pierre Marco White) restaurant on Boxing Day, that was definitely a fine dining experience, but we paid a £40 surcharge on the evening for the privilege. Many reviewers have referred negatively to the Conservatory self service cafeteria. It is aptly named amongst the passengers as “The Piggery”. On Oriana, it simply is not big enough. At peak times there is a struggle to find somewhere to sit, particularly on a winter cruise when the outside areas are too cold. Here, it is the passengers, who do not help the situation. At peak times, bad manners prevails, this is an all adult ship, the average age (I was informed) on board was 72 years. Quite a significant amount of people had mobility problems and moving across the cafeteria area carrying a tray with the ships movement in a mid Atlantic sea swell, in a crowded space, did cause some problems. We preferred to use the Conservatory only out of peak times and chose to take lunch most days in one of the main restaurants or the Al Fresco restaurant. Tip: take breakfast early, its much calmer. There are a number of bars, pubs and lounges around the ship. Our two favourite places were the “Crows Nest” & “Andersons” The latter was a lush lounge and despite an earlier negative review I read, the seats were comfortable and in the style of private club. My wife and I frequently enjoyed a pre-dinner drink here. We invariably shared a sofa with another couple, striking up small talk regarding the ship and the days events etc. There are daily quizzes organised in the Taverners pub, but we found a mixture of quiz master on a microphone, a blaring TV with sports programmes a little too distracting. The entertainment : This was a Christmas cruise and there was a opinion around the ship, that the entertainment management team did not make enough of the Christmas Spirit, simply stated, it could have been more “Christmassy”. There was a ships pantomime performed by the crew towards the end of the cruise, made up from the ships Deck dept, Engineering dept, Hotel and waiters, even the ships Doctor was involved, that was very brave of them all and it had a hilarious ending. A P&O Christmas present was delivered to our cabin (a makeup bag for the ladies, a speaker cube for iPods/smartphones for the men)- very nice! Shows provided by the ships company “The Headliners” were very professional and enjoyable. there were also individual artists performing, comedians, musicians, vocal groups, pop and classical recitals. It was all very nicely done. There was a guest lecturer who gave 7 separate lectures regarding ancient Egypt. The lady concerned is Eileen Goulding, her lectures were very well attended, I enjoyed all of them. The main theatre is also just as we remember it, with red opulent air-conditioned seating. For a ship which is 20 years old, this is still a great theatre and we certainly did not see any signs of torn grubby seats. The excursions: On this cruise we made use of the "cruise personaliser” beforehand and booked most of our excursions online. Are they value for money? Generally I would say no! For our next cruise I shall research some alternative options. Ponta Delgada, was the most spectacular scenery with a trip up to a volcanic crater and viewing an incredible scene of lakes and craters. We were lucky with the weather, clear blue skies. Two separate excursions were just a bus ride down the coast road and back, stop at a hotel for a glass of wine. A very informative guide, yes but after 3 hours you’re back on board and wondering why it cost £75. In St Kitts we did a railway journey, around the island, lots of light hearted banter some rum punches and everyone smiling and happy. In St Maarten we did a boat trip around the lagoon, lots of rum punch and some free time to shop, more rum punch and everybody is happy. In Antigua we opted for the scenic island drive and visit to Nelsons dockyard. We did this in 2002 and it was just as enjoyable this time…rum punch included . In St Lucia a similar story, with rum punch being the catalyst to merriment. In Barbados, we tried something different, my wife likes flowers, so we went to an orchid farm. From there the excursion took us to an English guys house to look at his garden. Actually it was a very large collapsed sink hole, but filled with every variety of tropical plant and tree you could find. It was like being on the set of the movie Avataar. About 25 of us then sat on the guys patio, yes you’ve guessed it, drinking rum punch. Everybody was happy and singing on the bus back to the ship. On this excursion, I took twice as many photos than I did on the others…it was something special. (It was New Years day and Bridgetown was closed, so an excursion was the best option.) Summary. Having sailed on this ship in her maiden year and now her 20th year of service, we can with all honesty make a true comparison. To read comments from some passengers describing the ship as neglected, grubby, tired, with uncaring staff, we think is unwarranted. Some people may well have had a bad experience, poor cabin or suffered poor service from a particular member of the crew, it happens, its unfortunate. One reviewer complains more about fellow passengers than the ship, its unfair to the crew. P&O certainly have a staff incentive programme in place to reward and penalise crew who perform or otherwise. We would certainly sail again with Oriana. My wife is a poor seafarer, at one stage mid atlantic in a sea swell, suffering from motion sickness, she told me I would never get her on a cruise ship again. Two days later we booked a Baltic Cruise…with P&O on Arcadia! I had better go and read up on the reviews!   Read Less
Sail Date: December 2014
Firstly let me say we were so frightened after having booked this cruise last minute then read the feedback on here. We thought we were going on a shabby tired ship in need of urgent refit. Secondly, I dont think its any shock the P&O ... Read More
Firstly let me say we were so frightened after having booked this cruise last minute then read the feedback on here. We thought we were going on a shabby tired ship in need of urgent refit. Secondly, I dont think its any shock the P&O Oriana is a P&O ship, not a Cunard one, Royal Caribbean or any other others blocks of flats which float. Its a characterful ship of some age, offered at a very good price (I assume CUnard Royal Caribbean fans booked this cruise on price - otherwise they'll have booked on their favoured mode of transport! We got this cruise @£50 pppn. which is an absolute bargain. The cabin (outside windowed on E deck) was spacious, well ward-robed, fridge, tea making facilities and excellent shower. Gets a big tick even it yes its more 1980's hotel than ultra chic. The ship has many many lifts, only one of which wasn't working, and never more than a minute to wait. We were on freedom dinning in Peninsular restaurant and on 11 out of 12 nights there was an excellent choice of food, which was well prepared, with good ingredients, and mainly hot (though occassionally soup was warm). Service was pretty good considering the waiters dealt with different people every night. If you want a table for 2 every night you will wait for @30-40 minutes, but lets face it you are probably on the wrong holiday if you dont want to share a dining table you're on the wrong holiday I suggest. We prefer fixed dining on late sitting, and building rappour with table but hey ho, freedom menat we met a lot more folk. We avoided the COnservatory buffet as its a buffet, and people with bad manners and inability to queue will always stand out - there's no need to use it so dont unless you dont mind idiots. Used it once, food was hot and decent. Al Fresco all day menu covered the days we were too lazy to get out of bed by 9.30 and was also pretty decent. Why P&O close breakfast at 9am in restaurants on port days is beyond me though.... Costa area was good, free cakes and sandwiches welcomed on days when events/port visits meant missed the short lunch hours in restaurant. Bars had plenty comfortable seating. Didnt understand why on board entertainment team did shows in Pacific Lounge rather than always in much larger theatre though. ALso entertainment supremo had annoying habit of running shows at same time or immediately back to back which meant a run from one end of ship to the other and this needs looked at. On board team shows generally good although the dancers continued 'whoopin' was annoying at times, Tenor was excellent, Piano comedian good, Scouse comic/song man was ok-his claimed expertise in impressions aluded us but he did have a bad chest infection so even his scouse impression was poor (and as I say he is a Scouse). Choice of cinema films was just weird at times though, ultra violent films for a group aged over 65 soon cleared the cinema! Only real negative was shuttle buses, which at £3 each way, even for 2 people was more expensive than local taxi's. Indeed one £3 each way trip took longer to load the coach than the drive (it only went about 600 yards)! To be honest, we know from speaking to locals the port authority often supply the bus free and they were shocked P&O charged passengers and this did leave a bad taste. P&O think again!! Some lucky people who were able to stay on for Caribbean cruise which followed got deals @£400 per person so take plenty of clothes as you may have a longer holiday than you expect...... Read Less
Sail Date: December 2014
We were travelling from Southampton to Madeira and then into the Canary Isles. We had chosen a suite which was really nice, clean, spacious and even given the time of year we had plenty of opportunity to utilise it. Boarding was fine in ... Read More
We were travelling from Southampton to Madeira and then into the Canary Isles. We had chosen a suite which was really nice, clean, spacious and even given the time of year we had plenty of opportunity to utilise it. Boarding was fine in Southampton the vehicle drop off was very quick and efficient and getting on board didn't take too long, what didn't work was that although asked to attend around midday, the rooms are not available so you are hustled into the Conservatory self service restaurant, which everyone seems to complain about and we called "The Zoo". I felt particularly since there are only a couple if dozen suites in particular, the room should have been ready as we had the romantic notion of going to our room and opening the champagne, instead I found myself in a canteen.....very disappointing. Things improved as we got to our room, we liked the size of the ship not so huge as to feel lost, food was extremely good, we just avoided the canteen. During the day the Al Fresco was fine for a light meal, lunch and afternoon tea available in the other two main restaurants and dinner was very nice in the Orient Restaurant which had set dinner times. It was good to see most people made a decent effort for the black tie events even on one day where it was rough and a lot of people were suffering. The average age was about 65 however there were some younger people on board and I don't think age matters, there were plenty of talks, dances, movies and shows during the day, the art class was particularly good. We didn't do the organised shore excursions we just walked into the towns in Madeira, La Gomera, Las Palmas, Lanzarote and Lisbon, all were very interesting and the weather was nice, dry and predominantly sunny. I felt that due to the policy of cutting prices so severely before sailing there was a definite element who would not normally cruise, this took away some of the exclusivity and feeling that you were among friends. The people who were at our evening dining table struggled to hold a civil conversation, some thought should be put into who you are seated with as this ruined our enjoyment of dining. Due to this we booked the separate dining of Marco Pierre White and the Sorrento on a number of occasions, both were very good and worth it though but again this spoiled the trip as did the fact that although the suites are quite expensive again there are no real perks apart from the odd fruit basket or flowers, some cruises have separate lounges, fast track embarkation etc and we felt P&O lacked that special feel. Staff were very pleasant throughout and worked extremely hard, we had a pleasant experience but I don't think I would use P&O again unless I went cut price, last minute and felt I was getting some sort of bargain! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2014
I thoroughly enjoyed the cruise. It was a lifetime experience for me. The service was excellent, the cabin was excellent and the food was excellent. There was plenty of good entertainment, all for free. I would go again given a chance, but ... Read More
I thoroughly enjoyed the cruise. It was a lifetime experience for me. The service was excellent, the cabin was excellent and the food was excellent. There was plenty of good entertainment, all for free. I would go again given a chance, but my partner had a tough time of it. She had bronchitis whilst on board as the air conditioning was too dry for her. She could not breathe very easily at all. She spent many hours in the medical centre having nebulizers and oxygen. Because of this we could not get off the ship for some of the trips we had booked. The cabin we had was excellent as we were upgraded to a larger cabin with a separate sitting area. Cabin No. 193 C level. The one thing I did not like was the Marco Pierre White restaurant. We had to pay £25 just to go in there. It was no better than all your other restaurants, in fact it was lacking in choice of food offerred. There were two separate menus for different nights. We did not know this and were not told about this. We therefore did not have a choice as to which menu we chose from. The food was no better than that provided by all your other restaurants which were excellent. Why is the Restaurant there. It is a complete rip-off. The staff looked untidy too as they had greyish long aprons which looked a mess on them. The short aprons that all other waiters had were much better, and looked much smarter and cleaner. I cannot complement this ship and staff enough, everything was brilliant, from the boarding system and the disembarkation system. Why can't all airports that run like that. It was brilliant. The ship was pretty stable even though we were in quite a rough sea. The stabilisers did their job. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2014
Having cruised with both NCL and Royal Caribbean on numerous occasions we decided to try P&O bringing my mother and partner, both of whom are in their eighties and have never cruised before. We ate in the self service restaurant on the ... Read More
Having cruised with both NCL and Royal Caribbean on numerous occasions we decided to try P&O bringing my mother and partner, both of whom are in their eighties and have never cruised before. We ate in the self service restaurant on the first night while our meal sitting was changed from late to early. The meal was awful so for breakfast the following morning we ate in the main dining room. Ham and eggs ordered - piece of ham hiding under the egg served on a huge white plate not even some parsley to cheer it up! Omelette ordered by Mum was no bigger than her palm again served on a huge white plate. My mother is diabetic and to be fair they looked after Mum really well and her adapted diabetic menus were excellent Her blood sugar levels stayed low even though she had far more to eat than she normally would including puddings. She ordered the night before and they prepared her what we ate without sugar or too many carbs. Last night she even had baked alaska ( no sugar in meringue and diabetic ice cream ) Meals in The Oriental were variable with Starters and Puddings being better than Mains. Portion sizes were small - 5 chips with steak, 4 very small slices of duck( 1 breast probably served 3 guests) and meat tasteless and tough. We ate breakfast and lunch in the self service where seating was always a problem.There was no variation in the food at breakfast with no one cooking omelettes and eggs to order as we are used to. Lunch was ok although one day I had a chocolate eclair filled with sour cream. These were removed quickly after I pointed it out and was brought a fresh one. We ate in the Italian one night and had a lovely meal with generous portions. Embarkation was efficient with cabin available immediately. Disembarkation was another issue. Cabins have to be vacated by 8 and breakfast finished at 8:30. However first passengers were not called until almost 9. The queues were horrendous and after being called at 9:45 we waited in line until nearly 10:30 only then to be told that the air bridge was unsafe and we would now have to dis embark on Deck 6 not 7. At no point was an announcement made or apology given just an officer walking among us and shouting instructions. My Mother's cabin was on deck 8 starboard and very noisy. There were complaints from guests in these cabins and as soon as we docked in Southampton they proceeded to take down the deckhead panel. Unfortunately my mother is not keen to cruise again. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2014
Having sampled cruising with P&O on a two night cruise on Arcadia to Guernsey in August (which I have also reviewed), we booked a 12 night cruise on Oriana to Spain, Portugal and Gibraltar. After we had booked read a number of varying ... Read More
Having sampled cruising with P&O on a two night cruise on Arcadia to Guernsey in August (which I have also reviewed), we booked a 12 night cruise on Oriana to Spain, Portugal and Gibraltar. After we had booked read a number of varying reviews on Oriana, some very negative, and we wondered if we had made a mistake in selecting this ship. Not at all! We loved her and would sail on her again. Oriana is a traditional and elegant ship, well maintained. She is 20 years old so you cannot expect her to be all shiny and new. We didn't feel she was tired and old. A very friendly ship in every way. If you want all the latest innovations and features then maybe she is not for you. Embarkation was swift and efficient. As is usual, everyone is sent to "The Conservatory" buffet for lunch. The Conservatory buffet is not our favourite eating venue, but is very popular with some. It's always a bit crowded and doesn't seem to flow particularly well. We did use it a couple of times for snacks and afternoon tea, but much preferred the Peninsular and Oriental Restaurants where the food is much better. Our cabin was an upgrade from an inside to an outside which was a bonus. It was very clean and perfectly formed. At 150 square feet it is compact, but it had plenty of hanging and drawer space. Only negative was the very tiny safe, in which you could only fit a few things stacked up, like wallet, purse and phone and perhaps a small tablet and camera. Our bathroom had a shower over a small sized bath with shower curtain. Fairly compact, but with plenty of storage in the mirrored cabinets, and was acceptably clean. Our cabin steward, Antonio, was very friendly and efficient. We loved our meals in the Oriental Restaurant on the second sitting at 8:30 pm Our waiters (Parveen, Reynaldo and Romeo) were excellent and nothing was too much trouble. Menus had plenty of choice and the quality of the food was very good. Breakfasts and lunches in the Peninsular Restaurant were also very good. We also eat twice in the Ocean Grill (Marco Pierre White) which was well worth the extra supplement. The service we received in all the bars was excellent, our favourite being The Crows Nest, where Mervyn looked after us well. We thoroughly enjoyed the entertainment too - very good shows, particularly The Crew Show! A lot of activities are for the older clientele, of which there were many! We are in our 60's and felt we were amongst the younger group. Having said that we always found plenty to do and some of the guest speakers were excellent, particularly Tony White. Oriana coped very well in the bad weather and the captain did a very good job of keeping us safe, especially when our call at Malaga was aborted. If I have any negative comment at all, it's purely that this particularly adults only ship seems to attract an age group of 70's, 80's and 90's. Those of us in our 50's and 60's were the minority. I also think that some of the last minute "silly" deals to get onboard Oriana are attracting a different type of clientele.   Read Less
Sail Date: November 2014
We saw this 12 night cruise advertised.  The price was simply incredible and represented excellent value for money. Our only other cruise experience was three years ago on P & O's Arcadia. The itinerary was virtually the same as ... Read More
We saw this 12 night cruise advertised.  The price was simply incredible and represented excellent value for money. Our only other cruise experience was three years ago on P & O's Arcadia. The itinerary was virtually the same as this and it was also in November. Frankly - we didn't enjoy that cruise and decided that cruise holidays weren't for us. The regimented dining times and being allocated a 8.30 pm sitting on a table with six others was the biggest negative for us. What a difference freedom dining makes!! I understand that this is now available across the fleet but double check before you book. To be able to sit in a formal restaurant with waiter service at a table for two - pretty much at a time of your choice has really converted us back to cruise holidays. We saw the holiday on the internet on the Saturday, made the necessary arrangements for cat sitting and booked it the next day on the Sunday. We sailed out of Southampton the day after that. Perhaps the fact that I paid a quarter of the price for this cruise enabled us to enjoy it all the more. Admittedly, our first cruise was in a top grade balcony cabin and this time we were in an inside cabin. However, we were perfectly happy with our cabin. Dining: The dining experience throughout the ship was astonishing. I booked this cruise the day before it departed and was told that I could not request an earlier dining sitting. My dining time would be allocated on board and could not be changed. When we got to our cabin there was no information as to what our sitting would be. Our cabin attendant asked us what sitting we were on - he wanted to know so he could carry out the evening turn-down service without disturbing us. We told him we didn't know but would find out. I called reception and they told me I had to contact the Oriental restaurant myself. I eventually found out that I was unable to eat in the Oriental restaurant in the evening at all. I was told I had been allocated the Peninsular Restaurant which was freedom dining. I confess that I was a little put out at first to discover that I was effectively barred from using the Oriental Restaurant in the evening but after my first experience in the Peninsular and discovering that the menu/furnishings/service/ambience was identical to that of the Oriental, I was more than happy. What a difference freedom dining makes. The restaurant is open from 6 to 9.30 pm. If a table for two isn't immediately available then you are given a pager which activates when one becomes free. On our twelve night cruise we were given a pager once and only had to wait about 25 minutes before a table was ready. The rest of the time we seated immediately after queuing outside for not more than five minutes or so. The food was incredible with service to match. Fine dining at it's best. We felt no need to eat at their speciality restaurants - the food service and ambience in the Peninsular was faultless. We bought the Captains wine collection - 12 bottles of our choice from a pretty comprehensive list for £169 (£14.08 a bottle) That represented excellent value for money - we enjoyed some great wines for that price. (The red wine - Old Vines, Zinfandel was our particular favourite) There was a more expensive option called the Commodores wine package at £197.50 for twelve bottles of your choice from a different list. When you buy either package you are given a booklet with twelve vouchers and then each time you wish to have a bottle of wine in any of the restaurants or in your cabin, you surrender one of your vouchers when you make your choice from the list. Smaller wine packages were also available if you wanted less bottles. The Conservatory buffet restaurant had an incredible range of dishes available - the quality and quantities of everything that you could eat were staggering. As you would expect from a buffet restaurant - it isn't the best of dining experiences. It also depends on the time you choose to eat - especially so for breakfast. I'm an early riser and had a fantastic relaxed breakfast on a table for two with just a handful of other passengers at 7 am each day. Between 8.30 and 10.30 am it was awful - no tables free with hordes of people queuing to get to the buffet. It was a similar situation at lunchtime - you really needed to get there for midday when the lunch buffet started to get a table and avoid the worst of the crowds. On occasions I noticed would be diners stood next to occupied tables waiting for them to be vacated. Not a dining experience to relish for either the seated diner or those waiting. There was a card on each table in the Conservatory asking diners to vacate their table when they had finished their meal as a courtesy to others. From my observations, courtesy was in pretty short supply with some passengers. Once they had a table - they were going to hold onto it. So unnecessary with so many indoor public sitting areas that they could retire to after finishing their lunch. You could also take breakfast in the Peninsular restaurant - cooked to order and with waiter service. No choice of a table for two at breakfast though - you had to sit at a large table with other passengers. If you want a full English but wish to tweak the quantities - five rashers of bacon and two sausages for example - they are more than happy to tailor make it to your requirements - just ask. Tomato juice was also available in the Peninsular at breakfast but not to my knowledge in the Conservatory buffet. We didn't try the Al Fresco cafe for breakfast so can't comment on that. We had a couple of strange experiences with the initial meet and greet service at the Oriental restaurant at lunchtime. It wasn't often open for lunch and when it was on two occasions when we went to have lunch there, the waiter at the door seemed to be actively discouraging us from eating there - saying that it was just a simple buffet and that we would be better eating at the Peninsular restaurant. It seemed that he was trying to manage his workload by discouraging diners. We got fed up with that and through a show of determination managed to get past him once and enjoyed a really nice carvery buffet. I regret that the coffee on board, with the exception of the Costa coffee in Tiffany's, (which had to be paid for - £2.15 for a small Americano) was revolting. Completely undrinkable for me. That applied to all the restaurants. The sachets supplied in the room were Dowe Egberts and were fine. My advice would be if you appreciate decent coffee, take your own or pay for the Costa Coffee in Tiffany's. Entertainment: We didn't go to any of the shows - it's simply not our thing. However, the reason I have given it a rating of 5 is because of the I-Pad tutorials given by one of the entertainment staff, Michaela. She did three sessions and they were so useful to me and to my fellow passengers. She gave us all a booklet at the conclusion of her last tutorial and it was obvious that she had gone to a great deal of effort. Really, really useful and well presented. Didn't appreciate the sail-away party from Tenerife. There was a cruise ship moored behind us which we passed as we left. The guy from the entertainment team leading the party obviously thought that it was an Italian ship with Italian passengers. He thought it appropriate to play the 1970's song "Shaddup a your face" as we passed by. I thought that was unnecessary to say the least and left the party. Cabin: Yes it was small but the bed was large and comfortable. It had a small seating area, a fridge, TV, tea and coffee making facilities, safe and hairdryer. The en-suite was again small, but had a good powerful shower. We asked for the two single beds to be put together to make a large Queen sized bed which we prefer. However, if you leave them as two separate single beds - that affords you more room around the bed - especially the gap between the bed and the dressing table which was really tight when arranged as a double. Our cabin attendant was Clive from Goa. He was charming and efficient - a credit to P & O. The choice of TV channels available was limited but adequate - it was nice to be able to get Sky News (most of the time) The thing we really didn't like about the room was the wardrobe. The hanging rail went from front to back making hanging and retrieving clothes difficult. I know it's a space saving measure but it really isn't user friendly. We had two maintenance issues with our cabin which were dealt with quickly and effectively once reported to reception. One was a squeaking crew door next to our cabin. A bit of oil or WD40 sorted that out. The other was the shower temperature which became scalding hot and would not turn down. That was accompanied by the en-suite sink tap only giving out hot water no matter what setting you adjusted it to. That was reported in the morning and was fixed by the evening. Our cabin was immediately below the Conservatory buffet restaurant and we did experience quite a lot of chair scraping noises and heavy footfalls as a result, but not to a degree that disturbed us unduly. Service: Generally excellent. Apart from the strange reception at the Oriental restaurant at lunchtime previously mentioned under the dining category. I saw some passengers speak to some crew in a disrespectful manner. Frankly - some passengers attitude to the crew made me ashamed. However, without exception, the crew took it in their stride and are to be congratulated on their professionalism. Some passengers should hang their heads in shame at their treatment of the crew. It was nice to see the waiters in the Peninsular restaurant joking with each other and interacting together in a friendly, jovial way. I hope that if the restaurant manager reads this, he doesn't interpret this as a negative. It is very much a positive. The staff remained focused and customer orientated but it was great to see that they were happy in their work. I hate dining in restaurants where the waiting staff are so busy that they are stressed out and are running around to try and keep up. That stress is passed on to me and I can't enjoy it. The service in the Peninsular restaurant was friendly, efficient and very slick (and I mean that in a very positive way) I would also like to make mention of a lovely Indian lady on reception - I regret I didn't get her name but she was so smiley and helpful. P & O - you are lucky to have her. A real ambassador for your organisation. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2014
Oriana was a nice clean comfortable ship, the food was excellent And so were all staff. The shows were really good and the comedian was really funny. There is ballroom dancing, quiz nights, shows, cinema etc, or you could just go for a ... Read More
Oriana was a nice clean comfortable ship, the food was excellent And so were all staff. The shows were really good and the comedian was really funny. There is ballroom dancing, quiz nights, shows, cinema etc, or you could just go for a quiet drink. We did freedom dinning in the main restaurant most nights and met lots of very interesting people. Formal nights are my favourite because that is a big part of the cruising experience, for me anyway. You don't have to dine in the main dinning room you can use the conservatory buffet service if you like a more casual atmosphere. Gratuities are just under £4.00 per passenger per day which I think is very reasonable. Spa,Gym,Cinema,pools, whirlpools and plenty of sun loungers, reading rooms, wi-fi (not free). Our cabin was outside on C deck(9) It was clean and the beds were comfortable.😀 Royal Caribbean cruises are glamorous exciting new and more expensive, P&O are older(except for the awaited Britannia) traditional relaxing smaller ships - we have tried both cruise companies and like them equally they are just very different cruise experiences. Pam Dave Yorkshire Read Less
Oriana Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins N/A 0.0
Dining 4.0 0.0
Entertainment 4.0 0.0
Public Rooms N/A 0.0
Fitness Recreation N/A 0.0
Family 2.0 0.0
Rates 4.0 0.0

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