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1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2019
We are experienced with cruising and this is our second trip with P&O. Not expecting too much but more for the company price per nigyt was not exactly cheap but there were not service charges or tips and everything in UK £'s. 3 ... Read More
We are experienced with cruising and this is our second trip with P&O. Not expecting too much but more for the company price per nigyt was not exactly cheap but there were not service charges or tips and everything in UK £'s. 3 night trip with friend for birthday. Bit of a blow to start as ship had a "technical" problem so would not sail on Friday but midday on Saturday to allow for repairs. Disappointed but we would get over it. Then the Captain revised this, for us to leave earlier on Saturday morning so we were cheered up a bit. Embarkation was very smooth and quick. Went to get buffet lunch which was typical P&O roast beef that was fine but not exceptional - as was the case with nearly all meals on board but it was what we were expecting. Then a drink in the Lords Tavern bar. Largish bar with seats very close together. Asked for a Pina Colada - Whoops not on the list so no. Asked about the 3 taster beer selections - Whoops this not available either - I sensed a theme here! Ship looked in generally good condition though a very dated. Liked the Tiffany ceiling at the Tiffany bar and the other smaller bars such as Anderson's. Pacific lounge looked good too. Cabin OK but some funny bits see below. There was to be a life boat drill but they kept this secret till about 20mins before it was due. Had to take life jackets with us - really do not know why. As other lines have abandoned this and you just turn up and get the lecture. Weather raining so under shelter on pool deck for drinks with friends. Now dinner. Bit of a surprise it all looked pretty good and lamb shank is one of my favourites so off to good start. Made the mistake of asking for bottle of Pinot Grigio. "sorry we have run out" Eh! first day of cruise and 24hrs in home port? Seems the ship is being run down for sale in about a month. Great entertainment is the evening - Singers and Dancers did a medley of Bill Board Hits which everyone knew and was one of the best. Then off to the Drifters tribute which was likewise very good. Comedian Mike Doyle was excellent well worth seeing. He did some reminiscing about past cruises on Oriana as he had been there from the start. Mentioned some of the staff that were on this cruise to say farewell to the ship. Sailed as promised at around 930am Saturday. Bought our duty free which was particularly good value then a relaxing day. Had lunch which was a bit bland and then almost time to get ready for formal night and some photos. Guernsey was fine and we simply walked around St Peter Port there was a market and car show on the quay side which was interesting as many of the shops were shut as it was a Sunday. Have to say here didn't they know there would be 2 cruise ships in with people eager to spend their cash! Now the really BAD news as we walked in to the Oriental dining room for early sitting I could hear a loud rumble accompanied by a lot of vibration. This increased as we approached our table and was now overpowering so much so you could hardly hear yourself talk let alone think. So bad that if you left your cutlery on the plate it danced across it! Meal was fine lobster and beef wellington but they do not seem to like you asking for seconds - felt a bit like Oliver Twist. So uncomfortable actually that they won and I never asked again. Once we dropped anchor outside St Peter Port and the turned off the engine all was OK but we were now halfway through the meal and the Sunday night there would be no respite as we hammered our way up the English Channel. We discovered the best bar being the Crow's Nest at the front of the Ship. Large bar with live music - similar in many respects to the Commodore clubs on Cunard. P&O have now said there is not need to tip staff. Well this time around there was really no one apart from our cabin steward that would deserve anything. Service was pretty poor all around and very basic. You had to ask for everything whether it be ketchup and mint sauce or trying to catch someones eye because they had forgotten an order - everything seemed too much trouble. I just wonder if they have dropped the tips and not increased their pay? The ship was fine despite its age and some bad design decisions around the cabins. I liked the smaller bars but it was simply too crammed in the Lords Tavener. I am sorry to say I pity those passengers on the remaining cruises if they have to put up with the engine noise and vibration in the Oriental Restaurant. As we had experienced before there were many on board who cruise only with P&O and there were also lots of ex staff who were saying farewell to the ship. They will just not hear anything mildly critical or constructive said about the ship. Which is sad really because every company should be aiming to improve. There many things on this ship and cruise that were great but others not so. If all you surround yourself with is yes men then you will fail. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
Although being promised that standards on Oriana would maintain or exceed our cruises last year, this was not the case. One port was amended before we commenced the cruise and another was cancelled due to our berth at Dublin being ... Read More
Although being promised that standards on Oriana would maintain or exceed our cruises last year, this was not the case. One port was amended before we commenced the cruise and another was cancelled due to our berth at Dublin being unavaiable! Due to engine issues we still managed to be back in Southampton approximately 10 hours ahead of schedule...... still trying to understand this. Our Cabin was well looked after by Dina. Food stanards and variety were not as on previous cruises-but restaurant staff continued to provide exceptional service, replacing a meal where the meat could not be cut no matter how i tried. Entertainment was at best mediocre with the only exceptions being the Shamrock Tenors, Gaels Afloat and Anita Mays. The service from the future cruise desk was poor and had to be reminded that we were waiting for a quotation for a future Carribean cruise.Embarkation and Disembarkation were excellent. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2018
Thinking of cruising on an extended winter sun holiday, think again if you’re under 80 as you might be sorely disappointed. Just back from 4 weeks in the Caribbean on Oriana, many people named this the Hospital Cruise. Day 1 and ... Read More
Thinking of cruising on an extended winter sun holiday, think again if you’re under 80 as you might be sorely disappointed. Just back from 4 weeks in the Caribbean on Oriana, many people named this the Hospital Cruise. Day 1 and before we even left Southampton someone had to be offloaded due to illness. 30 hours out of Southampton and had to turn back for an air sea rescue at Falmouth. Arrived in Barbados and rumour has it 7 more were offloaded. 24 hours out of Antigua and had to turn back to offload 2 more people. Arrival in the Azores was diverted to a different island to offload another before finally arriving in San Miguel. Left San Miguel this evening but had to turn back again to offload another sick person. Approaching the English Channel on our final day and another air sea rescue at Falmouth. The captain did a remarkable job in getting us to each destination on time which meant we were speeding along at 20 knots so can’t complain there but the whole cruise was like a floating old peoples home. Nothing against oldies as I’m no spring chicken but I do think some shouldn’t have been on that cruise at all and it did make for a somewhat depressing time. In an emergency situation it would have been chaos as so many were infirm, immobile and downright obese, not to mention the most grotesque manners I have ever seen. The fares had been greatly reduced, no doubt to fill up the ship and it showed. A couple in Tiffany’s Piano Bar one day should have been turned out, the woman had her bare feet up on her husband’s lap and he was caressing her feet whilst people around them were having a nice cup of coffee with their cake. The ship:- Oriana is lovely but finishing service next year, she really needs to go as her age is showing. I hope the executive chef goes with her as the food was pretty diabolical in both the restaurant and cafe. Caribbean cruise and only one or two days of Caribbean food, rest of the time it was repetitive, boring, uninspiring and tasteless. Far too many dishes made out of leftovers. Guacamole one evening in the restaurant was just mashed processed peas, come on now!! The shop on board is pricey to say the least, duty free drink and perfume is more expensive than supermarkets at home (UK). Thankfully we were able to stock up on bottles of rum etc from the local shops at each port. Can’t stand the shows with the Headliners, too old hat but Roy Walker was quite funny regardless of the same old same old. The morning and afternoon talks were excellent and we loved the quizzes at different times of the day. Thankfully it was possible to sit out on deck most of the sea days and there were lots of them so just as well. Not into all the classes on offer as like to be outside but there was plenty to do. Ports:- Madeira, Barbados, St. Lucia, Martinique, St. Kitts & Nevis, Antigua, Tortola BVI, St. Martin and Azores. A quick run down on them. Funchal, Madeira, great place, have been before, plenty to do on the island but this time just mooched around town. Previously have been on a trip all around the island to see the sights. Have taken local transport into the interior and have visited the beautiful gardens and basket chairs at Monte. Bridgetown, Barbados. Did our own thing here by walking into town from the terminal. On arrival you will be bombarded with people trying to sell you a tour and it didn’t finish there, the rest of the day in town was the same. Didn’t like this place at all, some pretty undesirable people unlike other ports of call and there wasn’t much to see or do in town either. The Coconut Bar next to the cruise terminal was selling rum punch for $7, beware, it was shocking, nothing more than a sweet sugary drink with a dash of rum essence in it, not at all genuine. See my photo of the bar. Castries, St. Lucia, one of my favourite places. Did the ships “Scenic North” excursion and it was fabulous, taking in an old fort, silk painting, spectacular views, rum punch at the Sandals Resort and different beach stops just to take in the view and have a quick paddle. Back in Castries afterwards we walked around the market, visited the rum shops and then had a drink at Zephirins Bakery just along from the cruise terminal next to the market. BE VERY CAREFUL here as we ordered drinks and gave the waitress a $ note but had difficulty in getting our change, really had to get firm with her. See my photo enclosed as confirmation of the bar. Fort de France, Martinique. Very quiet place with little to do but we did the ships excursion to the Botanical Gardens and Zoo. Bear in mind this is not two separate places as we thought but one. The guide thought it would be nice to show us as much on the way as she thought necessary but we ended up taking 2 hours getting to the zoo and then only had 45 minutes there when it would have been better the other way round. Lovely Zoo though but didn’t care much for the island in general. Basseterre, St. Kitts & Nevis. Loved this island. Did the ship excursion to the Rainforest, wonderful and the guide was exceptional. Went very high up on the island and had plenty of time to walk around the beautiful gardens adjacent to the rainforest, lots of wonderful birds and green monkeys too. After a walk through the rainforest the guide provided us with rum punch, cake and bananas, he was a gem. Ali I think his name was. Back down in the port area we just browsed around the numerous shops and tried out all the different drinks. St. John’s, Antigua. Second visit here, last time I did the helicopter trip to the Montserrat volcano which was about a quarter of the price it was this time so we just stayed in the centre but again was bombarded with people trying to sell you their tours, really got on our nerves in the end. Not a whole lot to do in town so just walked by the harbour, had a few drinks and soaked up the sun. Tortola, BVI. Lovely. Took the ship excursion “The Best of Tortola”. Not disappointed as drove high up into the mountains with several stops of the fabulous views and then spent time at Cane Garden Bay for about an hour, so idyllic. We were the first group to arrive so were lucky as by the time we left the other groups had arrived and it was more than crowded. The driver/guide knew everyone at all the stops which made for a fun time. Back at the port and we just browsed around the few shops that were there. Phillipsburg, St. Martin. Second visit here, did a tour to the French part previously whereby it poured with rain but this time it was to the Dutch part and also taking in some of the French side. Did the ship excursion “Island Delights”. Didn’t really warrant the title but enjoyed it as we went to a Caribbean cookery demonstration with tasting, food was scrumptious then onto a rum distillery with tastings, plenty to try ranging from 20% to 40%, phew, declined the 40%. Afterwards went on to a perfumery where they are made, didn’t really like this much, the perfumes were too “homemade” but nice to see what went into them. Back at port and time to browse the numerous shops, needless to say, bought more rum. Ponta de garda, Azores. Lovely little town with more to do than the ships tour guide mentioned, she played it down somewhat. However, we did the ship excursion “Sights and Cheese and Wine Sampler”. Nice trip up into the mountains with tremendous views and to a little village with a church and it’s nativity scene, then to the crater lakes which were a beautiful green. Following a different road back we stopped at various places for photographs and then back into town to a hotel for the wine and cheese tasting. Badly organised as had to queue endlessly for the cheese and wine, it should have been placed on the individual tables for people to help themselves. The wine was 10 euros a bottle if you wanted to buy it but we walked back to the ship and bought the same wine for 5 euros in one of the shops. We took lots of ship excursions but they were reasonably cheap so decided to make life easy for ourselves and it worked quite well. All in all a great destination cruise but all the oldies made it rather depressing. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
It was nothing more than a floating retirement home.Daytime activities consisted of boring quizzes,seminars on weight loss and pain relief,watercolour painting and something called Knit and Natter (think old ladies sitting in circle ... Read More
It was nothing more than a floating retirement home.Daytime activities consisted of boring quizzes,seminars on weight loss and pain relief,watercolour painting and something called Knit and Natter (think old ladies sitting in circle knitting and gossiping).The evening entertainment was just diabolical; the mediocre ship theatre group putting on mediocre shows,an irish comedian rehashing jokes from the ark and,wait for it, a harp player wtf. the food was nice but nothing special but the service was good. as for the cabin it was fine for the first week but then it was flooded by a burst pipe and the treatment we received from the deck manager and housekeeping manager was just unbelievable.i only hope they don't treat their mothers the way they treated mine. they wouldnt move us so we had 3 days in a damp smelly cabin (my mother was up all night being ill because of the smell) and all we got was a cheap bottle of p&o plonk (we don't drink) and a tiny box of p&o chocolates.needless to say we have made formal complaints this was our first and last cruise with p & o. next year its back to royal caribbean Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2018
We chose this cruise to give my daughter and husband a taste of cruising. It did not occur to us that there would be large groups of big women on hen parties who tended to monopolise the facilities. The cabins at the back of the ship ... Read More
We chose this cruise to give my daughter and husband a taste of cruising. It did not occur to us that there would be large groups of big women on hen parties who tended to monopolise the facilities. The cabins at the back of the ship were very noisy and the disco in the Pacific Lounge will keep you awake till the small hours. We have cruised on Oriana before and although we knew the engines were very noisy we did not expect the disco scene. P&O should advertise this as a party cruise. Take your earplugs. The crew were very friendy and helpful and the food was good. The best parts were ashore in Bruges and Guernsey. We booked a shuttle bus to Bruges through viator as the P&O bus is very expensive. This was very good and you could get tickets at the kiosk otside the dock entrance. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2018
Party of 6. Picked this cruise because or itinerary. Appreciate Oriana is an older ship but it has had a recent overhaul. Ship is smart in a rather retro style. We made extensive use of the Lords Tavern bar which is the nearest to a large ... Read More
Party of 6. Picked this cruise because or itinerary. Appreciate Oriana is an older ship but it has had a recent overhaul. Ship is smart in a rather retro style. We made extensive use of the Lords Tavern bar which is the nearest to a large English pub and the staff were great. Went to Indian Sindhu restaurant one night which was superb and well worth the small supplement. Main dining food and service could not be faulted unlike the buffet which was very average. As an example we were given stale bread at breakfast on a number of breakfasts. Bread choice was poor. We could only get white or brown rolls or pre sliced bread. Cooked food choice was limited. No ice cream available at lunch or dinner. I am not being picky but these things and more all add up. This was a 1st on P & O and unfortunately has now put us off. We generally had a good cruise but did not get off feeling special as we have with our favourite Celebrity cruises. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2018
Just returned from a cruise on the 23rd may from Southampton, shop was lovely , very clean , food was lovely especially the beach house but you had to pay a surcharge of £7.50 each but well worth the visit to be honest I think you should ... Read More
Just returned from a cruise on the 23rd may from Southampton, shop was lovely , very clean , food was lovely especially the beach house but you had to pay a surcharge of £7.50 each but well worth the visit to be honest I think you should be able to visit this restaurant free of charge as part of the holiday as it was not cheap to go on this cruise. The cabin was lovely and comfortable and staff were excellent could not fault it. However unless you are aged over 75yrs of age this ship was very boring as far as the entertainment, it was terrible, the itinerary was knit and natter, how to get rid of water retention, seminars on the war and more war, films then on id Dunkirk, Churchill , I am all for remembering what the elderly did for their country but I don't want to have it thrown down my neck on my holidays. The band symmetric were atrocious they should have put them overboard , no idea who auditioned them , had a tropical night and we thought this might be good, my god it was terrible the band were singing oh when the saints come marching in, I have never had this song played at any party never mind a tropical party, everyone gave up and called it a night it was so bad. P@O really need to get their act together for entertainment, you could not get in any of the 8.30 shows as all the old codgers would eat at 6.00 and then all sit in that theatres a good 1/2 hrs before the shows even started so you could never get a seat, they were rude and impolite to the crew , they expect some respect but obviously they need to learn to be respectful to their younger passengers, I am 56 but I felt like I was on my last legsNEver again on this ship Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2018
We chose it to search the Northern Lights. Erm well this ship should be labelled a Care Home at sea. Everything seemed to be geared towards the elderly. Ok let's start with the positives. The ship is classic classy and clean. ... Read More
We chose it to search the Northern Lights. Erm well this ship should be labelled a Care Home at sea. Everything seemed to be geared towards the elderly. Ok let's start with the positives. The ship is classic classy and clean. The itinerary great. The staff work extremely hard and very friendly. The negatives...average age 80. Lots of repeat cruisers as they love the ship. Now we're not in the bloom of youth being 63 and 70...but the ship lacked any element of fun. I've never seen so many miserable grumpy faces in one place and believe me hubby and I did try to interact with our fellow passengers. As for the entertainment, we'll all geared towards elderly. Classical concerts, harpists,pianists. Oh we did have a comedian and a wonderful tenor. That performed. But then we had one evening show of We'll Meet Again really!!!! Basically it was above unless you enjoy quizzes bingo and spending most of your time glued to your pint in the Lird Taverners, they were all squashed in there like sardines. Lots of people don't even venture off, well to be honest most couldn't. So we will not be cruising in this ship again, we should have heeded a couple of previous reviews that read the same. We felt so sorry for a few 20 somethings there were on there, they looked bored to tears and they were as were we. I've ever seen corridors look so empty at certain times. Pacific lounge where the Dj set up was mostly deserted and he was. Stuck in 60/70song choice time warp. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2018
our first time cruise left us thinking would we do it again? . Once on board and got bearings the restaurant was a set meal from a menu which for us was rich for our taste and same with breakfast next morning . On talking to other guests ... Read More
our first time cruise left us thinking would we do it again? . Once on board and got bearings the restaurant was a set meal from a menu which for us was rich for our taste and same with breakfast next morning . On talking to other guests they told us where to go to get self service food, what a difference , the variety of choice was amazing and if lucky get to sit by a window and watch the view and eat. the staff in this restaurant worked really hard at clearing the tables of used crocks, helping people with disability, carry their food and help find a table .The cabin we had was inside which was a liveable size but having no windows you had to have the light on all the time. we also found that you were charged £6.00 per day per person per day, again guests told us that we can opt out by getting a form from reception. as this cruise was to see the northern lights it got very cold when berthed in alta -25 wind chill factor as a result the ship had some burst pipes which were dealt with the minimum inconvenience to the passengers. the entertainment on board at times was mediocre at best some good some bad. we did not go any shore excursions so cannot comment about them as regards value for money. the activities on board was how to line dance, ballroom dancing, play bridge, gym, a cinema with a good selection of films. we did manage to see the northern lights 4 times, which when talking to other guest who have done this trip before never saw them. but the one thing we will take home with us is the stunning views of Norway the friendly locals and of course the ships company Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2018
Went to see the Northern Lights which were fantastic. The ship was good but not suitable for a trip to the Arctic in Winter. There was a computer failure at check in and it took three hours for the luggage to reach our cabin. Our cabin ... Read More
Went to see the Northern Lights which were fantastic. The ship was good but not suitable for a trip to the Arctic in Winter. There was a computer failure at check in and it took three hours for the luggage to reach our cabin. Our cabin was very cold; the heating did not come on until the following morning but it was very unreliable throughout the voyage. The ship left three hours late blaming unusually heavy traffic on the Solent. The 1800 passengers had been checking the weather forecast so we all new it would be 15 below but this was a complete suprise to P & O. There were burst pipes and power failures and when the ship returned to warmer waters the ice that had formed in the ceilings voids melted and water came through the ceilings. We were another 48 hours without heat in the cabin and they only gave us 1 blanket. Some passengers had ice inside their cabins. The engines were so noisy it was difficult to hear in the restaurant. It was quieter in the buffet but here it is a scramble to get a table as the buffet is not big enough to accommodate everybody. Probably not a problem for a warmer route where passengers can go on deck. The staff were very friendly and the food was good. I would describe fellow passengers as seniors and the entertainment was biased to that age group - plenty of quizzes, bingo, knitting, ballroom dancing etc and with a couple of exceptions the shows by third rate singers screaming at full volume. The ship does not have double doors so when an outside door is opened there is a terrific icy blast and heat is lost. The public areas were always cold so don't expect to have your shoulders bare for formal nights. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2018
It started with computer failure at Embarkation taking over 2 hours to fix. The crew were excellent in the face of adversity. Many cabins were cold from the start of the cruise. As we approached Alta the heating all over the ship stopped ... Read More
It started with computer failure at Embarkation taking over 2 hours to fix. The crew were excellent in the face of adversity. Many cabins were cold from the start of the cruise. As we approached Alta the heating all over the ship stopped working in temperatures of -15. Then the following day the galley didn’t have power. The chefs managed to prepare a hot meal though. Eventually at mid day the captain explained the issues and blamed the cold. Some cabins got heating by the evening but many were without heating for a further 24 hours. Bathrooms were flooded, the Conservatory had leaks from the ceiling, the cinema and Lords Taven were flooded due to the sprinkler system developing a fault, the forward lifts broke down. Al Fresco was so cold that it was closed then experienced a flood which closed it for the rest of the cruise. Even after we docked the Conservatory had another leak from the ceiling. Having travelled in a much older ship to Alta without any problems my husband and I were not impressed. At times the menu on offer was uninspiring. We enjoyed the four ports and did see the Northern Lights but P&O need to give Oriana some major TLC. We have cruised on Britannia so were disappointed with Oriana Read Less
Sail Date: February 2018
We had booked a suite. We should have been in a separate waiting area to board. However, no-one bothered to show us where this was. Embarkation was delayed by two hours+ due to computer failure. When we were finally called to check in ... Read More
We had booked a suite. We should have been in a separate waiting area to board. However, no-one bothered to show us where this was. Embarkation was delayed by two hours+ due to computer failure. When we were finally called to check in we found ourselves behind rather a large number of people, those who knew where the 'first class' waiting area was. This despite our being amongst the first to arrive at Departures. Once on board no-one told us where to go. We simply followed on behind others, hoping for the best. Our cabin was lovely. The only disappointment being that when we had looked at the cabin plan on booking it seemed that there was a dressing room. This turned out to be a second toilet. We felt that arrangements for disembarking to go on excursions were not well managed, in that the outer doors were kept open, which resulted in parts of the ship being very cold indeed. Surely a warm air curtain could be installed. There were unfortunate incidents of pipes freezing, a boiler breaking down, flooding in the crews' quarters, leaking in the cinema, etc. Many people were walking round, sitting in the bars and going to dinner wearing overcoats. The Captain advised us this was due to the temperature in Alta being -25 and that temperatures had never previously gone below -10. This is a really poor excuse. Fine dining was poor. There was only one fine dining restaurant open for lunch. The Al Fresco and Conservatory restaurants were cold and resembled works canteens. Red wine should not be served chilled. Cheese should be served at room temperature not chilled. Onboard activities were dire. Knit and Knatter, carpet bowls, talks on sore feet and aching backs were just a few of the thrilling activities. In the main staff were good. The bar staff, on the other hand, are lazy, slow and unhelpful. One female member of staff in particular, working on Reception, was a very poor advert for P&O. She was hostile, rude and unhelpful. Disembarkation was ok. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2017
We had never been in a Christmas Cruise before and thought it would be magical. The cruise itself was nice but as for Christmas Spirit it was lacking. The crew wearing santa hats and a 20 minute carol service by officers and crew doesnt ... Read More
We had never been in a Christmas Cruise before and thought it would be magical. The cruise itself was nice but as for Christmas Spirit it was lacking. The crew wearing santa hats and a 20 minute carol service by officers and crew doesnt make what I expected a christmas cruise to be, especially when you consider the price. Two places we visited had a long walk to the entrance of the dock and no transport was provided. When this was mentioned to the crew member we were told that she could walk this in 15 minutes or so minutes. Not really interested in what a fit person could walk it in. Another Port we were advised it was. 'Long walk' to the town. We didn't go ashore there at all as no transport was provided again. I wouldn't do another Christmas cruise when you consider you could do two cruises for the price paid. The Oriana definatey needed a little tender loving care. Some of the ceiling tiles in the crowsnest where either dropping or being held up with tape. Dining was good, the food imaginative, well presented and cooked. The headliners were okay, not the best we had seen and there was no crew show which was disappointing. Entertainers were good, nothing earthshattering. The crew were helpful but did seem a little bored with everything. The television choices werent good. The larger ships have choices of tv programmes and films in the tv. Daytime activities were very limited and if you didn't want to go to the pictures but I play bridge so that was a something. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2017
The Oriana is an elderly but pleasant ship with good lines. She looks good. She still retains the best of the original decoration of her designers, when she was the pride of the old P & O Company. She has good communal areas, with both ... Read More
The Oriana is an elderly but pleasant ship with good lines. She looks good. She still retains the best of the original decoration of her designers, when she was the pride of the old P & O Company. She has good communal areas, with both principal and secondary show lounges, and a comfortable cinema. So given entertainment which suits your taste or interest, there are good venues to satisfy them. Embarkation was standard, without too much waiting. The balcony cabin was pleasant enough, although there was little welcome - no bottle of wine, just two bottles of mineral water, a single bloom in a vase without water, two small and partly used shampoo and conditioner bottles sitting in the bath area, with two full ones beside the washbasin. And one small bar of soap. It didn't matter but it reinforced our opinion that over a comparatively short period of time, little economies have been creeping forward. Our cabin steward did his job adequately, but we had to ask for things which hitherto would have been checked, such as soap, room service menus, and towels. None of this was important but it may indicate something. Dining in the freedom section was fine, without much waiting and although the service was slow, the food was in the main acceptable. Not special. But not bad either. The buffet, which we used when entertainment would have been at risk through delays in the dining room, was, sometimes, very good indeed, with some interesting themed food evenings. So all in all, so far, everything average. What was not average on this voyage was the Music Festival. We booked this cruise last year specifically for the Festival albeit not everyone on board was aware of it, or appreciated it. But for us it raised a standard cruise to an outstanding one. There is no point in describing the content of the Festival. Suffice it that it went alongside the standard singing and dancing, show music singers, comedians and illusionists which seem the standard norm for today's cruise liners. If you like troupes like the Headliners then no doubt you would be satisfied although one show was cancelled due to illness which affected the ship, and one of the female Motown singing shows was cancelled due to rough weather. Service in the bars and restaurants was uniformally cheerful. At reception, well, I posed a request for information which would have come from the ship's bridge, and it was not answered. The impression I had that she could not really be bothered with it. That may not be fair, but there it is. The ports of call were interesting but of the three P & O excursions be booked before joing the ship, two were cancelled through lack of numbers. That left insufficient time to research what else to do. But no harm done. We found excellent alternatives at a fraction of the cost, refunded after our return. And what we really enjoyed on board , the table tennis table, just protected from the open deck but plentifully supplied with bats and balls - unique in our experience. No signing for bat and ball at reception in case, presumably, we stole them. Good fun and good exercise. Would we travel again with P & O? Yes, if they allow another Music Festival. No, if they do not. Without something like that, these cruises seem to us to become very much the same. And rather boring. Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2017
We were on the P&O Oriana for a round Ireland cruise. It was our second time on this ship and we found the food much improved from the first time. However, I was disappointed with the actual dining experience. We had booked a saver ... Read More
We were on the P&O Oriana for a round Ireland cruise. It was our second time on this ship and we found the food much improved from the first time. However, I was disappointed with the actual dining experience. We had booked a saver fare and had no say in what size dining table or sitting we preferred. When we had boarded, we found a card with our Dining details waiting in our cabin. We both jumped for joy as it was just what we wanted, 2nd sitting on a table for 8. Great we thought! However, on the first night there were 6 of us, that was OK we thought, the other two are probably tired from travelling. Two of the six that night discovered there was nothing on the menu to fulfil their cultural dietary needs. Thus, they didn't join the table again. The missing two, never appeared at all. So for the rest of the cruise there were only 4 of us on a huge table for 8. When I looked around, I noticed there were many other empty seats. May I also point out there was an empty table for 4 adjacent to our table. My question is, did the Maitre'd know that our table would now be a maximum of 4, on a table laid out for 8, for the rest of the cruise? Call me old fashioned, but if he did, why couldn't he fill our table or reduce our table layout. We have cruised for twenty years and have always looked forward to the Dining experience and meeting new people. I did ask our waiter if he could reduce our table so that we could speak and be heard more easily with our fellow diners, of which he replied 'move to the other side of the table'', to which I replied 'how will that help' ? Even in our local Indian, they clear away unused places at the table. Free time dining seems the answer. On the whole, the cruise experience was good, we embarked at Southampton and that ran very smoothly. We found the cabin staff very friendly and efficient. The Theatre entertainment was OK and we did try to see a showing each night however, we did find a lack of entertainment elsewhere.We were looking to settle down with a pre dinner drink to some live music but the bars seemed quite lifeless except for the pub. Also found the same after the theatre showing. We did use the ship's spa facilities and found the experience very relaxing and enjoyable. We also enjoyed sitting on deck in the sea air, and listening to the captain's reports, especially when the crew informed us of dolphin sightings. We chose this cruise for the ports of call and took two P&O excursions, one from Cobh to Kinsale which we found quite interesting. The second was from Galway to the Cliffs of Moher which again was a good trip. The ship tendered from Galway and we must say the organisation was very good getting us across to shore to pick up our coach tour in time but have to say failed miserably to get us back in good time. We found several tours arrived back at the same time and not enough boats to take us to the ship, thus we had to queue a very long time. P&O seem to pride themselves with providing a traditional cruise experience which they do but they need to up there game on the dining experience which requires more interaction from the staff to their guests, otherwise we think they are on the slippery slope. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2017
We first spotted this cruise for Summer 2016, when a sail-past of the Cornish Coast and of Cape Wrath were included in the itinerary, but we were too late to book the accommodation we wanted. The 2017 cruise did not mention either of ... Read More
We first spotted this cruise for Summer 2016, when a sail-past of the Cornish Coast and of Cape Wrath were included in the itinerary, but we were too late to book the accommodation we wanted. The 2017 cruise did not mention either of these, and P & O could not confirm at what time of day they would happen. Nevertheless, the itinerary covered places we had not yet visited and included quieter locations rather than large towns, so July 30th 2017 saw us on board Oriana, after a straightforward embarkation. We enjoy scenic cruising and spend much of our time outside, on our balcony or on the open decks. We don't bother with any other entertainment and usually eat in the self-service area of whatever cruise line we are with, because of the excellent views and informal atmosphere. Given light evenings, it is possible to spot wildlife, scenery and natural phenomena from up near the top of the ship, rather than eating in the middle of the crowded dining room with no view. The first morning found us indeed sailing past the coast of Cornwall, so that was a tick off our wish list. The day also provided flocks of gannets for our entertainment, plus views of the Wolf Rock and Smalls Lighthouses. It was in the early evening, after our meal, when the ship was between Ireland and Wales, as we were watching the sea go by from our balcony, when I spotted an object in the sky which, at first sight, looked like a microlight. Binoculars revealed a very large red birthday balloon in the shape of number 5, with three smaller balloons suspended underneath it. Because it was my Grand-daughter's fifth birthday, I went inside to share the photo with her via email while my husband continued to watch and film the balloon, which dipped down to the water and the small balloons touched the waves before the ensemble lifted and continued towards Wales. No more than minutes later, the Captain spoke over the speaker system into the staterooms to announce that a member of staff in the Crow's Nest had spotted either a parachute or microlight go down in the sea, that we were turning round to search and that a full search and rescue operation would take place. Although we immediately shared our observations and photos with the Reception staff, the search had to go on. Thankfully, the sea was calm and the Lifeboat personnel were not put at additional risk. Once the lifeboat and helicopter were on the scene, (and mercifully nothing was found), we continued on our way to Greenock. There, we took a boat trip on Loch Long and Loch Goil in the afternoon, making use of our wet weather gear, but the evening provided a spectacular sunset as consolation. The sun shone for us at Portree, Isle of Skye, making our wildlife boat trip well worthwhile, with Sea Eagles performing for us and seals lounging about. Kirkwall, in the Orkneys, offered cloudy weather but we enjoyed the town and particularly St Magnus Cathedral. We were sent on our way in the evening by pipers and dancers. Invergordon was also wet, but we were well dressed by the RIB operators when a small group of 12 went out onto the Cromarty Firth to look for Bottlenose Dolphins and other wildlife. Our search was successful, but we were surprised, even though it had begun to rain steadily, to find ourselves back at the ship an hour early. Enquiries at the Tour Desk revealed that the RIB operators had mistaken the length of the trip and we received a proportional refund. Another sunset provided photo opportunities. We knew we would be passing Cape Wrath at some point, so we asked at Reception about the expected time of arrival there, as we would need to be outside to view it. The answer came back of midday the next day. No need to get up early, then; however, at 8 am, a quick look at the TV map of our route showed we were well past it. Later, the Log confirmed we went past at 7 am. Cruise ships are most unlikely to be five hours ahead of schedule! After our return home, Oriana confirmed that we had been misinformed, but said conditions meant we wouldn't have been able to view the Cape anyway. It looked clear enough to us at the time. The rest of the day at sea, with more beautiful evening skies, took us to Belfast. We took the shuttle bus into the town, which was empty at that time on a Sunday morning, apart from many armoured police vehicles. We were told that several Marches were to take place that morning; heavy rain which penetrated our defences made us decide to return to the ship and consider our options after lunch. Better weather in the afternoon allowed a tour on the Hop On Hop Off bus, but with no hopping! Photographs were a challenge to snap as we passed points of interest at speed, but the tour was comprehensive and a good option. (The next day, there was trouble between youths and police in Belfast.) Another sunset and we reached Dublin, with sunshine and a walk round the town on our own. The shuttle bus dropped us at an awkward spot, but we visited the Cathedrals and Trinity College before taking a river trip, which turned out to be not really worthwhile apart from the commentary. Our route back to the shuttle bus took us along the river we had just travelled, with better views from the shore! The ship was docked not far from the town, with views back along the Liffey to enjoy. Before we left, a sudden downpour produced a spectacular, extremely bright and long-lived rainbow on our, the starboard, side of the ship. Cobh was our last Irish port and an interesting place in its own right, with the Titanic Memorial Garden, St Colman's Cathedral and other attractions to visit. Again, a band and some folk in the dress of the Titanic era waved us farewell. Another sunset was followed by the final sea day, with stronger winds and interesting waves. We may have encountered yachts taking part in the Fastnet Race, as they whipped past us.That evening, we were warned that conditions at St Peter Port might prevent us from landing the tenders. The final day at St peter Port was bright and sunny, with Ventura at anchor alongside us. Although it looked fine to us, it was decided by both Captains to wait until midday to see if conditions improved; apparently there are strong currents in the harbour. Tenders pottered about and the tourist boats of a similar size came and went, but we stayed aboard. Eventually our Captain told us that, because our tenders are not as sturdy and stable (!) as those on Ventura, and because of the general age and decrepitude of our passengers compared to Ventura's, (that's what he meant anyway), we would not be going into port, but would be leaving, while Ventura's passengers enjoyed their afternoon on shore. A new policy with P & O seems to be that you must prove yourself able to step across a marked gap on the slope to the theatre before being allowed to use the tenders. Many of us on Oriana would have been able to disembark that day, we believe, but where do you draw the line! Leaving St Peter Port early denied us the opportunity at least to enjoy the view from afar, in a sheltered position for the sunbathers. However, maybe the Captain felt it would be insensitive to allow us to continue watching Ventura’s passengers heading off into port. By 1400 hours, we were on the way back to Southampton. We elected to carry our own luggage off at Southampton, with no problems and were on our way home by 8 am. All this covers most of the title, but what about The Bad? We were disappointed by the attitude of the staff in the Conservatory self service facility because they seemed to lack any enthusiasm for what they were doing and often needed prompting to clear a table or remove dishes. We felt that hygiene was poor too, compared with other ships, because tables were wiped with a cloth apparently without disinfectant, crumbs were swept to the floor and in the evening, used table mats were simply turned over. The hand sanitisers were promoted for about two days before we were entrusted to do it without prompting. Similarly, we never saw surfaces being wiped on the ship in general, although this may well have happened at other times. In addition, the choice of food in the Conservatory was extremely limited for those who, like us, dislike spicy food. The themed evenings provided only one alternative on the many spicy food nights and usually only one soup, also spicy. On the two occasions we ate downstairs, the choice was much better, but a lasagna I ordered was lacking in the expected sauce between the layers and boasted only a puddle in the bottom of the dish, so I had to ask for more. Our favourite meal was breakfast, where the Full English set us up for the day. We choose our itineraries, not our ships, but I think we will be ignoring P & O after our next, booked, trip to Northern European Capitals in December on Aurora. To end on a positive note, P & O allow wine, for consumption in your own room, to be taken on board " in reasonable quantities", at any port. Take note, other Cruise lines! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2017
We were interested to see the locations around the UK but when we arrived at Guernsey, the last port of call, the Captain refused to allow us to go ashore despite customers on the Ventura, anchored alongside, being allowed to go ashore. ... Read More
We were interested to see the locations around the UK but when we arrived at Guernsey, the last port of call, the Captain refused to allow us to go ashore despite customers on the Ventura, anchored alongside, being allowed to go ashore. The Captain claimed the weather was too bad, the tenders inadequate and the customers too old. Some customers were old but that is no reason to cancel the visit for everybody. The weather and sea conditions looked fine to me and there was much annoyance amongst fellow passengers, so much so that it was the major topic of discussion for the rest of the trip. The comedian Roy Walker was amusing and the talk by Ian Brown interesting. The evening meals were of a good standard but felt rushed as did breakfast. The conservatory food was poor so we opted for the seated meals on almost all occasions. Read Less
15 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2017
Wanted a cruise from. Southampton as very convenient for my mother living in Portsmouth. Itinerary sounded interesting La Rochelle, Santander, La Corona & Guernsey. We booked an outside cabin on deck 9 aft & tried for a balcony ... Read More
Wanted a cruise from. Southampton as very convenient for my mother living in Portsmouth. Itinerary sounded interesting La Rochelle, Santander, La Corona & Guernsey. We booked an outside cabin on deck 9 aft & tried for a balcony upgrade. We weren't lucky but it wasn't a great loss as the resultant weather was atrocious. We started off on a low with a 5 hour delay due to an engine problem not mentioned in the cruise log. Finally left around 9pm. Made up time & arrived La Rochelle on time. Weather warm 22C overcast with slight drizzle. All trips went ahead as advertised. The on to Santander where the weather started to deteriorated with thunder, lightning & very heavy rain. Back on the ship & off to La Corona with a sunny start & sat out in the Piazza square in glorious sun for 1/2 hour. All trips cancelled due to a Spanish coach drivers strike! Then more incessant downpours in high winds. The trouble started after we left for Guernsey heading for the Bay of Biscay. The wind overnight built up rapidly to gale force 10 then maxed out at 11! The swell increased to 6.5 metres & the ride was very uncomfortable but the captain seemed more concerned that the ship was coping admirably while most passengers including myself were pretty scared. I'm starting to think that we shouldn't have left La Corona & should have waited until conditions improved. We finally after 36 hours of hell arrived at St Peter Port, Guernsey where conditions had improved considerably but the captain decided that using tenders was going to be unsafe. This upset a lot of passengers who were looking forward to sampling the joys of the island. Conditions improved during the day but still deemed to be too dangerous for tenders. Instead we upped anchor & left for Southampton 3 hours early arriving around 4am. There was a lot of noise made tying up on our berth so impossible to get any sleep. Disembarked at 9.15 am & relieved to be back on land! Food was really good & recommend freedom dining in the Peninsular restaurant. Top Tip: Avoid The Conservatory which was a bit like the "Wild West" & a scrum. Andersons bar very good service & comfortable seats. Two formal nights when one would have done. Wine prices very reasonable & excellent selection. Oriana nicely refurbished & survived the violent seas which we were grateful for but the passengers really suffered. I won't be cruising again to Northern Spain after this which ruined what was supposed to be a relaxing break for my elderly mother & myself. Marks out of 10 only 5 unfortunately. I still can't believe I paid to go on this cruise & feel some sort of compensation warranted as a lot of 1st timers who won't be returning. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2017
My wife and I just returned from a 19 day cruise on the ORIANA around the med and Adriatic.,We drove down the night before and stayed at Chilworth Manor, just to make it an extra days holiday.,Now most hotels ask you to vacate by 10.00am ... Read More
My wife and I just returned from a 19 day cruise on the ORIANA around the med and Adriatic.,We drove down the night before and stayed at Chilworth Manor, just to make it an extra days holiday.,Now most hotels ask you to vacate by 10.00am ,ours was 12.00. The reason I tell you this will become clear. Our boarding time was 1500hrs, having no problem with this we thought we can wait at the terminal.so taxi in to terminal where we were given a ticket and took a seat to await our embarkation. During the time we were waiting on a number of occasions ALL the check in desks were empty so we asked could we check in....not board but just check in.We were told no..have to wait until 3-00 .Eventually the Evesway coaches arrived and were given priority, obviously there will be people on the coaches that have early boarding times and those that have later times like us.....Eventually we were called to CHECKIN at 1515hrs.Now we dont mind "waiting our turn" but when you have check in desks doing NOTHING surely the people already at the terminal could have at least checked in,and called to board at their required time, it just seems a very haphazard way to embark passengers,We think PO have to look at this again. The Ship....This was our first time with PO and also the smallest ship we have been on and were impressed with the layout and design of her,..did not have to walk far to get to any venue.all public spaces were clean and"shipshape" .Also first inside cabin we have had,and we were pleasantly surprised,plenty of room,for clothes etc quite comfortable. except for the first day and half where we hit a force 10. DINING....We had freedom dining (anytime) and never had a problem getting a table ,usually to share.which we enjoy. the food was ....OK but there was nothing on any of the menus that made us go WOW.and it was certainly catered for "brits", having said that ,the service was EXCELLENT.with all the waiting staff very friendly and approachable. The reason for the heading VERY "BRITISH.is that during our cruise we spoke to many other passengers about both PO and the ORIANA,and it was VERY evident that many of them were very "protective"about both. ie Will NEVER try another cruise line, and in many cases no other ship,when we told them we have used PRINCESS ,ROYAL CARIBEAN and Thomson..some got quite irate,....they seem to regard it as their own private cruise line. ENTERTAINMENT......This was a "music at sea" cruise, unfortunately we were not informed until after we booked,it was all classical music. Luckily I enjoy some of this,but my wife doesnt,having said that I enjoy some classical music, I mean QUALITY performers, and unfortunately some were not....the violinist and flautist were world class but the male singers were at best average. Every PO ship apparently have their "HEADLINERS" who are the ships entertainment crew.These did a number of shows throughout the cruise,and they are all very talented...BUT in my opinion every one was... to loud..and to fast,... slick and profesional...yes,but most shows were non stop "medleys"of ABBA ,Musicals etc. I dont think they actually finished a song before going into another. The other entertainment was pretty good, a comedian, a fantastic group (Bluejays) and an ex HOLLIES member who was very entertaining. One of the things we found annoying was ,if you wnt to one of the lounges in the evening for entertainment,lasting and hour,as soon as it was over,you had to leave as there was nothing to keep you there,not even music.. DAYTIME....As I said this was our first time with PO,and the "things to do"was ,in my opinion very poor, We are not interested in .BRIDGE,WHIST, KNITTING, SEQUENCE DANCING or Shuffleboard...we overheard people say they only went to play it because there was nothing else to do...we even went to the cinema 3 times to ease the boredom. SHORE EXCURSIONS....Where do I start? I think by now everyone who cruises knows that ships excursions are a rip off....that goes for ANY line. but by far and away the "CATANIA HIGHLIGHTS" tour was one of the worst. ie Bus from ship,coast road to a "photo opportunity" a large piece of lava rock in the sea with a "fort" on top (which we couldnt go into) then back to a square which was a 10mnt walk from the ship to see a cathedral (which we could not enter because service on) where we were told we had 2 HOURS of"free time" then walked about 200yrds to where the shuttle dropped off to the bus to take us back to the ship which would have been quicker walking to. ABSOLUTELY SCANDALOUS....needless to say there were a lot of complaints ,but no refund given. The next port of call CORIGLIANO CALABRO....ANOTHER waste of time,shuttle to "town" (20 mnts) then if wanted to 3EU another shuttle to a castle at top of hill (could walk if fit enough) that was it. VENICE...Fell in love with Venice first time we went,and even though my wife had to visit a dentist there,it is still a magical place. TRIESTE..This place oozes money and class, very expensive top end shops,and some beautiful architecture.Again straight off ship into town. ZADAR...Beautiful place...straight off ship by short shuttle ride lovely walk along promenade into the town where we found a great little bar as you go through the gate right up the steps absolutely great, outdoors with cushions and rugs on the floor reeealy nice place to have a quiet drink. KOTOR.....Also a lovely place, unfortunately the tender boarding was a shambles, waited in lounge until called down, only to find they had not disembarcked the ones already in it.so waited for 45 mnts on stairs before boarding, the ones coming back on board had been waiting on hour on the water to get back...absolute shambles, but once ashore lovely walks and interesting things ..like the "great wall" brilliant. CORFU.....Now we come to the not so good part, we actually sailed into Corfu harbour only for the captain to announce he didnt feel it was safe to try and dock?? He later announced that we would dock in CARTAGENA instead, ok no problem...even printed and arranged excursions etc for passengers ...later he announced that due to currents and tides there he didnt feel it was "viable" to attempt to call in there......maybe it had something to do with port fees ?? So on to GIBRALTER..straight of ship ,there are taxis,minibuses etc to use for tours as you come off,these are a lot cheaper than ships tours..we paid £25 for a wonderful 2,/ 1/2 hour trip around and top of the rock.with a great guide. This was the ONLY port in a weeks sailing, not really good enough PO. Finally,I would say we would try PO again,but a much bigger ship like the Azura maybe.maybe it has better stabalisers .as this ship moved a little to much and to often for us. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2017
The ship is smaller than the other cruises we have been on and being all adults was a bonus . It does move and creak more than the modern ships and we did have a storm for a day and a half which was quite uncomfortable and let to things ... Read More
The ship is smaller than the other cruises we have been on and being all adults was a bonus . It does move and creak more than the modern ships and we did have a storm for a day and a half which was quite uncomfortable and let to things being cancelled . The conservatory buffet restaurant is always full and difficult to find places to sit but the mail restaurant is lovely , food , staff and consistent . Very rare you could get a table for two though . The ports we stopped at were lovely . We did a special trip to " search for the northern lights " which took us an hour on a very hot stuffy coach ( we all had layers on to keep warm at the other end ) and luckily did see the lights for about 10 minutes but this is not for the feint hearted and anyone that doesn't like the cold !!! The ice hotel was lovely and the husky sledding was wonderful. The entertainment on this ship was limited in comparison to Ventura and Azura and catered for older people . As it was so cold a lot of he outdoor activities were not practical when they did take place and the decks were closed a lot for safety reasons . There was lectures on in the theatre daily . The staff on the ship are consistently wonderful with only reception staff not as openly friendly ( think they have the hardest job ) . Personally won't be booking another cruise on the Oriana , purely personal preference and the age and size of the ship Read Less
29 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2017
Having taken a cruise 2 years ago on Oceana we made a decision never to travel with P&O again, however, as they were the only cruise company making this trip we had no choice and booked the Northern Lights Cruise on Oriana in March ... Read More
Having taken a cruise 2 years ago on Oceana we made a decision never to travel with P&O again, however, as they were the only cruise company making this trip we had no choice and booked the Northern Lights Cruise on Oriana in March 2017. The cruise itself was fantastic but after giving P&O a second chance we definitely will not be travelling with them again. The embarkation was quick and our cases were outside our cabins soon after we arrived. We were disappointed with the small amount of wardrobe space especially as we had heavy coats and boots with us. The safe was inside the wardrobe and at floor level which made it difficult to see when opening or closing it because of the clothes hanging over it. The TV was not interactive and offered hardly any channels other than P&O's promotions which, having to spend a couple of days in bed due to a chest infection was not good. Although the ship had apparently undergone a refurbishment the wash basins in the bathrooms were chipped (a good place to hoard germs) and the toilets were very temperamental when flushing. Each day we noticed at least one toilet in the public toilets out of use and washbasins waiting for repair. Considering this was a winter trip the entertainment offered was very poor. We expected lots if indoor activities and fun but apart from quizzes and games on the Wii machine there was very little to do, not even an indoor pool which we have enjoyed even on a "hot" cruise. Even the choice of the films in the cinema were geared to one genre, nothing gentle that we could watch. The craft get-together was a washout unless you had the foresight to bring your own equipment. Craft kits were being sold on board but there were no tools available to make these and no instructor either. The art class was another one that had to be paid for, we've never paid for craft and art classes on other ships. The Entertainments Manager could have arranged so many more fun activities but apart from seeing her introducing acts in the theatre she was conspicuous by her absence. This cruise definitely needed an injection of fun and laughter but to us P&O seems to be a company where you just sit, read and drink!! Maybe it's typically English - BORING. Thank goodness for the comedians who were excellent and introduced laughter in this very boring Company, but the Headliners just screeched to make themselves heard over the band which was far too loud. The food and service in the Peninsular was excellent but the Conservatory choices were dismal, nowhere as good as American ships. The cleanliness in the Conservatory was almost non-existent, we saw a hoover being used twice but not around the table legs where the crumbs collected. On other cruise lines there has been a visible presence of hand rails and banisters being cleaned but this was lacking on this ship. The majority of the crew were very helpful with the exception of a couple of the reception staff who seemed as though they couldn't "be bothered" and were rude. There seemed to be only one lad who knew his job and could answer our questions. We booked several shore excursions and enjoyed them all, the highlight being the ice hotel, we would certainly recommend that. We were lucky enough to see the Northern Lights which completed our trip and the talk on setting cameras to allow photographs to be taken was invaluable and we took several good natural photos of them (not enhanced as the ones for sale on the ship were). Disembarkation was chaotic. There was no organisation with the cases and people were wandering around trying to find them. Ours were in three different places! Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2016
I was so looking forward to my first Christmas Cruise - but 16 nights later I was glad to disembark- disappointed is an understatement - the entertainment was dreadful - and the entertainment team - all five of them - had little experience ... Read More
I was so looking forward to my first Christmas Cruise - but 16 nights later I was glad to disembark- disappointed is an understatement - the entertainment was dreadful - and the entertainment team - all five of them - had little experience - they were geared for entertaining children - not passengers of a mature age - and calling for Santa on Christmas Eve to come out of the funnel went down like a ton of bricks - perhaps Christmas Carols might have been more appropriate- so we waited with baited breath to see what had been planned for Christmas Day apart from a five course dinner - in a word -.nothing - the Horiszon was the same as the previous day with the exception of a film - BFG at 2pm which we went to to pass the afternoon - boredom was setttimg in fast - I was quizzed out but the end of the trip - wasn't into line dancing - didn't want to learn bridge - and wondered occasionally if passengers were asleep or dead - The evening entertainment left a lot to be desired apart from a coup,e of acts - and News Years Eve - was thrown together at the last moment - three or four venues all doing different things - the captain managed to prevent the usual countdown to midnight in the Harlequin- 8 bells eithervside of midnight and that was it - bit of a damp squid - and the dancing re started - The food was excellent as was the service in the dining room and our cabin - but P& O may have a a large fan base but they want to pull their socks up and not take us for granted - change the entertainment and entertainers - don't treat elderly passengers as if we are all on our last legs - Yes I am aware I will have people telling me to stop moanimg etc - but we spent a lot of money for a Christmas Cruise expecting something really special - Apart from the tan - I wish I had stayed at home Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2016
The ship is looking tired and is still noisy at times; especially when docking or leaving port. We booked this cruise because we wanted a JOLLY CHRISTMAS holiday. What we actually got was P & O's care home at sea ! There ... Read More
The ship is looking tired and is still noisy at times; especially when docking or leaving port. We booked this cruise because we wanted a JOLLY CHRISTMAS holiday. What we actually got was P & O's care home at sea ! There was nothing jolly about it - decorations were sadly lacking' I think that Oriana must have been at the back of the queue when they were distributed. Nothing like Britannia last Christmas. Several cabins were flooded & at times the water was off altogether. Our cabin was spotless & we found our steward most obliging. The food in the restaurant was outstanding as was the service !!! but I cannot say the same for the buffet .The selection here was poor & badly laid out (there did not seem to be a natural progression when choosing dishes) Breakfast time was a football match -- vacant seats were rare . The theater group were absolutely fantastic; great shows well performed; they really worked very hard & were a bright spot of our holiday. Most of the ports of call were O.K. except for Agadir, we did not book a trip as there was not really anything to suit our abilities. This is not a cruise port - it is a noisy working container port AND IT SMELLS !!. Take it off the list P & O. Last but not least, I must mention out Christmas gifts from P & O. You really out scrooged yourselves on that one - 9 chocolates in a stocking. I know that the vast majority of passengers on this cruise were in advanced years but we hadn't reached 2nd childhood to be given not very nice sweets. (Again , not up to last year or any other year for that matter) It was simply penny pinching This cruise, being for adults only, attracted people in advancing years so bare that in mind if you are looking for next year. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2016
Your luggage is taken from you as soon as you arrive at the port for delivery to your cabin which is great. Embarkation was reasonably efficient. No compulsory hand sanitization though which was rather surprising. Cabin (inside, deck 10 ... Read More
Your luggage is taken from you as soon as you arrive at the port for delivery to your cabin which is great. Embarkation was reasonably efficient. No compulsory hand sanitization though which was rather surprising. Cabin (inside, deck 10 was very small, had to get rid of the table and all the clutter in order to have room to put our things. Plenty of wardrobe and drawer space though. Kettle, cups, glasses and a good supply of coffee in the cabin, never went short. Ship was satisfactory and not as old as some reports I've read. Everywhere was very clean and tidy. Waiter service throughout was poor, staff didn't seem to care much. In the restaurant, even after 5 days the waiter didn't remember our likes and dislikes. An added charge of £5.50 per day per person was extortionate for the service we received. Food was poor, ordinary and tasteless, lack of fresh veg and potatoes but plenty of cold salads. Many meals in the café were slop, my interpretation of food served in sauces/gravy rather than carved meats of which at lunch time there was often none. No fresh percolated coffee at dinner in the restaurant, only instant, imagine that. The Conservatory (café) was a shambles, food laid out in sections which meant people were constantly criss-crossing one another with trays of food which was a constant hassle and as usual, never enough table spaces. Smoking areas seemed to be all over the ship but in designated areas. As soon as the doors opened, the wind blew the smoke in the bar and café. Maid service to our cabin was excellent, Mayvale was perfect. Drinks are reasonably priced, same as the High Street with nothing extra added for service. Wi-Fi was expensive so didn't use as was able to do so ashore on our own devices. Library had a good selection of jigsaws on the go if that's what you like doing. Plenty of fiction and other books but never the travel ones you need in order to look up the ports you are visiting. Never enough crosswords printed on sea days, no-one thought to print more. The ports were excellent, Guernsey, Cork, Dublin, Belfast, Stornoway, Kirkwall, Portree and Glasgow. Pity the info given to us beforehand was true and readily accessible before embarkation. Two days to go and P & O still couldn't tell me how we were getting from the ship into Cork. In the end they laid on a shuttle bus which we used in the morning and then went on the Jameson Whiskey trip in the afternoon which was excellent. St. Peter Port, Guernsey - tender here, seas were very rough but the crew got everyone ashore and back safely. You had to collect a numbered ticket in the waiting area of the ship beforehand until your number was called to go ashore. The wait was 30-40 minutes. Dublin a shuttle bus was available and the city is very walkable and was our favourite place on the cruise. Lively and plenty to see and do, plan beforehand for best way to spend your day there. Belfast, a shuttle bus was provided here too. We went on the Giants Causeway trip which included a trip along the coastal road beforehand with several stops for photos. On the return journey we were given a ride through Belfast city centre, all in all an excellent trip and a longish day out as it's a fair way to the Causeway. Stornoway was a new destination for the ship, Tender here. Very small but a great place to discover and the highland dancers and bagpipe players in the street made for an interesting afternoon. Lovely little harbour. Kirkwall - was told in writing from P & O that the ship docked 0.5 miles from the town centre. WRONG, it was 2.5 miles. A shuttle bus was provided but we walked there and caught the shuttle back. A pleasant walk with an interesting town but again, very small. Portree, tender here and another rough day but the crew excelled. Nice little town but with 1800 people from a ship descending on the town is was incredibly crowded and also had loads of other tourists there too. We walked well out of town and enjoyed the views from the top of the hill. Greenock (for Glasgow). Another boo boo from P & O. Again, was told in writing that a shuttle bus would be provided into Glasgow. WRONG, had to make our own way there. Took a Scotrail day return for £6.90 per person into Glasgow, takes 35-50 minutes depending on how many stops the train makes. A good 15-20 minute walk from the ship to the station in Greenock but delivers you right in the centre of Glasgow. An interesting day for us photographers as there are so many wonderful buildings and a great atmosphere with street artists everywhere. The station architecture in a masterpiece. The itinerary states one day at sea and two days of "sail by's" which is a complete con as you are at sea these days too but sail nearer to land and can just make out what's on shore. Theatre timings are not well planned. First show at 8.30pm, second at 10.30pm which meant as second sitting diners we had to go to the show at 10.30 finishing at 11.30, a little too late for the early start in the morning and with a ship full of "old" people, and I stress "old", I doubt many could keep away this late. The earlier show was so full there weren't enough seats as we dined in the café a couple of times in order to see the show. Same with the cinema, had to sit on the floor for the duration as there weren't enough seats. Shows were the same old, same old, would love cruises to come up with something different. There was a large percentage of P & O dedicated cruisers on board and I felt that P & O were a little reluctant to improve things as there was no need with so many old timers. It's only when you have cruised with another line that you can make a comparison and there is definitely room for improvement here. Read Less
16 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2016
We booked this cruise a year ago as, with TEN ports of call, it seemed remarkably good value TheShip ... Read More
We booked this cruise a year ago as, with TEN ports of call, it seemed remarkably good value TheShip We’ve been on Oriana three times before, but since we were last on her we’ve been on Oceana, a very “glitzy” ship, and the elegant and beautiful Queen Elizabeth. Stepping back onto Oriana, with her very plain décor and rather uninspiring atrium, was somewhat underwhelming. However, it didn’t take long for us to remember the things we love about this old lady of the seas, in particular the curved aft decks and the lovely dance floor in Harlequins. It felt like coming home! We do understand that on a ship maintenance is ongoing, but it was rather annoying that a new deck was being laid on the sun deck above the outside seating and Terrace bar, which meant that for the whole of the cruise it was like eating and drinking on a building site with constant noise throughout the day. Cabin We chose cabin C304, which we’ve been in twice before, as it’s the first one from the back with both a bath and a shower. It has a large window – balcony cabins are expensive on Oriana as she has so few - but being so near the back it’s easy to make yourself a cup of tea and walk out onto the aft deck with it instead of sitting on a balcony. The cabin is fine, although the wardrobe space is challenging on an 18 night cruise! Our steward, Silvestre, was very sweet and we think he liked us as he sometimes gave us extra chocolates! I do wish P&O would bring back decent biscuits though, I’m not keen on the ones they have now. Passengers Someone told me that the average age on this cruise was 82! I don’t know if that’s true, but there certainly weren’t many people under 60, or even 70. Most people we shared a table with were very pleasant, there were a few who were rather boring, but nobody we really didn’t like. The practice of reserving sunbeds/chairs with towels and books is still very much in evidence, one morning I was up early (about 6am) and wandered out onto the aft deck, to find about half a dozen chairs already “reserved”. Food We started off having breakfast in the Conservatory (buffet), but after a couple of days decided that we preferred to sit outside Al Fresco. Neither of us wanted the “full English breakfast” so we were happy with the selection of fruit, pastries and bacon or sausage panini. Lunch was also sometimes at Al Fresco (pizza, pasta and salads) or at the buffet. We noticed that the desserts were not as nice as they used to be, and also they often ran out and people had to ask for more. In the evening we were on Freedom Dining in the Peninsular restaurant. We soon realised that the area in the middle became very hot, so always asked for an outside table for six or eight. The food was OK, sometime it was lukewarm and sometimes the vegetables were a bit strange, but it was edible. We don’t feel it’s as good as it used to be. Twice we ate at The Beach House (£5 supplement), mainy because we wanted to eat outside as the weather was so beautiful. On the second occasion we were offered a table inside, despite having requested an outside one when we booked. We were then told that you couldn’t request a particular table – it would have been nice to have been told that when we booked. We refused to sit inside and said we would wait until someone finished their meal, we were not even offered an apology or a complementary drink, as we felt sure a restaurant on land would do if they felt customers were upset. The food was very good, although to be honest there weren’t many things on the menu which appealed to me, I preferred it when it was Sorrento. Few people seemed to eat at Sindhu (£15 per person supplement), it always looked almost empty when we walked past. We certainly would not pay that for an Indian meal. It was disappointing that there is no longer a Chocoholics buffet. On the last day but one there was a special tea in the Conservatory, with lots of cakes and a chocolate fountain, but it was not advertised in the Horizon so a lot of people didn’t know about it. I only found out because I happened to go in for a cup of tea. Daytime Activities There were seven sea days on this cruise, and fortunately the weather was good on all except the first two and we were able to sunbathe or sit on deck, as there was not a great deal going on around the ship which appealed to us. I always enjoy the line dancing at 10am for a bit of exercise, and the Port Presentations were good (apart from the Australian presenter’s appalling pronounciation of French/Italian/Spanish names and words, which gave us a laugh!). There were no cookery demonstrations, no ice carving, no interview with the Captain or the Headliners, few of the usual things. There was only one guest speaker for the whole cruise, speaking on the topic of Shakespeare and the Elizabethan theatre – I have no idea what he was like as I didn’t meet anyone who’d seen him. Where are the ex-politicians, sports personalities, actors and actresses etc? If the weather hadn’t been so good we might well have been bored. Evening entertainment We always enjoy the Headliner’s shows, even though we’ve seen them several times before, but it would be nice if there were a few new ones soon. Just about everyone we spoke to had seen all the shows before. This group were one of the best we’ve seen, and we particularly enjoyed their Abba and Queen tributes. The guest artistes were all quite good, but there were rather a lot of singers. Two female singers, two male singers, a group of four male singers, and a trio of female singers. There were also two comedians who were mildly amusing rather than hilariously funny, and a saxophonist who had appeared on X Factor or BGT (don’t know as I never watch either!). Dancing We are keen ballroom, latin and sequence dancers, and this is one of the main reasons we enjoy cruising, particularly on Oriana with her lovely dance floor. There were two bands who played in Harlequins – the John James Trio (who have been on Oriana for a long time) and Maria and the Goodfellas. John James plays good music to strict tempo, but the other band were appalling. They were more a jazz-blues type band, certainly not a dance band, and they didn’t have the first clue about dancing. Goodness knows how P&O employed them as a dance band. The dance instructors had a word with them and things improved a little, but not much. After a few nights my husband and I were so fed up that we asked for a meeting with the Entertainments Manager (Elaine) to complain. She said she’d try to schedule John James to be in Harlequins more often, especially on formal nights, but it didn’t really happen. We also had to make a complaint about the temperature in Harlequins. Some places (such as the Pacific Lounge, where people were just sitting watching a show) were freezing cold, but the dance venue was far too hot. When you are dancing a lot you get very hot, and need the air conditioning to be on full blast. After we made a formal complaint it did improve, however then people who were watching moaned that they were cold! Sorry, but the comfort of the dancers has to come first. The instructors, Deborah and Gordon Maguire, were lovely, but we were disappointed they only taught beginners classes – most cruises we’ve been on have an intermediate class in the afternoon. We did manage to pick up one new step though, which was pleasing. The ports This was a particularly good itinerary with TEN ports – Cadiz, Marseille, Corsica, Civitavecchia, Sicily, Sardinia, Sorrento, Corigliano Calabro, Tangiers and Lisbon. We went on four shore excursions, but we do feel some are expensive for what they are. For example, in Sicily we decided a swim in the sea would be nice, so booked the beach transfer to Giardini Naxos. This was £38 per person for a 50 minute coach ride, two and a half hours on the beach with sunbeds (we had to pay an extra 5 euros for an umbrella!) and the coach ride back. Someone is making a lot of money! The best excursion was the City Tour and guided walk in Tangiers, which was very interesting. In Conclusion It was an enjoyable cruise, despite quite a lot of little niggles. We do feel that there have been so many cutbacks in recent years, small things which added to the enjoyment of a cruise. A good example is on formal nights – a lady whose second cruise this was remarked that it was lovely to see the passengers making so much effort, but a real pity that P&O seemed to make no effort whatsoever. We told her that until recently Harlequins would be decorated with balloons on formal nights – black and white on b/w night, pink and white on Ladies night – and all the ladies were given a red carnation. The waiters used to dress in waistcoats in the colours of whichever country you were visiting, and on Tropical night they all had beautiful, brightly coloured shirts. Now they wear the same black and white uniforms all the time. We will cruise with P&O again, and probably on Oriana again, but I really think P&O need to get their act together and start improving the standards again. I would say they are no more than 3* at the moment. Read Less
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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