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.
Cabin ready so we then went to A157 - outside with shower over a bath -wow a bath! Yes it had a bath but I have to say why? So small that only a child could really get in comfortably and the real trick was that you could not sit on the toilet as the bath was in the way. I really have to imagine how someone could actually sit down and design this and think it was a good idea! Colour scheme pink and dated but the taps to bath and basin were new and clean. Slight problem with shower was that the controls were so low down they were difficult to reach and if the water as to hot or cold you either got scalded or frozen trying to adjust it. Plenty of wardrobe space for this size of cabin there was a 3rd wardrobe but no hangers! Silly me forgetting to bring them. Only on board for 3 nights so did not need the extra space. There is also a safe in this wardrobe, it is about a foot off the floor and about 3 inches deep so you could not fit even a small jewelry case in it. Passports and cash only I am afraid. TV is a small flat screen with intermittent remote control.