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50 P&O Cruises Oriana Europe - British Isles & Western Cruise Reviews

We chose this cruise as the ship was smaller than some and we had cruised before on Oriana and we enjoyed it very much last time. However this time the food was very poor, service in the restaurant was 3rd rate and most of the staff ... Read More
We chose this cruise as the ship was smaller than some and we had cruised before on Oriana and we enjoyed it very much last time. However this time the food was very poor, service in the restaurant was 3rd rate and most of the staff around the ship we very amateur. We sat at the same table each night and had the same staff. They were very bad at bringing quickly the correct food which was always cold. For one meal the waiter actually threw the starter on plate. At another meal the soup bowl came with the soup dripping down the sides. The bar staff were very sullen and made it an effort to serve us. However the staff in Al Fresco were wonderful. We had most of our breakfast and lunches there. Although the choice of food was limited, we always managed to eat well. All the staff were excellent even remembering the porridge for my husband each morning. Robert the Head Waiter was wonderful. The comfort around the lounges was very dull. Not one lounge or bar had outside windows that you could see through. The only place with windows was the Crows Nest which is far from cosy. It long overdue to have a refit. Our cabin wash basin was a disgrace and the beds were not as comfortable as ships beds usually are. We don't think we will travel again on P and O if this is the quality of the food and service. Read Less
Sail Date August 2016
This was a two-night trial cruise to Bruges for us (our second ever cruise and first with P&O) in advance of a longer cruise later in the year. We upgraded to a mini-suite to see what the quality was like. We had a very mixed ... Read More
This was a two-night trial cruise to Bruges for us (our second ever cruise and first with P&O) in advance of a longer cruise later in the year. We upgraded to a mini-suite to see what the quality was like. We had a very mixed experience. Embarkation delayed due to an IT failure but handled very well under the tricky circumstances. We were ushered into a specially corded off section of the otherwise chaotic waiting area with free biscuits and coffee, before an efficient boarding process - making us only an hour late. Initial impressions of the mini-suite were good - the size of the balcony and the room; complimentary champagne, chocolates and canapes plus a warm welcome from our cabin steward. But on closer inspection many of the featured extra elements were disappointing: the room's binoculars for example were old and couldn't be focused with disintegrating rubber eyepieces ; the balcony metal work was in the process of being painted (the wet-paint notice blew away shortly after departure) making use of the balcony a tad tricky; whilst out on the excursion, the cabin's balcony rail was varnished without any indication whatsoever - until we leaned on it. On the last night, the ship was gently rolling around a tiny bit due to the motion of the ocean but the creaking and squeaking from the cabin ceiling was extraordinary. The cabin's bathroom was seriously lacking "luxury". Substantial sections of grout around the bath area were filthy and black with mould - see photos. On the last evening of the cruise I tried to use the featured "whirlpool" accessory but it buzzed briefly, stopped and filled the bath water with small bits of black debris and left a smell of drains. I reported these matters to reception and the initial response was hopeful. Two people arrived within minutes including the cabin steward. They said they would look at the matter whilst we were at dinner. From then on we didn't receive any further communication or see the steward for the rest of the trip. We didn't even receive a final account from him and reception staff had to print one off for us on departure. So if there is a next time, we're sticking to a simple balcony or an outside view cabin with fewer things to go wrong and costing much less. For meals we opted for freedom dining and on both evenings chose to sit with other diners rather than wait 50 minutes for a table for two. The food was very good with a fair choice and wine options by the glass or bottle with prices that compared well with high street restaurants. Service was efficient and we had a very pleasant time meeting some interesting people - this was one of the best elements of the experience. The second night was black tie but this formality was observed by barely half the passengers which was irritating as we'd made the effort. We tried out various bars and the service everywhere on the ship was efficient, friendly and welcoming. For entertainment we saw an absolutely superb Dean Richardson perform an enjoyable Freddie Mercury tribute in the Theatre Royal. We also went to see a film in the Chaplin Cinema; I'm not sure what imaging technology was being used there but the experience was like watching the film on a very old TV with washed out and distorted colours. The staff at the spa centre were really informative and friendly - they took us on a tour round all the facilities and we would have returned here had the cruise been longer. We booked a P&O coach excursion to Bruges and this, although a tad expensive, was easy, relaxing, informative and we had a great day. Other passengers went to Bruges by public transport. Interestingly, the world's longest tram line runs the entire length of the Belgian coast (and right past the port entrance) and we were thinking that that would have been an excellent way to spend the day (if you like trams and haven't been to Bruges). Disembarkation was excellent: very smooth and efficient and you certainly got the impression that they didn't want you hanging around. All in all, I think we had a good "ferry" type experience in that it was all over very quickly and the ship was comfortable. But it felt like we were getting in the way of the various maintenance jobs that were being done before the ship's next long trip. Paying for a mini-suite upgrade was a waste of money in that it didn't provide anything like the full luxury experience we imagined. I probably would choose a bigger ship for a longer cruise next time. Read Less
Sail Date August 2016
Mixed review for this weekend cruise to Belgium, Entertainment was really good,Balcony Cabin snug but clean and functional ,good bars, tiny casino and basic shops. Ship is quite small but has everything you need for a short trip. Now for ... Read More
Mixed review for this weekend cruise to Belgium, Entertainment was really good,Balcony Cabin snug but clean and functional ,good bars, tiny casino and basic shops. Ship is quite small but has everything you need for a short trip. Now for the not so good, delayed check in caused chaos.Once we did finally get on board the crew and service was poor to say the least, curt, uninterested and unorganized staff throughout the ship. Not the usual standard we have come to expect and pay for with P and O. We were hurried through dinner and even asked to leave our table before we had completely finished on both nights, in order for the table to be ready for the second sitting, not our late arrival but their inefficiency, poor time management and almost no visible leadership. Disembarkation morning was awful, so many facilities roped off, closed or being cleaned, they just wanted us off the ship and were none to subtle about it either.... so disappointed P and O, you have lost four customers. Read Less
Sail Date August 2016
Cruise check in slow due to computers being down. (2nd time this has happened to us at Southampton) On embarkation we had just enough time to attend the mandatory lifeboat drill.(Not sure how they knew who was there as there was no role ... Read More
Cruise check in slow due to computers being down. (2nd time this has happened to us at Southampton) On embarkation we had just enough time to attend the mandatory lifeboat drill.(Not sure how they knew who was there as there was no role call). Ship looked old and in desperate need of a refit. It doesn't take long to get round a ship this size and i can't think of anything i saw that was an improvement on previous my cruise experiences. Whllst the stewards and operatives did their bit to make you feel welcome i didn't sense, due to dining option questions raised, this carried across to the hierarchy. Officers seemed uninterested and hurried. Pro's - Andersons Bar (Good Cocktails) -Crows Nest Bar - BRUGES (well worth a visit, lots of beer and choclate) Lunch ashore, the Flemish Beef Stew paricularly good Cons - Sports Bar (Plastic Beer Glasses) - Cabin (See below) - Shopping Area (Limited) - Fully booked alternative dining - Conservatory (Top Deck Cafeteria) poorest for food/layout and seating Only a 2 night taster to introduce my Niece & Nephew (20's) but would always choose a more updated ship and probably not P & O Read Less
Sail Date August 2016
Our embarkation time was 1430 but we arrived a bit early to find chaos in the embarkation hall that was bursting at the seams. The IT system had been down since 1130 and no one was moving. They eventually decided to embark us and for ... Read More
Our embarkation time was 1430 but we arrived a bit early to find chaos in the embarkation hall that was bursting at the seams. The IT system had been down since 1130 and no one was moving. They eventually decided to embark us and for credit cards to be swiped on-board, but then the IT system came online so it was back to normal and wait. At check in I was given our (2) cards and also a map of the ship and told to keep my card in the pocket in the map. I asked for a second map for my wife and was told that this was not allowed, 1 map per party. We did meet a couple on-board and asked them about their boarding experience. They said that they had avoided the turmoil as their daughter worked for Carnival and they had been taken straight on-board. It's not what you know but who you know. Arrived on-board to be told that the conservatory restaurant was still open so dumped our bags in our cabin and made our way there. The BBQ was still open although the sign said that it would close at 1430, our initial boarding time so if it were not for the IT glitch it would have closed before we boarded and no BBQ for us. Our cabin was spacious and well appointed but I did not realise that they made TV's that small. The bed was fine but had 2 of the hardest pillows I have come across in a long time. The ship is obviously showing it's age as there was a fixed ashtray in the bathroom next to the toilet. As we had booked late we had been given anytime dining in the Peninsular Restaurant. After our late lunch we made our way there at about 8pm. The card we had been given from P&O said that the Restaurant. Manager would make every effort to seat us straight away but that there could be a slight wait. The manager appeared very officious and told us that there would be a 50 minute wait for a table. I pointed out the information supplied by P&O and I did not feel that 50 minutes was a slight wait. I was told that he was not responsible for what P&O told me but he was telling me there would be a 50 minute wait. We therefore agreed to share and were seated with a young couple. Starters were fine, soup for me and prawn cocktail for my wife but it went downhill from then. My wife selected the specialty stew for her main course, not good. I had steak and it was 1/4" thick and could only be described as a piece of very poor frying steak. Pudding was no better, my wife's sticky toffee pudding was a piece of dried up ginger sponge that had been sitting around so long that when the sauce was poured over it failed to be absorbed. My Pavlova was a hard disk of meringue, no cream and 3 slices of Kiwi fruit sitting on top and our table companion had exactly the same experience. Petit fours with coffee was 1 tiny square of soft shortbread per person. This experience was so poor, officious manager and very poor food that we decided there and then not to go back the following night, Even though we had taken black tie etc we gave it a miss and went to the Conservatory in smart casual. Even here the food left a lot to be desired. Squid in Chill Sauce was part of the mains. When have you seen squid rings that are perfectly uniform and when cut through the cross section is perfectly circular, bringing to mind rubber "O" rings? Have they now progressed from crab sticks? Breakfast was generally good but on both mornings I had a chocolate muffin, and both times the muffin was dry and stale. Rather than pay P&O for the excursion to Bruge our taxi driver had advised us to take the shuttle to Blankenburg and then the train, and as P&O were not my favourite people at this time that is what we did and had a great day out. There were 2 nights of entertainment on-board, the first by the ships dancers who started off a little slowly but soon warmed up and it was a very enjoyable evening. The second night was a Freddie Mercurie tribute and he was excellent. Half the ship seemed to be taken over by hens, no problems but they really enjoyed the entertainment and by the end of the show he had everyone on their feet and waving their arms. Because we look after our grandchildren we found we could go on this trip at very short notice, and had gone to enjoy the black tie night. We did not do this mainly because of the attitude of the manager at the Peninsular and the very poor quality of the food. Having had chaos during boarding disembarking was not much better with lack of information and long lines. My lasting impression is that P&O set themselves an extremely low standard and consistently failed to achieve it. I very much doubt if we will be back. Read Less
Sail Date August 2016
I chose this cruise because of the itinerary and the dates. Some of my friends said to me ''oh you are not going on that old tub'' so I did not have high expectations. However, on boarding the ship I found it to be ... Read More
I chose this cruise because of the itinerary and the dates. Some of my friends said to me ''oh you are not going on that old tub'' so I did not have high expectations. However, on boarding the ship I found it to be better than I expected. It is an old ship and does need money spending on it, but I was not as disappointed as I had expected to be. My cabin C155 on Deck 9 was small but compact with plenty of room for me travelling alone, with lots of wardrobe space. The bathroom, especially the shower was very small with a skimpy curtain which clung to me when I turned the warm water on. My main problem on this cruise was the lack of soundproofing in my cabin. I could hear everything the couple in the next cabin said, and they were only talking, not shouting. I complained and asked to change cabins, all to no avail. I do not believe that they did not have any spare cabins. I had to turn my television on and wait until they had stopped talking before I could go to sleep. This really marred my enjoyment and my ability to go to sleep when I wanted to. My cabin was fairly clean but would have benefited from a thorough vacuuming of the carpet. The bed was very comfortable with very nice bedding. The food in the main dining room where I ate in the evening was very good, absolutely no complaints there. However, in the Buffet the crew/staff were more lax and unwilling to help and seemed to do as little as possible and seemed totally disinterested in doing their job. On our last day I was in the Crows Nest with a friend having coffee, and my friend asked for some warm milk in a little jug as her coffee was too strong, and the waiter turned and looked at her angrily and said ''WHAT!!'' in a most indignant way - we were both stunned at his action. The crew on this ship really let it down in a major way. A week previously I had been on another cruise on the Celebrity Eclipse to the Baltics, and the crew were so professional, friendly and helpful, vastly different from the crew on the Oriana. The entertainment in the evening was very good. One comedian in particular was very good and was as good as any professional we see on the TV. I do not think I would go on this ship again. I need to know that once in my cabin I can sleep if I want to, without listening to other people's conversations for hours. Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
This was a first 'taster' cruise with P&O to help me decide whether to book a longer cruise with them next year and also to find out how they compared with the likes of Celebrity, Fred Olsen and Holland America. I'm ... Read More
This was a first 'taster' cruise with P&O to help me decide whether to book a longer cruise with them next year and also to find out how they compared with the likes of Celebrity, Fred Olsen and Holland America. I'm sorry to say that I found the P&O Oriana a very poor experience and certainly won't be rushing to book another cruise with them. Travelling solo meant that I'd paid a 100% single supplement for school dinner quality food, unsmiling service (if you could get any at all) and a general feeling that the passengers were incidental to the cruise rather than the reason for it. A 45min wait for a coffee (after the order had been taken), a main course in the Peninsular restaurant so bad (cold, shrivelled up and with a decidely 'off' taste) that I left all but a couple of mouthfuls with no alternative forthcoming, unappetising and sparse buffet food in the Conservatory (eg., biscuits with no accompanying cheese available), blocked or flooded public toilets and an utterly shambolic attempt at afternoon tea in the Peninsular restaurant on the afternoon we should have been in Amsterdam but were still anchored in the channel waiting for the wind to drop. Most people i spoke to had comnplaints about some aspect of the cruise and some intimated that P&O might not have thought that passengers on such a short cruise were worth bothering about. If so, they need to think again. Read Less
Sail Date December 2015
We read some less than shining reviews about Oriana and her crew so we wanted to set the record straight from our point of view! It's just our opinion but I hope it helps someone make a more balanced decision. We had a brilliant ... Read More
We read some less than shining reviews about Oriana and her crew so we wanted to set the record straight from our point of view! It's just our opinion but I hope it helps someone make a more balanced decision. We had a brilliant four days away from home! Sailing to Brugge and Amsterdam. The ship is older, and smaller than some. Although you wouldn't know it. Some areas need a refit or a spruce up but every where you go it's well maintained and clean! The Pacific Lounge has a charm about it, like a time warpy charm back to the 80s, and ideally P&O would stop their practice of cramming the Headliners in there to perform the abba show... But it was still a good watch! The entertainment was exceptional for a mini cruise, we thought it wouldn't stand up to the longer itineraries but we packed as much into 4 days as we could and there was plenty we didn't have time for. The crew are the best in the fleet! They knock spots off Ventura and Oceana, the company should be most proud of them. We had a rough sea day back to Southampton and the captain kept us well informed and turned as soon as he could to get the ship more stable. The "motion discomfort bags" were deployed in double time (I'm not taking the Micky, that's what they're called). We even saw waiters and bar staff helping older passengers to navigate the public areas and get to their rooms safely. It wasn't that bumpy but I'm able bodied and agile so I wouldn't have worried, but the entire crew pulled together and kept everyone comfy! They even kept the buffet open later after lunch for those that had missed it. The standard of food on P&O has taken a dip in recent years, some cynics call this the "carnival effect" but we didn't notice on this ship! We have noticed on others though. So Oriana's chefs and cooks are doing a brilliant job. All of the meat was fantastic and we had enough food at every sitting, despite this we were always offered more (but who seriously needs more than five courses when two thirds of the world are starving). Even the late night buffet for second dinner was brilliant and fresh hot chocolate every night, as much as you wanted until you could feel diabetes setting in! We had one dinner at Marco Pierre Whites Ocean Grill for a nominal £18 surcharge and I'd have happily paid £25! It was the best meal out I've had in my life, I think I passed out half way through my trifle - and came too only to find a hand made (no machines here) latte that the wonderful Donna our waitress had made specially for me to revive me! We also had one breakfast in 'Alfresco' which was lovely also. I don't like a fry up daily so Al fresco was the place to go, I wish I'd found it sooner. It's gets really busy and we had a ten minute wait for a table for four of us, but we could have sat outside and been seated immediately. In alfresco they make omelettes and eggs to order, fresh breakfast paninis and more fresh fruit than a del monte advert. Worth a try if your going on Ventura, deck 12 aft. A word of warning to your livers! The bar tenders in he crows nest have a great habit of "accidentally" adding extra rum to your piña coladas!!!!! I also have a great habit of accidentally drinking three in a row.... Between the six of us we must have tried every cocktail they make, and possibly a few more! But at £5 a go for at least four shots of booze and an umbrella who can moan? They do Virgin Mocktails too for the little ones or the less alcoholic amongst you. But I didn't try them! Costa coffee is served in the atrium, and the food their is free with your cruise it's just the specialty drinks that are extra. Light bites and cakes galore. Costa is cheaper onboard than on shore too, and always piping hot. We ventured to afternoon tea on our sea day, as usual for P&O the afternoon tea is a little lack lustre... And be staff suitably grumpy and formal. It all adds to the atmosphere though :) Our cabin was tiny, we decided to to try an inside for the first time as it was only a short cruise. We used to pay for balconies only to never use them, and now we just go for an obstructed view as its jive to have the day light. But as I say, we went all dungeon on this trip. If you're okay with no natural light and the feeling of the walls coming toward you then go for an inside, but if like me you get a little claustrophobic pay the extra £50 for an obstructed view! Our cabin was clean, comfy and had everything we needed except enough plug sockets. Take a four way socket with you if you have more than thing to charge over night. If you forget you can leave your phone at reception with your charger and they'll charge it for you. They're lovely too! The water pressure is a joke on this ship!!! Be very careful! It's so strong I had a daily exfoliation if I needed it or not. Seriously it's really really good flow in the shower. Another note worth considering and I promise this is the last thing, is that there are no kids on board. For the childless like us, this is heavenly. This means in reality that you can always use the pools, dinner is civilised and there is more pudding left on the buffet. I hope you've found my ramblings helpful. We can't wait to get back on Oriana and we hope she has many more decades in service. We've been on all the P&O ships between us except for Artemis and Britannia, and so far Oriana really really is the best! Thanks to the crew for a truly memorable and top spec holiday! Worth every penny! Read Less
Sail Date July 2015
Our first cruise, to Ireland, Iceland, Faroe Islands, Orkneys, Dublin and back to Southampton. Our room A196 mid ship was a good position top price for a Non balcony room. The room itself was in need of refurbishment lots of rust round ... Read More
Our first cruise, to Ireland, Iceland, Faroe Islands, Orkneys, Dublin and back to Southampton. Our room A196 mid ship was a good position top price for a Non balcony room. The room itself was in need of refurbishment lots of rust round windows and in bathroom. The room was cleaned regularly but not very well the kettle was dirty and not cleaned during our stay. Our last day at sea, new bed linen was put in our room for the next cruise, just made us feel it's time to go and make room for the next passengers. Food ... Overall average, the breakfast was ok nothing special and it was difficult to get a table for four at some times. Lunch was also nothing special. Dinner was better, good choice, well presented and served by friendly waiters. But not always perfect some basic mistakes in the cooking , not fine dinning at its best. Entertainment... Didn't impress us second rate singers, comedians, musicians and only one film worth watching. Making days at sea boring. Ports of call... KILLYBEGS fantastic day out hired a taxi who took us along the old road ,where coaches can't go, lots of photo stops, a stop at a spinners and hand weavers work shop, on to Glencolmcille Folk Village. Lunch at a small restaurant, all the time being entertained by our driver who was bought up in the area. The cost was half what P&O would charge for a similar trip but we saw so much more. Now, having been allocated £540.00 on board spending money and not being drinkers the only thing to spend it on was trips out. ICELAND we did The Golden Circle, The Jewels of the North on both these trips we saw the main attractions albeit in a rush with hundreds of other tourists, over priced not that impressed. Our other trip was to The Abondoned Village of Hesteyri this was a complete disaster, we were taken by boat across the Glacier fjord about 18 miles, an hours journey on a rough sea day was far from comfortable some passengers sitting outside getting cold and wet. On arrival we had to transfer to a small rubber dingy six at a time to go the last 100 metres or so the the floating jetty, sitting on the rubber side with nothing to hold onto was extremely dangerous if any one was to fall into the water it was very very cold and for anyone with a heart condition could have been fatal. We were not informed about this before we left. On the positive side we were away from the crowds, just 36 of us a few walkers in a cold wilderness and the food supplied was quite good. However the tour description left a lot to be desired, the Abondoned houses turned out to be local weekend holiday homes and the old whaling factory was a mile away. Think carefully before booking this excursion. FAROES ISLANDS we choose the Sagas and Legends a very good trip with good guide enjoyed these islands and would very much like a holiday there. ORKNEYS the weather was against us here it rained all day and was windy so our trip was not great couldn't see the views , but we did see enough to know that we should come again, just what we did four weeks later on a coach tour of Scotland, by ferry from Jon o Grotes and a fantastic coach trip seeing all the attractions not available with P&O trips. DUBLIN our last port was a trip out on their local open top bus getting on or off where ever you wanted to, too much to see on one visit. To sum up cruising is not for us, we like value for money and the freedom to do what we want to when we want to. So our next holiday is two weeks all inclusive in a five star hotel for half what the cruise cost. Read Less
Sail Date June 2015
We have just returned from a P&O short cruise to Guernsey and Zeebrugge on the Oriana. A holiday didn't get off to a good start as the ship could not dock due to high winds and our trip was cut short by 24 hours. Our four ... Read More
We have just returned from a P&O short cruise to Guernsey and Zeebrugge on the Oriana. A holiday didn't get off to a good start as the ship could not dock due to high winds and our trip was cut short by 24 hours. Our four night cruise became a 3 night cruise. We live in Lancashire and had already arrived in Southampton before we learned this and it was difficult to gain infromation as the P&O staff were not in uniform so it was hard to establish who they were amongst the passengers. However I take my hat off to P&O for springing into action and finding accomodation for over 1500 passengers in and around Southampton which included dinner and wine. As if this wasn't enough they then added £30 per passenger to our cabin card for spending on board the ship and have written to us confirming we will receive a 50% percent refund of the cost of our holiday to compensate us for the lost night at sea. We were collected from our hotel on embarkation day by coach and taken to the teminal to be checked in and boarded. The entire process took less than an hour and 30 minutes. Very impressive!. You would never get that from an airline. We had an inside cabin which was sufficient for the time we planned to spend in it. The bed was very comfortable and our cabin steward kept it spotlessly clean for us. The nightly turn down service with little chocoloates left on our pillows was a nice touch. The ship itself is a little dated and could do with a refit. The pools looked overdue a clean and many of the pictures in the coridors leading to the cabins had been wiped with a damp cloth and allowed to dry with smears which gave the ship a slightly unkempt look which was a shame as there were other areas that were immaculate. The gym was suprisingly large and well equipped for the size of the ship and the spa looked ok through the window although we never actually went in. The dining rooms were elegant and we particularly liked the ambience of Crows Nest bar with the talented jazz musicians who provided very pleasant entertainment. There was plenty of other entertainment on the ship. We weren't on long enough to sample most of it but there is something for everyone. We were very well fed with excellent five course meals in the evening although we did not always get what we had ordered. We were on freedom dining which meant that we could attend the Peninsular Restaurant at a time to suit us. We had to queue but it wasn't for long and were seated with lovely people every night. The Gala Dinner was lovely with just about everybody wearing black tie and evening gowns. The buffet breakfast was a bit of a free for all, not enough places to sit inside and was not worth the queue. We ordered room service on our final evening and this was very good. The cost of drinks both soft and alcoholic is very reasonable with a bottle of Prosecco costing less that £20 and table wine is also at very good value. The shore excursions are also very well priced, We did the Bruges on your Own and this cost less for the two of us than a return taxi would have cost. We had prebooked a couples massage for our sea day and although the sea day was cancelled we still went ahead with the treatment and shortened our time ashore. I have to be honest and say it was a total rip off. It didn't compare to any professional massage I have received in a salon but cost twice as much at £146 for both of us with an additional 10% added to our cabin card on board for gratuities. The treatment room was a bit clinical but at the same time a little grubby. I appreicate that scented candles would probably create a fire hazard but a bit of ambient lighting and another form of scent would have given it more atmosphere. It was carried out by two girls of oriental descent one of whom sniffed constantly and to be honest it all felt a bit sleazy. Our eyes were kept covered for most of it and towards the end we both became aware of something with a strong smell of vicks or eucalyptus being wafted under our noses. When the treatment was complete we were asked to dress and remain in the room. The therapists returned with water from a cooler for us to drink but then came the hard sell of Elemis products that they tried to convince us they had used by asking us to smell them. The smell was similar but I'm certain it was not the aroma we experienced when our eyes were covered. Nice try but you didn't fool us! In conclussion I would definitely cruise with P&O again and would even sail on the Oriana again too. She's an old girl but has a lovely faded charm. I will opt for a fixed time to dine but would still be happly with an inside cabin as I did hear that the outsides with a balcony got a little cold at night. Well done to P&O for dealing so efficiently with the crisis on what should have been our first day/night and thank you for the lovely accomodation and dinner you provided. We look forward to sailing with you again soon. Read Less
Sail Date March 2015
Thus was our 16th cruise and looking forward to boarding what was the flag ship of P&O the Oriana. Great start as we had to wait to board approx. 2 hours due to an out break of Norovirus on the previous cruise.This then set the theme ... Read More
Thus was our 16th cruise and looking forward to boarding what was the flag ship of P&O the Oriana. Great start as we had to wait to board approx. 2 hours due to an out break of Norovirus on the previous cruise.This then set the theme for the rest of our cruise.Mayhem in the Conservatory restaurant as waiters served and all the dishes had to be handed out trays and plates,drinks etc.the already rather small area became Butlins at sea.The cabin A311 was smaller than we were used too and the wardrobe inadequate.The safe which became an issue later on was too small.The only real saving grace was the Tea making facilities as with all P&O we have been on and the lovely hot shower albeit in a very small bath.The first meal in the Peninsular restaurant which is now freedom dining was poor.We are used to asking for an receiving a table for two as is our wish, but was informed we could wait up to an our for this.So sitting with a table of 6 we listened to the gripes and moans of the other two couples sending back their food swapping dishes to try to see if their partners were any better, so we decided the following night to try the Ocean Grill of Marco Pierre Whites fame.This was a pleasant and rewarding experience costing us about £46 with wine for two.We returned to the Peninsular on the following evening and found it better, but not great, so the last evening we went back to the Ocean Grille. having booked the excursion called "Bruges on your own" which basically a bus ride into Bruges at 9.30am and a certain pick up time of 4pm costing £74 for the two of us, which my wife wanted to do to make sure we got there and back in time for the ships departure,but alas on the morning poor Yorick it was not meant to be.The safe was having none of it all of our passports and money remained sealed behind the metal door, the code meant nothing to this junk of metal, so we called for assistance at reception.We were promised 10 minutes -this came and went -we phoned and explained that the coach is about to depart for Bruges without us another 5 minutes he said - so I asked my wife to go down and explain our predicament and see if we could get a slight delay to the rep.dealing with the excursion -10 more minutes she was told - and eventually after 25 minutes a guy turned up put a card in a slot tutted and said "the safe is kaput,I will have to call for the guy with the tools" " how long" I asked""10 minutes" he said after 10 minutes I phoned reception and they said he must have gone the long way round,10 minutes after that he turned up and proceeded to drill out the front of the safe UUMM this is the 21st century and yet here we are drilling out an ancient safe because the electrics have gone tits up.When at last he managed to drill off the front I retrieved our documents and monies and headed off to be with my wife.The coach had gone and the shuttle bus was full so we had to wait for the next which meant we missed the connection at the station and as the train only goes on ten passed the hour, we had to wait and hour ,which meant getting to Bruges at 12pm and the last train we could catch back was 2.30 because they stopped running the shuttle at 4pm.It ruined the day and although I managed to get a refund for the excursion there was no apology -- nothing. The comedian on the first and third night was average, using every cruise joke I had heard previously -the Girl singers on the second were good but not great.The band was the smallest I have seen on a ship with the leader on the piano emotion less -pan face never smiled and looked like the rest of them bored. The crew looked worried and fed up -there was never a time for a joke or smiles and having been on Holland of America where they are exceptional and various others this was unusual --the doomed ship. When we were on a short trip on the Queen Victoria we didn't want to get off -- this time we had no regrets. Its a shame P&O a cruise with no magic only problems.   Read Less
Sail Date October 2014
Just got back from a 2 night cruse to Bruges. This ship is very very tired. we had an outside cabin that you could barely see out of the window due to the stains on the window. The bathroom was very old a beaten up with rust on the door ... Read More
Just got back from a 2 night cruse to Bruges. This ship is very very tired. we had an outside cabin that you could barely see out of the window due to the stains on the window. The bathroom was very old a beaten up with rust on the door frame and fittings, a dirty old shower hose greeted you every time we had a shower. The sink looked like it had had a respray at some point but most of that paint had pealed off and looked very ugly. The staff on the ship clearly do not want to be there and are just going through the very basic of motions. Food was very poor compared to other cruses that we have been on, I would compare it to those cheep pub chains where you can eat what you like for £3.99. Drinks are very expensive, £6.25 for a small glass of wine. We spent an hour or so in the Casino where the English croupier was a complete novice and was very very scruffy. The overall experience was poor and speaking to fellow passenger's they felt the same. We got the feeling that the ship is about to go out of service and that they are just trying to get every penny out of the ship before they decommission it. I had high expectations as the broacher on line makes it out to be one of the best ships on the ocean but I have to say I have been on better passenger ferry's.   Read Less
Sail Date October 2014
First of all don't take any notice of negative reviews you've to do it yourself and you'll find nothing to complain about. Our cruise was Norway, Iceland Faroe Isles, and Orkney Isles it was beautiful the views in Norway are ... Read More
First of all don't take any notice of negative reviews you've to do it yourself and you'll find nothing to complain about. Our cruise was Norway, Iceland Faroe Isles, and Orkney Isles it was beautiful the views in Norway are breathtaking, Iceland the Glaciers also unbelievable, its a trip well worth doing. The ship is a lot like a ' Gentleman's Club' very comfortable and lots of lovely little venues to use for quietly reading or having a meet up with friends. Drinks not expensive just pub prices, not hotel prices which some cruises are. Don't be afraid to ask for tap water and no charge with ice, nice change if fed up with the waiters keep asking if you want a drink. The cinema is great lovely to see latest films whilst at sea. Heated swimming pool, first time ever known heated outside pool, really lovely Entertainment good, good variety, shows with entertainment group, classical music, musicians, comedy evenings covers all ages and every taste. Food really good, just went into restaurant for meals, 8.30 evening worked really well for us. All Fresco for breakfast and lunch, not a lot of variety but adiquate for us as well as snacks afternoon in conservatory. Cabin we were only in inside cabin 8th deck but plenty room, plenty drawers and wardrobe space, cabin steward great very effient. In all a really great cruise met some lovely people in dining room from our table and others in dining room. At evening met up again, spent time with lots of interesting people usually glad to tell you about all the cruises they've been on, or where they've been. The spa is relaxing and the gym is great if you workout, which we don't.   Read Less
Sail Date June 2014
General Overview As first time cruisers we did not really know what to expect. My husband is a part-time wheelchair user, able to walk short distances, so we were a little concerned about embarkation and how he would get around the ... Read More
General Overview As first time cruisers we did not really know what to expect. My husband is a part-time wheelchair user, able to walk short distances, so we were a little concerned about embarkation and how he would get around the ship. On arrival at the Terminal we were immediately greeted with aides, whose job it was to make our transition aboard as easy and stress free as possible. They were wonderful, putting us at ease and taking all the worry out of boarding in such circumstances. I hope this will reassure anyone considering cruising who might also be either partially or totally dependent on a wheelchair. We also noticed that some passengers had motorised disability scooters. Of course, whichever type you use, it must be able to fit into your cabin, as you are not permitted to leave any such vehicles in the corridors, for obvious health and safety reasons. We had a deluxe balcony cabin which was very roomy and the folded up wheelchair did not encroach on our space in the least. We were not too lucky with the weather, but that is something beyond anyone's control and the experiences we had and the wonderful ambience of the ship more than made up for that. On our first night out the sea was a little rough and I have to admit to being seasick, but the administration of travel sickness tablets remedied that within 24 hours. Next time (and I hope there will be a next time) I will take them prior to boarding as a precautionary measure. Dining Our allocated dining room was the Oriental, first sitting at 6.30 pm. Can I offer a word of advice when booking your cruise to select a large table, seating at least 6 or 8? In this way, you will be seated with a group of people who will become your friends. We were very fortunate to be seated with 2 other couples who were total strangers to us, but with whom we developed a strong friendship. The dining experience on Oriana was superlative -- the choice of food, the excellent service from all of the restaurant staff and the little "extras" such as the singing of "Happy Birthday" by the waiters only added to our enjoyment. The food is of such high quality that I also suggest taking some clothing along which has a bit of "give" in the waist! (There are, however, excellent gym facilities on board should you prefer that option!) We particularly enjoyed the Room Service facility and utilised it on several occasions, most especially for breakfast, where we were able to enjoy it at our leisure in our cabin. The Peninsular Restaurant offers open seating for breakfast, which we visited a couple of times. The choice and quality of fare in all of the food outlets can only be described as exceptional. Entertainment The range of entertainment on board was limitless. The Theatre Royal offered such diverse acts as ventriloquists, vocalists and pianists, as well as the in-house theatre group which entertained us with a variety of performance genres -- our favourites being tributes to Abba and Queen. We were also occasional visitors to the Casino where we were taught the principles of Black Jack and Roulette in a very interesting workshop one afternoon. The stakes in the casino are usually quite low, but we did manage to come out with some winnings nevertheless, despite being total novices! There are numerous other entertainments on board, ranging from Bridge to Quizzes, there is something for everyone, whether you decide to use the facilities or not. Our cabin We had a deluxe balcony cabin on B deck. As previously mentioned, apart from one day, the weather was not really warm enough to utilise it to its full extent, but our cabin was roomy and comfortable. The compact bathroom was kept fully stocked with beautifully laundered white cotton towels, and came with a complimentary supply of toiletries. The beds were amazingly comfortable; the bedding of soft Egyptian cotton. The cabin steward did a magnificent job of keeping it clean and tidy, and turned the beds down each night, leaving a delightful little chocolate on the pillows. It was these little extra touches that made the holiday so unforgettable. There is a TV and fridge in the cabin for your convenience and shipboard messages are relayed through the speaker system, as well as on the TV channel devoted to the bridge, on which essential details such as weather conditions and current placement on the globe can be tracked. Services It would appear that "Service" is the watch word for every single member of staff on the Oriana, as indeed I am sure it also applies to all the other ships in the P & O fleet. Whatever you are doing, the staff are always meticulously polite and eager to meet your every need. I have never been called "Madam" so many times (but in the most fitting circumstances!) Many of the staff obviously work behind the scenes, but their efforts are nevertheless apparent --the invisible cleaners, the staff who work in the kitchens, laundry and engine rooms all played their part. We could not find any negative points to comment on as far as all the previously mentioned areas are concerned, but if I must pinpoint one irritation it must be the difficulty encountered on many occasions when traversing the raised areas of the corridors of the ship. These are the metal ridges or lips along which the watertight doors close. We found them to be high enough to bring the wheelchair to a halt when the front wheels hit them, forcing us to have to "lift" the front wheels over the obstructions. The fact that we had to do this so many times resulted in some damage to the said wheels, which fortunately will be repaired under the insurance, but this is something to be aware of. If these areas could be made more wheelchair friendly, then this single point of contention would be resolved. Ports of call Our ports of call were La Coruna, Casablanca, Gibraltar, Cadiz and Lisbon. At all of the ports we were able to go ashore as the staff were so helpful getting the wheelchair down the gangway and helping my husband to disembark and embark on his return to the ship. We had a particularly entertaining day in Casablanca where we took a Petit Taxi, driver by Mushtak, on a whistle stop tour of the city (and some!) visiting off the beaten track sights, including an authentic Berber Pharmacy (Mustak's words) - sure the pharmacist must have been one of Mustak's relatives! Great day all round. We found various levels of accessability in the other ports we visited, mainly due to the "friendliness" of the pavements and kerbs towards the wheelchair. We found Lisbon to be particularly bad for wheelchair users. We enjoyed our cruise very much and will certainly look to repeating this experience, probably with P and O again, as their staff were absolutely brilliant. Read Less
Sail Date March 2013
We were on board Oriana from 18th - 28th March 2013. Never cruised before and we went as a surprise for my in-laws, who were celebrating their 40th Anniversary by going on this cruise and also my father in-law's 60th birthday. They ... Read More
We were on board Oriana from 18th - 28th March 2013. Never cruised before and we went as a surprise for my in-laws, who were celebrating their 40th Anniversary by going on this cruise and also my father in-law's 60th birthday. They were pleasantly surprised when we found them at afternoon tea in the Conservatory! We traveled as a couple along with my brother in-law and his wife. Arriving on the ship we thought it was very grand and were amazed at the size (having never even really seen a cruise ship up close before!) As we arrived fairly late (to not ruin the surprise) our cabin was ready straight away. The cabin was big enough, clean and our cabin steward was friendly and helpful. Food on board was delicious, we ate in the Oriental - late sitting and once we had explained the situation at dinner we were moved so that we could all sit together, very accommodating. Also ate in the conservatory and Al Fresco regularly. We tried all the bars, our favorite for pre-dinner drinks was Andersons. Saw a couple of the theatre acts, Headliners and Lomax Brothers. I went to one film at the cinema, though my husband saw a couple. We also went to the 'Audience with Michael Stark', which was very good. Unfortunately we only used the pool/spa once as weather was not fantastic, but it didn't spoil our holiday at all. Ports visited: La Coruna - Very pretty, lots of lovely shops (I like shopping).We wandered round on our own rather than booking an excursion. Casablanca - We booked on an excursion 'Portugese Connections' which was a two hour coach trip each way to El Jadida. Very interesting tour which we all enjoyed. Having been to this port now I think I would always go on an excursion rather than travel on our own. Cadiz - Lovely place, we walked around for a while then got on one the bus tours. Shops were closed due to it being Palm Sunday, they had a parade in the afternoon. Weather fantastic and we all got sunburn. Other ports visited are listed in the port section below. Fellow passengers were of an older age group than us but we spent one evening chatting to a 93 year old ex navy gentleman who was interesting and good company and overall found passengers friendly. Only thing annoying was an elderly couple at dinner who moaned loudly about everything, every night at dinner!Felt sorry for the waiters as they work very hard and are very polite. All in all, disappointed to have to disembark, I would have loved a longer cruise, however, most workplaces don't allow such extended leave for cruising so maybe when we retire (a long time away yet). Read Less
Sail Date March 2013
Just back from Oriana as part of the 'Grand Event' 3 July - a 4 night cruise. We had an enjoyable cruise, despite P&O! We met several lovely people, had some entertaining conversations, a number of laughs and saw some ... Read More
Just back from Oriana as part of the 'Grand Event' 3 July - a 4 night cruise. We had an enjoyable cruise, despite P&O! We met several lovely people, had some entertaining conversations, a number of laughs and saw some interesting sites. The service from P&O unfortunately was not good, often it felt as though we 'four night cruisers' were an annoyance or inconvenience. Were we being penalised for not going for at least a seven night cruise? The 'Grand Event' was billed by P&O as being 'the pinnacle of our celebrations this year'. Well I suppose it was for P&O personnel, but they seem to have overlooked the fact that it is the cruisers who are the vital ingredient! Right at the start, we were prevented from access to our cabin whilst Princess Anne was about to pass nearby, being sent on a spurious alternative route by 'something in a uniform'. The service from the waiters was poor where it existed! Anything was too much trouble! Another cup of tea, fruit juice, glass of water, vegetables, milk with porridge .... How inconvenient asking for such things! Grumpy, insolent, rude .. You name it, they showed it! Food was variable, sometimes excellent, often average and occasionally poor -- and they called it 'beef broth'! At the end of the cruise as we left our cabin, the steward could hardly be bothered to say goodbye! And as regards a customer questionnaire ... well, Reception said, 'Not for four nights' Seems we didn't matter and they didn't care! One thing is definite ..... Next time we'll certainly make sure we remove the auto tipping. So what about 175 years? -- A celebration ?? .... Given our experience the future strap line should be: 'P&O - 175 years and still not got it right!' Read Less
Sail Date July 2012
We used CPS parking, no problems and would use again, very convenient. Loved the Sailaways, fantastic food ( both Evening Meal and breakfasts ) in the Peninsular Restaurant, enjoyed dressing up in the evenings, the company of the people ... Read More
We used CPS parking, no problems and would use again, very convenient. Loved the Sailaways, fantastic food ( both Evening Meal and breakfasts ) in the Peninsular Restaurant, enjoyed dressing up in the evenings, the company of the people on our table of 6, people very friendly and enjoyed the entertainment (especially Jimmy James). Brugges was lovely, we made our own way by free shuttle bus and then train (€3-80 each return on the Sunday, with hourly trains ) Not keen on Le Havre, would probably book a tour if we were there again. Guernsey was delightful, timed ticket for the tender over, try to return slightly earlier than the 3-30 peak queue, but this only took 30 minutes to wait for the return tender. We walked past the castle to the underground U-Boat fuel storage museum, displaying war memorabilia, very interesting, then walked back to the (Duty free shops) Our friends took a local £1 bus tour round the island which lasted an hour and a half. We found the cruise very relaxing, the daily newsletter ensured we knew what was happening and when, so loads to keep us occupied. Already looking for another cruise, but this time with our son. We really liked the atmosphere of the Oriana, particularly the open decks at the back of the ship, the Sailaways, with everyone singing and flag waving were a highlight. We were driving home within 20 minutes of walking off the ship, everything was very well organised. We hope to return to the Oriana. Read Less
Sail Date June 2012
Hello, My wife and Son and i have just come back from a very pleasant break on the P & O ship Oriana.The Oriana is a mid-size ship, adult only,and is geared for the UK market.The car parking at The QE2 terminal was hassle free.we were ... Read More
Hello, My wife and Son and i have just come back from a very pleasant break on the P & O ship Oriana.The Oriana is a mid-size ship, adult only,and is geared for the UK market.The car parking at The QE2 terminal was hassle free.we were on the ship in under 20 minutes. The luggage outside our Cabins on A Deck waiting for us. The Cabin steward Seby middle aged from India was A1+ for service with a smile,nothing too much bother for him.The cabin was a Large inside with bath & shower,twin beds & sofa and dressing table,double wardrobe & two sets of drawers with Fridge,Safe and Remote TV,very nice, Tea & coffee & biscuits constantly replaced.The Oriana is a elegant ship without being too " Glitchy". All the staff very friendly and helpful. The food in the Peninsular restaurant 2nd sitting 8.30 pm Table 38 was first class, both our Indian waiter's helpful and gave a well organized meal. The wine steward Regina from the Philippines was a delight to deal with every thing A1.The drinks were very reasonably priced.a Bottle of the House Red £12.50,very nice.The Entertainment was of a good standard as always on P & O ships.The excursions were well organised and again reasonably priced. With free coach shuttle service or Tender boat a each port. All the interior of the ship was in an excellent state, spotlessly clean. The disembarking was as smooth as the boarding,Car ready & waiting. We would recommend the Oriana to any one, as good all round value for money cruise ship. Regards Julie & Graham & James Gilbert Read Less
Sail Date June 2012
had a fantastic time on the Oriana although a few things need improving. We arrived in Southampton and soon found the drive way we had paid to park on for the five days as it worked out A LOT cheaper than parking at the terminal would ... Read More
had a fantastic time on the Oriana although a few things need improving. We arrived in Southampton and soon found the drive way we had paid to park on for the five days as it worked out A LOT cheaper than parking at the terminal would highly recommend http://www.parkatmyhouse.com/uk/ have used them several times before for cruises as the price difference can be enormous. Upon arriving at the QE2 terminal we were dismayed to see an enormous cue winding its way all round the terminal to where the waiting area is, however we only waited about 15 minutes and were checked in and through security and on-board. Much better than our previous experience of boarding the Balmoral at Mayflower where we waited over an hour after checking before boarding even commenced. Cabin F161 was ready and easy to find as it was just on the starboard side of the atrium. our suitcases arrived at exactly the same time that we did so we had plenty of time to get unpacked and settled in before drill and sail away. Cabin was spacious and nicely decorated although a bit tatty in some places on the drawers and the dressing table. sides were also dusty and stayed this way throughout the cruise. Apart from the that our steward Mahamod was very friendly and saw to any small requests we had. Emergency drill soon crept up on us and we had to make our way to ocean grill at the top of the atrium this i found quite odd as in the case of an emergency we had to pass the boat deck and carry on going up. Although it was a very nice room, could have almost been steaming our way across the Atlantic on on of the original queens. However it got very busy and really couldn't hold the amount of people required to muster there. After this it was time for some tea and we went up to the conservatory and it was manic in there! Many people refusing to use the hand sanitizer upon entry. Sail away was in windy and drizzly weather and had the assistance of tugs to get away from the berth and was only a few minutes late leaving as i believe the Independence of the seas was leaving before us. Exploring the ship we found her to be showing a lot of wear and tear surprising because she only had a refit at the beginning of the year, for example the brass on the banisters of the stairwells showing a lot of tarnishing and the tables in the crows nest and pillars in theater both extremely scratched, this surprised us as the Balmoral at the end of May was in nothing but but mint condition apart from the dated decor could almost have have been brand new. Dinner came with a fair bit of apprehension as we were on a table for four and not our customary table for two, we needn't have worried however as we ate with a couple from the isle of white who were possibly the nicest people we have ever met on holiday and dinners became a highpoint of the day as conversation flowed easily and was entertaining. The menu however wasn't to my taste now I am a fussy eater but have always found at least one soup/ starter I liked in the past however I could only have one on the last night, this wasn't a major problem as it left more time for conversation. The mains and desserts I never found anything short of delicious. After dinner entertainment is where although i believed the cruise was lacking especially for the age demographic on board at the time, I understand that the Oriana normally attracts a more mature traditional clientele but as on this cruise there was a lot of passengers in the early 20's to 30's range there really wasn't much to do for them apart from the 60's and 70's party one night. However the the show Stage Door on the last night was wonderful. As i said there where quite a few different passengers on-board and some i think were surprised by what they found. I even heard a lot of comments such as "It's not as good as PO ferries Pride of York!" this pretty much sums up a lot of the passengers on-board. Many were rude. Ports of call- Brugge: We did the excursion 'taste of Brugge' it was extremely good and very informative although it was a walking tour it was not fast paced and manageable. Guide was wonderful and could easily answer even the most vague questions. Le Havre: Didn't get off and spent the day in the steam room and relaxing on deck and our table companions said we made the right choice. Guernsey - First time there and found it lovely! going ashore by tender was easy and organized and we had hired a car and drove round the island thoroughly enjoyed it. went to the occupation museum and the little chapel both were wonderful. Never been to such a wonderful place. will definitely be returning! Disembarkation was slow as they were running behind. Now for the pros and cons Pros: Nice sized ship and a proper ship not trying to be a floating resort. Very clean at all times. Beautifully decorated. Lots of outdoor deck space. Good shops Comfortable seats in both theater and cinema. Cons (room for improvement nothing was terrible) Staff not as friendly as on Balmoral did what they had to nothing more. Showing some major wear and tear. Cafe Al Fresco not large enough for the amount of people wanting to use it late at night. Hand sanitizer not strictly enforced. Overall we had a fabulous holiday and met some wonderful people. First time with P&O and as I have said staff not as friendly as Balmorals, But by far the superior ship, basically give me the Oriana with Balmorals staff and I'd be in heaven. Read Less
Sail Date June 2012
Just returned from a 3 night mini cruise departing Southampton and stopping at Zeebrugge and Le Havre. Other than a Disney mini cruise this was our first experience for 12 years and a taster cruise for a longer 12 night cruise booken in ... Read More
Just returned from a 3 night mini cruise departing Southampton and stopping at Zeebrugge and Le Havre. Other than a Disney mini cruise this was our first experience for 12 years and a taster cruise for a longer 12 night cruise booken in August on Celebrity Solstice. The weather was hot 23 - 26 degrees which was great although the embarkation lines were full of people fanning themselves whilst waiting in line. The embarkation was smooth and the wait was approximately 20 minutes which was fine for us. We were sat at the riviera bar by 2.30 and getting ourselves settled in nicely. I did think that as Oriana was adults only that it may have turned out to be booze cruise style experience. However despite there being some large groups of female birthday and hen parties the mini cruise did not suffer as a result. We had an inside cabin on deck 10 which for 3 nights in the Channel/North Sea was more than adequate. We ate in the orintal restaurant on 2 nights and 1 night in Ocean Grill, and in my opinion opting for the Ocean Grill experience despite the £17.95 cover charge was well justified. The menu selection in both the Peninsualr and the Oriental is the same and was good (but not great) Breakfast we decided to opt for the Peninsular as I'm not a fan of "cattle class" buffet style venues, however when walking through it didn't seem too bad. The service at breakfast was a little slow, however we were in no rush so it didn't bother us.......however on debarkation day the waiters seemed to be "on speed" and rushed the food to us rather too hastily. The experience has given us an insight into what we may expect on future longer cruises and we were definitly not disappointed and would reccoment to anybody who is uncertain about cruising. Read Less
Sail Date May 2012
Our first ever cruise on Ventura last summer was unforgettable for all the right reasons, and after a 4 nighter on Celebrity Ecplise to Cork in May, we went for a last night 7 nighter on the most elegant looking of all cruise ships, ... Read More
Our first ever cruise on Ventura last summer was unforgettable for all the right reasons, and after a 4 nighter on Celebrity Ecplise to Cork in May, we went for a last night 7 nighter on the most elegant looking of all cruise ships, Oriana. We thought Celebrity Eclipse was a stunning ship, but lacked a certain something of the P&O ships...she felt like a floating hotel more than a cruise liner. Along with QM2, Oriana is probably the most famous cruise ship in Britain. When you mention her, everyone knows her. After mentioning our cruise on her, people think I earn mega money! So does she fit the reputation? Why do we find so many negatives with these holidays which are always a relaxing and exciting experience....even if you think the food is not as good as it once was or that you were being ripped off? It makes me feel that some of the comments about ships on here are so picky, people would find fault with perfection. Loved the traditional layout of Oriana. You felt the tradition and style of cruising on her lost with the modern floating hotels, but she has all the modern features you want from a ship. We made straight for the Crows Nest for our departure from Southampton and the trip through the Solent. We felt the Crows Nest knocked the Sky Lounge on Celebrity for six. Especially as you cannot smoke there! The captain informed us of a strong south-westerly wind Force 6-7. Oriana didn't move an inch in the choppy English Channel and we retired at 1am after a wonderful evening. Sadly at 4am, I was awake as we hit big waves as we entered the Bay of Biscay. Apparently we hit the tail of a hurricane and encountered swells of over 5 metres off the bow quarter. A few of us were up and wondering around the ship trying to find our sealegs! Baring in mind we were doing 22 knots through those conditions, Oriana handled them superbly, as the water in the stern pool emptied all over the deck! The next day we stayed in our cabin as she continued to move in the swell and after being ill, I gave up and took some tablets! By the evening Captains Cocktail party, the sea eased and from the on Oriana came into her own in lovely conditions. We stayed onboard for Vigo as the idea of the cruise was for some late summer sun. A wonderful day sunbathing at 23C was had on a quiet ship. Lisbon was even hotter at 33C and we took the shuttle to the city centre. We walked about for a bit, but wasn't too impressed with it. Maybe we should have gone on a tour to the big tower further up the river, but the sunbeds were calling us again. Bilbao was a real surprise. 38C! Again we stayed onboard. What we loved the most was the slow cruise from Lisbon to Bilbao at a steady 15 knots....proper cruising. A beautiful sunset and dinner in the exceptional Oriana Rhodes restaurant ended a perfect day as we settled down to another fabulous evening. The captain made an announcement at 8am on the Saturday to say that Gale Force 8 winds meant that our call at Brest had been cancelled, but we weren't bothered as we planned to stay on the ship anyway. That was a bonus too, as the Entertainment Team put into action a new schedule of entertainment, including another fascinating session with Antiques expert John Cameron from BBC1's Cash in the Attic. We slowly 'pottered' our way back to Southampton at 16 knots and although we hit a weather front with Force 7 winds and a 3 metre swell, Oriana hardly moved, with just a gentle pitching. We had 1,000 first time cruisers onboard and three weddings! After the rough passage on the way out, many people spoke to the captain who was excellent in explaining everything. He also made the trip back over the Bay as smooth as possible considering the conditions, so 10 out of 10! So in summary. Yes in places Oriana is in need of that refit. Only one of her jacuzzis were working, but apart from this, she was excellent. Food. Oriana Rhodes was fantastic, a real shame it's ending. We ate in the Oriental Restaurant, the 8:30pm sitting. Superb, friendly service. Our wine waiter was excellent too. Every meal was excellent and in many cases, we only had two courses as it was so filling. We did notice a certain amount of vibration from the ships props, but seeing as you are sat right above them, it wasn't that bad....try doing on the Isle of Wight ferry for vibration! We found the Conservatory really good. The breakfast knocks socks off Celebrity. On her, we felt like we were eating in the restaurant at John Lewis! Too big! Oriana's was just right. Our favourite bar turned out to be Andersons...what a wonderful atmosphere in there....our kind of place. Crows Nest was a lovely place to be during the evening, very sophisticated with quality entertainment, from jazz to talented pianists on each night. Being in our 30s with no kids, we just wanted to relax and enjoy the ship, we were not too bothered about tours and the entertainment was just a bonus for us. We felt the Headliners were really good but maybe not as good as the team on Ventura last year. I really enjoyed the talk on the Channel Tunnel (my other half sunbathed!!) and we both enjoyed John Cameron and the Queen tribute. The whole team were thoroughly professional and put 100% into each performance. We felt the prices for alcohol were spot on. We felt Celebrity was too expensive and it's never nice spending in dollars. Maybe she could do with a heated, covered pool in the future for cloudy, wet weather, but apart from that, Oriana is a special ship. Walking around the wooden decks and the tired stern you get a sense of breeding and tradition in which the ship was designed. A portrait of the Queen by Andersons gave a real sense of occasion too. With this in mind, we've booked another cruise. We will enjoying the pomp and ceremony of the 175th anniversary on Ventura's 17 night Eastern Med cruise next year, this will also be our honeymoon!!! Read Less
Sail Date September 2011
The Cruise This 2 night "taster" cruise from Southampton serves as an introduction for people new to cruising but is also called a "booze cruise" by groups of party lovers seeking a weekend's entertainment. The ... Read More
The Cruise This 2 night "taster" cruise from Southampton serves as an introduction for people new to cruising but is also called a "booze cruise" by groups of party lovers seeking a weekend's entertainment. The September2011 trip catered for all ages and seemed very popular with "hen party" groups. The food and service were, frankly, mediocre and possibly even worse than our previous P&O experience through the Panama Canal several years ago. Accordingly, I wrote to Ms Carol Marlow (MD of P&O) listing the specific problems we encountered but the response received indicates that they believe they are doing a good job, in spite of our observations. Oceana Oceana is rather dated (launched in 2000) and, by modern standards, the cabins are small but adequate. That said, it is a comfortable size and has a good layout providing good choice of dining options, several bars and entertainment in two theatres. With capacity for about 2,000 passengers we feel that it is an ideal size, having cruised on sister ships like Dawn Princess and Sea Princess several times. P&O Hospitality and Service Cruising should be a treat and customers like to be made to feel welcome and looked after. Unfortunately, P&O have overdone their cost cutting and you are left feeling that they have skimped on everything, particularly food and drink. Their Champagne Sail Away was a pretty dull experience, as they provided no drinks and passengers were reluctant to buy flat bubbly at nearly £4 per glass. The staff, who are mostly from India, are hard working but seemed miserable and lacked motivation. They are no doubt poorly paid and rely on tips to supplement their income, only to find that P&O cannot get this right either. Food and Drink All cruise ships have a massive catering task and other cruise lines consistently demonstrate that high quality, well presented dishes can be served very efficiently. P&O seem so far behind competitors using exactly the same facilities, with menus that are not tempting, poor presentation and food often served cold. Even on the formal Gala Night the meal was nothing special. Whilst we prefer fixed dining with a table of 4 or 6 fellow travellers, others like the flexibility of "anytime" dining and can select from the same menu. A "self service" buffet is also available on the upper deck but P&O don't bother to lay the tables and even paper serviettes are hard to find. We tried it on arrival and once later because P&O did not serve afternoon tea but it was very poor. Getting pre- dinner drinks or wine with a meal can take ages. Orders are taken reasonably quickly but the waiters have no incentive to hurry back with anything. Don't expect and nuts or nibbles either, as P&O even charge for these. Wine and drinks were reasonably priced but there was no happy hour. Entertainment The resident song and dance group on Oceana had immense energy and put on a couple of good shows. The main theatre seats around 500 people, so can be a busy place. Gareth Gates gave three performances to capacity audiences on the last night and was well received, in spite of appearing very nervous. There were several music quizzes (but none of the ever popular trivia quizzes) in the bar but participants were expected to compete individually rather than in groups. This destroyed the social nature of such gatherings but, nevertheless, many were keen to compete for one miserable prize of key ring. Excursions P&O offered various excursions ranging from transport to Bruges (£28), Brussels (£35), Ypres and Ghent. Bruges in a Day included a guided walk and canal boat ride (£45). With a free shuttle to Blankenberge station every 10 minutes, many passengers, ourselves included, simply took the short train ride to Bruges (costing 3.60 euros return at weekends). Specific Problems 1. Embarkation took 55 minutes, as passengers were queuing around the terminal at 2 pm. We observed the quoted check in time only to find that passengers boarded as early as 11:00. Hence we missed lunch and endured avoidable delays. 2. Our tiny cabin was really cold because the air conditioning control was faulty. We had to report this twice before it was partly fixed the following day. Reception offered my wife a blanket as a solution when the engineer failed to materialise. 3. We dined at the 8:45 sitting but were well into our second course before the wine we ordered arrived. Maybe table waiters should take orders for drinks as with other cruise lines. 4. It took 20 minutes to get a pre-dinner drink each night. Orders were taken fairly quickly but the waiters then disappear with cruise cards for ages. They didn't bother with coasters, so icy drinks tended to drip on evening clothing. Being charged for any nibbles is so petty. 5. We have seen the kitchens in full action (with the Head Chef on the equivalent Sea Princess), so understand the challenge. If Princess can serve hot, well presented quality food, why is P&O unable to do so? 6. It proved impossible to deviate from the printed menu to suit dietary needs or preferences. There was no chance of starting breakfast with mixed berries and yogurt (as on Princess) and even getting some bacon with an omelette proved difficult. 7. When passengers dress for a Gala dinner they expect the menu to be a bit special. Ours was little better than the evening before. 8. Most Brits enjoy formal afternoon tea, which P&O failed to offer on this cruise. Surely even the tabloid reading passengers that they appear to attract would expect this. 9. Breakfast on the last day was served in two sittings (at 6:45 and 7:45), forcing passengers to queue all around the atrium. When the floods of people were seated, the waiters could simply not cope, orders were misplaced and most of the food arrived cold. The orange juice had been watered down and even toast failed to arrive. It was 10. Passengers were left in doubt as to whether tips would be added to their bill, like most other cruise lines, or should be given directly to deserving members. Our attentive cabin attendant had the foresight to leave an envelope in each cabin as a gentle reminder. Nothing was added to our bills and P&O provided no envelopes for gratuities. Conclusion P&O doubtless has many loyal British clients but we cannot understand why. We can only assume that they have never experienced Princess or Celebrity cruises or that they like to travel from Southampton. These alternative cruise lines are part of the same parent group but do the job so much better at a very similar price. We gave P&O a second try but found it to be even worse than NCL. Read Less
Sail Date September 2011
This is our First 7 day P&O Oriana cruise. We had a taster two night on the Ventura. This was in a balcony suite. Very good experience but were undecided for a full cruise as the 'STAG' 'HEN' 2 night was ... Read More
This is our First 7 day P&O Oriana cruise. We had a taster two night on the Ventura. This was in a balcony suite. Very good experience but were undecided for a full cruise as the 'STAG' 'HEN' 2 night was hectic. And very busy during embarkation & leaving ship (queues) We are pleased to report that the 7 day was well organised & easy going. We parked across river & 'bused in' Also well organised & Friendly with car waiting ready to go. Oriana accommodation,food,lounges & restaurants smart & well presented. Better than expected as advised by some previous reviews. Ship does show signs of wear, but all minor. We did not need to visit any of the other specialist restaurants. We had an enjoyable time, albeit disappointed that the French visit was cancelled, winds and shallow harbour. We had constant threat of tail end of hurricane winds off America but only slight seas. Weather Hot in Vigo, Lisbon & Bilbao. Trips were half day, well organised. Two days at sea but increased to three when missing Port of Brest. food well presented & tasty first sitting Oriental restaurant. we had a rear window table over props. Vibration and swell at times, but ok. Selection of vegetables were set each evening for all available meals. At Home we would have matched veg to dishes, Although all cooked to a high standard. All staff friendly & polite. O/all a very good experience. We have been used to Thompson Fly cruise holidays which we have enjoyed. They offer full day trips & less days at sea. P&O experience is above that of Thompson Celebration & Spirit ships in nearly all aspects except staff which are on par. one advantage not having to wait at airports & loss of time. We will consider more cruises from UK ports, but are mindful of heavier seas than the med; Albeit one day we had a slight swell & no ripples & glassy . Read Less
Sail Date September 2011
I had booked myself and 2 of the ugly sisters on this cruise as a treat for my sister from the USA who was over to see my dad who was on his last legs plus my other sister who had been looking after dad for years but was under extreme ... Read More
I had booked myself and 2 of the ugly sisters on this cruise as a treat for my sister from the USA who was over to see my dad who was on his last legs plus my other sister who had been looking after dad for years but was under extreme pressure as he had been in hospital since a fall in January. A week before the cruise P&O offered us another cabin (for sole occupancy) at a favourable rate but I decided to take my husband along so we shared one cabin and the 2 ugly sisters the other. (They had the original cabin with the on board credit)! My American sister was looking forward to Dublin but was having trouble with her foot so she booked a tour through P&O and took in all the sights and had tons of photos to prove it. Dublin was very interesting and we did the open topped bus tour and got off at the Guinness museum then walked back at our leisure. We caught the train from Cohn to Cork city but wishes he had just stayed in Cohn as Cork was ideal for shopping but when we got back we did the Titanic tour and felt we wasted our time travelling to/from Cork. Bilbao was fantastic. We did the Guggenheim museum and spent about 3 hours there but my American sister felt there was too much of the same thing in the top floor - I've forgotten what the name of the exhibition was but it was all pieces of junk picked up and turned into "art". The building itself though was stunning and the walk to the museum wasn't too strenuous. Brest was a complete and utter waste of time - so much so we wished we had stayed on the ship. The weather was fine during the trip - not too hot and no rough seas at all. We had a table for 8 and shared it with a mum, her 16 year old son, her mother & her man friend. They were good fun and we enjoyed every meal. The only down side was that our table was a bit too close to one of the serving stations and whoever sat that side invariably got knocked a bit when the waiters were busy. Our waiter & his assistant was excellent. Not over familiar but when they knew your preferences they went out of their way to make sure you were taken care of. My sister and I took part in a few of the onboard quizzes and my other sister liked to find a quiet spot and read her book. My husband attended the lectures (like he always does) and I caught up with my sleep! I like the fact you don't have to pay for the movies on the in cabin TV and would beg P&O to not bring in such charges. I like the tea & coffee in the cabin and the cabin steward was fantastic. I don't think I ever saw them but the cabin was always prepared. I was a bit disappointed there was no Portunus party as it was only a 7 day trip so I make sure from now on I make sure we go for 10 days of more! Yup. It was a good trip. P&O is our favourite cruise line with Princess a close second. Read Less
Sail Date April 2010
The whole experience of our little mini cruise was good from beginning to end and there were so many things that as a first time cruiser I was not expecting that hopefully other first timers will find this review useful. We pulled up ... Read More
The whole experience of our little mini cruise was good from beginning to end and there were so many things that as a first time cruiser I was not expecting that hopefully other first timers will find this review useful. We pulled up at the Dock Gate and unloaded the luggage and suddenly realized we just handed it over to the guys on the conveyor and that was it - how simple - none of this in a long queue shuffling the bag further forward to check in, the next time we saw our luggage was when we went to our cabins and there is was outside the! Okay we did have to join the snaking queue to check in, but that moved freely (and we only had hand luggage) and everyone in the queue was in holiday mood. The actual check in was friendly and informative and very efficient with a lot of information being imparted and the security pass being issued and the passport formalities being completed. We had turned up early - midday ish and so were delighted to be let straight onto the ship although hardly surprising we were told cabins would not be ready until 2ish, we were invited to use the time to explore the boat and partake of lunch in the conservatory. First impressions were good - lovely floral arrangements and an ice sculpture as we boarded by the main reception area. Walking around the ship we were very pleasantly surprised with all the facilities available and the plentiful outside space. We really loved the area at the rear of the conservatory that looked down on the various other levels down to the pool. It provided a great deal of outdoor space and looked lovely, it would appear from other ships plans that they are not as well planned as this and this wonderful space has been given over to Cabins. There were loads of lovely quiet areas (despite the cruise being fully booked) and again perhaps because it is a slighter older ship there were enclosed spaces, where as plans of other boats indicate that some of these spaces are free flowing and therefore wouldn't give you the peace and quiet the places like Crihtons and Andersons gave us. I could easily imagine myself spending time curled up with a book in the library on a longer cruise. The cabin was fine - we had booked the cheapest option - for two nights when we knew we were going to be busy there didn't seem much point in spending money on a view or facilities we were hardly have time to use. Certainly next time around, if we are on a two week cruise I would upgrade to hopefully a balcony cabin. There was plenty of storage space and some nice touches - lovely toiletries, bud vase and dish of sweets, the evening turndown service and good night choccy all added to the pampered feeling. The Daily newspaper was useful and very informative and a great port guide was provided with loads of useful information on. The restaurant (we were in the Oriental) was lovely and the food choice good (but not brilliant) and at times the service could do with being a little faster - you wanted to start your main as it would be getting cold before the vegetables had arrived. The staff were friendly and helpful. The evening shows were good and the Theatre Royal a lovely setting. Some of the bars felt a little crowed at night but there was always space, some times you just needed to wonder off to find a new place. Tiffany's was lovely at night, and so was the Crows nest (although the fact that you could smoke in here did spoil it a little for us). There was never any hard sell - tours were available if you wanted them but also a courtesy bus to take you into Blankenburg so you could do your own thing and local maps provided. Prices on board were very reasonable, all in pounds sterling so no exchange rate issues, and no service charge automatically added. On our last night were asked to have our luggage out by 2:00 am but we didn't know that until we stopped off in our cabin mid evening, ad were asked to vacate the cabins by 8:00 am which meant taking hand luggage into the restaurant for breakfast. We in fact asked our steward if we could leave a bag in the cabin and she was happy for us to do this and we just collected it straight after breakfast. We didn't rush to disembark and left about 9:45am, by that time most people had left and the boat was being cleaned and prepared for the next cruise. We arrived in the baggage hall to find our luggage ready and waiting on a trolley for us - what service. It was the smoothness of the check in and departure that we loved and beats flying any day. Overall we loved it - only complaint being it wasn't long enough and we will defiantly book another cruise soon. I enjoyed the traditional feel of boat and will probably look to another P&O boat for the future. Read Less
Sail Date April 2009
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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