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

Firstly, this was our 1st cruise with P&O out of 9 cruises...and will most definitely be our last P&O!! We had heard many good reports about P&O that we couldn't wait...how disappointed we were. It certainly did not live ... Read More
Firstly, this was our 1st cruise with P&O out of 9 cruises...and will most definitely be our last P&O!! We had heard many good reports about P&O that we couldn't wait...how disappointed we were. It certainly did not live up to our expectations. We sailed from Southampton to France, Spain and Guernsey. We didn't have the best weather...but that's out of anyone's control. We liked the layout of the ship...although she was a little small. We liked club dining idea in the Oriental....although the menu choice left a lot to be desired, as did the service...can't possibly swap cream for ice cream, didn't know our names and we were often given the wrong meal!!! but by the end of the cruise when they were all expecting their tips they couldn't do enough for you!!! We liked our cabin, an outside...but unfortunately, that's where the "we liked's" ends!!! The title of the review is "Rest home at Sea"...because that is exactly how we feel about our cruise (we are just in our 50's). The average age appeared to be an "old" 75 yrs old (and that's being polite). There was no "atmosphere" on the ship....bars were often silent like a library where you dared not speak because people were asleep with their false teeth hanging out. The entertainment was definitely not for us....bridge, whist, crafting, waltz lessons, knitting...OMG!!! For the first time ever... we so desperately wanted to get off ship.....!!!! The Captain had most of the passengers petrified with his OTT announcements when the weather took a turn for the worst. If it's going to be so bad....stay in port....but oh no.... that will cost money!!! Add into this... we couldn't get off in Guernsey. The Captain decided that the sea conditions were too rough...hmmmm!!!! it was the best day weather wise of the whole cruise!!! everyone was so disappointed that we could not get off but could do no other than sit and watch the little sail boats circle us while we sat there like lemons!! We contacted P&O on our return re compensation for missed port but they didn't want to know.....maybe the bar takings were down for the cruise and so the Captain needed to get those till ringing for one last time???? Will we try P&O again??? no....Not good enough P&O....plus, we're not ready to wait for God yet!! P.S. can't wait to get back on NCL. and P.P.S. ....can't wait to get back on Thomson!!! Read Less
Sail Date June 2017
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
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
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
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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