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46 P&O Cruises Oriana Europe - All Cruise Reviews

Having enjoyed a number of cruises on Oriana over the years we felt we had to be on her for her last P&O voyage sailing to Svalbard via the Faroe islands, Norway and Belfast. She was still in very good condition after 24 year's ... Read More
Having enjoyed a number of cruises on Oriana over the years we felt we had to be on her for her last P&O voyage sailing to Svalbard via the Faroe islands, Norway and Belfast. She was still in very good condition after 24 year's service although mechanical issues on recent voyages have shown that she is feeling her age The itinerary worked very well and, although the weather was usually a bit dreary at sea, the ports were generally warm and clear and we had no rough seas. The highlight of the voyage for us was the terrific evening/night sailing the Svalbard glaciers in beautiful weather (and midnight sun). First class. Considering the fact it was the last voyage, P&O pulled out the stops any many extra activities were organised. There were a couple of surprisingly empty sea days but they were more than made up for by: • The presence of Oriana's first captain and her first cruise director (Captain Ian Gibb and Ian Fraser) was much appreciated. They both gave very entertaining and nostalgic presentations and were very keen to get involved and were very accessible. It was good to see how Captain Sarah Breton interacted with Ian Gibb in particular. They obviously have great respect for each other. She was the life and soul of the party at the excellent auction of memorabilia held for the Teenage Cancer Trust which raised several thousand pounds. • Ken Vard (speaking on the history of ocean liners) is one of our favourite guest lecturers and to have him aboard was a real bonus. He was on our first P&O cruise on Aurora back in 2004 and is as good now as he was then. A pity that Tom O’Connor is no longer sailing, he’s almost part of the furniture • P&O UK President, Paul Ludlow, joined in Belfast and made a good impression. It’s good to have the top man recognise such an occasion. At a cocktail party he hosted he very sensibly steered away from the subject of big ships and was even heard to say that he has no plans to sell Aurora . Lets hope he’s right! • The formal celebration, unusually held on the last night, was a very good, though inevitably nostalgic, evening • And the sail-in to Southampton left not a dry eye in the house. We were later in than usual so that everyone could be on deck to witness the event. The fire tug made it an event and even the Captain had a catch in her voice in her final announcement One of the strongest impressions we had was that the crew were feeling sad too. For a lot of them Oriana has been home for many years and it was obviously a wrench for them to leave both her and their fellow crewmembers. But they kept their standards sky high to the bitter end. And now they too have gone to pastures new. Good bye old girl, we'll miss you! Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
Although being promised that standards on Oriana would maintain or exceed our cruises last year, this was not the case. One port was amended before we commenced the cruise and another was cancelled due to our berth at Dublin being ... Read More
Although being promised that standards on Oriana would maintain or exceed our cruises last year, this was not the case. One port was amended before we commenced the cruise and another was cancelled due to our berth at Dublin being unavaiable! Due to engine issues we still managed to be back in Southampton approximately 10 hours ahead of schedule...... still trying to understand this. Our Cabin was well looked after by Dina. Food stanards and variety were not as on previous cruises-but restaurant staff continued to provide exceptional service, replacing a meal where the meat could not be cut no matter how i tried. Entertainment was at best mediocre with the only exceptions being the Shamrock Tenors, Gaels Afloat and Anita Mays. The service from the future cruise desk was poor and had to be reminded that we were waiting for a quotation for a future Carribean cruise.Embarkation and Disembarkation were excellent. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
A little warmth to celebrate the, nearly, end of winter and a reunion with Oriana after several years. We were pleasantly surprised at the smooth check in, there must have been at three couple in the queue ahead of us - passports ... Read More
A little warmth to celebrate the, nearly, end of winter and a reunion with Oriana after several years. We were pleasantly surprised at the smooth check in, there must have been at three couple in the queue ahead of us - passports checked, photos taken and straight on board. Waiting for the luggage to be delivered was a little disappointing, 2hrs of hanging around punctuated with a disastrous lifeboat drill. The muster station only had seating capacity for 75% of attendees and the ship was not running at full capacity. Old folk with sticks were left standing for nearly 40minutes and why oh why do P&O still insist on trying on survival vests when other lines (Fred Olsen) are happy just to demonstrate. Our inside cabin on deck 5, central to minimise any rough seas, potentially a four berth cabin with two folded up bunks. This means extra wardrobes and drawers. Having unpacked we went for a walk around and were pleased how well the old lady had been spruced up - newish carpet and chairs a greatly improved buffet restaurant. Chaplain's cinema was still there and showed several recent releases (2018). We had opted for 'Open Dining' and ate in the Peninsular for all but two nights - we generally asked to join a table for 6 and were always seated immediately, okay sometime there was a delay while the table filled. Waiters and wine waiters were attentive and efficient but we felt that the cost of food loaded on board had been a little too tightly controlled. Also main courses were no longer silver service but this has been the case for quite a while. An excellent port lecturer ( but two a day is simply too much to absorb), theatre shows were the usual high standard as were visiting cabaret acts. Enrichment lecturers a bit disappointing - one just showed film clips, very professionally, the other we had seen before. Classical concert duo were excellent they entertained with humour and played from a wide ranging repertoire. We did three shore trips all of which were as advertised and without hiccoughs, the on board photographers were considerably less intrusive than usual. The captain however we too unobtrusive. We did not once see her on board and the mid-day announcement was seldom made by her. We had done this itinerary a few times before so most ports of call were a pleasant reminder. However the smallest of the Canaries La Gomera was a first for us and the excursion to the National Park was excellent, a forest that occupies a bout one third of the island. We were saddened to learn, whilst on board, that this was to be our last cruise on Oriana. The powers that be reckon that the 4,500 passenger Iona will absorb the 1500 passengers from Oriana which is being sold to another operator as a casino cruise ship. So for us its Aurora or Fred Olsen. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
You know how it is. Days before departure you check that everything you could possibly need is packed and then with hours to go before closing the front door, you realise something is missing. In my case, I like to think there was good ... Read More
You know how it is. Days before departure you check that everything you could possibly need is packed and then with hours to go before closing the front door, you realise something is missing. In my case, I like to think there was good reason for forgetting the crampons. After all, they’re not the first things that spring to mind when you’re packing trousers and shirts. But joining Oriana for her cruise to the Arctic Circle in search of the Northern Lights, perhaps I should have done. I had found space for base and mid layers, pullovers and fleeces – even hand-warmers and a bobble hat – but not spikes for my sturdy shoes. Fortunately a local sports shop had a set for just £5 and I left the house ready for anything that Norway could throw at me. THE SHIP Oriana might be facing her last few months with P&O before she heads to China to join another cruise line, Twinkle, but it was clear from the moment I stepped on board that she intends to leave in style. Officers and crew provided levels of service that were second to none – no wonder that I heard so many fellow passengers say how much they will miss Oriana. In my book, mid-size ships are manageable and 1900 passengers seems just about right. Big beasts might be fine for late night revellers but Oriana has more than enough space to meet my needs and so it is a relief to know that we still have Aurora, a ship of similar size to Oriana and also for adults only. The public areas match Aurora’s as well and include shops, restaurants, cafés, bars, a well-stocked library, a comfortable cinema and a large theatre. There are also card rooms, lounges, an alternative venue for shows and – if you like dancing – Harlequins offers live groups to get you in the mood. My favourite spot was Tiffanys for a Costa coffee and if you time it right, an array of cakes and pastries are served late morning – at no extra cost. During the cruise I used the Peninsular restaurant and enjoyed some excellent dinners. I should eat more fish and so made the most of the wide variety on offer – salmon, lobster, cod, sea bass, scallops, bream, the lot. But occasionally I opted for the beef, pork or calves’ liver and all were delicious. Superb service adds to the pleasure, of course, and Sabir’s friendly welcome into his restaurant each evening was appreciated. Junior staff were equally impressive – in the Conservatory, new recruits Mark and Jitendra cheerfully offered help with everything from making the toast at breakfast to topping up the tea bags. Special events add variety to daily routines. One was a wine tasting seminar, hosted by Donna, Oriana’s chief wine steward. Ably helped by Christina, Jane and Jude, we sampled a range of wines as we listened to advice on wine tasting and learnt a lot about the winemaking process. The supplementary charge of £10 was good value and the convivial company passed a pleasant hour. THE PORTS Sailing closer to the Arctic Circle the prospect of aurora borealis lighting up the night skies became the main topic of conversation and at our first port, Andalsnes in Norway’s Rauma region, mountains draped in snow and lower slopes flecked with frost added to the anticipation. Time to test out my choice of winter wear! It felt good to scrunch through virgin snow on leaving the town behind. Andalsnes is small and you quickly discover trails through beautiful scenery. Around me, I saw young crew members experience snow for the first time, making snow angels and throwing snowballs, and their happiness was contagious. This is why I was here. To feel young again! The air was pure, the temperature freezing and I had no regrets about overfilling my case with warm layers. The crampons were a different story. One of them kept falling off my shoe – I knew they were too cheap - and I had to shuffle back to town to visit a sports shop for advice. It was succinct. Bin them and buy proper spikes. For a mere £45 (Norway is not cheap) I walked out wearing the finest set in Norway and they were worth every penny. At each port we visited I had them with me and I traversed ice and snow with ease. After the smallness of Andalsnes, Tromso felt very different. Walking out of the city across the bridge high above Tromso Sound with snow flurries and chill winds blowing in from the sea was ... bracing? Having crossed, the Ice (or Arctic) cathedral stands before you and is worth visiting for its triangular beauty; it lies about a mile from the shuttle bus drop-off point. Back in the city centre a hot chocolate (£4) in one of the many cafés thawed me out nicely. Alta was our final port before turning south to Stavanger and it was also the town where there would be most chance of seeing the Northern Lights, a natural phenomenon of bands of different colours swirling across the sky. We stayed for two nights and there’s no use beating about the bush – the Lights remained switched off for the duration. To have any hope of seeing them, clear skies and low temperatures are essential but during our stay there was simply too much cloud cover. However there was a bonus in that we had daytime sunshine with evening snowfalls that transformed the landscape and made Alta’s fjord and mountains look even more magical. ACTIVITIES Alta is home to the Northern Lights cathedral, a futuristic building constructed of steel and concrete and virgin snow made it an even more dramatic sight. The entrance charge is around £10. There were plenty of tours available. Mine to the Igloo Hotel to see bedrooms carved from blocks of ice was fascinating. An overnight stay, the ice bed piled with reindeer skins, is particularly popular with honeymoon couples, the guide told us. Unlike hotels elsewhere, this one melts away each Spring to be re-built in late Autumn. Reindeer sleigh rides were popular activities but the most fun seemed to be had by those who went husky sledding. There is no need to worry about the dogs being forced to work – they can’t wait to get started and once they return they expect lots of fuss and thanks. Taryn, the ship’s senior loyalty manager, enjoyed every minute of the experience. “There was so much screaming and giggling,” she told me, “especially when I had to be dragged out of hip-deep snow!” WORTH BOOKING? The failure of the Northern Lights to make an appearance did little to dim my enthusiasm for this cruise. Every port was markedly different from anything I had seen before and returning to the welcome warmth of the ship each afternoon to be spoilt by officers and crew made the holiday even more special. The cruise also felt different in another way: more than 700 of the 1800 passengers on board were new to cruise holidays. Ian and Angela from Staffordshire had never cruised before and enjoyed every minute. “It was brilliant! We’ve never seen so much snow and we’ve never had service like this. No wonder people keep coming back,” Ian said. “We’ll certainly be booking another cruise.” And so will I. My search for the Northern Lights resumes when I board Aurora next February. If you decide to do the same, be sure to pack plenty of warm clothes! And don’t stint on the crampons. Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
Hoped to see the Northern Lights, sadly, they did not appear. First time on this ship which is showing its age. Cabin kept very and tidy. 99% of staff were very good. Service in waiter service restaurants very slow at times. No ... Read More
Hoped to see the Northern Lights, sadly, they did not appear. First time on this ship which is showing its age. Cabin kept very and tidy. 99% of staff were very good. Service in waiter service restaurants very slow at times. No strict enforcement of using antibacterial hand gel before entering restaurants. Food very good in all restaurants. Long walk for our forward cabin to restaurants at the stern of the ship. As we were at sea for quite a few days, entertainment was poor. Headliners shows were excellent. Theatre Royal seating very uncomfortable. P&O need to offer all inclusive cruises as other cruise lines do. Ports visited were very good. Disembarkation was poor as they had not sorted out the exits properly. Abundance of thermal clothing taken not needed as shore temperatures not as low as expected. Lots of deck areas close due to bad weather. P&O would sell more in the onboard shops if they reduced prices. Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
We chose this cruise as this would be the last opportunity to see Oriana before her sale in August. We had first cruised on Oriana in July 1995. We were pleasantly surprised at the good condition of the ship, although there was ... Read More
We chose this cruise as this would be the last opportunity to see Oriana before her sale in August. We had first cruised on Oriana in July 1995. We were pleasantly surprised at the good condition of the ship, although there was extensive rust around the bow section. A Chinese “spy” was spotted in an anorak inside using a lap top and large notepad, obviously trying to plan where all the pianos will go when it reaches China. The new name will be Piano Land!!! What an insult to a good ship. The captain was very conspicuous by her entire visual absence throughout the 12 night cruise. Some said she should return to container ships from where she came since you do not need to speak to containers. Service in the Peninsular restaurant was at times very slow and to get a drink was at times difficult. Our cabin suite B153 on B deck was spacious but the only “extra” was exclusive dining for breakfast in the Sindhu restaurant. Other lines provide more for suite passengers. We did encounter a violent storm 11 at the northern edge of the Norwegian basin but the ship coped with this well. Food was middle of the road very British as one would expect. Disembarkation was chaotic to the point of being unacceptable. The land bridge between ship and terminal was declared unsafe. There was another crew gangway which could have been used but this was refused. How the port and Carnival can get into this situation defies reason. We waited from 8.00 am until 09.30 am to get off. Our 3 cases were not in deck order and one had been dropped from a great height causing both external and internal damage. We could not complain as we had only 20 minutes to reach our train by taxi. A very poor and disappointing ending. If you embark on a similar cruise you should have good dealers, take appropriate warm clothing and waterproof shoes and be prepared not to see the northern lights. Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
No Northern Lights but great experience. Tours all very expensive but worth it. The Captain was anonymous during the whole cruise which was dissapointing. No updates at all from her, and no reassurance during the force 10 storm in ... Read More
No Northern Lights but great experience. Tours all very expensive but worth it. The Captain was anonymous during the whole cruise which was dissapointing. No updates at all from her, and no reassurance during the force 10 storm in the Norwegian sea ( for 12 hours) when many passengers were very worried. My wife and i, and 18 others paid £55 each to sail into Alta in the viewing area of the Captains lounge and it was very nice. Good views, good food and good company...but alas, our Captain couldnt be bothered to come in and say hello when we was in her own suite ! No enforcement of hygene wash at the entrance to the restaurants. Many many people just ignored this so im surprised no outbreak of Norovirus. Entertainment was average but cinema showed some good films. Food was first class and service was very good. Disembarkation was a shambles. Its a shame this particular ship is leaving, i would definately liked to travel again on her..but not with this Captain. Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
Chose this cruise because it was going to Greenland (never met anyone who had been to Greenland) First stop was Stornaway. It was great because it was raining. Remember the long hot spell. Next stop was Reyjavik. Been there before with ... Read More
Chose this cruise because it was going to Greenland (never met anyone who had been to Greenland) First stop was Stornaway. It was great because it was raining. Remember the long hot spell. Next stop was Reyjavik. Been there before with P&O and it was a big let down. I kept telling everyone how boring iceland was, being covered with lava. This time we walked into town from the shuttle bus stop, and it was a big eye opener. The shops were great and the locals friendly. One place not to miss is the Harpa Hall which is Reykjavik,s concert hall. If you are lucky and get there on a sunny day the prismatic windows throw all the colours of the rainbow onto the entrance plaza. Back to Oriana. Been on her before and we felt just at home. The most comfortable cinema afloat. On to Greenland. First stop was to Quaquortoc. On the way the bridge announced a sighting of a large iceberg. Fortunately it was about a mile away, still it did look good in the sunshine. Arrived at Quaquotoc, took a thirty minute stroll around town, swatted some flies, and then back on board. Still, I done it, ive been to Greenland. Next part of the journey was through Prinz Christian Sund. Absolutely magical. Small 'growlers' everywhere and more glaciers than I could shake a stick at (not that i carry a stick). This steady, sedate cruise was not to be missed even if lunch was. In a way a bit of a shame because the oriana food was really, really good. We arrived at Nuuk (the capital) where we had a whale watching trip booked. Off we went to view these whales which the captain said were in the vicinity. The boat was a bit oldish wooden vessel but was very capable and seaworthy. It wasn,t long before we were in the right area. Sure enough a pair of hump back whale appeared. Photo time came and just as the whale was giving us the big goodby with its tail, and I was taking the first pressure on my camera; the numpty in front of me decided to stand up and shout whoohoo with his arms in the air. Fifteen hundred miles just for a photo of his back. I thought 'what a plonker' or words to that effect. On arriving back at Nuuk we decided to walk into town. Off we trudged, in the rain, but the distance and the hill was a bit too much for us. Pity there was no shuttle bus. We were in the habit of taking breakfast in Al Fresco . We soon realised that we were surrounded by "holier than thou" muscle mechanics with their yoghourt and bowls of Meusli who want to start or finnish their daily fitness regime by digging through to the bottom of the dish using a spoon as a spade. The noise generated by these breakfast miners is pretty shattering to those of us who are hard of hearing and must wear hearing aids to enjoy the company of others. Not all disabilities are visible, but these plate thumpers dont care about others as long as others can admire their lycra clad, nearly perfect bodies. The only flaw in a nearly perfect cruise was on a Black Tie night. Two waiters collided and I took a good shower of milk. Humble appologies and here is a basket of inedible fruit to compensate. No dry cleaners on board. Still not to worry, these things can happen Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
A great cruise with one or two problems in the cabin (see cabin review under). The itinerary was excellent which is why we chose this. People moan about the ship but for a ship of this age it was clean and tidy and the stabilizers worked a ... Read More
A great cruise with one or two problems in the cabin (see cabin review under). The itinerary was excellent which is why we chose this. People moan about the ship but for a ship of this age it was clean and tidy and the stabilizers worked a treat in the odd rough sea we experienced. It's a nice size ship so you don't get the problem of overcrowding and thankfully it's an adult only ship. Maintenance was constantly being done on deck such as painting and varnishing which to me should not be done whilst there are paying passengers on board, unfortunately I suffer bad headaches from the smell of paint but it was hard to avoid such areas. It's way out of date with it's daily activities and shows compared to the new modern large cruise ships but hey ho, you can't have everything. Food, as usual with P & O is boring old fashioned everyday cooking and most of the time, especially in the restaurant, it was dry. The menu is repetitive rather than an experience as on Celebrity ships. Since our last cruise they have reorganised the Conservatory dining experience whereby the food stations have been split into smaller stations which was much better as you didn't have to join a long queue to get your food. The timing of the afternoon tea always is a nuisance for us as coming back from being on shore around 5pm it's closed until 6pm so for that crucial hour when you are wanting a snack before second sitting dinner there's nothing. The shows are the same boring old "Headliners" and comedy/music acts but the talks in the Theatre during the day and the port presentations made up for it. Nigel Marvin the TV wildlife presenter was on board and his talks were excellent and funny too. New ideas are needed for the theatre. The ports of call were superb. Sadly too windy for the tenders in Stornoway so we were the unlucky ones who didn't get ashore. Luckily we had been before. Reykjavik: Did the Golden Circle Tour with P&O and it was excellent, expensive but worth it. The Almannagja Fault was the first stop, where two tectonic plates meet, then Gulfoss waterfall and lunch (yum yum, superb) then the spouting geyser which performed well. On to the Kerio crater, stunning colour and then the Geothermal Power Plant. Arrived back at the ship so decided to take the shuttle into Reykjavik for the evening. Prins Christian Sund: This was an unscheduled trip which the captain announced the day before. It was the icing on the cake. The weather was more than stunning, cold but superb. The trip through the sound lasted around 6 hours and was the best part of the whole cruise. The scenery was simply outstanding. Qaqortog: Lovely little town to walk around, warm sunny day so had to buy a head net as the flies/mozzies were horrendous. Found plenty to do despite it being small but as photographers, it was great. A little walk out of town and a grocery store sold the local beer which they opened for you and we sat outside on the tables provided to drink it. Seal fur factory was interesting but at the same time quite sad. The only hotel was very busy and provided great views. Nuuk: Hmmm, not my idea of a stop off place but still glad to experience it. Decent walk from ship to town and no shuttle not that it bothered us being walkers but would be very difficult for some. Overcast and misty to start the day so we walked to the old town which was ok but that's about all. Got some atmospheric photos before it decided to pour with rain for the rest of the day. Go to the library (green building in the centre of town) for free internet access, worked quite well. Isafjordur: Small little town which provided plenty of places to take photos. Walked all around the outskirts and noticed lots of pretty little houses along with a good view of the ship anchored in the bay. Beer tasting right near the ship was excellent, spent rather too much time in there trying the different beers and was quite hard on my purse too. Akureyri: Went whale watching on a ships excursion this morning. Took and hour's ride out into the fjord before we saw any whales then there were two together which was great. Spent about an hour circling them and watching them spurt and dive (humpbacks). Got frozen to the bone as we stayed at the front of the boat in head wind as didn't want to miss anything. Resorted to inside on the way back. Back in town and we walked to the Botanical Gardens, absolutely delightful. Walked all around the town before going back to the ship. Plenty going on in town so never short of something to see. Torshavn: Sadly another wet wet day. We had decided to walk around the town and enjoy the local hospitality but another couple from the ship asked if we'd like to join up with them so we all took a local taxi trip around the main island (Tour No 5: Tjornuvik) for 2 hours. The scenery was stunning. The taxi driver didn't speak English but it didn't really matter as you can always read up about the local history yourself after visiting. He stopped for us wherever and whever we wanted to take photos which was great. A beautiful island, would thoroughly recommend it. Greenock: Nice warn day and we decided just to walk around the town and area, not much of a place but we had seen all the ships excursion places on our own visits ot Scotland and last time we docked in Greenock we took the train into Glasgow so didn't want to do that again this time. Lots of days at sea but they never seemed to drag as there was always something to do and walking around the deck for exercise was certainly an experience some days due to the strong winds. Lots of icebergs on the way to and from Greenland and the ship sailed within a mile of the sinking of HMS Hood so we had a minutes silence out of respect and flower petals were thrown into the sea to commemorate the sad event. Nothing more to be said, a great cruise. Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
We chose this cruise to give my daughter and husband a taste of cruising. It did not occur to us that there would be large groups of big women on hen parties who tended to monopolise the facilities. The cabins at the back of the ship ... Read More
We chose this cruise to give my daughter and husband a taste of cruising. It did not occur to us that there would be large groups of big women on hen parties who tended to monopolise the facilities. The cabins at the back of the ship were very noisy and the disco in the Pacific Lounge will keep you awake till the small hours. We have cruised on Oriana before and although we knew the engines were very noisy we did not expect the disco scene. P&O should advertise this as a party cruise. Take your earplugs. The crew were very friendy and helpful and the food was good. The best parts were ashore in Bruges and Guernsey. We booked a shuttle bus to Bruges through viator as the P&O bus is very expensive. This was very good and you could get tickets at the kiosk otside the dock entrance. Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
We had cruised on Oriana before, in 2013 and 2015, and enjoy its atmosphere. This cruise was affected by 'Storm Hector' and we had an extra sea day instead of calling at Portree in Skye, which was to have been a 'tendering ... Read More
We had cruised on Oriana before, in 2013 and 2015, and enjoy its atmosphere. This cruise was affected by 'Storm Hector' and we had an extra sea day instead of calling at Portree in Skye, which was to have been a 'tendering port'. There was not much more that the company could have done in the circumstances, and we made the best of the extra time to enjoy the ship's facilities and entertainment. Oriana is now called a 'mid-size' ship by P&O, who have recently chosen to turn their back on those who enjoy smaller ships in favour of enormous mega-ships with many thousands of guests aboard. Oriana is a throwback to an earlier era and has a different feel to the company's newer ships. At 23 years old she is also becoming middle-aged by ship standards. Embarkation at Southampton was affected by problems with the 'air-bridge' (covered gangway) and although this did not cause a late departure, it was frustrating for both the terminal staff and passengers during the delay. One factor outside of the ship's control, but readily obvious to all on board, was the unfortunate attendance of Emergency Ambulances to remove ill passengers from the ship at every port where we docked alongside. The one at Ringaskiddy (Cork) made the ship late departing, and must have made the poor couple involved feel very conspicuous. So here are the things we loved about our Oriana cruise: + Embarkation and disembarkation were both handled very professionally + The entertainment on our cruise was outstanding. The 'Oriana Orchestra' produce a superb sound considering there are only 7 musicians, and we enjoyed the performances of theirs that we attended. The young girl drummer, Esme, is amazing! We also enjoyed some 'Headliners' shows and the duet that performed in the Crow's Nest bar. George Dorogi, the cocktail pianist who mostly played in Tiffany's, also charmed us with his skillful piano playing. + The Conservatory seemed much improved following its recent refit, although it has to be said that the manners of some passengers when using it left a lot to be desired. The new layout seemed to speed up the preparation of drinks. In the evenings the staff seemed especially helpful, serving teas & coffees after your meal. This latter service made dining there in the evenings much less like a canteen. However, we avoided the Conservatory at breakfast times, when it is still rather a bun-fight. + The ship has had all of the moveable deck seating replaced, and although it was sad to see that all the wooden steamer chairs had gone from the Promenade Deck, the metal replacements were reasonably comfortable. + We chose to dine in SINDHU on two occasions, and the service there is second-to none. Personally I considered that it was well worth the modest supplement charged. + The staff on reception were very helpful, and one of them went well beyond the call of duty during a personal emergency when we required some laundry tablets urgently. + The Front-of-House staff in the Peninsular Restaurant were very professional, friendly and made you feel welcome upon arrival. + P&O now require Cruise Cards to be shown during the safety drill, making it harder for guests to avoid attending this important briefing. So, here are the not-so-good bits.... - Cruise Cards. Oh dear. Mine worked satisfactorily throughout the whole cruise, but my companion was on card No.7 by the end. We spoke to many other passengers who had also needed multiple replacement cards during the cruise. The cards can be affected by proximity to mobile phones, something that was not emphasised when boarding, but there clearly was a software bug in the system or faulty encoding, because it affected so many passengers. One card lasted only 2 hours! - The Great British (Tacky) sail-away. I avoid these like the plague as Butlins-on-Sea is not my style, but the one leaving Guernsey was ridiculous as it finished long before the ship actually sailed! - The bar area at the back of Deck 12, overlooking the stern, had piped pop music played 'ad nauseam' on a continuous loop. By the middle of the cruise it had become very tedious indeed, and by the end we avoided the area as it just grated on the nerves. If this bar area had a better ambience, we might well have used it a lot as it affords a great view of the ship's wake. - The sheer number of mobility-impaired guests on this cruise actually alarmed me; there were many more than I had ever seen on a cruise before. I am very much in favour of those who have impaired mobility being able to enjoy cruising and actually am pleased to see them on board, but if there had been a marine incident requiring everyone to muster or abandon ship then the crew would have been overwhelmed. I would be interested to see the risk assessment/s for the maximum number of mobility-impaired/wheelchair-bound guests that can be safely carried on board Oriana. - The professional standards of the wait staff in the Peninsular Restaurant seemed somewhat lacking on occasion, something neither of us had noticed on previous cruises. We partook of two official Shore-Excursions (Kirkwall & Dublin) but did our own thing at most of the ports. Three in particular I will mention: Kirkwall: A really knowledgeable and personable courier made this shore excursion to Scapa Flow a pleasure, despite me becoming ill towards the end of it. (I quickly recovered and was able to walk back to the ship unaided). He was a local man, enthusiastic for his subject, and more than ready to answer any questions. Belfast: We took a taxi from the ship to visit HMS Caroline which is berthed opposite the cruise terminal, across the river. A really superb attraction, and one not offered by P&O. Dublin: A boring and dull guide made this tour something of an anti-climax, only offset by the superb Irish Dancers that we saw during the second half of it. Dublin is not one of my favourite places, being full of traffic, tourists and ugly buildings. To sum up overall, we would gladly cruise on Oriana again but I am not optimistic about the ship surviving past the introduction of IONA to the fleet. Enjoy it while you can! Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
Very hit and miss cruise. Daytime activities on board were geared towards the many older people on board and didn't appeal to us at all. Entertainment was made up of the usual pub quizzes, name that tune, name that comedy series ... Read More
Very hit and miss cruise. Daytime activities on board were geared towards the many older people on board and didn't appeal to us at all. Entertainment was made up of the usual pub quizzes, name that tune, name that comedy series etc. Much of it very old fashioned and dated, We'll Meet Again is a case in point. We didn't go and see anything by the Headliners as they did nothing remotely modern the whole of the cruise! We did see a good comedian and Ida 4 very talented ladies with great voices, the talks were interesting and we enjoyed a couple of films but that was about it over a 19 night cruise, we had some early nights! The Oriana proved to be too small for us, a week would more than enough. We weren't keen on any of the public spaces, everywhere seemed half asleep! The shops were dire selling out dated products at inflated prices and their sales were a joke - total rubbish. This is the first time we have cruised over 14 nights. The experience has taught us that we can do longer cruises but we must be careful which ship we cruise on next time. On the plus side this was the first time on P & O that we have been able to eat in the dinning room every night because the food was so good. This was a big plus as there is very little in the way of alternative dining (Sindhu and the Beach House) we saved a lot of money not having to pay extra to get a decent meal which we have had to do in the past! We missed the Glass House and wouldn't sail on a P & O ship without one again. Service was overall pretty good with the odd exception of a moody waiter. We think service has improved since P & O have introduced other nationalities to their on board staff. Our cabin steward, as always, did an excellent job. We had an inside cabin unfortunately immediately above the theatre which wasn't too much of a problem until the Headliners started singing! The itinerary which attracted us to this cruise in the first place was good with the exception of Cagliari which was very disappointing. We did 2 shore excursions, wine tasting in Sicily and Krka National Park in Croatia, both were very good. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
The news was confirmed last week: Oriana is history, or she will be by May 2019. Much of the chatter I heard in the launderette on C Deck was all about her sale. There were whispers about men in suits having been seen around the ship, ... Read More
The news was confirmed last week: Oriana is history, or she will be by May 2019. Much of the chatter I heard in the launderette on C Deck was all about her sale. There were whispers about men in suits having been seen around the ship, ‘obviously’ checking things out ahead of making an offer. Generally laundrette gossip is best ignored but this time the rumours were true. Oriana fitted so nicely into the current fleet, I thought, being mid-sized (around 1900 passengers) and adult only. With the trend towards ever-bigger ships (Britannia is nearly twice the size and the latest – Iona – will be even larger), I suppose it was inevitable that Oriana would have to go but I'm relieved that we will still have three other smaller ships to choose from - Arcadia which is for adults only, Aurora which becomes child-free shortly, and Oceana. Oriana was launched in 1995 and yes, she was showing her age on this cruise. As a regular passenger I can accept her idiosyncrasies but goodness knows what first-time cruisers must think. Black scum marks around lavatory bowls are one sign of age, wonky propeller shafts another. At critical speeds when the ship is turning to leave a port, throbbing from the propellers can make dining in the Oriental Restaurant a noisy affair with glasses clinking and cutlery rattling. Numerous attempts in dry dock have been made to resolve the problem but none has succeeded as far as I can make out. Yet the ship retains the charm of a bygone age. The décor is luxurious, if a little shabby chic in some areas these days, with beautiful artwork in the stairways. A Costa coffee in Tiffany’s passes a pleasant hour, especially after 11.30 when a selection of cakes and pastries are offered. My favourite was the Victoria sponge and not only because it was free. The daily watercolour classes on sea days proved popular and I disembarked with one or two paintings that passed muster. Port talks attracted many to the Curzon theatre, not all of them devoted to selling excursions; there were also tips for those planning to go ashore independently. I avoided most of the shows each evening because I have seen nearly all of them on previous cruises. However, there were some new ones. I enjoyed Billboard because the music was from my era of the Sixties and the Seventies, and the Headliners delivered it with great spirit. Full marks to the sound engineers too for mixing a proper balance between vocalists and backing music – for once, screeching was minimal. Another brilliant act was Ida, four opera-trained sopranos. They impressed me on Andrew Neil’s TV show last Christmas and they impressed everybody who saw them in Curzon Theatre – they won a standing ovation. There are too many quizzes for my liking but at least the Chaplin Cinema offers an escape with quite a few recent releases being screened. The Darkest Hour (Gary Oldman portrays Churchill brilliantly) drew a large audience and The Greatest Showman with Hugh Jackman playing P T Barnum was another highlight. On other days, the sun deck was a glorious spot to relax, a place where I enjoyed the luxury of time to read; thankfully the library on Deck 8 is well-stocked. I tried to use the gym regularly – you have to with so much food on offer – and it is well-equipped. But beware of some of the talks that take place there because their main purpose seems to be to sell you something. There were talks on posture and healthy eating, for example, and I overheard passengers too polite to leave being sold things like shoe insoles for £75 or activity programmes for more than £100. Port disembarkations went smoothly with little or no queuing at gangways. Venice used to be a nightmare but the new terminal has improved things. I walked ashore rather than fork out for the vaporetto transfers. It takes only ten minutes to reach Piazzale Roma and a further 45 to negotiate the maze of narrow streets to St Mark’s Square. We had tender transfers in Albania and they went well, perhaps because I arrived for my ticket ahead of the scheduled time. Mind you, I am not sure Sarande was worth visiting. The resort is in desperate need of money to fund its development but the locals were very friendly and they made up for the pitted pavements. It was early in the cruise that I spotted Alan Carr, Senior Restaurant Manager. Alan is always a welcome sight because he is someone who demands high standards from his teams. It was no surprise, then, that service in the Oriental ‘club dining’ restaurant was always excellent. Dinners were a cruise highlight with meals attractively presented and delivered on hot plates. Breakfast in The Conservatory, a self-service outlet on Lido deck, was never marred by a shortage of items at the different serveries. Headwaiters and the galley team ensured they were always topped up and I defy anyone to say that they were not spoilt for choice. It may have helped, of course, that Alan would often eat in The Conservatory where he could keep a watchful eye on things. My outside cabin was on E deck and in John Tayag I had the best steward I have ever known. This 26 year old Filipino from Mexico Pampanga was on his first contract and every day he cheerfully ensured that my home was maintained perfectly – in fact he made the bed so immaculately it was almost as if he changed the linen every day. Another character central to my enjoyment of this cruise was Senior Loyalty Manager, Hope Lyttle. Hope is a scouser and her sense of humour made visits to the sales desk to research future cruises a pleasure. Her team members were on the mark too and I disembarked at Southampton having booked what will now be a farewell cruise on Oriana as well as two more on Aurora, a ship very similar to Oriana in terms of style and size. Overall, Oriana continues to impress me. She has her faults, most of them linked to her advancing years, but in terms of service from the officers and crew I find it difficult to fault her. Every day of this cruise I enjoyed outstanding levels of world-class service. And that, after all, is what counts. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
On reading the previous reviews I wanted to cancel this cruise but I am so glad I didn’t do this. We had a wonderful experience on the Oriana. We met a fabulous group of people for dinner. Yes our fellow passengers were a little older ... Read More
On reading the previous reviews I wanted to cancel this cruise but I am so glad I didn’t do this. We had a wonderful experience on the Oriana. We met a fabulous group of people for dinner. Yes our fellow passengers were a little older but they were so interesting and what stories they had to tell. Oriana is no tug boat and can cruise the Atlantic with the best of the cruise ships. The food was fabulous in all restaurants especially the beach house. Well done guys, a great experience. The entertainment was excellent, we really enjoyed the theatre each evening and then off to Tiffany’s for a late night drink and listen to the pianist. Although he did seem a little grumpy at times when people were talking or giving off a high pitched laugh. He would cross his arms and wait for them to stop. We found this very amusing. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
Just returned from a cruise on the 23rd may from Southampton, shop was lovely , very clean , food was lovely especially the beach house but you had to pay a surcharge of £7.50 each but well worth the visit to be honest I think you should ... Read More
Just returned from a cruise on the 23rd may from Southampton, shop was lovely , very clean , food was lovely especially the beach house but you had to pay a surcharge of £7.50 each but well worth the visit to be honest I think you should be able to visit this restaurant free of charge as part of the holiday as it was not cheap to go on this cruise. The cabin was lovely and comfortable and staff were excellent could not fault it. However unless you are aged over 75yrs of age this ship was very boring as far as the entertainment, it was terrible, the itinerary was knit and natter, how to get rid of water retention, seminars on the war and more war, films then on id Dunkirk, Churchill , I am all for remembering what the elderly did for their country but I don't want to have it thrown down my neck on my holidays. The band symmetric were atrocious they should have put them overboard , no idea who auditioned them , had a tropical night and we thought this might be good, my god it was terrible the band were singing oh when the saints come marching in, I have never had this song played at any party never mind a tropical party, everyone gave up and called it a night it was so bad. P@O really need to get their act together for entertainment, you could not get in any of the 8.30 shows as all the old codgers would eat at 6.00 and then all sit in that theatres a good 1/2 hrs before the shows even started so you could never get a seat, they were rude and impolite to the crew , they expect some respect but obviously they need to learn to be respectful to their younger passengers, I am 56 but I felt like I was on my last legsNEver again on this ship Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
This was our 4th cruise with P&O, second on Oriana. The quality of Food and the decline in standards are sadly slipping. P&O now no longer offer a "special " holiday to customers. Food lacks flavour and quality. They ... Read More
This was our 4th cruise with P&O, second on Oriana. The quality of Food and the decline in standards are sadly slipping. P&O now no longer offer a "special " holiday to customers. Food lacks flavour and quality. They appear to have a very parsimonious approach (probably Accountant lead) these days, although prices haven't dropped. No silver service; PG Tips now (used to have Twinnings Teas and Fruit teas) in Cabin; desserts hidden away in fridges in Buffet, you have to ask for them and also for cream. After Dinner chocs reduced some days to dried up bits of cake; no offer of further coffees after Dinner. Sindhu and Beachhouse offered much better service and enjoyable dining experience, albeit at a price - used them on 5 of 18 nights. Oriana is a lovely old ship but showing signs of age and tiredness (including leaking seals around Balcony Door with the result of soaked carpet). Rang Reception took over 3 hours for someone to come to Cabin and then they only put down towels and stood on them to soak up the water (took nearly 72 hours before issue was fixed). Cabin was clean but dated - pink bathroom and old fashioned shower curtain. Staff were very friendly and with very very few exceptions helpful and professional. P&O need to get back to the standards they had 5 years ago without the penny pinching. As an aside, if you are happy being with a majority of older folk 70+ then P&O is now for you, if not choose someone like Sa,ga from experience they are a much younger and more active crowd. I have never seen so many people on sticks and crutches in my entire life. Will I go again with P&O, it's very unlikely, will try Celebrity or Princess. to have better value for money and the cruise experience I want, which P&O used to provide. Read Less
Sail Date April 2018
We embarked in Southampton and the embarkation went smoothly. We were staying at the Holiday Inn near the Mayflower Terminal were we embarked on the Oriana about 10 minutes from the hotel. We explored this area of Southampton and ... Read More
We embarked in Southampton and the embarkation went smoothly. We were staying at the Holiday Inn near the Mayflower Terminal were we embarked on the Oriana about 10 minutes from the hotel. We explored this area of Southampton and Westquay shopping centre 5 minutes walking and also the main street where lots of shops and eateries were. This holiday Inn was quite well situated Herbert Walker Road. The ship although refurbished was old and smelly especially in the corridors outside the cabins. My cabin was perfect, Deck 10 B186. Large, spacious cabin, enough space for all our clothes (12 cruise days - cold winter wear) and 3 large suitcases and 2 small hand luggage. John our Steward kept it immaculately clean and everything we asked he complied no problem at all. We had tea and coffee facilities in the cabin and chocolates placed on the bed every evening by John. Good size balcony. Bath/shower bathroom good size. I think we had 2 complimentary bottles of water when we arrived. So cabin and service extremely good in cabin. And all cabin stewards outside our cabin were very friendly and smiling. The Oriental Dining room in which we had our evening dinners was good. We got to know our waiters, wine waters etc and they were all very nice and friendly and always smiling and courteous and anything we asked they went out of their way. The first evening dinning there I was not impressed by the food. We have gone on other cruises and the food was much much better but as the days went by the food improved. Entertainment and activities mostly for the over 70s. Some of the shows were nice but mostly directed to the over 70s aged group. And then when you thought well I will have a nice drink with my friends we are on holiday - last orders 12.30 - 1 pm - . Disco was also closed at approximately that time with hardly anybody on the dance floor as most of the music was for the older generation. It was quite difficult to be entertained during the day especially when the weather was cold and you couldn't use the pools outside. Quite a boring cruise ship. Outside of the theatres and pubs/bars if you wanted to use the toilets some were closed permanently throughout the cruise and they were smelly. Lunch/breakfast at the Conservatory buffet. Most of the food was a bit bland. Mostly English stuff, steak and kidney, English breakfast, salads and pies a few indian dishes which were nice. But it was a fight for tables. Some of the old generation have no manners at all. People were looking for tables to sit and eat their lunch or dinners and the people were just sitting there talking and not moving at all. There were not enough tables and they just would not bulge. One time we just could not find a table at all and my husband complained to the head waiter who said they would be closing in 15 minutes! and we could not find a table to eat our lunches! they just would not move! He said a man had been there sitting since 7 am! and this was perhaps 10 am and we could not have out breakfast! Most of the staff up here were not smiling or friendly, they were courteous and helpful but could not do anything to move people nor find us a table. Laundry Rooms. The first day we found a big laundry room where I washed the clothes we had used in Southampton without any problems, lots of irons so I ironed a few clothes thinking I will iron the rest the next day or so (how wrong was I). This laundry room was closed till nearly the end of the cruise. We had 2 more laundry rooms but they were half the size or smaller. One day I had to wait from 10 - 2 pm in the laundry room to have my chance to do our laundry I had a queue of I don't know how many people and more after me. It was horrendous but I didn't dare move and lose my turn. Here I learned of all that was wrong in the ship, people had been in their cabins without water for a few days! Some were complaining of another dinning room that was open for lunch that the waiters were rude. (bring your own washing powder or buy from reception). One sea day one of the other passengers was complaining that the shops in the ship were closed. I didn't see this as I did not go to the shops that day. The only good thing about this cruise was my cabin and cabin stewards. The waiter team in the Oriental dining room and the tours which were well organised. Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
Just returned from my ferry boat ride around the Canary Islands . Because as far as I’m concerned that’s all you could call it . This ship is far too small and out of date to be taking on the Atlantic. Most of the passengers were ill ... Read More
Just returned from my ferry boat ride around the Canary Islands . Because as far as I’m concerned that’s all you could call it . This ship is far too small and out of date to be taking on the Atlantic. Most of the passengers were ill with sea sickness . I spent the first four days lying on my bed as I was too ill to leave my room . But I wasn’t missing much as the daytime activities were a disgrace . Come on now .... knit and natter . A puffy eyes seminar . How to have good posture seminar . I have never felt so bored and fed up in my life . As for the evening entertainment, it was very good when it was actually on . The cabin was another story well it wasn’t really a cabin it was more a two berth caravan . With the most dated bathroom that you certainly won’t get lost in . The food could be compared to school dinners . The buffet dining room is just like sitting in Morrisons cafe . The only decent place to eat on the ferry is the Sibiu Indian restaurant, were you get five star service and beautiful food but surprise surprise you have to pay . From the minute we stepped foot on this ferry it just shouted out cheapness and certainly not luxury. In fact when it berthed in other ports I felt like the poor relative . But nothing could be further from the truth because it cost well over £4000 which I may as well have chucked overboard Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
We chose it to search the Northern Lights. Erm well this ship should be labelled a Care Home at sea. Everything seemed to be geared towards the elderly. Ok let's start with the positives. The ship is classic classy and clean. ... Read More
We chose it to search the Northern Lights. Erm well this ship should be labelled a Care Home at sea. Everything seemed to be geared towards the elderly. Ok let's start with the positives. The ship is classic classy and clean. The itinerary great. The staff work extremely hard and very friendly. The negatives...average age 80. Lots of repeat cruisers as they love the ship. Now we're not in the bloom of youth being 63 and 70...but the ship lacked any element of fun. I've never seen so many miserable grumpy faces in one place and believe me hubby and I did try to interact with our fellow passengers. As for the entertainment, we'll all geared towards elderly. Classical concerts, harpists,pianists. Oh we did have a comedian and a wonderful tenor. That performed. But then we had one evening show of We'll Meet Again really!!!! Basically it was above unless you enjoy quizzes bingo and spending most of your time glued to your pint in the Lird Taverners, they were all squashed in there like sardines. Lots of people don't even venture off, well to be honest most couldn't. So we will not be cruising in this ship again, we should have heeded a couple of previous reviews that read the same. We felt so sorry for a few 20 somethings there were on there, they looked bored to tears and they were as were we. I've ever seen corridors look so empty at certain times. Pacific lounge where the Dj set up was mostly deserted and he was. Stuck in 60/70song choice time warp. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED. Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
I Have recently got back from a 12 night cruise in hope of seeing the northern lights but we could not see them but I admit that was nobodies fault , it was down to nature but my main problem was with the cruise itself , I did not enjoy ... Read More
I Have recently got back from a 12 night cruise in hope of seeing the northern lights but we could not see them but I admit that was nobodies fault , it was down to nature but my main problem was with the cruise itself , I did not enjoy much about this cruise , Our cabin was in a bad location and as it was a cold cruise because it was going to Norway and the further it got the colder it got so understandably they had to keep the doors closed on the lido deck which on a warm cruise you would've walked through to make it to the conservatory dining restaurant and it was a long walk and I was travelling with elderly parents in their mid 60's & they found it a lot having to walk a mile each time they wanted to get something to eat . The conservatory restaurant was always super extremely crowded and at breakfast most mornings you had to really scrimp around before you could find a clear table ans it was always absolute mayhem down there , the food was nothing special at all it was like the low quality junk you'd find at an all you can eat buffet for about £8.99 , mass catering . The better food you had to pay for like to dine in either the oriental or Indian restaurant you had to pay quite a bit more and I paid something in the region of £1200.00 so why in the hell should I have to pay for any extras ??? It should all be included , P&0 already had £1200 of my money why should they get anymore . I think this whole cruise was a huge con absolute rip off . The atmosphere of the conservatory restaurant was about as classy as ASDA's cafe but about ten times as rushed and crowded , I will never do another cruise with P&0 ever again ... They have really let themselves go down the toilet . The cabin was looked after very well and the cabin Steward that was looking after all the cabins on the deck I was on did a wonderful job and REALLY looked after us really well and was always happy and polite and nothing was too much trouble and he would chat with me for a couple of minutes while he was working and was very friendly . The cabin was comfortable and I had all the towels and sheets I needed , the one problem that did take longer to sort out that it should've done was an issue with the climate control it was on the coolest setting it would go and was only blowing out REALLY hot air , I was sticky and clammy because it was so warm in there and had to sleep on top of the bed before they finally fixed it , it took them four days to get on it despite the fact that I'd been up at the desk more times than I can remember to complain about it & they kept saying it was beyond their control and someone was fixing it and it could take an hour up to 24 hours and it took much longer , I thought it was complete unacceptable , it would sweetened it a little if they had said while we are sorting this out help yourselves to as many cold drinks from the refrigerator in your cabin and you won't be charged for them , they're on us until we can get this sorted out but they didn't even do that . The entertainment was totally naff & was either aimed at chavs or old people , There were a couple of decent films I saw in the Chaplin Cinema in the evening but that was it . Music was completely awful over commercialised cack and was chosen by someone without a brain or what appeals most to drunk idiots on a Friday or Saturday night . The whole thing has become really chavified where most things appealed to that kind of person . At dinner time in the evening it clearly stated either formal which meant shirt , tie and dinner Jacket and shoes or on smart casual it stated smart trousers , collar shirt and smart jumper no jeans or tracksuit / jogging bottoms or football shirts and when I went into the Conservatory restaurant there were more than half who were inappropriately dressed . I saw Flip flops , Trainers , Football shirts , Skull & Bones shirts , Vests on really gross overweight fat men with beer bellies and at dinner this is a really unpleasant thing to have to look at ... Even on the formal night there were individuals dressed in this manner I was repulsed & put off to be honest I thought I'd mistakenly walked into either Pontins or Butlins dining area as the kind of person these holidays now seem to be attracting this type of character If P&0 are going to have the dress codes then they need to do one of two things either do a beter job at enforcing them or ABOLISH them altogether that way we'd know where we were ... but I guess this was bound to happen , the chav's have cottoned on to and taken over everything else in Britain and ruined it so it was only a matter of time before they discovered cruising and put their filthy stamp on what was once a pleasant relaxing experience . In another decade there will be drunkenness ,fighting and football hooliganism on these ships . They are very fast declining . The daytime activities were weak as they come . Pathway to Yoga , Footprint Analysis , Lunchtime puzzle . One of your entertainment team will provide a "fun" silent puzzle handout to complete at your leisure . Afternoon social Dancing , Walk in Fluid Retention Clinic , Port day picture Quiz , Nit & Natter .... I honestly almost gave up the will to Live it was so damn boring . On the days where I was at sea were the worst because the activities got even more tedious. The Lords Tavern was the worst evening entertainment . awful bland repetitive over commercial music being played at full volume followed by a dumb quiz and the entertainment staff were a bunch of irritating morons . I REALLY HATED this cruise with a passion & will NEVER , EVER go on anything else to do with P&0 or anything which they have had any involvement in . Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
We chose this cruise as we wanted to see the Northern Lights and experience Norway with snow. We have previously been to the North Cape on P &O’s Arcadia, but in the summer. Embarkation on Oriana was a breeze...we arrived at 1pm, ... Read More
We chose this cruise as we wanted to see the Northern Lights and experience Norway with snow. We have previously been to the North Cape on P &O’s Arcadia, but in the summer. Embarkation on Oriana was a breeze...we arrived at 1pm, and were on board by 1.30...even though our official embarkation time was 2.30. Our cabin, a deluxe outside on C deck, was clean and spacious with lots of storage. A bit dated, but then we have been on Oriana once before and know that she is an old lady. Our luggage arrived shortly after us, and having unpacked had fun getting the suitcases stowed away under the bed...clearance is not great but leaving the cases open worked a treat. We were on Freedom dining in the Peninsular restaurant...and as we were happy to share with others (we were 3 adults, although not all in the same cabin) we never had a problem getting seated for dinner immediately. Food was consistently of a good or high standard...Certainly no complaints at all, and in my opinion, was better than on our previous P &O cruise last summer. Could have been a bit hotter on a couple of occasions but not cool enough to warrant sending back. We also often asked for extra veg, as we like our veg and the standard portions can be a bit small. Dining staff (with one exception) were always efficient and friendly, but we could see they were pretty rushed at times, so lengthy dialogue with the waiters did not feature! We dined in Sindhu one night...fabulous food and service. Had afternoon tea in the main dining room a couple of times, very nice, better than the buffet. We were not overly impressed with the buffet, but we tend to use Al Fresco for breakfast (much more civilised!) and dont bother much with lunch. On the days we did have lunch in the buffet we had no problems getting a table, and stuck mainly to salads which were fine. We didnt avail oursleves of much of the entertainment...we have seen all the Headliner shows before, although we did see the comedian, the Harpist ( briliiant!), and Ben Makesi ( excellent). We are happy to retire to the Crows Nest after dinner and listen to whoever is performing there. Particularly liked one artiste..... Also, this was a specialist cruise...so many evenings whilst up in the Arctic circle , we were out on deck with our camera in search of the elusive lights...drinking mulled wine. Lovely! The ship is old, but the atmosphere on board was very friendly. The public areas are lovely and well maintained. I have read a couple of other reviews about this cruise and wonder if we were on the same one! The average age on board (as quoted by one ) was definately NOT 74...there were a lot of younger people on board and far, far less people with scooters and wheelchairs than normal...as expected really bearing in mind the itinerary and time of year. I really get quite annoyed when genralising sweeping statements are made about the passengers ages on this ship. Yes, of course some are quite elderly, but that is the same on any ship, and because it is adult only you dont get young families with children. I am not elderly, but really enjoyed my time onboard, chatting with people of all ages...which we did. Ports...Andalsnes...we went on a P &O trip on the Rauma railway...amazing scenery. We went by coach to Bjorli ski resort and got the train back...definately the best way to do it as the guide on the coach was very informative, whereas information on the train was less so. Tromso and Alta.....between us we went on Husky rides and Reindeer rides ...not cheap but great fun. We visited the Ice Hotel (a must), went in search of the lights...not too sure about the value here but just one of those things really, and went to a concert in the Arctic Cathedral in Tromso....beautiful. This is one of those cruises where I think you just have to bite the bullet and book at least a couple of trips if you want to get any real benefit of a cold cruise. Stavanger we just mooched around...it is an easy port to do just that and the town is very nice...the old town being particulalrly pretty. I am now looking forward immensely to 3 weeks in the Med this summer on the same ship. She is not modern and glitzy, but offers a more traditional cruising experience....has a lovely tiered aft, and is like a ship should be ...rather than a block of flats on water! Some will not enjoy that experience, so my advice is do your research before you book a cruise! She is also very expensive if you want a balcony cabin.... Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
Having not cruised with P & O since the maiden sailing of Brittania and only ever cruised Norway in the summer - the Northern Lights sounded just right. Over the past 3 years, we've enjoyed 3 Princess cruises and 3 Celebrity ... Read More
Having not cruised with P & O since the maiden sailing of Brittania and only ever cruised Norway in the summer - the Northern Lights sounded just right. Over the past 3 years, we've enjoyed 3 Princess cruises and 3 Celebrity cruises. Having read some other reviews of the cruise which departed February 23, I have to agree. We booked an outside cabin, as all balconies were sold but we were happy with this, until we opened the door. Swing a kitten - yes but a cat NO! At this time I will state, per our customer questionnaire - Toilet paper is disgusting quality, food choice - how many tons of green beans did the chef buy? The Indian staff were all, without exception, their wonderful friendly selves and it's these people that make a P and O cruise. If you're on a special diet (health) the menu choice was very limited. I suggest you should take all your meals in the restaurants as it overcomes fighting for table space. We spent a day sitting in Andersons fully clothed including hats and scarves, due to the loss of heating. Luckily our cabin didn't suffer any water leaks. We only booked a couple of P and O excursions but did enjoy a day out through Aldennes tourist office @ 600Nkr. It was also a challenge not to get run over by speeding battery wheelchair riders. Oriana is a very expensive cruise ship and has had her day. All we can say is we've booked 2 further cruises on Celebrity. Oh by the way, we're Carnival shareholders but wonder why? Read Less
Sail Date February 2018
We had never been in a Christmas Cruise before and thought it would be magical. The cruise itself was nice but as for Christmas Spirit it was lacking. The crew wearing santa hats and a 20 minute carol service by officers and crew doesnt ... Read More
We had never been in a Christmas Cruise before and thought it would be magical. The cruise itself was nice but as for Christmas Spirit it was lacking. The crew wearing santa hats and a 20 minute carol service by officers and crew doesnt make what I expected a christmas cruise to be, especially when you consider the price. Two places we visited had a long walk to the entrance of the dock and no transport was provided. When this was mentioned to the crew member we were told that she could walk this in 15 minutes or so minutes. Not really interested in what a fit person could walk it in. Another Port we were advised it was. 'Long walk' to the town. We didn't go ashore there at all as no transport was provided again. I wouldn't do another Christmas cruise when you consider you could do two cruises for the price paid. The Oriana definatey needed a little tender loving care. Some of the ceiling tiles in the crowsnest where either dropping or being held up with tape. Dining was good, the food imaginative, well presented and cooked. The headliners were okay, not the best we had seen and there was no crew show which was disappointing. Entertainers were good, nothing earthshattering. The crew were helpful but did seem a little bored with everything. The television choices werent good. The larger ships have choices of tv programmes and films in the tv. Daytime activities were very limited and if you didn't want to go to the pictures but I play bridge so that was a something. Read Less
Sail Date December 2017
The service received from P&O from the online booking to embarkation to the staff on board to disembarkation was superb, the cruise however was very disappointing. Oriana is a lovely boat in very good condition At 65 years young ... Read More
The service received from P&O from the online booking to embarkation to the staff on board to disembarkation was superb, the cruise however was very disappointing. Oriana is a lovely boat in very good condition At 65 years young I’d guess we were about 20 years below the average age and not needing walking aids we were in the minority. It was like being in an old folks home at sea.....not my choice of holiday venue. I felt that P&O dumbed down their offer to suite the age and expectations of the passengers. The entertainment was poor....when you end up visiting the cinema five times on a 14 night holiday it says a lot for what’s available.....when I saw colouring in as one of the activities the warning bells rang!! We normally like a drink in The Crows Nest in the day, we nicknamed it Gods Waiting Room....full of folk fast asleep with their mouths wide open. Seriously if the car hadn’t been tightly packed in a CPS car park we’d have jumped ship and flown home. The highlight of the holiday was the three other couples we shared our dining table with, very experienced cruisers, but like us new to Christmas cruises.....and like us all said the last time ever, sad really The Xmas atmosphere was zilch, at £4000 an expensive mistake Read Less
Sail Date December 2017
Never again on the Oriana unless you are over the seventy age mark and would like to sit like zombies. The days entertainments were adult Colouring by numbers,Craft and Chat get together & knitting & Chat also line dancing and ... Read More
Never again on the Oriana unless you are over the seventy age mark and would like to sit like zombies. The days entertainments were adult Colouring by numbers,Craft and Chat get together & knitting & Chat also line dancing and they are only the high lights. Getting onto the ship was no trouble fill in the medical card, collect your on board cards and on to the ship you go and there the enjoyment ends. for four of five days there was a virus on board but we were not told, but when salt & pepper comes in little paper, hand antibacterial gel every where, on day five everything was back to normal. I must say that we did not have the best in weather 5 days of winds and bad seas but once we reach canary island the weather did get better for two days, who said go for the hot weather was not on the Oriana this December. The Conservatory [The Buffet] Poor meals Al Fresco [ Passable] Freedom Dining [Passable] If you like the formal evening you can eat and drink anywhere But if you not the buffet is all you get and you can drink only in one bar because you are not dress up for the rest. This ship I was please to get off and I was not the only one I'm sure. Read Less
Sail Date December 2017
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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