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17 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2016
We wanted to complete Norway and the Northern Lights for sometime and after looking at various options we decided on a cruise aboard the Oriana would probably be the best solution. We are very independent travellers, and had some ... Read More
We wanted to complete Norway and the Northern Lights for sometime and after looking at various options we decided on a cruise aboard the Oriana would probably be the best solution. We are very independent travellers, and had some reservations but thought a new experience would be a good idea - especially to get to the Arctic Circle. The ship in general was fine, although we were delayed for 5 hours leaving Southampton and we lost all electrical power for 10 minutes on leaving Flam. In the dining room we often had a really bad 'vibration issue' on some nights from the engines or props - not a ship expert but it seemed to be directly under our table in the Oriental. Sindhu was very good, and we liked the Crows Nest and Andersons. We had 8:30 dining and the food and service was excellent. The ports of call were; Stavangar - Nice town, we did our own thing and explored the town and museums. Tromso - Not long enough and a pretty poor tour by coach which was rushed Alta - Saw Northern Lights from back of boat in Alta, did not book the expensive P & O Northern Lights Tour as we though we would see them from the boat - and we did. Flam - Spectacular location took the Norway in a Nutshell tour and overall good - just too many people - not something we are used to. Overall fantastic scenery with lots of snow covered mountains and fjords. Bad outbreak of flu on-board which affected many people and for our last few days we were both very ill. I suppose when you have nearly 3000 people confined within a small area it was bound to happen. You do not have the freedom 'normal' holidays offer and you only get a 'taster' of each location. For Northern Norway it was fine for us, but I would not go on another cruise, its just not for us. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2015
Embarkation at Southampton was a breeze taking less time to board than it did to find our cabin! From leaving the taxi to getting into our cabin was 20 minutes at most and our luggage was waiting at the door. The cabin (with balcony) ... Read More
Embarkation at Southampton was a breeze taking less time to board than it did to find our cabin! From leaving the taxi to getting into our cabin was 20 minutes at most and our luggage was waiting at the door. The cabin (with balcony) was certainly better than the pictures which was a pleasant surprise. Tipping the guy who looked after our room certainly paid off as we seemed to have a full bucket of ice, plenty of tea , coffee and biscuits whenever we wanted them. I have to give special praise to the catering g and serving staff on Oriana, we never has anything approaching a bad meal, no matter where we chose to eat. There were one or two occasions when some courses took a little longer to materialise but with 1800 people to feed it has to be expected. Even on the two occasions when we ordered room service the food was great, however I have to take umbrage at being told it would take 45 minutes, when it never took longer than 10 minutes! Entertainment on board was varied and plentiful and of a very good quality. I cannot remember seeing so much in 12 days before! Now to the itinary, first stop was Lisbon that had bad memories for me as the last time I had been here there had been a two week old strike by the garbage collectors and in mid summer, the aroma was, how shall I say it? Bloody awful. This visit was much better smell wise but I guess my view of Lisbon will always be tainted. Lisbon will certainly never compete for the most beautiful of places in the World but it was nice to stretch our legs and turn down a large number of Roles watches for 25 euro. Next port of call was Casablanca, where we had a tour of the mosque, which is well worth a visit just to admire the workmanship if nothing else. At this point I should mention that we did not book any P&O excursion, something we will rectify in the future. We always felt that our tour guide was receiving a backhanders at the places we went to on the tour except for the mosque, which he was a mine of information on and answered all questions. Next we went to Gibraltar, which will always have a soft spot in my heart from many visits in the RN. We went on a tour, something I had never done in my previous 25 visits, and learnt a lot about the rock and it's history. Our tour ended with a lot of free time to explore Main Street and it's many retail outlets.This was the highlight of the cruise for my other half, who indulged herself mightily! Next port of call was Malaga, where we went on a couch tour with an insane coach driver, how on earth he managed to get the coach down some of the narrow streets I will never know. It was a pleasant enough tour with no particular highlights, although it gave us a good guide as to where we wanted to walk afterwards. Next day was Cadiz which we both enjoyed both the coach tour and walking do wn the narrow streets filled with just about anything you can think of to buy, it is fairly reminiscent of The Lanes in Brighton. We later ventured a little further afield and found a huge department store that just sold everything, it is huge! We were due to visit Vigo as our last foreign port of call but the weather put paid to that as it was really blowing further north and so we stayed and extra day in Cadiz, I don't think anyone complained as Vigo is not very exciting. Disembarking was as easy as embarking, we chose to take our own luggage ashore. From our cabin to the taxi was maybe 20 minutes. On the whole for a first cruise, I would thoroughly recommend it, even this late in the year! We had warm sunshine everyday, the only time we saw rain was in the taxi on the way back to Southampton station. The cruise was excellent value for money and we are certainly looking to embark on our 2nd cruise next year. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2015
this was are first ever cruise so I have nothing to compare against but I can certainly tell when a ship is looking worn out. On arrival day one we had been on the ship no more than five minutes and spa treatments were being introduced ... Read More
this was are first ever cruise so I have nothing to compare against but I can certainly tell when a ship is looking worn out. On arrival day one we had been on the ship no more than five minutes and spa treatments were being introduced to us in a elevator of all places whilst we were still were carrying our hand luggage. We arrived at are cabin a hour or so later when it was ready a nice enough cabin but a few maintenance problems I.e. cupboard doors, toilet flush issues but the cabin was always kept very clean. What I found more disappointing was the general look of the ship you could see she was a grand lady in her day and still could be, but she is worked constantly without time for a refit and all maintenance is carried out at sea. All the time on our cruise the maintenance was carried out a patch work quilt of grey primer paint and white flecks of paint on the decks through grinding, a generator the size of a large van on the sun deck due to some problems below, the attrium water feature never worked for the duration of the cruise it's a shame as we were looking forward to this holiday for a long time. The food we found hit and miss Eating in the conservatory Don't bother! Eating the Oriental average. Eating in peninsular average. Eating in the ocean grill excellent. Eating in the beach house good. The entertainment on board was OK but it got a bit the same old thing at the end of the cruise. I spoke to a few people on the cruise about there experience on board and the one thing they all had in common was the way p&o had lost a lot of there traditional values, and All the changes seen on board are for the worse. As I said at the beginning of this review we hadn't cruised before so had nothing to compare it with but from my findings this was a long way from perfect compared to other cruise companys. We won't be bothering again. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: June 2015
Our first cruise, to Ireland, Iceland, Faroe Islands, Orkneys, Dublin and back to Southampton. Our room A196 mid ship was a good position top price for a Non balcony room. The room itself was in need of refurbishment lots of rust round ... Read More
Our first cruise, to Ireland, Iceland, Faroe Islands, Orkneys, Dublin and back to Southampton. Our room A196 mid ship was a good position top price for a Non balcony room. The room itself was in need of refurbishment lots of rust round windows and in bathroom. The room was cleaned regularly but not very well the kettle was dirty and not cleaned during our stay. Our last day at sea, new bed linen was put in our room for the next cruise, just made us feel it's time to go and make room for the next passengers. Food ... Overall average, the breakfast was ok nothing special and it was difficult to get a table for four at some times. Lunch was also nothing special. Dinner was better, good choice, well presented and served by friendly waiters. But not always perfect some basic mistakes in the cooking , not fine dinning at its best. Entertainment... Didn't impress us second rate singers, comedians, musicians and only one film worth watching. Making days at sea boring. Ports of call... KILLYBEGS fantastic day out hired a taxi who took us along the old road ,where coaches can't go, lots of photo stops, a stop at a spinners and hand weavers work shop, on to Glencolmcille Folk Village. Lunch at a small restaurant, all the time being entertained by our driver who was bought up in the area. The cost was half what P&O would charge for a similar trip but we saw so much more. Now, having been allocated £540.00 on board spending money and not being drinkers the only thing to spend it on was trips out. ICELAND we did The Golden Circle, The Jewels of the North on both these trips we saw the main attractions albeit in a rush with hundreds of other tourists, over priced not that impressed. Our other trip was to The Abondoned Village of Hesteyri this was a complete disaster, we were taken by boat across the Glacier fjord about 18 miles, an hours journey on a rough sea day was far from comfortable some passengers sitting outside getting cold and wet. On arrival we had to transfer to a small rubber dingy six at a time to go the last 100 metres or so the the floating jetty, sitting on the rubber side with nothing to hold onto was extremely dangerous if any one was to fall into the water it was very very cold and for anyone with a heart condition could have been fatal. We were not informed about this before we left. On the positive side we were away from the crowds, just 36 of us a few walkers in a cold wilderness and the food supplied was quite good. However the tour description left a lot to be desired, the Abondoned houses turned out to be local weekend holiday homes and the old whaling factory was a mile away. Think carefully before booking this excursion. FAROES ISLANDS we choose the Sagas and Legends a very good trip with good guide enjoyed these islands and would very much like a holiday there. ORKNEYS the weather was against us here it rained all day and was windy so our trip was not great couldn't see the views , but we did see enough to know that we should come again, just what we did four weeks later on a coach tour of Scotland, by ferry from Jon o Grotes and a fantastic coach trip seeing all the attractions not available with P&O trips. DUBLIN our last port was a trip out on their local open top bus getting on or off where ever you wanted to, too much to see on one visit. To sum up cruising is not for us, we like value for money and the freedom to do what we want to when we want to. So our next holiday is two weeks all inclusive in a five star hotel for half what the cruise cost. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2015
We have just come back from the most amazing cruise around the Mediterranean. Loved every minute. The ship is adult only and we were among the youngest aged mid 50s but I think that was because the trip was 18 days and most people only get ... Read More
We have just come back from the most amazing cruise around the Mediterranean. Loved every minute. The ship is adult only and we were among the youngest aged mid 50s but I think that was because the trip was 18 days and most people only get 2 weeks summer holiday. We took our own iron as there is no luggage allowance but there is a laundry room with 4 washing machines dryers and irons. We booked excursions at every port with P and O and were all very informative but you can just get the hopper bus and do your own thing in the ports if you want to. This was our first cruise so had nothing to compare some people said the ship was tired looking but it is having a refit next year. Some cabins suffered with toilets getting blocked although we didn't have this problem. The Captain kept telling people not to put anything down the toilet.There is hand gel getting on the ship and going into the dining rooms. I took some of my own to use on land in the public toilets as ships can be prone to the norovirus bug. The medical suite is like a mini hospital but it is not NHS so take anything that you think you might need. If you want to buy water it is cheaper to buy it in the ports as we only paid about 1€. If you want water on the ship it is cheaper to buy a 1 and 1/2 litre from the bars. The entertainment was very good with different activities going on during the day and music in most bars every night. The Headliners Theatre Company were excellent with a different show every time they appeared. Guest artists were more a matter of taste but for us Gareth Oliver and the Octaves really stood out. There are lots of things to do during the day for those who are travelling on their own as well as everyone else. The ship is also very good for mobility impaired guests. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2014
A lovely cruise, the ship is tired and a little old, but we liked it, not too big that you get lost and not too small to feel crowded. We were lucky with weather, the sunniest in 15 years we were told. We loved the being on the sea, ... Read More
A lovely cruise, the ship is tired and a little old, but we liked it, not too big that you get lost and not too small to feel crowded. We were lucky with weather, the sunniest in 15 years we were told. We loved the being on the sea, watching sunsets and having lazy sea days recovering from port excursions. Norway is a beautiful country, amazing scenery and clean air. Experiencing the midnight sun was incredible; 3am was like 12 noon. We have never had such a relaxing holiday; I even managed to read 2 books!! Would we do this again? Definitely but would be much smarter when booking for the reasons below. Would we cruise with P and O? Yes definitely, for cheap relaxing holidays where we're not bothered where we go, however we do want to try other lines. I think we have the cruising bug now. I think P & O need to spend some money on training their staff, as you could not fault their attitude and willingness to help but their knowledge was not up to date and seemed they needed to conform rather than let their personality sparkle like some of the staff. Pre-cruise Info Booking: We decided to cruise as seeing what we wanted to in Norway would have been expensive. The Oriana covered where we wanted to visit and it was an adults only ship. We booked 5 months in advance for an inside cabin with the select fare. We chose this cruise as it covered the ports and excursions (with a clause subject to change) we wanted to go to, however when the excursions booking time (a few months prior to the cruise) came the one we really wanted was not being offered. No port times were available at that point so we were using the excursion durations as guideline to how much time we had in port. P and O do not release this information although it is available on http://ports.cruisett.com/ as a rough guide. We learnt the hard way - Never book the cruise way in advance unless you really want that cruise itinerary, that ship and that cabin and the extras such as car parking, diner sitting selection. We wanted to get a table for 2 for dinner, but when we arrived we were advised that these were limited. As an example, one of the people that did get a table for 2 booked back over a year ago! Having booked so early the price reduced to less than half the price we paid for a balcony cabin, we got an inside cabin. The ideal time I have since learnt is around the 6 week mark when the price promises rules change. Also we were upgraded which we queried but chose to accept, I since learnt you don’t have to accept an upgrade, you can negotiate for onboard spend instead as long as the cabin you booked has not been sold. Drinks & Wine bottles: P & O will let you take as much as you want to drink in your cabin, drink outside of the cabin and you will pay corkage. The drinks are reasonably priced but it does add up if you like a good bottle of wine with your meal. Packing: I’ve brought back wine from around the world on flights by wrapping it in a plastic carrier bag tightly and then bubble wrap around each bottle and taping the ends up. I always put it into my checked luggage as I don’t want to lug it around as cabin luggage. This worked beautifully on the cruise as you don’t have access to the cabin till after 2pm, some people had to wait till 4pm. You luggage is left outside you cabin; I would say your luggage is left in the corridor of your cabin (our bags were in the corridor at the other end of the ship). Clothes: Yes we packed too much, one suitcase came back unused. Dress codes are strictly adhered too. This was fine on sea days but on a couple of nights it was Smart Jacket after a busy port day, we just wanted to relax. You aren’t able to go to certain bars and the restaurant if you don’t adhere to the dress code so be warned. We ate in the conservatory (the food is not as good) those nights we didn’t want to dress up. We had 4 Black Tie, 4 Smart Jacket and 6 Smart casual nights. There is a laundry room on each deck well equipped with washing machines, dryers, irons and ironing boards, free to use. Make sure you take magnets (walls of the cabin are magnetic) perfect for securing the daily newsletters. Food We love our food, having eaten at some of the best restaurants in the world, our expectations were fairly high. The Peninsular or Oriental restaurants were the best places to eat. The food was well prepared and served, although the fish was overcooked, you can request how you want it cooked. The waiters attentive and happy to oblige to your requests. The conservatory buffet served salads and hot food with food theme each day such as Fish and Seafood, Mexican, Indian, Best of British, Italian, as well as roasts, fish and pies. The dressings were a let-down lacking flavour and texture. On the Mexican night the guacamole was like soup. I did mention this to the Food and Restaurant Manager, the next day there was a thicker dressing as well as the thinned out soupy dressing. The theme doesn’t run through on all restaurants. The Al Fresco café served light breakfasts, salads, pannis, fresh pizza and hot dogs as well as deserts in the afternoon and evening. The ship only had UHT whole milk portions, they only carry semi and skimmed milk for breakfast of which we are not fans so we bought a carton of whole milk at our first port,. We did try to use the room service one night but they were unable to supply ice cream or hot food and didn't seem to want to provide a service. Sorrento has a surcharge and is actually located in part of the conservatory restaurant which is blocked off and used as Sorrento in the evening. We refused to use this on the principle that closing part of the buffet area and using it as a surcharged restaurant was unacceptable. We were assured that food was very good by fellow passengers. Ocean Grill – We booked this for their steak and seafood. The waiters weren’t trained well, I asked for Balsamic vinegar with olive oil and was served cider vinegar (not told about this until I asked why it looked so different and tasted sour after I had tasted a drop), and the waitress told me they didn’t have any Balsamic vinegar in the kitchen. Again I see this as a training issue for P and O rather than the fault of the waitress. This should have brought up the warning signs for us about how the rest of the meal may go. After a huddle with other waiters, they did get some balsamic vinegar from another restaurant but lack taste. We ordered the steak medium rare and a trio of seafood. The steak was served well done, the white fish and salmon overcooked, scallops cold. We sent this back and they served the dishes a second time almost the same again. We ended up leaving at this point, a refund was given which was the least they could do. I’m not sure how Marco Pierre White can put his name to this, I can only imagine it provides a good royalty for him, and P & O get a brand to publicise. Excursions The ships excursions were expensive and so we booked only 2, both all day and a little expensive but covered everything we wanted to see and offered better value when you considered the cost of a 2-3 hour trip. Other ports we did by ourselves and usually worked out much cheaper than the ships excursions. We did do our research before we went so we had a good idea of what we were going to do. For future cruises I would arrange as much as I can from home. Entertainment This ship is really geared for the over 55’s, we found only a few people younger than that. The talks and entertainment (quizzes, music, dances, theatre shows) were geared to suit them. The cinema was popular but you needed to get there early to secure a seat. The same with the theatre shows, always busy and if it was a popular show you had get there at 45 mins before. We only attended one show and one talk. The captain’s interview was interesting, a little rehearsed. Port presentations generally included lots of fear; missing the boat, finding it hard to get around, won't see everything etc... and stressed the difficulties of DIY urging everyone to book on the ships excursions. To be honest I found them not much use if you wanted to do your own thing. The once place we never stayed in was Anderson's, to me it seemed like a waste of good space, generally very quiet more like a gentleman's club. We did put our head through a number of times but walked out again. Embarkation We left early in the morning and reached Southampton around 10.45 and drove straight into the drop off point where the porter unloaded the luggage swiftly and efficiently. I asked for some fragile labels and was told that they didn’t use them. I had packed a number of bottles of wine into the suitcase and was assured by the porter it would be fine as long as I had packed it well, which I had. Walked straight into the terminal and were directed upstairs to the lounge and given a green card and told boarding would commence at 11.30. Promptly at 11.30 they started to check in everyone. Passports were checked and cruise cards given to us both, a quick walk to the scanners and we boarding the ship. It took about 15 mins at most. Once inside we were directed to the Conservatory and the poolside BBQ. Had a lunch and then we went to our cabin on A deck. It was clean and tidy, I did give it a once over with some anti-bacterial wipes just to make sure. The suitcases fitted under the bed, you had to slide them in from the side not the end of the bed. The walls were magnetic and used magnets to keep paperwork at hand. Lots of hanging and drawer space for clothes, shower worked brilliantly and the toilet flushed properly. We had no problems at all throughout our cruise. Muster attended and dinner was lovely. We were 2nd sitting and the food was good. We did request a table for 2 but were given a table for four. We changed our dining to Freedom which was the best thing for us as we wanted to have dinner when we wanted rather than a set time. Worked brilliantly and we had a table for 2 every night without more than a few min wait. Sea Days We spent sea days watching movies, reading, relaxing on the incredibly comfortable wooden deck chairs on Prom deck not the other decks. There were some activities on and we attended a cookery demo, dance class, a quiz and a bowling session. People were very friendly and often we were talking into the early morning hours. Day 4 Olden – Briksdale Glacier, berthed Olden is a small town and very few shops, very pretty. Briksdale Glacier - We did this by ourselves, it was much cheaper that the cruise excursion. We took the local bus to the Briksdale Glacier, cost 88NOK each. The bus stop has no sign but is in the car park on the same side where the ship docks by the zebra crossing sign. The bus brings you back in town which is about a 10 min walk to the ship. The bus was late by about 30 mins, it will come you may need to wait. The bus drops you at the troll cars which you can use if you want, we walked up it’s is a bit of a hike but well worth it. I would recommend taking a mac or an umbrella, there’s a lovely surprise halfway up. Day 5 Andalsnes Tender Boat The tender disembarkation was fast for us as we were on the ships excursion, but if you hadn’t booked an excursion you disembarked after the tour passengers had left. We didn’t see much of Andalsnes as we were rushed straight onto the coach once the tender landed. We did The Land of the Trolls ship excursion, included lunch. Our guide was a little rubbish to be honest; talked relentlessly (rehashed stories about trolls, trolls and more trolls….), no agenda given, forgot ending on stories, comfort breaks etc. pretty bad. We made a comfort stop about 5 mins before we were stopping for lunch, we'd been on the coach for at least 2 hours, I doubt if 5 mins would have made much of difference. The trip itself would have been brilliant if the weather had been better. It was cloudy and rainy that day and we didn’t see the views from the mountains however what we did see was lovely. The Norwegian buffet lunch provided on this tour was excellent with lots of choice. P & O should note of this, it was much better than the conservatory buffet. Day 6 – Trondhiem – Berthed, Shuttle bus to town centre If you paid a Saver fare you were charged £3 for the shuttle bus into town, easily walked in about 10-15 mins. We did our own thing today. Walked around town and then decided to catch the tram up to Liam (100 NOK for two of us), took about 25 mins and at the top there was a lake and lots of hiking trails. It was really nice. The tram runs every 30 mins (check with the driver the exact time). The tram stop is on St Olvas Gate. Day 8 – Loften Islands, Tender Boat We arrived on Loften on a beautiful sunny day with no excursion booked. The shuttle bus took us into town, the town is very small and the tourist office is not very helpful. They had a trip to the Viking Museum which they encouraged us to take but not much help for the island cruise which we were interested in. If you are visiting here you should plan something or book the ships excursion. Very little to do, not many walking trails either. Most of the passengers who hadn’t booked anything ended up walking up the hill where the tenders arrived and around the beach. The beaches here are beautiful. Day 10 – Alesund – Berthed On disembarking the ship, there were 2 tourist sightseeing options (a red bus @ 210 NOK or a blue tourist train for 150 NOK) we chose the red bus which had free Wi-Fi. We took the bus up to Mount Aksla and walked down the 488 steps, then caught the local ferry (Norled) from the Tourist Information office around the Northern Islands for a 4 hour cruise. Costs 179 NOK (over 67 get 50% discount), the captain gave lots of information and provided local knowledge. We even saw a small whale. Then we boarded the sightseeing bus and finished the tour before returning to the ship. Day 11 – Flam – Berth The sun was out and that made out trip even better. This was definitely our favourite place, we did Norway in a Nutshell with the Cruise Excursions, and found it to be worth the money. The trip started at the Funicular railway and goes on to Voss via public train and returns by coach with 2 stops on the way back. We had a delicious Norwegian Lunch which was included and the guide was brilliant, lots of information, brought photos and maps of the regions we were visiting and gave us the agenda. Much better than the last guide we had. You can do this Funicular Train trip by yourselves and it is cheaper but the tour worked out good value if you include the extra excursions and lunch. Day 12 – Bergan, Berthed We docked into Bergan, and walked around the busy town centre. There is a blue bus (as well as a red sightseeing bus)to the cable car and the viewpoint at the top has lots of hiking trails and walks. You can see all around Bergen from there and there’s a small restaurant and shop. When we came down the town was busy, there were 5 cruise ships in port, including the lovely Queen Victoria. The fish market was amazing, so much beautiful seafood, but very expensive. We went back to the ship early as it was far too hot for us to walk around.   Read Less
Sail Date: May 2014
We had a lovely first cruise aboard the Oriana. The staff were all very attentive, especially in the main restaurant (Peninsular). With the freedom dining we were offered a choice of dining every day 2,4,6 or 8 tables, this worked very ... Read More
We had a lovely first cruise aboard the Oriana. The staff were all very attentive, especially in the main restaurant (Peninsular). With the freedom dining we were offered a choice of dining every day 2,4,6 or 8 tables, this worked very well for us meeting new people every night. The meals were fantastic in all the restaurants but especially the peninsular. The Conservatory was used during the day along with the Al Fresco restaurant, both self service and great. The Alfresco restaurant serves till 2.30 in the morning, with Hot chocolate and Horlicks on the menu. We had a seven port stop in Portugal, Spain and Canary Islands and loved every minute of it. We saw signs of repair as in painting on the ship, but apart from some slight rust marks it was fine (well come on it is constantly in a salt environment). I saw no curled carpets. The Cinema projector is overdue for updating and let down some great films, that we should have been able to see in HD All in all we enjoyed our first cruise and we felt everyone was there to help us enjoy our time. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2014
Shall we, shan't we? We had heard mixed reports of cruising but, at the last minute and on a wet, miserable December day, decided to book on a twelve day cruise on Oriana from Southampton to Morocco calling at Portugal, Spain and ... Read More
Shall we, shan't we? We had heard mixed reports of cruising but, at the last minute and on a wet, miserable December day, decided to book on a twelve day cruise on Oriana from Southampton to Morocco calling at Portugal, Spain and Gibralter. We arrived at Ocean Quay in mid- January where check in is faultless: a fifteen minute queue through security then, an hour after being dropped, we are in our cabin with luggage delivered an hour later. It is clear from the outset that cleanliness is a priority with hand wash available everywhere and squirted on to your hands before boarding and before entering food areas. Having heard tales that fellow dinner guests can be pot luck, we had requested a table for two in the dining room. That would have been a mistake and we need not have worried! We found ourselves on a table for six meeting an experienced cruising couple about our age with whom we could chat easily and in a relaxed fashion. The other couple never materialised so we remained a foursome for the remainder of the cruise. On our cruise, we were told that, of 1600 passengers, only about 600 were first time cruisers! During the entire cruise, we never met anyone who was on their first cruise, only well travelled and sociable folk who had found cruising an acceptable lifestyle: the record was one lady who was on her fiftieth (or was it seventieth) cruise! By 1000 on the first morning, we have entered the Bay of Biscay in a moderate sea and F7 winds. Not ideal conditions for a first timer and I had not taken anything. First thing, I was not feeling too good but, after an hour of sleep and the purchase of wrist bands, I had recovered to explore the ship and the numerous food outlets. Chaplins Cinema is a great place to pass away an hour or two in the bleak crossing of the Bay and the choice of films is good: not all latest releases but most within the last twelve months and varied and acceptable. Tea in the Peninsular Dining Room is not to be missed! A choice of teas along with sandwiches, scones with clotted cream and assorted cakes not doing anything for the waistline. A very well equipped gymnasium has more than sufficient equipment and was never anywhere fully utilised in the time that we were on the ship. I enjoyed the cycling and rowing machines but others were using the jogging, walking and weightlifting equipment. Staff were in abundance on day one but left you to your own devices thereafter, which suited me. We enjoyed our cabin, an outside with a window in which thick curtains divided the bedroom and living areas. The bathroom is well lit with ample mirrors and generous bottles of shampoo, conditioner, body lotion, soap and shower gel. There are more than sufficient dining choices, most appealing to Brutish tastes. The Conservatory has food available all day from continental breakfast at 6 am through lunch and era to a themed evening meals. The Peninsular Restaurant offers full breakfast, waiter served lunch and, with the Oriental, full five course evening meal. The small Al Fresco is open all day offering whatever is relevant to the hour. Then Tiffany's, the Costa Coffee outlet, is a popular and elegant meeting place, one that we enjoyed later in the evening when the concert pianist was playing. There was too much entertainment for us. It starts at 0800 and continues until midnight. The ship never appeared to be crowded: there was always somewhere to sit and enjoy the cruise be it on deck in the sun or below in the elegant public areas. I enjoyed the library but it would be better if there were a range of magazines to browse: I suggest that you take your own. The Theatre Royal shows were excellent. Clearly, ports of call will vary from cruise to cruise. Suffice to say, that we always arrived on time and had no problem coming and going to and from the ship with the minimum of necessary security. We did not take any excursions taking advantage of the regular shuttle buses. We would not bother to go ashore at either Agadir or Gibralter if they were offered again, the former being intimidation, the later being tatty. Cadiz was best. However, to just remain on board and enjoy the scenery and sun would be sufficient for us. Communication with passengers was good. At the last port, La Coruna, situated at the southern end if the Bay of Biscay, the Captain warned of rough seas with a 10 metre swell - he was right. Just as my soup arrived, we entered the swells and being situated at the stern, the Oriental was the place to experience the excitement! The rough seas continued through the night and all of the final day at sea making walking around interesting. Meeting others and having a chat normally resulted in having a dance: I stopped to talk with one acquaintance and, a few seconds later, he was on the opposite side of the ship. We followed the Captain's advice and purchased some Avamin from Reception enjoying an excellent night sleep in the rough seas. Would we go again? Yes, without doubt. Remarkable value for money, a pleasant way to escape winter with easy travel from Southampton "avoiding flying" being a frequently quoted plus point for fellow passengers. P&O have it right from the friendly and attentive staff through the varied menus to the general pampered ambience: they clearly know their target market and long may they continue as we will happily sail with them again. Roll on next winter! Read Less
Sail Date: November 2013
As first time cruisers, we were looking forward to the hyped up cruise with p&o on the Oriana . Deluxe room very ordinary on C deck. Food at the main restaurants very average, with self service at the conservatory comparible to ... Read More
As first time cruisers, we were looking forward to the hyped up cruise with p&o on the Oriana . Deluxe room very ordinary on C deck. Food at the main restaurants very average, with self service at the conservatory comparible to motorway service stations. Continental breakfast served in your room was extremely disappointing - so poor we had to leave it !! Al Fresco restaurant probably the better breakfast/ snack areas- still very 2*.Fortunatley we had booked a table at the Ocean Grill for our last night dinner which was 10/10. No complimentary water in your room- £1.00 a small bottle! Entertainment cheesy and downmarket! Painting Maintenance carried out on the upper deck which left a few cruisers with paint covering their outer wear- no attempt to stop passengers using these areas. Average age in the 60's.. All in all, very disappointing. Won't be in a rush to return! Read Less
Sail Date: October 2013
Pre ship booking good, helpful and full information for first time cruisers. Embarkation easy except nobody to tell us just unload cases from taxi and they will be picked up by porter, found out from old time cruisers (OTC). Directed to ... Read More
Pre ship booking good, helpful and full information for first time cruisers. Embarkation easy except nobody to tell us just unload cases from taxi and they will be picked up by porter, found out from old time cruisers (OTC). Directed to lunch at Conservatory Free-for-all, Grab and Stuff felt a bit pathetic holding tray and wandering around to find place to sit. From then on we called it the Pigs Trough. Cabin comfortable only problem 2 welcome folders I picked up top copy which just had a few sheets in order forms for laundry, cabin service etc. didn't bother with other copy, until days later when I knocked it over and wealth of information fell out, Regarding all manor of things that would have been so helpful from day one. We also did not know about the daily newspaper at reception, or the directory Until the last day when I was completing questionnaire asking how helpful had it been. It was printed in the back of a glossy magazine full off expensive adverts. No body on hand from day one to introduce first timers to normal routines. As I stated in the questionnaire todays first timers could be their next gold badge customers. ACTIVITIES well suited to older age group and OTC.s most were held in bars where drinks were being offered continually, making one feel uncomfortable, if keep refusing. Very unhappy of the lack of following the dress code evenings, especially the Black Tie and Themed. Nights The Service offered by ALL the ships crew was 100% First Class. Only took one P&0 shore excursion a short 2 1/2 hr round Casablanca v. disappointing could have been anywhere in the Med or up market parts of any city apart from 15 mins at the Hassan ll Mosque Stunning, CERTAINLY NOT WORTH 70 GBP DINING Apart from the Conservatory dining was a pleasure, we dined in the Peninsular and also 3 nights in the Ocean Grill, which was superb 1st Class ++++. ENTERTAINMENT Very good, Headliners very professional , apart from being cancelled on the 2nd night as the voyage was too rough for the dancers and orchestra to perform. Guest acts excellent. OVERALL Very unpleasant sailing as weather very poor (no fault of the company). Many many regular cruisers were confirming our feeling that the whole Cruise was based on making a profit, and apart from the food and service in the seated dining, the theatre and cinema, everything else carried a price tag. Certainly felt too much maintenance being carried out throughout the voyage. i.e a day spent by scuba divers in La Coruna ? doing what below sea. Painting and cleaning often closing part of Promenade Deck. A day of constant banging with a man trying to release a Pod winch followed in the afternoon with 2 men banging away. 2 nights in Cadiz for repairs on the pipes, cancelling our visit to Malaga. Read Less
Oriana Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins N/A 0.0
Dining 4.0 0.0
Entertainment 4.0 0.0
Public Rooms N/A 0.0
Fitness Recreation N/A 0.0
Family 2.0 0.0
Rates 4.0 0.0

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