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13 P&O Cruises Oriana First-Time Cruisers Cruise Reviews

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
Sail Date December 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 June 2015
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 January 2014
Our cruise was planned to celebrate Mother’s 91st year and we booked P&O’s Oriana X314 Iberia trip departing 14 July, through Planet Cruise. This was the first proper cruise for 4 out of 6 of us so forgive any naivety or seeming ... Read More
Our cruise was planned to celebrate Mother’s 91st year and we booked P&O’s Oriana X314 Iberia trip departing 14 July, through Planet Cruise. This was the first proper cruise for 4 out of 6 of us so forgive any naivety or seeming easily pleased. We ordered a mix of cabin types at the Getaway rate, arriving separately in 3 groups and requiring 2 different dinner sittings, but the booking process was quite straightforward and Emily at Planet was very helpful. The paperwork or rather the on-line processes needed only minimal effort to get through. Planet handled our requests for decent cabins in close proximity and not getting the dreaded obstructed view extremely well although the final decision on who-goes-where is, I assume, at P&O’s discretion. We got an oceanview on E deck and 2 adjacent superior balcony suites on B deck and the respective occupants were all pleased with their cabins. The B deck cabins were much larger than our cabin E13x and included binos, atlas, dressing gown and slippers. One couple opted for the valet port parking at '£117 and the other 2 couples took 2 cars to Alternative Car Parking, Marchwood who provided an excellent, friendly and personable service for '£46 less. Highly Recommended. We were asked to check-in from 3:00 '" 3:45pm on Sunday 14 July - a very civilised time. The luggage disappeared straight into the ship from the ACP shuttlebus and we walked straight to the check-in hall with hand luggage and suit bags. A large number of desks meant very little waiting. We were briefed by a friendly, efficient lady about the procedures, credit card details taken, directed through security, and straight onto the ship. A refreshing change from the awfulness of departing from a London airport. Straight to our cabin to freshen up and make a cup of tea. Full marks to P&O for providing tea-making facilities in each cabin. Our steward was there to welcome us and talk us through shipboard life and made us feel at home straight away. Then there was a call to attend the safety drill '" in our case in the Harlequin lounge which was packed with passengers carrying their orange life jackets. The briefing was given over the tannoy by Capt Camby - a more dependable and splendid sounding chap you wouldn’t find. Back to our cabin and the suitcases were now waiting outside, so a quick un-pack and as the sailaway beckoned, we made our way to the very top deck. Ever so smoothly and gracefully the Oriana using thrusters only slipped away from the Mayflower berth, and sailed down the Solent and past the IoW in lovely sunshine. Fantastic. We decided to all eat together for the first night at the self-service Conservatory. The food was ok but to be honest I can’t remember what I ate as there was a lot to choose from. Some in our party were less than impressed '" but none of us really knew what to expect so soon into the cruise. Afterwards, we went to the Harlequin to sample the entertainment. This was dancing with the resident trio and seemed more suited to a pensioners day centre. Sorry but this was absolutely not my cup of tea so off to explore the ship and do a few laps of the Promenade Deck. My favourite spot was the stern rail watching the wake from the twin screws fade to the horizon. Magic. When you retire to your cabin, the Horizon in-house newsletter and 2 chocolates await you. We felt no noise or vibration, the temperature controls seemed to work and getting a good nights sleep wasn’t difficult. Or at least it wasn’t after the racket made by the people next door died down. Some of these cabins sleep 4 by having wall-mounted pull-down beds so possibly that procedure was making all the noise. Fortunately this was a one-off and every other night was quiet and peaceful. The cabin is snug but well equipped with a small corner sofa and table, a small flat screen tv, 4 wardrobes each with a safe(!) 2 bedside units and the ensuite shower room etc. OK for a couple but very cramped for 4. The power points are 3-pin UK type but there are no spare points so if you want to charge a phone say or power some speakers you have to unplug the tv or kettle. As mentioned above the B deck balcony cabins were much larger and better equipped but they paid twice as much as we did. Breakfast can be taken in the Peninsular restaurant with full waiter service in one sitting. Varied choices and delicious food, nicely served. Service ends at 0915 or 0930 depending on whether it was a port-of-call day. This suits passengers taking excursions which usually make an early start. For a more leisurely start to the day it has to be the Conservatory (or Smash n’ Grab as we came to call it.) All the usual buffet fare is there with a good range of cereals, seeds, fruit, eggs 3 ways, bacon, sausage, toast etc - the full works in fact. There were 4 vending areas to obtain filtered water, juices, teas and coffee. The coffee we thought was actually not too bad. Inevitably there was queuing at certain times and the hot food options generally tailed off by 10:30. There is also the Al Fresco bar that serves a more limited range of breakfast food as well as late night snacks. I only used it once at about midnight as I missed cheese and biscuits that evening. It was quite small but a relaxed and friendly place to be. Lunches were served in the Peninsular and Conservatory, but we made a point of not having lunch as breakfast had hardly been digested '" and instead took Afternoon Tea in the Peninsular. This became something of an institution. The finger sandwiches are delicious and keep on coming and then you are served scones, cream, jam, teacakes and crumpets. Sometimes the crumpets etc came before the sandwiches which was a bit odd but if you persevered you could make it happen in the right order. The only slight quibble is that you felt obliged to leave quite swiftly but the staff have to lay the tables for the 18:30 dinner service. Evening meals are served in 2 sittings in the Oriental and Peninsular restaurants whilst the Conservatory offers open buffet-style dining. There is also a Marco Pierre White and an Italian restaurant that charge supplements but we were well catered for in the Peninsular so never got around to eating anywhere else. Mum and her friend soon abandoned their 18:30 dinner sitting and joined the rest of us for 20:30, the restaurant manager happily facilitating that for us. Dinner was 5 courses: starter, soup, main, sweet, cheese and biscuits and then coffee. The wine list was good with sub-West End prices '" there was a particularly good Claret for '£14.50. Prosecco was '£18.50. If you didn’t finish a bottle, it would be put out for you the following evening. A typical menu would include a steak or Beef Wellington, lamb &/ pork, fish and a veggie option. Considering the numbers catered for the presentation was very good, service briskly efficient and the food served hot. Only once did a dish disappoint '" a rather bland roast beef. You get to know the waiting staff and when we missed dinner due to staying ashore in Gib, the next night they asked were we had been. One nice touch was a glass of fizz being served to every diner to toast the Royal birth earlier that day. Very British and very well received. We didn’t manage to visit all the bars, but the Crows Nest was OK although we could take or leave the pianist. Crichton’s was also pleasant enough. Actually our drinks bill at the end was surprisingly reasonable with no added service charges of 15% or more that you can get on other lines. The daily gratuity charge was '£3.50 per head per day and I can’t imagine anyone would baulk at that. All the staff we met were friendly, professional and helpful '" and incredibly hard working. Again the only area we would comment on is feeling slightly rushed at the end of meals. Some people like to leave to go to a bar or some other activity whereas we are ‘lingerers’ who like to chill after the meal. However it was easy to get into the swing of things and there was always somewhere else to be anyway, be it a show, film, quiz, the photography area etc. There was a resident theatre troupe called the Headliners who performed twice nightly most nights, generally in the Theatre Royal. They were excellent and all their shows were very well received. Their tour of duty actually ended with this cruise so I don’t know how they were to be replaced, but sadly for some of them I gathered that the dole queue beckoned. There was also a very funny comedy magician called Andre with a great line in Saga cruise gags and good magic tricks too. There was a crew talent show which was brilliant and a passenger talent show which was basically X Factor Lite with 5 different singing acts but of course it all depends on talented passengers coming forward. The resident band I’m sorry to say was only so-so '" there didn’t seem to be much rapport between them. The guitarist who played some lunch times by the pool was very good '" a shame he didn’t get some evening slots. The theatre is very well equipped in terms of sound and lighting, on a par with a very good provincial theatre. The Chaplin Cinema screened Skyfall, Quartet, Lincoln, The Queen and several other recent films, several times a day. A great place to go on a day at sea when the weather isn’t too good. There were quizzes every day and evening and perhaps best of all a series of 5 lectures about the Assassination of Concorde. An in-depth no-holds-barred account by an insider of the disgraceful circumstances surrounding the ending of Concorde flights. Two of our party enjoyed the Zumba classes and the gym has a panoramic view over the bow of the ship. None of us visited the spa so cannot comment and there were various art classes, photography sessions and other stuff which we didn’t get to try but as we enjoyed such fantastic weather we mostly sunned ourselves on deck. Naturally on a glorious day at sea there is more pressure on sun-loungers but we always managed to find space somewhere. By 5:30pm most passengers seemed to vanish so the sunny areas would be deserted. I’m not a fan of chlorinated swimming pools so cannot comment on them but they were enjoyed by others in our party. The second smaller theatre (Pacific Lounge) where the lectures were held was not ideal as there were seats having pillars spoiling the view and the tub seats face the wrong way but I guess they are trying to create a cabaret/club vibe. There were 3 formal nights when the penguin suits got an airing, the first one being an opportunity to meet and have a snap taken with Capt Camby. Never done that sort of thing before but actually good fun and the ladies loved to dress up. If you want to steer clear, the Conservatory caters for casual dressers. The ship’s photographers have a field day on the formal nights and also at the gang plank but there is no pressure to buy, but the good photos are hard to resist. They even expertly photo-shopped a pic for me at no extra charge. Although the ship was full with approx 1,880 passengers, the only times you were aware of crowding was in the Conservatory at breakfast, the Theatres and sunny days on deck. We never queued to disembark at ports, we always went straight to our table for dinner, there was always space in the bars, and during my late night laps of the Promenade deck would seldom see anyone apart from maintenance crew. There are some shops in the Atrium on decks 6/7 but these weren’t brilliant, mainly selling cheap watches and baubles or expensive designer stuff, and duty frees. The only paid excursion we did was the Andalucian Drive from Cadiz. That was actually disappointingly dull and not helped by the coach breaking down in the middle of nowhere. We were sitting at the back and on every hill I could smell the tell-tale stench of cooked clutch. Eventually the bus gave up the ghost on a narrow country road and the rescue bus had to reverse several miles to get to us and then proceed in the wrong direction. When we got back to the ship there was indeed a long queue to get aboard as all the tour buses seem to return at the same time, so we walked back to town and had an interesting mooch around instead. Most ports were departed between 3 and 5pm which was a bit too early in my view but at Gibraltar we did get a full day ashore. Some of us went up the Rock and others spent the day on the beach and met the most delightfully friendly locals who gave mum one of their umbrellas and deckchairs as it was so so hot. My electric razor had managed to flatten itself on the journey to Southampton and nobody on board seemed to have a Philips Philishave power lead so I left it with one of the many electrical stores on Main Street and they charged it up for me. Also Bombay Sapphire gin is under a tenner in Gib! After a few drinks to get rid of '£Gib notes in Casemates Square we eventually got back to Oriana at about 21:00. By the time we got to the Conservatory it was almost closing down but the head waiter made sure we were all fed. As a bonus they served the best prawn curry we had ever tasted. Lisbon was one of the disappointingly short stays but we had time to get a train out to Cascais, shop, walk along the prom to Estoril for coffee in a beach bar, get the train back and a bit more shopping near the terminal. That day the IT system failed so the crew couldn’t be sure that every passenger smart card had registered upon embarkation so everyone had to return to their cabins to be checked in by their steward. The delay amounted to about an hour so we had our Afternoon Tea and were back on deck in time to enjoy the ships horn blast out Capt Camby’s signature tune as we sailed under the huge 25 April Bridge. The Captain always gave a summary of the day at 1800 and let us know what sort of sea conditions and weather to expect and ended with a humorous anecdote or saying. According to Channel 1 on the cabin tv the worst sea we got was Force 7 which made the ship move only ever so slightly, and with nothing more than a Force 2/3 across the Bay of Biscay we were indeed blessed. During my nocturnal perambulations I noticed that the beautiful teak decks get washed down every night by a crewman. Other reviewers criticise the Reception staff as being unfriendly. When I was frequently in their company trying to get my razor sorted we had some great banter and I found the girls to be delightful. Our steward kept our cabin clean and tidy, others as stated were forever cleaning the decks and other parts of the ship, there were hand-sanitising kits by all the restaurants and as far as I know there was no noro-virus on our cruise. Phew! There is a well-practised routine for disembarkation '" do all your packing, leaving out only your going-home-items, suitcases to be labelled and left outside by 2am. Breakfast served up to 8am and sit around awaiting your allocated time, notified by colour-coded cards. The procedure went very smoothly and at least half-an-hour earlier than expected we got the call to proceed to Deck 5, go ashore to find your suitcases laid out in lettered bays representing your Deck, through customs and straight to the ACP shuttlebus. Totally efficient and painless. We found the Oriana to be a wonderful ship, clearly loved by the Capt and crew and it would seem most other passengers. An enormous tower block of a ship carrying 3000+ assorted families she aint and thank goodness for that. If we could sail on her tomorrow we would; did we a have a fabulous holiday '" oh yes. Roll on the next time.   Read Less
Sail Date July 2013
We have just returned from a wonderful week on the Oriana X308 to Norway and Fjords. This was our first cruise and surpassed all expectations. We had booked valet car parking at Southampton, which went like a dream. We walked away from ... Read More
We have just returned from a wonderful week on the Oriana X308 to Norway and Fjords. This was our first cruise and surpassed all expectations. We had booked valet car parking at Southampton, which went like a dream. We walked away from the car, the porter took our luggage and we went through a very smooth check in. All staff very welcoming and efficient. Our luggage turned up very promptly a little bit later. A wonderful start! We found our cabin -- a mid-ship inside cabin on E deck - which we were advised was a very good position for stability and quietness and it certainly was. We slept blissfully without awareness of movement, turbulence or noise. The cabin was a good size with plenty of storage space and was not at all claustrophobic, even though I must admit I did miss a window. The air con was effective and very quiet and the cabin never felt stuffy. An interesting feature is that you slept front -- aft, so alongside the corridor, not port to starboard. The cabin was very clean and kept in excellent order by our Cabin Steward, Orlando, who was very personable and attentive. We had made a very early booking and were able to choose our dining sitting and table size. We were on a round table of 6 by the window in the first sitting in the Oriental Restaurant and it was lovely. Our waiters Ashly and Agnel were really superb and our wine waitress, Sarah, was also excellent. We got on really well with our table companions. We had been really looking forward to dressing up on the Black Tie nights and the Smart nights and those nights did not disappoint. You could always eat something at some time on the Oriana and we thought the quality and range of the food was first class wherever we chose to eat. We preferred the ambiance of the main restaurants and Al Fresco, but that was just us. There was always a very good range of hot and cold fresh food attractively presented in the Self Service Conservatory, including freshly made to order sandwiches and plenty of fresh fruit and cheese and biscuits if you wanted to eat simply. We took a liking to Afternoon Tea in the Peninsular Restaurant, which was also a very social occasion as you were seated as you entered and got to meet new people. Waiters were always fast and efficient and excellent at clearing and cleaning tables in all the restaurants. The price of drinks in the bars was also very reasonable and the range was excellent. I loved the daily cocktails!! Again the waiters were very attentive and kept all tables clear. We thought there was a very good range of entertainment to suit all tastes, including films like Les Miserable, Quartet, Warhorse and Marigold Hotel which were spread out over the week at different times of the day, so if one session was inconvenient to you,another time would suit. We enjoyed the shows and the Sail Away parties too as well as quiet evenings in the Crow's Nest with its own brand of bands/music. The Entertainment Team were amazingly energetic and worked very hard to provide something for all of us. We would wholeheartedly praise all the staff/crew on our cruise who were without exception pleasant and helpful and worked so hard And of course, last but not least, the destination - Norway and the Fjords!! The landscape was just awe inspiring and we enjoyed the different characteristics of all the ports we visited. We didn't eat on shore as Norwegian prices are very high, but there was more than ample food waiting for us when we went back on board. There was a wide range of shore excursions to choose from, but we preferred to do our own thing and explore the ports by ourselves. There were very good port presentations on board and excellent information sheets on the ports provided for us in the cabins. One of our very interesting visits was to the Sardine Canning Museum in Stavanger, believe it or not! So all in all, a truly fantastic first experience of a cruise! We loved the Oriana and very reluctantly disembarked for the final time on Friday morning at 09 15. All went very well at disembarkation, which was again very efficient and our car was ready and waiting across the road. We are fortunate to live near Southampton, so were home at 10 am after a fantastic week on the lovely Oriana! Read Less
Sail Date May 2013
We were on board Oriana from 18th - 28th March 2013. Never cruised before and we went as a surprise for my in-laws, who were celebrating their 40th Anniversary by going on this cruise and also my father in-law's 60th birthday. They ... Read More
We were on board Oriana from 18th - 28th March 2013. Never cruised before and we went as a surprise for my in-laws, who were celebrating their 40th Anniversary by going on this cruise and also my father in-law's 60th birthday. They were pleasantly surprised when we found them at afternoon tea in the Conservatory! We traveled as a couple along with my brother in-law and his wife. Arriving on the ship we thought it was very grand and were amazed at the size (having never even really seen a cruise ship up close before!) As we arrived fairly late (to not ruin the surprise) our cabin was ready straight away. The cabin was big enough, clean and our cabin steward was friendly and helpful. Food on board was delicious, we ate in the Oriental - late sitting and once we had explained the situation at dinner we were moved so that we could all sit together, very accommodating. Also ate in the conservatory and Al Fresco regularly. We tried all the bars, our favorite for pre-dinner drinks was Andersons. Saw a couple of the theatre acts, Headliners and Lomax Brothers. I went to one film at the cinema, though my husband saw a couple. We also went to the 'Audience with Michael Stark', which was very good. Unfortunately we only used the pool/spa once as weather was not fantastic, but it didn't spoil our holiday at all. Ports visited: La Coruna - Very pretty, lots of lovely shops (I like shopping).We wandered round on our own rather than booking an excursion. Casablanca - We booked on an excursion 'Portugese Connections' which was a two hour coach trip each way to El Jadida. Very interesting tour which we all enjoyed. Having been to this port now I think I would always go on an excursion rather than travel on our own. Cadiz - Lovely place, we walked around for a while then got on one the bus tours. Shops were closed due to it being Palm Sunday, they had a parade in the afternoon. Weather fantastic and we all got sunburn. Other ports visited are listed in the port section below. Fellow passengers were of an older age group than us but we spent one evening chatting to a 93 year old ex navy gentleman who was interesting and good company and overall found passengers friendly. Only thing annoying was an elderly couple at dinner who moaned loudly about everything, every night at dinner!Felt sorry for the waiters as they work very hard and are very polite. All in all, disappointed to have to disembark, I would have loved a longer cruise, however, most workplaces don't allow such extended leave for cruising so maybe when we retire (a long time away yet). Read Less
Sail Date March 2013
General Overview As first time cruisers we did not really know what to expect. My husband is a part-time wheelchair user, able to walk short distances, so we were a little concerned about embarkation and how he would get around the ... Read More
General Overview As first time cruisers we did not really know what to expect. My husband is a part-time wheelchair user, able to walk short distances, so we were a little concerned about embarkation and how he would get around the ship. On arrival at the Terminal we were immediately greeted with aides, whose job it was to make our transition aboard as easy and stress free as possible. They were wonderful, putting us at ease and taking all the worry out of boarding in such circumstances. I hope this will reassure anyone considering cruising who might also be either partially or totally dependent on a wheelchair. We also noticed that some passengers had motorised disability scooters. Of course, whichever type you use, it must be able to fit into your cabin, as you are not permitted to leave any such vehicles in the corridors, for obvious health and safety reasons. We had a deluxe balcony cabin which was very roomy and the folded up wheelchair did not encroach on our space in the least. We were not too lucky with the weather, but that is something beyond anyone's control and the experiences we had and the wonderful ambience of the ship more than made up for that. On our first night out the sea was a little rough and I have to admit to being seasick, but the administration of travel sickness tablets remedied that within 24 hours. Next time (and I hope there will be a next time) I will take them prior to boarding as a precautionary measure. Dining Our allocated dining room was the Oriental, first sitting at 6.30 pm. Can I offer a word of advice when booking your cruise to select a large table, seating at least 6 or 8? In this way, you will be seated with a group of people who will become your friends. We were very fortunate to be seated with 2 other couples who were total strangers to us, but with whom we developed a strong friendship. The dining experience on Oriana was superlative -- the choice of food, the excellent service from all of the restaurant staff and the little "extras" such as the singing of "Happy Birthday" by the waiters only added to our enjoyment. The food is of such high quality that I also suggest taking some clothing along which has a bit of "give" in the waist! (There are, however, excellent gym facilities on board should you prefer that option!) We particularly enjoyed the Room Service facility and utilised it on several occasions, most especially for breakfast, where we were able to enjoy it at our leisure in our cabin. The Peninsular Restaurant offers open seating for breakfast, which we visited a couple of times. The choice and quality of fare in all of the food outlets can only be described as exceptional. Entertainment The range of entertainment on board was limitless. The Theatre Royal offered such diverse acts as ventriloquists, vocalists and pianists, as well as the in-house theatre group which entertained us with a variety of performance genres -- our favourites being tributes to Abba and Queen. We were also occasional visitors to the Casino where we were taught the principles of Black Jack and Roulette in a very interesting workshop one afternoon. The stakes in the casino are usually quite low, but we did manage to come out with some winnings nevertheless, despite being total novices! There are numerous other entertainments on board, ranging from Bridge to Quizzes, there is something for everyone, whether you decide to use the facilities or not. Our cabin We had a deluxe balcony cabin on B deck. As previously mentioned, apart from one day, the weather was not really warm enough to utilise it to its full extent, but our cabin was roomy and comfortable. The compact bathroom was kept fully stocked with beautifully laundered white cotton towels, and came with a complimentary supply of toiletries. The beds were amazingly comfortable; the bedding of soft Egyptian cotton. The cabin steward did a magnificent job of keeping it clean and tidy, and turned the beds down each night, leaving a delightful little chocolate on the pillows. It was these little extra touches that made the holiday so unforgettable. There is a TV and fridge in the cabin for your convenience and shipboard messages are relayed through the speaker system, as well as on the TV channel devoted to the bridge, on which essential details such as weather conditions and current placement on the globe can be tracked. Services It would appear that "Service" is the watch word for every single member of staff on the Oriana, as indeed I am sure it also applies to all the other ships in the P & O fleet. Whatever you are doing, the staff are always meticulously polite and eager to meet your every need. I have never been called "Madam" so many times (but in the most fitting circumstances!) Many of the staff obviously work behind the scenes, but their efforts are nevertheless apparent --the invisible cleaners, the staff who work in the kitchens, laundry and engine rooms all played their part. We could not find any negative points to comment on as far as all the previously mentioned areas are concerned, but if I must pinpoint one irritation it must be the difficulty encountered on many occasions when traversing the raised areas of the corridors of the ship. These are the metal ridges or lips along which the watertight doors close. We found them to be high enough to bring the wheelchair to a halt when the front wheels hit them, forcing us to have to "lift" the front wheels over the obstructions. The fact that we had to do this so many times resulted in some damage to the said wheels, which fortunately will be repaired under the insurance, but this is something to be aware of. If these areas could be made more wheelchair friendly, then this single point of contention would be resolved. Ports of call Our ports of call were La Coruna, Casablanca, Gibraltar, Cadiz and Lisbon. At all of the ports we were able to go ashore as the staff were so helpful getting the wheelchair down the gangway and helping my husband to disembark and embark on his return to the ship. We had a particularly entertaining day in Casablanca where we took a Petit Taxi, driver by Mushtak, on a whistle stop tour of the city (and some!) visiting off the beaten track sights, including an authentic Berber Pharmacy (Mustak's words) - sure the pharmacist must have been one of Mustak's relatives! Great day all round. We found various levels of accessability in the other ports we visited, mainly due to the "friendliness" of the pavements and kerbs towards the wheelchair. We found Lisbon to be particularly bad for wheelchair users. We enjoyed our cruise very much and will certainly look to repeating this experience, probably with P and O again, as their staff were absolutely brilliant. Read Less
Sail Date March 2013
We were given an embarkation time of 0300-0345 and arrived at Southampton railway station at 0245 quickly finding a taxi but then were stuck in a traffic jam "the football was on". Arrived at the terminal at 0315 and waited with ... Read More
We were given an embarkation time of 0300-0345 and arrived at Southampton railway station at 0245 quickly finding a taxi but then were stuck in a traffic jam "the football was on". Arrived at the terminal at 0315 and waited with a coloured ticket for a short time a bit like being at the Argus shop. Soon our colour came up and we checked in. There was quite a long queue for the security check and we arrived on board at 0345 and wondered what to do. We went to our cabin but as we were walking up the stairs an announcement informed us that there would be a muster drill shortly and we needed to get out life jackets and go to the muster station, we had not even found our cabin! Once in the cabin a hasty exploration uncovered the life jackets, they were in the wardrobe. There was a knock on the door and Sudhakar the excellent, friendly, cabin attendant introduced himself, we explained that we had only just arrived, he asked if we had received our luggage and immediately said he would go and find it for us and put it in our cabin. We found the muster station and then decided to go and have a drink as we had not eaten since breakfast. Glasses of Champagne were offered as we went up the stairs for the leaving party but a cup of tea and some food took priority so we missed the event. I think 0300 was far too late to arrive everything seemed rushed and it spoilt the initial holiday experience and we missed the introductory tours of the venues. Our cabin a larger outside one on A deck was much bigger than I expected, everything was working, there was a chair and a stool, ample hanging and drawer space and room to move around. The ensuite was a bit bijoux but functional. The down side was it was immediately under the bridge at the front of the ship and very bumpy in the moderate to rough seas we experienced for most of the cruise.We wandered round the ship on the first morning avoiding our very mobile cabin, sampling the entertainment on offer,the wine tasting, cookery demonstration, the film and a quiz. There seemed to be a different thing going on in every space "Its a bit like a posh Butlins" my husband commented. The conversation for the first three days revolved around cures for sea sickness and who of their party was ill. A roaring trade in extra strength sea sickness tablets (which seemed to make you fall asleep) and wrist bands occurred. We settled into a routine stretch class (most enjoyable),gym (walking seems to use very few calories), breakfast, film, lunch, quiz, show, evening meal. The meals were all excellent and the waiting staff efficient and friendly. We thought we were the 8.30 sitting but upon arriving were informed we were freedom dining. I really enjoyed the flexibility of freedom dining, we always chose to share a table and met a variety of different people. We tended to go to the shows first and ate after so didn't have to clock watch whilst dining and the earlier shows were not so full. The shows were excellent all were new to us as it was out first cruise and Jane Middleton as Cher and Annie Lennix was very good. We also enjoyed watching the films again all new to us. In Maderia our first port of call we were hoping to see the sun but it was mainly cloudy with some squally showers a bit of a disappointment. We went on the full day trip of the island quite expensive but very good. We saw a lot of the island and sugarcane being crushed, but we really didn't need the 3 course meal at lunchtime, a snack would have done.Very rough seas over night. Next stop La Palma the trip we had planned to do was cancelled so we booked the Heart of La Palma and had an enjoyable time in a national park and a short walk. Still not much sunshine but warmer. We also had time to do a little shopping, La Palma seemed very good value for money. Next day Santa Cruise Tenerife and a hike today in Monte Teide National Park and finally the sun came out. The hike was very good we saw lots of lizards and learnt about all the different types of Larva. It was a shame we had to leave Santa Cruise at 0500 because we would have liked to have had time to look round the town. Travelling back north but we had some sun and calmer seas over the next two days and I finally managed to get in the pool!Would have been good to visit another island and forgo La Porto and stay in the warmer weather longer. La Porto back to cloudy weather no trip this time but we walked round the city, visited a port lodge and went on the cablecar and to a very good cake shop Finally we visited La Coruna looked like a nice city but we went on the Santiago de Compostela tour, very interesting but a bit cold and rainy. Leaving no time to see La Coruna. Travelling back we again had cloudy skies, moderate to rough seas and even some snow! Embarkation slick and speedy. Would I go on another cruise, possibly but I would go on board earlier and I've got 4kg to loose first. Read Less
Sail Date March 2013
We used CPS parking, no problems and would use again, very convenient. Loved the Sailaways, fantastic food ( both Evening Meal and breakfasts ) in the Peninsular Restaurant, enjoyed dressing up in the evenings, the company of the people ... Read More
We used CPS parking, no problems and would use again, very convenient. Loved the Sailaways, fantastic food ( both Evening Meal and breakfasts ) in the Peninsular Restaurant, enjoyed dressing up in the evenings, the company of the people on our table of 6, people very friendly and enjoyed the entertainment (especially Jimmy James). Brugges was lovely, we made our own way by free shuttle bus and then train (€3-80 each return on the Sunday, with hourly trains ) Not keen on Le Havre, would probably book a tour if we were there again. Guernsey was delightful, timed ticket for the tender over, try to return slightly earlier than the 3-30 peak queue, but this only took 30 minutes to wait for the return tender. We walked past the castle to the underground U-Boat fuel storage museum, displaying war memorabilia, very interesting, then walked back to the (Duty free shops) Our friends took a local £1 bus tour round the island which lasted an hour and a half. We found the cruise very relaxing, the daily newsletter ensured we knew what was happening and when, so loads to keep us occupied. Already looking for another cruise, but this time with our son. We really liked the atmosphere of the Oriana, particularly the open decks at the back of the ship, the Sailaways, with everyone singing and flag waving were a highlight. We were driving home within 20 minutes of walking off the ship, everything was very well organised. We hope to return to the Oriana. Read Less
Sail Date June 2012
We took our first ever cruise (we usually fly to our holiday destinations), which was a 34 night cruise on the Oriana, to The Azores...Caribbean....Mexic....and U.S.A. As far as hubby and me were concerned, this was a WONDERFUL cruise. ... Read More
We took our first ever cruise (we usually fly to our holiday destinations), which was a 34 night cruise on the Oriana, to The Azores...Caribbean....Mexic....and U.S.A. As far as hubby and me were concerned, this was a WONDERFUL cruise. We had an outside cabin on F deck (5) with a picture window. The cabin was absolutely adequate for us and was kept spotless by Pedro, our steward. The towels were changed daily and the sheets every three days. All the staff were first class and nothing was ever too much trouble for them. We mainly ate in The Conservatory, as we hate dressing up so formal. The breakfast was amazing, with so much variety....lunch was always excellent too....evening meal was good, although a little repetative. On board entertainment was mainly very good, with celebrities including Jimmy James (singer) and Roy Walker (comic). The on board singers/dancers did a fantastic job of entertaining us too, with a variety of shows. There was a very varied "things to do on board" programme, to keep you occupied, unless you wanted to lay on a bed on deck and catch some sun. All in all, I think The Oriana was a lovely, comfortable and clean ship, with excellent staff and excellent facilities. I can't say anything negative about the ship, the staff, or the holiday. Well done P&O, in our opinion, you got it all right. Read Less
Sail Date September 2011
We wanted something special and that's just what we got. Oriana is a splendai ship, if a liitle dated in places. But let's start at the begining:- Check-in and embarkation went without a hitch, you must remember this is all new ... Read More
We wanted something special and that's just what we got. Oriana is a splendai ship, if a liitle dated in places. But let's start at the begining:- Check-in and embarkation went without a hitch, you must remember this is all new to us. ( no airports ) Once on board we quickly found our room, sorry Cabin and two minutes later our cabin steward ( James )came to greet us and welcome us aboard. Our luggage arrived shortly after that although two items were missing. These arrived just as we were going to dinner. We left Southampton at 16:30 sailing into the night. Our first night on board was something quite different to what we have had in the past. Dinner was casual as we hadn't had time to unpack everthing. The Head Waiter met us at the door to the Oriental Restaurant and showed us to our table for two. Two waiters then came and introduced themselves, Vincent and Francisco. A better two waiters you would be hard pressed to find. Nothing was too much trouble for them, they looked after us for the whole 34 nights. A mention also for our Wine steward Roshan, he well knew his trade offering us all the special offers for the evening but never pushing a particular wine. If we didn't like his recommendation it was swifty removed and another choice was given. No question asked. We did try the Conservatory on a couple of evenings but were disappointed with the menu. So we stuck to the Oriental. The Conservatory was fine for breakfast, lunch and afternoon tea and we even had Francisco in there waiting on. The entertainment in the evening was pretty good with a couple of fairly well know 'stars' Jimmy James ( who we somehow missed ) was apparently very good. Roy Walker did two shows, we went to the first and were pleasantly surprised at how good it was, his second was a complete let down, as he relied on other peoples jokes from 40yrs ago. The in-house entertainment were very good and tried very hard but I would say the 'Host/Compere' was something from the Butlins 1960s era and too full of himself. The service in the bars was second to none especially in Andersons, our regular after dinner spot. Thanks to two superb bar stewards, Ramir and Patrick who kept us amused with tales of their families in Manilla. By the last week of the cruise they were both searching the ships bars for the last of Scapa malt whisky. I think I finished it all. Brilliant. The trips we did at the different ports of call left a lot to be desired, and with hindsight we would have been better off arranging these ourselves. P&O were overpriced and rushed. The only ones we did think were good were Cozumel and The Kennedy Space Centre. All in all it was a great adventure but Oriana does need sprucing up. She is in Dry dock now for a refit so lets hope it improves her. The crew and staff were excellent from the top to the bottom and they all deserved what gratuities we left. Would we cruise again : Probably but not for as long. Would we use Oriana : Yes FYI. Places we visited: Madeira, St Marrten, Tortola, Jamaica, Grand Cayman, Cozumel, New Orleans, Key West, Miami, Port Everglades, Charleston and Ponta Delgada Read Less
Sail Date September 2011
I had booked myself and 2 of the ugly sisters on this cruise as a treat for my sister from the USA who was over to see my dad who was on his last legs plus my other sister who had been looking after dad for years but was under extreme ... Read More
I had booked myself and 2 of the ugly sisters on this cruise as a treat for my sister from the USA who was over to see my dad who was on his last legs plus my other sister who had been looking after dad for years but was under extreme pressure as he had been in hospital since a fall in January. A week before the cruise P&O offered us another cabin (for sole occupancy) at a favourable rate but I decided to take my husband along so we shared one cabin and the 2 ugly sisters the other. (They had the original cabin with the on board credit)! My American sister was looking forward to Dublin but was having trouble with her foot so she booked a tour through P&O and took in all the sights and had tons of photos to prove it. Dublin was very interesting and we did the open topped bus tour and got off at the Guinness museum then walked back at our leisure. We caught the train from Cohn to Cork city but wishes he had just stayed in Cohn as Cork was ideal for shopping but when we got back we did the Titanic tour and felt we wasted our time travelling to/from Cork. Bilbao was fantastic. We did the Guggenheim museum and spent about 3 hours there but my American sister felt there was too much of the same thing in the top floor - I've forgotten what the name of the exhibition was but it was all pieces of junk picked up and turned into "art". The building itself though was stunning and the walk to the museum wasn't too strenuous. Brest was a complete and utter waste of time - so much so we wished we had stayed on the ship. The weather was fine during the trip - not too hot and no rough seas at all. We had a table for 8 and shared it with a mum, her 16 year old son, her mother & her man friend. They were good fun and we enjoyed every meal. The only down side was that our table was a bit too close to one of the serving stations and whoever sat that side invariably got knocked a bit when the waiters were busy. Our waiter & his assistant was excellent. Not over familiar but when they knew your preferences they went out of their way to make sure you were taken care of. My sister and I took part in a few of the onboard quizzes and my other sister liked to find a quiet spot and read her book. My husband attended the lectures (like he always does) and I caught up with my sleep! I like the fact you don't have to pay for the movies on the in cabin TV and would beg P&O to not bring in such charges. I like the tea & coffee in the cabin and the cabin steward was fantastic. I don't think I ever saw them but the cabin was always prepared. I was a bit disappointed there was no Portunus party as it was only a 7 day trip so I make sure from now on I make sure we go for 10 days of more! Yup. It was a good trip. P&O is our favourite cruise line with Princess a close second. Read Less
Sail Date April 2010
How do a couple celebrate 40 years of marriage? Not many reach that milestone these days so it had to be something special! I believe my wife and I found that something special. From the moment we found ourseves at the terminal at ... Read More
How do a couple celebrate 40 years of marriage? Not many reach that milestone these days so it had to be something special! I believe my wife and I found that something special. From the moment we found ourseves at the terminal at Southamton to the minute we left at San Francisco it was a time to remember. The fact that we had arrived earlier than our booking time did not faze the staff in any way and they were only too willing to assist us and guide us through the embarkation procedure. When we did board we were amazed at the sight which met our eyes. My only experience of ships had been the Dover Calais crossing and the Hull Rotterdam crossing so it was an awe inspiring tour of the ship and facilities to see what was on offer. Being a Brass and Military Band enthusiast it was a special treat to cast off from the quayside to the stirring music of 'Rule Britania' with the confetti, streamers and fireworks. Our first three days were spent at sea and we quickly realised why so many people had advised me to buy a dinner suit with trousers a size larger. If I continued to eat how I started then one size larger would not have been the correct choice so some serious decisions had to be made re my eating habits!!! Madeira This was our first port of call and perhaps the only dissapointment of the trip. We had pre-booked all of our trips prior to embarkation and on this particular excursion were dissappointed to find that we spent three hours on a coach looking at clouds fog and rain. It was little comfort to us to hear a guide telling us what beautiful scenery we were missing! Especially when people(obviously a little more experienced cruisers than us) who had spent a fraction of the cost of our excursion enjoyed the lower altitude weather. St Lucia Now this was better -an excellent coach and boat trip to introduce us to the Carribean with a smashing dip in the sea before heading back to the ship. Margarita As our daughter had married a Venezuelan we were interested to see where they had been on Honeymoon. The day was a mixtute of torrential rain and hot sun. It was an amazing sight to see the local roads turn into rivers and the skill whch our driver showed in the negotiation of these roads/rivers. We also experienced the difference between the old and the new and the have's and have nots. Curacao An island which I had never heard of but an experience to remember taking the bus(an old army vehicle) with a bush roof to a local beach and enjoying the white sands and snorkelling afterwards a visit to the local town before re embarkation Panama Canal What can we say? one can only get the real experience by travelling through it. Thanks to the crew members for a very informative commentary throughout. Acapulco Well I am sure that the people who paid for excursions to watch the divers had their moneys worth but this trip was perhaps one of the highlights of the cruise when we released baby turtles into the sea - a truly memorable occasion San Francisco The end of the cruise for us we had further adventures to face up to(but thats another story) oh how I wish we were wealthy enough to stay on board!!!!! Life on Board Cruising was everything we had been told and more! From a fantastic captain who was always friendly, conspicuous, informative to our cabin steward and waiters were so friendly; helpfull,couteous and polite to the entertainment team -wow what talent. Thank you all so much Will this be our first and last cruise? ROLL ON OUR NEXT ONE THANK YOU P AND O for such a memorable occasion. Read Less
Sail Date January 2009
Oriana Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins N/A 3.8
Dining 4.0 3.7
Entertainment 4.0 3.7
Public Rooms N/A 4.1
Fitness Recreation N/A 3.6
Family 2.0 3.6
Rates 4.0 3.9

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