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By Ashley Kosciolek
Cruise Critic Editor

Oriana Overview

Editor's note: P&O Cruises has made plans to sell Oriana; the ship will leave the fleet in 2019.

Launched by HM the Queen in 1995, succeeding the first Oriana that entered service in 1960 and became a firm favourite with British passengers, the latest ship has followed in its predecessor's wake.

The cultural heritage of this traditional-style vessel -- part of the eight-strong P&O Cruise fleet -- runs through it like the wording in a stick of rock. A multimillion-euro facelift in 2011, which coincided with Oriana being launched as an adult-only ship, enhanced rather than radically altered the original offering. The refurbishment saw the addition of 27 new cabins, including balconies and singles, in place of the previous children's area, a refreshed spa and a new seating area on D Deck, where the children's pool used to be.

In November 2016, Oriana underwent a three-week refurbishment at the Blohm & Voss shipyard in Hamburg, Germany. The substantial refit included a complete makeover of cabins, bars, entertainment areas and public spaces to create a brand-new look.

Also notable are the replacement of Sorrento restaurant with The Beach House and Marco Pierre White's Ocean Grill with Sindhu, even as P&O Cruises' partnership with Sindhu creator chef Atul Kochhar has ended.

With entertainment and food firmly aimed at British tastes and engaging, courteous and ultra-helpful English-speaking crew members, Oriana sticks to a tried and tested formula that caters extremely well for a particular market. There are no gimmicks or fads, glitzy over-the-top entertainment or extreme onboard activities, and it leans toward the refined atmosphere of a comfortable country house hotel.

From short breaks to a world cruise, Oriana's varied itinerary features the Mediterranean, Norwegian fjords, Baltic, Atlantic islands, Canada and the USA. On our cruise, there were a few gripes about cabin noise, but overall it was a very happy ship, demonstrated by the number of repeat passengers who have been sailing on both of the namesake ships for many decades.

Fellow Passengers

The under-50s on our cruise were in the minority. Oriana appeals to a mature and almost exclusively British clientele, mainly couples, along with small groups of friends and middle-aged children travelling with one or both parents. A grumble among nimble footed single ladies was that there weren't enough spare men to dance with and no gentleman hosts.

Whilst some were on their first cruise, a lot of people were seafaring veterans, many loyal to the P&O brand and several recounting tales of feeling all at sea on the few occasions they'd defected to larger international vessels. Sociable and well-travelled, they were fun to talk to, and it was easy to see how friendships are often formed, demonstrated by several couples who originally met onboard and travel together each year.

They threw themselves wholeheartedly into the onboard activities and excursions, and each night when we headed to bed, we were outpaced by hardy octogenarians and nonagenarians burning the midnight oil.

Oriana Dress Code

Life onboard is relaxed and casual during the day, with many people happily wandering around in dressing gowns en route to the spa and pools. After 6 p.m., evenings are divided into black tie, smart and casual. Passengers can expect two formal nights on a seven-night cruise, four on 14-night itineraries and so on. There's a useful reminder and explanation of the daily dress code in the Horizon newsletter, and whilst the men donned tuxedos for the black-tie nights, women tended to go for posh frocks and cocktail dresses, rather than full-on ball gowns. (There also weren't the sequins and tiaras you get on some ships.) Smart turnout requires jackets for men, with dresses or separates for women, and just about anything goes on casual nights, including jeans. Whilst some casual evenings were further subdivided into '60s and '70s, it didn't make a huge amount of difference, and there's no obligation to break out the flares.

Oriana Gratuity

A £7 per person auto gratuity is added to your bill daily (for over 12s). Other tips are at your discretion.

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G Deck
F Deck
Promenade Deck
E Deck
D Deck
C Deck
B Deck
A Deck
Lido Deck
Sun Deck

Oriana Ship Stats

  • Crew: 760
  • Launched: 1995
  • Decks: 11
  • Passengers: 1800
  • Registry: Bermuda
  • CDC Score: 90
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

Oriana Member Reviews

Alison Harman
Sail Date: Dec 2018
I was on the Oriana with my partner and can honestly say this was not the "holiday from hell" as one couple suggested. We were well looked after. It could have been a lot worse when we had the power...Read More
Sail Date: Dec 2018
Chose this cruise for a bit of winter warmth and also to celebrate husband's 70th birthday. Oriana is a favourite ship of ours and we are disappointed to learn that it going out of commission later this...Read More
Sail Date: Nov 2018
ships in their fleet and there was much discussion on board about how short-sighted this is. We love Oriana for its size and think it will be a great loss. Not everyone likes these huge new liners that seem...Read More
Sail Date: Mar 2018
some sort of interaction to know about the cruise whilst we were at sea. The Ship We found the Oriana to be quite nice but sadly it is aging and we experienced quite a lot of vibration from the engines...Read More

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