Ashley Kosciolek
Cruise Critic Senior Editor
4.0 / 5.0
Cruise Critic Editor Rating: Entertainment

Oriana Entertainment & Activities

Theatre

The nightly shows in Deck 7's Theatre Royal, at 8:30 and 10:30 p.m., are excellent and always well supported, with the resident Headliners Theatre Company staging varied and well-choreographed performances.

During Oriana's latest refurb, the theatre's seating was reupholstered, and new sound and lighting equipment was added.

Daily Fun

For those that have the energy, there are virtually nonstop activities and things to do, from morning exercise sessions to dancing until after midnight. Even on sea days the ship never seems crowded, with room to spread out in the bars, pubs and lounges. By the end of the cruise, many passengers migrated to their favourite spots on a daily basis.

In addition to bingo, whist drives, non-hosted bridge, art classes and dance lessons from the resident teachers, there are lighthearted quizzes on a variety of topics. Informative 45-minute presentations set the scene for the various ports of call, and a selection of the latest films can be seen in Chaplin's Cinema on Deck 8.

The Monte Carlo Club casino is outfitted with slot machines and gaming tables -- including poker, blackjack and roulette -- and can be found on Deck 7.

At Night

Evening entertainment gets underway around 6 p.m., with options including pianists tickling the ivories in the glass-roofed Tiffany Lounge and Crow's Nest and more lively music in the Lord's Tavern sports pub. A standout feature was the Crow's Nest at the front of the Sun Deck -- the perfect spot to watch the passing scenery at sunset over the reasonably priced cocktail of the day.

Oriana isn't the ship for all-night party animals, and most of the bars thin out well before midnight.

Oriana Bars and Lounges

Pacific Lounge (Deck 7): The Pacific Lounge is a more intimate secondary entertainment venue, generally hosting solo singers.

Harlequins (Deck 7): Serving primarily the ship's nightclub, Harlequins is a venue that alternates between middle-of-the-road disco music and ballroom dancing.

Lord's Tavern (Deck 7): The resident onboard pub, the Lord's Tavern, offers sporting matches on several screens, as well as a selection of beer. During the ship's 2016 refurbishment, all seating, tables and carpeting were replaced.

Anderson's (Deck 7): Passengers wanting a sophisticated tipple will enjoy this richly furnished cocktail lounge. Lamps, furniture and carpeting were replaced during the 2016 uplift.

Sunset Bar (Deck 8): This alfresco bar services the ship's aft Terrace Pool.

Chrichtons (Deck 8): The dark, wood-panelled environs of Crichtons card room exude the rather reverential hush of a gentleman's club. We got the impression that if we talked or laughed too loudly, there would be disapproving looks.

Thackeray Room (Deck 8): Sandwiched between the ship's library and Chrichtons, this club-like space features squashy leather chairs that provide the perfect environment for catching up on some reading, doing a crossword or having a snooze. It's also now home to cyb@study, Oriana's internet cafe.

Riviera Bar (Deck 12): This outdoor bar serves the Riviera Pool. General improvements were made to this watering hole, particularly in the way of seating, during a recent ship overhaul.

Terrace Bar (Deck 12): This outdoor bar offers lovely aft views over the ship's wake.

Crow's Nest (Deck 13): This top-of-ship bar, located forward, is the best place to be for sweeping panoramic vistas out to sea.

Medina Room (Deck 13): This function room serves as a venue for meetings and other small gatherings.

Oriana Outside Recreation

Pools

The Crystal Pool and Riviera Pool on the teak lido deck (Deck 12) provide enough room to swim decent lengths, and, along with the smaller Terrace Pool at the aft of the ship on Deck 8, they are surrounded by plenty of fabric-covered sun loungers and comfortable padded chairs. There are also adjoining hot tubs. As these facilities are open air, they are weather dependent. Pool towels are provided.

Recreation

Daily outside activities include golf chipping, shuffleboard, deck quoits and short tennis, all found on Deck 13, the ship's uppermost deck. There's also a promenade that wraps around the outside of Deck 7.

Sun Decks

In addition to plentiful tan mesh loungers on Deck 12 near the main pools, cruisers hoping to sunbathe will also find seating on the Sun Deck (Deck 13, forward).

Oriana Services

Found on Deck 5, Reception is where passengers can go to ask general questions, make dinner reservations and request adjustments to, or copies of, their onboard bills.

On Deck 7, passengers can book shore tours at the Explorers desk. Shore excursions, graded into three levels depending on the amount of walking or activity involved, are on the leisurely side, with plenty of coach excursions. Trips are enlightening and well run but quite pricy. In some ports, there are frequent complimentary shuttle buses, making it easy to get around under your own steam. A few passengers said they could not get on all the excursions they wanted, so it's best to prebook before embarkation or at the start of the cruise to avoid disappointment.

Also on Deck 7 are Oriana's photo gallery and onboard shops. Everything from forgotten toiletries to perfume, clothes, jewellery and souvenirs can be found in the decent-sized shops making up Knightsbridge and the Emporium, and long-lasting mementos can be snapped up at the photo studio, which features several special promotions and discounts throughout each cruise. Additional shopping can be found on Deck 6.

The ship's medical centre can be found on Deck 4, passengers can do their own washing in the launderettes on Decks 6, 9 and 11 and a well-stocked library provides a quiet escape on Deck 8.

There's Wi-Fi throughout the ship, and the cyb@study -- which relocated to the Thackeray Room (Deck 8) during a 2016 refurb -- is well equipped with a handful of computers and space for passengers to use their own laptops if they prefer to sit at a proper desk, rather than in their cabin or one of the other public areas. A computer-savvy cyber manager is also on hand at set times of the day to sort out any problems. 

The ship's Wi-Fi is available in three 24-hour package options: The Connect Package (£7.75 for 24 hours) provides social media access and internet messaging services; The Browse Package (£12.50) offers internet browsing (with the exception of video streaming), internet messaging, email and social network access; and The Works Package (£24.95) offers web browsing, including YouTube, Spotify and Apple Music streaming, video calls, email, instant messenger services and social media access. It's worth noting that connectivity is patchy or nonexistent in certain areas. The reception desk also doesn't tell you that, on the first day you sign up, you won't be connected to the system until the evening or when the ship sails, which can be frustrating.

Oriana Spa & Fitness

Spa

The Oasis Spa and hair salon area were given a facelift during the ship's last refit, with tile replaced throughout and a new living plant wall added. Located on Deck 12, the facility features Elemis products and a good selection of beauty and pampering treatments, including specialist therapies, such as Ayurveda and acupuncture. (The latter is not available on all cruises, so check in advance.)

Treatments range from waxing to a 75-minute 24-karat gold facial. Our 50-minute Swedish massage by a very experienced therapist was exceptional.

Along with eight treatment rooms and men's and women's changing facilities, there are also saunas, steam rooms and whirlpools, all of which were upgraded during Oriana's last redo.

Fitness

The L-shaped gym, also on Deck 12 and open from 7 a.m., was recently given a spruce-up and is surprisingly big, with a fleet of modern Technogym cross-trainers, running and rowing machines, free weights, yoga mats, balance balls and other equipment. It appeared under-used on our sailing, and there was never a problem finding a free machine. The gym is unsupervised, and an induction is offered at the start of the cruise.

Classes -- which are fairly low key and aimed at beginners and intermediates rather than fitness fanatics -- include an early morning 30-minute deck walk, body conditioning and fab abs classes. Most are free with a charge of £7 for yoga and Pilates sessions.

Passengers wanting to go for a run or jog outside can do so on Deck 13's sun deck.

Oriana For Kids

Oriana is an adults-only ship. P&O Cruises offers family facilities on Aurora, Azura, Oceana, Britannia and Ventura.

Oriana Ship Stats

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

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