Cruise - Ocean Cruise
P&O Oriana - May 2010
111 people found this review helpful
After a very pleasant 108 mile drive to Southampton from Bedford we arrived at 12.45 pm, our bags were unloaded from our car even before we had time to switch the engine off, after a quick check inside the car it was driven away by the parking service.
We entered the new Ocean terminal were all the formalities were carried out and our cruise cards issued to us, all very painless, another 10 minutes and we were boarding the Oriana.
Once on board we were directed to the 'Conservatory' (the buffet restaurant) on deck 13 at the stern. We had a nice lunch with a plentiful supply and variety of food and drinks available – all well prepared and presented. The waiters were very helpful and very polite in their manner towards us.
After having a quick tour of the ship it was announced that our cabins were available to us, time now 14.15. Our cabin C118 on Canberra deck (about seven cabins from the bow) was not what you would call spacious but well appointed and with enough room for two people, considering Oriana is fifteen years old the cabin was in very good condition, and the added bonus was we had a bath and shower. Only two problems we found later were ~ 1. The life jackets were kept on the top inside of the wardrobe and anyone under 5'2" would not be able to reach them if they needed to be used. 2. The safe was situated in the bottom of the wardrobe requiring one to lay on the floor to use it, which is no big deal I suppose if you are a able bodied person.
Sailaway party including the usual brass band on the dock, now with protective barriers around them, to stop peaple falling over them no doubt!! Champers flowed on deck7 (the prom deck) served by an abundance of smartly dressed waiting persons all eagre to replace any empty glasses with full ones.
Oriana sailed away into the Solent on time, as we passed Bembridge the weather and the sea's were ideal for cruising and we hoped it would stay that way for out journey to our first port of call 'Madeira' which it did – in fact this was the very first time we had heard the term 'Rippled' used to describe the sea state, it was just like looking at orange peel, amazing.
Unlike many newer ships Oriana has the stepped sun terraces to the stern and includes a parent and toddler pool on the lower terrace, as usual it was abused by a few at times, but nothing that was'nt sorted out by ship's staff after a few complaints by parents. It was not the bigger children, but adults causing the problem.
When we were in Palma we were moored stern to stern with the Queen Victoria ~ we had a sailaway party as the Queen Vic was preparing to leave, all the Queens Vic's passengers were lined up knee deep on the top deck joining in with the singing and dancing on our ship, which emphasised the beauty and usefulness of having the five sun terraces on Oriana. Queen Victoria gave us three blasts on her horns as she sailed away ~ Makes you feel proud to be British….
Back to our ship, glitzy it is not, it's furnishings are for the more discerning passengers ~ leather seating and traditional style fabrics were in abundance in most of the public rooms, wall coverings and general decor more stylish than most other P&O ships we have sailed on, even the stairway in the Atrium were carpeted, now that's something you dont see that often these days.
There is a small library with a good selection of books available to borrow should you wish to do so, and an adjacent quite reading room.
The small Casino consisted of three card tables, a Roulette table and about fifteen gaming machines of which I believe at least three were only a 1p a go.
The Theatre Royal was comfortable ~ perhaps could have done with a bit more leg room for us tall blokes but the shows lasted for approximately 45 minutes so it was bearable, best position we found was 5 or 6 rows from the front about 8 seats in from the centre aisle that way we could see all the performers the majority of the time. Micheal Mullane was the cruise director and appeared on regular occasions before perfomances with some witty banter, did a great job as well we thought.
Entertainment in the theatre was in our opinion, one of the best ones we had seen ~even the comedian (Alan Stewart) was funny, takes a lot to make me laugh but he was hilarious, well worth seeing again should the opportunity arise. The Headliners sang and danced their hearts out ~ bless them, a great bunch of guys and dolls.
Charlie Chaplains cinema seemed to be very popular with such great films like Avatar being shown, it was almost full most sea days inspite of the weather being warm and sunny outside.
Other attractions included Antony Peebles who played classical piano nightly in the Crows Nest at 7.30 and also in the Pacific lounge sometime during the day ~ what a pianist, and he was'nt selling his cd's outside either at the end of his performances.
Dancing until midnight in 'Harlequins' nightclub, dont know about any of the other nightspots usually in bed by midnight.
Carribean night at the Riviera pool, hosted by the company DJ Mark was a blast ~ singing and dancing for all until midnight with two members of ships staff ending up in the pool.
As well as the usual deck games there was also cricket, football, tennis and golf chipping available on deck 13 the sun deck.
A trbute night was held as a tribute to Doris Day, singing being performed by Linda Radford and accompanied by the Nick Stewart Orchestra… Lords Tavern held a karioke night which was well attended.
Frank McLintock MBE, captain of Arsenal in 1971 speaking of his life and career in football gave an interesting insight into the game.
The usual Oasis Spar which we did not avail ourselves of on this cruise, no time to busy doing everything else, next door a small but comprehensive gymnasium, did'nt seem to get much use, dont think we had seen more than three people in it at any one time. Also the usual sauna, steam room and Jacuzz adjacent to the Spa.
Some interesting talks in the Tate Gallery but did not see anyone buy anything ~ wise move I thought.
Plenty of dance classes if you wanted to learn Salsa, Line Dancing or Country & Western.
The two restuarants on board were the Pininsular and the Oriental, we dined in the Pininsular on a table for eight, and what dinner companions we had ~ best lot yet, table constantly roaring with laughter. (between mouthfuls that is) Service was good, food sometimes a bit on the cool side but quickly replaced if needed, extra's were alwys available and offered freely to us ~ no complaints worth a mention.
Disabled facilities on board were, as described by two wheelchair user's I made friends with, were acceptable and the only thing they both commented on was the raised steps (about 1") in the main corridor where the emergancy closure doors were situated. Most of the disabled cabins were on deck 5, the getting on and off the ship deck.
Only did two excusions, but thought they were good value for money. It's ok doing your own thing but with an organised tour you get all the expert information as you drive or walk along,
Could go on with this for another 10 pages but to sum up.
It was a good cruise from start to end, the sea and weather were good to us, the onboard entertainment was excellant with never a dull or bored moment for us the whole time, Oh, and Oriana performed like a new ship.
Yes, you may think we have fallen in love with Oriana, and you would be right, she is a splendid ship even at her age and we will certainly be looking to cruise on her again. ……..
111 people found this review helpful
This review is solely based on the opinion of a Silver Travel Advisor member and not of Silver Travel Advisor Ltd.