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Review: Oriana

Cruise - Ocean Cruise

In search of the Northern Lights

  • By SilverTraveller Timetraveller

    30 reviews

    Ribbon Ribbon

  • Mar 2014
  • Partner
  • Regular holiday
  • Outside

125 people found this review helpful

We joined P&O Oriana on a trip to the Arctic Circle in search of the Northern Lights.



Mid March in 2014 was deemed to be an optimum time for seeing the Aurora Borealis and P&O were taking us up the coast of Norway to the town of Alta, right up in the Arctic Circle with a couple of port visits on the way.



After a smooth crossing of the North Sea, we arrived in Bergen. The sail in was very misty with a slight drizzle. We have been to a Bergen a couple of times before so we pre-booked a trip in the cable car up Mount Ulriken and a tour of the City. I am sure the view would have been wonderful but the clouds were so low, we could see nothing. What was great fun though was the fact that the summit was covered with crisp deep snow. The restaurant up there provided us each with a cuppa and a delicious piece of cinnamon bread or cake. The bus tour back around the city was dogged by rain and we refused the opportunity to walk back to the ship from the Bryggen area,



After sailing from Bergen, the seas became rather rough and the ship started to pitch and roll. I took a seasick tablet and nearly fell asleep at the dinner table! During the night, there was a tremendous bang as the ship ploughed into a wave. It must have woken everyone on the ship as it was a major topic of conversation during the next few days.



We arrived in beautiful Tromso to clear skies and sunshine. The sail in was very picturesque with white snow covered mountains and houses dotting the landscape. Once again we had booked a ship's tour. Our first stop was to the beautiful Arctic Cathedral. The ground was covered with snow. The acoustics in the cathedral are excellent and our Tour Guide sang a song inside for us.



We then took the Cable Car up the mountain to the viewpoint above the town. There was deep snow up there but the view was amazing. I could have stayed up there all day but our time was eventually up and we had to move on to the last stop, the Polar Museum.



This showed some of the history of Norway and featured the Norwegian way of life in bygone days.



We heard that there was a possibility of seeing the Northern Lights that evening so we ate in the buffet and then got dressed up in all our thermal gear, pre-set the camera for its manual settings and put it on its tripod, and ventured out on deck. The Captain had said that he would dim the ship's lights on the top deck to minimise light pollution.



Just after 7pm, we spotted the first signs of activity and we witnessed a lovely display of green Lights. Mission accomplished but, boy, was it cold!



The ship sailed in the early hours of the morning and we arrived in Alta, the northernmost point of our journey, around lunchtime. The weather? A snow blizzard! We braved it out on deck for the sail in and we watched as Oriana docked at the end of the airport runway, the only place in the world where the Captain has to get permission from Air Traffic Control to dock! It was really strange seeing the ship's decks covered in snow. Some of the crew had never seen snow before!



An hour after we docked, the snow stopped and the sun came out so we got all the thermals on again and caught the shuttle bus into town. The buildings in town looked like they were an industrial park but we later learnt that the buildings are built with flat roofs as the snow is very light there. We strolled around the ice statues and then walked along the main street to the modern Cathedral of the Northern Lights. Sadly it was closed. We also walked on to the ancient wooden church which survived the bombings of the second world war. The snow was quite deep and it was great fun to walk through a local housing estate to see how the Norwegians live.



The ship was docked for 2 nights in Alta so back at the ship, we ate once again in the buffet for dinner and then got our thermals on for our Lights spotting session. It was very cloudy so we decided to go and watch a show. When we came out the Lights had already appeared so we quickly got set up and spent a very happy hour and a quarter admiring and photographing this awesome spectacle. The Lights were much much stronger and sometimes were so vast, we didn't know where to look.



The next morning, we went to the Ice Hotel. Everything is made of ice apart from the odd cushion and the reindeer skins on the beds! There is an Ice Chapel, an ice bridal suite and a number of hotel rooms. At the ice bar, we each had a vodka and curacao drink in a solid ice glass! There were ice sculptures everywhere. A very fascinating place. Outside, we had a go on a kind of snow sledge and we got to sit on a snow mobile.



There were numerous tours available in Alta including Reindeer Sledging, a Husky Adventure, Snow Mobile riding and, of course, trips to search for the Northern Lights.



That afternoon, we walked off the ship and went for a long walk in the snow right round the other side of the bay.



Dinner in the buffet again and our final evening on deck to watch for the Lights, Sadly, the sky was covered in cloud so we spent the evening flitting between the tea and coffee machine, the Crows Nest Bar and short spells on deck to see what was going on. The Lights did not come out to play though.



We sailed at 2.30 am back into the rough seas again. The ship really rocked and rolled and it was a relief to arrive at Stavanger 2 days later.



Our tour was a visit to a Candle Factory in the countryside which was very interesting. You can never beat the Norwegian countryside for beautiful scenery. At the candle factory we had a traditional waffle with jam and sour cream, very yummy!



The sail home to Southampton was smooth and we had a nice relaxing day on board. Some hardy souls sat out on the Promenade Deck.



We had a fabulous cruise. The only problem is that we would like to see the Northern lights again so I am investigating maybe staying in Northern Finland for a week next year. Oh no, not another holiday!!!



We joined P&O Oriana on a trip to the Arctic Circle in search of the Northern Lights.



Mid March in 2014 was deemed to be an optimum time for seeing the Aurora Borealis and P&O were taking us up the coast of Norway to the town of Alta, right up in the Arctic Circle with a couple of port visits on the way.



After a smooth crossing of the North Sea, we arrived in Bergen. The sail in was very misty with a slight drizzle. We have been to a Bergen a couple of times before so we pre-booked a trip in the cable car up Mount Ulriken and a tour of the City. I am sure the view would have been wonderful but the clouds were so low, we could see nothing. What was great fun though was the fact that the summit was covered with crisp deep snow. The restaurant up there provided us each with a cuppa and a delicious piece of cinnamon bread or cake. The bus tour back around the city was dogged by rain and we refused the opportunity to walk back to the ship from the Bryggen area,



After sailing from Bergen, the seas became rather rough and the ship started to pitch and roll. I took a seasick tablet and nearly fell asleep at the dinner table! During the night, there was a tremendous bang as the ship ploughed into a wave. It must have woken everyone on the ship as it was a major topic of conversation during the next few days.



We arrived in beautiful Tromso to clear skies and sunshine. The sail in was very picturesque with white snow covered mountains and houses dotting the landscape. Once again we had booked a ship's tour. Our first stop was to the beautiful Arctic Cathedral. The ground was covered with snow. The acoustics in the cathedral are excellent and our Tour Guide sang a song inside for us.



We then took the Cable Car up the mountain to the viewpoint above the town. There was deep snow up there but the view was amazing. I could have stayed up there all day but our time was eventually up and we had to move on to the last stop, the Polar Museum.



This showed some of the history of Norway and featured the Norwegian way of life in bygone days.



We heard that there was a possibility of seeing the Northern Lights that evening so we ate in the buffet and then got dressed up in all our thermal gear, pre-set the camera for its manual settings and put it on its tripod, and ventured out on deck. The Captain had said that he would dim the ship's lights on the top deck to minimise light pollution.



Just after 7pm, we spotted the first signs of activity and we witnessed a lovely display of green Lights. Mission accomplished but, boy, was it cold!



The ship sailed in the early hours of the morning and we arrived in Alta, the northernmost point of our journey, around lunchtime. The weather? A snow blizzard! We braved it out on deck for the sail in and we watched as Oriana docked at the end of the airport runway, the only place in the world where the Captain has to get permission from Air Traffic Control to dock! It was really strange seeing the ship's decks covered in snow. Some of the crew had never seen snow before!



An hour after we docked, the snow stopped and the sun came out so we got all the thermals on again and caught the shuttle bus into town. The buildings in town looked like they were an industrial park but we later learnt that the buildings are built with flat roofs as the snow is very light there. We strolled around the ice statues and then walked along the main street to the modern Cathedral of the Northern Lights. Sadly it was closed. We also walked on to the ancient wooden church which survived the bombings of the second world war. The snow was quite deep and it was great fun to walk through a local housing estate to see how the Norwegians live.



The ship was docked for 2 nights in Alta so back at the ship, we ate once again in the buffet for dinner and then got our thermals on for our Lights spotting session. It was very cloudy so we decided to go and watch a show. When we came out the Lights had already appeared so we quickly got set up and spent a very happy hour and a quarter admiring and photographing this awesome spectacle. The Lights were much much stronger and sometimes were so vast, we didn't know where to look.



The next morning, we went to the Ice Hotel. Everything is made of ice apart from the odd cushion and the reindeer skins on the beds! There is an Ice Chapel, an ice bridal suite and a number of hotel rooms. At the ice bar, we each had a vodka and curacao drink in a solid ice glass! There were ice sculptures everywhere. A very fascinating place. Outside, we had a go on a kind of snow sledge and we got to sit on a snow mobile.



There were numerous tours available in Alta including Reindeer Sledging, a Husky Adventure, Snow Mobile riding and, of course, trips to search for the Northern Lights.



That afternoon, we walked off the ship and went for a long walk in the snow right round the other side of the bay.



Dinner in the buffet again and our final evening on deck to watch for the Lights, Sadly, the sky was covered in cloud so we spent the evening flitting between the tea and coffee machine, the Crows Nest Bar and short spells on deck to see what was going on. The Lights did not come out to play though.



We sailed at 2.30 am back into the rough seas again. The ship really rocked and rolled and it was a relief to arrive at Stavanger 2 days later.



Our tour was a visit to a Candle Factory in the countryside which was very interesting. You can never beat the Norwegian countryside for beautiful scenery. At the candle factory we had a traditional waffle with jam and sour cream, very yummy!



The sail home to Southampton was smooth and we had a nice relaxing day on board. Some hardy souls sat out on the Promenade Deck.



We had a fabulous cruise. The only problem is that we would like to see the Northern lights again so I am investigating maybe staying in Northern Finland for a week next year. Oh no, not another holiday!!! We joined P&O Oriana on a trip to the Arctic Circle in search of the Northern Lights.



Mid March in 2014 was deemed to be an optimum time for seeing the Aurora Borealis and P&O were taking us up the coast of Norway to the town of Alta, right up in the Arctic Circle with a couple of port visits on the way.



After a smooth crossing of the North Sea, we arrived in Bergen. The sail in was very misty with a slight drizzle. We have been to a Bergen a couple of times before so we pre-booked a trip in the cable car up Mount Ulriken and a tour of the City. I am sure the view would have been wonderful but the clouds were so low, we could see nothing. What was great fun though was the fact that the summit was covered with crisp deep snow. The restaurant up there provided us each with a cuppa and a delicious piece of cinnamon bread or cake. The bus tour back around the city was dogged by rain and we refused the opportunity to walk back to the ship from the Bryggen area,



After sailing from Bergen, the seas became rather rough and the ship started to pitch and roll. I took a seasick tablet and nearly fell asleep at the dinner table! During the night, there was a tremendous bang as the ship ploughed into a wave. It must have woken everyone on the ship as it was a major topic of conversation during the next few days.



We arrived in beautiful Tromso to clear skies and sunshine. The sail in was very picturesque with white snow covered mountains and houses dotting the landscape. Once again we had booked a ship's tour. Our first stop was to the beautiful Arctic Cathedral. The ground was covered with snow. The acoustics in the cathedral are excellent and our Tour Guide sang a song inside for us.



We then took the Cable Car up the mountain to the viewpoint above the town. There was deep snow up there but the view was amazing. I could have stayed up there all day but our time was eventually up and we had to move on to the last stop, the Polar Museum.



This showed some of the history of Norway and featured the Norwegian way of life in bygone days.



We heard that there was a possibility of seeing the Northern Lights that evening so we ate in the buffet and then got dressed up in all our thermal gear, pre-set the camera for its manual settings and put it on its tripod, and ventured out on deck. The Captain had said that he would dim the ship's lights on the top deck to minimise light pollution.



Just after 7pm, we spotted the first signs of activity and we witnessed a lovely display of green Lights. Mission accomplished but, boy, was it cold!



The ship sailed in the early hours of the morning and we arrived in Alta, the northernmost point of our journey, around lunchtime. The weather? A snow blizzard! We braved it out on deck for the sail in and we watched as Oriana docked at the end of the airport runway, the only place in the world where the Captain has to get permission from Air Traffic Control to dock! It was really strange seeing the ship's decks covered in snow. Some of the crew had never seen snow before!



An hour after we docked, the snow stopped and the sun came out so we got all the thermals on again and caught the shuttle bus into town. The buildings in town looked like they were an industrial park but we later learnt that the buildings are built with flat roofs as the snow is very light there. We strolled around the ice statues and then walked along the main street to the modern Cathedral of the Northern Lights. Sadly it was closed. We also walked on to the ancient wooden church which survived the bombings of the second world war. The snow was quite deep and it was great fun to walk through a local housing estate to see how the Norwegians live.



The ship was docked for 2 nights in Alta so back at the ship, we ate once again in the buffet for dinner and then got our thermals on for our Lights spotting session. It was very cloudy so we decided to go and watch a show. When we came out the Lights had already appeared so we quickly got set up and spent a very happy hour and a quarter admiring and photographing this awesome spectacle. The Lights were much much stronger and sometimes were so vast, we didn't know where to look.



The next morning, we went to the Ice Hotel. Everything is made of ice apart from the odd cushion and the reindeer skins on the beds! There is an Ice Chapel, an ice bridal suite and a number of hotel rooms. At the ice bar, we each had a vodka and curacao drink in a solid ice glass! There were ice sculptures everywhere. A very fascinating place. Outside, we had a go on a kind of snow sledge and we got to sit on a snow mobile.



There were numerous tours available in Alta including Reindeer Sledging, a Husky Adventure, Snow Mobile riding and, of course, trips to search for the Northern Lights.



That afternoon, we walked off the ship and went for a long walk in the snow right round the other side of the bay.



Dinner in the buffet again and our final evening on deck to watch for the Lights, Sadly, the sky was covered in cloud so we spent the evening flitting between the tea and coffee machine, the Crows Nest Bar and short spells on deck to see what was going on. The Lights did not come out to play though.



We sailed at 2.30 am back into the rough seas again. The ship really rocked and rolled and it was a relief to arrive at Stavanger 2 days later.



Our tour was a visit to a Candle Factory in the countryside which was very interesting. You can never beat the Norwegian countryside for beautiful scenery. At the candle factory we had a traditional waffle with jam and sour cream, very yummy!



The sail home to Southampton was smooth and we had a nice relaxing day on board. Some hardy souls sat out on the Promenade Deck.



We had a fabulous cruise. The only problem is that we would like to see the Northern lights again so I am investigating maybe staying in Northern Finland for a week next year. Oh no, not another holiday!!!

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