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I was on the Oriana in August 2006 and I have to say that I do not agree about P&O being for the older people. Yes, there were some older people on board, I for one am probably classed in that category being in my late 50's by age but not mind. I travelled with my mother (78), my aunt (76) and my sister (45). My mother definitely didnt look her age and there were lots of folk far younger than us. Bear in mind this is a "family" cruise ship which means children which in turn also means younger people. When we were on there in August 2006 doing the Venetian Romance cruise there were more people in their 20's to 40's than older so I cant see it being a problem for you. Dont forget August is a school holiday time and so you will get children on board hence people in your age group and younger. The Oriana is a lovely ship and has had a complete refit which you can see on P&O's website although I dont find this new website as informative or user friendly as the previous. By the way there are plenty of seats and sunloungers even on sea days. Also if you want a bit of shade there is a large promenade deck. I have to mention about mobility scooters. Yes there were about 6 people with either a wheelchair or mobility scooter but I dont find them a problem, nor do I find older people a problem because of course we are all going to get old one day and some of us may even have to use a wheelchair or mobility scooter to help us get around, but when we were berthed in Gibraltar there was an American ship nearby (I think it was an RCI ship but I cant remember the name) we saw 10 people with mobility scooters (6 women, 4men) come whizzing out and down the ramp all in a convoy and obviously on a mission. That was followed by 5 wheelchair users. Anyway, quite frankly sometimes the older folk are more fun. They enjoy themselves, have a dance and get on with their lives because a lot of them have no inhibitions, just the will to live and enjoy life. Your questions above have been answered below but as for travel agents I would thoroughly recommend Bolsover who in fact are the main agent for P&O in fact it was the loyalty manager who gave me their business card. I hope this helps and surely dealing in GB£'s is far better than US$ for us Brits. Beware also that most American cruise lines add 10% plus each time you buy a drink from the bar plus 15% per day for gratuities. P&O doesnt!! I hope this helps you. Happy decision, and Happy Cruising!!
Here go your answers
1) not as far as I know
2) yes it will be full like all other companies
3) it is free to use and is located in the same area as the spa (spa you have to pay for )
4)depends on what treatments you want - remember they are in pounds other cruiselines operate in the us dollar
5)Vigo - not alot to do; Lisbon take a city tour and then explore on your own; La Rochelle - take the shuttle into the town small beach and lovely restuarants and water front; Guernsey: you can walk up to the shops
6)at the internet cafe
7)all travel agents similar - if you get a big one then you are likely to get bigger discount and they know more as they only sell cruises
take into account any extras that you need to account for, plan each day the night before so that you can make the most of the time and ship that you have paid for.
1. Oriana had a refit in late 2006 with significant cabin upgrades and a Gary Rhodes restaurant, but maintenance is always ongoing and you may see painting and changing carpets etc.
2. Ships are always full but in school hols there are likely to be more children and younger families. You will be allocated a table in the main restaurant for dinner. You will be asked your preference of 1st (6:30) or second (8:30) when booking. Other mealtimes you are seated as you arrive and there is the choice of the self service, main restaurant. There are also snack meals in Tiffanies and a Pizza/snack place near swimming pool.
3. Use of gym is included in price.
4. dont know
5. Depends on your preferences. P&O provide written port info in cabin and there are port lectures to attend if you want. If the port is someway from the town, free shuttle buses are normally provided. There are always lots of local taxis.
6. There is a cybastudy on board with computers available. You have to pay for internet time.
7. Use a cruise specialist "cruise club" travel agent rather than a general travel agent.
Tips. Take some hand baggage sufficient for overnighting as your main cases have to be put outside your cabin by midnight on last night
Oriana is a nice ship and you will enjoy it.
Don't miss the afternoon tea in the main restaurant (4pm)Superb.
OK I may get flamed for this but I would avoid P&O and the wheelchair crowd and perhaps try out a 'younger' ship like NCL. A bit concerned that your first experience could be that cruising is for 'the newly wed and the nearly dead'....which would put you off for life. American cruise ships tend to have Amercan guests, and better American service and more pzazz about them.
Just spoke to an agent that said two things:
1) Going across the Bay of Biscay is no fun and could put you off cruising
2) Try Independence of the Seas on a 4 day cruise to Cork to see what new cruise ships are about
As a thirty something with no kids I can understand that you may be concerned about the comments you've heard. We've travelled both on Oriana and Oceana and both ships have their own good points.
I do have to agree that my experiences on the Oriana are that the average age was older people than that of the Oceana. However if you are travelling from the UK on a traditional cruise line then you will encounter more elderley and mobility scooters than some other cruise lines.
Oriana has had a refit in 2006 and we've been on since then and can appreciate the upgrades. Our feeling is that Oriana feels more formal onboard, whereas Oceana feels a bit more relaxed and youthful.
Any cruise in August, that accepts children, will be crammed I'm afraid especially by the pool areas. In our experience P&O normally allocate at least 1 pool as adult only though.
The gyms on both ships are free to use and they both have quite extensive spa facilities although obviously you pay for these.
I can also recommend Bolsover Cruise Club, however before you contact them also try 1st4cruising, Ideal Cruising and Victoria Travel. They all came up with really good discounts for us which we went back to Bolsover with and they then matched.
One quick tip is to always take into account any onboard credit that's being offered. I look at it as an additional reduction to the price. Some agents will also offering free car parking, which can make life a lot easier.
We really enjoying cruising on both ships however I would say that the Oceana is likely to have more younger passengers onboard.
Also beware any cruise going to La Rochelle and Brest at the moment, due to french dockers strike ships are not stopping there, so you could find 2 less ports on your cruise, people are still getting letters just before they cruise saying LA Rochelle is not being used.