OVERVIEW: Anyone cruising aboardOriana, an adults-only ship, will get a well-organized cruise experience. It suits mature adults seeking to cruise aboard a large ship with the facilities of a small resort.
My wife and I have just returned from sailing on Oriana’s ‘Atlantic Coasts’ 10 night cruise and having sailed on almost all other P&O ships (with the exception so far of Adonia) we were interested to see how things compared. Considering P&O’s favourite lady is some 17 years old now, inside everything looks fairly new with no real wear and tear visible to any of the carpets or fixtures and fittings. Oriana did have a refurbishment last year and this has allowed things to remain looking fresh and clean. There are some really nice lounges on board in particular Andersons, (no surprises there) and also Tiffanys on deck 8 next to the atrium. Although primarily a bar and extra charge Costa coffee venue, Tiffanys was well used by many. The cinema, also on deck 8 is a useful option when sailing in inclement weather, which this cruise saw its fair share of, although given the time of the year it was perhaps expected. Our inside cabin on deck 9 was of a reasonable size and although just around the corner from the lifts was mostly very quiet at night.
Unfortunately it’s when you dig underneath the surface a bit that things start going downhill and this is no fault of Oriana’s as a ship but rather the fact that it belongs to P&O. P&O as a cruise line doesn’t necessarily do anything badly but they rarely (going on past experiences) do anything particularly well either. Everything is ‘ok’ or ‘average,’ whether it’s the food, service or entertainment. Now I know many people may say that ‘ok’ is an acceptable level but when compared to other cruise lines that just seem to go that step further (in particular Celebrity but also Princess who are of a similar price range to P&O) then the differences become apparent. The food for example in the main dining room was generally ok, although getting a steak cooked properly is difficult. (We drew the short straw of the Oriental restaurant with its not so ‘good, vibrations’) Whatever the Beach boys were singing about, it wasn’t this. Service from our two waiters again was ok and it is acknowledged that they work long hours but unfortunately if you choose to work in the hospitality business, then smiling every now and then is a requisite factor. I think our main waiter maybe smiled once or twice over the course of the 10 nights and on the first night didn’t even bother to introduce either himself or his assistant waiter (who was it has to be said, one of the most smiley and happy we’ve ever had) On the subject of the food, most other cruise lines will allow for a smaller portion of a main course such as Pasta to be served as a starter. When asked if she could do this my wife was told quite bluntly ‘no’. It’s also the first time I think I’ve never seen the Head waiter or Maitre’D come round and speak to everyone and ask them how their meal was. These admittedly are little things but they do make a difference. Visited the extra charge Marco Pierre Whites ‘Ocean Grill’ restaurant once for dinner and have to say it was worth every penny. Good service and great food.
Entertainment during the cruise was ok (there’s that word again) with the usual energetic performances from the Headliners singers and dancers. Of the guest entertainers Jayne Curry was easily the best while the Lomax brothers were not quite so good. (Undoubtly talented piano players but no comic timing whatsoever)
Although these comments might appear somewhat negative it doesn’t mean we didn’t enjoy our cruise because we did, very much so. Having cruised several times with P&O now, we know what to expect. Nothing too fantastic but neither anything particularly bad either. If P&O are the cruise line of choice for your first cruise, then you will most likely be extremely pleased with your experience. If you’ve cruised before I don’t think you’ll be too disappointed either. You might however return to say it was ‘ok’.
10 out of 11 people found this useful
Times cruised before: 10+ Sailed: March, 2013
Quality of Food
Jayne Curry and Headliners stage shows.
All ports of call were easily accessible on your own
Our Cabin stewardess Renalyn - friendly and hardworking as usual. Also our assitant waiter Lamanathan. Always had a smile on his face.
Cinema was well used showing recent films. Usual quizzes and guest speakers. All rather gentle and aimed at the older passenger.
Average sized inside cabin which was quiet at night.