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P&O Cruises: Oriana

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Oriana Review

Recently rebranded as one of three “adult-only” ships in the P&O fleet, the 1,818-passenger Oriana, which was last refurbished in 2011, is an attractive midsized cruise ship designed for traditional British tastes. Setting sail from a U.K. port, the upgraded

ship, with its signature three-tiered stern decks, is equipped with enough lounge chairs on its spacious teak Lido deck for sunbathing, people watching, and relaxing. Twenty-seven new cabins were added, in addition to two specialty restaurants. Classic and conservative in style, she attracts a more mature crowd seeking a predictable cruise format. The stunning Tiffany glass atrium and panoramic Crow’s nest bar are eye-pleasing aesthetic highlights. Having an onboard atmosphere of nostalgic timelessness, expect mainly British entertainment, a subdued décor, and lots of smokers.

The first contemporary “super ship” to be built specifically for the British market, Oriana was christened in 1995 by Queen Elizabeth II. Named after the novelist William Thackeray, the eponymous writing room next to a well-stocked library on the Oriana drips with British flavor. Sip a pint at Lord’s Tavern, an authentic British pub, where passengers enjoy socializing and sing-a-longs, or savor a hot drink at Tiffany’s coffee bar. The Oriana is perfectly suited for those seeking foreign travel while retaining a British ambience, from food preferences to music and themed activities that include gardening, Scottish dancing, and cricket.

Although the Oriana is showing signs of age in spite of a recent facelift, a newly refreshed aft deck, uncluttered and without balcony accommodations, offers commanding sea views overlooking the ship’s wake. Cruise to Greece, Turkey, and Croatia or head towards Tallinn, Helsinki, and St. Petersburg. While sailing to fascinating ports of call throughout Europe, activities range from quietly assembling a jigsaw puzzle or reading to dance lessons and golf chipping. Outfitted with a good array of facilities to stay active day and night, perhaps the Oriana’s best features are located in the velvet-draped Theatre Royal and at the front of the sundeck in the Crow’s Nest, where passengers can nurse an affordable cocktail with priceless sunset views.

Since 1937, P&O Cruises (originally the Peninsular & Oriental Steam Navigation Company) has been a force in passenger shipping. Although the company's suggestion that they invented leisure cruising cannot be proven, P&O is assuredly a pioneer of modern cruising. The company acquired Princess Cruises in 1974. P&O then purchased Sitmar Cruises and merged it with Princess in 1988, and the passenger-cruise business—known as P&O Princess—was spun off in 2000.

P&O Cruises is the oldest cruise in the world and remains Britain's leading cruise line, sailing the U.K.'s largest and most modern fleet. The ships are equipped with every traditional big-ship amenity, including swimming pools, stylish restaurants, spas, bars, casinos, theaters, and show rooms.

Seven ships in the P&O fleet offer a diverse range of venues for relaxation and entertainment, including cocktail bars, nightclubs, cinemas, games rooms, and cabaret lounges. Enjoy live bands, dramatic musicals, and deck parties, cabaret singers, comedians, specialty acts, classical recitals, and concerts. Theme evenings include tropical, 1960s and '70s, or Black and White Ball. Other activities include quizzes and panel games, with prizes awarded to winning teams. A select number of itineraries offer the opportunity to spend the evening, or even overnight, in port.

An abundance of balcony and outside cabins on P&O ships ensures that a view to the sea is never far away. Accommodations, from inside cabins to lavish suites, cater to a wide cross section of budgets and tastes. In the interest of passenger health and safety, smoking has been prohibited indoors, including in all cabins and suites and on private balconies. Outdoor smoking venues are published on board.

To offer passengers a variety of choices, P&O has adapted their fleet to match the preferences of their primary markets. Although most of the ships cater to families as well as couples and singles of all ages, Arcadia, Adonia, andOriana are adults-only ships. The Aurora, Azura, Oceana, and Ventura complete the P&O armada and welcome both adults and children. Following customer feedback, P&O announced major refurbishments for the Ventura, Oceana, and Arcadia in 2013.

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What You Should Know


  • Celebrity-chef restaurant
  • Music Festivals at Sea cruises showcase classical music and opera
  • Every cruise includes a galley tour combined with popular chocoholic’s buffet


  • Cabins are small compared to newer ship standards
  • Outside aft-facing staterooms have views over outside decks rather than a real sea view
  • There is no covered pool
Ship Stats
  • Crew Members 800
  • Entered Service 1995
  • Gross Tons 69,000
  • Length 853 feet
  • Number of Cabins 914
  • Passenger Capacity 1,818
  • Width 106 feet

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