Oriana Review

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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.

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