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Oriana Review

2019 Best for Shore Excursions
2018 Best Overall
2018 Best for Cabins
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-- / 5.0
323 reviews

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Passenger to Crew


Shore Excursions
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Ashley Kosciolek
Cruise Critic Contributor

Oriana Overview

Editor's note: Oriana made its final voyage for P&O Cruises in August 2019. The ship will serve the Chinese market from September 2019.

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Launched by HM the Queen in 1995, succeeding the first Oriana that entered service in 1960 and became a firm favourite with British passengers, the latest ship has followed in its predecessor's wake.

The cultural heritage of this traditional-style vessel -- part of the eight-strong P&O Cruise fleet -- runs through it like the wording in a stick of rock. A multimillion-euro facelift in 2011, which coincided with Oriana being launched as an adult-only ship, enhanced rather than radically altered the original offering. The refurbishment saw the addition of 27 new cabins, including balconies and singles, in place of the previous children's area, a refreshed spa and a new seating area on D Deck, where the children's pool used to be.

In November 2016, Oriana underwent a three-week refurbishment at the Blohm & Voss shipyard in Hamburg, Germany. The substantial refit included a complete makeover of cabins, bars, entertainment areas and public spaces to create a brand-new look.

Also notable are the replacement of Sorrento restaurant with The Beach House and Marco Pierre White's Ocean Grill with Sindhu, even as P&O Cruises' partnership with Sindhu creator chef Atul Kochhar has ended.

With entertainment and food firmly aimed at British tastes and engaging, courteous and ultra-helpful English-speaking crew members, Oriana sticks to a tried and tested formula that caters extremely well for a particular market. There are no gimmicks or fads, glitzy over-the-top entertainment or extreme onboard activities, and it leans toward the refined atmosphere of a comfortable country house hotel.

From short breaks to a world cruise, Oriana's varied itinerary features the Mediterranean, Norwegian fjords, Baltic, Atlantic islands, Canada and the USA. On our cruise, there were a few gripes about cabin noise, but overall it was a very happy ship, demonstrated by the number of repeat passengers who have been sailing on both of the namesake ships for many decades.

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Fellow Passengers

The under-50s on our cruise were in the minority. Oriana appeals to a mature and almost exclusively British clientele, mainly couples, along with small groups of friends and middle-aged children travelling with one or both parents. A grumble among nimble footed single ladies was that there weren't enough spare men to dance with and no gentleman hosts.

Whilst some were on their first cruise, a lot of people were seafaring veterans, many loyal to the P&O brand and several recounting tales of feeling all at sea on the few occasions they'd defected to larger international vessels. Sociable and well-travelled, they were fun to talk to, and it was easy to see how friendships are often formed, demonstrated by several couples who originally met onboard and travel together each year.

They threw themselves wholeheartedly into the onboard activities and excursions, and each night when we headed to bed, we were outpaced by hardy octogenarians and nonagenarians burning the midnight oil.

Oriana Dress Code

Life onboard is relaxed and casual during the day, with many people happily wandering around in dressing gowns en route to the spa and pools. After 6 p.m., evenings are divided into black tie, smart and casual. Passengers can expect two formal nights on a seven-night cruise, four on 14-night itineraries and so on. There's a useful reminder and explanation of the daily dress code in the Horizon newsletter, and whilst the men donned tuxedos for the black-tie nights, women tended to go for posh frocks and cocktail dresses, rather than full-on ball gowns. (There also weren't the sequins and tiaras you get on some ships.) Smart turnout requires jackets for men, with dresses or separates for women, and just about anything goes on casual nights, including jeans. Whilst some casual evenings were further subdivided into '60s and '70s, it didn't make a huge amount of difference, and there's no obligation to break out the flares.

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Oriana Ratings

Public Rooms4.1
Fitness Recreation3.6

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Oriana cruises to

How much does it cost to go on Oriana?

Cruises on Oriana start from null per person.

Is Oriana a good ship to cruise on?

Oriana won 17 awards over the years, including Best for Shore Excursions in 2019.

Awards and Recognition

Cruise Critic Cruisers’ Choice

  • 2019 Best for Shore Excursions
  • 2018 Best Overall
  • 2018 Best for Cabins
  • 2018 Best for Dining
  • 2018 Best for Embarkation
  • 2018 Best for Service
  • 2018 Best for Shore Excursions
  • 2018 Best for Value
  • 2017 Best for Entertainment
  • 2017 Best for Fitness & Recreation
  • 2017 Best for Shore Excursions
  • 2016 Best for Embarkation
  • 2016 Best for Fitness & Recreation
  • 2015 Best for Fitness
  • 2014 Best for Dining
  • 2014 Best for Entertainment
  • 2014 Best for Service
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Oriana Member Reviews

Liz mccarthy
Sail Date: Jul 2019
Sad to see Oriana go... Read More
Sail Date: Jul 2019
Having enjoyed a number of cruises on Oriana over the years we felt we had to be on her for her last P&O voyage sailing to Svalbard via the Faroe islands, Norway and Belfast.... Read More
Sail Date: Jun 2019
I selected a farewell cruise on the Oriana, before she slips away to China. I was not disappointed with the ship, she still felt very special, it will be a shame to see her go.... Read More
Sail Date: Mar 2019
A little warmth to celebrate the, nearly, end of winter and a reunion with Oriana after several years.... Read More

P&O Cruises Fleet

323 reviews

In November 2016, Oriana underwent a refurbishment which included a complete makeover of cabins, restaurants, bars, entertainment areas and public spaces.

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This family-friendly ship carries 2,016 passengers, and has five dining venues, nine bars and lounges, age-specific kids' club, three pools and five whirlpools. 

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Mid-sized cruise ship carrying 2,094 passengers; features five dining venues, three-tier theatre and cinema, nine bars and lounges and three swimming pools.

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Ventura is the joint second-largest ship in the P&O Cruises' fleet, with the largest kids club.

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Carries 3,100 passengers and has 12 bars, five entertainment venues, age-specific kids' clubs, adults-only areas and open-air cinema.

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The first ship purpose-built for the U.K. market offering 3,647 passengers seven entertainment venues, 13 dining venues, a luxurious spa and a kids' splash zone.


P&O Cruises newest ship, Iona, launches in May 2020 and will be the biggest ship built for the U.K. market, weighing 180,000 tons and carrying 5,200 passengers.

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