P&O Cruises | OrianaBy on 22 August 2017
The ship was really looking good after its refit and our suite was very comfortable and the extra treat of having a select breakfast experience in Sindhu every morning was very special. We weren’t all that comfortable with the freedom dining experience but will persevere. There were long queues every night and at times we felt as though the waiters were throwing the food at us in order to clear the tables for the next diners. It was all very frenetic. We thoroughly enjoyed the Select Dining experiences we had on a number of evenings in Sindhu and the Beach House. In order to escape the hectic pace in freedom dining we ate rather more times than originally planned in the speciality restaurants and enjoyed each one very much. It was good being on board with one of our friends who is now the number two in the Hotel Department and she ensured we were well looked after. We had canapes and cocktails with the Captain in his lounge on the sail away from Belfast – a great treat!
The itinerary was first rate and we particularly enjoyed the Orkneys and Hebrides. We are also falling in love with Southern Ireland. As Keith now has trouble walking long distances we have taken to booking more coach excursions to see the countryside and most have been excellent – we have, however, noticed an unfortunate new trend whereby many of the tour guides are reading verbatim from prepared typed scripts for the whole of the trip. One girl, who wasn’t British, clearly had little understanding of what she was reading and she read out all the titles and note headings and even read out “as above”!!!!! At one stage she lost almost everyone’s attention and there was almost a riot. P&O need to check with their contractors that the guides are fluent with their briefs.
We had excitement on the second night as we were sailing up the Irish Sea when a parachute crashed into the sea on our starboard side. The ship was instructed to turn around and we were engaged in an air sea rescue search with the Holyhead Lifeboat and a Coastguard Helicopter. After 3 hours, we went on our way but heard no more about the outcome. It was said to be a microlight but it sunk without trace.
We had good weather for most of the time, not cold but not warm either, we had a few showers but never at inconvenient times. The only blip was when we went to Guernsey – the swell really got up and the Captain decided it was too dangerous to launch the tenders so all trips and visits to shore were cancelled.
Embarkation and disembarkation was exceptionally efficient and very smoothly handled and overall the cruise was relaxing and seemed to be much longer than the 12 days scheduled. Once again, however, P&O Cruises failed to provide the medical equipment requested – this is now 2 cruises in a row – despite me checking with them a week or so before we sailed. I have written to them again asking for reassurance that there won’t be a repeat when we sail on Aurora for our Golden Wedding Anniversary cruise, but am still awaiting a reply. All in all, it was a cruise to be recommended and one that we thoroughly enjoyed. The Whiskey tasting experience at the Jameson factory just outside Cork was a special highlight but not one to be repeated too often!!!!
Thank you to Natasha for all your help in fixing up the cruise which we both enjoyed so much. We are now planning for the next one and our 50th celebrations on October 7th on Aurora.